Neville’s vote, 2016

I have made up my mind who I am supporting this year for President.  I put my thoughts in this blog post form for my son Austin, who will be 18 this November and cast his first ever vote.  I think he should know who his dad is supporting, and more importantly why I am supporting my candidate. I think it is important for me to demonstrate that I have values, articulate what those values are, and then give a chance for those values to be passed on to the next generation.


Do you know the guy in the middle?

First off Austin, please remember to register to vote. Don’t wind up like Ivanka Trump. She gave a great speech last night, but she failed to register to vote in the New York republican primaries, and therefore never cast a ballot for her own dad. Remember son, actions speak louder than words. Here is a link to the Cleveland county voter registration website,  you have to mail this off mid-September. Details in the link.

I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate-to-conservative. I believe less government is good government.  I believe less is better when it comes to taxes – not just federal, but state and local as well. Heck, if I could have my way I’d repeal the 16th amendment to the US Constitution.  Government should simply provide a fair playing field for businesses and then get out of the way. Let business owners and individuals take risks in a free-market capitalism society. The notion of government picking winners and losers in life makes me sick.  Individuals who take risks and find success should be richly rewarded. Individuals who take risks and fail should not be made whole via the taxpayer.  Yes, some basic safety nets should exist, but let’s not try and legislate everyone into wealth without working for or earning that wealth in any way.

Like Donald Trump impressed on his kids, I like to think big. The above paragraph should give you insight into what’s important for me this election cycle. Starting at the top we need to have a vision for what this country should be like long term (at least a generation out).



So when you think in a strategic manner, what should be the top issues we should be discussing this political season?

One strategic issue that immediately comes to mind is our national debt and the long-term soundness of our economy and US dollar. Right now we have a federal debt that is in excess of 100% of GDP. I realize most people reading this are not policy wonks, so that statement is hard to relate to. Let me offer a layman’s translation – that’s bad. We are deep in debt – $19.3T based on The real problem is not what we have spent in the past, but what we will spend over the next 30 years. Social Security, Medicare and our defense outlays are structurally unsound and need to be reformed. Let me take you to the part of Donald Trump’s RNC speech last night where he talked about entitlement reform and balanced budgets.

Oh wait, Trump never mentioned the subject. Not once.

In general I have a problem with Trump’s positions. He is protectionist, not a free trader. He wants to repeal NAFTA. I do believe free trade is good for all economies involved. Protectionist people typically find themselves destroying the market they claim to protect, and find there are no sellers at any price when they do their damage. Let’s take an Oreo example. Last year Nabisco stopped making Oreos in Chicago and moved production to Mexico. Donald Trump has been railing against that move and tell Chris Christie not to eat any more Oreos. Is Nabisco moving production to Mexico a problem? If you owned Nabisco and you could get better a better product at a better price you too would move to Mexico. It’s just good sense. As a consumer if you don’t like it then don’t buy Oreos. However, government stepping in and vowing to get back at Nabisco is exactly what I’m talking about when I say Government is now (but should not be) picking winners and losers. Government is just too powerful these days. They can sue you, lock you up, impose taxes on you and generally harass you. I can’t stand for that.

Same goes for tax inversions with multinational drug companies. If an American business can get a competitive advantage by incorporating in Ireland — let them! The alternative is that the American companies go to extinction because they get outsold by a better foreign competitor.

Trump disagrees with me on those points. He believes American companies have some patriotic duty to use American workers and pay American taxes. Hogwash. Capitalism is intended to be self serving. The beauty of capitalism is that in serving your own financial interest, you add value in the marketplace and enhance the interests of greater society. Last I checked this was still a capitalist country (Socialist Bernie didn’t win, did he?).

If you don’t believe me then immediately start doing all your shopping at made-in-america-mart. You know, that large Wal-mart looking place where every product is manufactured in the US. Obviously such a place does not exist. Capitalism dictates that it does not exist. As consumers we want the best products at the best prices and if you stroll the aisles of Wal-Mart those products come from all over — plastic and electronics from China, clothing from Bangladesh and Vietnam.

We all can chant USA-USA, but look at our actions. We simply demand the best. We don’t shop at made-in-america-mart. If we did we would pay $200 for a plastic chair instead of $20. If this was a nationalist, socialist society we may one day be forced to do that, and our standard of living will go down significantly. But that day is not here yet and we don’t have to be told where to shop. Own a foreign made car? Well, you must be un-American. I don’t subscribe to that line of thinking.

One quick way to spur this economy is a tax holiday for the repatriation of corporate foreign cash held overseas. Look at my employer, Cisco Systems. We have $50B sitting in cash, overseas. If our management would like to use this and build a factory in the US, or hire some program manager jobs to roll out a new technology for the Internet of Things — whoops — Uncle Sam will take $25B of that $50B. If you were the Cisco CEO you would not pay that extortion fee, instead you’d also open up that new plant in Mexico or China. Sad but true. How about a one-time tax holiday and bring that cash back home? Totally political, totally doable.

And how many times did Trump mention cash repatriation last night? You guessed it, zero.

To Trump’s credit his website does say he is for a tax holiday for repatriation, but I need to hear it from him directly.

How is Hillary on these economic issues? Worse. She is not for any kind of reduction of taxes on foreign earned cash. I have not seen her talk about entitlement reform. She is also of the mindset, just like Donald, that government is the solution to our problems. Coal? Ban it. Heck, I would not be surprised if she banned fracking – it’s not a big deal, just American energy independence. I am no coal or fracking fan but again she demonstrates someone who wants to pick the winners and losers for us. I don’t trust her.

There is a 3rd choice this year. It is the libertarian party with a former governors of New Mexico and Massachusetts. The libertarians line up with my thinking. They may be a little more socially moderate than I am ok with, but that’s ok.

I really think if most Americans will stop and think for themselves, they will realize they have more in common with Libertarians than they do with Republicans or Democrats. What is a Libertarian? Look to Wikipedia: Libertarianism (Latin: liber, “free”) is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association, and the primacy of individual judgment.

On all the issues I am much closer to Johnson/Weld than either of the other 2 tickets. He is for term limits. For a massive overhaul of the tax code, for cutting defense and entitlements to what we can pay for. This snapshot gives a good view. By in large I agree with all the sentiments outlined below



Many in the Republican party will tell you that we are locked into this two party system and a vote for Johnson is a vote for Clinton. Hogwash. I am not moved by your fear. A vote for Johnson is a vote for Johnson. A vote for Clinton is a vote for Clinton. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Nowhere in the constitution does it say the word “Republican” or “Democrat”. And it’s time to take our country back from that corrupt, rigged 2 party system full of blood sucking insects.

Notice I did this whole post on issues, not personalities. There is so much concentration and emotion around the personalities of Trump and Clinton that there is no mention of the issues. While personalities are important, I like to think I am giving my vote to the person that best represents my issues, regardless of race or gender.

I’m voting for Gary Johnson.


Thoughts on KD leaving OKC

Sam Presti and Kevin Durant

On July 4th my Facebook feed had split personality syndrome. There were many friends were pragmatic about KD’s move to Golden State (the NBA is a business, I understand) and there were some that were not so positive on him turning his back on OKC (traitor taco, anyone?).  How do I feel about the situation (and how should you feel as well)? Read on:

For me, sports is about cheering for people. I never want to cheer for a shirt. I like to understand what kind of person a player is and what makes him/her tick. KD is an excellent person. Besides giving 8 years to basketball in OKC, remember that when the Moore tornadoes of 2013 went through the community, KD donated $1 Million of his own money to the relief effort.    He certainly did not have to do that, or invest his time in this community, but he did. That should not be forgotten. He made a home here and gave to the community.

There are some great athletes who are not great people.  I don’t want to cheer for them.  I’m thinking people like Lawrence Taylor (rape) or Dexter Manley (illiterate).   Do you suddenly want to cheer for a person like that because they are wearing a specific shirt? At that point, you are cheering for a shirt and not a person.

KD is obviously an articulate, intelligent person.  He well represented Oklahoma while he was here. I will be cheering for him and hope he finds what he’s looking for at Golden State.

Switching back to OKC, I put the blame for this squarely on Sam Presti and the Thunder organization. My guess is it will come out over the next few years, but we know nothing about what OKC offered.  Did they offer a 2 year deal with a player option after this year (like Golden State) or did they try to strong-arm him and force him to take longer contract? They should be offering him a player option every single year — value your people. Make them feel wanted, not trapped.

Sam Presti has not done anything useful that I can think of in 5 years. The things he has done include trading Harden and trading Ibaka.  How do you do that?  How do you let your people know they are not that important? That if they don’t want to be here you will happily get rid of them? No wonder KD felt little loyalty to the OKC organization– he saw it with the actions the team took on his co-workers.   We’d have the same feelings if the companies we work for devalued people and just treated people like butts in a seat.  The churn at OKC is too high. Could it be that Presti did not understand how KD would feel about changing head coaches, churning his teammates?  If Presti mis-read Durant there, that’s Presti’s fault.

Now there is talk of trading Westbrook, and Presti is dumb enough to do that, or at least allow the talk.  Presti is simply too proactive as a GM. Westbrook is a superstar, and if he is leaves, especially by trade, OKC will not have a conference finals caliber team for another 20 years. Presti should make sure Westbrook is happy with his situation here — offer him a maximum contract that has player options on it for every single year. If Westbrook still leaves with that offer to him then so be it, but at least that will demonstrate to Westbrook that the Thunder organization values him with their actions, not their words.