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eddie mush

Hi, my name is John…and, a long time ago, I was a degenerate gambler.

Why do I tell this to the world…or, more accurately, the four people who read my blog?

Simple. Every time a “progressive” talks about “investing” my tax dollars, I get flashbacks to a time I’d rather forget. Hard core gamblers live in a fantasy land. “Make no mistake”, they often have fun, and, unless they’re “Eddie Mush” from “A Bronx Tale”, they even win occasionally; but they brainwash themselves into thinking that winning could be the norm. They have “hope” that their next “run” will be a big one and they “believe” that, eventually, their bad luck will “change”. Consequently, they “chase” additional “revenue” by spending (and losing) more and more. They borrow from their checking accounts. They borrow from their friends. They borrow from their credit cards and credit lines. They take out “markers” (casino loans) at the cage. And they lie…a lot…to themselves and others…all in a desperate attempt to prolong their fantasy. Believe me, this never ends well.

Over the past several years, the President and his Party have been “doubling down on dumb” by “chasing” a utopian dream that, like gambling, has no chance of “winning the future” in the real world. Even as we approach $17 trillion in debt, their “solution” is always to “invest” more of our tax dollars in failed policies.

Why do they continue to do this?

Simply put, we let them. They never get “shut off” by the voters or the banks. They raise taxes and fees, pile on costly new regulations and tell their friends at the Fed to print more money. Fearing no electoral consequences, they refuse to pass a budget so they can raise their debt ceiling to infinity. They say things that “sound nice” to various constituencies and, consequently, they keep getting elected by their “enablers”. When degenerate gamblers hit rock bottom, (often when they completely run out of money and credit), they have to stop gambling. There is simply no other option…other than suicide. If they don’t pay their debts, there are serious outcomes. Even their “enablers”–friends, family, banks, loan sharks and casinos–stop lending eventually. Folks, we are the “enablers” of our politicians.

It’s time for an intervention.

We need to shut them off before they destroy all of us. “We The People” are the bank. The “borrowers” have shown no willingness or ability to pay us back. Let’s close down their markers permanently because they are gambling not only with our money but with our children’s and grandchildren’s money. That’s wrong, but it’s our fault for letting it happen. I was fortunate enough to wake up from my dream and turn my life around. It’s never too late to start over. Let’s admit we have a problem, then stop the bleeding and embrace some “change” that actually makes sense for once. Vote the political equivalents of “Eddie Mush” out of office in 2014 and beyond.

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bs-meter-21

I’m tired. I’m really, really tired.
Am I getting old? Yes. But while I certainly prefer aging to its alternative, my sprint toward transitional assisted living and perpetual underground residency is not what this post is about. No, I’m just tired of the bullshit…and I say that in a true spirit of bipartisanship.

What bullshit, you ask? Well, if you have to ask, you’re probably a devoted fan of Mob Wives because you clearly don’t pay much attention to politics. To each his or her own, I suppose, (and for the record, I think “Big Ang” is hysterical). But, personally, I’m tired of the nonsense. I’m tired of all the spin. I’m tired of the straw man arguments. I’m tired of the lies. And most of all, I’m really tired of the false premises. Although there are dozens in circulation, let’s look at just one.

“Something vs. Nothing”

Leaving their motivations aside for a moment, it seems that when our “leaders” feel the need to ram a bill through Congress, one of their key talking points is invariably: “This is urgent…we have to do something before it’s too late. Doing nothing is simply not an option!” Sounds nice. Sounds like they’re actually working. Sounds like they “care”. But one phrase, or a series of phrases, shouldn’t ever justify something like, say, Obamacare or Dodd-Frank, two of the most ill-conceived legislative monstrosities in the history of the planet. The Democrats are very good at playing the “something vs. nothing” game, and the Republicans are often too squishy to tell the truth; namely, that doing something STUPID is never better than doing nothing.

Before Obama and his current gaggle of socialist friends arrived on the scene, Bill Clinton was the master of creating and selling false options like “something vs. nothing”. I once used a little (admittedly non-PC, but somewhat effective) hyperbole to describe his approach. (Do your best Bubba imitation while reading it aloud.) “Either you support my proposal or you shove a lit stick of dynamite up your butt. It’s your call, but you have to decide right now!” With all due respect to some of our Jihadi friends, most sane people would prefer even a bad bill to the second option; but an intelligent person might simply choose to reject the premise and propose a more reasonable “solution”, presumably one that doesn’t involve explosives.

To be “fair”, (I’ll get to that one at another time), many Republicans are not proud or principled enough to avoid using “something vs. nothing” or other “straw man” tactics. After all, “children are being left behind”, so we have to do “something” about that, right? Ooh, and yes, prescriptions are expensive for seniors, so we have to do “something” about that too, right? Fast forward to the current immigration debate. Karl Rove and his cronies say the GOP needs to do something to win Hispanic support, but their focus groups didn’t think “seal the borders, deport illegals who commit crimes and start enforcing current immigration law” was going to cut it. Consequently, I fear that the new Republican “something” will take the form of an all-out pandering campaign which is likely to produce a “bipartisan” bill that history will describe as unworkable, unenforceable, exorbitantly expensive, completely counterproductive and totally absurd. Nice job, Karl…the undocumented Democrats thank you and your OFA check is in the mail.

Sadly, the “something vs. nothing” approach often works because the average voter has the attention span of a fruit fly, the typical politician only cares about election-winning and the main stream media long ago abandoned the whole notion of objective journalism. If we stay gullible, apathetic, uninformed and/or misinformed, we as a nation probably deserve precisely what we get out of our public officials. It’s time to wake up, as they say, “before it’s too late”. We need to get informed, break out those bullshit meters and reject false premises whenever they surface. The sources of these false premises are irrelevant, by the way. Politics is downstream from culture. Faulty logic is often spewed not only by politicians but also by academics, reporters, pundits, celebrities, union bosses, Twitter trolls…and even your friends and family. Identify the premises of their arguments. Reject those premises if they don’t make sense. Offer alternative logical frameworks and solutions. It’s not hard once you condition yourself to listen first and talk (or tweet) later.

To summarize: “Something vs. Nothing” is a scam…don’t fall for it. You will never win an argument if you let your opponent frame the debate. Flawed policy always flows from false premises. Keep your bullshit meter with you at all times and know what you’re talking about. Thus endeth the lesson. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take a nap. I’m really, really tired.

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OK, I admit it…this post is somewhat self-serving. It reeks of “I told you so”, which is not considered to be “good form” in most circles. But I firmly believe that many of the same factors that fueled Scott Brown’s US Senate campaign are still very much in play.

The “#41stVote” value proposition no longer applies, and unfortunately for all but one GOP candidate, Martha Coakley is only running for reelection as Massachusetts Attorney General. But I contend that the drive, passion, spirit, activism and yes, anger, have only grown in intensity since “The Massachusetts Miracle” took place on January 19, 2010. (The fact that the monstrosity called “the health care bill” was rammed through, against the will of the people and despite #41Vote, didn’t exactly do much to calm “the ignorant masses” either!)

The people of Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts have sent a clear message at the polls–liberal politicians on all levels have ignored that message and will pay dearly for their arrogance in November.

I wrote the following note on January 6, 2010, just as Scott Brown’s viability as a GOP candidate was becoming “news” in the main stream media. (Those of us who pounded the message via social media networks and the conservative “blogosphere” knew this was a compelling story long before it hit traditional media outlets.) Take a look and draw your own conclusions about the current political environment. Also, feel free to use the comments section to discuss your favorite conservative candidate. We’re all in this together!

January 6, 2010

Why Scott Brown Will Win

By John LaRosa

Now that polling data validates Scott Brown’s viability as a candidate, even in what has commonly been perceived as one of the most liberal states in America, the game is clearly “on” in Massachusetts. What started out as an uphill, almost quixotic, “blue state” battle has evolved both into a “Rocky-like” success story for the Brown campaign and an inspiration for conservative candidates everywhere.

In the last few weeks, bloggers and “tweeters” have flooded the internet with content and commentary. The resulting “buzz” yielded a massive outpouring of support. People from all across the country became volunteers, made calls from home, alerted the local and national media, called radio talk shows and made online donations. With this “viral” exposure and associated windfall, Brown’s grassroots campaign, funded almost entirely by small individual contributions, was able to hit traditional media venues with compelling TV and radio ads, most of which were shared generously by supporters via social media.

Nationally, the “value proposition” known as the #41stVote (soon to be a trending topic on Twitter?) resonated with patriotic Americans who feel betrayed by DC officials who seem intent on ramming toxic legislation through Congress without authentic debate. Locally, Democrats and Independents have not only joined Republicans in protesting the Democratic Party’s stampede to the far left, but they’ve also heard and liked Scott Brown’s positions on all the major issues. Scott is an affable, intelligent candidate. He is a straight shooter, but always civil–and this has been well received at hundreds of campaign appearances throughout the Commonwealth.

On January 19th, the voters of Massachusetts can shock the nation and send a powerful message to the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama by supporting Scott Brown. They can also be certain that they will be electing a tireless advocate who respects their opinions and will offer positive solutions to difficult problems.

A friend of mine, who is a lifelong Democrat and former Obama supporter, perhaps said it best: “This is not the Party I remember. This is not the change I voted for!” Democrats: Keep ignoring your constituents, buying votes, restricting debate, compromising your integrity and spending us into oblivion. You will reap what you sow!

In the last round of elections, many moderate Democrats and Independents “bought the marketing” but ultimately found themselves dissatisfied with the product and service. They clearly want to shop elsewhere now and they represent the swing voters who will make Scott Brown the next United States Senator from Massachusetts.

John LaRosa consults on business, life and politics. Visit http://www.consultjohn.com


Note: On May 18th, a fourth state is poised to join “message makers” VA, NJ and MA. Conservative businessman and philanthropist Tim Burns now has a small lead against a liberal “Pelosi-Puppet” in the special election to fill the seat occupied by the late US Rep. Jack Murtha in Pennsylvania’s 12th District. This is NOT a primary–it is the final–and I recommend that all patriots, (including other candidates) support Tim’s campaign in any way possible. I am proud to endorse Tim Burns without reservation!


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“The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.” — Ronald Reagan

President Reagan would have liked my father.

Everyone, it seems, has a relative who repeats old jokes at family functions. One of my Dad’s favorites used to be:

Q: “Why don’t donkeys go to school?”

A: “Because nobody likes a smart ass!”

Now, I didn’t say they were good jokes, but read on–I’ll get straight to the point.

Know it All (KIA) Syndrome

Our country is in the process of rejecting the premises and policies of “donkeys” who went to school and grew up to be “smart asses” or, to put it more mildly, “Know-It-Alls” (KIAs). Sure, they can write a decent term paper and be rewarded with a good grade from a proudly socialist professor. Upon graduation, they can prepare a thesis and fulfill the requirements established to earn a Masters degree. And clearly, when they put resumes together and land a job at a “non-profit” like ACORN, they know how to churn out grant proposals that like-minded and equally clueless bureaucrats will find compelling and worthy of hard-earned tax dollars. But do they know how their predominantly liberal academic indoctrination translates into tangible, “real world” results? Hell no, and we may be feeling the effects of this disconnect for generations if we don’t act NOW!

America Has Woken Up!

The people of this country are waking up to this “KIA Syndrome”. They are rejecting the premise that if a proposal, however ill-conceived, sounds “nice” or “kind” or “just”, it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to shell out trillions of dollars to implement it. They are looking more closely at our Constitution for guidance on the true role and powers of government. They are mobilizing, blogging, tweeting, donating, volunteering, voting and yes, shouting! They are saying NO to “Know-It-Alls”!

Message Sent…and Ignored.

In New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts, the message was sent: If you’re a “KIA”, even in a “Blue State”, your political career will be “KIA” (Killed in Action*). If you’re “too smart” for the “ignorant masses” and continue to insist that your liberal agenda is even remotely in our interests, you will soon be looking for work in an increasingly difficult economic environment. Your local races, like it or not, are now also national races, and you can do nothing about it…except to “wake your smart asses up” and start listening to the people. That is the only way you might keep your current job or have any hope for future elective office. We’re on to you, and we’ve had enough!

From all indications, “KIAs” see Tea Parties and other grassroots efforts in the same way they see debunked global warming data–as an “inconvenient truth”. But because they insist that they are smarter than everyone, they pursue the same senseless strategies and tactics. This is good news for “common sense conservatives” across the country.

2010 will be a good year and I’m looking forward to it. We will see more Veterans, business people and first-time candidates elected this year than ever before. It’s time for some sanity. It’s time for change that actually works. It’s time to remove the liberal KIAs once and for all.

(*In case Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann read this and want to take me out of context: I believe in the political process and do not advocate violence. “Killed in Action” is not to be taken literally!)

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#41stVote

Shortly after the special election for US Senate in Massachusetts, I “came out” as the person responsible for creating, advocating and “driving” the #41stVote “hash tag” on Twitter.

I was part of the volunteer “Brown Brigade” and one of the many Scott Brown supporters who realized #41stVote was THE key national value proposition of the campaign. Why else would someone in PA (@AngelaRMLash) , Utah (@LadyLibertas93), Alabama (@Victoria_29) or California (friends of @ChuckDeVore) make calls from home, blog about the race, comment on news stories or click the “DONATE” button on a web site? After all, Scott Brown was a relatively obscure Republican State Senator in a presumed “safe haven” for Democrats. Clearly, and justifiably, people questioned the content, transparency and integrity of the health care bill. They saw that it was in their immediate interest–and the immediate national interest–to force Harry Reid “back to the drawing board” by ending his filibuster-proof “super majority” in the US Senate.

#41stVote organized, categorized and crystalized the message. It bonded individual bloggers, tweeters and patriots who wanted common sense conservatism and good government applied not just to health care and other “big bills”, but to all legislative initiatives. Together, these “regular people” became the media! Their clear, powerful and collective plea was: “Stop right there–we can do better!” The voters of Massachusetts agreed, and on 1/19/10, Scott Brown pulled off a political miracle by replacing liberal icon Ted Kennedy in the US Senate.

#Code41

I contend that Scott Brown’s unlikely and historic victory could be the beginning of what (the prominent and highly respected political analyst) Michael Barone once termed a “critical realignment” in American politics. Grassroots activism, (on and offline), did not simply disappear with Brown’s US Senate campaign. Energized by victories in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts, proponents of common sense conservatism want to know: What’s next? My hope is that their enthusiasm endures and political momentum accelerates across the nation–that is why I’ve created the #Code41 hashtag on Twitter.

#Code41 is a call to action. It is an urgent beckoning to those “regular people” who helped Scott Brown with #41stVote to “keep that truck rolling” across America. If you reject the dubious premises, policies and tactics of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, I urge you to support your favorite candidates, share great content, meet new friends and promote “online democracy” via the #Code41 hashtag.

#Code41 is not sponsored or formally endorsed by any specific candidate, Party, organization, PAC or special interest group. It is simply a #41stVote “spin-off” created to move the “good government” discussion forward at this critical time in our nation’s history.

#41stVote “went viral” and helped save our country from the ill-conceived, pork-laden and potentially disastrous monstrosity called the health care bill. Let’s do it again with #Code41 and restore transparency, integrity and common sense to the political process!


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For decades, companies have mailed “thank you cards” to their clients and colleagues. Expressing gratitude is both a nice thing to do and a sound business practice. In fact, I still recommend this traditional tactic in certain circumstances. However, many  “greener”, cheaper, less time consuming and more modern versions of the Hallmark approach are now available online.

Let’s look at Twitter as an example. Assuming you’ve joined the “great cocktail party” called social media and opened a free Twitter account, there are four basic “thank you” tools immediately at your disposal. (These tools also serve other purposes which I will address at another time.)

The “Retweet” (RT)

(e.g. RT @jslconsulting)

Nothing says “I hear you” quite like the retweet. When someone posts a comment or link that you like, sharing it with your followers is a compliment. The RT is a great way to say “I agree with you…and thanks for providing good content” to a fellow tweeter. I assure you that RTs are appreciated, remembered and often returned.

#FollowFriday (#FF)

(e.g. #FF @ConsultJohn)

Without question, my favorite day to tweet is Friday. The # symbol is called a “hashtag” and it is a method of categorizing Twitter content. When people mention your Twitter handle after typing #FF, they are proclaiming to the world that you are a good “tweet” to follow. They are thanking you for your content and engagement as well as recommending you to their “friends”. Many “real world” business relationships and friendships have developed because of #FF “shout outs”!

Direct Messages (DMs)

RTs and #FFs are viewable in the public “tweet stream”. For a private and more personal approach, you can send a quick note to individual tweeters. DMs are essentially Twitter’s email. Recognizing someone’s efforts is always a good thing, but I would caution you not to promote yourself in the process. (e.g. Don’t “pimp your blog” in the guise of gratitude.) I would also remind you that if someone has 30,000 followers, they may have a backlog of DMs to review. Still, when used properly, kind DMs are generally well received.

Lists

A relatively new tool provides users with the capacity to organize, and share with the public, categories of tweeters. The Twitter “list” feature allows your current and prospective followers to quickly scan areas of mutual interest and see who you recommend in any given niche. Listing individuals by category is most often considered a compliment and reason for continued engagement.

RTs, #FFs, DMs and Lists can be deployed together to bolster your brand and build a following. Use them, (at least in part), to show your gratitude, nurture relationships and spread “good karma” on Twitter.

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Massachusetts Miracle?

Polls are currently indicating a statistical dead heat for US Senate in Massachusetts. Republican State Senator Scott Brown is shocking pundits, and the nation, by offering a robust challenge to Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley in the race to fill the seat vacated by the late Senator Edward Kennedy. The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, January 19, 2010.

Just two months ago, this campaign was a typical Massachusetts landslide in the making. Coakley was ahead by 30 points and running a safe, low profile “front-runner” campaign. The national GOP and traditional media had written Scott Brown off as another valiant casualty of  “Blue State” inevitability. The Coakley team and its allies were quite content to let the usual process take its course. Everything lined up as it almost always does in the Democratic stronghold called Massachusetts.

Significance

Much has been written recently about the significance of this election. If Brown wins, he represents the 41st vote in the US Senate–a vote which will end the filibuster-proof majority and force bipartisan debate on important legislation like health care reform. If Brown simply does well, he motivates conservatives around the country, even in historically liberal districts, to seek vacant seats and oppose Democratic incumbents. Some have called this race a referendum on “Obamacare”. Others, including moderate Democrats, see it as a chance to send a message to the far left that, well, they’ve gone way too far in that direction. I will not address these issues here, but I wanted to include them for contextual purposes.

What has changed in the last 60 Days?

The importance of this race has been clear since the passing of Senator Kennedy. Brown and Coakley have always been favored to be the nominees of their respective parties. A Brown victory would always have produced the aforementioned effect. So what started happening two months ago to turn the political tides? Three things: social media, viability and money. I contend that the former created the possibility of the latter two.

Social Media Creates a Buzz

Supporters of Scott Brown, the so-called “Brown Brigade”, were not content to sit back and watch another Democratic drubbing of a conservative candidate. They believed in Senator Brown and saw the political opportunity at hand. In addition to traditional campaign methods–phone calls, lit drops, bumper stickers and the like–they enthusiastically embraced social media as a marketing tool. They hit Facebook, Twitter, Ning, LinkedIn and YouTube. They wrote blogs and commented on other people’s posts. When they saw a relevant news story on line, they made their opinions known. Instead of telling two friends to support Scott Brown, they told two friends with 1000 followers each on Twitter. Those people liked the message and shared it with their followers. Before long, the entire nation began to notice and discuss the campaign. It was no longer just about Massachusetts–if Scott Brown were remotely viable, this could impact everyone!

#41st Vote

A Brown supporter, (who had been actively sharing content and commentary), was thrilled to see some interest developing. He was frustrated, however, that volunteer support, national media exposure and donations were not increasing quickly enough to make a very short–and clearly “up hill”– special election campaign viable. Without viability, who would bother to get involved or write a check?

That individual decided to bolster the social media efforts of the campaign team by creating a Twitter hashtag (a way to categorize content) called #41stVote. Together with blog engagement, personal outreach to influential “tweeters” and direct communication with main stream journalists, this #41stVote concept quickly caught on as a highly focused and compelling value proposition. Within days of its creation, interest swelled and the Brown message started to “go viral”. When that happened, money, volunteers and positive commentary escalated dramatically.

Interactions related to the #41stVote and associated social media devices increased donations to such an extent that substantial blocks of  traditional “media buys” were made possible. TV and radio exposure landed additional support, which in turn led to better poll numbers. When Rasmussen and other polling companies announced that the race was within single digits, viability had been achieved and cash poured into the campaign.

How much cash? Scott Brown’s January 11th, one day, “money bomb” secured $1.3 million! The average donation was only $75–a testament to the grassroots nature of this online campaign.

Lessons learned

While the Brown campaign used many social media venues to “broadcast” from the outset, its message only went “viral” after significant engagement, content sharing, value creation and tool utilization. The campaign had to answer the following questions from potential online “partners”:

1. Why should I follow you?

2. Why should I share your message?

3. Why should I write about you?

4. Why should I recommend that others follow you?

5. Why should I make calls on your behalf?

6. Why should I donate to your campaign?

7. Why should I interview you?

8. Why should I care?

Social Media Best Practices–How can we help YOU?

Understanding the needs of voters and potential donors,  providing valuable and easily shared content to online supporters and effectively engaging (as opposed to “talking at”) key strategic partners were all critical elements of Brown’s social media success. The #41stVote hashtag provided a unifying theme to these efforts. It also answered many key questions in nine simple characters.

Will social media change America?

Used in combination with the more traditional approaches, social media has emerged as an extremely powerful weapon in the Brown Brigade’s arsenal. Given the importance of this special election, and how the race has been trending recently, Scott Brown’s use of  “new marketing” may very well change the course of American history.


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