I’m with Apple

Reading Time: 1

The government wants Apple to build a back door into the iPhone. Apple has refused.

I’m with Apple on this one.

This back door would allow the FBI to access the content of the San Bernardino terrorists’ phone, possibly exposing more terrorists. That would be a good thing.

But Apple never built a back door to the iPhone because no one can control the keys to such portals. If Apple builds it, every government spy agency in the world will be able to read your texts, see where you’ve been, and listen to your phone calls. Every government and many hackers will access each of your bank accounts, credit card numbers, everything.

The government says you can trust it with your most sensitive information. But who trusts the government? Hillary Clinton transferred top secret information to a server in her bedroom. And she could be our next president. The United States government lost everything Edward Snowden released. The government is subject to hackers and crackers, too.

The only safe back door is no back door. While I want to find and kill all the terrorists as much as the next guy, I also want a phone and a laptop that the government—ours, North Korea’s, and Russia’s—cannot hack into.

And I do not trust the government.

Whip It. Whip It Good.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Maybe Ann Wagner’s the problem.

Rep. Ann Wagner (HA-64) is the House Majority Whip. Her job is to know how every GOP member will vote on bills and to cut deals until House leadership gets the numbers it wants.

It’s unfathomable that a majority whip would not have seen the Kevin McCarthy meltdown coming long before the House Republican caucus met to nominate a candidate for speaker. But many accounts suggest that the Republican House leadership thought McCarthy had the votes up to the moment he withdrew.

Wagner vs. The Buchanan Brigades of 1996

In Missouri, Ann built her machine by obeying big donors and bullying conservatives. (I’ve heard great stories about Ann’s brutal attacks on Republicans who supported Pat Buchanan in 1996, defying her dictates to support Bob Dole–the only man in America incapable of defeating Bill Clinton.)

I’m reminded of those “Ann Wagner screamed at me” stories when I read about events leading up to Kevin McCarthy’s decision to withdraw from the race for Speaker because the two events–Missouri’s 1996 presidential caucuses and the Kevin McCarthy nomination–bear remarkable similarities.

In both races, Ann Wagner’s job was to know where key constituents stood and to make sure the establishment had enough votes to win. In both cases, Ann was confident of victory up to the last minute. And in both cases, Ann’s whip count was wrong.

A New Majoritarian Leadership Team

Perhaps the GOP caucus should consider a whip with a better track record of getting the numbers right. More importantly, though, the next House Majority leadership team–from Speaker down–should be a majoritarian leadership team.

As Arthur C. Brooks explains in his awesome book The Conservative Heart:

A key element of majoritarian status is fighting in broad terms for people instead of fighting narrowly against particular evils.

And by “people,” we’re talking all people, not just those who can afford K Street lobbyists and those like Boeing who threaten to move operations to China unless the taxpayers subsidize their business.

The next House leadership won’t completely satisfy Tea Party Congressmen all the time, but by articulating how conservative policy benefits all Americans, especially those who’ve been beaten down by the welfare state, the next Speaker can form a majoritarian coalition that passes important legislation that Obama is likely to sign.

A new House Majoritarian leadership team would preface every bill and policy statement by affirming the most fundamental belief of our philosophy: that every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work and the freedom to pursue happiness; that happiness is not giggling like an idiot at a cotton candy booth, but virtuous excellence of a life well lived; that the $22 trillion welfare denies dignity to the poor by treating poor people as burdens to be efficiently managed rather than as untapped human lives who deserve the richness our society can offer everyone; that to secure these goals, we are willing to deny our rich and powerful friends their immediate demands in order to build a stronger, healthier society where the American Dream lies with reach of all.

That’s the vision of America Ronald Reagan helped us all see in the 1980s. And that’s the only vision of America where conservative principles will achieve majoritarian status.

Let the next Speaker begin that majoritarian conversation, and let the next majority whip whip up good for all, not just her friends in high places.

Going Home

Reading Time: 1

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

But if that step is in the wrong direction, you might end up 2,000 miles from your goal.

Many believe America took a step in the wrong direction long ago–about the time “progressivism” became popular among political, business, and academic elites in the early 20th century.

If progressivism was a step in the wrong direction, it’s led us at least 2,000 miles from our target.

Modern progressives tell us we need to keep going in the wrong direction and we’ll eventually find what we’re looking for. They seem to forget Seneca’s line:

When you are travelling on a road, there must be an end; but when astray, your wanderings are limitless.

Modern conservatives and libertarians realize that we’re off course, that we’re moving away from the target, and that continuing to wander astray will lead us further from the goal.

But some conservatives and libertarians seem lost, too. They want to wait for a miracle that transports them back to the starting point to begin the journey anew. Or, better yet, they hope to be transported immediately to the target.

The journey home–to the starting point with continuing service to the goal–begins, like the original journey, with a single step. Continuing to wander is idiotic. Waiting for a miracle is stupid.

Wise people just turn and start walking, one step at a time.

What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet?

Reading Time: 1

Missouri is the only state that doesn’t track your medical prescriptions.

People say it like it’s a bad thing.

What’s wrong with the government not knowing that one bit of information about your private medical life? Can’t government keep out of at least this one, extremely personal matter?

The do-gooders and busy-bodies want Missouri to maintain a database (tied into similar databases in all other states) that keeps a permanent record of every prescription a doctor or dentist writes. The state’s compelling interest is . . . “we’re curious.”

Too bad.

Look, a big corporation makes its money running prescription databases for states. They’ve sold 49 licenses for their product, which means the company’s growth prospects are shrinking fast. Missouri is the only hold out, so this company is lobbying hard to get Missouri to surrender.

No. We’re not going to surrender.

Call your State Senator and ask him or her to filibuster this attack on privacy. Thanks to MOPP, here’s what you need to know:

Here is the link to the House Health Insurance Committee (http://house.mo.gov/CommitteeIndividual.aspx?com=01175&year=2015&code=R) which will most likely get the Senate version of the PDMP-SB63. 
Call Speaker John Diehl’s office at 573-751-1544 and tell him no to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). 
Call Floor Leader Todd Richardson’s office at 573-751-4039 and tell him no to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).
Call your own state rep and state senator and tell them NO to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). 
Find your state rep and senator here senate.mo.gov and go to the Legislator Lookup.

What’s in your pill box?

One Irrefutable Definition of Leadership from Tom Landry

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s funny, really, that America celebrates the day we signed up to fight a brutal war for independence, not the day that war was won.

But I want to write about football.

I’ve always hated the Dallas Cowboys.

Cut me a little slack, though. I was a Big Red fan from childhood, and a season ticket holder from 1978 to 1983. (“Big Red” refers to the St. Louis Football Cardinals for those of you under 40.) My heroes were Conrad Dobler, Dan Dierdorf, Jim Hart, Tim Van Gelder, Terry Metcalf, Jim Otis, Council Roudolf, Roger Wherle, Larry Stallings, Larry Wilson, J.V. Cain, Roger Finney, Tom Banks, Bob Young, Mel Grey, Roy Green, Pat Tilley, Ottis Anderson, Theotis Brown, Jim Bakken, Johnny “Dr. Doom” Barefield . . . shall I go on?

The St. Louis Cardinals played in the NFC East in the 1970s and 1980s, along with the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Giants. That was a killer division back then, and the Cowboys were killerest of all.

My anti-Cowboy aquifer runs so deep and cold that I once said, “If the Cowboys were playing al Qaeda I don’t know who I’d root for.”

As I matured . . . Strike that. I haven’t matured.

After the Cardinals moved onto Phoenix, my passions against the Cowboys subsided a bit. When Jerry Jones crassly fired the legendary coach Tom Landry, I immediately became a Tom Landry fan. Landry might have been the wisest and most gentlemanly NFL head coach of all time.

Tom Landry took winning as seriously as the next guy, but football and winning were not the most important things to Landry. In 1979, he berated and fired linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson because Henderson was goofing with a camera while his team was getting massacred on the football field.

Landry did more than humiliate Henderson, though. He might have saved Henderson’s life:

Just this morning, 9/11/94, I heard Hollywood Henderson — X-Cowboy of considerable fame — from Austin on the Fox Network. He said that in the days when he was playing for the Cowboys and “at the same time doing drugs,” and “ruining his life,” he “resented Tom Landry.” He resented Tom Landry’s Christianity, and the fact that he had a happy family life.

Now, in 1994, after spending some time in prison, and after 11 years of being free of his drug addiction, Hollywood Henderson says that he has a little different slant on life. He said that he once was hopeless, but is now hopeful. He says that today, Tom Landry is his “role model”!

The Hollywood Henderson story typifies Tom Landry’s simple definition of leadership:

Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.

—Tom Landry, Hall of Fame Coach of the Dallas Cowboys

Few people actually want to lift weights, eat healthy diets, and build stamina. But we all want to avoid disease, live long lives, and look good in a swimming suit. We need someone to help us do what we don’t want to do so we can achieve what we want to achieve. That someone is a leader.

America didn’t want to go through another deep recession in the early 1980s, but Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker knew we wanted America to flourish again, so they orchestrated an interest rate driven recession that finally choked out inflation—from 13.5% in 1981 to 3.2% in 1983.

And the Revolutionary Army didn’t want to winter in Valley Forge, but Washington helped them fight through to ultimate victory and independence.

I know some people don’t like my criticizing Republicans who put their own personal agenda or the party’s power before American greatness and freedom. I sure don’t like it. Many are even more reluctant to get leverage on the GOP with bold actions. People worry that getting political leverage on Republicans could help Democrats and their anti-freedom agenda.

But we need more than a victorious Republican Party. We really don’t care about the name of the party that delivers us from tyranny, crony capitalism, and fascism. We want a strong, prosperous, and free America. In the words of the preamble to the Constitution, we want to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and posterity.

When I encourage liberty lovers to get some leverage against miscreant Republicans, I do it only because I want us to achieve what we all want to achieve. And I recognize that achieving our big goals often requires doing things we don’t want to do.

Here’s what Hollywood Henderson said about Tom Landry:

I have a vision of him standing on that tower. He was maybe three stories above the team in training camp. That’s sort of where I remember him the five years I was in the Cowboys’ training camp–30 feet in the air overseeing us. Untouchable. We couldn’t throw a rock and hit him. I tell you, you sort of didn’t like him. You were afraid of him. You resented him. But when the dust settled, you wanted to be like him. When you had a family, took care of a company, managed people, you idolized him.


I think it’s a uniquely American quality that we commemorate the dates we signed up to do the hard work, not the dates we accomplished the mission. July 4th, 1776. December 7, 1941. September 11, 2001. We are a people of rash vows. Or, at least, we wish we were.

G. K. Chesterton wrote an essay “In Defence of Rash Vows.” In it, he summarized the importance of this American tendency to celebrate the making of the vow:

The man who makes a vow makes an appointment with himself at some distant time or place. The danger of it is that himself should not keep the appointment. And in modern times this terror of one’s self, of the weakness and mutability of one’s self, has perilously increased, and is the real basis of the objection to vows of any kind. 

Tom Landry’s leadership gives us the confidence to make appointments with ourselves in the future so long as we have leaders who will drive us to do what we don’t want to do in order that might keep our appointment.

I never wanted to like Tom Landry. But I want to achieve the kind of things he achieved–helping people reach their goals even those goals required them doing things they don’t want to do.

Now, I’m going to work out.