Tony Pousosa for County Executive

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Don’t you just love brash upstarts? People with verve and moxie?

I do. I like pesky guys full of gumption, like Vladimir Sobotka. I like energetic young political activists like Kenny Newhouse. And I like bold conservative organizers like Eileen Tyrrell. In fact, nothing pleases me more than seeing young, libertarian-ish Republicans making the establishment squirm.

Sometimes the squirming establishment is as small as a GOP township or a school district. Other times, the whole culture squirms.

Ken Newhouse is the young Wildhorse Township committeeman who upset the sleepy GOP establishment with an “underhanded” campaign that involved . . . wait for it . . . KNOCKING ON DOORS!

Eileen Tyrrell is the Eureka mother who organized a citizens group to expose the corruption and shenanigans within Rockwood School Board.

Tony Pousosa fits my definition of “gumption.” Another word that comes to mind is “moxie.”

And that’s why I love Kenny Newhouse’s endorsement of Mr. Pousosa for St. Louis County Executive:

It’s time for the Residents of St. Louis County to get the fiscally responsible County Executive they deserve. Not only is Mr. Pousosa fiscally responsible, he is also opposed to the City/County Merger. Tony is the right candidate for the job and I hope you support him come the Primary Election in August

Tony Pousosa stepped up to run for St. Louis County Executive when no one else would.  He didn’t wait for the filing deadline. And he didn’t wait until his Ellisville land-grap collapsed. I agree with Kenny Newhouse’s assessment of the County Executive race after the last of the filings:

Establishment Republicans have been clamoring for someone with ‘name recognition’ to jump into the race. I for one am sticking by Mr. Pousosa because he most closely resembles my beliefs and principals.

Yeah. The establishment appointed Bill Corrigan to challenge Charlie Dooley in 2010–the year the Tea Party led the GOP to 800+ legislative seat gain. But Corrigan failed to topple the troubled, scandal-plagued Dooley in a GOP wave election. Plus, the establishment that year chose to ignore South County, depressing votes for other Republicans in the area.

The establishment’s fund-raising skills don’t translate to critical elections. (Ask Mitt Romney.)

Tony Pousosa for County Executive

I met Tony Pousosa in September 2012. He was one of the first people to walk into our St. Louis Tea Party Election HQ in South County. He came in to welcome us to his neighborhood and offer his help, even though Mr. Pousosa, a Green Park, MO, councilman, was in a tough race for the Missouri House at the time.

Mr. Pousosa is right on every issue that matters in St. Louis County:

Tony on Issues

accept  YES Standing Up for Business and Residential Rights

accept  YES Making sure your Tax Dollars are Not Wasted

accept  YES Building Strong Families and Communities

delete  NO Eminent Domain Abuse

delete  NO City/County Merger

delete  NO Corruption

Mr. Pousosa’s energy, drive, and enthusiasm embarrass me. I haven’t accomplished in my life what Tony does in an afternoon. And St. Louis County needs every ounce of energy, verve, and moxie it can get its hands on.

Charlie Dooley and his band of crooks has bled the county dry. Not only is Dooley a Corruptocrat of the highest order, he’s incompetent, even at corruption. Dooley’s administration reminds me of the movie Gremlins. Don’t feed them after dark. And don’t vote for them EVER.

By contrast, Mr. Pousosa works for people, community, and country. As County Executive, Tony Pousosa will refocus on County government an improved business environment for all–not just for donors and cronies. He’ll focus on making St. Louis County a desirable home for people and families–not an escape route from the city to St. Charles, Franklin, and Jefferson Counties.  Mr. Pousosa might even reverse St. Louis County’s decade of lost salaries, lost residents, and lost jobs.

Tony Pousosa will fight against Mayor Slay’s land-grab of St. Louis County. 

I support, endorse, and ask you to vote for Tony Pousosa for St. Louis County Executive in August. And I ask you to help Tony financially in his battle for the nomination.

Now, the White House Says Russia Preparing to Invade Ukraine

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This morning, a White House aide told reporters that Obama’s sanctions are visibly “weakening” Putin and Russia.

Hours later, the White House recognizes that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could come any moment.

Speaking from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Mike Rogers, the chair of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, said US intelligence officials were convinced “that Putin is not done in Ukraine”.

Surprise. As I’ve written, Russian paranoia demands a larger sphere of influence and a large buffer of puppet governments, all the way to the German border with Poland. Plus, Putin has no strategic reason to stop with Crimea. Having articulated the Putin Doctrine that allows Russia to invade any country where two or three gather to speak Russian, any tweet from a Russian-speaking person in any country as a pretext for invasion and occupation.Finally, Putin knows that his window for re-establishing the Soviet Union’s extensive collection of occupied nations could slam shut when the United States elects a new President in 2016.

Here’s my best guess on Putin’s map for 2016:

russian-aims-5

Red is conquered. Pink represents countries forced, by Western weakness, to accept Russian dictates.

To me, the question is no longer “will Putin continue to conquer Europe,” but “will the West survive?”

The US and Europe have no economic means to go to war without first defaulting on trillions of dollars in debt. The Obama Pentagon has systematically dismantled the US military, currently working on a plan to reduce forces to pre-World War II levels. (Because man is too advanced to ever fight another war.) Plus, the US public’s tolerance for war is near zero. From left to right on political dial, the energy comes from those who want America to get out of the World’s Policeman role.

Put it altogether, and we could be in a for nasty 2014-2015.

This might not be a bad time to learn some basic disaster preparedness skills. Start with Peak Prosperity blog. If the bad thing never comes in your lifetime, you’ll at least learn how to live a little cheaper.

What Would You Do If You Were Putin?

Reading Time: 1 minutes

You saw Obama stand by as you threatened Georgia in 2009.

You heard Obama whisper to Medvedev that he’ll be willing to defy Congress to capitulate to you after Obama’s re-election.

You watched Obama and his bumbling Secretary of State mangle its its own strategy in Syria—if the US ever had a Syrian strategy at all.

You saw that the US was completely unprepared for your annexation of Crimea.

You see the headlines of massive NSA spying on US citizens, though that same NSA was blind to your invasion of Ukraine.

And you know that Obama will be a lame duck, weakened, unpopular president until January 20, 2017.

Think is, you have no idea what kind of leader will follow Obama.

You remember that the American people replaced a similarly weak and bumbling Jimmy Carter with the determined, affable cowboy Ronald Reagan.

If you’re Vladimir Putin, wouldn’t you grab all the land you can before the next American election?

 

What Will Putin Do?

Book That Called Russia’s Expansionism.

<

p>putin

5 Secrets Politicians Don’t Want You to Know

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How long has it been since you said, “they just don’t listen to us?”

By “they,” you mean politicians, of course. Maybe you feel they listen to lobbyists and big corporations and banksters, but they don’t listen to their constituents.

I have to agree with you. Politicians don’t listen to their constituents. They don’t even know who their constituents are.

They know demographics and statistics about their constituents, but that’s like saying you know how a banana tastes because you read a chemical assay report of its contents.

Politicians do know their lobbyists. That’s because (a) there are fewer lobbyists to know, and (b) the lobbyists show up at their doorstep with a smile.

To keep things simple, politicians use shortcuts. We all do. They use a few, trusted people as sounding boards. They get talking points from someone they trust. And they do what they think is best for themselves and (usually) for the country and their district or state.

With that in mind, here are five secrets of influencing a politician that politicians don’t want you to know.

1.  Phone calls and office visits really do work. When you call or visit a politician’s office, you’re acting like a lobbyist. You’re taking the time to show up. You’re meeting the politician on his turf, not yours. That’s a sign of respect, not for the politician as politician, but for the person with a busy schedule and a lot of demands. Showing up too often might turn off the politician, but showing up at the right time sends a signal that your representative can’t ignore. But you have to be polite and respectful. Screaming idiots are, well, screaming idiots.

2. Online petitions and boilerplate emails go straight into the circular file. The purpose of these tools is not to influence politicians but to keep people engaged.  Why do you think Obama’s White House promises to “respond” to petitions with 100,000 signatures? Because it’s easy for them. “Respond,” isn’t much of a promise. They’re for you and your psychological benefit, but they don’t change anyone’s beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors. Sign them if it makes you happy, but don’t expect online petitions or boilerplate emails to drive any change.

3. People can handle only about 150 relationships with other people. It’s called the Dunbar Number, and it’s pretty much fixed by an individual’s memory capacity. That means your Representative, Senator, County Councilman, or whoever can only really know 150 people. Lobbyists understand this and work really hard to be one of them. To have real influence, you need to win one of the coveted speed dial spots, too. Here’s a strategy for getting on a politician’s speed dial.

4. Politicians make mistakes. This is important to remember, because politicians don’t like to admit mistakes. They’ll admit to meaningless mistakes that don’t matter–affairs, drinking, drug use, taking a lot of time off–but they hide mistakes that count–voting for a terrible bill, trading votes for favors, rationalizing a vote that contradicts their own principles. Like everyone else, politicians use the meaningless apologies as distractions to hide their real failings as representatives. If you refuse to engage in the unimportant distractions, you’ll have an easier time keeping them focused on the things that matter.

5. Politicians really want to be liked. We all want to be liked, except for some sociopaths. Being liked means having allies when the feces hits the rotating air circulators. When I started meeting a lot of politicians after the Tea Party thing took off, the first thing I noticed is they hate confrontation and disagreement. They really like being liked, and most of them are damn good at being likable. Go ahead and like them. They’re people. They’re usually fun and interesting people with fascinating stories to tell. Listen carefully and ask them to tell you more. People so often want to jawbone politicians, when someone listens to them as human beings, that listener gets on the fast track to the speed dial.

 

Putin

What Will Putin Do?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Ask yourself this: why did the stock markets rally today after Obama announced sanctions against Russians? I’ll get back to that, but first some background.

I’ve often said that Putin plays chess while Obama fumbles with checkers. I picture our president, chin resting on fist, brows squeezed in childlike concentration, as he carefully chooses between jumping Putin’s piece to end the game or getting another of his pieces “kinged.”

Of course, Obama goes for the kingship.

But my chess-checkers analogy misses a key ingredient: empathy. America’s political class doesn’t understand a key Russian strategic trait.

Money, Money, Money

Money rules the West. Central bankers dominate every decision in the United States. The single goal of Fed policy is to push up stocks. It doesn’t care about profits, employment, interest, or inflation. It cares about the S&P 500.

Fed policy makers, and their enablers in Washington, also take an classical economics view of people. They missed out on the science of behavioral economics. They believe everyone, everywhere decides solely on the basis of economic self-interest.

Sure, Yellen-Bernanke has played The Ultimatum Game. It found the game amusing, like a parlor trick. Yellen-Bernanke sees no connection between the game and real-life, though. It believes people  always choose economic gain for themselves. The Yellen-Bernanke believes Putin and the Russians will always choose the option that gives Russia an economic gain.

Yellen-Bernanke is wrong.

Russians Think Longer Than Money

According to STATFOR founder George Friedman, Russians think in 20-year cycles, just like generational historians William Strauss and Neil Howe. But I’ve observed a key difference between Americans and Russians. This observation leads me to believe that US sanctions won’t bother Putin.

Something struck me about the batch of Russian software engineers my company imported in the late 1990s. Unlike American engineers, the Russian engineers had deep interest in the humanities and art.

For example, I know several software engineers who graduated from Washington University. They took not a single class in English, History, or any other non-engineering subject. They were, like Yellen-Bernanke, pure numbers people. Engineering, to the Americans, seemed like a religion.

The Russians, on the other hand, seemed to treat engineering like a trade to support their real loves. One Russian engineer I knew was a published poet in Russia. Another had recorded an album of original music. A younger Russian coder was an accomplished painter. The Russians’ parties were full of vodka and music. And the tobacco smoke was filled with air.

Not all US engineers are blind to the humanities, of course. Many engineers I know buck the trend. But put 100 US engineers in a room with 100 Russian engineers, and the Russians will dominate the humanities and arts. At least, that’s been my experience.

I admit my example represents a small sample size. Still, I came away from that experience with a strong sense of difference between Russian and American engineers. Russian engineers empathize with human beings in a way American engineers tend to avoid. Let’s call it an empathy gap.

This empathy gap showed itself in software design. The Americans favored efficient algorithms and complex UIs that would give expert users maximum control. The Russians favored usability and user experience that gave the user maximum pleasure and convenience. More importantly, this empathy gap leads Russians to observe people for who they are, and it leads Americans to see people as mirror images of themselves. 

As Russia embarks on a mission to re-establish  its Warsaw Pact buffer and to extend  its sphere of influence, American strategists expect that Putin will think like an American bankster. I expect Putin will think like a Russian.

So What Will Russia Do?

First, let’s look at history. What’s Russia’s famous war strategy to repel invasions? Come on, you know the phrase.

Scorched Earth.

Russia sustains unimaginable damage when foreigners invade. Think of Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope. Russia hunkers down and lets its enemy punch itself out.

Russia will employ that strategy again, only this time the invasion and counter might not be military. Russia could adopt a scorched economy strategy.

Last week, a record $104 billion of foreign-owned US Treasuries was moved out of Fed custodianship. Some people jumped to the conclusion that Russia was dumping US Treasuries. But Russia did not sell the debt. She simply took it under her control.

The Econs explained that Russia wouldn’t dump Treasuries because doing so would hurt Russia more than it hurts the West. Those Econs were thinking like an American, not like a Russian. Russians will sustain damage in the short run for a win in the long run. And their long run is 20 years, while the American long run is the next fiscal quarter. The next election, at most.

While the Fed could easily buy up $100 billion in dumped treasuries, the Fed would have trouble absorbing $100 billion from Russia and, say, $500 billion from China. And if Russians think in 20-year cycles, Chinese think in 200-year cycles.

So I expect Russia will use its growing coziness with China to dangle the threat of dumping Treasuries over the West’s head. And it will scare the US Chamber of Commerce and the Banksters enough to limit Obama’s potential moves.

After Crimea and Ukraine

While the US and allies apply incremental sanctions against Russia, Russian tanks continue to roll. The Putin Doctrine says that whenever Russian-speaking peoples ask for help, Russia has the right to intervene. In other words, Putin has granted himself the right to take any land inhabited by ethnic Russians. Maybe even people who’ve reached Level 3 in Rosetta Stone’s Russian courses, who knows?

We all know Putin couldn’t care less about ethnic Russians. Putin cares about re-establishing Russia’s Cold War buffer zones in Europe, the Caucasses, and Asia. Pockets of ethnic Russians in those areas give Putin cover for invasion.

STRATFOR’s George Friedman on Ukraine:

A second, more worrying effect of the competition between the West and Russia over Ukraine extends beyond Ukrainian borders. As competition over the fate of Ukraine has escalated, it has also intensified Western-Russian competition elsewhere in the region.

Georgia and Moldova, two former Soviet countries that have sought stronger ties with the West, have accelerated their attempts to further integrate with the European Union — and in Georgia’s case, with NATO. On the other hand, countries such as Belarus and Armenia have sought to strengthen their economic and security ties with Russia. Countries already strongly integrated with the West like the Baltics are glad to see Western powers stand up to Russia, but meanwhile they know that they could be the next in line in the struggle between Russia and the West. Russia could hit them economically, and Moscow could also offer what it calls protection to their sizable Russian minorities as it did in Crimea. Russia already has hinted at this in discussions to extend Russian citizenship to ethnic Russians and Russian speakers throughout the former Soviet Union.

As I wrote on Saturday, Putin believes he needs to bring Poland and Baltic States back into the Russian fold.

The question then becomes, will the West’s plodding, careful, incremental sanctions stop Putin? Or will Putin press his advantage to stay ahead of sanctions?

The Problem With a Weak President

Like it or not, the US is the only western nation with the power to frighten Russia. That power means little when wielded by a president who lacks both the political and the intellectual capital to compete with Putin.

Barack Obama may have been an ace student in his Affirmative Action class at Harvard. He doesn’t do so well in the real world, though. He failed miserably in two of three debates against Mitt Romney, only to be rescued by “moderator” Candy Crowley. Obama was outwitted by the Syrian dictator and by Iran’s regime. He looks weak and confused by the aftermath of the Arab Spring, which he personally helped engineer.

At home, Obama has little support from Democrats in Congress facing re-election. His signature legislation, Obamacare, is unpopular even with the its initial champions, young voters. In fact, the President himself is becoming increasingly unpopular among Millennials, especially the younger ones who were still watching Hannah Montana when their older siblings powered Obama’s election in 2008.

It’s Putin’s Game

So Putin’s adversary is a weakened, unpopular, lame duck President who plays geopolitics like a chicken playing checkers, as Tyler Durden put it. Obama talks tough and carries a little stick–a stick to which China, Russia, Japan, and the Millennials hold the mortgage.

Back to the question of why markets rallied on Obama’s sanctions. The banksters realized Obama’s sanctions are too weak to hurt their schemes. Obama won’t let Russian military expansionism interfere with their Fed-induced bull market.

Returning one last time to the question “What will Putin do?” I can only assume the answer: if you were Putin, and you knew Obama was hostage to the banksters who want only for the S&P to rise, what would you do?