Category Archives: Freedom

Show & Tell: Grass Roots

Last week for Show & Tell I bragged on my Dad being recognized for grassroots activism, and you indulged me like good friends and classmates do. Dad (Oopiderf) savored each of your comments, as did I. (*Bows head in appreciation .*)

Some of you inquired about his speech, and he was only too happy to comply. It’s short — about 4 minutes in delivery, and shorter to read. Please enjoy.

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Acceptance speech for the Vern Bickel Grass Roots Award

“Will all the morons in the room please stand up?” said the professor to his new class. After a seemingly long, uncomfortable silence a young man stood up. “Sir,” quizzed the professor, “do you consider yourself to be a moron?” Haltingly the student answered, “Not really—I just hated to see you standing there all by yourself.”

When you’re a grassroots activist do you, like me, sometimes feel like you’re “standing there all by yourself”?

I’m honored to and grateful to the Independence Institute for this award. I publicly express the great gratitude I have for my wife Dottie, for her understanding and support, and for that of my three daughters and their families.

I was fortunate to spend five years as Director of Economic Affairs at Adolph Coors Company, learning, teaching, researching, writing and speaking economics, things like four magic words: Only people pay taxes.

A few things I like to tell:

  • Anticipating my first grandchild I wondered what Jake would owe for interest on the public debt. My tab when I was born (in 1995 dollars) was $77, a generation later Sheri’s was $284. Jake was born owing $1,265. Another generation and Jake’s child would owe $5,700 annual public debt interest, just by being born!
  • A handy question always is “Compared to what?” My eldest daughter [that’s me!] called for some tax data for her blog. I told her serfs in Merry Old England paid a third of the fruits of their labors to the manorial lord for his protection and use of his land. Today we pay 41%. That’s 25% federal and 16% to state-and-local governments.
  • 2008’s per-capita tax burden for public debt interest alone is nearly $1500, or about $6000 for a family of four, comprising 18% of the federal budget. That means all Americans work about two weeks for nothing–no government services, only for Congress’ past fiscal irresponsibility, to my view.
  • Politicians bragged about four years of budget surplus, 1998-2001, that should have reduced the public debt by $560 billion. It increased $960 billion. It was a $1.5 trillion lie.
  • My June 2003 Independence Institute paper, “A Decade of TABOR” [Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, passed in Colorado in 1992] showed the power of containing government. Ten years before the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, all job growth was 18%, about 248,000; ten years after, 35%, 586,000 jobs. Interestingly, between the two ten-year periods, government employment growth dropped from 21% to 20%; non-government jobs more than doubled to 38%.

How about the “dumbing down” of modern education? Bill Coors called it “contrived ignorance.” What the people don’t know makes them vulnerable and easily fooled. This brings forth two questions: 1) Who contrived it? And 2) How did they do it? That brings forth a third question: 3) What can we do about it?

Thomas Jefferson said, ‘If the people don’t have enough information to wield power correctly, don’t take the power from them. Give them the information.” That’s the answer I’ve worked for 20 years on two projects to accomplish just that.

Both projects go under the radar of modern education, from the people to the people, via email and the Internet. One is Project America, to teach quickly and effectively the power and majesty of America’s Freedom Documents—Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution and its incredibly important Bill of Rights, to get it into every head, heart and hand in the land.

The other is for the people to get Congressional spending under control with the One Percent Solution in the National Declaration of Fiscal Integrity. Implenting the projects will take citizens about 20 minutes a month.

Concluding, I tell you about my neighbor directly across the street. Their son was killed a month ago in Iraq. We went to their Fort Logan honorable last rites. On their car is a bumper sticker that says, “All gave some. My son gave all,” Staff Sergeant Kennith Mayne, and at the bottom, DOB, date of birth, and KIA, Killed in Action. If they can do what they do “over there” what can we be doing “over here”?

When I review who we are, where we came from and where we want to go, I consider each and every person a grassroots activist for personal freedom and political liberty, for limited government and self-governing people. Thanks for so generously supporting the Independence Institute and for all the good work you do. And thanks for the honor of this evening.

Thanks, Dad, for basically guest posting for me today. It goes a long way toward forgiving you for the whole You-MUST-watch-Free-to-Choose tug of war back when I was a teenager.

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Ms Melissa, who is now preselling her book, will call on the next person for Show & Tell. So get back in your chair!
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Show & Tell: Dad’s night

Is this Show & Tell Day or Career Day? No matter.

Fellow classmates, I bring to you My Dad, the Superhero. No, he’s not a fireman, an astronaut, or a rodeo clown.

He’s even more exciting.

He’s an economist. Da-da-da-daaaaaaa!

Earlier this month, my dad was honored by a Colorado-based think tank for his legacy of community activism and political mentorship.


The Independence Institute awarded the Vern Bickel Award for Grassroots Leadership to Dad during their annual Founders Night.

Because of his VIP status, my mom, my sister, and our husbands were able to crash drink at this hoity-toity party and even dine at Table #1 with President Jon Caldara (even if you disagree with him, you’re sure to find him entertaining) and keynote speaker Michelle Malkin.

(Gino, Tami, Dad, Mom, me, Roger)

After Dad received his award, he gave an incredible speech about
responsibility and sacrifice, freedom and liberty, the lengths people will go to gain it, and how easily it can be lost.
I was moved nearly to tears by pride for my upstanding and eloquent Dad. I think showing off a bit about him is appropriate for Show & Tell, don’t you?


Ready for recess? First check out the other Showers & Tellers in Ms Melissa’s room.

 

The election — a giant crap game?

Regarding the Federal Reserve, which is not “federal” (it’s NOT a government agency — it’s a privately held corporation and its ownership is a well-guarded secret):

“People talk about the issue of Republican vs Democrat… It’s organized crime. You call the Republicans ‘Genoveses’ and the Democrats ‘the Gambinos.’

The people at the top treat it like it’s their crap game. They’re making a lot of money. Occasionally somebody at the table shoots each other but the moment anything threatens their crap game, they all unite to protect it.

They’re both controlled by the same financial, economic and corporate interests.”

Michael Ruppert, FromtheWilderness.com in this film (at 59:32).

All this campaign ugliness has been a red herring, a non-choice masquerading as choice, some expert sleight-of-hand to get citizens to hand over more and more of our personal and economic freedoms.

No matter how you voted, I encourage you to keep an eye on your liberties in the coming years.

Forget the candidates. Let’s talk core beliefs.

The personalities are fleeting but the principles are permanent. Hopefully not semi-permanent.

I’m talking about how we organize as a group of 305 million individuals, the grand experiment in self-government that was launched 232 years ago and will hopefully extend through future generations (feels quite shaky now, though, doesn’t it?).

So let’s take a break from the campaign crud and think beyond the relative temporariness of all the faces we’ve grown to love and/or hate.

(I loved when SNL Weekend Update announced the winner of the VP debate: the person you already liked. So true! I watched the Twitter stream during the debate and noted that it was more an exercise in entrenchment than enlightenment.)

Is the polarization on the candidates due to our being easily swayed by smears, minutiae, and manipulation? Or is it because we have fundamental disagreements on what our political and economic systems should look like? I’d like to explore the latter.

I hope many of you will engage in this discussion. It’s harder to examine your core beliefs than to “go with your gut” on a candidate, and I hope you’ll indulge me. Just four questions.

Leave comments here or do a post on your own blog. I’d like to reach beyond my own readers to see others’ ideas of utopia. You can even add a question if you want — make the question(s) your own. And I don’t even need to say that we should stay respectful, right?

Whether you are in or outside of the US, I am interested in hearing from you.

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1. Overall,* do you believe people are basically bad (1) or good (100)? Try to put a number on it.

2. Overall, do you think the best economic system would reward people based on what they need (1) or on what they deserve (100)? Again, put a number on it.

3. What do you think are the main functions (say, 5-10 of them) of government? You could even divide your list into (a) Federal and (b) State/Local.

4. In an ideal society, what percentage of the wealth created by citizens should go to fund government**? In other words, what is a fair price to pay for the functions of government you list in #3?

* Yes, in all these rating questions there will be “it depends” and “in some cases” and innumerable qualifiers. I am asking you to think overall.

** As a benchmark, all three levels of government currently consumed 38.8% in 2006 (data from Economic Report of the President, February, 2008.