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Pope Francis, the Free Market & Commodities Speculation

Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 No comments

Friday, December 13, 2013

We have had a couple weeks to digest Pope Francis unnecessarily controversial Apostolic Exhortation (1) about how the world's economies affect the poor.  His use of "trickle down" - a loaded term in our American political/economic lexicon - seemed to provoke the strongest reaction.  The Pope has been called everything from a Marxist to a fool.  There really is only one thing to say in response to the critics:

Forgive them, father, for they forgot to read.(2)

But before we go back and do what it seems so few have actually done - that is, actually read the Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation - we have to make sure we understand exactly what it is.  When the Catholic Church promulgates doctrine considered to be binding on the faithful it does so in a number of different kinds of documents.  And while an Apostolic Exhortation is not to be taken lightly, it is not a 'legislative' document under canon law. (3)  As such, it is a mistake to think that Francis' reflection here on economics and poverty is the same as binding church teaching - as in on something otherwise controversial like contraception.

In light of this we have to come to terms with a couple things about Pope Francis.  First, he is a Jesuit priest who has spent his entire life ministering to the poor.  He has seen, first hand, how economics works itself out in real life among the poor.  Second, his is not an economist, and does not pretend to be one here.  What he has done here is bring a distinctly Christian conscience to the larger issues of macro-economics and the much more local and personal issues of poverty.  He is exhorting us - even those of us who do not consider ourselves Roman Catholic -  to attend to the formation of our conscience on these issues.

As an example, Francis calls us to reflect on new kinds of power: "We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power."

Of everything the Holy Father has said in his exhortation, this is probably the most insightful of his observations.  While I do not know if he intended the words "knowledge" and "information" in the technical sense I as an information technology professional would use them, in the IT discipline known as 'Knowledge Management' (KM) data is collected and brought into context with other data.  That collection of data-in-context-with-data is called information.  And as this information grows, it becomes possible to detect trends and discern statistical profiles such that one can predict something into the future.  To be able to make such predictions with high degrees of probability is called knowledge.

For those who have access to the necessary sources of data, computing power, and the expertise to bring those two things together, there is a tremendous amount of economic power available.  And that power reaches down to the poor in almost exclusively harmful ways, and does so with almost complete anonymity - unless you understand what is actually happening.

Let's take the oil market as an example.  If I have access to a large array of data about the energy market - something I would get not from 'Big Oil', but from 'Big Data' - I could bring that data together into a sophisticated IT system and begin to engage in this 'Knowledge Management'.  I would take the data, bring it into the proper context with other data (information) and derive predictions about price activity in the oil markets (knowledge).  If the spot price today is $80/bbl., and my system spits out a prediction 90 days into the future which shows a $100/bbl. price, I will hit the market and sign a 'futures contract' to buy, say, 1,000 bbl of oil at $80 per within the next 90 days.

But wait a minute... I am blogging from my home office in my pajamas...  I don't have a refinery.  What the hell am I doing signing a contract for 1,000 bbl of oil?

I am gambling, of course.  No, actually, I am card-counting at the Blackjack table of the energy market.  This is what my sophisticated KM system allows me to do.  Where this kind of commodities futures play used to be a highly risky proposition, my KM system increasingly reduces those risks as the probability of its predictions increases proportionally to the amount of data to which I have access.

But why would this be something I should subject to my conscience?

First, let's follow what is happening here.  If, as my KM system predicts, the spot price does hit $100/bbl within 90 days, my contract now represents a discount to that spot price.  My contract is for 1,000 bbl at $80 per.  If the spot price hits $100 per, that's a $20 discount on each barrel.  Multiply that by 1,000 and you have a contract which represents a $20,000 discount to the spot price.

So let's do a deal.  You have a refinery and need the oil.  I sell you the rights under my contract (I 'assign' the contract to you) for which you pay me $10K.  You then buy the oil for $80K.  You have just bought 1,000 bbl of oil for a total of $90K where your competition will have to spend $100K.  Basically, we have split the discount.  You win.  I win (albeit for doing nothing more than signing a contract).  Isn't this what the free market is all about?

Maybe, until you consider what happens down the line with the price of home heating oil in the winter - and to the pensioner who needs to buy it to stay warm.

This is where our conscience comes in to the picture.  If I do not have a refinery - if I am merely card counting at the Blackjack table - I have neither the ability nor the intention to make use of the oil.  That is to say to produce something with it that others need and will buy.  But the market registers my contract as demand just as it would if you - who actually can refine it into fuel products - were to contract for the oil.  My demand is thus false demand; I cannot actually take the commodity and produce something useful with it.  Your demand is true demand - you can and do produce a supply of something needed in the economy.

My false demand for oil - being added to your true demand - pushes the price up higher and faster than it would otherwise go without adding that false demand to the true demand of those who can produce something with the commodity.  This is not an argument against the law of supply and demand.  Supply and demand is working perfectly - to my advantage, of course.  But in an inner city neighborhood somewhere in the Midwestern United States, for example, an elderly retiree can no longer afford her home heating oil.  The price has gone up too high, too fast, and for almost entirely anonymous reasons.

This is the most compelling example of the "new and... anonymous kinds of power" about which the Holy Father warns us.

Now, lest someone mock me for suggesting we do away with commodities futures contracts, the problem is not with futures contracts, per se.  It is with speculation in commodities futures.  Southwest Airlines is rightly famous for how it hedged against aviation fuel inflation with futures contracts (4).  While its competitors were 'paying at the pump' in 2007 when prices spiked dramatically - prompting the start of those hated baggage and fuel surcharges - Southwest was buying its fuel against its contracts, in some cases at nearly half of what was being paid by their competition.  Ever wonder how it is that 'bags fly free'?  Here is your answer.

When a supplier of a commodity and a buyer - who can actually use the commodity to do something like fly you and me from here to there - enter into a contract like this it guarantees the supplier a buyer at a set price.  And it guarantees the buyer the availability of the needed commodity at a set price.  Both gain predictability to their income and expenses.  In this case, though, the flying public wins as well.  Southwest is not trying to profit by selling its discount to the spot price to a third party.  They are sending that discount on to their customers in the form of lower fares.  This is true demand, and represents the commodities futures market working perfectly.

The essential difference here between true demand and false demand is the ability to 'assign' the futures contract.  If I cannot 'assign' my rights to a third party - for that $10K fee, of course - there is no reason for me - without any intention or capability to produce something with the commodity - to sign the contract to begin with.  And this means my false demand is no longer combining with true demand to push against supply, causing prices to rise higher and faster than they otherwise would.

This same dynamic can be seen in any commodity for which futures contracts are created.  When Ethanol was the rage, speculators poured into the market to sign futures contracts for corn.  And the wife of the subsistence farmer in Central America - who only wanted to make tortillas for her family - panicked as she saw prices in her local market soar.  When Australia's rice harvest came up short one year, speculators piled into the market for rice futures.  Rice riots followed in the markets of Asia. (5)

What is happening here is the false demand of speculation is distorting the price signal on the commodity, reducing the purchasing power of the little money the poor have available to buy that commodity or the food produced from it.  The poorer the end consumer is, the greater the economic injury.  The solution, though, is amazingly simple: disallow assignment for commodities futures contracts.  Proper hedging will still be possible; the producer will still be able to guarantee a buyer at a given price and the buyer will still be able to guarantee a supply at that given price.  But, unable to 'assign' a futures contract, the speculator will no longer be able to insert false demand.  This, then, allows the free market to calibrate supply to true demand, sending a more reliable - and just -  price signal.

To attach an adjective like just to price discovery might sound odd coming from a conservative.  But it is coming from a conservative who is taking his background in information technology and combining it with a conscience formed by Christian tradition to respond to the Holy Father's observation about how today's technology forms "new and often anonymous kinds of power."  It is an attempt to attend to the formation of a Christian conscience on the issue of macro-economics.

This, I believe, is exactly what the Holy Father asks of us in his Apostolic Exhortation.

----------------------------------------------------
1. Pope Francis, "Evangelii Gaudium"

2. In fairness I have to credit a certain Mr. Tyler Buchanan, a frequent commentator on Marketwatch.com articles, with that very concise - and hilarious - response.  See comments on Darrell Delamaide, "Pope Francis attacking greed, not capitalism"

3. See Helen Hull Hitchcock, "The Authority of Church Documents"

4. For a brief description, see Jeff Bailey, "Southwest Airlines gains advantage by hedging on long-term oil contracts" in NY Times.  For a more in-depth study, see Dave Carter, et. al. "Fuel Hedging in the Airline Industry: The Case of Southwest Airlines"

5. See Timothy A. Wise. “The Cost to Developing Countries of U.S. Corn Ethanol Expansion”  See also “Food speculation: 'People die from hunger while banks make a killing on food'” and a WikiPedia article on the “2007–08 world food price crisis”.

A Shout Out for Great Public Schools

Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 No comments

Friday, December 6, 2013

There is what we hear in the media about our public schools, and then there is what is actually happening in our public schools.

As Chairman of our Mira Mesa Community Planning Group and Treasurer of our Mira Mesa Town Council I am tapped in to what is happening in the community.  Right across the street from the school near our home a large complex of apartments is being built.  It will add to the student population at the school, so as the plans for the complex were being developed, we invited the developer to meet with the former (since retired) principal of the school to discuss how the developer could assist with streamlining traffic in and out in the morning and afternoon.

Much was accomplished in those discussions a few years back.  But one issue - paving over decomposed granite on one of the lots - was left undone.  The PTA president revisited that issue with the new principal and asked me about previous discussions.  I told her I would see what I could find out.

Now at this point I have to add a disclaimer.  Our family is Evangelical Christian and we value having our faith at the center of our kids' education.  So we send them to private school.  Not, mind you, because we do not like our local public schools.  If anything, I think we have the finest elementary and middle schools and high school (Mira Mesa High) in the San Diego Unified School District.

And I have had the pleasure of meeting the family of the owner of the apartment complex across the street from our local elementary.  He, like us, values having his Jewish traditions at the heart of his kids' education.  So his son's high school sports teams (basketball and football) plays our boys' varsity team. We get to talk family and the like together every once in a while as the kids square off against each other.

Having heard about the local elementary school's issues with the dust from the decomposed granite lot causing asthma problems for some of the kids, he asked me about it one night along the sidelines of a football game.  He encouraged me to set up a meeting between his people, the PTA and the principal.

I just got out of that meeting.

We have a school in Hage Elementary here in Mira Mesa that is led by a "how we can" principal.  "Dr. T," as he is known, directs traffic himself in the mornings and afternoons, so he experiences the dust first hand.  He is also one of those people who chooses to look for "how we can" instead of "why we can't."  The apartment complex, Garden Communities and owner Stuart Posnock, sent their fine people.  And if the school can get the paperwork in place in the expected time frame, we should have a paved lot over Spring Break 2014 supported by Stuart and Garden Communities.

Now for the shameless plug.  Sitting at that table in Dr. T's office watching this come together is exactly what I mean in my book "Community Conservatives and the Future: The Secret to Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Next Conservative Generation" when I write about ownership, responsibility, community and dignity (Chapter 3).  Ownership is that sense we are putting down roots in our community; it is what gets me to the evening meetings of the Town Council and Planning Group.  Responsibility follows ownership; you see an opportunity to do good and you seize it.  Because you have a sense of responsibility born of a sense of ownership, when something is broken, fixing it - or just taking the opportunity to do good - is not someone else's job; its yours.  And once you purpose to seize the opportunities to do good that come your way, you run into others who are like minded; you discover your community.

And then you sit down in the principal's office with others in your community and get some good work done.  That is what I call dignity.

The Problem of the Minimum Wage

Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 8 comments

Thursday, December 5, 2013

[Updated on 7/25/2014 - See the bottom for some more info]

Today (12/5/2013) portends protests across the country at fast food outlets.  Labor unions will be stirring things up to argue for a $15 minimum wage so that fast food workers will be able to earn a "living wage."  There are a few problems with this, but in order for us as conservatives to be heard on the matter we have to show that we are willing to come to terms with the underlying problem.

It is easy to point out that minimum wage jobs, like those fast-food outlets offer, have never been intended to be "living wage" jobs.  While my "working" life technically started as a 14 year old paperboy for the San Diego Union, my first "official" job (in the sense that I got a paycheck and a W2 at the end of the year) was cleaning the lobby of the McDonald's on Broadway and I Street in Chula Vista.  I got $3.35/hr., then the minimum wage.  This was never meant to be a wage that I could "live" on.  It was meant to be an entry level job at which I gained experience and showed I was reliable while still living at home and going to school.  And it served me well exactly in that respect.

But there is something else going on here.  Where adults are holding down these jobs, they often have more than one and often are part of a household where multiple people are contributing to the the overall cost of living.  And this was working - albeit perhaps in a difficult, "grind it out" sense.  But it isn't working out so well anymore.  Even though government statistics tell us inflation is low, ask these folks how far their minimum wage dollars go today in comparison to how far they used to go.  Utility bills are higher.  Water rates are increasing.  Food is costing more.  There is a serious disconnect between the inflation statistics reported by the government and the lives our neighbors are struggling to live.

Where labor has this wrong is in pointing to the minimum wage.  This is wrong for two reasons: the harder of these two to understand is that the problem is not wages, but the fact that those wages are paid in a currency that is worth less and less.  The easier of these two problems can be understood by asking this question: If I can magically add a zero to your bank statement, that might make you feel better today.  But if I do this in a way that will also add a zero to your grocery and utility bills, how have I helped you?  You are getting more dollars for each hour of work, but the everyday things you rely on are getting more and more expensive.  When you add this to the first problem - the value of the dollar is going down - that hike in the minimum wage has left you no better off for having it.

At this point I have to explain that I am not opposed to the minimum wage - as are many, and maybe even most, conservatives.  I believe in the inherent dignity of the human person.  And if the human person has an inherent dignity, their labor must have an inherent worth.  The minimum wage is how we as a society express our underlying conviction about the dignity of the human person.  To suggest that labor is just another commodity to be traded in the economy is to embrace what ethicists call a "utilitarian" morality.  The worth of a human being is measured by his or her utility to society.  We have seen this before: it was called eugenics.

Where the minimum wage goes wrong, as described above, is when it is used to address (or to attempt to address) income inequality.  It goes wrong for a very simple reason: It does not work.  It never has, and it never will, simply because it leaves unchanged the more fundamental problem of why our money is worth less and less.

If income inequality is the central issue for our neighbors who sympathize with the Occupy Movement, and for the labor unions organizing today's protests, it needs to be pointed out that income inequality - measured by the percentage of total income received by those in the top 1% - has been trending up from a bottom of a little less than 8% in 1973, recently peaking at a little over 18% in 2008.  (It also has to be pointed out that the trend upward in the gross public debt started right about the same time.)

The problem is not with wages, it is with the money in which those wages are paid.  The problem is allowing the banking sector to tell us what our money means.  The Treasury used to hold gold in reserves and our money was tied to it; you could exchange a dollar for a set amount of gold.  That is money that means something; it is money that represents the wealth of the nation.  In 1971 the dollar was taken off of this standard and both income inequality and the gross public debt have been rising ever since.  [UPDATE: Steve Forbes has a new book out which discusses this and many other problems which have been created since the dollar was taken off the gold standard.]

And with that debt now surpassing the ability of the Treasury to service it, the Federal Reserve had to step in to create new money in order to keep the government's borrowing costs down.  As each dollar is added to the money supply, the ones in your wallet are worth less and less.  Or to put it another way, that minimum wage - in real terms of how much it will buy you - is actually going down!  It is no wonder labor is stirring for a minimum wage increase.

But again, to increase the minimum wage in dollars that represent the wealth of bank shareholders is to ensure that we - that is all of us - will never catch up as we watch our standard of living slip away.  Our neighbors working minimum wage jobs will just be the first to feel the effects.

The Arab Spring & the History of Democracy

Posted on Friday, September 6, 2013 No comments

Friday, September 6, 2013

We are seeing a replay of the French Revolution right before our eyes.  And the same lessons from 200 years ago can guide us in our approach to this part of the world today.

The French Revolution, of course, followed the American Revolution.  It was directly inspired by how we threw off the tyranny of the British monarchy.  But interestingly enough, our founding father John Adams opposed it.  David McCullough discusses this in detail in his biography of Adams.  He was accused of being a 'monarchist' because of his opposition to the French Revolution, but he was no such thing.


John Adams had thought very carefully about what we would put in place of the British monarchy.  He opposed the French Revolution because they had not.


Consider a trivia question: What is the oldest continually operable constitutional government in the world today?  And a little hint: It is NOT the United States.


Stumped?


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the oldest continually operable constitutional form of government in the world, and its constitution was written largely by Adams.  Because he reasoned that a majority could be just as tyrannical as any monarch, the first order of democratic government for Adams is the circumscribing of the power of the majority.


Now there is a more fundamental idea at work here.  Whether one is a member of a minority or of the majority, both enjoy what Jefferson called "unalienable" rights -- rights belonging to them by nature and not by the act of any government.  If this is true, there must be things the majority - by way of their government - cannot do.  First the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, then the Constitution of the United States of America created a form of government with three co-equal branches, each with their own signature power to check and balance the others.  This is what ensures the majority in America does not descend into the tyranny of the mob.


This is what happened in France.  The majority overthrew the monarchy and France very quickly descended into mob rule.  The tyranny of the monarch was replaced with the tyranny of the mob.  The guillotine was the instrument of choice for this new tyranny.


And this is why we must not support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  Some will point to the fact they were duly elected.  And they were.  And they failed to recognize the first duty of a democratic government; they failed to circumscribe their own power in a way in keeping with the natural rights of the minorities in their midst.  So we have seen the tyranny of the strongman (Mubarak) replaced with the tyranny of the majority in the Muslim Brotherhood.


There is an alternative, but it is one which must take on a form which is tailored to the specific challenges of the Arab Spring.  In our history we faced a tension between the small states and the large states.  The small states insisted their interests be guarded against the large states.  So we created a house of the legislature where each state - big and small - would have the same number of representatives.  This is our Senate.  The large states, however, rightly felt their larger contribution to the nation's economy earned them an appropriate level of say in the affairs of government.  So we formed a lower house of the legislature where the number of representatives would be based on population, to be counted and adjusted every ten years.  This is the House of Representatives.  That all matters of law have to be agreed upon by both houses ensures a balance in the interests of both groups.


This, of course, is nothing like what Arab society faces today, so the specifics here would not fit.  But they do have a tension to address.  In Egypt there is a modern constituency which wants Egyptian society to be integrated into the modern world, enjoying the economic benefits of the modern world.  But there is also a constituency which looks suspiciously at the modern world with respect to their historic Islamic traditions.


While the specific implementation of our "bicameral" form of legislature would not fit, the larger idea still has merit.  An Egyptian legislature could consist first of a "Council of the Books."  In Arabic this would allude to a phrase which would translate to "People of the Books."  This is an Islamic phrase referring to Jews and Christians, who share with Muslims the same roots in the "prophet" Abraham.  This body would be chartered to ensure Egyptian society retain its visible "reach-back" to its Islamic heritage.  But in order to circumscribe the passions and power of the majority, a "Council of the World" would also be formed.  This body would be chartered with making sure Egyptian society was positioned to enjoy the benefits of the modern world.  Any matter of law would have to be agreed upon in common by both.


How these bodies would be selected would have to be a matter for Egypt to decide.  For us, Senators used to be appointed by state governments and are now popularly elected.  The Council of the Books might be appointed by Islamic and Coptic scholars.  The Council of the World might be popularly elected.


Whether these bodies would together select the "Prime Minister" as in a traditional parliamentary form of government, or a "President" would be popularly elected, would also be something for the people of Egypt to determine for themselves.


This would position Egypt to enjoy the fruits of the Arab Spring in a way which would ensure the natural rights of minorities, honor its Islamic heritage and secure the economic benefits of the modern world.  It would also position Arab society for a renaissance.  Few people realize our "base 10" math - meaning how we notate math using ten symbols, the numeric symbols 0 through 9, comes to us from the Arab world.  Our numbers are Arabic numbers.


Roman numbers have no symbol for zero.  Now think about that for a moment: if you are a computer geek type like me you know what you are reading right now all boils down to two symbols - 0s and 1s - or "base 2" math.  The entire digital world depends on the idea of using zero in mathematical notation.  This idea comes to us from the Arab world.


We should embrace the promise of the Arab Spring - but be clear from our own history that the first business of a modern democracy is the circumscribing of the power of the majority to ensure the rights of the minority are honored.

'444 Days' to 'Benghazi' to Assad - Why I Reluctantly Support Obama on Syria

Posted on Thursday, September 5, 2013 No comments

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Let's start by making very clear the origin of this reasoning.  I have two boys.  They are 15 and 13.  While I would be very proud to see them in the uniform of the U.S. military (preferably the Marine Corps), I would much prefer it not be because we ended up in another war in the Middle East.  And with what looks like a repeat of the fecklessness of the Carter administration, it looks like that just might be what we have in store for my boys' generation.

We have to go back to November 4, 1979.  Our embassy was overrun in Tehran and the embassy staff was taken hostage.  We responded to this by tying yellow ribbons around fences and trees, if you can believe it.  We are a peace-loving people, but to project weakness like this has consequences.


Fast forward to October 7, 2001.  We invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban as a result of the attacks of 9/11.  If we had not shown weakness a little over 22 years prior, it is very likely history would have taken a wholly different trajectory.  We projected weakness in the face of an attack.  22 years later we had boots on the ground in that same part of the world.


Now move forward to September 11, 2012.  Our embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked and our ambassador, along with three others, was killed.  To date there have been no consequences.  We have, once again, projected fecklessness and weakness.  We are fooling ourselves if we think this will not have consequences.


And now we see them.  We are also fooling ourselves if we think Assad did not include Benghazi in his strategic calculations concerning chemical weapons.  Strategy has to do with the big picture.  That, then, informs tactical decisions made on the ground.  The use of chemical weapons was a tactical move from a strategic calculation concerning Obama and his 'red line'.  If this calculation were correct, he would be able to get away with limited use of chemical weapons.  That use - and the failure of America or anyone else to enforce consequences for crossing the 'red line' - would then drain out of the opposition the morale and willingness to fight.


If the killing of an ambassador is not a 'red line' in any sense that means anything, then what does it mean when Obama says the use, or even the movement, of chemical weapons is a 'red line'?  It is amazing to see Obama claim the 'red line' was not his red line.  In one sense, because of treaty agreements not to use these kinds of weapons, he is right.  But no one in the Middle East - least of all tyrants - are reading the treaties.  But they are watching the video clips of Obama drawing that 'red line' last year and then saying it wasn't his now.


The fecklessness is staggering.  For those who think this is just political name-calling, I'm sorry, but I have two things weighing on my mind right now: the history that got us into Afghanistan and two teenage boys I love beyond the power of mere words to describe.  I'm sorry, but fecklessness from American Presidents eventually gets young men killed.


This is why I actually support the resolution to use force against Syria.  And believing in the Constitution as I do, I actually commend Obama for seeking this authorization.  What is shocking is that he has to be saved from his own fecklessness.


We are thus left with no good options.  We can hit Syria and establish that this 'red line' actually means something.  What we do not know is whether other actors in the region like Iran, Hezbolla, etc. will attack Israel in return, forcing Israel to respond and starting a larger regional war.  Or we can do nothing and no 'red line' of any kind in the future will be taken seriously until the next Osama bin Laden - say in the next 10-20 years - miscalculates and we end up with boots on the ground in the Middle East once again.  These boots, though, will be filled by young men who are my boys' age today.


If we have to face consequences today, when we know our capabilities and the capabilities of the other actors, at least we have a reasonably good shot at managing these consequences in our national interest.  We can fight today with the devil we know; or we will certainly have to fight tomorrow with the devil we don't.



Errata from the Book

Posted on 1 comment
In my book "Community Conservatives and the Future: The Secret to Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Next Conservative Generation" I incorrectly identify the end of the Iranian Hostage Crisis as January 19th, 1980.  The correct date is January 20th, 1981.  The central point, though, is to note the entirely different strategic calculations on the part of the Iranians as Reagan was poised to take office.

Community Conservatives & the Future - Available for Free for a Limited Time

Posted on Saturday, August 31, 2013 No comments

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My new book, Community Conservatives and the Future: The Secret to Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Next Conservative Generation, has been released to Amazon.com as of today!  And it will be available for free for two days, starting Sunday, September 1 right after midnight and ending midnight Monday, September 2.

I would like to invite everyone to visit the Amazon.com page.  If you do not have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle Reader for your iPad, Android tablet, iPhone or Android phone, PC and Mac.  A "free sample" is available today and the full book will be available tomorrow and Monday.

If you do get the book during this free promotional period, please consider writing a review after you have finished.  (There is a link to the book's Amazon.com page in the "Afterword").

Announcing "Community Conservatives and the Future: The Secret to Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Next Conservative Generation"

Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 No comments

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So here we go...  I am about to release my first "indie" book (shorthand for independently published) on the Kindle.  The title is Community Conservatives and the Future: the Secret to the Hearts and Minds of the Next Conservative generation.  I'll update this post with a link to the book on Amazon.com shortly.

I'll be enrolling the book in a select publishing program through Amazon, so it will only be available for the Kindle for 90 days, after which I will be formatting for Apple's iBook platform and a few other popular eBook platforms.

But here is a look at the cover.  Subscribe to my blog to get an update when I release the book, which will be in a few days.  Starting this blog was the last step in my process of getting everything ready.


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