Grace, Dignity, and Humility

The body of George H. W. Bush now lies between those of Barbara, his wife of 73 years, and their young daughter Robin, lost way too early to Leukemia. It is as it should be. If you don’t believe the three of them are back together, well, too bad. They are. Good for them. They deserve all the happiness the next world will provide.

After the last several days, is there anything more to be said? Maybe not, but I am going to give it a shot. George Bush was an amazing man. It is a shame it took his leaving us for some members of the media to finally step up and acknowledge his earthly accomplishments. Jon Meacham, the historian and Presidential biographer, spoke eloquently at Barbara Bush’s funeral and then this week at President Bush’s service at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.. During his eulogy on Wednesday, he referred to GHWB as a “founding father of the 20th century”. How perfect. We stand in awe of the contributions to our beginnings as a democratic republic made by the likes of Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Washington and others. (The list is longer, but the more I go on, the better the chance of missing out on someone, and then that person’s fan club will take umbrage!) I, for one, stand equally in awe of what George Bush, this kinder, gentler man,  did for his country over the span of more than 70 years. He remains the single most qualified man to ever be President. Ever. 

What I will not do is repeat the list of his contributions to our great country. If you do not by now know them, you have been hiding in Siberia! What I will do is share how I have tried to reduce his life to something manageable. In today’s parlance, we would call it a soundbite. George Bush believed in winning with humility and losing with grace. George Bush never forgot his priorities. His family came first, and his friends came very closely behind. I remember decades ago when he was taking shots for keeping Dan Quayle on the ticket for his 1992 re-election campaign. He looked at a mob of reporters, and was clearly weary of answering the same old questions. Finally, he simply said, “Loyalty is not a character flaw”. Perfect. Beautiful. Succinct. True. To those who did not understand why loyalty is not a character flaw, he did not try to explain. It was their loss. 

George Bush imbued senses of loyalty, love, compassion, humility, dignity, and grace in his children. The close of George W. Bush’s eulogy this week is all you need to see to comprehend the deep love he and his siblings had for their dad. Click here to review this short clip. And my reference to the close friends not being far behind the President’s family? Well, take a look at former Secretary of State Jim Baker’s words spoken yesterday in Houston. Click here for that. This is his entire 10 minute eulogy. If you watched yesterday, do yourself a favor and just fast forward to the last 40 seconds. It is all you need to know about the love between these two great friends. if you did not see Secretary Baker’s comments, I suggest you take a 10 minute break, watch him, and then return to finish this article.

For just a few days, America came together to remember a great man. It begets the question, will we ever, ever see another person of George Bush’s character and capability enter the fray and serve our country? In short, I do not know. We have become a fractured people. There are millions of Americans who do not appear to value the very characteristics I am extolling today. That is a shame, and it is risk to our country. 

Let us rejoice in this wonderful man’s life, and let us pray we find a way through these dark, partisan times, and recommit ourselves to supporting true public servants. Let us celebrate grace, dignity, and humility. 

Rest in peace, George H. W. Bush. You were a great man.

More to follow-

A Review of Trump’s Cabinet-Put Me Down as Pleasantly Surprised

General James Mad Dog MattisLet’s face it. No one knew exactly what would forthcoming from the Trumpster. I mean he is not exactly Mr. Predictable. But I have to say I am not just ok with the people he has chosen to help him lead our country, I am overwhelming supportive. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

Director of the Office of Management and Budget–Mick Mulvaney–a fiscal conservative. This guy will not condone wasteful spending or increases in our deficit.

Secretary of the Interior–Ryan Zinke–a former Navy Seal and professed lover of our land; he will be a champion of our national treasures.

Secretary of Energy–Rick Perry–former Texas Governor–I am no Perry supporter, but for a government agency we seek to downsize and simultaneously install someone who is not hostile to hydrocarbons, Perry is as good a choice as any.

Secretary of State–Rex Tillerson–ExxonMobil CEO–borderline genius move. Tillerson has met and negotiated with most leaders of rogue nations across the globe. Remember, God did not put oil and gas in very many nice places (Texas aside), and Tillerson earned his way to the top spot at ExxonMobil by demonstrating negotiating brilliance and a calm demeanor. I love this choice.

Secretary of Labor–Andrew Puzder–CEO of CKE Restaurants–a smart guy, and one who has experienced first-hand the negative impact of excessive regulation and the long arm of federal government over-reach. He is a great choice.

EPA Administrator–Scott Pruitt–Oklahome Attorney General–he can’t stand Federal Government intervention in matters that should be up to the states to decide, and he is openly pro hydrocarbon. After 8 years of an administration living on some cloud wherein they thought we could flip a switch and continue to drive planes, trains, automobiles, and industry on power generated by wind and solar, Pruitt will be a refreshing anti-regulatory new face at the EPA.

Administrator of the Small Business Administration–Linda McMahon–former CEO of the WWE–what an inspired choice. She understands what it takes to build a business, and she knows how destructive over-regulation can be.

Secretary of Homeland Security–General John Kelly–former Marine General–nuff said.

Ambassador to China–Iowas Governor Terry Branstad–he has been a China expert for decades and immediately received the plaudits of former President George H W Bush. Branstad is the real deal.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development–Dr.Ben Carson–can anyone actually say they dislike this guy? I mean, he is the personification of the American success story. Good for Trump for giving him a meaningful position where his philosophy around self-sufficiency can make a difference.

Secretary of Defense–General James “Mad Dog” Mattis–This guy is amazing. Smart, literate, a thinker, and most importantly, someone his troops always wanted to follow. This is another inspired choice.

Commerce Secretary–Wilbur Ross–Find a person who has worked with this man who does not respect him. I dare you. He is widely respected and will champion American business interests.

Treasury Secretary–Steve Mnuchin–former Goldman Sachs banker. Apparently that drives the liberals nuts, notwithstanding how many former bankers have run the Treasury Department for democrat presidents. But more importantly, since when does being an outstanding banker preclude one from being considered for running our top Treasury post? I suppose the left would prefer someone with no financial background?

Transportation Secretary–Elaine Chao–a seasoned expert who served George W Bush for 8 years. She will run the Transportation Department ably.

Health and Human Services Secretary–Tom Price–Congressman from Georgia–a great pick as we know it means the President will focus on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a market based program that actually works for the American people and does not lead inevitably toward a single payer system, run by the government, for the government and of the government.

White House Counsel–Don McGahn– a lawyer who has long championed conservative causes, this is another pick that silences those who feared Trump may be a democrat in Republican clothing.

Education Secretary–Betsy DeVos–a dedicated advocate for school choice, charter schools, and the voucher system. Ms. DeVos is a great pick and the polar opposite of what Hillary would have done on the education front. Those of you who follow this stuff will know that Hillary campaigned against all school choice, and like her buddy Bill de Blasio (NYC’s nutty mayor) she advocated the elimination of charter schools.

US Ambassador to the United Nations–Nikki Haley–South Caroline Governor–amazing that when an accomplished woman such as Nikki Haley is nominated for an important position the democrats find ways to criticize her. If the Republicans were to be so small, they would be accused of being woman hating bigots. Nikki Haley will serve us well in the UN.

CIA Director–Mike Pompeo–Congressman from Kansas–he has been outspoken in the matters ranging from Benghazi to the Iran nuclear deal. He is a no nonsense guy and that is what we need at the CIA.

Attorney General–Jeff Sessions–US Senator from Alabama–has outstanding credentials. The left is concocting rubbish about his allegedly racist past. Hogwash. The progressives will never quit.

National Security Advisor–General Michael Flynn–no nonsense straight talker who isn’t afraid to associate Islam with terror attacks around the world.

Senior Counselor to the President–Steve Bannon–former Breitbart Executive Chairman–a hardass, yes. but to listen to the left, you would think this guy is the devil incarnate. Simply not true. And no, contrary to current progressive speak, he is not anti-zionist.

Chief of Staff–Reince Priebus–former head of the RNC—we’ll see how Reince does. I think he earned the job. 

Bottom line? These are good picks. I am far more confident today than I was the day after the election. I actually think we can get some amazing things done in year one. Time will tell, but put me down as pleasantly surprised!

More to Follow-

He’s a Horse’s Ass but She is Simply Unacceptable

Donald Trump October 2016We all have certain memories of our parents. My father never  minced words. That trait didn’t always help him, but no one who called him a friend ever thought he was anything but the real McCoy. Whenever someone got under his skin, that person was a “horse’s ass”. I would ask, “Dad, why don’t you like so and so?” Almost inevitably (!), he would answer,”because he’s a horse’s ass.” It was really pretty simple. He didn’t separate the men from the boys. He separated the men from the horse’s asses. (So to speak)

The more this campaign progresses, the more I cannot escape the inescapable; if my dad were alive today, and he were to opine on the subject of Donald Trump, the answer would inevitably be “He’s a horse’s ass!”

You see, Donald Trump is simply unbearable. His behavior is repugnant. He is a mean, school yard bully. He listens to no one, and picks fights with anyone, anywhere, anytime. If attacked or questioned, he lashes out without thinking. He digs himself into holes and then, rather than climb out, he starts filling in the dirt while still in the hole!

What has our nation become? How does a guy like Trump rise to become the Republican nominee? Have we been dumbed down to a society of Kardashians and Real Housewives of New Jersey? Do we really admire characteristics exhibited by the likes of Donald Trump?

I get it. People are mad, and anyone and anything who/that can even remotely be associated with the “establishment” is a virtual pariah. There is no trust in anyone deemed to be from “Washington”. But Donald Trump? Really?

I was watching the Ryder Cup yesterday and marveling at how the gallery booed Rory Mcllroy and was quite relentless in its booing. I had to wonder, “am I watching a golf match?” And then I asked myself, “has Trump opened a huge can of horses’s asses?” I mean, is there no dignity left in our country? Can you imagine how Ronald Reagan or George H W Bush would react to such a total loss of decorum and manners?

We’re talking about the office of President of the United States. On one hand we have a relentlessly ambitious, pathologically liberal, unrepentant liar. Hillary is simply unacceptable. What amazes me is how many people have either forgotten or chosen to forget nearly thirty years of horrendous behavior on her part. To remember, click here. You cannot watch this and seriously tell yourself you are going to vote for her. I dare you.

If we elect Hillary Clinton, we might as well put the last nail in the coffin of Constitutional integrity. Liberal progressives view the Constitution as an obstacle to achieve their goal of social transformation and redistribution. For the left, our American history is a stain on humanity. They want to eradicate the last 300 years. Left to their devices, American history classes in grade school, high school, and college would be sociological studies in the abuses by empire over race and creed. The Protestant work ethic would be an example of elitist racism in a nation built on the suffering of the underclass. Upward mobility would be a fabrication of the gentry to convince those less fortunate to keep working harder. Gone would be the founding fathers. Gone would be the most magnificent governmental experiment in the history of man. Liberals don’t care. They are hell bent on redistribution and eradication of all things that have distinguished our great country. Make no mistake, Hillary is front and center, leading the charge. 

And then on the other hand we have Donald. Oh my God! 

So here I sit, knowing that I will vote for this guy. Cutting to the chase, it boils down to two words and one acronym: Supreme Court or SCOTUS, take your pick; that’s all. It’s that simple. Up to three justices may be replaced in the next four years. (We already know Anton Scalia’s seat is open and waiting on a nominee who will be approved by the Senate.) American people have been handed a game of Russian roulette for the Presidential election. In Hillary’s case, all six chambers of the revolver are already loaded. Pull the trigger and your dead. In Donald’s case, about two of them are loaded. There is at least a chance that you survive. And that is how bad it is. 

For those who may vote for the Libertarian or Green parties, I only say this. Unless you are a diehard Libertarian or environmentalist, you surely know you are throwing your vote into oblivion. In the case of Johnson/Weld, oblivion is near Aleppo. (Click here if you have been living in a cave!)

I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again. Take a shot of Pepto-Bismol, hold your nose, and vote for Trump. 

 

The Big Tent

American-People-Flag

One of the core tenets of Pierce Wire’s message is that Republicans must stop harking back to the glory days; aka the Reagan Years. We are long on talking heads (Limbaugh Hannity, etc.) all very busy postulating that anything short of a mirror image of a Reagan redux is a recipe for disaster. They argue that we have nominated disastrously flawed candidates, and the minute we appear to be adopting centrist policies, we are done for.

I respectfully disagree. Let’s face it. All of us would love to see President Reagan behind the Oval Office desk once again. But that is not going to happen. Neither will we ever again have the electorate we had thirty years ago. America has changed immensely since the 1980 and 1984 elections. The demographics are vastly different, and they will continue to evolve in ways that warrant a new Republican outlook. George H. W. Bush was often ridiculed for his talk of the need for the Republican Party to open wide the flaps of a “big tent” and embrace all who were interested in entering. His son was also lambasted by the left and right for his core foundational belief in “compassionate conservatism”. My friends, they were both on target, and if our party does not unite around these principles, we will be outside that tent looking wistfully in for years to come.

We should first and foremost embrace the fact that our policies and ideas must appeal to independent voters and voting blocks within the following constituencies; Hispanics, Asians, blacks, and females. Adopting or maintaining the aura of stuffy old white guys will ensure one thing for the Republican Party; permanent unemployment!

Our right wing is dead wrong to suggest that we should forfeit the middle ground. They say the centrists will always vote democrat, so we should plant ourselves outside of America’s fuselage and remain steadfastly glued to its right wing. To move to the middle on core social issues (of which immigration reform is just one) would be suicide; or so they say.

There is no data to suggest that their position is grounded in fact. On the contrary, the data suggests there are millions of fiscal conservatives and foreign affairs hawks pleading with our party to use common sense on some of the social issues that evoke the highest emotional toll in the voting booth. These people would love to vote Republican; they are screaming for help!

Here are some things you should know.

• In the 2012 Presidential Election, females showed up in larger numbers than their male counterparts in these age brackets: 18-24, 25-44, and 45-69.

In the key swing state of Ohio:

• Females voted 55%-45% for Obama.
• Obama won the Hispanic vote by 16 percentage points.
• 43% of Catholic voters cast a ballot for Obama. (Given the onslaught on Catholic beliefs perpetrated by Obamacare, that is phenomenal.)
• People calling themselves “moderate” voted 57% for Obama.
• Whites who claimed not to be religious voted 62% for Obama.
• Of the people who cited “healthcare” as their number one priority, 73% voted for Obama!

Now, check this out:

canidate-qualities

The Obama campaign was able to convince an overwhelming percentage of Ohio voters that Mitt Romney was a heartless, capitalist bastard! Anyone who knows the man or anything about the man knows that is not true; but the election is over, and he lost. The data tells us the principle reason he lost is that he was painted into a false corner, and he was never able to get himself back into the center of the ring.

As we look ahead to November 2014, and the big enchilada in 2016, Pierce Wire will sound a recurring theme. The data tells us we must lead with compassion. We must open the flaps of the “Big Tent”, and never second-guess ourselves. It all starts with uniting as a party, and sounding the bugle of hope consistently, repeatedly, and with alacrity!

Much More to Follow!

Philanthropy Is An American Tradition

Benjamin Franklin | A Founding Philanthropist

Benjamin Franklin | A Founding Philanthropist

Philanthropy in the United States is as American as apple pie. As a people, we give more of our money to charitable causes than any other citizens in the world.

I was prompted to write about this topic by a note I saw on Facebook. I am Chairman of I Am Waters, a wholly non-political 501© 3 Foundation committed to providing physical and spiritual hydration to America’s homeless population. We recently held a successful fundraiser in Houston, Texas. In discussing the success of the event, I made the comment that we have a growing homeless population in the United States, and I Am Waters is committed to working with and helping this “underclass” of our society. One comment (in reference to our growing homeless population) posted after my observations was “Thanks to the Republicans”.

After shaking my head, and deciding to ignore the comment, I started thinking, “how can people be so misinformed?” This comment was offensive on at least two levels. It:

  • politicized a wholly non-political charitable foundation, and
  • explicitly (and groundlessly) blamed Republicans for our homeless population.

Do these people ever stop and wonder why the 10 cities in the United States with the highest level of poverty and unemployment are cities with a legacy of democrat mayors and entitlement spending that have done nothing but encourage indigence and cultures of unfulfilled expectations? George W. Bush called it the “soft bigotry of low expectations”, and he was spot on.

I write about the historical connectivity between private sector success and philanthropy because it is clear many people today have not the slightest inkling of how the United States of America became such an incredibly exceptional nation. The lack of understanding and appreciation for the work ethic and philanthropic mentality that helped us grow yesterday is part of the reason we are so challenged by such destructive social and economic redistributionist policies today.

The art of giving is not a new phenomenon. Benjamin Franklin epitomized the charitable nature of our founding fathers. Alexis de Tocqueville, when writing his book on the uniqueness of the American experiment, noted that ours was a nation that believed in creating opportunity for the private citizen to succeed; partially so that citizen (not the government) could initiate “private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of life”.

Indeed, until the last few decades, it was implicitly understood that if one were to achieve success in life, it was incumbent upon that person to find a way to give some of that success back to the greater good. This was an intrinsic American way of life, born of our pioneering colonial “can-do” attitude, and infused with and by a strong Judeo-Christian ethic. While many choose to remember George H.W. Bush’s “no new taxes” pledge in the 1988 Republican Convention in New Orleans, many also remember his call to all Americans to give of themselves to others, and for each to become one of a “1000 points of light”.

Somewhere along the way in the madness of our inexorable post WWII rush to political correctness, we lost the thread of connectivity between success and philanthropy. The progressive left began to disconnect the historical association between living the American dream and voluntarily giving back. Worse, these liberals (those who denounce our history [the way we grew into ourselves] in the 17th-19th centuries, and view virtually all past events in apologetic terms) began to build and perpetuate a new reality; namely, that success is evil, and private sector philanthropy should be largely replaced by something mandated by the federal government.

In essence, while the democrats still talk about philanthropy, (and many democrat citizens still give large amounts of money to worthy causes) the reality is that the democrat party believes in forced philanthropy though taxation, with the end game being one in which our successful producers are diminished by way of their accumulated capital being involuntarily redistributed to those less successful.

History matters! And to that person who thought to politicize the good work of I Am Waters, I implore you to look at the homeless populations and poverty levels of every government in the recorded annals of man that tried to socialize its industry, commerce, and engines of societal production.

Whenever it has been the goal of government to create equality of outcome for its people, there has been failure. Our unprecedented success and growth as a fledgling nation was, in large part, due to:

  • access to property, and
  • a governing philosophy that was driven by a desire to create equality of opportunity. By so doing, our founding fathers and those who followed in their footsteps ensured that a man’s work ethic and a burgeoning private sector economy lifted the spirits and livelihoods of far more people than ever possible in a redistributionist state.

The left refuses to acknowledge that employment and hope cannot be created by the whims of social progressive politicians. Long-term jobs are only sustained by the private sector. And only with jobs and a viable economic outlook will philanthropy thrive.

Ronald Reagan understood the importance of our history. You may see him say it for himself here: