Posted by: Reboot1776 | July 9, 2014

Leadership is Humble… (Part II)

Irresistible leadership always rises – even in spite of itself. It’s not fair to say this phenomenon is uniquely American, but there are uniquely American proofs.

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“President John Kennedy [took] the blame for the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba, when he could have easily passed the buck. After all, he was a new President, just a couple of months in office. He could have easily argued the ill-timed invasion was actually hatched many months earlier in the prior administration by some of the best military brass in the world.

But Kennedy didn’t do that. Despite his own brother Bobby urging him to spread the blame, Kennedy made the decision to just take the heat. Not happily – but contritely.

As [Kennedy] would later muse to the press, “Success has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” This one was on him.

Yet far from hurting him, the young new president’s mea culpa actually endeared him. Soon afterwards, Kennedy’s poll numbers shot up, prompting his father Joe Kennedy to marvel at the time, ‘perhaps you should fail more often.’” – Neil Cavuto

Reagan admitted his mistakes and in the same breath explained what he was going to do about them and who would be helping him. Clinton’s eventual admission of his impropriety further humanized him. It’s not because Americans are more forgiving than the peoples of other countries, but that Americans more greatly desire leadership that approximates their own experience and is relatable to their own lives.

We need not cite only presidential examples. Compare and contrast the attitudes and behaviors of executive leadership at companies Johnson & Johnson in the wake of the Tylenol murders in Chicago, and General Motors in the wake of the discovery of faulty ignition switches in Detroit:

The former got in front of the problem and was the first company to use tamper resistant packaging and had it on the shelves within six months of the famous scare. Doing so required retooling production and packaging facilities – removing the defect from the marketplace – and retraining workers at great expense, but with the long view always in mind.

The latter knew about the problem as far back as 2001 but chose to bury the evidence for more than a dozen years until there was too much to hide from the light of day. Even now, General Motors (GM) isn’t replacing the cheap part – it’s replacing even cheaper keys, leaving the safety defect intact. GM expects customers to modify their behavior (don’t have lots of keys or accessories on your key ring) to accommodate GM’s malfeasance because GM can’t afford to manufacture and install a safe ignition on the millions of cars it sold to trusting Americans. (It’s not just parts, but the labor costs GM would have to pay in its plants and to mechanics at its dealerships.) Further drilling out the hole on your ignition key rather than replacing the switch is like putting a cancer into stasis or temporary remission without excising the cancer cells themselves. (Feel better now?)

Had GM been responsible and proactive like Johnson & Johnson, the root of the problem would be far less reaching and therefore more easily addressed at substantially less cost – and lives would have been saved. Based on the leadership behaviors and responses of these two examples, from which company are you more likely to make a purchase? Which leadership example earns your trust and your loyalty after the fact? We suspect it was the one that actually advanced and improved your condition; not the one that is asking you to adapt to the adversity and risk it created and first attempted to hide from you.

Americans in some ways can be said to actively seek out leadership examples in some of the unlikeliest of places. Even when creating our fictional superheroes of popular culture, we must create them flawed and relatable in order for them to be credible. This is even true when bringing certain of those heroes “to life.”

“The in-and-out-of rehab and jail Robert Downey, Jr. comes to mind. His fans still loved this gifted actor, though clearly troubled man back then – enough to make him ‘Iron Man’ today. Who better to play the part of a tortured super soul than this tortured but self-effacing actor just trying to get by?” – Cavuto

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The third installment of the Iron Man movies was all about recognizing personal failings, admitting mistakes, copping to poor choices, and finding redemption. Tony Stark must repair not just the suit, but the man underneath. From the first, the character of Tony Stark was always entertaining. By the end of the third film, he has emerged as endearing.

Leadership doesn’t walk away when the chips are down, or leave the helm for a private military helicopter ride to a golf resort or celebrity dinner while the ship is in rough waters. Leadership doesn’t just have a man at the tiller upon whom it can fix blame (or absolve through immunity or secrecy); leadership is the man at the tiller steering the way ahead, accepting responsibility for straying off course and making wrong turns and sailing into stormy seas. Appropriately contrite leadership is both self-correcting and accepts correction from others to keep ship and crew intact.

To be wildly successful, ever popular, and virtually irresistible, leadership must be accompanied by a humility that acknowledges its limitations, its failures, its errors and shortcomings, all the consequences thereof, and its responsibility and accountability in everything it undertakes. Leadership fails, spawns resentment and sows opposition whenever it: exceeds the scope of authority assigned to it by the will of the followers; refuses to apologize for its own errors and even blocks prosecution of its own crimes; and arrogantly proclaims with bellicose belligerence its stalwart determination to persist in its renegade agenda and abuse of the authority with which it has been entrusted.

Posted by: Reboot1776 | July 9, 2014

Leadership Is Humble… (Part I)

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, the Christian apostle Paul expresses in beautiful prose the attributes of love* – that is, charity (transl.):

Love (charity) is patient, love is kind. Love is not envious, nor boastful, nor proud. Love is not rude, nor self-seeking, nor swift to anger. Love keeps no record of wrongs… Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

*There are many words of the ancient ages and languages that describe the different aspects of love. The most common translation for the word written by Paul and used to express the kind of “love” about which the apostle was speaking is charity but, more specifically, it is the attitude of self-sacrifice and accompanying “Golden Rule” behavior that embody the principle of Love Thy Neighbor.

There exist a multitude of proclaimed gurus, consultants, and published self-help and how-to resources on the subject of leadership and the attributes that compose vibrant, engaging, successful, and virtually irresistible leadership. What if these authors of opinion were all to sit down and collaborate on an expression of the attributes that compose such leadership, and record them for posterity in the same manner as Paul set forth the attributes of charity? Whatever the experts might agree leadership is foremost, wouldn’t they necessarily pair that with an equal measure of humility?

How would their statement read? Accept this as a plausible early draft:

Leadership is charitable, leadership is humble. Leadership is not conceited, nor arrogant, nor solitary. Leadership is not disparaging, nor self-interested, nor spiteful. Leadership rewards success… Leadership always serves, always collaborates, always dreams, always rises. Leadership never idles.

Not to put too fine a point on it, when it comes to charity of leadership, we’re not talking about leadership that always has some special interest or cause to promote or extend unique and separate considerations. Rather we are describing leadership that places equal value on everyone it serves as a unified group and as individuals – and most importantly, places less value on itself and its own security than it does that of its followers, thus constraining itself in its exertions.

The most charitable act of leadership, especially in government, is to return all power and authority to the followers – the public, who conferred it in the first place. A hallmark of bad leaders is the belief that they are the source of all power and authority rather than those who installed them in their place of leadership.

Furthermore, the kind of leadership we postulate doesn’t believe that its own ideas are inherently better than those of any other individual or group and, based solely on that deluded presumption, dismiss the input from external sources as definitively incompetent, inferior in reason, and unworthy of consideration. It doesn’t refuse to temper, moderate, or in any way alter its planned course on the merit of nothing more than its own insistence that it is smarter or wiser than its critics, doubters, or naysayers.

Likewise, it does not operate in a vacuum once it comes into power. It goes to great lengths to ensure it does not become detached from the reality of experience and ordinary existence of those it was created to serve. It does not squander upon itself, or upon a favored or devout few.

The leadership we describe does not disparage because it does not seek to divide. Division is a device of the conqueror – not the leader. The distinction is important. The conqueror seeks to expunge; the leader seeks to unite.

Leadership presumes a following. Great leadership invariably has a great following. Great leaders are adept at acknowledging differences – even deeply rooted differences – with genuine respect; they are equally adept at recognizing shared interests, aims, and aspirations among those differences, and pulling together followers from divergent and even opposed ideologies to collaborate on the achievement of goals in the common welfare.

False leadership (which is perhaps best termed as mere authority) that is only self-interested is always adversarial and combative. It perceives and characterizes every one of its goals as a battle of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ – or, at its most destructive, as the false leader versus everyone else.

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“They don’t do anything except block me and call me names.” – President Obama

The spiteful authority actively seeks to discredit, punish, and even ruin every human being and entity that reveals itself a source of disagreement or dares express so much as mild discontent, all the while pushing its own independent agenda through by threat or use of force, whether openly or in concealment. It eagerly adopts positions contrary to its perceived opponents – its enemies to be destroyed – and embraces those positions with a deeply emotional and ferocious zeal that betrays its irrationality because it refuses reason and cannot participate in honest debate. It needs a villain in the room – even one it invents, or simply one it contrives to define as evil suffices – to distract those it subjugates from its own real villainy.

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Leadership doesn’t incentivize and reward failure. It doesn’t devise systems of corruption to reward incompetence and even unethical behavior – especially at the expense or harm or loss of life of others (such as what has taken place in our Veterans Administration). It doesn’t vote itself raises, or pay out bonuses without regard to actual performance. It does not claim credit for accomplishments that are not its due. What it does do is discover genuine accomplishments, hunt down those individuals responsible for them, put those role models on display, laud their achievements, compensate them appropriately, and implant their methodologies everywhere possible to engender real success throughout the whole organization and make it part of the personal experience of every individual.

Mimicry is the most sincere form of flattery. What could be more flattering than having the mode for success, discovered by a follower, copied throughout an organization – and giving the followers the credit for the outcomes from the first to the last? Indeed, what could induce greater loyalty and love of the leader, and more deeply inspire the desire to succeed?

Leadership advances and improves the condition of those it was called upon to lead. Legitimate leadership is not self-appointed. It acknowledges its own limitations and overcomes them by tapping and coordinating the reservoirs of talent that are stored in the individuals it leads. It accomplishes this in an open and participatory manner, wherein everyone knows their job, their responsibilities, how they are accountable, and how their performance relates and impacts everyone else.

Dreaming is a good thing, and necessary for leadership to succeed. Leadership cannot be stagnant – otherwise, just where is it leading?

Dangers unfold, however, when dreams are confused with delusions and fantasies that are not only unattainable but untenable to the followers. Leadership that proclaims it has arrived at divinity by its own accord, getting lost in the dream, pretending that the dream is reality long before it has actually been achieved, shakes confidence at the least or alienates followers at the worst.

Conversely, dreams constructively shared as aspirations of what might be, what could be, and even what should be, are fuel for the road that needs to be traveled to approach nearer to divinity – and the monumental undertaking that pursuing those lofty dreams represents is forever expressed as an effort that can only be mustered from the combined effort of everyone who shares an interest in realizing the dream. The leader cannot accomplish or realize it alone. Moreover, the leader and the followers acknowledge in unison the path to perfection is never ending because human beings are forever imperfect – and, therefore, must remain forever humble.

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It’s troubling to see how hard media outlets are having to push to get people to feel good this weekend. Recent polls show that the lowest number of Americans in history have any pride in being American. This isn’t a reflection of disappointment in national leadership. This is a condemnation of the country itself. The vast majority of polled respondents indicated they were entirely ashamed, embarrassed, or at least uncomfortable with the fact of their American citizenship and that America is their home.

The overwhelming majority of Americans, if the polls are to be believed (and there is good reason to believe them) have become convinced that America is evil – and not just recently become so, but was created by evil men, with evil intent, in evil times, to establish and perpetuate their evil ideas. The hypocrisy of the media is nothing new, except to see them work overtime to get people to want to celebrate America (namely by spending money in support of the media’s many sponsors) while the media spends every other day of the year 24/7 bashing, criticizing, and attacking America as an evil nation.

The media isn’t the only estate attacking the nation. Our own President and members of the ideology of the Left have been assailing the United States their entire lifetimes, and using positions of leadership and places of power such as the Presidency to get their orthodoxy under the skin of as many Americans as possible – and the central theme of that orthodoxy is that America is evil.

If you believe them, America owes the world not just apology, but restitution. Everything bad that happens in the world, from nations down to individuals, is the fault of evil America. Every terrorist attack we endure at home or abroad, according to our President and his State Department and those who share their anti-American view of America, we somehow provoked just by being Americans in the great nation of America – and equally so, they say we deserve these attacks and tragedies. To them, it’s only right – a belated karma – that our nation suffer.

This isn’t enough for them, either. America must be punished from within as well as from without. Everything that America has that puts it ahead of other nations must, according to her dissident leaders and politicians, be put to the first or even exclusive use of non-citizens living within her borders illegally, or shipped abroad to the non-US citizens of other nations. America must reverse her renowned protections of person, liberty, and property by extending and guaranteeing them to non-citizens, even foreign terrorists and enemy combatants sworn to her destruction, without and within her own borders, while restraining, revoking, or outright ignoring those same rights of her own citizens.

The campaign has apparently worked. For years, America has steadily fallen in the esteem of other nations. Now, the infectious hatred of our own country has permeated our own people. We’ve become convinced our history is an encyclopedia of crimes against humanity and violations of civil rights, devoid of noble sacrifice, lofty ideas, high morals, worthy aims, and absent any men or women of good character save those now in authority who despise America through and through.

The current leadership is not alone or unique in this view. But we have never seen them so numerous, and with so many supporters and a likely possibility that the Office of the Executive (which has been expanding its own powers and authority far beyond the scope of its supposed Constitutional constraints) will be theirs for another decade.

But is the conclusion that anti-Americanism amongst Americans will at best remain the same, or at worst continue to rise, correct? No one can honestly say that Americans are happy being anti-American. People want to have pride in their country, just as they want to have pride in themselves. They expect their leaders to undertake actions to make their nation an example to be emulated – and yes, downright envied – not one to be avoided.

Our leaders have grossly miscalculated if they believe they can long remain in power by persisting in doing nothing but making apologies for the mere existence of our nation, remaining on permanent withdrawal and retreat, punishing American success, undermining and denying American exceptionalism, sealing off natural and citizen resources – especially employment and productivity, pointing fingers and portraying themselves as perpetual victims, instead of the leaders they represented themselves to be in order to come to power. They are unavoidably destined to be replaced, lest we all quietly join hands and submissively go to our doom.

Our national spirit, our national pride, hasn’t been entirely broken. We wouldn’t venture a guess as to how elated or frustrated they may be to have learned from the polling that their efforts have been so successful on the one hand, but have not yet reached totality on the other.

A number of things have stoked patriotic fire recently:

The reaction to the mistreatment of our veterans has probably surprised many in the anti-America corps. Surely a war weary America that has been trained to distrust the past and present American imperialism and hate all war, including its own war for independence, wouldn’t care about the men and women who actually participated in that murderous, blood-filled, unjustifiable activity?…

The resurgence of the importance placed upon personal property and privacy rights comes to mind as well. Surely the anti-America corps that needs to police your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs – and the Internet – have expunged from all Americans any expectation to the right of privacy… So, what’s all this fuss about the NSA – and how dare the Supreme Court uphold that your cell phone falls under the 4th amendment protection of your personal effects, meaning law enforcement agents cannot simply demand your cell phone and examine its contents without a warrant?…

Speaking of the Supreme Court, the anti-America Left is horrified to see the court uphold religious freedom as a universal right of not just individuals but of closely held corporations. This ruling re-institutes the freedom of practice of religion (and refutes the lie of the Left, which is an America free from religion).

Remember when we said earlier people want to have pride in their country, just as they want to have pride in themselves? The two are more inextricably linked than most people think.

What pride can you have in yourself if you cannot think, believe, and express what is in your heart and on your mind without censorship or reprisal? What pride can you have in yourself if you are convinced you cannot trust yourself to think and believe “correctly,” and that your speech must be governed by an authority that hates its origins and mistrusts you and the rest of the population to think and believe independently of its own will and agenda?

What pride can you have in yourself if your only worth is as part of a government recognized and sanctioned group, or union, or collective? What pride can you have in your own skills, your own ingenuity, your own enterprise, if the leader of the land decries your accomplishments and declares openly and directly, “You didn’t build that.” What pride can you take for yourself when your country wants to forcibly take the fruit of your private labors and “redistribute” it?

A nation that affords the liberties and protections that permit individual pride is a nation of peoples who will be proud of their citizenship, and their country. We have far more to be ashamed, embarrassed, and uncomfortable about in the erosion of liberty and its Constitutional guarantees in recent years than all the lies about why we should have no pride in our nation because of our past.

Right now, there are parades still happening, with enthusiastic – proud – Americans marching to the beat of the drum of liberty and our declaration of independence from despotism. The participants span every generation. Yes, we are raising youth to be proud of America and proud to be Americans. The worse those who hate America would have it seem, the more we are convinced Americans will rise up in numbers to reclaim pride in who they are and in their country.

Posted by: Reboot1776 | June 25, 2014

Leadership Doomed to Fail

obama_nero_fiddleBernard Marr is a best-selling author. Marr recently counted off what he considers some of the most frequent but avoidable mistakes people make that undermine or deny them leadership credibility or opportunity. Although Marr doesn’t make any connections, all of these can be harbingers or exacerbate a crisis through failed leadership – and right now, our country and our world are ablaze with crises of failed leadership.

Hindsight is 20/20. Even those of our leaders who nod to this truism fail to acknowledge its worth. Too many use it as an excuse to dismiss their failures as somehow unavoidable because they were unforeseeable. That is an exaggerated blindness and part of the argument used to deny responsibility and refuse accountability.

We repeat our mistakes when we don’t learn from them. Our political leaders seem to desire us to believe they are smarter and wiser than the rest of us, through education and even experience – so they claim. But they are just as imperfect, and more worrisome is when they repeat again and again the same actions that will doom them (and the rest of us who follow) to failure after failure.

It is said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over the same way and expecting different results. Keeping bad leaders, who by the preceding definition are insane, in positions of leadership and expecting different results from them is a sure sign of insanity on the part of the followers – especially voters of any kind, who are given a clear choice between a proven leadership failure and a different leader who will do things…differently.

Even great leaders can be tempted, or through simple human frailty, succumb to one or more of the pratfalls of leadership that Marr outlines. When leadership stubbornly clings to these behaviors that doom us to failure, it becomes imperative we recognize that a change in leadership is essential to not only restoring short term success, but ensuring long term survival.

Marr quotes Winston Churchill who said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” This notion is brought closer to earth in the belief that a Duty of Leadership is responsibility. The distinction is that leadership at every level – not just greatness – demands responsibility.

“One of the first things you will notice that successful people don’t have is a blaming or victim mentality… Successful people won’t say, ‘I couldn’t succeed because of X, Y, and Z’ or ‘it’s actually this person’s fault.’” – Marr

Looking at Marr’s quote above, and considering President Obama, any objective observer sees a leader in denial of responsibility. He can’t succeed he says because of Congress, or even the Supreme Court. But in the next breath he says he doesn’t need either to enact any Executive Order he sees fit as the imperious leader of the free world.

He famously has a pen and a phone, to fix what he continues to insist are the problems and errors he inherited from others, dating back more years than he has held the office. In other words, he refuses to own any of the problems he and his administration and its failed domestic and foreign policies have created. He insists that those mistakes are not failures at all, but steps that had to be taken to clean up a mess someone else made – and if things are worse because of it, followers should be grateful for his assurance that if he did nothing (let alone the right thing) then matters would only be worse for them than they are now.

The President is also fast to blame others even within his own administration and rank and file. He is always the last to know, getting most of his political intelligence he says from the front pages of today’s newsstand and the evening news. As a leader, the highest leader in the land, the President has chosen to remain isolated and insulated from actually performing the role of leadership expected of him. He believes he can delegate that – and all the attendant responsibility – to his agents that head up his many agencies. He even creates new agencies. But he oversees and provides direction and leadership to none of them, or so he would certainly like us all to believe whenever there is a failure.

Marr quotes Tim Gunn, who said, “Life is not a solo act.” Marr goes on to say that, “One of the most vital things successful people do is to surround themselves with other successful people. No man is an island, and having a network, a mastermind group, surround[ing] oneself with clever people can make all the difference between success and failure.” But we don’t see our foremost leader behaving this way. Instead, he is on a golf course, learning about things second-hand, and then finding his scapegoats.

“Successful [leaders]… take action, regardless of whether it is the ‘perfect’ time or not.”- Marr

Marr discusses procrastination as a bad habit. Worse is when all action is undertaken and even timed for the primary purpose of grandstanding and personal aggrandizement. As renowned psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow has observed and documented through the span of the current administration, every action and decision has been politically timed and motivated. In fact, the numerous scandals that presently define the failure of our national leadership are fraught with political timing that has proven sufficient to turn the most objective critics downright cynical about our leaders and their motives.

The timing of the arrest of the first suspect in the assault on the United States embassy in Benghazi was perceived within hours as a political maneuver of the White House and the Obama administration (and beneficial to former Secretary of State, ally, and likely 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton) to claim a Benghazi “victory” two years after the event and its scandalous mishandling took place. There has been congressional and public outrage that, after all this time, there had yet to be a single arrest – until now. News reports say the suspect was “living in plain sight” and officials “could have grabbed him anytime” previously. So why wait? Now the suspect in custody serves a political interest and distracts from the fall of Iraq, the growing IRS scandal, corruption in our VA hospitals and what that portends for medical care provided every American under the Affordable Care Act, etc. The fact that the administration let this criminal terrorist alone until he could serve the political interests of those presently in positions of leadership as well as the ambitions of Hillary Clinton while she soft pedals her presidential campaign for 2016 and the mid-terms approach, is a colossal failure of leadership that wins no support or confidence of the American people.

Marr recognizes that effective, legitimate leadership is humble but possesses a “reasonable confidence.” This confidence, by the way, is not completely self-possessed. In other words, it is confidence based on both accomplishment and the confidence of followers in the legitimacy of the leadership. (For our national leadership, the latter is regularly measured in approval polls, which if you haven’t been following, are at historic lows for the legislative and executive leadership of this nation.)

“…it’s tempting to think that we have to jump at every new development, try every new thing. (We sometimes call it ‘shiny object syndrome.’) But jumping at every new thing will leave no time to develop the deep understanding that pursuing lifelong learning might. Focus your energies on understanding the root of what you hope to succeed at – and ignore the rest.” – Marr

Watching people in positions of leadership or aspiring to such positions morph in front of one group or special interest and then contort themselves into yet another convolution in front of another competing or dissenting interest is painful as it is disingenuous. The country has recently been treated to this spectacle in Hillary Clinton’s book tour, as she has been called upon in various interviews to explain how her ideology has “evolved” in such short time spans to capitalize on current social trends which she and her husband stalwartly bucked in recent past.

The United States is more than two centuries old. Pursuing the understanding that is the culmination of so many generations of millions of Americans living and so many more now dead – especially those who fought and sacrificed their lives to first to enshrine and subsequently to guarantee those precepts for current and future generations – is far more humble and far more lofty leadership than the contempt expressed by our President and those who share his scorn for the virtues of personal liberty, the values and religious freedoms of private citizens, and the restraints placed upon government in our founding documents to protect them.

Our nation has endured because it was founded upon enduring principles that are presently being undone from within. It’s impossible to suggest that in the larger picture, our foremost leaders don’t know what they are doing. Rather, it seems clear that our top leaders are, as Marr would put it, focusing their energies on the root of what they hope to succeed at, while ignoring all else – especially the “unintended” consequences. What these leaders are succeeding at is the fundamental transformation of America. It’s time for followers to decide, now that the transformation is largely revealed and accomplished, whether it is what is truly desirable.

This November, we will vote to choose our leaders. Let us hope Americans have learned to distinguish between doomed and successful leadership, and most importantly, that we all choose more humble leadership that earns and can keep our confidence precisely because it is not doomed, is legitimate, and leads us where we truly desire.

Posted by: Reboot1776 | February 12, 2014

Why Did They Come to America?!

take_america_backStudents and parents at a Colorado high school are outraged after administrators turned down their request for a spirit week day honoring America because it might offend non-Americans.

“They said they didn’t want to offend anyone from other countries or immigrants,” said a 16-year-old member of the student council. “They just really did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”

Who are we afraid of offending?! The foreign exchange students came here specifically to learn about America and experience what American life is like. The immigrant students are from families who chose to move to this country and make it their home country, which means embracing everything American. Both of these groups should be excited about a day like this. If either of these groups is truly offended then they need to go back to their other country or find a different country to visit or call home.

The dictionary defines immigration as the movement of people into another country or region to which they are not native in order to settle there. Immigration is a result of a number of factors, including economic and/or political reasons, family re-unification, natural disasters or the wish to change one’s surroundings voluntarily.

Voluntary Means it is Your Choice

Choosing to leave your country of origin and move (permanently) to another country is a huge decision. You are leaving behind everything that you know including family, friends, customs and culture. The country you are choosing to move to may have a different government, different climate, perhaps a different language. The decision is not one to be taken lightly. On top of all that, there are simply all the hassles of the immigration paperwork and moving your family and your belongings. You have to be pretty unhappy with your country of origin to want to leave it (forever).

If choosing to leave your country was a big decision, choosing which country to move to is an even bigger decision.  Hopefully, you just didn’t pin a world map on your wall and throw a dart. Hopefully, you did your research and chose a country that has a government, climate, job opportunities, and culture that you like. Perhaps you looked at educational opportunities for yourself and your children. Perhaps you looked at the healthcare system.  Perhaps you already speak the native language or feel you could easily learn it. Whatever your reasons, you’ve decided to move to another country and become a part of that country. And that means letting go of your old country, but I’m assuming that you want to do that; otherwise, why do you want to leave? Clearly, you want out.

When in Rome….

If I choose to expatriate and move to another country then that new country becomes my country. I would learn the native language, learn its customs and laws, learn about its government and history. I would honor its flag and I would learn to sing its national anthem. I would cheer for its athletes and teams. I would become a citizen in every regard. I would not move to that country and remain an American and try to keep my American ways.  You cannot serve two masters and you cannot truly belong to two countries. You can’t have it both ways.

And yet, why do people insist on doing this? They move here, but refuse to learn English. They don’t understand the Constitution and the Bill of Rights nor do they respect them. They demand that their culture be respected. They push their religion on everyone. They don’t want to have anything to do with our customs, our flag, and our national anthem. They hate capitalism and our constitutional republic form of government. Worse still, they try to change our country into what?! The country that they came from?! The country that they chose to leave because they were so unhappy with it?! This is such a non sequitur.

It just makes me want to scream: Why did you come here?!

Why didn’t you choose a country that was more closely aligned with your religious beliefs, your culture, and your preferred style of government? Clearly, you did not choose wisely. Now go find another country to live in or if you like your language, religion and culture so much, move back to your old country.

All these people who refuse to speak English, refuse to respect the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and who refuse to work within our constitutional republic government need to go back home, wherever that home is, because clearly America is not their home.

If they truly wanted to be here then they would embrace everything that it means to be an American and that begins with our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Reboot1776 | January 16, 2014

Enumclaw Students Cyberstalked, Targeted by School District

Courtesy of the folks over at Youth’s Leadership.

free-speech_conditions-applyThe front page story in the January 15, 2014, issue of the Enumclaw Courier-Herald describes in vivid detail the proceedings at the December 16, 2013, public meeting of our local school board at which it was brought to light district and school officials had conducted formal investigations into student behavior – specifically, “tweets” made on the popular social networking site, Twitter – and that by conducting the investigations, district and school officials exceeded their authority and very likely violated the rights of the students. Board and school officials are attempting to justify their actions on the merit that they were prompted by a formal complaint filed by Farr Law Group, a firm located in Enumclaw.

In an innocuously titled exposé (“School district wrestles with Twitter”) that utterly fails to headline the underlying abuses of students’ civil rights, excesses and apparent deceptions perpetrated by district and school officials, the casual reader might be misled into supposing the article does nothing more than rehash the somewhat tired discussion of what role social media has in schools or perhaps infer the article relates simply to classroom technology concerns. (This isn’t the first time the local paper has played “soft and slow” pitch in its headlines pertaining to school policy and the actions of administrators and officials when it comes to student behavior and student rights. For more perspective, see also our blog post “Headline Hides and Confuses the Real Story: Bullying). The article however does do an excellent job of providing a window into how anonymous complaints are (mis)handled, including background on events surrounding the complaints at issue, and independent research and follow-up interviews conducted by the newspaper outside the public meeting before going to press.

Very quickly, we learn from the article how the school district was intimidated by the Farr Law Group into taking inappropriate action – action which the district acknowledged in written response to the complaints exceeds their authority and violates students’ rights, yet in the same breath the district asserts in its official correspondence the determination and its assurance to proceed anyway. Compounding the egregiousness of trying to cover its own backside while trampling students’ constitutionally protected 1st Amendment liberty, the school district commits its error twice.

After summoning students and parents to appear before school officials for investigation interviews, and determining without exception that, in all instances, there was “not an aggressor nor a victim” in any of the speech Farr Law Group would have suppressed on behalf of its anonymous client, the school district ultimately repeated its bad action – and in poorer form. The second time, students were pulled out of class for investigative interviews without their parents being present. Parents weren’t even notified their students were taken out of class for the investigation until after the interviews were finished.

The district rushed headlong into repeating its secret “protocol” investigations and expanding its student targeting net, all at the urging and advice of Farr Law Group which asserted in its second formal complaint against protected speech in students’ tweets “…there is legal precedent to discipline off-grounds speech” without case citation then (or now) to back up its assertion. That, of course, is because there isn’t any such precedent.

The repeated bad action of the school district was undertaken on the merit of an obviously unverified and false legal claim. This seems to beg the questions: Doesn’t the district have any legal sense or counsel of its own? If so, is the district simply failing to avail itself of that resource, or is that resource incompetent?

This is likely the most extreme example thrust into the public spotlight of political correctness amok in our community. For the school district to state in writing it did not have the authority to act – but act it would (and did) anyway – should be alarming to parents and students everywhere in our school district. The students whose rights have likely been violated by the district are convinced, as are their parents, that the so-called “investigative” interviews were actually disciplinary. At the school board meeting, Superintendent Mike Nelson first assured families no disciplinary forms or notes had been added to student records – only to be undermined in his comments by school administrators who indicated that because the investigation was formal, records and notes were retained.

That admission drew the ire of families who said they were forced to sign official documents, and the outrage of at least one parent that protested they had asked the administration to remove those notes when it was determined there was no wrongdoing (“no aggressor and no victim”). According to the parent in that instance, they had been told by school officials their request had been honored – only to learn at the school board meeting it had likely not.

What’s the credibility and deserved trust-level of the Superintendent, and district and school officials? Following the above revelation, Nelson only made things worse when he contradicted himself by subsequently saying no documentation was collected at the second set of interviews, but then said “I don’t think it [the documentation] should have been put in a drawer or file and not have parents know we have information about their child.”

Oh! So, school officials did document the interviews the second time around? Was that documentation retained?

But more importantly, Nelson’s comments served only to distract, confuse, and obfuscate the first point: At the first “interview” where the parents were present, a parent asked for the records to be removed from the student file – and they were told that was done. An apparent lie, as it turns out. Why, and for that matter what, should parents believe Mr. Nelson and his comments regarding the second “interview” and the student files?

And this is precisely the concern parents and students should have, because the Farr Law Group makes clear in its interviews with the Courier-Herald that compelling the school district to its inappropriate action and getting disciplinary records attached to student files was their aim all along. The law firm’s written comments are telling, to begin with: “The kids… ‘tweets’ will follow them and cut off academic and career opportunities.” A prophecy the Farr Law Group seems to be going out of its way to see fulfilled – the 1st Amendment rights of the students be damned.

There is good cause to suspect the client Farr Law Group claims to represent is a phantom. There is no victim; a fact which the Farr Law Group acknowledges yet insisted first their client needed “protection” by shielding their identity, then finally (and in argument that reveals desperation on the part of Farr Law Group) their client was entitled to privacy protection under attorney-client privilege – never mind the students’ constitutionally protected right to face their accusers. This has to be one of the most “selective” applications and interpretations of law and rights given exposure in the media, and it deserves greater attention because it cannot be emphasized enough it is being perpetrated in the name of political – not civil, constitutional, or any legal – correctness.

Farr Law Group claims after the fact it was only “trying to point out a ‘cultural problem’ in Enumclaw.” So, again, is there a client, or not? It appears maybe not. But examine what Farr was able to induce the school district to do, and subject the students’ and their families to undergo, by filing a formal complaint against protected 1st Amendment speech on behalf of an anonymous client who was never a victim and may, in fact, not even exist.

The complaint has all the aspects of someone fishing for something they can use to make their point. The students, and keep in mind these are female minors, say they feel cyber-stalked – and they are right to feel that way. Who at the law firm is sitting at their desk searching for social media posts made by Enumclaw children – young underage women – spending hours scrutinizing them for non-PC content, in order to file complaints on behalf of fictitious clients aimed at teaching these select kids a life lesson by getting disciplinary forms attached to their permanent school record with the goal of “cut[ting] off academic and career opportunities” for those students? Parent Kari Christensen raised this specter at the school board meeting, asking what protection the school board was going to put in place for her daughter and family against this sort of activity and rights violation – a question the school board has yet to answer.

Farr Law Group insists they want there to be consequences – “problems for students trying to get jobs, scholarships and accepted to colleges” – for free speech, which is the exact opposite of the intent of the 1st Amendment protection. Farr says it is not a personal issue for the firm, when it so very clearly is a personal issue for everyone involved.

ACLU Attorney Linda Mangel rightly warns “schools cannot discipline students for speech and other activities that takes place outside of school on outside computers unless it disrupts the schools,” and it was Farr Law Group and its conduct and intimidation tactics – not the protected speech of the students – that disrupted the schools. An ACLU guide “details how the state and U.S. Constitution ‘guarantee freedom of expression for everyone, including students. Students do not give up their constitutional rights when they walk onto school grounds.’” (Emphasis added.)

Not that it matters, but as the investigations proved out, all but one of the ‘tweets’ was made outside of school hours and not even the one exception was shown to have been made on school grounds. But Farr Law Group evidently would prefer to have students’ constitutional rights suppressed at all times and in all locations.

At the conclusion of the article, Nelson is quoted saying, “We are all trying to get our arms around social media.” But that’s not really the problem. The school district is trying to get its arms around enforcing political correctness while pretending it can protect the free speech rights and other constitutionally protected rights of students and families. It doesn’t take a high school graduate to realize the two goals are opposed and simply cannot co-exist. So long as we persist under the current delusion that Farr Law Group and “PC” advocates are imposing, namely that people are protected against being offended, ideas and speech and our society can never again be free – only controlled, censored, and punished.

State Representative Cathy Dahlquist, a former member of the Enumclaw School Board, attended the public meeting personally, and expressed her own concerns as a state lawmaker over the actions undertaken by Farr Law Group and the school district, and her dismay that “…there are people in this community, right now” referring to Farr, “who are [ab]using it to their benefit to bully and stalk and harass children.”

“We are all born in the United States of America; we have the 1st Amendment to free speech. Kids might say things, adults might say things we don’t like. They may call each other names we don’t like. Unless there is a victim, there is no bullying or harassment.

…I do not believe it is the right of the school district to monitor social media accounts, personal social media accounts, that has nothing to do with school related issues.” – Dahlquist

We applaud the students, parents, and State Representative Cathy Dahlquist for their public stand against the misapplication of law and abuse of school policies and processes committed by Farr Law Group and misguided district and school officials. The students who were investigated for exercising their free speech are victims. We earnestly hope the pending revisions to policy regarding anonymous filings by adults in the community will protect our children from the “bully[ing] and stalk[ing] and harass[ment]” they have been subjected to in the past year.

Posted by: Reboot1776 | January 6, 2014

Verify and Don’t Trust

gEORGE cAARLINThere are plenty of politicians who would like to tell you what the First Amendment means or what the Second Amendment says, but what you may not realize is: They are twisting, spinning, or outright lying. Do not trust them. Neither should you trust their puppets, the mainstream media, who merely regurgitate everything they are spoon fed. Neither should you trust Hollywood with all their “historical” movies that are based on more fiction than their plastic surgeries combined. In fact, don’t trust anyone.

Our government would have us believe that we are too stupid to understand such complicated documents as the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. English, particularly Olde English is sooo hard to read, don’t you know. Our government officials want to paraphrase them for us, interpret them for us, simplify them for us and in so doing they are completely changing what they mean. And they are doing this with a purpose!

Our government through our educational system has already begun the indoctrination of our children. Known as Common Core, the goal is to slowly, over time, change the wording of all our founding documents. Our children will be taught revised wording and will be told that it has always said this. Inattentive parents will not realize their children are being taught an incorrect version. These children will grow up believing in a different history, a different Constitution and a different Bill of Rights; and will gladly rollover and bow down to an increasingly oppressive government.

In our household, we take an active role in our children’s education. When they come home from school having learned something counter to the truth, we re-educate them. We’ve complained to the school district about what they are teaching or how our conservative children are being treated by their teachers and their peers, but it is often in vain. If we could afford a private school or had the means to home-school, we would.

In his book, Animal Farm, George Orwell shows us exactly how Common Core works. The community’s “rules” are written on the barn wall, but the pigs sneak out in the middle of the night and make small, subtle, changes to the words. When another animal dares to question “the writing on the wall,” the pigs say it has always been this way and they say it with such conviction that the other animals go blindly along and take the “new” wording as Gospel. If you have not read or have read and forgotten Animal Farm, I highly recommend that you read it. Reading it in today’s context is frightening. It will chill you to the bone just how accurately Orwell predicted what is happening right now.

This year, 2014, take matters into your own hands and read for yourself what our Founding Fathers wrote more than two centuries ago. Feel their conviction, hear their passion as they write about their freedoms—our freedoms and why they are worth protecting and fighting for.

Following is a list of reading suggestions to add to your 2014 New Year’s Resolutions:

The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Don’t trust anything you might find in your child’s school book. Read the original versions. We have them posted here under historical documents.

The Bible. Someday, very soon I think, it may become a banned book. It’s only a matter of time before the liberal socialists have it branded as hate-speech. If you don’t have at least one version in the house, I suggest you get one.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Both of these books were written more than 50 years ago and are fictional works; however, they are extremely relevant to today and are fast becoming frighteningly, shockingly, real. We are living in Animal Farm now and we are rapidly becoming the world of 1984 and Big Brother’s eye is more and more upon us.

With very few exceptions, don’t believe what you hear on television or watch in a movie theater. Be suspicious of so called documentaries. Don’t believe what comes home in your child’s text book. Take matters into your own hands and read for yourself. Educate yourself.  Don’t be sheep blindly following whatever the pigs say or you may find yourself a horse being led to your own slaughter.

Posted by: Reboot1776 | December 19, 2013

If You Like Your Opinion You Can Keep It. Period.

voltaireIf you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Robertson expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, A&E suspended him from Duck Dynasty. In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him—but the mainstream media and the government should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree. They have no right to do so.

People have a right to voice their opinions and its okay to agree to disagree. If you don’t like what they’re saying you don’t have to listen to them or you can walk away or you can unfriend or unfollow them, but I guess that takes too much effort and it’s much easier to play the victim card. “Oh me, poor me, everybody’s picking on me.”

The victim mentality has become appallingly epidemic.

I am too damned lazy and helpless to hit the delete button or the unfriend button and yet I can message you and tell you that you have to stop expressing your opinion or you have to unfriend me because I don’t like what you say?! Really?! (No joke. This happened to a friend of mine just a few days ago.) I don’t always agree with her either, but she has a right to her opinion and her beliefs. If I disagree with something she says, I can choose to ignore it (our friendship is more important), I can choose to share my own (counter) opinion on the subject and/or try to persuade her to “my side” (risky and it might jeopardize the relationship), or I could unfriend her (knowing that this just might end the relationship). Bottom line? It’s MY choice how I respond to her, but I do not have the right to tell her she can’t voice her opinion or share/practice her beliefs.

I have tons of friends and family members who are different from me or who choose different lifestyles. I don’t have to like their behavior, I don’t have to agree with their lifestyle or their beliefs, but I can still love them. It’s not my job to pass judgment on them. To quote Thomas Merton, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

I believe in God and I believe that passing judgment is His job.  I believe that when we reach the end of our days, each of us will be judged on how we lived each and every one of our days. If you find that too difficult to hear, you don’t have to listen to me. Maybe you believe there is no God and when we die we will just cease to be. We may never know which one of us is right. I doubt, very seriously, either one of us will have the chance to say, “I told you so.” But, right or wrong, we each are entitled to our opinion.

Tolerance is a two-way street. Just as I have a right to voice my opinion and practice my beliefs, you have the same right, but you exercising your right doesn’t mean preventing me or censoring me from exercising my right.

It’s like art in an art gallery. As artists, we each have the right for our piece of artwork to be hung on the wall. We don’t have to like each other’s art or agree with what it says, but neither of us have the right to cover up the other’s artwork or take it down or ask that it be taken down because it offends us. We can still respect each other’s work and respect each other even if we disagree.

In the same interview that got him suspended, Robertson said, “I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

Well said, Robertson. Maybe if we all loved each other more than we loved ourselves, the world would be a better place.

Posted by: Reboot1776 | December 19, 2013

Qualities of Successful Leadership – Part II

Our government would very much prefer that we all be mindless sheep and they are working very hard to make us that way.

Posted by: Reboot1776 | December 18, 2013

Founding Fathers Biblically Correct to Resist Authority

world_destroyed_by_those_who_watchOne of the themes in Romans is the virtue of submission to authority. It puts into a daily practice the submission we are to have to God. So, was the Founding Fathers resistance to the authority of the crown biblically correct?

The bible as a whole makes it clear that the role of all Christians and followers of God is to resist all evil. The form of approved resistance is described in terms of our two most basic instincts: fight and flight. If we lack the strength to fight, we must flee so far as we are able, the influence and powers of evil. By definition, any tyranny is evil; and the founders and colonists felt tyrannized.

The Declaration of Independence described this tyranny as a succession of evils perpetrated by the King upon the colonists in such a manner as to “evince a design to reduce them” under absolute despotism. Evil.

The King was head of the Church of England. This put him in direct authority over not only every citizen’s person and property, but also their immortal soul. It was a crime to say anything ill of the King (spoken word or print), or the Church, or any law. The degree of discontent expressed was met with fines and/or incarceration, and any suggestion of harm to the King was punishable by death. And, by ex-communication, the King proclaimed the authority not only to condemn by law but to damn to hell his opponents.

There is a lot of modern “confusion” over the separation of church and state, some of it legitimate and some of it deliberate—but there need not be any confusion. The matter was simply this: The government, in no form, was to have any authority any longer over both the material and spiritual person. They were to forever more be separate. Thus, the government could no longer impose, enforce, nor regulate any religion or any religious matter.

The first amendment was about declaring, “I can say/print anything I want, about any person or subject I want, any time I want, no matter how offensive or inflammatory, and I can do so without fear of being charged with any crime or suffering any reprisal.” Furthermore, “I can practice my religion—any religion—in public, at any place and any time, without interference or regulation by the government.” Many of the colonists came to America specifically to escape religious persecution.  The freedom to practice their religions, in their preferred methods, was near and dear to their hearts and souls.

The other amendments of the Bill of Rights also were guaranteed protections against the abuses of the King. The revolutionary war was provoked when after all forms of diplomacy, representation, and negotiation attempted by the founders were met with dispatched armed force by the King (in navy and ground troops), the imposition of curfews and the outlawing of people meeting together or in small groups (the right to public assembly), and ultimately the effort to confiscate all form of arms that colonists might use to resist the King’s martial forces and his martial law.

The Founders were biblically correct to resist these evils just as we are biblically correct to resist these evils today. Our government has become an oppressive tyranny and it’s time for a reboot.

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