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Another Federal Scandal?

May 22nd, 2013 // 3:59 pm @

epa 300x297 Another Federal Scandal?The Obama trifecta of scandals including Benghazi, IRS targeting, and AP phone records is now joined by another potential scandal.

The EPA is accused of ongoing “Sue and Settle” practices, which means that they work with left-leaning environmental groups who file suits against a federal agency and then the attorneys work out settlements that are beneficial to both sides.[i]

All of this, it is alleged, is based on “a prearranged settlement agreement they craft together behind closed doors …. While the environmental group is given a seat at the table, outsiders who are most impacted are excluded, with no opportunity to object to the settlements.”[ii]

And taxpayers foot the bill for millions of dollars in costs.

As the scandals become a mainstream topic of media coverage, other agencies may face further scrutiny.

And as government gets bigger and bigger, the executive branch and its many agencies are less and less accountable.

When government is too big, the number of scandals will predictably increase.

Whether or not the EPA issue becomes a point of mainstream discussion, this new era of scandal has rekindled the question of trust in government.

Historically, governments and officials who truly have nothing to hide urge the citizenry to be generally mistrustful of government.

For example, the American founding generation felt that such mistrust of state and federal institutions was a hallmark of a wise and free people.[iii]

Indeed, the entire Constitutional framework is based on the fundamental assumption that those in power must be mistrusted and closely watched.[iv]

In more recent eras, governments have consistently called for people to give great trust to the government, even as agencies have become less transparent, more secretive, and less trustful of the people.

In short, there is a real trust deficit in our society—but it isn’t what officials and the media usually suggest.

The real problem is that government is lest trustful of its citizens, and the people are less likely than past generations to keep a close eye on potential government abuses.

The natural result is a steady decline in freedom.

This may have sounded alarmist a month ago, but in the wake of current scandals it is mild compared to what many pundits are saying.

How many more federal scandals are waiting in the wings?

More importantly, at what point will enough citizens finally stand up and begin to lead again?

Freedom only lasts when the people are closely involved in overseeing government and serving as the final arbiters of government power.[v]

Until the people refocus on this role, America’s current decline will inevitably continue.

 

 

 

 


[i] Larry Bell, “EPA’s Secret and Costly ‘Sue and Settle’ Collusion With Environmental Organizations,” Forbes.com, February 17, 2013.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] See Federalist 48-51.

[iv] Federalist 48.

[v] Federalist 46. See also, John Locke, Second Essay Concerning Civil Government, and the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights.

 

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odemille 133x195 custom Another Federal Scandal?Oliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Current Events &Featured &Government &Leadership &Politics

The Silver Lining in The Scandals

May 21st, 2013 // 4:42 pm @

irs 300x217 The Silver Lining in The ScandalsIt’s starting to seem like it was the Obama Administration that made the following saying famous: “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”

The idea behind this quip was that when a big crisis came, the White House should use it to push its big-government agenda.

In an ironic twist, the current triple scandals (IRS, Benghazi, and Associated Press) are accomplishing exactly the opposite.

The White House and indeed most of the executive branch is spending a great deal of its energy right now dealing with the scandals.

The result is that less money, time and effort are being spent on spreading big government.

At the same time, more Americans are paying attention to what is happening in Washington.

The word “scandal” seems to create more interest in what is happening than business as usual.

The more citizens who pay close attention to what the government does, the better for freedom.

In short, we’re experiencing at least two positive side effects of the current scandals:

  1. The executive branch is doing less, because it is focused on responding to the scandals
  2. More regular citizens are watching their government.

It’s sad that it takes scandal to accomplish such things, but at least they are happening.

Perhaps the most amazing thing in all this has been the Administration’s continued trust in government agencies.

After all the press and firings in the aftermath of government officials enjoying taxpayer-funded trips to Jacuzzis in Hawaii, you’d think the White House would be carefully watching its agencies and officials.

But even though it has asked for resignations from various agency officials, the Administration has emphasized that lone people and/or “isolated” bureaus made mistakes and held fast to the idea that government should be trusted.

At the same time, the Administration continues to express major distrust for businesses and pretty much anyone outside of government.

Why the double standard?

The various press briefings from the Administration emphasize a sense of, “Just trust us; after all, we’re the government. Of course we are telling the truth and doing the right thing.”

This flies in the face of the Framers’ view of government.

The American system and Constitution were founded on the idea that government is dangerous and that freedom can only last if the people mistrust the government and keep a close eye on it in order to keep it in line.

As Jefferson put it: “Let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

In Jefferson’s world, the assumption was that government officials should be generally suspected of being involved in “mischief.”

A healthy mistrust of government was a central point to maintaining freedom.

George Washington said: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force! Like a fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

Madison added that government is the most dangerous threat to freedom: “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations…”

For Madison, the great danger to freedom was government increasing its power over the people in “gradual and silent” ways.

Government has done this for a long time, and under the leadership of both parties at different times.

When it gets caught, it’s a scandal.

Just as the Johnson Administration is known for Vietnam and the Nixon era for Watergate, many other presidencies are known for their crises: Reagan for Iran-Contra, Bush I for higher taxes after promising it wouldn’t happen, Clinton for the Lewinsky affair, and Bush II for missing weapons of mass destruction.

In all this, why exactly do politicians keep suggesting that trust in government is the solution to America’s problems?

Such situations are basically the only times (under our current system) when the people are likely to make their influence felt and help other citizens see the dangers of big government.

Now is such a time.

In fact, America was founded on the belief that a healthy and active mistrust of government was essential to staying free!

We need more citizens to realize that Washington isn’t going to fix our biggest national problems, that the only real solution is for more Americans to be better citizens.

If we don’t get more involved and help take our nation in the right direction, more scandals will come.

A lot more.

What happens in Washington in the weeks ahead as these three scandals play out is less important than what happens among the regular people.

If we emerge from this crisis as a nation that still basically trusts its government, there will be no silver lining in the scandals.

If we as a people realize that as government grows, these type of crises will increase, we will at least learn something from all this.

If we as a people become more prone to keep a close eye on our government, to wisely and peacefully mistrust it and at the same time get more positively and proactively involved to ensure that it truly does the will of the people, this year can be a helpful turning point in America’s history.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

And three of them at once is a huge opportunity.

If we ever do turn America back to a path of freedom, away from overreaching big government, it will be during a time like this.

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odemille 133x195 custom The Silver Lining in The ScandalsOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Constitution &Current Events &Featured &Government &Politics

Electionocracy

May 21st, 2013 // 12:22 pm @

Vote 12345 ElectionocracyWe now live an Electionocracy. This means that the elections never end.

Once a person is elected to office, especially at the national level, he or she doesn’t get to stop campaigning and focus on governing.

Instead, everyone in office is required to keep campaigning even as they serve.

One the one hand, this is a negative development in a democratic republic because it keeps election politics always in the limelight.

The president is seldom seen as the nation’s chief executive, for example, but as the head of the Democratic or Republican Party.

Thus, even as he tries to govern and lead, he is forced to keep one eye constantly on politics.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that this keeps more of the American people involved and paying attention to the actions of government.

Also, it keeps the executive branch from overextending even more than it already does—because it has to put a lot of resources into politics.

This is actually a positive in a nation where the biggest problem is massive government.

With all that said, people are already lining up to influence the midterm elections of 2014 and even the presidential election of 2016.

Here are a few tidbits:

  • Many pundits feel that the IRS scandal of targeting conservative groups will have more negative impact on the Democrats in the 2014 midterm election than anything else since the Obama Administration took office. It may serve as the Democrat’s Achilles heel.

 

  • Hillary Clinton is far ahead in polls of possible Democratic candidates, but she is only a few points ahead of some top potential Republican challengers. In contrast, the leading Democratic candidate has been far ahead at this point in recent elections.

 

  • In early fundraising, Marco Rubio is ahead of Rand Paul. Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are also strong in the polls, but for now Rubio seems to have an edge.

But the biggest shocker in all this is that the central issue of the 2014 and especially 2016 elections will probably be Obamacare.

This is surprising to many progressives, who felt that this issue was over when it passed in 2010, then when the Supreme Court upheld it in 2012, and later once President Obama was reelected.

But this issue just won’t go away.

Even though Barack Obama was and is personally popular, his health care policy remains highly unpopular with many Americans.

This disapproval is increasing with the Benghazi, IRS, AP and other scandals. Each time a few more people lose trust in government, they tend to increasingly dislike Obamacare.

So, yes, we now live in what could easily be described as an Electionocracy, and things will probably only heat up in the coming months.

Both parties will blame each other for most of America’s ills, and the number of crises will likely increase.

That’s our current direction, and nothing seems poised to bring real solutions any time soon.

In truth, the future of America is ultimately up to the actions and choices of regular Americans more than those of Washington.

But who we elect will have a drastic influence on the nation’s direction in the years just ahead.

If you want to know how elections are going to turn out, keep a close eye on how most Americans feel about Obamacare—especially as it is further implemented in the next three years.

Any significant changes in approval or disapproval of Obamacare will signal the trajectory of the next two elections.

In an Electionocracy, it appears that one or a few top issues will determine who leads our nation.

 

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odemille 133x195 custom ElectionocracyOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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A Looming Crisis — & a Call for Solutions

May 6th, 2013 // 3:51 pm @

obamacare A Looming Crisis    & a Call for SolutionsMost Americans have no ideas it is coming. But it is just around the corner.

It’s one of those technical changes that only wonks pay attention to, so few people realize how big this will be.

In fact, it’s a serious crisis in the making. And unlike the Y2K scare in 1999, this crisis is a sure thing.

What is it?

Well, put simply, this coming January, many companies will be required to extend Obamacare health care to their employees.

The costs of this are significant, and will force many small and larger businesses to make some very tough choices.

The result will be a lot of layoffs, downsizing, reduced pay, and outsourcing.

Service will suffer, and response times will plummet.

Most families and individuals plan on a yearly basis, running January 1 to December 31, so they may not know how that a lot of businesses run on a fiscal year—from April 1 to April 1, July 1 to July 1, or October 1 to October 1.

This is very important, because we just witnessed the first big round of businesses (whose fiscal year is April to April) factoring in the costs of the January 2014 Obamacare requirements.

The number of layoffs and cuts is a serious concern.

But those who run April to April have only had to factor in three months of Obamacare costs so far, so the damage has been minimal.

It’s going to get increasingly worse on July 1, and then by October 1 it will start having a major impact.

By the first of January, when everyone will have to pay the higher costs, the effect will be huge.

Again, because this is a numerical concern, most people aren’t paying attention. Here’s the crux of the problem:

  • Our economy is already struggling with a weak recovery.
  • The increasing tax and regulatory burden on business has dampened innovation.
  • The schools seldom teach innovation or initiative—indeed they usually promote the opposite.
  • International innovation is rising.
  • Business is reticent to invest or spend, because the current environment in Washington is highly uncertain.
  • Big business, which has a high surplus right now, is finding better political environments in other nations—so the money will naturally flow to where business is treated better.
  • The Obamacare requirements are making business a lot more costly, and they mostly kick in this coming January.

A lot of businesses are scrambling.

For example, in the past few months I’ve received email from a number of friends who are business owners or who consult with small businesses—saying that their only choice is to either lay off a lot of employees or shut down their business.

One company, for example, is trying to prepare for next year, but has realized that the additional cost of Obamacare for their firm will be at least $18,000 a month.

This is a fairly small company, with close ties to its people.

The last thing it wants to do is lay off employees. But what to do? The costs are simply prohibitive.

Laying off is the obvious option; and after digging deeper, it may be the only option.

How would you counsel companies in this predicament? (Note that most companies are dealing with this right now.) What ideas do you have? I’m sincerely asking for input.

What can they do?

Thousands of companies are asking the same thing right now, and many others will do so before the end of 2013.

This is going to be a real shock to the economy.

A crisis is coming.

But back to the question. How can small companies that are already financially tight comply with the new regulations—without laying off or cutting salaries?

I’m hoping you see some real solutions.

The obvious one is to innovate—to expand sales into new markets and make a lot of extra cash.

The regulatory challenges of such a strategy are, alas, a serious problem. At least in the United States.

So, thinking like an owner, what would you do?

I know you don’t have financials or details in front of you for any one company facing this challenge, but take a stab at this problem anyway—because almost all businesses are doing the same thing right now. It’s the only realistic way to look at Obamacare, because it’s the way pretty much every business owner is looking at it.

Specifically: Costs are going up significantly, with no offsetting increases in income.

In fact, higher taxes and increased regulations make growth even more difficult.

In this environment, how can you absorb the Obamacare costs without laying off a bunch of employees?

Or letting them go and hiring all new people who are desperate for jobs and will work for much lower pay?

Or simply taking your business to Brazil or India or some other country where growth is actually rewarded?

Please send me your responses. What can be done?

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odemille 133x195 custom A Looming Crisis    & a Call for SolutionsOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Oliver DeMille Speaking Tour This Month

April 6th, 2013 // 9:51 am @

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ODBioPicflipped e1354211970643 Oliver DeMille Speaking Tour This MonthOliver DeMille Speaking Tour This Month

Specific information on each event follows – scroll down for details.

Important updates to the speaking schedule:

1. Registration almost closed on CA:

As of this email send, the Rancho Cucamonga event currently has less than 20 seats available; so if you’ve been holding back or have a friend or family member you want to have attend with you, please secure your registration today.

We have people flying and driving from quite a distance for these seminars, so please don’t assume you’ll be able to show up and be accommodated. We would be so disappointed if there wasn’t room for you!

2. Early Bird for South Jordan:

Because of our demanding travel schedule during the week prior we will be unavailable for last minute issues, and are therefore are urging early registration for the South Jordan event. To incentivize this, $75 seminar cost will be raised to $95 for those registering on Tuesday, April 16th and thereafter.

Please share this opportunity, and the early bird deadline, with your TJEd friends and groups, as well as those interested in learning more about Leadership Education.

3. Other events:

Additional speaking and book signing events for the LeaderShift publication tour are listed here.

9th KEY SEMINAR INFORMATION

The 7 Keys of Great Teaching are the crux of great education. When they are effectively applied in any home, school or other educational setting, learning drastically increases.

The 8th Key (Security, not Stress) teaches that the happiest, most effective teachers and parents approach teaching with a relaxed, enjoyable attitude when they are well versed in and fully understand the principles they are teaching; and that this helps students really internalize the critical lesson that learning is fun and doesn’t require overwhelming stress to accomplish.

The Ninth Key

In this brand new seminar by Oliver and Rachel DeMille, learn the 9th Key of Great Teaching, a key that will take all your learning, teaching and parenting to a whole new level! In this exciting event you’ll learn how to improve mentoring, and you’ll learn how to inspire your students with a whole new technique that makes all the difference.

The 9th Key is revolutionary and powerful. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn it, how to apply it effectively, and how to get started right away. Whether you are a veteran or newcomer to TJEd, or anywhere in between, this seminar will help you drastically improve your education and that of everyone you mentor!

Seminar Details, Rancho Cucamonga, California

  • The TJEd Spring 2013 SoCal seminar will be held on Saturday, April 13 at the Rancho Cucamonga James L. Brulte Senior Center (location info here)

  • There are only 100 seats at this event (less than 20 left now!), so enroll early to get in—first come, first served

  • Schedule:

9:30 am: The 5 Foundations of all Great Leadership Education, by Oliver DeMille
10:30 am: The 8 Types of Education, by Oliver DeMille
11:30 am: The Ninth Key!: A Whole New Level of Great Education, by Oliver DeMille
12:30 pm: Panel/Lunch Break (please bring your lunch to enjoy the contributions of a moderated panel of veteran TJEd educators while you eat)
1:30-2:30: Questions and Answers with Oliver & Rachel DeMille
(Bring your questions about your family’s education, your students, and your classroom if you are a full-time teacher!)

  • Cost: $75 per person

Rancho4 13 294x300 Oliver DeMille Speaking Tour This Month

To enroll in the Rancho Cucamonga Seminar,
click here >>

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Seminar Details, South Jordan, Utah

  • The TJEd Spring 2013 Utah seminar will be held on Saturday, April 20 at the Paradigm High School (location here)

  • Schedule:

9:30 am: The 5 Foundations of all Great Leadership Education, by Oliver DeMille
10:30 am: The 8 Types of Education, by Oliver DeMille
11:30 am: The Ninth Key!: A Whole New Level of Great Education, by Oliver DeMille
12:30 pm: Panel/Lunch Break (please bring your lunch to enjoy the contributions of a moderated panel of veteran TJEd educators while you eat)
1:30-2:30: Questions and Answers with Oliver & Rachel DeMille
(Bring your questions about your family’s education, your students, and your classroom if you are a full-time teacher!)

  • Cost: $75 per person through 4/15; thereafter, $95

SoJo2013 294x300 Oliver DeMille Speaking Tour This Month

To enroll in the South Jordan, UT Seminar,
click here >>

 

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Oliver’s new book with Orrin Woodward, LeaderShift, is debuting in on April 16, 2013!
Click the image below to see a trailer – and please like,  comment and share.
LSYTCapture Oliver DeMille Speaking Tour This Month
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