Sunday, January 18, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
By: Jim Camp
Not since Franklin Delano Roosevelt entered the Oval Office for the first time in 1933 has an American President faced such an array of domestic and international troubles. History tells us that Roosevelt struggled mightily to overcome the Depression, but it wasn’t until World War II provided a full-employment opportunity that he was able to turn the nation’s economy around and help defeat two of the most vicious totalitarian threats to humanity in the modern era.
History, if you do not pay attention to it, has a way of repeating itself. With a national debt of $10 trillion, some 70% of the Gross Domestic Product, the incoming Obama administration is faced with enormous economic challenges, not the least of which is to build a new economy that puts people to work and moves us closer to energy independence. His vision driven by his mission and purpose is something we should all pay attention to. In fact we all should adopt our own mission and purpose in all the areas of our lives moving forward.
What should our financial mission and purpose be? If we have a solid career safe from the looming depression, it may call for us to tighten our belts mightily and save at every opportunity. Or, if we are someone who has been knocked down and struggling to get up our mission and purpose may be to put every family member to work 16 hours daily, 7 days a week and numerous jobs if necessary to climb back.
If we are starting a new business that we intend to lead us through the tough times ahead, we may have to spend more than we would like but our mission and purpose will guide us through the tough decisions. Pay close attention to the new administration as it discusses vast spending programs for infrastructure and “Green” projects driven by our President-Elect’s vision. That vision radiates from his mission and purpose for America.
President-Elect Obama knows the critical importance of our security and the demands of a growing population for more energy. His effort to develop new energy sources is driven by his mission and purpose. He knows that if we do not break our dependence on foreign energy we will never climb out of the mess that we find ourselves in. Will his mission and purpose for new energy work with his mission and purpose to save the environment? That is the question that is most on our minds.
Where does expansion of oil drilling, gas drilling and coal fit in? We will see as it all unfolds, but you can bet if it goes against his mission and purpose in either arena, it won’t happen and it shouldn’t. After all is said and done we “need” a new vision, a new direction because the last one helped in many ways to get us where we are today.
If there is any good news to be found in the worldwide economic slowdown it is that nations who self-describe themselves as America’s enemies are going to be far too busy trying to keep restive populations in check than to spend time and money on activities to create new problems for us. Both Iran and Venezuela, to name just two, are in serious financial straits. Russia, dependent on its oil and gas exports is feeling the pinch and China’s interests are far more aligned with those of the U.S. than many realize.
The world is a mix of developed nations that have adopted the capitalist model and those clinging to some form of socialism. We as a nation are a prime example of how ideology sometimes must adapt and change. I do not and will not judge the bailout of Wall Street and the Auto Industry in this discussion, but they are perfect examples of ideology change. Who would have ever believed that a Republican President would allow let alone request such a thing? Again mission and purpose defined as long term aim and continuing task and responsibility leads the decisions that are tough and must be made. Before you judge the tough decisions just ask your self, what is the mission and purpose? Start to worry and complain if you find there isn’t one.
My firm provides negotiation coaching and consulting throughout the U.S. and in nations around the world. As such the staff and I are on the front line with those engaged in deals that often involve millions of dollars. I just returned from Russia after a week of working with one of the world’s largest banks. Their deals and many others deals reflect how present and future conditions are actually perceived. Here is some of the feedback we are receiving.
- There is considerable concern regarding America’s current financial problems, but both at home and worldwide there is the perception that the U.S. government is demonstrating the willingness to take extraordinary measures to avoid a Depression. Also, it is not all bleak news. The vast bulk of homeowners with mortgages are still meeting their monthly payments. The unemployment figures are still well below the highs experienced in the Depression. New FDIC rules extend further protection to personal savings in banks.
- The present troubles offer the opportunity for local, state and the federal government to rethink and work through programs to be sure they are efficient and not wasteful. The mission and purpose of small government may be to mandate balanced budgets and, if so, could bring strong long-term benefit to all of us. With a strong mission and purpose in place new taxes will not be proposed lightly. They will be well thought out before being implemented.
- Putting aside the known financial difficulties to which Wall Street and banks are adjusting, the greatest unknown factor will be the policies of the incoming Obama administration. There is concern that the new Administration will be overwhelmed and decisions will be made without regard to environmental and energy requirements for our future. The feedback we are receiving is the view that the financial health and stability of the nation will so occupy the administration that a pragmatic approach will trump ideology, a situation being seen in practice worldwide. The jury, however, is still out, but based on my observations, the President-Elect has a very clear vision and is driven by a valid mission and purpose and that will rule today and win the future.
The ultimate “unknown” will be those events, natural and manmade, that will affect the immediate future. The recent attacks in Mumbai, India are an example, forcing both India and Pakistan to review their relationship to ensure a peaceful resolution. The focus of the Islamic Jihad movement seems to be shifting from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. Ironically, it is beginning to anger Muslims. I am sure our leadership will deal accordingly with the threat. And, pay close attention to how the pirates in Somalia are dealt with by the world. Watch as the world comes together and tires of such terrorism.The mission and purpose will be clear and the execution of it swift.
The “irrational exuberance” that former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, warned about a dozen years ago has now been sobered by the failure of various forms of securities and some banks, by the ripple effect that is being felt by every business enterprise and by individual Americans with investments, dependence on pension programs, and similar vulnerabilities.
Though conditioned to look to the federal government to “solve” problems, there is a growing realization among Americans that the federal government’s policies have been a contributing factor and that many of its agencies to whom we look for protection proved inadequate to the task.
The new President-Elect will solve many of these issues because he delivers a fresh vision and perspective that will drive change over the next 4 to 8 years. The changes he makes will solve the real problems and if he does that it will pay dividends. How can I say that? If you listen closely to him and read his books, he functions with a valid mission and purpose in all areas and is surrounded by like minds. They are extremely effective in their decision-making abilities.
We the voters have hope in our new leadership and now it is time for us to deliver hope to those we are responsible to. We must become better negotiators, we must make better agreements for our futures and to do that we must learn to develop mission and purpose statements that will build vision and drive our decisions.
Jim Camp is an author of two books on negotiation and an internationally recognized negotiations coach providing counsel to nations, corporations, and individuals.
He is the CEO of The Camp Negotiation Systems, http://www.startwithno.com/.
© Jim Camp, January 2009
Our sacred honor ... to support and defend...
By: Mark Alexander
In 1776, an extraordinary group of men signed a document that affirmed their God-given right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." By attaching their signatures to our great Declaration of Independence, they, in effect, were signing their potential death warrants.
Indeed, the last line of our Declaration reads, "For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." Many of these men, and many of their countrymen, the first generation of American Patriots, would die fighting for American liberty.
A decade later, their liberty having been won at great cost, our Founders further codified their independence and interdependence by instituting yet another historic document, our Constitution.
The Constitution specifies in Article VI, clause 3:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution..."
Bound by Oath to support...
The Constitution also prescribes the following oath to be taken by the president-elect:
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Preserve, protect and defend...
Commissioned and enlisted military personnel are also required by statute to "solemnly swear, that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...", though the officer's oath doesn't include any provision that they obey orders.
Against all enemies, foreign and domestic...
Notably, all these oaths mandate the preservation, protection, support and defense of our Constitution as ratified, not the so-called "living constitution" as amended by judicial activists populating what Thomas Jefferson predicted would become "the despotic branch."
While uniformed Americans serving our nation defend our Constitution with their lives, most elected officials debase it with all manner of extra-constitutional empowerment of the central government, not the least of which is the forced redistribution of income to benefit their constituency groups which, in turn, dutifully re-elect them.
Military service personnel who violate the Constitution are remanded for courts-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, while politicians who violate the Constitution are remanded for -- re-election.
On that note, the latest crop of Leftists on their way to Washington under the supervision of President-elect Barack Obama are destined to make a greater mockery of our Constitution than any administration in history. Clearly, Obama and his ilk have no history of honoring, or intention to honor, their oaths and, in fact, have no context for such honor.
A small cadre of liberals who believe themselves to be "patriots" have asked, "Can't I be a bona fide Patriot and support Barack Obama?"
In a word ... NO, unless in a state of solemn repentance.
In the spirit of charity, perhaps Obama supporters, who self-identify as patriots, are just grossly misinformed about our Constitution, our history and their own civic duty. Of course, they would likewise be grossly deluded about their identity, but perhaps the delusion is temporary.
I would suggest that Obama "patriots" are nothing more than "sunshine patriots," as Thomas Paine wrote, who "will in crisis, shrink from the service of his country."
At its core, the word "patriot" has direct lineage to those who fought for American independence and established our constitutional republic. That lineage has descended most directly through our history with those who have been entrusted "to support and defend" our Constitution -- more specifically, those who have been faithful to, and have abided by, that oath. As previously noted, by "our Constitution," I am referring to the United States Constitution, not the adulterated vestigial remains that liberals call "the living constitution."
I have taken oaths five times in the service of our country. But I did not have to take any oath to understand my obligations as a citizen "to support and defend" our Constitution.
So, does the title of "Patriot" apply to an individual who votes for a man who has not honored his public oaths of office previously, and has given no indication he intends to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same" as president -- a man who subscribes to the errant notion of a "living constitution" which, in his own words, "breaks free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution"?
No authentic Patriot would support those who violate their sacred oaths.
Unfortunately, in this most recent election, we saw even a handful of flag-rank military officers who have no more reverence for their oaths than Obama. However, they are the exception, not the rule.
Obama's mantra, "change," is a euphemism for constitutional abrogation -- an incremental encroachment on liberty until, at last, liberty is lost.
Our nation's second president, John Adams, warned, "A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
As for Obama's deception about his own patriotic pedigree, I commend the words of our nation's first president, George Washington: "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. ...[W]here is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation deserts the oaths...?"
Regarding the Presidential Oath of Office, Justice Joseph Story wrote:
"[T]he duty imposed upon him to take care, that the laws be faithfully executed, follows out the strong injunctions of his oath of office, that he will 'preserve, protect, and defend the constitution.' The great object of the executive department is to accomplish this purpose."
He wrote further that if the president does not honor his oath, his office "will be utterly worthless for ... the protection of rights; for the happiness, or good order, or safety of the people."
Of course, Barack Obama proposes to further constrain the rights of the people by advancing centralized government control of the economy by way of regulation and forced income redistribution, all in the name of "happiness, good order, and safety of the people," but in direct violation of his oath.
Copyright © 2009 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.