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Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

WHAT I LEARNED BY 5TH GRADE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 27, 2019

BRYCE ON HISTORY

– I suspect it is a lot more than what they teach today in high school.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have recently been a guest on various radio talk shows to discuss the fundamental mechanics of American government. Inevitably, we discuss the teaching of Civics and History in schools, which I believe is lacking. I then recounted what I had learned during my elementary grade school years, which I believe was better than most high schools today.

Let me preface this by saying I attended Fox Run Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut from 1961-1965, over fifty years ago. I have many fond memories of the school and enjoyed going there. Connecticut is, of course, a part of New England and, as such, there is a great sense of history in terms of the founding of our country. There is also an attachment to the sea as exemplified by the Mystic seaport.

I was attending class at Fox Run when the student body was told of the assassination of President Kennedy by our principal, Mr. Kelly. I was in 4th Grade at the time and vividly remember how it was announced to us, after-which we were dismissed from school. Nonetheless, Fox Run taught the usual subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but there was also a very strong curriculum for history.

During my time there, we watched the NASA Mercury and Gemini space programs during lunch hall on televisions brought in for us. Knowing the historical significance of the space program, the teachers made a concerted effort for us to watch the space shots which enraptured many of us.

In Social Studies class, we learned about the famous explorers of the world and why they traveled the seas to find new lands. We learned about Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco da Gama, Hernando de Soto, and others. We also learned about the Pilgrims, the Virginians, and the native Indians. The intent was to discuss how these various cultures affected each other, both good and bad. There was no discussion of political correctness, just “this is what happened” and when.

In all grades, we began the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, and sang a patriotic song, such as “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” and of course, the “Star-Spangled Banner.” We also observed Columbus Day by reviewing his voyage.

It was in 5th grade where the teachers zeroed in on American history. Naturally, we had a text book to study, but there was a lot of discussion on how the country was founded, going back to the French and Indian Wars, followed by the Revolution, and the Declaration of Independence. Keep in mind, as New Englanders we were all familiar with various historical sites in the area, so the Revolutionary War was near and dear to our hearts.

We read the Declaration, discussed how and why it was created, and committed quite a bit of it to memory, particularly, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Likewise, we memorized the preamble of the Constitution, to wit: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In discussing the Constitution, it was impressed upon us the three “separate but equal branches of government”; the executive, legislative, and judicial, and how this formed “checks and balances” on each other. We also reviewed the Bill of Rights and discussed how to amend the Constitution.

We spent considerable time discussing the Civil War, including why we went to war, the horrors of it, and the principals involved on both sides. Although we were Connecticut Yankees, I do not remember my teachers ever besmirching the names of southerners like General Robert E. Lee, or President Jefferson Davis. Again, there was no discussion of political correctness, just “this is what happened” and when.

In addition to the generals and politicians of the day, we also learned about Abolitionist John Brown, Nurse Clara Barton, Assassin John Wilkes Booth, the Underground Railroad, and the Gettysburg Address. As to the Address, we studied it carefully. Although we were not asked to memorize it, I know of others who had to do so as it was considered almost as important as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

After the Civil War, we studied Reconstruction, the various Presidents, World War I (which our grandfathers served in), and World War II (which our fathers served in). We spent time discussing Hitler’s rise to power, as well as the Holocaust, which was a real eye-opener to us if memory serves me right.

In looking back on this curriculum, it wasn’t too bad and we had no problem digesting it. I don’t know if Fox Run still teaches it, but I hope they do. I suspect we weren’t unique as I have discussed this with other friends my age who experienced similar teachings elsewhere.

It was this teaching that planted the seeds of history within me, which would later be supplemented in High School with more in-depth discussions, but the foundation was carefully laid at Fox Run. From my experience, what I learned there is much better than what is taught in the high schools today.

And, Yes, we learned the differences between a Democracy and a Republic.

By the way, thank you Mr. Hamilton and Mrs. Gilmore, wherever you may be.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Education, Government, History | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

DEMOCRACY VERSUS REPUBLIC

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 19, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Do you know the difference?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

One of my pet peeves involving politics is when people misstate our form of government. Normally, I would claim this as the fault of uneducated young people, but many politicians, members of the press, as well as grown-ups are also guilty of this faux pas. No, we most definitely do not live in a “democracy,” but a “constitutional republic” instead, as does most of the governments in the world.

In its truest sense, democracy means “Rule by the People,” meaning a system of government whereby the populace votes directly on each and every issue. When you consider the voluminous number of bills and candidates to be voted upon, this is simply not feasible, regardless if we had the most sophisticated computer software to do so. Time should be allotted to deliberate on each piece of legislation and, to do so, would require citizens to devote most of their time to such study, and not tend to their own business.

This is why we elect politicians, to represent our interests so the populace doesn’t have to vote on every bill, large or small, and explains why we refer to this as a “representative democracy,” aka “republic.” Here, the elected representatives are governed by a rule of law, such as a constitution, which defines the structure and responsibility of executive, legislative, and judicial tasks. Consequently, we call this form of government a “constitutional republic,” which is a more accurate description of our government than “democracy.” It should also be noted that under this form of government, the head of state is not a monarch, such as a King or Queen, which lends itself more to being a “monarchy” as opposed to a free-standing “republic.”

Every now and then, we hear a politician or member of the media proclaim, “This (or that) is a threat to our democracy.” This tells me they haven’t a clue as to what they are talking about. Instead, they should have said, “This is a threat to our republic.” Alas though, they do not.

The Democrats also have a problem with the name, particularly when they refer to themselves as the “Democratic” party. This too is incorrect. However, it is often difficult to describe the party, audibly or in writing, without making this common mistake. The term “Democracy” is so imbued in our culture, the Democrats try capitalizing on it to confuse the public, portraying the word “republic” as a constitutional threat to the country. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is now the largest socialist organization in the United States and aside from their far-left agenda, it is difficult to discern if they truly embrace democracy or a constitutional republic, I suspect the former.

Another commonly misunderstood area is the concept of the Electoral College in presidential elections, which is indirectly tied to the concept of “republic” as opposed to “democracy” by electing electorates (representatives) as opposed to a popular vote. By doing so, it provides parity between the interests of rural and metropolitan America. Frankly, the Electoral College is a testament to the sheer genius of our founding fathers as it encourages everyone to vote, not just large metropolitan areas.

Liberals believe the Electoral College is a threat to democracy, and it is reported as such by the press. In reality, they are correct as the College is intended to be used in a republic, not a democracy.

So, in a nutshell, No, we do not live in a democracy, in the truest sense of the word. We live in a “constitutional republic” and it is important all citizens understand the differences.

Following the writing of the U.S. Constitution, a woman approached Benjamin Franklin, who was one of the delegates and authors, and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?” He coyly replied, “A republic — if you can keep it.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

THE 116TH CONGRESS IS OFF AND RUNNING…BUT WHERE TO?

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 8, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Do not expect too much as we will be embroiled in gridlock.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The 116th U.S. Congress was sworn in on January 3rd. As expected, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) was elected Speaker of the House, who has the unenviable job of binding up a divided chamber of Congress, as well her own party, the Democrats. This will be Mrs. Pelosi’s last hurrah and will likely mark her legacy in the history books. Whereas the House is in the hands of the Democrats, the Senate remains under Republican control. Translation, nothing of substance will happen for the next two years as the two chambers will be hopelessly gridlocked. In terms of House Democrats, the Speaker will likely have trouble controlling the far left who fought her election as Speaker.

Beginning from Day One, the Democrats have drawn a line in the sand to confront Republicans and President Trump. The subject of impeaching the President raised its ugly head again and as I predicted the desire to do so will prove to be irresistible to Democrats. Frankly, the charges are frivolous, and veteran House Democrats know even if it is passed in their chamber, the president will be exonerated in the Republican controlled Senate. So, why go through this futile exercise? To simply besmirch the character of the president as a prelude to the 2020 presidential election. The only problem is, they will likely raise the ire of the American people who elected Mr. Trump, and this is what concerns the party’s leadership. It is more about character assassination as opposed to introducing legislation to solve our problems.

Freshmen Democrats are already rattling sabers. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI) unapologetically called the president a Mother******. This was followed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accusing the president of being a “no question” racist in a 60 Minutes interview. Neither taunts will play well in Poughkeepsie.

More trouble is in the offing though. Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) introduced legislation to eliminate the Electoral College in presidential elections, relying on the popular vote instead. Devised by our founding fathers, the Electoral College is simply brilliant in terms of maintaining parity between the interests of rural America and large metropolitan areas. Unfortunately, it is not well understood in the country anymore, particularly since Civic classes are no longer being taught in high schools. Should this legislation pass the House, it will not see the light of day in the Senate, as it would mean people in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, will dictate who becomes president, with little regard for main stream America. This is precisely the scenario our founding fathers hoped to avoid.

Rep. Cohen also introduced legislation to prohibit presidents from issuing pardons to themselves, their families, their administration or their campaign staff. This is a major change as the presidents have long possessed the right to pardon. What they want to avoid is a situation, such as in the final days of President Bill Clinton’s administration where he pardoned his Whitewater cronies, such as Susan McDougal. This too will likely not pass the Senate.

Also, legislation has been introduced mandating the publishing of tax returns of presidential candidates and executives in office. As I have reported in the past, this has always been an optional report for candidates to produce. It is likely the main stream media is driving this initiative. Personally, I believe your finances are your own personal affair. If you want to disclose it, fine, if not, that is fine also. Frankly, if the Democrats believe strongly in this, this should be made equally applicable to ALL government officials, including Congress and the Supreme Court, along with state, county, and municipal governments. What is good for the goose, should be good for the gander. This legislation will likely not pass as well.

Last, but certainly not least, the House and the president are at a stalemate regarding reopening the government and funding a wall for the southern border. The irresistible force has met the immovable object, and no amount of negotiations is going to change anything as it will be viewed as a sign of weakness by both sides. The one exception might be if President Trump does as he suggests and declares a national emergency which would allow him to appropriate funds for the wall. This will likely happen as the president has been releasing data and testimonies of the problems at our southern border in recent weeks. Should the president declare an emergency, it offers Democrats a way out of the confrontation without losing face, and the government can start back up again.

All of this highlights the gridlock in the nation’s capitol which we better get used to. The intent of the Democrats is to make the president look bad as we approach 2020. In addition to the legislation listed here, we will likely see a flurry of subpoenas designed to tie up the president and his administration, thereby obstructing his agenda. Because of the gridlock, we will not see anything of substance resulting from the 116th Congress, certainly not health care reform (which the Democrats campaigned on).

The only possibility might be in the area of addressing the nation’s decaying infrastructure but I am not optimistic about passage of such legislation as we are now embroiled in a game of one-upmanship, and neither side want to give the other a win.

Rep. Pelosi’s legacy will likely be defined by the gridlock of the Congress and the Democrat’s inability to bring this president to heel. If their shenanigan’s persist, they will run the risk of angering the American people, and assuring the Republicans regain the House, not to mention securing President Trump a second term. It will also likely fracture the Democrats, leaving us wondering who will become leader of their party in the House following Mrs. Pelosi’s tour of duty. People like Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD), Rep. Ray Lujan (NM), and Rep. James Clyburn (SC) will likely be viewed as clones of Mrs. Pelosi and may very well be rebuffed by younger Democrats who will want to chart a new course to the left.

The only thing we know for sure about the next two years is that it certainly will not be boring and the news media will support whoever emerges as an effective leader of the party.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

EXPANDING GOVERNMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 13, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Why it has gotten so.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Over the last 100 years the federal government has grown by leaps and bounds. The impetus for this is probably economic related (e.g., “The Great Depression,” and today’s world economy), and military related (including two world wars, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, numerous minor engagements, and the War on Terror). We also have several years of presidential campaigns heaped in where we were promised a lot more than two chickens in every pot or two cars in every garage. This has all changed the face of our government where we now have several more agencies and departments to deliver on presidential promises. For example, during my lifetime alone we have seen the introduction of several cabinet posts, such as HUD, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, EPA, and Homeland Security.

There are essentially two theories as to why government expands: that it is driven by citizen demand, or it is self-generating, that it grows naturally by itself. I tend to believe in the latter as I see it as an excellent example of Parkinson’s Law in action. The law, which was devised by C. Northcote Parkinson, a noted British historian and author was based on his experience with the British Civil Service. Among his key observation’s was that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Basically, he suggests people make work in order to rationalize their employment. Consequently, managers create bureaucracies and superfluous work to justify their existence, not because it is really needed (aka, the “making mountains our of mole hills” phenomenon).

We see examples of Parkinson’s Law in just about every government body, from federal to state, to municipal, to the smallest bodies of government, including Homeowner Associations. A few years ago I was President of my Homeowners Association where I was able to balance the budget, update their governing docs, and streamline their administrative affairs. It wasn’t hard, it just required a little common sense, nothing more, nothing less. Since I left the board of directors though, spending has gone through the roof, and we are now paying more for dues and getting a lot less in return. As I see it, my Homeowners Association is a microcosm of the problems with government; paying more and getting less. To illustrate, the only visible government services that impacts me directly are roads, water and sewage, the police, and education. Everything else is transparent to me. Others might include welfare, housing, and the environment, but I think this is the exception as opposed to the rule for most people. In other words, the average person sees little in return for the taxes they pay.

Then we come to the old argument as to whether government should be more or less intrusive in our lives which is actually a political argument. There are those who say we need more government since the average citizen is not smart enough to control his/her own destiny, and there are others who want less government control and more freedom. Understand this, the government grew over the last 100 years under both Democratic and Republican administrations. So political ideologue has no real bearing in this regard. It is simply a matter of management (or the lack thereof).

Recognizing companies were becoming bloated and inefficient, executives began to flatten corporate hierarchies in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The poster child for this was Jack Welsh of General Electric who earned the nickname “Neutron Jack” for his ability to flatten G.E. units. Welsh’s approach was reminiscent of Joseph Stalin’s purges which came in waves of three: the first was to eliminate the deadwood from around the office, representing the people who were the most expendable; the second wave of purges represented a major belt tightening effort intended to find out who the company could live without, and finally; the third wave was the hardest as it required considerable soul-searching but uncovered the bedrock of the corporation. What was left was a more efficient organization that was more focused on the right priorities.

Now imagine if we did something like this to our government; it would force a lot of bureaucrats out of office, it would create a leaner and more streamlined government, and it would force them to concentrate on the services that truly matter.

But for some reason I think most people like a fat government. They like having someone looking over their shoulder, kind of like a security blanket. As I found in my homeowner association though, the price of a bloated government is more expensive, more bureaucratic, and provides less service. I guess it comes down to how dependent we want to be on government and whether we trust their judgment to maintain our interests. As for me, I vote for less government, not more. Here’s another way of looking at it: should the government serve its constituents, or should the constituents serve the government? You tell me.

First published: December 1, 2008

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE SWEETENING OF AMERICA – Whether we are aware of it or not, our tastes are changing.

LAST TIME:  THE PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM MORAL DECAY  – How it impacts business.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

ARE WE BECOMING A GODLESS COUNTRY?

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 5, 2017

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– What the “separation of church and state” really means.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

For some reason, Americans believe there is a legal requirement to separate church and state in the US Constitution. It is now commonly believed organized religion has no business in the workings of the state. The reality is, there is no such stipulation whatsoever in the Constitution. There is only a couple of references to religion in our governing documents. The first is in Article 6 of the Constitution whereby “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The second reference is in Amendment One of the Bill of Rights whereby, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” I cannot speak for the governing documents of the various states and territories, but as far as the Constitution is concerned, that is all there is pertaining to religion.

So where does this presumption of separation come from? Two places: other countries who embrace such a concept, but more importantly in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists regarding the 1st amendment. Jefferson was president at the time and well known as author of the Declaration of Independence (but not the Constitution; that was Madison). In the letter, Jefferson wrote:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

By this letter to the Baptists, Jefferson meant that the United States would not establish a national church. This letter greatly influenced Supreme Court decisions. Keep in mind, Jefferson is speaking on another matter altogether and he is writing as president, not as a justice of the Supreme Court who should rightfully interpret the separation issue. However, for some strange reason, the letter was used to define the separation issue. In Everson vs. Board of Education in 1947, the Supreme Court used a portion of the letter (eight words only) and interpreted it to mean, “The First Amendment has erected ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’ That wall must be kept high and impregnable.” How they came to this conclusion mystifies Constitutional scholars to this day. It is interesting the Supreme Court based its conclusion on an interpretation of a letter, not the Constitution itself.

Based on this Supreme Court decision, atheists and attorneys have used this as a means to drive God out of our country. Today, we hear of football teams prohibited from saying a nondenominational prayer before or after a game, Christmas trees have been banned from schools, students are being suspended for saying “bless you” after hearing someone sneeze, there are movements to remove anything pertaining to God out of government buildings, and there is even an attack on our national motto, “In God we Trust.”

Not long ago we heard about a movement by atheists to remove Gideon Bibles from Navy lodges. These Bibles were provided for the comfort of sailors staying at the lodges. The removal of the Bibles created a furor when it was reported in the press. So much so, the Navy ordered the Gideon Bibles returned back into the lodge rooms.

Make no mistake, Christianity is under attack here, not Judaism, Islam, or even witchcraft, and it appears to be a concerted effort. Some contend it is intended to undermine the country as Christianity played an important role in the founding of America. Whatever the reason, we must beware of such attacks and be prepared to repel them.

If by some chance, our opponents are successful in eradicating God in the federal government, I am one of those who believe all federal employees should work on Christmas Day, particularly postal workers.

Is there really a separation of church and state in the Constitution? No, but it will be necessary to bring a lawsuit to the Supreme Court to overturn their 1947 misinterpretation.

I pray we do not become a Godless country. Without God, the country will fall.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Even Sky Masterson read the Gideon Bible, as did Rocky Raccoon.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY – Why should I pay for somebody else’s mistakes?

LAST TIME:  BECOMING AN EDUCATED VOTER  – How to become conversant in politics and government.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, Religion | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

BECOMING AN EDUCATED VOTER

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 3, 2017

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– How to become conversant in politics and government.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In 1835, noted historian and political commentator Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman, published his famous book, “Democracy in America,” which was an analysis of our young country as compared to those in Europe. This was based on his travels through America in 1831 and 1832. The book, which is frequently referenced even to this day, contains his observations on the young country, everything from its geographical layout, to its culture, and particularly its new political system as a democratically elected republic as opposed to a monarchy.

Tocqueville was particularly taken by the American public education system. He was amazed to see children as young as second grade be completely literate, something normally reserved for the aristocracy in Europe. He was also taken by how knowledgeable children were in the workings of the government as defined by the U.S. Constitution. He wrote, “It cannot be doubted that, in the United States, the instruction of the people powerfully contributes to the support of a democratic republic;”

When you compare the America of the early 19th century to today, you will find students, even college graduates, who have no sense of history, no sense of the mechanics of our government at any level, and no sense of current events. Somehow we dropped the ball along the way. We now have a couple of generations of Americans who are content to limp along as apathetic sheeple. The second graders of the 1830’s are mental giants by comparison. Not surprising, the politicians of today appeal to the voters through emotion rather than logic. It has become too easy to deceive and misdirect the under informed public.

However, for those who want to get back on track, to learn about the government and current events, there are plenty of resources available.

1. Discuss – learn to discuss such subjects with your family, friends and colleagues, but be careful, political discussion can lead to arguments and disrupt harmony. If you can find such people though interested in participating in discussions, it can make for some interesting mental gymnastics.

In schools, it would be nice to see government and history courses reintroduced, and, No, not just from the 20th century forward. How about the 18th or 17th centuries instead?

Understand your rights as a citizen and the the mechanics of government by becoming familiar with our governing docs.

Two books come to mind which can help:

“The 5000 Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen, is an excellent primer to describe why our government is organized the way it is. As far as I’m concerned, this should be on the reading list for every high school student.

For those who wish to be a little more ambitious, let me suggest Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” which provides interesting insight as to the differences between the United States and the rest of the world. The book is rather thick, but stimulating nevertheless.

Learn to read and watch the news. More importantly, challenge the accuracy of the news and beware of newscasters trying to spin it.

2. Write – Want to do more? How about writing your Congressman? Whether you voted for them or not, these people are charged to represent you. Do not hesitate to ask questions or discuss your views on certain subjects. Remember, they work for you, not the other way around. You can also write the President of your concerns. Also learn to contact your local and state officials.

While you’re at it, post your views in your local newspapers in the “Letters to the Editor” section.

You may also wish to contact the various political parties to pose a question or comment, such as the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or the Libertarian Party.

Linking to such political and news organizations via social media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook, is also a good way of staying abreast of news stories, and opinions.

3. Activism – finally, volunteer your time in various political and nonprofit organizations, thereby allowing you to rub elbows with people of similar interests and help push forward those items you feel are important. As we approach the mid-term elections, and you are interested in party politics, you may want to hold a sign or walk a neighborhood in support or your favorite politician or cause. Just remember to maintain your composure, especially when doors are closed in your face.

As Tocqueville suggests, citizens have an implicit civic responsibility to become educated in the workings of government and to maintain a sense of history. Becoming a sheeple is not conducive for improving government.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  ARE WE BECOMING A GODLESS COUNTRY? – What the “separation of church and state” really means.

LAST TIME:  THE MYTH OF EQUALITY  – More than anything, equality is about ego.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

MY TALK ON CITIZENSHIP

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 8, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Some thoughts on how to promote citizenship in America.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In the Masonic world, we recently observed “Citizenship Month” here in Florida. Because of this, I was asked to give a talk on the subject for a local Lodge. Drawing upon a couple of my past columns, I assembled the following short talk:

My biggest concern regarding citizenship pertains to how we teach history and civics in this country. In some High Schools, “American History” runs from World War II to the present. This means students are not learning such things as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Civil War, the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, Prohibition, the League of Nations, and much more. In other words, they only discuss the last 77 years, and not the events leading up to the founding of our country and the turmoils we had to endure. As an aside “World History” is now just World War I to the present. So much for the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Marco Polo, the Magna Carta, Ferdinand Magellan, Alexander the Great, et al. I presume they had no bearing on our civilization.

Such ignorance of our history caused famed historian David McCullough to observe, “We are raising a generation that is historically illiterate and have a very sketchy, thin knowledge of the system on which our entire civilization is based on. It is regrettable and dangerous.”

We are also not educating youth properly in terms of “Civics”; understanding our responsibilities as citizens, such as voting, serving on a jury, how legislation is enacted, or what is included in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. No wonder young people do not grasp the significance of such things as the Electoral College, the structure of our government, or what their rights are.

Naivety and ignorance leads to apathy at the ballot box. In the 2016 elections, only 57.9% of the citizens voted (over 90 million didn’t vote at all). This is a pitiful figure when you compare it to other democracies like Australia, India, and the Scandinavian countries. Surprisingly, this was the highest voting percentage in the United States since 1968 (60.8%). The highest in recent history was in 1960 (63.1%) for the Kennedy/Nixon election. Even though Millennials (ages 18-35) are now the largest potential voting block, they continue to have the lowest voter turnout of any age group.

It is sad when legal immigrants understand the workings of the government and history than native born Americans. Maybe all citizens should take the same oath naturalized citizens do. Since 1778, immigrants coming to this country have had to pass a test and take an oath swearing their allegiance to the United States. The current oath is as follows:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Not surprisingly, immigrants coming through this program tend to appreciate this country and are more loyal than native born Americans. Another cause for this could be because there is less emphasis on teaching American government and history in the schools than in years past. In other words, the importance of being a citizen has not been impressed upon our youth.

So, as a proposal, how about administering a modified version of the immigration oath to all native born Americans, perhaps on July 4th? All that is necessary is to simply modify the first sentence of the Immigration Oath; to wit:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;”

Parents could give it to their children, thereby turning it into a family tradition; civic organizations and local governments could administer it in public group settings, or perhaps some other venue. Maybe even the media could get involved and administer it over the airwaves or Internet. It should be administered in some solemn way with a right hand raised and the left hand placed on either a copy of the U.S. Constitution or perhaps a holy book such as a Bible, Torah, or Koran.

The oath is certainly not the same as the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, this is instead a reaffirmation of our commitment to our country and would help promote citizenship and voting. Maybe this is something that should be given routinely as opposed to just one time; to remind people of their allegiance to this country. I cannot help but believe this simple gesture would have nothing but beneficial effects.

One last observation, during this past year, the talking heads on television recommended avoiding any talk of politics at the dinner table, particularly during Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays. I disagree. We do not do enough talking at the table in a calm and reasonable manner. Instead of leaving citizenship to the school educators and MTV, parents should spend more time discussing it around the dinner table, not in a dictatorial manner, but in a frank and open discussion. I believe our youth would better understand the virtue of the Electoral College if it came from their parents as opposed to an entertainer or athlete.

Maybe then, youth will appreciate the need for “Citizenship.”

Also published in The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FAMILY RESTAURANT – It is more important than you think.

LAST TIME:  TRAINING MULES  – What to do when you have one in your class.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, History, Life, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

BEWARE OF REGIONALISM

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 24, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Changing the shape of government.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

While conservatives have been concerned with President Obama embracing globalization, a concept intended to develop a worldwide culture and set of laws, there is another concept quietly slipping in our back door, namely “regionalism,” which is also concerned with changing our view of government. It is from the progressive playbook for expanding government and exerting more control.

Historically, our country has followed the following precedence of power for government:

Federal > State > County > Municipal

Cities and towns are charged with managing their own affairs (Municipal), Counties oversee all of the cities and towns, States oversee counties, and the federal government oversees the states. This approach has worked effectively for over 200 years, but progressives now want to change it.

In a nutshell, regionalism looks to create metropolitan governments spanning multiple counties. For example, in the Tampa Bay area, it is concerned with combining Hillsborough County with Pinellas, and possibly more, such as Manatee, Pasco, and Sarasota. In California, the Bay area region could involve San Francisco, Oakland, and Sonoma County. In Western New York, it might mean combining Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Jamestown. In southwest Ohio, it would include Cincinnati, northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana. This is a concept that has been tested in Europe (such as ithe Basque area between Spain and France).

By creating such regions, they are creating another layer of government bureaucracy and taxes. Translation: more big government that will usurp the power of municipalities and counties. Under this scenario, the ideal progressive power structure would then appear as:

Global > Federal > State > Region > County > Municipal

Whereas globalization represents a threat to the authority of federal and state governments, regionalism will do likewise to counties and municipalities. The real intent is to increase political power by reshaping the structure of government. Basically, it negates the need for legal and long-standing geographical boundaries, even going so far as to cross state lines.

How is this happening? Simple, infiltration and takeover of county governments. To illustrate, here in Pinellas County our municipal candidates are elected as independents. They do not have to identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans. However, the reality is the local governments are controlled by progressive Democrats, something the average tax payer is not aware of. Once in charge, they can reach out to other counties and municipalities to try and form regions. This nearly happened in the Tampa Bay area until the public was made aware of it.

Regionalism is just as insidious as globalization. Efforts are underway to implement both concepts which change our government and way of life. However, a push back may be happening as demonstrated recently by BREXIT in the United Kingdom where the people voted to leave the European Union, thereby rebuking the taking of orders from Brussels. Such an action implies people want to maintain government at the local level. They want smaller government, not bigger.

So, next time you hear the word “regionalism,” hold on to your wallet, for that is what they are ultimately after.

Also published with The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHO SUCCEEDS HILLARY? – What happens if she becomes disabled in office?

LAST TIME:  MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF NO SMOKING  – As Stengel would have said – “Who-da-thunk-it.”

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

 

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

ARE GOVERNMENT WORKERS ENGAGED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 15, 2016

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– And what is it costing the taxpayers?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The Gallup organization has been monitoring worker engagement for quite some time. The purpose is to let companies know how many employees are stimulated by their work, and how many are not. Business can then use this to make changes in their management style. For example, in the United States, which is considered the most “engaged” in the world, has a rate of 31.5%. Surprisingly, Germany, which is often considered a model of productivity, enjoys only a meager 16% engagement rate. A lot of this can be attributed to the tendency to micromanage the lives of the workers as opposed to empowering them.

While Gallup’s studies have primary focused on business, on July (7th), they produced a report on the “State of Local and State Government Workers’ Engagement in the U.S.,” a first.

The report studied employee engagement for state and local governments of 43 U.S. states, and from it found:

29% – of government workers are engaged in their jobs
71% – are not.

They also reported the states where engagement levels were the highest were primarily in the South, and the lowest were in the Northeast and Midwest. Interestingly, most of the South includes “Right to Work” states, and the Northeast and Midwest are under union control.

The 29% government engagement rate is just slightly lower than the 31.5% business rate.

Engaged employees move their workplaces forward. Disengaged workers do the opposite, costing their states millions of dollars, interfering with government goals, thereby causing taxpayer dissatisfaction. The big difference is government worker disengagement costs the U.S. economy roughly half a trillion dollars a year. In a related Gallup report, “Unhappy State, Local Government Workers Cost U.S. Billions,” they reported…

“Local governments’ annual budgets from Lincoln, Nebraska, to New York City total about $2.0 trillion, while state governments annually spend an estimated $1.7 trillion. Combined, state and local governments contribute 11% to U.S. GDP. Considering the size of their workforce and budgets, disengagement is costing state and local governments, conservatively, up to $100 billion — more than the entire spending budgets of most states.”

So, what can be done to improve engagement? Normally, I would suggest minimizing micromanagement by “managing from the bottom-up.” This means training your people accordingly, articulating project assignments carefully, and empowering the workers to solve projects on their own. To do so, a good project management system is required to plan, estimate, schedule, report and control projects. This means managers should manage more and supervise less. However, in government the problem may be more deeply seeded due to the obnoxious bureaucracies involved. In other words, too much red tape can stall progress regardless of the best intentions of the workers.

Keep one thing in mind, the Gallup study only considers state and local government. Imagine what federal worker disengagement is costing the country. Kowabunga!

If desired, you can download Gallup’s complete report (click HERE).

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IS AMERICA ON THE BRINK OF FALLING APART? – A comparison between the 1960’s and the 2010’s.

LAST TIME:  IS THE POLITICAL SYSTEM RIGGED?  – What do you think?

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

WHO ADMINISTERS STATE GOVERNMENTS BETTER, DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 8, 2016

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– A new report from George Mason University says a lot.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Today we hear stories about the economic instability of state governments, rising taxes, potential bankruptcies, etc. Are these flukes of just bad policies and administration? According to a recent report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, it appears success is not by accident, and Republicans appear to do a better job than their Democratic counterparts.

The Mercatus report, titled “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition” (June 1, 2016), examined the financial stability of the fifty states, plus Puerto Rico. The report considered debt and financial obligations, as well as state pension programs and health care benefits. Not surprising, Puerto Rico, with its pending bankruptcy, was rated dead last (#51).

The TOP 10 states demonstrating financial solvency include:

#1 Alaska
#2 Nebraska
#3 Wyoming
#4 North Dakota
#5 South Dakota
#6 Florida
#7 Utah
#8 Oklahoma
#9 Tennessee
#10 Montana

The BOTTOM 10 states not demonstrating financial stability include:

#41 Maryland
#42 New York
#43 Maine
#44 California
#45 Hawaii
#46 Kentucky
#47 Illinois
#48 New Jersey
#49 Massachusetts
#50 Connecticut
#51 Puerto Rico

Perhaps the most noteworthy observation made was that all of the Top 10 states are Republican controlled, meaning both the Governor and the legislatures are in GOP hands. Further, with the exception of Kentucky, all of the bottom 10 states, plus Puerto Rico, are controlled by the Democrats. In New Jersey, the Governor is Republican, but both houses of the legislature are controlled by the Democrats.

Let’s examine the differences between #1 Alaska and #50 Connecticut. According to the Mercatus report:

Alaska: “Given Alaska’s reliance on oil revenues, the state has between 22.46 and 23.44 times the cash needed to cover short-term liabilities. Revenues exceed expenses by 55 percent, producing a surplus of $8,296 per capita. On a long-run basis, net assets represent 85 percent of total assets, and liabilities are 3 percent of total assets.”

Connecticut: “Connecticut’s fiscal position is poor across all categories. With between only 0.46 and 1.19 times the cash needed to cover short-term liabilities, Connecticut’s revenues matched only 94 percent of expenses, producing a deficit of $505 per capita. The state is heavily reliant on debt to finance its spending. With a negative net asset ratio of -0.88 and liabilities exceeding assets by 34 percent, per capita debt is $9,077. Total debt is $20.88 billion. Unfunded pensions are $83.31 billion on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) are $19.53 billion. Total liabilities are equal to 53 percent of total state personal income.”

The difference between the two states is rather obvious, one has developed assets and works to live within its means; the other relies on deficit spending thereby adding to the state’s debt.

Beyond assets and liabilities, the programs established for social services and employment varies. For example, with the exception of Alaska, all of the Top 10 are “Right to Work” states, and none of the Bottom 10 have a “Right to Work” program.

From the Mercatus report, you can conclude Republican states take their fiduciary responsibility more seriously. The Democratic states seem to possess a credit card mentality where they spend and spend on social programs and civic projects without considering how to pay for them, causing the states to lean towards a Puerto Rican bankruptcy scenario.

I invite you to examine the report and consider how well your state is managing its financial resources. Click HERE.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WILL TRUMP SUPPORTERS DEFEND THEMSELVES? – Who will pull the trigger?

LAST TIME:  TRUMP’S GOAL: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE  – The benefits from becoming the world’s energy merchants.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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