The Unions Turn on Obamacare

Just when you might think President Obama is getting tired of standing on the corner by himself over the Syrian crisis, here comes another blow.  This time it comes from one of his biggest supporters – the AFL-CIO.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was widely supported by unions back in 2010. However, this week the AFL-CIO, the nation’s leading labor federation, passed a resolution stating that while it supported the overall goal of Obamacare, the implementation of the law is ‘highly disruptive’ to union healthcare plans.  The resolution also states, “WHEREAS, the federal agencies administering the ACA have interpreted the Act in ways that are threatening the ability of workers to keep health care coverage through some collectively bargained, non-profit health care funds.”  The final draft of the resolution was watered down compared to an earlier version which stated that the AFL-CIO could no longer support the law and called for its repeal unless changes were made to protect union plans.

Resolution or Declaration?

AFL-CIO Resolution 54 reads like the Declaration of Independence.  The pernicious effects of the legislation are listed point by point.  It reminds me of the grievances the signers of the Declaration had with the King.  Near the end, the resolution states, “WHEREAS, this resolution is not meant to be a comprehensive list of the benefits and the problems of the ACA.”  Interestingly, there are very few benefits listed in the resolution.

The Grievances

The unions are starting realize what so many already concluded – The ACA is going to be costly and someone has to pay.  Among the many concern the resolution expresses are: many employees will no longer be able to keep their provider; workers will be punished for negotiating good healthcare coverage; taxes and fees will drive the cost of healthcare higher and ultimately punish workers; and employers will attempt to avoid the 30 hours per week requirement and cut the hours of workers.

Bad Timing

The AFL-CIO resolution comes at a bad time for the Obama administration.  The administration is preparing to spend millions of dollars to promote the ACA.  Some Republicans have urged the administration to avoid spending taxpayer’s dollars on ads for the law.  Currently, the Republicans in the House are struggling on what to do with the law. Some members, mostly associated with the Tea Party, are calling to totally defund Obamacare.

The Bottom Line

Obamacare is a mess and the problems will only get worse.  The administration has issued numerous waivers and delayed major parts of the law.  What I find interesting is that it took the AFL-CIO this long to realize the negative effects of the law.   Virtually everything the resolution indicates seemed blatantly obvious at the time the law was passed.  What I find more troublesome are the hidden or inconspicuous aspects the law.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services is given a wide latitude in the ACA.  The potential for abuse is deep. The current IRS scandal shows us that no government agency is beyond using power and fear in an effort to gain political advantage.

Russian Diplomacy – Putin Gets Over on Obama Again.

I have always been drawn to the writings of George Orwell.  Animal Farm and 1984 are among the most prescient works ever written.  The entire tenure of Barack Obama has been characterized as one Orwellian experience after the other.  Now, as Obama sits with one hand on the button and the other on a golf club, Big Brother once again shows his head.

Obama and his new sidekick, Secretary of State John Kerry, were adamant that the only way out of the crisis with Syria was to dish out a military strike.  Most of the American public disapproved of the measure and the world community was not offering Obama the backing he sought.  The last initiative to get dismissed so quickly was Obama’s effort to secure the city of Chicago as an Olympic host.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Kerry made a flippant remark indicating that the only way to get out of the Syrian crisis without a military strike was for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to an international body.  He then finalized the statement with, “but that isn’t going to happen.” Following Kerry’s statement, members of Team Obama did all they could to downplay Kerry’s remarks as “rhetorical” or off-the-cuff.  I mean, after all, why try actual diplomacy when you have missiles at your disposal?

In an ironic twist of fate, Vladimir Putin and the Russians have now entered the world stage as the peacemaker.  By the end of the day, Syria had agreed to turn over its chemical weapons and Obama is stuck speaking to an American audience tonight with little to say except, “Sorry for the false alarm.”   The man who claims he was elected to stop wars nearly started one with serious consequences.  Obama must feel like Michael J. Fox felt in Doc Hollywood when he nearly cut open a child’s chest when all he needed was a can of soda.

Orwellian Moment

The true Orwellian moment lies in the administration’s efforts to now spin the results in a favorable light for Obama.  Amazingly, some are crediting Kerry with actually devising this plan.  The truth is, Kerry had absolutely nothing to do with this plan.  Kerry was the war hawk marching to Capitol Hill demanding support for a military strike.   To make matters worse, Kerry is trying to have it both ways.  In a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Kerry told members that the only reason Syria was agreeing to turn over its chemical weapons was the threat of force.  But wait!  Previously, Kerry told us that the attack on Syria would be “unbelievably small”.  In fact, the picture that was painted by the Obama administration was that the strike would be so small and isolated that Syrians would go about their daily lives as if nothing had happened.  Which is it?  You can’t claim that the threat of force caused something when there was barely a threat of force.  Political pundits are scratching their heads like Winston Smith trying to remember which story to believe. Did we have a surplus of boots last year?  I remember otherwise…Big Brother informs me we did…The political spin from this administration boggles the mind more than riding the Tilt- a-Whirl with a hangover.

The Bottom Line

Once again Putin has stepped to the front of the world stage and delivered a big smack on the beak to President Obama.  Lately, Putin has been toying with Obama like he is the Roadrunner and Obama is Wile E. Coyote.  Obama’s inexperience is fully revealed and it will only get worse over the remaining three years.   Obama will give his speech tonight and there will be no signs of contrition or humility.  Historically, Obama doubles down and that is just the way he plays.  Unfortunately for America, Obama has wagered the kids’ college funds and we have the short stack at the table.  Nice job Hollywood!

Obama and the G20 Summit – Obama First, Everyone Else Last

There are few things more difficult in the political world than watching a United States President fumble his way through a press conference.  Today, speaking from the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Obama did his best to explain just what the heck in going on with the crisis in Syria.  Obama seemed noticeably uncertain about a potential American response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.   His uncertainty has created problems for him as he continually tries to pedal this military strike like a used car salesman trying to dump off a Chevrolet Cavalier.

In this article I want to highlight how everything seems to come down to Barack Obama first and everyone else last.

Tuesday’s with Barack

After weeks of talks, hearings, meetings, and discourse the American people will finally get to hear something from the President on Tuesday night. Clearly the American people are skeptical about a military strike against Syria.  The President has done very little (if anything) to keep the citizens informed on the crisis.  Let us not forget, this is largely a crisis because the President stuck his foot in his mouth and drew a line in the sand.  The President’s imaginary line was crossed and now he needs to do something to feel like a man. He put America’s credibility on the line and he can barely put a coherent thought together on what he plans to do and why he plans to do it.  Like a junkie writing stolen checks at the local stop ‘n rob, the President does not have sufficient funds to cover his words.  As each day passes, the checks are beginning to bounce and Obama is left holding an empty checkbook and a pen.

Economic Summit Turned Into Obama’s Stage

Leaders of countries around the world have gathered to discuss global economic concerns. Wait!  Here comes President Obama with a problem, the nature of which requires everyone else to stop what they are discussing and focus on his issue.  Obama is like the annoying friend who only shows up when they need something.  I can imagine the collective utterance of ‘what does he want now?’ in nineteen different languages and dialects when he strolls into the room.  He wants the support of Russian President Putin?  My last recollection is that Obama took his ball and went home after Putin granted Snowden asylum.  Now that Obama needs something, he is happy to meet with Putin.

Stop Leading from Behind

It is an ironic twist of roles.  For much of Obama’s presidency he has done what he wanted without consulting the American electorate or Congress.  The American public had to take what it was given and like it.  The Constitution was a silly detail and Congress was a pack of “unbelievers” hardly worth consulting.  Now, when the country needs leadership he is seeking the opinion and blessing of everyone, probably down to the janitorial staff at the Pentagon.  He has spent his life blending into a sea of plausible deniability and unaccountability.  He is the Commander-in-Chief of the United States government.  It is time that Barack Obama took off his Garanimals and put on the big boy pants.


The Cost of the War on Drugs

In yesterday’s article I looked at Operation Hemisphere.  This is a project that embeds AT&T telephone contractors with DEA agents.  DEA serves subpoenas on the contractors, who in turn provide the government with a variety of subscriber and usage data.  I argued that the program is troubling for civil liberties on two levels.  One, the contractors are dangerously close to becoming “agents of the state”.  Two, administrative subpoenas are not subject to prior judicial oversight.  Often times, government officials sign the subpoenas, which are then served on the contractors.

In an effort to keep us safe the United States government is spending billions of dollars annually.  Many have considered the “war on drugs” to be a colossal failure.  The United States government is spending its way blind to stop drugs and drug use is not diminishing.  It is extremely difficult to estimate how much the drug war has cost.  One report puts the cost at nearly 2.5 trillion dollars since its inception.  One thing is clear.  The federal government is spending money hand over fist to combat drugs and the results are not improving.

In a 2011 New York Times opinion piece, former President Jimmy Carter called for the end of the global drug war.  Carter cited a Global Commission of Drug Policy report, which found that from the years 1998-2008, global consumption of opium increased 34.5%, cocaine 27%, and cannabis 8.5%.  This says nothing about the proliferation of methamphetamine and various prescription pain medicines.

Recently, Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would alter the way it is doing business as it relates to low-level, non-gang-related drug offenders.  No longer will the Justice Department seek the mandatory minimum sentences for offenders falling into the above classifications.

Let’s take a look at where some of the money is going.

Bureau of Prisons

The cost of the federal prison population is likely a partial catalyst for Holder’s recent announcement.  It is reported that there are over 200,000 sentenced inmates currently in the federal system.  Of those, 176,000 are housed in Bureau of Prison facilities.  This does not include the millions incarcerated across the country in state and local prisons.  Nearly half of the federal inmates (46%) are serving sentences for drug-related crimes.  It is estimated that it costs $21,000 a year to house minimum-security prisoners, and for high-security facilities the price tag jumps to $33,000 per year.

The government cannot keep pouring money into an effort in which the cost of “winning” is unsustainable financially.  The cost of “winning” forced the Obama administration to request $6.9 billion for fiscal year 2013 to fund the Bureau of Prisons.

The DEA and FBI Budgets

To handle analysis, surveillance, operations, and various designated missions, the DEA budget request for fiscal year 2013 was $2,403,467,000.  The 2013 FBI budget request was a whopping $8.2 billion.  While the FBI handles a variety of crimes and investigations including, counterterrorism and cyber threats, the FBI safe streets task forces do investigate drug-related crimes.

There is a tremendous amount of overlap in the federal system.  The DEA and FBI both investigate drug crimes.  The CIA, DEA, and FBI all investigate counter terror threats.  Budgets are burgeoning and the taxpayer is on the hook for every last dime.

The Bottom Line

The numbers contained herein are only a fraction of what is being spent annually by just a few agencies in the federal government.  The Justice Department spends a tremendous amount of money prosecuting these crimes.  With a national debt that is climbing out of control, Washington may want to think hard about sinking billions of dollars annually into a war that it simply cannot win.

Operation Hemisphere – How the Government Avoids the 4th Amendment

This article is the first of a two-part series concerning federal law enforcement in the United States.  Presently I am concerned with a federal program named Hemisphere, and what it means to American civil liberties.

Under Hemisphere, federal law enforcement agencies embed officials of various telephone companies into their operations.   The telephone contractors can then provide customer information and data along to the respective agency on the authority of a federal subpoena.

In this article I am going to explain why this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. I contend that the program amounts to nothing more than a word game that eases the burden on law enforcement and places our civil liberties in jeopardy.

Acting as Agents

Law enforcement agencies are not allowed to use private companies to act as their agents as a way to circumvent the Constitution.  Let me present an example to help illustrate the case.  Suppose a private shipping company believes they have a suspicious package coming through their system.  The private company reserves the right to open any package it deems suspicious or questionable.  These are administrative guidelines enumerated by the company.  They do not need a warrant or probable cause because they are a private company and not acting on behalf of the government.  If the shipping company notifies law enforcement officials to alert them that they have a package that may contain drugs or contraband, and law enforcement officials instruct the company to open the package, they are now acting as an agent of the government.  The search is then subject to the provisions enumerated in the Fourth Amendment.

In the case of Hemisphere, the telephone contractors are dangerously close to being agents of the government.  The government is utilizing a private company to gather information it would otherwise not be to obtain.  Law enforcement officials claim that they serve the contractors with administrative and grand jury subpoenas.   I would be shocked if a majority of the subpoenas were not administrative in nature.  Administrative subpoenas have the potential to vex the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

Administrative Subpoenas

The problem with administrative subpoenas is that there is no prior judicial oversight.  In many instances, law enforcement officials (usually the Special Agent in Charge – SAC) signs the subpoena and it is served on the company.  This is different than a subpoena demanding someone appear in court.  The administrative subpoenas utilized in Hemisphere, and other operations, are used to search and gather information or data.

This is not equivalent to making application for a search warrant before a judge or magistrate.  In essence, law enforcement decides it wants information and signs a piece of paper demanding a private company provide said information.  There is no supporting probable cause affixed to the affidavit.

The Bottom Line

We have learned that NSA is gathering phone and communication documentation on millions of subscribers in America.  Now, we are learning that the FBI, Homeland Security, and DEA are embedding contractors from phone companies into their operations and utilizing administrative subpoenas to gain access to, and search, additional data.

If law enforcement officials obtained legitimate search warrants or subpoenas based upon probable cause, issued by magistrate of the court, I would have no problem with the program.  However, to try and claim that these contractors are not acting as agents of the state is disingenuous.  To consider administrative subpoenas equivalent to search warrants is to make a huge mistake.

Tomorrow I am going to look at the cost of some of these programs and allow you to determine if the money is being allocated properly.

Is Speaker Boehner in Trouble?

shutterstock_107599943President Obama’s daily fishing expedition for support on his plan to intervene in Syria has landed him a big fish.  House Speaker John Boehner has backed the President’s plan for a military strike against Syria. Obama has been working hard trying to gain the support of Congress as well as the international community for a military strike that he hopes will send a message to Syria and others who possess chemical weapons.  Today the United Nations warned the United States that it should not proceed with a military intervention against Syria.

Where does this latest move leave Boehner’s speakership?  There have been rumors mounting that Boehner’s popularity is dwindling within the Republican Party.  Tea Party conservatives feel that Boehner has drifted toward the establishment wing of the party.  Others, myself included, have a hard time discerning precisely where Boehner has drifted.  The Republicans have a branding and messaging problem. Boehner has done little to address these problems.

Covering the President

The President’s invocation of a “red line” concerning Syria’s use of chemical weapons left him between a rock and a hard place.  Now that the US intelligence community believes with high confidence that Assad did utilize chemical weapons against its own people, the President is forced to do something.  The President has been scrambling to cover his tracks without having to eat his words.  Many liberal Democrats and conservative Tea Party members are making strange bedfellows by withholding support of military action in Syria.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has taken the President to task for mismanaging the situation.  Graham recently argued that the President has been all over the road on this issue.  From going to not going, to needing or not needing Congressional approval, the president has not handled the situation well.   Graham stated that the President needs to, “up his game” as it pertains to Syria and win the support and confidence of the American people.  Right now, a majority of Americans do not support intervening in Syria.

What’s Boehner’s Angle?

Political scholar Norman Ornstein has argued that Boehner is giving himself an escape route for when larger issues come to the table this fall.  The debt ceiling will be a major point of contention between the two parties.  Ornstein’s point is that Boehner will be able to postpone these issues with a looming crisis in Syria.  This is my exact problem with Boehner’s leadership. If Ornstein is correct, it is ridiculous to support military intervention because you need a parachute to avoid dealing with serious domestic issues.  It is somewhat ironic to me that Boehner’s leadership in the House is similar to that of Obama’s in the White House.  Obama’s foreign policy strategy is a mess.  Boehner does not want to lead.  The President does not want to lead. Will Boehner survive as Speaker?  I believe he will make it to the midterms.  If the Republicans still control the House after the 2014 elections, I believe John Boehner will be looking for a new chair to sit upon when the music stops.

Teenage Violence

It sickens me to think about the violence among our youth in this country.  Our teenagers, and 20-somethings for that matter, have virtually no respect for civil society.  The most recent victim of teen violence is 22-year-old Christopher Lane.  For those unfamiliar with Lane, he was visiting our country from Australia and attending college on a baseball scholarship. Two weeks ago Lane was shot and killed by a couple thugs as he was jogging along the road.  James Francis Edwards, Jr. (15) and Chancey Luna (16) have been charged with shooting and murdering Lane.  Michael Jones (17) has been charged with utilizing a vehicle from which a weapon was discharged and accessory after the fact of first-degree murder.  All three boys will be tried in adult court and those charged with murder will face a potential life sentence.

For the Fun of It

There is so much about this story that I find disturbing.  One of the accused told law enforcement officials that they were “bored” and killed Lane for the “fun of it”.  Essentially, this was a killing for sport.  But it goes to show just how much our society has fallen.  There is little respect for life among so many of our teenagers.  They do not value relationships and they apparently have nothing better to do than to kill random people.  How about getting a job?  Since so many of our youngsters feel that they are too good to work, a job may be out of the question.  Apparently, there isn’t an ounce of intelligence or bit of conscience between Edwards, Luna, and Jones.

Parent is a Verb

Here comes the question I am sure the rest of the world is asking.  Where the hell were the parents?  The writing was on the wall! Take the Twitter and Facebook accounts of those attributed to Edwards.  There are numerous posts that contain violent, criminal, and racist language.  One posting is that of a handgun.  Another post states, “At the end of the day it’s all about the kill.”  A twitter post reads, “90% of white ppl are nasty.  #HATETHEM”.  The list goes on and yet apparently nobody said a word.

Two of the parents have come forth in disbelief that their sons could have done this heinous crime.  The mother of Luna stated that her son and a couple of his friends were in a “wannabe” gang.  She maintained that her son is not a killer.  Seriously?  Edwards’ father claimed his son had no involvement in the shooting of Lane, but acknowledged his son had prior run-ins with the law.  Mom and dad, here is a clue.  They have already confessed to the crime.  Your sons are thugs and I partially blame you.  If you are so delusional that you are incapable of seeing the truth before your eyes, I can only imagine what the rest of your imaginary world is like.

Parents in this country need to recognize that the word “parent” is also a verb.  That means that action is required.  You need to know your kids’ associates.  You need to be involved in your kids’ lives.  You need to be on top of them and their social media.  To the parents of these thugs I say, stop being your child’s attorney and start facing the reality – your child is a killer and they took the life of an innocent man.

The Race Charlatans

Where are all the race charlatans?  If this had been a young black athlete gunned down by a few white teenagers, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have been all over it like stink in a sewer.  But when the shooters are black and the victim is an innocent white male, the two super heroes of race relations are either silent or timid.  Where are the marches?  Where are the protests?

Additionally, when Zimmerman was found not guilty, the supporters of Treyvon Martin came out of the word work and demanded a Justice Department investigation.  Despite loads of evidence to show Zimmerman had no racial bias in his heart, the Martin supporters insisted it was a crime of race.  Yet, here we have a thug ranting about hating white people and there will be no calls from the NAACP, Sharpton, or Jackson to involve the Justice Department.  If there was a case that shows racial bias, this is it.  Let’s be honest; even if the Justice Department did get involved I cannot see the investigation going very far with Eric Holder behind the wheel.

The Bottom Line

People in this country should not have to live in fear that bored kids are going to randomly kill people.  The gun in this case did nothing.  It was the three thugs who decided to change their fates, as well as the fate of Lane.  They will likely have the rest of their lives to sit and think about their actions.  However, it is a tragedy that the friends and family of Christopher Lane will only have memories to carry them through their days.  It is also a tragedy that the charlatans of race will not step up and do the right thing.

Representative Gutierrez’ Rhetoric on Immigration Policy

Sometimes demagoguery can be an effective tool in politics.  Other times, it makes the orator appear silly.  At Monday’s town hall event in Virginia, Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) stated that if the Senate Amnesty Bill is not passed people are going to die.  His words:

“Today, someone is going to die in that desert, trying to return to their families. Women and men are going to die in that desert. Someone’s going to lose a finger, a hand, an eye, a life today because an unscrupulous employer is going to put them in harm’s way, someone’s going to die.

There’s a woman that’s going to be raped in a field somewhere in America today because she has no rights in this country, and we need to end that.

There are children who are going to cry and there are marriages that are going to be destroyed because someone is going to be deported today, and there are going to be children that are going to be left orphaned in this country.”

This is almost as nonsensical as when former Congressman, Alan Grayson (D-FL), took to the House floor ranting that the Republicans’ idea of health care was nothing more than hoping for people to hurry up and die.  Grayson was trying to make his way onto the national scene, and it worked but not as he would have liked.  Much to his dismay, he became a political joke following his comments, and fizzled out like Howard Dean yelling “Yeahhhh”.

I am sure these Congressional members believe their words sound inspiring as they are preparing their speeches and talking points in the mirror.  After all, what better way to motivate someone into action than to make them believe a specific policy change can save a life?  Who doesn’t want to save a life?  But there is a logical inconsistency that frequently occurs when ideas are reduced to their ultimate ends.  For example, Gutierrez believes that America should be generous with amnesty and citizenship for those who have violated American immigration law.  By doing so, a life will be saved, which is the ultimate end for Gutierrez. If saving a life is the ultimate end, why not carry that to its ultimate conclusion?  Thousands more people will die in an automobile accident this year than will ever die as a result of American immigration policy.  Under the Gutierrez model we should consider banning automobiles and go back to horse and buggy or bicycles.  That would greatly reduce the number of travel-related deaths.

Congressional members on both sides of the aisle should move away from the political rhetoric and focus on serious policy solutions to serious policy problems.  Shocking people with inflammatory rhetoric or slapping them with guilt is not mature policy discussion.  It simply makes Gutierrez and those who partake in that sort of nonsense appear petty and uninformed.  Unfortunately Gutierrez’ comments seem to be more commonplace as Congress becomes inundated with members who have neither the intellect, nor the maturity, to serve.  They often win elections by the use of political rhetoric.  When they arrive in office they have a difficult time differentiating between campaigning and serious political debate.

Obama’s Problem in Syria

The Obama administration is now confident that the Assad regime in Syria used chemical weapons last week against civilians outside of Damascus.   The chemical attack left hundreds dead and thousands wounded.  This is not the first time the administration has suspected the regime of using chemical agents.  Several months ago the administration announced that it had “high confidence” that Syria’s regime was utilizing chemical weapons, including the nerve agent Sarin, against the rebel forces.

Red Line

In August of 2012 President Obama demonstrated his skills in diplomacy by offering a “red line” if the Assad regime utilized chemical weapons.  Now, one-year and several chemical attacks later, Obama is once again flopping on the world stage.  The problem for Obama is that he always appears weak and indecisive, while trying to appear like a statesman.  The problem for America is that he is our elected leader and we appear weak by association.

Obama is clearly in a tough spot on this one.  He drew the line in the sand and now he must follow through or risk eating another slice of humble pie.  Recently, Putin gave Obama a jab by granting NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, temporary asylum.  Obama has expressed his desire to intervene in Syria and his administration has said it will not act unilaterally.  However, his efforts to gain support from our allies, France and England, have been stalled.  The United Nations Security Council is not playing ball either.

Obama’s handling of this matter is analogous to a child (we will call him Brock) who tells everyone he is going to punch the school bully if the bully picks on his sister one more time.  When that day comes, Brock is now confronted with either punching the bully or facing the shame of inaction.  Brock then attempts to gain support from the other kids on the playground.  When the other kids refuse to join in, Brock looks rather silly and realizes he should have kept his mouth shut in the first place.  True statesmen do not talk about action; they act when necessary.  This is why former UN Ambassador John Bolton has stated that there is “amazing confusion” on the part of the president and that the red line was a mistake. Ambassador Bolton believes that trying to make sense of Obama’s foreign policy is like trying to nail Jello to the wall.

Some Media Help

In an effort to give Obama an out some of the media outlets are coming to the aid of Obama by trying to show that the president’s exact words do not box him into a corner.  According to ABC News, the president’s exact words were:

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

They argue that the president never defined “a whole bunch of chemical weapons” and never stated what would happen if the red line was crossed.  This is just more Orwellian double-speak.  I think we can all agree that when hundreds of people are killed and thousands are injured from the use of chemical weapons, it constitutes “a whole bunch” of chemical weapons.  Think of it as a page out of Clinton’s playbook.  It depends on what alone, sex, and is means.  True statesmen say what they mean and mean what they say.  They do not hide behind language, meanings, and nuances.  If the statesmen is unsure, he is smart enough to keep is mouth shut.

Ashton Kutcher’s Cool Conservative Talk

Every once in a while even Hollywood super stars can dish up a pleasant surprise.  I am not exactly sure where Hollywood mega star, Ashton Kutcher, stands on the political spectrum, but he came through with some pretty cool conservative talk at the Teen Choice Awards recently.

Kutcher, always a favorite of the teen girls, took the stage and announced that he felt like a fraud.  He then revealed that his real name was Chris.  Ashton is actually his middle name.  Kutcher then embarked on a laundry list of advice for those in attendance.

Work Hard

Kutcher stated that, “I believe opportunity looks a lot like hard work.”  He went through the list of menial jobs that he held during his teenage years.  Kutcher proceeded to utter words that would make every conservative cheer.  He said, “And, I’ve never had a job that I was better than.  I was always just lucky to have a job.”  He went on to explain that each job was a stepping stone in his life and he never left one until he had something else in place.

Kutcher was spot on with his advice, especially for a generation of kids growing more selfish and narcissistic by the year.  I once heard a child psychologist comment that the problem with teenagers today is an overinflated opinion of their standing in the world.   Social media affords kids the opportunity to regurgitate their entire life before the world.  They begin to see the world as a documentary on THEIR life.  The rest of the world – parents, friends, siblings, teachers, and neighbors – are all merely extras in their life-movie.


Kutcher moved to his second piece of advice.  Be sexy.  Of course, the teen crowd cheered and hollered.  But Kutcher had something else in mind:

“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it! Be smart, be thoughtful and be generous.”

In one move Kutcher called for an end to consumerism and the return of courtesy and manners.

Build Your Life

Finally, Kutcher drew upon the wisdom of Steve Jobs, who he portrays in the movie Jobs.  Jobs knew that there were certain things that people expected and many in this world just conform to those expectations.  Kutcher told the audience, not to merely live a life of conformance, but build a life.  Essentially, think outside the box and live your dream.

The Bottom Line

Kutcher obviously had something on his mind.   Some have questioned his motives.  I do not question Kutcher’s motives.  In the Netflix drama, House of Cards, Kevin Spacy plays Congressman Frank Underwood.  Underwood once uttered words something to the effect, ‘It’s nice to do business with someone who knows how to ride a gift horse as opposed to looking it in the mouth.’  Kutcher’s words and advice are a breath of fresh air for a culture that is based on greed and self-absorption.  Whatever his motives, I am happy that a celebrity has delivered some pretty cool conservative principles:  Work hard.  Be sexy (smart).  Build your life.

Wayne Bradley · Conservative is Cool · Blog · Interviews · Digital Marketing · Donate