Saturday, January 22, 2011

Updated store and Youtube of designs

Over the last few weeks I dusted off my store and created a youtube video of my designs. I like them. I hope others enjoy them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The core principles of the tea party movement oppose racism

If you hear or read about the tea party movement in the main stream media you are likely to find accusations of racism. This is a very troubling claim if it is true. It would mean that a fast growing racist movement is spreading across America. I consider myself part of the tea party movement and I zealously oppose racism from anyone at any time. I have not seen any signs of racism at any of the events I have been part of. I am not naïve enough to think there are not any racists in the tea party movement because I am sure there are. I just believe that they are a small unwelcome fringe of people that exist in any large group including the Democrat and Republican parties. I personally oppose racism because of my core beliefs. I argue that the same core principles that I hold exist in the hearts of most tea party members.

If I said that most tea party members believed in the ideas found in the Declaration of Independence that would be a no brainer. If I said they are also mostly Christians I would again be standing on safe ground. These two philosophies if understood and followed would cause an individual’s to be a strict opponent of racism. This is my main argument against the tea party movement being an environment for racism. Racism goes against my core beliefs and the core beliefs of the large, large majority of all tea party members. I will start by explaining how a belief in the ideas of the Declaration of Independence would create a color blind people.

The Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” No one that truly believes in this statement can be a racist. A racist believes that one or more races are superior to others. The opposite of this would be “that all men are created equal.” The above statement also asserts that rights come from God and are thus sacred. A supporter of this statement would feel a duty to protect these precious rights for each American. They would stand against tyrants, criminals, and racists who trample on the rights of others. Time and time again racists have shown they have no respect for the “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” of those they hate. Racists do not support the principles of the Declaration of Independence but tea party members do. To quote the Bible “no man can serve two masters.” (Matt 6:4) It is impossible to support the principles of the Declaration of Independence and at the same time support racism. Now on to Christianity.

Racism is a polar opposite to pure Christianity. The apostle John stated that “God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34) The Lord spoke the following truth to the prophet Samuel. “For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) God does not care about skin color, where we live, or what language we speak. He loves us all. The apostle Paul taught that “we are the offspring of God” (Act 17:29) God sees us as we truly are, His children. He is the Creator of all people. He does not love one group of his children more than any other group. In fact He is not interested in us viewing ourselves in groups but instead as brothers and sisters. Jesus taught us how to spot one of his disciples. “By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) The best way we can show our love for Him is to love and serve His other children. To consider any child of God as substandard or innately flawed because of the color of their skin is just plain evil. Again “no man can serve two masters”. No honest man or woman can profess to be a true Christian and at the same time be a racist.

The only shred of evidence I can see in the mainstream of the tea parties, is that some of the signs and statements have been disrespectful of our current President Barack Obama. However, disrespect does not equal racism. The tea party movement does not oppose our President’s skin color, just many of his ideas. I believe that as Americans we can disagree without out being disagreeable. You have a God given right to disagree with Barack Obama or anyone else on the planet. You can even be coarse and disrespectful to our president but I part company with those who respond in this way. He is the President of the United States which I love. His office, the votes of your fellow Americans, and our great nation deserve respect regardless of the way that he or his administration treats you or your views. His most important job is as a husband and a father. He loves his family just as much as we love our families. We should show him respect because of this fact alone. He like the rest of us, is a child of God. We serve God when we are kind and respectful of his other children, especially the ones we don’t agree with. We are not Saul Alinsky. For us the ends can never justify the means. We must be kind and respectful even to those who oppose our core beliefs. We can and must stand against failed and harmful ideas but we should do it with honor.

It defies all other logic to label the tea party movement as racist. I for one am sickened when anyone uses the cry of racism for personal or group gain. If you call someone or a group racist you better have truth on your side because you are making an allegation of evil. Any man or woman that makes accusations of racism for political or personal gain or to demonize an innocent person will stand accountable to God one day. Calling someone a racist should be taken just as seriously as yelling fire in a building full of people. Every time the term racist is applied to an innocent person it becomes like the story of the boy who cried wolf. The American people are sick of false alarms. Reckless accusations cause a loss of creditability and make it harder to identify true racism. I believe I have the right to argue against the ideas of any man or woman regards less of the color of their skin. When people of different racial backgrounds disagree we should not assume racism as the primary motive. Americans must be fair and call this an ideological argument until facts and reason shows us otherwise. Even then we can’t read people’s minds and we certainly can’t see into their hearts. I personally try and leave judging to a higher power and trust He know how to balance justice and mercy perfectly. I am proud to be part of the tea party movement and to oppose all types of flawed thinking including racism.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My next project: Do we have any true leaders in Congress? The interview and challenges.

This will be a list of questions and challenges for all members of Congress. It will be a gauntlet to learn how our current or potential leaders think and what they valve. We can use it to determine if they deserve our vote. Brave leaders will fill out the questions and take the challenges. For other politicians we will have to study the people and fill in the answers for them. We will research the cars or TVs we buy but are we willing to study the people we put in charge of guarding our rights and liberties? We have to stop voting for empty pages. Don’t give the Democrats or Republicans a blank check with your vote. Use study, reason, and prayer to find the best leaders. We did not win our liberties and freedoms but we can show gratitude for them by using them wisely. Send me your ideas about what questions and challenges you would like to give Congress. Here are some of mine.

Do you believe the Constitution is the best government structure for our nation for the next 200 years? (yes or no) If no what would be better ?

Will you commit to the following personal responsibility pledge? I am responsible for my own support, opportunities, health, safety, and choices…..
(Yes or no)

Will you commit to only serve 8 consecutive years in office? (If you already have 8 plus years in office will you make this your last term?) (Yes or no) If no, why not?
Will you donate every dollar of your pay above $46,000/yr (the median house hold income in 2008) to a special account that will be used to build a tax payer monument in Washington? (yes or no) If no, why not?

Will you use Medicare or Medicaid as your only health care while in office? (yes or no) If no, why not.

If you have school children will you keep them in public school? (yes or no) If no, why not?

Will you fill out your own taxes without the help of an accountant while in office (tax software is ok.)? (Yes or no) If no, why not?

Do you think it is fair that wealthy Americans pay a higher percentage of taxes then the average American? (Yes or no) If yes why?

Do you have a law degree? (Yes or no) If no what is your work experience.

Do you think it is the governments place to prevent the American people or American businesses from failing? (Yes or no) If yes why.

Do you think the current size of government is too small, too big, just right?

Do you view tax dollars as sacred? (yes or no) If no, why not.

Is government charity more or less effective than private charity? If government is more effective how?

Will you be trained in Lean and Six Sigma? (Yes or no)

Who do you work for?

If your constituents want something different than your party does, who will you support? (Constituents or party)

What do you care more about than re-election?

Is there any type of peaceful debate that is un-American? (yes or no) If yes what type?

Are there any topics that should not be debated?

How long should topics be open for debate?

Are there any principles that you always support over your party?

Will you vote on every bill and study every bill you vote for?

How do you find and solve problems?

Where do the rights of the American people come from?

This is the general idea. I need your help to finish it.

Robert McCauley

End government obesity: A diet plan for the United States of America

I, like many of my fellow Americans believe that our government has grown several sizes larger than the confines of our inspired Constitution. I love this country and was blessed to be born in this great nation. I simply want our nation to be the best it can be. I believe the Constitution is a road map to greatness. Our Constitution is not an old, out of touch document. It is a document that was created with inspiration from a loving God. It is timeless because it anticipates human nature. Times change but human nature is the same today as it was 200 or even 2000 years ago. I would invite our nation to return to the wise boundaries laid out in the Constitution. It is time to end government obesity.
Before I lay out my diet plan for the United States of America I want to make it clear where the blame lies for our government’s obesity problem. We the people and the government are one in the same. We hold the power and loan it to the government. If we are unhappy with our leaders, laws, or any other part of our government, the first place to look is straight in the mirror. Our current situation comes from years of you and I accepting the lesser of two evils instead of seeking out and supporting the best men and women to lead us. We have allowed a donkey and an elephant to pit us against each other on a handful of key issues. We have overlooked the common ground most of us share that could unite us and expand freedom in this republic. We vote for people and policies that we have not studied enough to form our own opinions about. Even worse, there are times we do not vote at all and waste this core freedom that was won with the blood of patriots. It is clear to me that if we hope to shrink the size of government we must accept our part in the erosion of our liberties.
The diet plan
This is a mixture of values and ideas for Americans and our leaders, that if adopted will start to shrink our government back to a healthy size.

Values and Ideas
1. Personal Responsibility
a. Personal Responsibility
Benjamin Franklin said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do.” When we blame other people or things for our challenges and failures we are giving away control over our lives. We should not waste time with blame, instead we should focus on what we will do with our challenges and failures. This will give us control over our lives. Steven R Covey said it this way, “what matters most is how we respond to what we experience in life.”

How many times have we heard politicians say (fill in the blank) is to blame for our current problems? Wouldn’t you like to hear a politician say we caused the problem, I made a mistake, here is where we when wrong. I for one, would consider solutions from a leader that has studied a problem hard enough to see and admit their role in that problem. There is no shame in failure. Albert Einstein said that “the key to success is failing three times more often than we do now.” Conversely, there is shame in not owning up to our failures. Politicians that blame everyone and everything except for themselves and their parties should be voted out of office. Leaders that accept responsibility for the good, the bad, and the ugly deserve our support.

There are valid times to assign blame such as in a court room. However, constantly assigning blame will never lead to success and happiness in our lives or in our republic. Perhaps because so many of our elected officials are lawyers they can’t resist looking for blame on every issue. Finding and assigning blame is what they we’re trained to do. I would invite us to leave finding blame to the courts and to God. We must tackle our problems with personal responsibility.

b. Accountability
Political leaders should be accountable for the results of their choices and actions more often than every 2 to 6 years. The American work force is held accountable for their choices and actions daily. Our pay and opportunities rise and fall with the value we give our company. A way to demand more accountability would be to change the way Congress gets paid. The pay for Congress should be tied directly to the current prosperity of the American people. I recommend that the current salary for Congress should be equal to the median American’s pay from the previous year. If Congress wants to earn more pay then they should enact policies that will bring prosperity to more Americans. I also recommend that their pay must be based on how much time they spend actually working for Americans. Except for vacation time, my job only pays me if I show up to work. How about your job? Americans should not pay for the time politicians spend working on their re-elections, tans, or any other activity that does not bring value to the American people.
Joseph B. Wirthlin told the following story about accountability. “There is a story about a young builder who had just gone into business for himself. A wealthy friend of his father came to him and said: ‘To get you started right, I am going to have you build a house for me. Here are the plans. Don’t skimp on anything. I want the very finest materials used, and I want flawless workmanship. Forget the cost. Just send me the bills.’ The young builder became obsessed with the desire to enrich himself through this generous and unrestricted offer. Instead of employing top-grade labor and buying the finest materials, he shortchanged his benefactor in every way possible. Finally, the last secondhand nail was driven into the last flimsy wall, and the builder handed over the keys and bills to his father’s old friend. That gentleman wrote a check in full for the structure and then handed the keys back to the builder. ‘The home you have just built, my boy,’ he said with a pleasant smile, ‘is my present to you. May you live in great happiness!’ ” The only difference between this story and our current situation is that the father’s friend handed the keys to the American people instead of our current political builders. I think we should invite our politicians to come and live with us in the house they helped built.
The health care for Congress should be changed to either Medicare or Medicaid so they have some skin in the game. If they have children they should go to public school. They should have to personally fill out their taxes without the help of an accountant. How can our leaders understand and improve systems they do not take part in? I bet if they used these and other government programs they would find things they did not like. They could then use this personal insight to do something about it.
I do not believe the majority of politicians will reform the system any time soon. My suggestion is for voluntary accountability starting now. Do we have leaders who are brave enough to voluntarily try the systems they have created or run? These leaders must personally use only government health care, public schools, and do their own taxes. If these programs are so well managed, then Congress should rush to try my voluntary experiment. I also invite leaders (note I did not use the term politicians) only use $46,000/yr (the median house hold income in 2008) of their pay. The rest of their pay they should put in a special account dedicate to American tax payers. I had two thoughts about what should be done with this account. The first thought was to return the money to the tax payers. However, even if all the members of Congress accepted my challenge the Americans that paid taxes last year would only get a refund of less than a dollar each. I am sure the refund process would cost more than a dollar per tax payer so this would just increase the burden on tax paying Americans. My second thought was to use the money to build a tax payers monument in Washington. It would be a reminder to those that work in government, that it is the hard working Americans that keep the lights on for our government. I also invite our elected leaders to lay down any other perks and comforts that are not enjoyed by the majority of Americans while they are working for and are being paid by those Americans.

c. Self-Reliance

No government programs are required to support a nation that is self-reliant. We need to adopt the attitude that if we can do it on our own we will. We should not use government programs just because we qualify for them. We need to stop confusing wants with needs. There is great value in working for what we have. Being self-reliant build capacity in ourselves. The strength of our nation is directly proportional to the number of Americans that carry their own water. We ease the burden on government when we meet our own needs. If we became more self-reliant we would literally shrink the size of government

I invite myself, all Americans, and American politicians to adopt the challenge of personal responsibility, accountability, and self-reliance given below.

I am responsible for my own support, opportunities, health, safety, and choices. I am also primarily responsible for the support, opportunities, health, safety and choices of my immediate family. If I find myself unable to meet my needs I will turn to my extended family, friends, church, and private charities organizations before I turn to the government for help. I will treat the tax dollars of my neighbors and fellow citizens as sacred.

2. Efficient problem finding and solving

a. Efficient problem solving rules

1. Start with a clear problem statement and allow it to come from any source.
2. Only work on problems that the customer (Hint for politicians, this is the American people) wants fixed. How would you feel if you took your car in for new tires and you got your car back with a new engine, the bill, and the same old tires? Politicians must listen to their customers. Stop moving the problems that you, your party or your biggest donors want solved to the front of the agenda. Work on our problems first.

3. Invite true debate on all issues and leave the door open to debate forever. Quit presenting only the evidence that supports you stance. This is dishonest and it is done by both of the major political parties. The point of debate should be to see the roots of a problem or issue more clearly. Invite scrutiny and look at every side of a problem. If your stance on an issue is still valid after being put under the microscope than your case is stronger. The truth holds up in the light of day now and forever. Only errors and lies should fear the light of day.

b. Rules for choosing solutions

1. The simplest and most cost effective solutions are preferred.

2. All public solutions should be clearly constitutional and all private solutions should be clearly lawful.

3. The solutions can be clearly linked to the root causes of the problem. The people presenting the solutions should be proud to show how their hard work and effort found solutions that are tied directly to a given problem. If this connection cannot be made with clear evidence than the solution is not valid.

4. Never expand a current solution without looking back to see if it is solving the desired problem efficiently.

5. It is ok to be patient and not implement a solution or solutions if the criteria above cannot be met. When I started my search for a spouse, I was feeling a bit impatient. A friend of mine gave me this advice, “There are lots of things worse than not being married and one of those is being married to the wrong woman.” (Side note: I was patient and found a wonderful wife.) Sometimes the cure is worse than the affliction. There are times we need to wait for the right solution to be found.

c. Do more with less

During my professional work experiences I have been challenged a number of times to reduce expenses. At the same time, I was asked to keep production flat or increasing. This type of challenge to do more with less is difficult and frustrating at times. It requires our best efforts and sometimes we still do not achieve all our goals. However, at end of such a challenge we always find that we did much more than we thought possible with the given resources. A saying I live by goes as follows, “It is better to aim for the stars and miss than to aim for the mud and hit it.” I believe that constrained resources challenge us to find more solutions, take better care of what we have, and to work harder.
Fasting is an example of doing more with less. Most major religions believe that fasting from time to time is good for the mind, body and spirit. To my knowledge no major religions recommend glutting ourselves from time to time, though some religions recommend against this. When I finish a fast I feel grateful for what I have, empathy for the hungry, and I gain more self control. On the other hand, after eating too much I usually feel guilty and tired.
The government solution in too many cases is to do more with more. This strategy leads to a stagnation of ideas, a hunger that is never satisfied, and waste. We should challenge ourselves and our leaders to do more with less. To use brains first and tax dollars last. Throwing money at problems does not solve problems. Only understanding the root causes of problems and finding solutions to those root causes solves problems. If the only solution to a problem calls for more resources then get more resources. In most cases there are several solutions to a given problem, all with various costs. My advice would be to apply the solutions that give the biggest bang for American’s bucks.

My challenge for myself, my fellow citizens, and our leaders is to do more with less.

3. Support principles not parties
The problem with supporting a party, is that it is people driven and therefore changeable. Time, power, and money have too much influence on parties. Principles are fixed and firm. Stephen R Covey explains this better than I can. “Principles don’t react to anything. They don’t get mad and treat us differently. They won’t divorce us and run away with our best friend. They aren’t out to get us. They can’t pave our way with shortcuts and quick fixes. They don’t depend on the behaviors of others, the environment, or the current fad for their validity. Principles don’t die. They aren’t here one day and gone the next. They can’t be destroyed by fire, earthquake or theft. Principles are deep, fundamental truths, classic truths, generic common denominators. They are tightly interwoven threads running with exactness, consistency, beauty, and strength through the fabric of life.” It is fine to participate in parties but when principles and parties collide (and they will) support the principles.
Here is a list of principles I believe are worth supporting.
a. Short term government service

How many of you think it would be good for you, someone you work with, or your direct supervisor to do the exactly same job for more than 8 years in a row? In fact I believe many of us have examples of how this is a bad idea. Is there some exception to this principle that makes it a good thing for politicians to hold office for 10 to 30 year in a row? The Dead Sea in the Middle East teaches us about this principle. There is very little flow in or out of the Dead Sea so growth in that sea is stagnant or non-existent. We cannot continue to allow public office to be a Dead Sea.

Demand that the leaders you vote for commit to only serve a maximum of 8 years. In practical terms this means a maximum of 2 terms for Presidents, 4 terms for Representatives and 1 term for Senators. We should not waste time asking for this to be written into law. True leaders will voluntarily limit their own terms in office. Self-regulated term limits are required to create a new culture among our politicians. Term limits prevent politicians from becoming too comfortable or too powerful. Never buy the excuse from experienced politicians that they are indispensible or need more time for their important agendas. There are plenty of ways to serve your nation from the private sector. If you worry that your seat will not be filled by a good candidate than support principled men and women to take your place. If you are worried that it will take a new leader too long to learn how things work, help them and shorten the learning curve. There is no rule against helping. We need the honorable men and women who are now serving and will serve in the future to create this culture change through their examples. Make voluntarily term limits the “norm”. George Washington you set the ultimate example on this principle. He was begged by the American people to serve a second term. He did not want the office but he served because he was needed. At the end of his second term he did not cling to his office even though the American people would have ushered him into a third term. He knew his example would be watched for generations to come. He did what was best for his country and voluntarily moved aside. Leaders remember his example. Show us that you care more about your country than your re-election.

After leaving an elected post there is wisdom in returning directly to the private sector instead of seeking a new public office. This may not be the best political advice but we don’t want great politicians we want great leaders. I see a parallel to this principle in college professors. My best professors have always used their skills in industry before they started teaching. College professors that go straight from college to the class room without personally applying their education to industry will always lack perspective and real life working experiences that could make them better teachers. I know the same applies to elected officials. The best leaders have both real life and political experience. After some time out of office (years, not weeks or months) you may feel a desire to serve in a public office again. I have no issue with that, run again. Your time away will have given you insights you could not gain in public office. You have a chance to be a better leader with a fresher perspective.

b. Charitable giving

I personally believe that I should, “love my neighbor as myself.” I also think God gives us extra resources to see what we will do with them. This is a personal choice no one else should be making for us, including the government. We would be arrested if we took from someone else and used it to feed the hungry. We would be arrested if we took from someone else and used it to clothe the naked. It is just as wrong for the government to take from Americans and give it to others without our consent. It is not the government’s choice to make. It is ours. We are being robbed of chances to prove whether we will be selfless or selfish. The welfare of needy Americans should be taken out of the hands of government and turned over completely to the compassion of the American people. I know the majority of the American people will step up to the plate and “love their neighbor as themselves.”

Another problem with government run “charity” is that politicians make it appear that they are pulling the money out of their own wallets to feed and clothe the poor. They are playing Robin Hood. It is easy to take money from smiling politicians. Taking money from family, neighbors, or a church congregation requires more soul searching. We are losing something very precious when we bury the connection between the giver and the receiver. Compassion and gratitude both run deeper when this connection is clear.

Finally, we should focus our charitable giving on programs that lead towards self-reliance. People need help from time to time but that help needs to be wise and compassionate. Just giving money is good but giving of ourselves is better. There is a TV commercial I saw that showed a poor child saying, “we need a way out not a hand out.” This is a correct principle for giving. As well, the statement on fishing can never be said too much. “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” This is the only sustainable path to end economic suffering in the United States.

c. Humility
It has been said “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.” We live in a society that cares about labels. The better label we have the more important we are, right? President, CEO, Congressman, Congresswoman, manager, supervisor, PhD, movie star. These are impressive labels but do they really give one person more value than another? Here are some labels I value. Husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, American, child of God. These common labels reflect the true value each of us has. We all have infinite value, so there is no good reason anyone should consider themselves better then their fellow man. We need to have humility to see this. A wise leader once gave a new leader this advice. “A lot of people are going to say a lot of nice things about you. Don’t believe them.” In our lives we need to treat those who work for us and with us with just as much respect as those we work for. We need leaders that see their place along side us and not above us.
d. Leadership

I believe our understanding of leadership today is upside down. Common ideas about leadership are as follows: Leaders are the bosses who tells us what to do. Leaders are powerful and should be feared. Leaders are above their workers. There are some tasks that leaders never do. Leaders are to be served and honored. Leaders get to play by a different set of rules than the rest of us. I have seen true leadership so I will not accept the standard of leadership given by many of our counterfeit leaders today.
Jesus Christ taught about what a true leader is. After washing His apostles dusty feet he taught “ye call me Master and Lord and ye say well; for so I am. If I your Lord and Master have washed your feet ye ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done unto you.” True leaders are the greatest servants to those they lead. They do not seek honor, praise, or power. They seek the interests of those they lead. True leader marks the correct paths and then walks those paths so we have clear examples. We should expect this type of leadership from ourselves and our elected leaders. Politicians need to care more about the future of their constituents than their political futures. That is leadership.

e. Tax dollars are sacred
Politicians talk about the money they commit and spend like the government somehow earned it or it comes from some giant government vault. We need to remind our leaders that the money they spend comes from the efforts and labors of Americans. In my mind that makes those dollars sacred. Those dollars are literally the time you and I spend away from our families to support this great nation. It is the time we could be doing thousands of other things but we are working to support our nation. I am happy to support the greatest nation on earth with my time and talents but I want my efforts respected and not wasted. We need to look at government funds as sacred gifts from the American taxpayers. Every government program is supported by these funds. We cannot let our politicians forget that we are paying the bills.
Another issue to consider is that the tax burden is not shared equally by the American people. Successful Americans and American businesses pay a larger portion of their income than most of us do. We need to ask the question is this fair and just? My response is no. I would not want to be treated that way. The argument that “they can afford it” is the same justification a thief makes while robbing someone’s home. We need an equal tax system. We all benefit as citizens of this great nation and we all have an equal responsibility to support it with the means we have.
f. A new spin on diversity
Diversity is a common buzz word these days. I am a fan of diversity, not because we need a level playing field, but because a broader spectrum of views, cultures, and ideas help organizations identify the most important problems and find the best solutions. There are plenty of groups to advocate diversity in race and gender and I will leave that work for them. I am advocating an underrepresented group in government: Leaders without a background in law
Let me get right to it. Too many of our political leaders are lawyers. I have no problems with lawyers in general. One of my mentors and best friends is a bankruptcy lawyer. He is a good and wise man. The problem I see is that the ratio is wrong. As I mentioned under personal responsibility, lawyers are trained to think and see the world in a certain way. Some of this training is helpful in public service, like a strong understanding of our existing laws and how they are used. Other training like looking for blame, only seeing win lose solutions, and winning regardless of the truth is harmful in public service. Currently, approximately 45% of congress members have a law degrees but the US work force has only 6% lawyers.

We need more farmers, engineers, business people, police, doctors, stay at home moms, teachers, machinists, etc. to take part in public office. My recommendation is two fold. First, if you are not a lawyer consider running for public office. Second, the next time you vote for someone, find out what their day job is or was. If you find two equally qualified candidates and one is a lawyer and the other is not, mix it up and throw your support to the non-lawyer. This should be continued until the percentage of lawyers in congress starts to match the percentage of lawyers in the US work force. We need a diverse group of leaders to find the most important problems and discover the best solutions.

g. Value the connection between failure/adversity and success/character
I have always enjoyed weight training. The human body is amazing. During weight training muscles are torn down and after a recovery period they become stronger. One of the most efficient ways to accomplish this is to do an exercise to failure (your muscles cannot lift or hold that weight anymore). At this point a spotter can help you rack the weight. A good spotter will help you reach failure and maybe push you a bit beyond what you though you could do. I have had spotters that after just a few reps start to carry the weight for me. They don’t trust me and won’t let me go to failure. I start to get frustrated at this point. When this happens I tell the spotter “please stop helping me so much. If you do not let me suffer short term discomfort and then fail I can never become as strong as I would like to be.” The government is acting like a bad spotter for the American people.
With weight training it is easy to see the connection between failure and success. In other parts of life this connection is not as clear but just as important. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of someone loosing their home. How could this current hardship become a future success? It really depends on how we respond to it. What could we do to save our home? We could get a second job. We could cut back on our spending. We could sell something. We could seek a loan from family or friends. We could get a government bailout. Which of these options sounds the easiest? A bailout sounds really good. It will remove our current suffering. However, the bailout will give us a false sense of how much debt we can pay for. It will weaken our self-reliance and make us more likely to take government help in the future. Then there is the pesky truth that we are not getting bailed out by the government but by the efforts and labors of the American people. Any of the others solutions would strengthen us but the bailout leaves us weaker. I bought my first home near the top of the housing bubble. I am now upside down. I could stop making payment and qualify for a nice juicy bailout. The question I have to ask myself is if I am willing to burden my fellow citizens for my short term financial advantage. My answer to that question is no. My integrity does not have a price. I will take my lumps and I will be wiser and stronger for my next big decision. (If you accepted a home bailout I am not trying to make you feel like a villain. It is a better use of tax dollars that many government plans. I hope it helps you and your family if you have one. I just hope you will remember it is a gift from hard working Americans and not from the politicians that invented the program.)
The government should not be in the failure prevention business in the lives of Americans. We have to be free to fail so we are also free to succeed. The government should make sure we have the freedom to make our own choices but once we have made our choices it should not try and manipulate the consequences. We need to look at failures in our lives like failures during a workout. We need to remember that on the other side of the struggle is success and personal growth. We don’t need cowardly nanny politicians that try to prevent all of life’s failures because they think we are too fragile. We need leaders that are brave enough to let us fail because they believe we will get back up again and again.

4. Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is directly connected to efficient problem finding and solving. I share it as its own value because I plan on making this section a bit technical. It contains the best methods and tools I have used for finding and solving problems. Continuous improvement also contains the idea that we should never stop improving. Continuous improvement is a key to make our work, homes, schools, organizations, and government better than the way we found them.

a. I love problems

To be more specific I love to find and solve problems. I think part of this comes from the fact that I am one of those darn optimists. I believe there are always solutions that can make tomorrow brighter than today. I truly believe you and I can make things better if we are willing to work with all our heart, might, mind and strength.

I was trained to be glorified plumber (chemical engineer) from a practical and hands on engineering program (Go WSU!). During school I learned how to survive below the poverty level with a young family, how all the parts in a system work together (systems thinking), how to approach and solve problems, and the foundations of math and science. During my professional career I was introduced to what I believe are the best problem finding and solving methods on the planet. These methods are used by many of the world’s best companies to save money, improve safety, provide higher quality products, provide greater value, and reduce waiting time. When these methods are done right they tap in to the huge problem finding and solving capacity of everyone in a company. These methods apply to any challenges public or private. They are part of my diet plan to end government obesity.

These methods are known as Lean (eliminating waste) and Six Sigma (quality improvement). I do not have the time to go into too much detail but I will cover my understanding of the core philosophies for each method. I plan on writing in more detail about how to apply them to government, family and education in future articles online @

b. Meet W. Edwards Deming (The father of modern quality improvement)

W. Edward Deming was a very skilled engineer and mathematician who passed away in 1993. He played a huge role in improving US production during World War II. He was sent to Japan after World War II to help rebuild their nation. His influence is still felt in Japan today. He is one of the reasons Japan is a large economic power, known for producing quality products.
He taught that people should make knowledge driven decisions. He said, “Information is not knowledge. The world is drowning in information but is slow in acquisition of knowledge. There is no substitute for knowledge.” He also said, “In God we trust, all others must bring data.” Human beings are not all knowing. In spite of this fact, it is human nature to think we know best. Our experience or position gives us overconfidence in our own judgment. I think we may have a few politicians that think they know better than their simple constituents. We and our leaders stand on a sandy foundation when we think we know all the right questions and have all the right answers.
There is no royal road to knowledge. It must be mined out with effort, logic, evidence, and as Thomas Jefferson recommended “honest questioning”. Knowledge of a problem allows us to uncover the root causes of a problem. Studying the root causes of a problem, finds the best solutions for that problem. Our current politicians do not even take the time to read the solutions to the problems they vote on. With this type of effort I am certain they never studied the problem itself and have no knowledge on the issue. I guess knowledge is not important if your party is doing your thinking for you or if you think your voters are not looking.

Many of Deming’s ideas are captured in what industry calls Six Sigma. Six Sigma follows the DMAIC process ( Define, Measure, Analysis, Improve, Control). This is very different from the approach taken by most politicians which seems to be “Ready, Fire, Aim.” I live by this statement from Will Rodgers “it’s not what we don’t know that hurts us it’s what we do know that ain’t so.” Six Sigma can help us uncover “what we know that ain’t so” and allow us to get the results we truly want in our own lives and in government.

c. Meet Shigeo Shingo (Father of process waste elimination)

Shigeo Shingo was a Japanese industrial engineer who helped create the Toyota production model. He is the major reason that Toyota vehicles are known for world class reliability. If you are in a business that produces anything you’ve heard of the Toyota production model or Lean as most industries calls it. The success of this method has caused it to gain many supporters over the years. Mr. Shingo categorized the seven types of waste we find in life and in processes. The seven wastes are overproduction, waiting, transport, extra processing, inventory, motion, and defects. These are all the wastes that the customers don’t want to pay for. For example I do not want to pay extra for a product because it was moved twenty extra times around a plant or if the manufacture found a defect and had to do extra processing to my product. This is waste. Lean is the best method in the world for removing waste and there are mountains of waste created in our government.

Another important principle of Lean is to always understand the customer supplier relationship. With our government we the people are the suppliers of elected leaders and financial support to the government. On the other side we are the government’s customers for good legislation, protection from threats foreign and domestic, and guarding the Constitution (Stop laughing. Just because this description of our politician’s job responsibilities is far, far from current realities does not mean we can give up on what they should be doing for us.) Americans and our leaders must understand and respect these relationships.

Two other vital principles of Lean are identifying waste with direct observation and leveraging the understanding and insights of those actually doing the work. In practical terms this means leaders must get out from behind their desk and go, see, and experience the work they are responsible for. It also means that leaders must listen to the experience and wisdom of those operating the process to find the waste in the system. This is an empowering philosophy. It creates unity because everyone is now looking at the problems where they happen. It also respects the great contributions from those that do the work. This type of respect gains trust and loyalty from all members of an organization. A maximum I use is that, “you can gain a man or woman’s hands and feet with money but you must earn their hearts and minds.” Our politicians are too far removed from the systems they create and run. They need to go, see, and live America and then learn from Her people.
I invite all Americans and especially politicians to study and apply the methods of Six Sigma and Lean. These methods are bringing me and many others professional success. We need this same success in our lives and in our government.

5. Acting with class and kindness

The first big challenge in life is to understand what we believe and what matters most to us. The next big challenge is choosing the methods we will use to follow our beliefs and how we will get and protect what matters most to us. I see the first challenge as the ends and the second as the means. I do not believe the ends justify the means. How we support truth is just as important as the truth we support. I believe that the best way to support truth is to act with class and kindness.
In my own life I have found the following to be true. It is possible for me to be right on an issue but because of the way I support the issue I end up in the wrong. This happens to me with my wife sometimes. I am trying to share a good point, idea, or solution but if I do it without class or kindness, it usually ends with my wife not understanding my point and me apologizing. Another example comes from my experiences as a missionary in Colorado. At the beginning of my mission, if I found someone that wanted to argue religion with me I would oblige them. We would argue point by point with each point usually getting louder and louder. At the end of the argument neither one of us had a good feeling about the encounter nor did we learn anything from each other. In time I learned to respond to these situations in a positive way. When I met someone that wanted to argue I would simply explain that I would be happy to share my beliefs and listen to their beliefs but I will not take part in an argument. Sometimes this opened the door for a constructive discussion and other times I just wished the person a good day and moved on. Another clear example of this is found with Peter and Jesus Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. Men had come to arrest Jesus and Peter rightly wanted to defend him. Peter then pulled out a sword and chopped off the ear of the first man that approached. His initial desire to defend Jesus was good but he went about it in the wrong way. Jesus came to the wounded man and healed his ear. He healed a man that would lead him to suffering and eventually death. He shared a powerful example of how we should respond in unfriendly circumstances. He responded with class and kindness.

Each of us will find ourselves in positions to share our values, questions and ideas with other Americans and sometimes with our leaders. We may be treated poorly and with contempt. How will we react? We could yell, scream, call them unflattering names or argue point after point. Instead, we could conduct ourselves with class and kindness so that we can stand as a clear window between the hearer and the truth and not as a brick wall. The truth cuts deep enough and roars loud enough to penetrate any honest soul. We simply have to stand up with class and kindness and be heard.

Final thoughts

You may agree with my ideas but doubt that we could really improve things. Can we get through the greed, the arrogance and the corruption in government and in ourselves? It seems impossible. Doctor J.A. Holmes said, “Never tell a person that something cannot be done. God may have been waiting for centuries for somebody ignorant enough of the impossible to do just that thing.” My ideas and values are only a handful of what it will take to end government obesity. My ideas and values are not perfect and can and should be improved. We must take my values and ideas the millions of other thoughtful and honest ideas and values and refine them and then apply them. I know you have ideas and values that can protect and strengthen our nation. Share them with your family and friends. Share them with me if you would like. I invite you to join me and many other Americans to do the impossible and end government obesity. This is a marathon and not a sprint. We can leave our country better than how we found it. God bless America.

I pledge my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor for the expansion of freedom for my family, friends and this nation founded by God,

Robert Lowry McCauley