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Ian Gilyeat - Independent

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Recent Posts

  1. No shirt. No Shoes. No Service.
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014
  2. The Ukraine, Russia and the balance of power...
    Tuesday, March 11, 2014
  3. The boogeyman looms large in President Obama's rhetoric
    Thursday, September 12, 2013
  4. We need more risk takers...
    Friday, July 06, 2012
  5. This is not an endorsement...
    Sunday, June 17, 2012
  6. A heartfelt thanks...
    Sunday, June 10, 2012
  7. China, oil and the cost of gas...
    Saturday, March 17, 2012
  8. Disclosures from Bernanke at the Federal Reserve?
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012
  9. "I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze..."
    Monday, January 16, 2012
  10. Sound bites or serious problem solving?
    Monday, January 09, 2012

No shirt. No Shoes. No Service.

It's a funny thing how laws polarize people.  It's also remarkable how laws cut both ways.  In light of this, I continue to have great respect for the notion that "law is an instrument of force" and that because of this limited laws or limited government is far better for our country than overly ambitious law makers.

The recent uproar over SB 1062 brought to mind for me the old store sign, "No shirt.  No shoes.  No service".

In this country it used to be widely accepted that store owners had the ability to decide who they could serve and who they would not serve.  This idea is clearly under challenge today... and please don't jump quickly to the idea of race and discrimination.  I'm not suggesting store owners should decide which customers they serve based on the color of their skin... stick with me on the topic of behavior.  Not race.  Not religion.  Not gender.  Not even age...well, actually I'll touch on age...

But let's test the idea of behavior...

In our society if a young man walks into a store "topless" the store owner can say, "Excuse me young man, but you have to have a shirt on to be in here.  Go get a shirt on and I'll be happy to do business with you."  If it is a woman that walks in "topless", in most cities across this country the police are called and the woman is arrested for "indecent exposure".  There is no expectation of service by the store owner.

However, on the flip side, a woman can be hired to dance topless, as entertainment, in a bar or club and it is legal.

So what does this have to do with SB 1062?  Let's take a hypothetical scenario - again based on behavior.  Not race.  Not religion.  Not gender.

A couple of men or women walk into a store and ask to buy a wedding cake.  The store owner is happy to sell them the cake... until he sees that the happy couple is holding hands, kiss each other like many other couples and ask him to put two men (or two women) on the top of the cake.  At that point the store owner declines to sell them the cake because it violates his sense of morality and propriety.

What's the difference between the store owner that posts a sign that says, "No shirt.  No shoes.  No Service." and the store owner that says, "No, I'm not celebrating or providing service to same sex couples."  Are they not both moral judgments?  Judgments of propriety?  Or what about the store owner that won't serve topless women in his store?  Is that not also a judgment of moral standards and propriety?

Or what about the movie theaters that say, "You're not 17 or older.  You can't come in here and watch this "R" rated movie?"  Is this also not a judgment on morality and propriety?

What about the strip bar or club where they say to the 13 year-old boy, "You can't come in here and watch the topless women dance."  This is also a judgment on morality and propriety.

Clearly we have standards and expectations of morality and propriety all through society, yet in some cases we claim the right to make that moral judgment, have laws to enforce those moral judgments and feel good about defending those moral judgments.

How is it that SB 1062 is then labeled "A right to discriminate" whereas the theater owner, the store owner and the strip bar/club owner all retain the right to discriminate - or let me rephrase - the right to make a moral judgment on who they will serve or not serve?

Isn't it funny (as in odd) how we defend moral judgments in one situation but get all wound up about moral judgments in another.

Remember, law is in an instrument of force and we need to be careful how it is used.  The free exercise of religion or the lack thereof is a great privilege in this country.  This means we have the liberty, according to the laws of the land, to make moral judgments in our day-to-day living.  If we create laws that serve as "instruments of force" to take away that right to choose according to the dictates of our own conscience then we lose a great deal of freedom in this country.

We need lawmakers and judges that have the wisdom and courage to make judgments and laws that defend our ability to make moral judgments in our personal and public lives.  This truly is the free exercise of religion and we need to defend this basic God given right.

The Ukraine, Russia and the balance of power...

In today's global economy there is more than one option to changing the balance of power.  Military action is certainly one method; a choice that has been used by Russia, the United States and many others.  Sanctions are another; clearly the U.S. has used sanctions against Iran, Cuba and other nations for many years.  Diplomatic relations is a third, although talking until you're blue in the face doesn't accomplish much if the other party doesn't like what you have to say.

When it comes to the Ukraine, the one I think will be most productive over the long haul is to use our economic abundance... and what I mean specifically is that we should use our natural gas production to alter the balance of power between Russia and Europe.  Some will argue that this will be "too little, too late" in the Ukrainian crisis.  I don't think so.  If Russia were to see decisive resolve from Congress and a commitment to provide Europe with natural gas supplies, the mood and the consequences of their actions would be understood - and it would not be short-term rhetoric or sanctions.  

A large move by U.S. companies to compete for European energy customers would fundamentally change the balance of power for Russia and Europe.  Russia has a sweet deal right now and Europe is vulnerable to Russian coercion based on the amount of natural gas flowing from Russia to Europe.  If U.S. companies were given a green light to compete with Russia in the supply of natural gas to Europe, Putin might not blink, but the Russian people would.  Economic power easily translates into stability and influence.  Europe, the Ukraine and the rest of the globe need to know that the U.S. can and will use our economic power to "balance the scales" and hold Russia at bay - especially when it effects our allies or emerging nations that want greater freedom.

Our land is a place of abundance and that abundance can be used to break the shackles of tyranny around the global.  Using a strategy of abundance can be and often will be more persuasive than sanctions, political haggling or military action.  In the case of the Ukraine, I believe this is the better course and that we should make haste in putting it to work.

The boogeyman looms large in President Obama's rhetoric

We all want peace in Syria - at least that is the optimistic hope that I embrace.  And although peace will not be brought about by anything that I say here, it's critical that we make decisions based in the present, the here and now - and not on the fears and imagination of some future "boogeyman."

Tuesday night while listening to President Obama I was disappointed to hear the well known tactics of a seasoned salesman making a pitch... with the "boogeyman" as his partner...and we should all recognize "the pitch" when it's happening.  

We should know when someone is trying to sell us something - and Mr. President was selling last night.  Instead of sticking with the hard facts of the present; even with his references to the use of chemical gas in Syria- President Obama chose instead to use FUD (fear / uncertainty / doubt) as the leverage point of his remarks.  Instead of talking straight and telling us why Syria poses an immediate danger to America, he laid a foundation of fear based on unknown future event and circumstances.  Quoting directly from the text of his remarks:
  • "If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. 
  • As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them. 
  • Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield.
  • ...it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians.
  • If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. 
  • ...a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction
  • ...and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran -- which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path
These are all fine things to debate and consider, but let's stay in the present and deal with the facts...

The Hague convention banned the use of "asphyxiating or deleterious gases...launched in projectiles."  Since that time, according to The Economist, Germany, "the Allies", Japan, America, Iraq and Syria have used "asphyxiating" gases during war and conflict. 

 

If we think all of the above listed "boogeyman" points are going to magically go away because we launch a few bombs on Assad we are naive to the cruel nature of dictators and warring nations.

The real issue is whether or not the United States should step in the middle of a Syrian civil war. My answer is no.  But the real answer lies with Congress and the obligations of our Congressional representatives to declare or not to declare war.

The President himself admits, "in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security... it was right to take this debate to Congress."

Mr. President, although the War Powers Act acknowledges the Commander-in-Chief has the power to "introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities" it also comes with a very narrow set of circumstances that justify such action:
  1. a declaration of war
  2. specific statutory authorization
  3. a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
In the case of Syria, none of the above exist today and even though past Presidents have taken it upon themselves to use military action hundreds of times without a declaration of war by Congress, it is a mistake to take military action in Syria at this time.

We need more risk takers...

Independence Day is the perfect day for celebrating the birth of our nation - and the American habit of risk taking...

You see, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock , Robert Morris and other signers of the Declaration of Independence were all risk takers.  Everyone of them, all 56 men, took a huge risk and put themselves in harms way by signing this great document.  They also opened the doors to opportunity for a nation of immigrants...

This is an American habit.  We take risks in order to open doors of opportunity.  Consider a few of the more famous:  Sergey Brin, Elon Musk, Carlos Santana, Albert Einstein, I.M. Pei, Hakeem Olajuwon, Frederick Pulitzer, Martina Navratilova and many, many more.

These people took risks by coming to America and created opportunities for themselves and others in education, sports, architecture, music, technology and more.

My own ancestors came in the early 1600's (my mother's line) and in the mid-1800's) my dad's  line.  None of them, at least to my knowledge, were famous, rich or educated in the best schools.  They didn't come here because they were recruited by Universities or by corporate headhunters.  They were carpenters, laborers and farmers.  They just wanted an opportunity to start a new life in a new country.  They wanted freedom.. to pursue life according to their own abilities and ambitions. 

They took the risk... and created a life time of opportunity for generations to come - and I for one am grateful that they did.

This year and every year, we need to remember that we are a nation of risk takers - a nation of immigrants.  Our country is a great country because of every individual who has taken the risk to come here - and open the door of opportunity for future generations.

www.iangilyeat.com

This is not an endorsement...

The headline says it, but let me say it again - this is not an endorsement...

However, perhaps it will be helpful in making your decision about who to vote for in the Presidential election.

Read this story on Bain Capital from the Wall Street Journal - and yes, it tells us something about Mitt Romney.

Mr. Romney understands the nature of risk and reward in finances.... and this is important.  He plays the game to win.  Oh, and by the way, he's pretty good at it.  In fact, really good by the the standards of "ordinary Americans."

Take a look and ask yourself if you want someone in the White House who has demonstrated he's really good at business...

www.iangilyeat.com


A heartfelt thanks...

If you've been following the race for the U.S. Senate, you know that the deadline for submitting petitions to qualify for the ballot was May 30th.  In spite of the hard work of many volunteers, all across the state, we did not obtain the required number of signatures.  The amount necessary was 31,210.  As a result, after much conversation and consideration, I am withdrawing my name as a candidate.

Although the outcome is disappointing, I want to give my deepest thanks to those that have supported me.  This is a great country and it will continue to shine forth, as a standard of liberty across the globe, because of individual people like you.  It is widely known that America is one of the most generous nations on earth.  This has been my experience as well... while running for public office; loyal and hard working Americans have been generous with their time, their talents, enthusiasm and resources.  It is humbling and remarkable how many have been willing to stand with me, even against the popular pressure of parties and friends. 

I hope each of us will carry this spirit of sacrifice and service forward through the remainder of this election cycle - and into many more in the future.  I hope we will each study out the candidates and choose one that is deeply grounded in the Constitution - someone who comes from the private sector and understands and loves the principles of limited government - even those principles that defend our property, our lives and our individual freedoms. 

We need to send the career politicians home. along with their attitude that government can solve our problems.   We need to find individuals who will protect our ability to succeed or fail on our own merits.  We need individual liberty to fulfill our destiny as a nation.  We need to fire the people that have been in Washington, making a career of meddling in people's lives.  I hope we will all work to elect honest men and women who care most deeply about these self-evident truths.

Warmest wishes,

Ian Gilyeat

P.S. With one million+ registered voters in Arizona that are outside of the traditional parties, this means that one in three registered voters are "Independent."  This is what I call the "great unraveling" of the two-party system in America.  Simply put - registered voters are abandoning the parties.  Please join me and work on your elected officials to eliminate the barriers they have erected to prevent independent citizens from running for public office.  Ask them to change the signature requirement for "independents" so they too only have to gather 1/2 of 1% instead of the 3% that is now required.  Also, ask them eliminate the 1 cent per record fee that "independents" must pay to access voter registration rolls versus no cost for party candidates.  If we expect the political process to engage all voters then we must knock down the barriers the "privileged class" have erected to protect their privileged life styles.

China, oil and the cost of gas...

Steve Forbes states that too much money drives up the price of hard assets - especially oil.  There's also the opinion out there that adding the pipeline from Canada to the Gulf will bring a million new barrels of oil per day to the U.S. market.  That's a nice sum.

IF these two statement are correct (they need to be fact checked) then the current high prices of gas are self inflicted by our own Federal government...

Our own U.S. Treasury is printing lots of cheap money and our own Federal government has blocked approval of the pipeline...

Speaking of too much currency... leading economists and business periodicals have noted that China is reducing their dependence on the U.S. dollar.  Although their latest report showed an increase of 7% in total dollars held - the percentage of their total reserves is under 55%.  That means China is holding 45% of their financial reserves in a currency other than the dollar...

This shouldn't surprise anyone.  The U.S. Treasury announced they were intentionally devaluing the dollar by 20%.  What investor (China) in their right mind would invest in an asset that is designed to drop in value by 20%?

If we want the price of gas to drop and China to strengthen the U.S. dollar as the defacto global standard - we should tighten the supply of money, approve the pipeline and stop printing so many cheap paper dollars.

www.iangilyeat.com



Disclosures from Bernanke at the Federal Reserve?

Federal Reserve Chairman  Bernanke, could face a subpoena from lawyers, representing shareholders of Bank of America; shareholders who want to hear what the chairman said to Ken Lewis, then CEO of Bank of America, prior to the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by BofA. 

Although it's uncommon for a top regulator to be questioned in a civil lawsuit, this is an opportunity to add some visibility and accountability to the Federal Reserve.  Given the very high profile nature of the conversation, the financial turmoil at the time and the subsequent $20 billion in aid given to Bank of America just before their $19.4 billion acquisition of Merrill Lynch, it seems appropriate and natural for shareholders to want clarity on the machinations of the deal.

Increased disclosures at the Federal Reserve would be a good thing overall - their portfolio is massive - and the bank holds enormous sway on global markets.  This particular conversation or series of conversations between Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Lewis may become one more catalyst to holding the Federal Reserve accountable and bring about greater transparency.  Let's hope so.

www.iangilyeat.com

"I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze..."

For those of you familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech in Memphis, Tennessee, this may be a familiar quote.  If you've only listened to the last 60 seconds, and this quote is unfamiliar, listen to the whole speech.  It's worth seeing the calm, resolute determination of the man - and you'll discover why Dr. King said, "I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze."

Dr. King left an indelible impression on the American people.  It is noteworthy, in this speech, frequently known as the "I've been to the mountain top," speech that Dr. King refers to one of the earliest documents of our nation, the Bill of Rights.  He makes mention of the right to peaceably assemble, the freedom of the press, the freedom of speech and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, or as Dr. King puts it, "the right to protest for rights."

Dr. King was familiar with the Bill of Rights.  He knew what it meant to participate in non-violent activism.

Today - as we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, we should read the Bill of Rights and then remember the Preamble to the Constitution:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility...do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Dr. King had it right.  We have a right to peaceably assemble.  We have a right to petition the government for redress of grievances.  We have a right to freedom of speech.  May we do so in order to form a more perfect Union and to insure domestic Tranquility.

www.iangilyeat.com

Sound bites or serious problem solving?

On the cover of Jan 16th issue of Time magazine is a picture of Mitt Romney with the question, "So You Like Me Now? 


This is in contrast to the one a few weeks ago title, "Why Don't they Like Me?

Today while reading a string of comments on the wall of a friend on Facebook, a simple, "Huntsman bugs me" was followed by more than 20 comments from several individuals wondering why the question about contraception was even asked.

The Time cover magazines and the question about contraception happen because of one reason - the need to drive revenue. 

Remember - the role of media is to drive revenue.  The job of the interviewers is to ask provocative questions in order to create news - something they can use in the media to create more stories, interest and ratings increases.

I used to be in the magazine business.  I was responsible for selling more magazines off the newsstand.  This is what the Time Magazine covers are all about - selling magazines.

It's no different in TV.  Advertisers are paying for viewers.  The role of the producer is to make the show interesting in order to pull in more ad dollars for the next show.

If you want serious problem solving on national issues - you're not going to find it on TV.  It simply doesn't happen that way.  The debate is a staged show so advertisers can sell something.

For the politicians - think of it in terms of reality TV.  It's an opportunity to build their name recognition; an opportunity to build their brand in order to sell their persona to the voting public.  It's their chance to deliver a memorable sound bite...

Serious problem solving takes lots of work - and it happens slowly.  It takes time...and who wants to watch that?

www.iangilyeat.com