Archive for March, 2015

Read this first – – – -> What History Says About Ted Cruz’s Chances (by CNN’s Julian Zelizer)

The article above is an opinion post that a friend of mine just sent me. The article is written by a liberal CNN columnist. Read the article first, and then read my comments below:

A couple of things I notice when reading an article like this.

1. The author is a CNN liberal who wrote a book about Lyndon Johnson. That should give you an idea about his mindset. Coincidentally, this article compares Cruz’s campaign to Barry Goldwater’s campaign against Johnson 50 years ago. So he’s somewhat of a subject matter expert on LBJ’s political campaign. He fails to mention Johnson ran in 1960 against JFK and lost, then became JFK’s vice president for two years. Then, he ran for president again in 1965-69 as the “incumbent” and won.

2. He wrote this article in haste. Rumors started only a day ago that Cruz was filing for a run on Monday. Cruz’s announcement comes out in 12 hours, and he wanted to put this article out first. 5:00pm on a Sunday. It’s Julian’s and CNN’s way of damage control. Nothing more – nothing less. They are trying to persuade the low information voter.

3. The CNN author states “Cruz will test the conventional wisdom that Goldwater’s strategy was and remains a failure…Johnson defeated Goldwater in a landslide election that brought in huge liberal Democratic majorities.” Again, he fails to mention he lost the 1961 election, and why 1965 was such a landslide. He became JFK’s Vice President. JFK had a huge approval rating but was assassinated.

gallup poll approval rating
So Johnson became President for two years and then ran a reelection on JFK’s coat tails. That’s hardly comparable to a potential Hillary Clinton v. Ted Cruz battle in 2016.
4. He says stuff like, “Barring any dramatic changes in the coming months, Democrats will also have a very strong and seasoned nominee in Hillary Clinton.” I think that this is just hilarious. Hillary Clinton is in the same boat as Harry Reid, John McCain, Bill Clinton, and Mitt Romney – the are old news. So old in fact, they can’t even keep up with social media.

Where other experts like Rush Limbaugh suggest that if the Democratic Party wanted Clinton, they would have nominated her two terms ago against Obama. He also suggests that the White House is behind the email scandal leak. Obama is essentially throwing her under the bus to setup a different nominee. Probably Elizabeth Warren.

5. “Cruz is also not just someone who defends extremism, but a politician who can easily be tied to the congressional obstructionism that has turned off so much of the electorate. The Republican Party has been dragged down by the kind of politics that voters have observed in Washington. In 2014 congressional approval ratings plummeted to 14%…” He fails to define “congressional obstructionism” and how Cruz is guilty of it. Because of his filibuster in the Senate? What about all the liberal filibusters over the years? They don’t count as ‘congressional obstructionism?’

He doesn’t mention the Democrat’s approval rating either- just Congress’ approval rating as a whole. He just outright calls Cruz an extremist. He says the reason the GOP has been dragged down is because of his filibuster. He filibustered because the Republicans won’t stand up to the Democrats. The GOP is dividing, which is obvious from Glen Beck’s recent statements.
6.  “The kind of scorched earth, always say no to anything politics has not done well in terms of the favorability ratings. There have been few practitioners of this style of legislative politics as prominent as Cruz. Monday, Cruz will bask in the spotlight of his announcement. But Republicans are going to have to really think hard about whether they want to put all of their electoral eggs in this volatile basket which, at least based on the history, has a very slim chance of winning.”

Get bent Julian Zelizer. The more scared liberals get of a legitimate threat, the more lies they spread. Ted Cruz doesn’t “always say no to anything” any more than any other Senator or Representative in Congress in the last 20 years. If you think Ted Cruz is “basking in the spotlight” like Hollywood liberal celebrities, you’re an idiot. Not everybody that wants to run for President is power happy.

I’m more Republican than Democrat, and I don’t have to “really think hard” about the electoral college votes. Instead of voting for the only candidate that I think has a chance of winning the presidency, I’m going to vote for the presidential candidate that best suits me – – RAND PAUL. Ted Cruz is a close second.  🙂

DON’T TREAD ON ME.

February 16, 2015

Dear Mason,

Today is your mother’s birthday. I’m sitting in the hospital right this second with her and you. Mommy brought you to the ER because you had a 100.2 degree fever. You’ve got a bad, croopy cough and you’re wheezing a little, and they won’t let you leave just yet. That’s a story for a different day though. This is a great opportunity to write Lesson 4. I haven’t had a lot of time to write these. Why? Because I’ve been working seven days a week. Why? Because your mother and I are broke.

Let me tell you how I got to be broke at age 30 (and your mother at age 28 today, HBD!). When I was a kid, I didn’t pay attention to the way things worked. I didn’t pay for things at stores because my parents did it for me. I was just a kid. When we went grocery shopping, bought gas, or did anything that required money, us kids were just out of the loop. It was grown-up stuff, and my parents were old fashioned. Well, we never transitioned. I got older and older, and I never got a money talk. My parents never told me how things work. Come to find out, they were broke when they got married – and then still when they had me.

So – I just started wingin’ it. When I turned 15, I started bugging my parents to drive. I got my learner’s permit immediately, and started driving my parents from here to there. I didn’t buy gas because I didn’t have a job yet. I didn’t pay for the car payment or the insurance either. I didn’t know those things existed. I didn’t know how much car payments or insurance even costed. I just drove.

When I turned 16, a couple of things changed. I started taking the family minivan and driving to places by myself. It was super exciting at first, but then it leveled off a little. It turned normal and boring quick. I started really becoming independent, and my parents weren’t there to put gas in the tank. So, I got my first job. It was at Super Lube on Capital Circle, and I was making about $5.15 an hour. It was minimum wage, but gas was about $1.25 a gallon at the time. Gas was about the only thing I needed to pay for. The family minivan was already paid off. So when I got my first couple of pay checks, I didn’t have any idea what I needed to do with them. I just spent them on gas and bought “things”. I bought a paintball gun. I bought a new mountain bike at the Tallahassee Mall. My only bill was gas, and I had that well taken care of with a part time job. I just spent the rest because I had no idea I needed to stock pile cash for the future. I was a 16-year-old with no guidance. If you’re 16 reading this, please realize you’re a dumbass. Why? Because you’re going to be exactly like I was when I was 16. Please don’t make the same mistakes I did.

I changed jobs a couple times in high school. I worked at a place called Turtle’s Music with my best friend Sam. I put stickers on CD’s for $6.00 an hour. Then I got a job at Proctor GMC, Hummer, Cadillac when it existed. DCT in high school helped me and Kyle (friend from high school) get jobs there. For some stupid reason they hired two people for the same job and didn’t tell us. We ‘helped’ each other out changing oil on cars. The other guy was a 50-year-old black man, and we didn’t realize we were auditioning for the same job. I got fired shortly after. Kyle worked as a helper to a service writer. He just pulled cars around. He got fired (or quit) shortly after me. Come to find out, his dad owned Golden Corral! After that, we both started waiting tables at GC, and that’s where we both still were working when we joined the Marine Corps. It was a good high school job, and I made cash tips.

From job to job, nothing changed. I didn’t figure anything out. I didn’t know what was going on. For years and years and years, I never saw the big picture. I didn’t save any of my money. I wasn’t career oriented, but no high school kid was. Right? Having crappy jobs and making almost no money wasn’t the worst part. I started 9th grade/high school with $0 in my bank account. (I didn’t have a bank account.) I started cashing pay checks at Publix. By the time I graduated high school four years later, all the money I had to my name was in my pocket – and that was it. Maybe $200. Four years of working, and I had $200 to show for it. All the toys I bought were heavily used at this point. I made probably $10,000 or $12,000 in those couple of years, but where in the hell did that money go? Well, I’ll tell you.

My first car was a 1979 Chevy Camaro Z-28. My dad bought it for me as a surprise. It was $3,000 at a used car lot. I don’t want to hate on my dad too much at this point in the story, but we lived in a half-million dollar house at the time. Seacoast had $1 million in sales annually, and he probably made over $100,000 a year. He had just ordered a brand new Chevy Suburban from the dealership. He could have gotten me a nicer car! Haha. Anyway, I never paid for my first several cars – all Camaros. After somebody (an off-duty police officer) hit me in that car, I got a 1988 Chevy Camaro IROC-Z convertible. It was a horrible decision on Dad’s part. He got $7,000 from the insurance and paid $2,700 for this piece of crap. After it lived in the shop for months, we had over $9,000 in it. I didn’t pay for the new radiator. I didn’t pay for the new tires. I didn’t pay for the new exhaust. I didn’t pay for any of it – and I only briefly overheard how much those things costed to fix.

The first car I was personally responsible for was a 1998 Chevy Camaro V6. It was a great car when I got it. But I would soon turn it into a piece of crap. I found it for sale in the newspaper, and I started working on Dad about it. I had been driving a white Ford F-100 for working with Dad, I think. Anyway, I didn’t have any money, I was 17, and I convinced dad that I could get a loan. I convinced him that I could pay for the car payment, which was probably $150 a month, and the insurance, which was probably about the same for a driver like me. Plus gas. So now I was making $600 or $700 a month, and now I owed more than half of it in bills each month. Horrible mistake on my part. Honestly though, was it more my fault or my dumbass Dad’s for letting me do it?? What smart business man lets their kid get a car loan he can’t afford at all? So if I tell you know about something – this is why.

Regardless, I currently work at Minco Auto & Truck Accessories. My boss here is Louis. He’s five years older than me. He owns the property, the business, everything. Anyway, when he turned 16, he bought his first truck, a Ford Ranger, in cash. He saved up enough money from working at a car race shop. I’m not sure what year it was, but from his stories, it was $10,000. So here you’ve got too completely different kids. One that drug his Dad to the bank and had him co-sign on a $9,500 loan for a car with over 100,000 miles on it, and one that worked from age 14 to save money to buy a new truck. Have you ever heard of a 16-year-old in high school that bought his own truck in cash? Are any of your friends doing that? Are any of your friend’s parents buying them vehicles with no strings attached? Because I see it at Minco on a weekly basis.

This story gets more retarded. When my Dad was 16 (1973?), he walked into the Dodge dealership and bought a new Dodge Dart Sport in cash. He worked for himself for two years doing odd jobs for neighbors. He drove a dump truck at age 15. He told me he saved his money, and after he had enough, he went in and spent $3,000 on a new 1973 Dodge Dart Sport. He’s told me the story a dozen times, but it just doesn’t make any sense. My Dad loved his kids back then. He says, “I wanted you guys to have things – things that I didn’t have when I was a kid” because he grew up poor in 1970’s Crawfordville, Florida. If he knew what he was doing, why in the hell would he subject his oldest kid to almost $10,000 in debt when he was 17? What’s the life lesson there? I don’t understand why he didn’t either A) buy a car in cash and make me pay him back or B) make me save money and do without a car until I could buy one in cash. I wouldn’t find out the answer to this until 2013.

Anyway, I ended up getting that car taken away from me because of speeding tickets too. Dad sold it and paid the loan off. I had probably a dozen speeding tickets at that point. I wasn’t responsible enough for a car because I didn’t have to work to get it. I just nagged Dad and the bank gave it to me. I made some payments, was probably late on my payments here and there – and then it was gone as quickly as it arrived.

The moral of the story is that there is a point to having a job. It isn’t just something to do after school. It isn’t just so you can go to the mall or to the movies. It isn’t so you can buy toys. Having a job is about being independent. Having a job is about financial security. Financial security keeps you safe from all types of things. It buys you lawyers, doctors, car mechanics, and people to fix your house after a hurricane. It buys you guns and ammo, food, water and transportation (see my future post about surviving the zombie apocalypse). Everything in life revolves around having money. You want to invest in new business ideas, you have to pay for college books, you have to pay for health insurance. Everything requires money.

From a young age, my parents would teach me that money doesn’t buy happiness. They would say I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. My dad said he hated his job (travelling salesman), and that I needed to go to college so I didn’t have to have his job when I was his age. They said that I should find a hobby that makes me happy, and figure out how I could turn it into a paying job. All lies. Quite possibly the worst advice you could possibly give a teenager.

If I could send my 16 year old self a message, it would sound something like this:

Stop being a dumbass, and think about what you’re doing. You’re taking the rest of your life in your own hands right now. You are at a point in your life where things are transitioning. You are transitioning from being a student to being a member of the American workforce, and you don’t realize that your decisions today effect the rest of your life.

To get a good idea of what you want to be when you grow up – find a mentor. Find somebody that looks like they have things figured out. If you think working at a hospital is an awesome idea – find somebody working at a Hospital to shadow. If you think being a police officer or a lawyer is awesome, find somebody that can answer questions. Ask them questions. Anything and everything you can think of. When you are 30 years old, how much money do you want to be making? $20,000 – $30,000 – $40,000 – $50,000 a year? Do you think its easy to have a wife and kid and own a house making $20,000 a year? Do you think city cops make $50,000 a year? Think again.

If you don’t graduate from high school with good grades, it starts a habit you’ll be in the rest of your life. If you don’t go to college, be prepared to work low wage jobs for a long time. If you get a degree in something retarded, be prepared to find work far from your major. Talk to college grads, talk to as many coaches and teachers and friends and family about their experiences in the job market. See what people are doing and what they’ve learned. You aren’t going to get a job with the City or the State or the CIA or FBI – you aren’t going to be the CEO of a big company – by dropping out of college and working at Burger King. You have to work for it. You have to get an entry level job and work your way up the ladder.

Money buys you happiness. It buys you piece of mind. It buys you a home and food on the table. It buys your baby new clothes and toys. It buys happiness. You can’t be anything you want when you grow up. When I was growing up, all I cared about was racing. I cared about racing my Camaro. How many kids grow up to be professional race car drivers? That’s ridiculous.

My father should have made me work at a lawn care company all through high school and then open my own company after I graduated with a business degree. He should have made me work for a plumber or electrician or a construction company here in town. The work is not glamorous. The work sucks. I worked construction and lawn care for years while I was in the Marine Corps Reserves. However, that’s how you become your own boss. The owner of Tallahassee Landscaping owns a $350,000 boat. The owner of RH Masonry here in town has a different brand new $60,000 truck every month, and several $20,000 four-wheelers. The owners of every construction company in town are millionaires. They all have very expensive pick-up trucks and Corvettes. The owner of M Electric and W Plumbing all have brand new houses, brand new cars and have tons of money in the bank. Not to mention they are their own boss.

How did they get this way?

1. They’ve been in the same industry for 25 years. They know everything there is to know about their business.

2. They didn’t blow their money as soon as they got it.

3. They eventually started their own company instead of working for somebody else their whole life.

4. They put in long hard hours and were smart about their business decisions and money.

A famous pirate once said, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” Famous — as in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. Anyway, you’ll either grow up working for the man, or you’ll be the man. Getting a job in high school should help teach you about responsibility. Taking responsibility isn’t the easiest thing to teach or learn. It sucks because its hard. It should also teach you about being financially responsible and conservative. Dave Ramsey has some Baby Steps that I’ll introduce to you at a later date. Basically, he says that you have to crawl before you can walk. Save up some money and buy a cheap car. Save up some more money, and buy a nicer car. It helps if you don’t care what other people think about you (being in a trashy car). Always have money to fall back on. Always pay for things in cash because you’ll be servant to the lender if you don’t. Banks get rich by taking people’s money. They call it interest. It’s the price you pay for borrowing money from people for things you can’t afford.

I hope this shows you the importance of money. The entire world revolves around it. I always heard when I was growing up that money can’t buy happiness. That’s a freaking lie. Ever seen someone frown on a jet ski?

Don’t be like me. Don’t move from job to job for 15 years. Don’t look for a job that you think would be super fun. You’ll regret it. High school is the time to be thinking about how much money you want to be making in 10 years and go after it. Don’t think you can be an astronaut or a lawyer or a doctor. That’s not realistic. If you get good grades in school and are very book smart, then it’s realistic. But if you’re like me, you’re street smart. Be a leader. Be decisive. Be responsible and hold yourself to a standard. Some parents hold their kids to a straight A grade standard. I’m going to hold you to a high financial responsibility standard.

I wish my parents would have done that for me.

Love,

Dad