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I’m Mad As Hell so I’m voting for…

I’m Mad As Hell so I’m voting for…

Mad As Hell


In 1976 the film Network featured a scene in which a fictional TV anchor, in response to the overall decline in America due to inflation, unemployment, crime and a recession, encouraged his viewers to stand up, go to their windows, stick their heads out and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  While the movie was a fictional story, the plot highlighted the mood of a large number of Americans at the time.  The relevant scene can be viewed here in case you’ve never seen it. (warning: some strong language)

Similar to the movie Network, if there’s one word that describes many voters 30 years later, it is anger.  From the outset of this latest Presidential cycle, we’ve seen poll after poll affirm that voters are absolutely disgusted with politicians in Washington, and the sentiment isn’t limited to one party.  

On the Democratic side, we have seen Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, garner 41% of the vote to date, as democrat voters dismiss the heir apparent, Hillary Clinton.  Meanwhile, on the Republican side we’ve witnessed voters reject candidates who have any ties to the elite establishment, opting to support Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.  In fact, these two candidates have garnered two thirds of the votes cast to date in Republican primaries and caucuses.

It’s understandable that voters have grown angry and frustrated with politicians, particularly on the Republican side.  When candidates at all levels campaign on principles that support limited government, promote fiscal responsibility, and champion life and family, voters expect them to govern according to those values, which are affirmed in the Republican platform.  Yet, it has become the norm for politicians, once elected, to quickly turn their backs on their campaign promises. Shamefully, these men and women chose the party elite, special interests and big business over the will of the voters who elected them.

While anger is an understandable reaction to these self-serving men and women, is anger in and of itself a reliable response to such betrayal by politicians?  Should we trust anger to guide us in our selection of the individual who would lead our nation, and even the free world, in some of the most crucial matters of our time?

There is a proverb that states, “A quick tempered man acts foolishly” and another warns, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”  No doubt anger is a natural response when those who should be accountable to us show us such little respect while they trample our Constitution and seek their own self-interest.  But it’s one thing to get angry and quite another thing to respond in anger.

Responding in anger leads to many unintended consequences, and as the verses above indicate, it places us in the company of fools, or at least leads to foolish behavior.  Throwing a hammer after accidentally hitting your thumb might be a natural response, but it will likely damage a nearby wall.  Likewise, choosing a presidential candidate who claims he’ll build a wall, just because we’re angry, without scrutinizing the substance of that candidate, borders on the same foolish behavior.  Worse though, the repercussions of such an uninformed decision could prove catastrophic for our nation.

There are a host of decisions of much lesser consequence that we spend hours and even days, at times, deliberating over.  When I recently purchased a television, I spent time on the internet researching which brand and features were the best and then made two trips to Best Buy before selecting the TV.  And you no doubt have done the same when you purchased your last car, home or perhaps even a toaster.  Yet it’s amazing, if not sad, that many in this election cycle are simply selecting a candidate that pushes all the right buttons and says all the right things, because they’re “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

The challenge for all of us who are angry over what is taking place in Washington is to use our logic rather than anger to make choices.  Logic can guide while anger seeks to mislead.  Reason will prevail while rage simply destroys.  But will Americans discipline themselves to resist their inner urge to simply “burn it down and start over” as the mantra of some is these days?  Will anger reign or reason prevail?  The answer to this question may determine what kind of nation we have a year or two from now.

Mark

Photo courtesy of Network movie
A Vote for Trump is a Vote for Hillary — Why I will never vote for Donald

A Vote for Trump is a Vote for Hillary — Why I will never vote for Donald

Trump-Clinton

As I’ve begun to share with folks that if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee I will NOT vote for him, the standard response I hear is: “if you don’t vote for Trump you are voting for Hillary!” The intent with such a statement is to either 1) shame or coerce me into voting for Trump or 2) demand that I fall in line with the party nominee.

I find it ironic though that as Republicans have grown increasingly upset over their party and its unwillingness to live by its own principles, many are now embracing a man whose track record is the antithesis of the foundational values of the Republican party.

Contrary to the shallow argument that “a vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for Hillary,” one should consider this truth: A vote for Trump is actually a vote for Hillary. You might find your head swimming after that last statement so hang on and let me explain.

I contend that a person’s track record will always reveal the truth of who that person is and it will predict how that individual will act in the future. In the case of a politician, his words should be carefully examined and compared, with great skepticism, against his actual record. So when it comes to Donald Trump, let’s see if my theory holds any truth: that a vote for the Donald is in fact a vote for Hillary. Below are more than 30 examples where both Trump and Hillary are identical in their views on a number of key issues:

Of course there are areas in which their records diverge but when one considers the myriad of consistencies in the positions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the only conclusion I can come to is that Trump is no conservative. But even worse, the man is a faux Republican. If ever there was a RINO (Republican In Name Only), Trump is such a candidate, but on steroids. Truthfully, Trump is simply a liberal democrat who has deceptively embraced the Republican label, with nothing to justify his conversion.

Over the years I’ve heard the following statement made about those professing to be Christians:  “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you as one?”  Perhaps though we should modify that statement slightly and apply it to Mr. Trump as follows:  “If Donald Trump were put on trial for being a Republican, would there be enough evidence to convict him as one?  Or would the evidence suggest he is something else, say a liberal progressive Democrat?” Follow the evidence and you’ll have the answer.

There’s a verse of Scripture that states, “By their fruits you will know them.” In the case of Donald Trump, his fruit of over 50 years is well known and if we are willing to objectively examine it, there can be no question as to his liberal bona fides. But will Americans care? We shall know soon enough… but it may be too late.

Mark

Election 2016: The Most Critical one of Your Lifetime?

Election 2016: The Most Critical one of Your Lifetime?

Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Carson, Bush, Kasich? What’s a conservative to do? Who is the right pick? How can one determine which politician to trust?

As I’ve thought about, studied and researched each of these candidates, I’ve certainly seen strengths and weaknesses in all of them. But at the end of the day, you and I can only pick one for our preferred nominee (assuming you’ve already ruled out the two socialists in the other party). So what is the best way to winnow out the candidates who are either not who they say they are or are ill-equipped to lead our nation back to our founding principles?

Over time, what a person does will accurately reveal who they are and what they value. As the saying goes, “you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” So if one is willing to be objective and truly evaluate a person’s track record, one can very safely predict the future actions of that person. At the end of the day, when we are faced with difficult decisions or stressful scenarios, we will all default to the core of who we are. And so it is with all six of the remaining Republican candidates for President.

If we understand this truth and are willing to objectively apply it, we can rationally mark off those candidates whose track records will not live up to scrutiny. Of course, it will also require us to set aside our own biases, preferences and even the temptation to believe what they claim. But what do we value most, simply being told what we want to hear, or searching for truth and acting out of reason versus emotion? Consider this. When you go to a doctor, would you trust one who is charismatic, handsome, and/or winsome, but he does not tell you the truth of your illness, choosing rather tell you what you want to hear?

So as I evaluated the remaining candidates, I have done what I’m suggesting you do as well. I evaluated each of these candidates, and slowly, deliberately and comprehensively, I concluded that Senator Ted Cruz is the candidate whose track record is the most consistent and verifiable over the course of the last 30 years. While not perfect, Cruz is not simply a “campaign conservative” but rather he is the consistent conservative.

I write this article for two reasons. First, I’m seeking to provide those who are still struggling to select their candidate with some of my reasons for selecting Ted Cruz. And secondly, to encourage others who might be supporting a different candidate to at least reconsider their choice.

The Constitution

If there is one document that separates us from every other nation in the world, it is our Constitution. Our nation’s founding document contains not only the principles that created the most exceptional nation in world history, but it established a form of government that has enabled We the People to govern ourselves through men and women who were to remain accountable to the People. Because of the greatness of this document and the role it is meant to play in constraining the passions and mischief of men, the reverence and allegiance any politician reflects to this document should be of paramount importance to all Americans.

This perhaps is one of the greatest strengths of Ted Cruz. During his years as a teenager, Ted Cruz memorized the Constitution, and its values have guided his political views and ideologies throughout his entire adult life. His years in front of the US Supreme Court as Texas Solicitor General led to many victories for the Constitution on matters that are foremost to conservatives including the 2nd Amendment, US sovereignty, and religious liberty.

Life & Marriage

In an era when the biblical values of life and marriage have been under extreme attack, Ted Cruz has been a stalwart voice to support life and defend marriage. As the murderous policies of Planned Parenthood have been exposed, Cruz has continued to call for the defunding of this organization that profits from the taking of innocent life.

Religious Liberty

As Christians in particular come under greater attack in our nation, Ted Cruz has been a steady and consistent supporter of religious liberty. Cruz successfully defended the public display of the Ten Commandments and the words “under God” in our nation’s pledge before the SCOTUS, kept the cross standing at the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, defended Hobby Lobby against Obamacare’s contraception mandate, and so much more.

Repeal ObamaCare

Senator Ted Cruz stood alone in September 2013 in his 21-hour marathon anti-Obamacare “filibuster.” While several other Senators chimed in, Cruz’ has remained the foremost voice in repealing Obamacare seeking to replace it with “common sense health care reform that makes health insurance personal and affordable and keeps the government from getting between Americans and their doctors.”

Illegal Immigration

In 2013, Ted Cruz led the fight in Congress to defeat the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, which would have extended amnesty to over ten million illegals. Democrat Chuck Schumer (D) and Republican Presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio were the key sponsors and spokesmen for the Gang of Eight bill. One of the bill’s most outspoken critics, Senator Jeff Sessions credited Cruz with the ultimate defeat of the bill saying, “I believe without the vigorous opposition from Ted Cruz, this bill very likely would have passed.” The Cruz plan to stop illegal immigration includes securing the border, restoring the rule of law, and reforming immigration to protect Americans.

Abolish the IRS / Replace with Flat Tax

The Cruz simple flat tax plan would establish one flat 10% tax rate for individuals with a postcard being used to file one’s taxes. A family of four would pay no taxes on their first $36,000 of income. Additionally, the business flat tax would abolish the corporate income tax and payroll tax, and replace them with a 16% tax. The death tax, Obamacare taxes and more would also be eliminated. The IRS as we know it would be abolished.

Flat Tax Postcard

Defeat ISIS & Secure our Nation

Believing that America is an exceptional and unique nation, Ted Cruz has proposed a six-point plan that would position the US as a shining beacon, to exert world leadership, rebuild our military, defeat ISIS, protect the homeland, and rip up the Iran deal. American Spectator recently stated, “Cruz presents a well-thought out, foreign and national defense policy based on the original, Reagan conservatism. One that focuses on advancing America’s security interests around the world, not on sacrificing American lives and treasure on replacing foreign dictators… birthing new democracies, or building jobs and prosperity in foreign lands.”

Appointment of Supreme Court Justices

Justice Scalia’s death over the weekend has highlighted the strong likelihood that up to four Supreme Court Justices could be replaced by the next President. Given the razor-thin 5-4 decisions that have been rendered on issues as foundational to our nation as religious liberty, abortion, 2nd Amendment and more, the judicial philosophy of the next President’s is critical. Ted Cruz has praised Scalia for his efforts in “returning the focus to the original meaning of the text (of the Constitution) after decades of judicial activism.”

Stand Against the Washington Establishment

Ted Cruz, while only one of 100 Senators, has consistently stood firm for the values he campaigned on, and this has frequently exposed the political schemes and corruption by congressional leaders in both parties. While the Washington establishment has rejected Cruz for his principled stands, this firmness of conviction will bode him well were he to lead from the Oval Office in 2017 as he continues to stand with the People vs. the Establishment. His Five for Freedom plan would eliminate the IRS, and the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development.

Man of Faith

Too many politicians speak of faith, but their walk and particularly their policies are at odds with the faith they claim. Ted Cruz not only professes a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but his walk aligns with one who is truly a Christ follower. The policies he pursues are ones that both affirm the values of our Constitution while respecting the values of his faith. Hundreds of faith leaders have examined Cruz and have endorsed him for President.  At the same time, though Cruz has been quick to acknowledge he is not running as “Pastor in Chief.”

In closing, America is at a seminal moment. We are at a crossroads. The choice we make in 2016 will determine whether we will travel to a point of no return, leaving forever the Judeo/Christian principles of our founders. Will we embrace a candidate who quickens our base emotions or uses eloquent phrases, or will we examine the candidates’ track records to validate whether their talk matches their walk? We may not have another chance. This could be our last opportunity to restore the Constitution, the rule of law, and to call on God’s mercy and grace as we seek to restore our Constitution and the Creator to the rightful place in our nation. I pray you will join me in prayerfully supporting Ted Cruz for President.

Mark

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey. Used by permission.

An Entrepreneur’s #1 Partnership

An Entrepreneur’s #1 Partnership

partnership

As an entrepreneur and business owner, I have shared my ownership interests with my business partner for 25 years.

I totaled up the hours we have spent under the same roof discussing, planning, fretting, arguing and laughing, and it exceeds 50,000 hours that we’ve been “joined at the hip” legally and working together in a number of businesses. During those years as partners we have experienced the most dramatic highs and debilitating lows.

Given that amount of time and the volume of deals we’ve done, both in terms of sheer quantity as well as in dollar amount, you would think that our business partnership was second to none.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The truth is that in November 1980 the most important partnership I ever entered into occurred with significant fanfare but involved no formal partnership agreement, no drawn up contracts, no negotiating of ownership interests, and in essence none of the routine documentation of an entrepreneurial partnership. In fact the “deal” didn’t even involve a handshake.

Evernote Camera Roll 20150811 004326Rather, the partnership I formed in 1980 was based on love, commitment, trust, integrity, and mutual respect.  By now you probably know to what I am referring: the day I walked down a church aisle and gave away my most precious possession at the time: my life, to my wife.  That was one of the most joyous occasions in my life.

As I think about marriages, and in particular those that involve a spouse who is an entrepreneur, what is truly sad is how many spouses leave their wedding day, following the formation of that sacred partnership, and then begin to slowly and gradually diminish their commitment and attention to that partnership.  The temptation to supersede the marital partnership with a business partnership can grow stronger over time.  I know because at times I too have elevated my business over my marriage.

As entrepreneurs, you and I possess a drive and commitment to success that most will never understand.  The passion that exists within us is something that is nearly unquenchable.  While it may wane from time to time, it is always there and continues to push us on to that next goal, that next project, that next mountain that lies ahead.

This drive can easily result in our assumption that once our marital partnership is in place it is permanently secure and we are then free to pursue with near total abandon our business partnership or enterprise.  But this temptation is a dangerous and deceptive one.  Because there is no partnership from a business standpoint that can even begin to measure with the one that you and I formed at the front of a church.

After 25 years in my business partnership and ten more prior to that as an employee of a large corporation, I have come to realize a truth in the workplace. If your home life is a wreck, your professional life will unravel as well. At a time when my company’s employee count exceeded 1,500 associates in six states with 25 locations, I could nearly always tell when an employee’s marriage was in trouble.  The clue was that his work performance also began to suffer.

So what does this have to do with entrepreneurship?  Well, if you value your business and desire to give it the best opportunity for success, then value your marriage.  Place it ahead of everything and everyone else in life.  Think back to those endearing thoughts and feelings that you had when you stood at the front of a church and pledged your all to your life partner.  But if those thoughts and feelings have diminished, recommit yourself to your #1 partnership.

You can always do a deal, build a business, launch a new product.  But you can never replace a marriage.

Mark