America Isn’t The Greatest. But It Can Be.
Nov 2013 16

Nov 2013 12

What if Democrats and Republicans were two wings of the same bird of prey?

What if elections were actually useful tools of social control? What if they just provided the populace with meaningless participation in a process that validates an establishment that never meaningfully changes? What if that establishment doesn’t want and doesn’t have the consent of the governed? What if the two-party system was actually a mechanism used to limit so-called public opinion? What if there were more than two sides to every issue, but the two parties wanted to box you into a corner, one of their corners?

What if there’s no such thing as public opinion, because every thinking person has opinions that are uniquely his own?

What if what we call public opinion was just a manufactured narrative that makes it easier to convince people that if their views are different, then there’s something wrong with that or there’s something wrong with them?

What if the whole purpose of the Democratic and Republican parties was not to expand voters’ choices, but to limit them?

What if the widely perceived differences between the two parties was just an illusion?

What if the heart of the government policy remains the same, no matter who’s in the White House?

What if the heart of government policy remains the same, no matter what the people want?

What if those vaunted differences between Democrat and Republican were actually just minor disagreements?

What if both parties just want power and are willing to have young people fight meaningless wars in order to enhance that power? Source: LYBIO.net

What if both parties continue to fight the war on drugs just to give bureaucrats and cops bigger budgets and more jobs?

What if government policies didn’t change when government leaders did?

What if no matter who won an election, government stayed the same?

What if government was really a revolving door for political hacks, bent on exploiting the people once they’re in charge?

What if both parties supported welfare, war, debt, bailouts and big government?

What if the rhetoric that candidates displayed on the campaign trail was dumped after electoral victory?

What if Barack Obama campaigned as an antiwar, pro-civil liberties candidate, and then waged senseless wars while assaulting your rights; that the Constitution is supposed to protect?

What if George W. Bush campaigned on a platform of nonintervention and small government, and then waged a foreign policy of muscular military intervention and a domestic policy of vast government borrowing and growth?

What if Bill Clinton declared that the era of big government was over, but actually just convinced Republicans like Newt Gingrich that they can get what they want out of big government, too? What if the Republicans went along with it?

What if Ronald Reagan spent six years running for president, promising to shrink the government, but then the government grew while he was in the White office? What if, notwithstanding Reagan’s ideas and cheerfulness and libertarian rhetoric, there really was no Reagan Revolution at all?

What if all this is happening again? What if Rick Santorum is being embraced by voters who want small government even though Senator Santorum voted for the Patriot Act, for an expansion of Medicare and for raising the debt ceiling by trillions of dollars?

What if Mitt Romney is being embraced by voters who want anyone but Barack Obama, but they don’t realize that Mitt Romney might as well be Barack Obama on everything from warfare to welfare?

What if Ron Paul is being ignored by the media not because as it claims he’s unappealing or unelectable, but because he doesn’t fit into the pre-manufactured public-opinion mold used by the establishment to pigeonhole the electorate and create the so-called narrative that drives media coverage of elections?

What if the biggest difference between most candidates was not substance but style? What if those stylistic differences were packaged as substantive ones to reinforce the illusion of a difference between Democrats and Republicans?

What if Mitt Romney wins and ends up continuing most of the same policies the Barack Obama promoted? What if Barack Obama’s policies, too, are merely extensions of those from George W. Bush?

What if a government that manipulated us could be fired? What if a government that lacked the true and knowing consent of the governed could be dismissed? What if it were possible to have a real game-changer? What if we need a Ron Paul to preserve and protect our freedoms from the government?

What if we can make elections matter again? What if we could do something about this?

- Judge Napolitano (Feb 2012)

Technically, Getting Political
May 2013 02

I have attended three local political events in the past ten days. That is three more than I attended all of last year. But, as the flurry of activity died down on the national campaign cycles, where big money and SuperPACs actually were the ones with impact, the momentum has started picking up for some big local elections this fall.  As I listened to candidates and representatives from campaigns, one thing became clear: an understanding that technology is important is no longer enough, first hand knowledge and personal examples of using technology for the benefit of their constituents is the new standard.

This truth was on display at the Start Up City Conference hosted by Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer. Starting the day with a Keynote by the “Godfather of the NYC Start-Up Scene,” Fred Wilson, the day brought a well rounded look into the ways that the city of New York is thinking about the growing digital industry as well as shed light on how far the Big Apple is behind other smaller cities in terms of connectivity and infrastructure. Some of the harshest words toward that end came from Andrew Rasiej as he called out Chattanooga, TN for having internet “20 times faster than New York.” As the Chairman of the 32,000 member New York TechMeetUp, Rasiej and their community have laid out their top seven policy initiatives.

The conference wrapped up with a panel of almost all of the candidates for New York Mayor and was moderated by Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith. Mr. Smith started off the panel with the only question that seemed to really matter to the technorati in the audience, “What kind of phone do you use personally and what is your favorite app?” 100% of the candidates answered that they used a Blackberry personally and only half of them could name their favorite app. The other half resembled Sarah Palin when Katie Couric asked he about her reading habits: “Oh yes, apps, I use a lot of them. I couldn’t name one specifically that I like because I just seem to like them all.” The candidates that could name an app were split between MLB and Pandora as their favorite app.  And while you can’t judge a person by their apps, but is was a huge miss to not show some competence in using the technology that is free and readily available to make their own lives better as their example of a favorite app. And made an even bigger miss when they could have given a shout out to some of the fantastic companies making that technology right here in NYC. These response to the question drew me back to another event that I attended earlier in the week.

“We need leaders that know and that use tech” was the opening statement from Twitter and Square’s Jack Dorsey as he endorsed and introduced Reshma Saujani for New York’s Public Advocate at her rally last week. The packed room erupted in cheers as when taking the stage Ms. Saujani told the crowd that “we don’t need another politician, we need a change agent.” She went on to lay out her personal experience in the world of digital and technology and pointed to her experiences founding girls who code. Running an incredible digital savvy campaign, Ms. Saujani is the first of what I hope to be many more technology entrepreneurs who make the cross over to involvement in public service. As the digital community digs deeper and brings more value to every area of our lives, we need leaders in every level of government who understand, and are not afraid, of technology.

The final event that I attended was for Michelle Wu, a candidate for the City Council in Boston. In the back of a fantastic restaurant on the Upper West Side, Jacob’s Pickles, current and former residents of Boston gathered to hear an update on their city given its recent tragedy, but also to hear Ms. Wu’s vision for the future. As a recent graduate of Harvard’s Law School and an alumnus of Elizabeth Warren’s successful bid for the US Senate, there were more than just loft ideas share, but comprehensive plans for action. “True change happens locally when people, when neighbors, come together for the good of their community.”

I am fascinated by politics. Perhaps even more so as I recently went on a West Wing to Scandal to House of Cards political entertainment binge fest. But also because, much to the dismay or my Libertarian leanings, government is going to be a part of just about every meaningful initiative that I undertake going forward. Whether building companies, launching nonprofits, structuring my will and estate plan, or just saving for retirement, there are rules and regulations to be understood. And having the right people with a seat at the table for those conversations and future reforms is most definitely in all of our best interest.

Mar 2013 26

A lot of people don’t know this, but I have been in a relationship with another man since 2007. Both of us being adults, made this legally binding decision freely and with confidence because it was right for us. There have been ups and downs, but, like all relationships, we have found ways to work through it and move on. Our ability to do what is in each other’s best interest and build something awesome together was in no way impeded by the fact that we are both men.

Before we entered into this relationship, we talked through what would happen if one of us were to pass away, become disabled, or want to leave the relationship at some point in the future. We knew what we were getting ourselves into and the government said it was okay by them.

Amazingly, our contract to enter into this relationship wasn’t protested because we were both men. When we finished filing our documents, no one else felt like we were encroaching on their relationship or keeping them from having a fulfilling lifelong relationship as a result. Our all male relationship didn’t keep anyone who was in a man and woman relationship from living out that choice for them.  When it was all said and done, the LLC that me my business partner formed didn’t affect ANYONE but us.

And, while forming an LLC is a much less emotionally charged issue than that of legally recognized marriage, there are some stark and clear parallels that I can’t help but think about today.  When two adults decide that they want to enter into a lifelong relationship, who should be able to stop them? The government sees no reason to not let me and my male business partner be committed to each other for life because our gender, age, and race make no difference in our ability to make that decision for ourselves.

On an even more personal note, Annie and I are in love. And have been for almost ten years. We’ve chosen to build our lives together, are committed to each other, and don’t need anyone to tell us that our love isn’t as real as theirs because we don’t have a marriage certificate. But, when the day comes and we decide that we want to sign that legal document, I can’t even imagine what I would do if people who don’t know us told us we couldn’t because they didn’t like that we were in love. Our love doesn’t affect them and has nothing to do with theirs.

Love is a choice between two people. Not the church. Not the government. Love is not something to be regulated or allowed. Love is far bigger than any definition we can put on it.

“Love is only a word until we decide to let it possess us with all its force. Love is only a word until someone arrives to give it meaning.” – Paulo Coelho

Huntsman 2016
Aug 2012 18

I asked myself the other day if it was too early to be thinking about the 2016 election due to my continued boredom with this year’s election. I decided that it wasn’t since that is what all the most qualified politicians did this year instead of run against Obama or throw their hat into the three ring circus that the Republican Primary was.

But, the one person that did throw his hat into the ring, that I immediately resonated with was Jon Huntsman. In the primaries and the debates he presented himself as the closed option to my political leanings in his practical approach to the challenges our country faces. My respect for him grow even more when he bowed out after New Hampshire. He knew he’d gotten his name out there enough to be able to come back in 2016 with some swagger.

While America watches the craziness that is the Obama/Romney slugfest for the +/- 10% of the voting electorate that haven’t decided who they’re going to vote for, Huntsman has continued to share his thoughts and vision for America. In an appearance at the Aspen Institute, he dives into the three deficits that must be addressed in order for our nation to move forward.

1) Economic: Our national debt is a national security problem.

2) Trust: No one trust our government to act in the best interest of the country. (9% approval rating for Congress)

3) Confidence: There aren’t ideas been put forward or actions being taken by either party to install confidence that our country is headed in the right direction.

These three idea must be wrapped in the truth that has been forgotten: We are Americans first and foremost before we are Democrats or Republicans or Independence.

“We’ve forgotten how to come together as Americans, we don’t know how to do that anymore. We’ve forgotten waht it means to put our nation first. Sure, well disagree along the pathway towards an outcome. But, lost in this current conversation is any civility, any respect, and any shred of history of how our parties have benefitted our country in the past by having an open dialogue that puts our nation first.”

Watch the holy conversation here: