Almost 2013:
• Republicans lost the election because...the other guy won
• News Media has dropped 'News' from its name/identity/purpose
• Violence Control vs. Gun Control more effective and sensible
• SAVE and about requiring SAVING being part of any fiscal plan?
Fiscal Cliff one of 2012s worst marketing gimmicks.

by Amy Zidell

As the start of 2013 looms, I carve time to sit down and actually write a proper article. I'm not a big New Years resolution person. If you want to do something, do it whether it's January 1st or October 1st. Still, goals are important and making time to write this piece is partial effort to satisfy my goal to write more, a goal I generally was unsuccessful in accomplishing in 2012. While personally frustrating, it is not nearly as significant as the colossal goal attaining failures of political and news professionals in 2012. This doesn't make me feel better or smug. I'm the one who mailed holiday gifts that arrived with postage due.

If I didn't write so much, it's because other activities vied for my time. Yet, no matter how much volunteering, helping, saving, caring was going on there was time that could have been used to write that wasn't. My tweeting volume dramatically increased but no matter how creative you can be with 140 characters, it's not a substitute for full paragraphs.

Soon after the election, I had to turn off talk radio and cable and broadcast news. I could not stand listening to one more person going on about their theory or the recycled theory of the day about why Romney's presidential bid failed. I could not tolerate endless chatter about why scare tactic propositions in California passed. I volunteered. I made phone calls. I set up yard signs. I walked precincts. I wrote letters to the editor. And don't you know? All that plus sheer force of will didn't make it happen. All the Wednesday morning quarterbacking (Monday is for Football, election was Tuesday so...) missed the most crucial and simplest fact: We (Republicans) lost the election because the other guy won.

Conservative fiscal policy, smaller government, rugged individualism, personal respect and responsibility are all winning ideologies and messages. I believe these messages are superior to big government division and dependence philosophy. Sadly, arrogance stood in the way of selling the better message. Sure, in multitudes of echo chambers conservative ideology reins supreme, but the message needs to be disseminated OUTSIDE the echo chambers. How else do you combat pro-Obama voting blocks who think, "We should give him a chance," as if they're filling a position for a summer intern. To win, it's not enough to know your own message you need to know the other sides' message and be able to communicate its failings while showing your message is better to all voters. For a party that identifies itself as the friend of the entrepreneur, the GOP certainly lacks entrepreneurial skills.

Winning politics is a mass-market undertaking. Consider Kobe beef is a rare and very high quality product, but producers sell fewer units of Kobe beef than Mcdonald's sells hamburgers. There is no comparison of the food quality between Kobe Beef and Mcdonald's. Kobe beef is a superior product. It's price per pound rivals precious metals. However, a higher value product means nothing in the voting booth. Each vote carries the same value. Until the GOP and conservatives can successfully put their philosophies of conservative fiscal policy, smaller government, rugged individualism, personal respect and responsibility, stick-to-itiveness, hard work/reward into action getting greater vote turnout, we will continue to loose elections.

The GOP needs to embrace a Lets Get It Done, Figure It Out culture upgrade. There's too much infighting, not enough unity, complete loss of sight of the ball. A sports analogy is apt. No matter how much they may disagree among one another, the Democrats field a team that executes unified play with goal in sight and accomplishes the goal. The GOP fields a team that argues about the play, and seems more concerned with making a philosophical point rather than scoring a goal. Very important -- hire winning coaches, i.e. political consultants. If the consultant worked for John McCain, Meg Whitman or any other unsuccessful campaign do not hire them for any more Republican candidates or fiscal conservative causes. A loosing consultant, does not a winning campaign make. That's how, even with the better message, you loose elections. So, conservatives, Republicans, GOPers, time to up your game. Figure it out, get it done -- the country is depending on you.

Let's be frank, it's time to drop the pretense of News. Who, What, Where, When, Why, How were the news requirements I heard from every journalism class or project I've worked on. Largely, News Media is no longer a third person unbiased observer and reporter of the news. It's become celebritized. It's gotten all touchy feely. It's all first person. The 5 W's and 1 H have been replaced with:
Who I am.
What I think about it.
Where I am reporting.
When I got to the story.
Why I am reporting on this.
How I feel about it.

In some cases, actual news is more prevalent on entertainment style talk shows. Go figure. News SHOULD be about facts. What is presented as news, more frequently, is wild speculation. Checking and verifying sources and facts is how journalism should operate if it is to be deemed reliable. The scoop has been bastardized. It's no longer about being the first to accurately report on a story. It's turned into a disgusting frenzy of primarily low relevance exclusives that are themselves short lived. Private individual privacy be damned, "I have an exclusive." The wide release of 911 calls is concerning. Why should citizens be concerned that their call for help will be distributed? This is primarily a cheap titillating media ploy. When these very tapes are creatively edited by news producers you have to ask, "What were they thinking?" How is that possible, you may ask, in the stifling and absurd world of PC political correctness? Even more puzzling is the bias immune from the PC virus. There is no shortage of verbiage spewed from every sort of media but very little meat. Quantity has overtaken quality.

I don't consider my tuning out the noise to be a boycott or blackout. I've just exercised my right to change the channel. Everyone has this powerful control. Curiously, the FM station at the same dial location as the AM station I now almost never listen to, has a mix of music that, even though it's not my first choice genre, I catch myself singing along with and even dancing to on way to the washing machine, sink or other large appliance. I'm thinking more musically of late, which is interesting personally, as I done even far less music than writing in recent times.

I like to believe I am less stressed. I don't need to hear people bickering. I don't need to know the sad and gory details of every crime committed. My life didn't turn upside down because I learned of Hillary Clinton's concussion a week or so after it happened. I don't need to know everything, all the time, right away. I venture that most people don't. Perhaps humans are not even intended to properly process so much 'news.' I don't blame the so-called 24-hour news cycle. What nonsense is that? News Flash: News has always happened 24 hours a day. In any case, we don't have a 24-hour news cycle, old news is simply cycled for 24 or more hours. Characterizing the repeated information as old news is being generous. So much that is reported consists of repeating PR pieces dressed up as news. Stories about stories about stories and reports about reports about reports do not equal news. True 24-hour news would be new information being reported for 24 hours. Maybe I'll tune back in when that's the case.

When ruling parties drive the non-opinion editorial process, free and democratic societies are in jeopardy. Where are people to get the news and can they believe the news they read or hear? The Internet distributes all sorts of information. That includes tweets of first hand accounts of news events. Yet, even the most accurate anecdote is not the whole story. What happened to No News Is Good News?

How about a 30-day waiting period for politicalization of crimes committed with guns? The old phrase is true: If you outlaw guns then only the outlaws will have guns. Philosophers and thinkers have been philosophizing and thinking about the nature of man for centuries. Putting all that ether thought aside, there are bad people, evil people, mean people, and criminal people in the world. If they are intent on causing harm and mayhem, they will, no matter what they use to do damage. Law enforcement preaches prevention. Don't leave valuables in the car: Lock it, hide it, keep it.

The harder the target, the less likely it will be targeted. So yes, armed guards at schools makes every school with an armed guard a harder target. That every place an innocent child or adult frequents is not similarly guarded does not take away the benefit of a guarded school. Chris Christie imagines armed guards at front doors are not beneficial because there are many doors and in his imagined scenario, only front doors would have armed guard or other security measures. I don't even think that is an all or nothing argument. I'll go with some armed guards over none. More law-abiding citizens who are armed hardens every target. Remember, the weapon 9/11 terrorists used to take over planes, a tool grocery clerks depend on daily -- box cutters.

A friend told me once, "Sometimes it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be done." They are right. Would Governor Christie see no improvements while waiting for an unrealized perfect dream fulfilled? What perfect plan does he envision? I don't believe the issue is guns, or clips, or how angry a rifle looks. Guns are not supposed to be happy. They are engineered to fire projectiles at high velocity. They are objects that make no judgment call. Some people don't like guns. Just like they can change the channel or turn the TV off, they don't have to own a gun. That's their choice. It's not my choice, and I don't want them making my choice for me. Haven't you heard the news? There's crime and violence. We need guns for defense.

Rather than Gun control, consider gun policy: law abiding, responsible, mentally stable people, who know gun safety can own and operate guns. If any control needs to be meted out how about Violence control? Enforcement enhancement would be useful, as well, so that guns are not available or in the hands of those not meeting the above gun policy. We don't need new regulations, or agencies. Common sense will do nicely.

Sequestration: the plan where each side, Democrats and Republicans, put things onerous to the other side in a default plan that would take effect if agreement on no other plan was reached. I can't remember a previous plan with actual cuts in federal spending. Amen to that. Save and Tax is certainly a better policy than Tax and Spend. Truly, the policy of this country has been too much Tax and Borrow and Spend. I'm not so sure that 10% across the board cuts in federal discretionary spending is going to be the ruin of the nation. There is so much bloat in government that I find it implausible saving 10% is impossible. Factoring that, for some crazy reason, zero (0) base line budgeting is not used, when a budget does not INCREASE, say 10% in a following year, opponents misleadingly cry about a 10% cut. Huh? Government budgeting in and of itself is a murky business and budgetary tricks and gimmicks can create surplus, write offs, and all sorts of things that make no mathematical sense. Honest reporting would help rip this veil of subterfuge off the mismanagement of our tax dollars.

Too many times cuts and savings are promised and a new tax plan is approved. While the savings and cuts never materialize, no time is wasted raising taxes with the government hand in our pockets and our tills. How many times will this dupe repeat? Why do we keep falling for it? When will it stop? Is it really that complicated to show actual savings and cuts BEFORE increasing taxes?

The Fiscal Cliff concept is a poor marketing gimmick partly because it is a transparent gimmick and partly because it is so false. Paul Ryan created a sensible budget plan that would actually save Medicare, but Democrats painted Ryan as an evil guy pushing Grandma over a cliff in her wheelchair. Is it any surprise the Fiscal Cliff phrase got legs when it was spoon-fed to the media by the administration? Yes, I take a leap that's the news reporting scenario but I think it's more like a baby step.

Most agree we need fair taxes and the process should be simplified. Taxes should not be multiplied. You pay taxes on your income. If you work hard and save, perhaps you invest what's left after taxes and expenses. If after risking this hard earned money you make a profit on your investment, that profit is taxed -- there you have double taxation. If after being taxed doubly you continue to risk your capital and acquire assets and want to leave these to your family or others when you pass, this is taxed at a gutting rate -- welcome to triply taxed. There is no more unfair tax policy than The Death Tax. No one likes paying taxes but this tax policy is destructive. It is not a donation, not a contribution, not tithe-like for the common good. It is a confiscation. Taxation should not be punitive or cause the dismantling of business or acquisitions.

Taxes are intended to fund government operations. Tax policy can't level the playing field and it shouldn't be used with that as a goal. Through the ages, no matter how much disparity, despair, or oppression, no matter how difficult the circumstance some people from the same or worse circumstances do better. Some cavemen were stronger and maybe they caught more game for food. Others, maybe chiseled a better club, or made a sharper spear. You can't tax ingenuity, drive, ambition, or hard work, just their results. Make taxes too burdensome, and the positive attributes that generate income and products and services can be stifled.

"No taxation without representation" was a cry of our American Revolution. We are close to a time where this cry may rise again. Taxation feeding taxation is no way to run a treasury unless you want to run it into the ground. It is where we are heading fast. More government, less efficiency, more taxes. It is a vicious, unsustainable beast that must be slain. We need to take figurative axes to the taxes.

If you like European socialism so much, travel. It is not a model for America. Perhaps Europe's history of monarchs and dictators unfairly set the stage for their forms of socialism and general nanny statism. How does it make sense, fiscal or common, to raise taxes to feed an overgrown government doing inefficient things it has no business doing? It does not.

Saving before raising. If, even in a flawed way, sequestration delivers Savings and Taxes, is that so bad? It won't be the end of the world. We seemed to have made it past the Mayan calendar after all, surely a manufactured divot is of little consequence.

Happy New Year!

[Obama, presidential campaign, Republican loss, Romney, Fiscal Cliff, gun control, news media, 2013, Mayan calendar, Democrats, taxes, Paul Ryan, medicare, Chris Christie, 24-hour news, cavemen]

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