Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Look at the candidates we send to Washington. Are they conservative? No. George W. Bush is only slightly more conservative than John McCain who is only slightly more conservative than President-Elect Barack Obama. Can we really be surprised at the outcome? Lindsey Graham was not even tested on his conservative principles this election because most of us don't know how to call him out on being a pseudo-socialist himself. Which is what every big-government Republican is.
Many of you might remember my anger at the sad bunch of candidates that spoke to us this past year while running for US Senate. McBride tried to sneak in like Ron Paul. Witherspoon, who I like as a person, was a one trick pony with immigration and couldn't do much more than read off a card when challenged. The other guys never came close.
We must first begin our journey to take back this country by re-defining Republicanism. That definition must mirror almost exactly conservatism. America had a choice this election, it could vote for a very liberal candidate or a moderately liberal candidate. There was no conservative choice.
Conservatism has been weighed down by to many hyphenated words. It has lost its meaning.
Christian – Conservative
Compassionate - Conservative
Social - Conservative
Security - Conservative
Fiscal - Conservative
Neo - Conservative
What about a CONSERVATIVE - Conservative? If you consider yourself any of those on that list you are something less than a Conservative and you my dear friend are what is wrong with the Republican party. Sorry, but the truth stings. That includes you Christian - Conservatives especially.
What is great about Conservatism is that you don't need to hyphenate! Conservatism is accepting of moral religions that teach restrain based values. Which Christianity most certainly is. There is no other ideology more compassionate than conservatism. What could be more empathetic than promoting individual success over subjugation and rentierism? Conservatism is the only socially responsible party that judges its successes not by how many people it helps but by how many people no longer need help. Conservatism understands that security comes first or every other effort is in vain. Conservatism requires fiscal restraint and knows that the only true way to restrain the Leviathan is by a planned and controlled scarcity of funds. In other words, the easier it is for the government to get the money the more it will spend, therefore access and use of the funds must be laborious to the Federal apparatus of governance. This is a heuristic. It is undisputable. Finally, the biggest canard of all that of "Neo" conservative or "New" conservative.
Neo suggests that the old conservatism didn't work. There is only one conservatism and it always works and it is timeless. There is no room for additions or deletions from strong conservative principles. Therefore as conservatives we reject the moniker of "Neo".
What are these principles of conservatism?
Number one we believe in a strong government. But, that government must protect individual freedom and there can be no individual freedom without the protection of individual property. Locke wrote of life, liberty and estate (property). Jefferson changed it in the Declaration of Independence to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." To be clear conservatives recognize that there can be no happiness without private ownership and legal protection of property.
Number two we believe in the strict adherence to laws. We are a country of laws. Laws are to be followed or amended. Never bended. This is not to say there is no room for interpretation, but just as God judges those harshest that take on the awesome responsibility of teaching the word of God so too must we judge those that take on the responsibility of adjudication and mediation of our laws. Our judges and lawmakers must show restraint and wisdom.
Number three we believe that the smallest form of government capable of performing a governmental service should do so. This means that the Federal government should rarely get involved in the minutia of our daily lives. Micro managing from Washington is the definition of Socialism and bureaucracy. By tackling issues on the most local level possible we waste less money and redistribute less wealth. And to this end we believe in Federalism. Federalism is not just an idea our founders had in mind at the creation of our Union of sovereign States; it is the only way to guarantee the existence of our Union. It is folly to think that a centralized system of government can control, lend, adjudicate, and mandate, collect, redistribute, enlist, and provide all that is needed to 50 states and 310 million citizens. We must restrict our federal branches of government to only those things listed in our Constitution and recognize that the other rights and powers are given to the State or the Individual. (Yet we send politicians to Washington to grow our federal government and shout to the heavens "...there ought to be a law.")
Number four we believe in individual responsibility. This most important principle of conservatism is the most misunderstood and mistreated. We are willing to forget this tenet easiest when our comfort is pressed or our bias challenged or our morals questioned. Individual responsibility is the belief that we are to provide first for ourselves and our families so that we do not become a burden to society. Also this is the belief we are to be patient and tolerant of those individuals who look and act in ways other than our own. This includes religious, sexual, cultural and other practices we might find strange or different or even vile. (When “Christian - Conservatives” tried to take over the Republican party they did much damage to the reputation of conservatism. Forgetting the other principles of conservatism they lobbied for a federal law on abortion and gay marriage. These are State’s issues and can be voted one way or the other on that level. The Constitution should not be used to promote a political agenda or religious ideology. Remember, no one ideology or party stays in power. And if Conservatives do damage to the Constitution or look hypocritical in the face of these issues then what consequence must we suffer when liberals are at the helm?)
Number five we believe in Smart Power internationally. This is a mixture of soft power (diplomacy) and hard power to promote our international agenda and protect us here at home. There are many liberals that suggest the same. Where the difference lies is in the belief that you must first establish a hard power position for soft power to work. Soft power alone will never accomplish anything in the face of tyranny, despotism and extremism. The worst the world has to offer will not succumb to diplomacy or carrots only. The threat of the stick or the use of the stick will bring them to the negotiating table so diplomats can then have their turn.
Finally and humbly number six we conservatives believe without question in American Exceptionalism. There is no other country like ours. There has never been a country like ours. Our defense of freedom both internationally and individually is not equaled anywhere. We are not perfect and have many faults but we recognize that freedom is the indivisible variable in our every success. So far, other countries have tried to emulate or approximate our systems and achievements with only some success. Some are closer than others and some reject the very notion of us and work to undermine us. Our exceptionalism is never more on display than when we are under pressure and under fire. Conservatives reject the exploitation of our exceptionalism for ends other than the protection of our freedom and the cautious and deliberate expansion of the cause of freedom to which America has no monopoly.
Given the above, where do you see our nation?
What we have is Republican and Democrat alike voting everyday to expand the scope and control of government. Republicans might want tighter controls, and more oversight on spending… but they still want the spending. Republicans might want to see people off welfare, but they concede to liberals that the Federal government should be in the welfare business. Most Republicans are barely recognizable as Republicans, much less as conservatives.
The problem is that we still elect the same people every year. And what is also true, is that the Republican National Committee still promotes the same candidates every year. Was the RNC behind anyone running against Lindsey Graham? Why because he was an incumbent? That is the worst of all excuses. The devil you know is the choice of the weak and lazy. Were they working hard to find an alternative to John Spratt? The RNC is run by Big Government Republicans. These Big Government Republicans are the mark we need to be aiming for. With a few exceptions like Jim DeMint, the motto should be “if you were in in 2008 you are out in 2010.” It is time for a “throw the bums out” strategy that puts real conservatism in office to combat liberalism/socialism run wild.
That strategy must consist of an education plan that reminds and informs America what a conservative is. John McCain does damage to the cause when he calls himself a conservative. He is not. He is a good man, possibly even a moral man, but he is not a conservative. We must take these six principles of conservatism and debate them refine them and communicate them to those who have ears to hear. You ask for grassroots? This education must be grassroots.
As important, Republicans in office like Jim DeMint and a few others that actually vote in a conservative fashion must be rallied behind. Because the minute we see an ounce of success the liberal machine will go to its old play book and brand us as heartless old white guys that want kill senior citizens, starve school children and engage in international adventurism. We must have our responses at the ready to help those brave conservatives already in the fight.
What we do now is what will make the difference in 2010. What we do now is what will protect the 2nd Amendment, stave off socialism and protect us from our enemies.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Apparently we are so happy with our government that we don’t need a change. Apparently we think Spratt’s 26 year career as a politician is good for the country and good for SC. Apparently we don’t want change and America is just fine.
But, that is not what we have been told. We have been told that America is on the brink. That the world hates us. That “the economy” is folding and the sky is falling. If you believe all of this (true or not) you have been told to vote for “change”. Well why, pray tell, do we continue to vote incumbents into office over and over and over and OVER?
John Spratt will win quite handily today. And if you are someone who is voting the “change” ticket, why did you vote for the same guy this year? If you are a Republican and voted for Spratt…ha! Never tell me. Never. Because I will not be able to hold my tongue. A Republican that votes for Spratt is quite seriously the worst kind of a Republican and in no way is a Conservative. This means, as a Republican, you actually have ZERO grasp of the issues. You want less government, yet vote for more. You want lower taxes, yet vote for more. You want more individual freedom, yet vote for less. You want Constitutional protections, yet vote for liberal judges. NO, don’t ever tell me that you voted for Spratt if you are a Republican!
I said all of the above to say this, elections are less about being informed and more about shouting matches. Elections are about candidates finding your biases and playing to these biases. Not about points of contention or contrary ideas. Elections are about motivating the mindless masses of each party to show up and vote and publicizing “wedge issues” to get the on the fence votes down on your side.
Sadly this is not what makes a State. This is not what makes a Republic. This is what makes an Oligarchy, where political power rests with an ELITE few. Thomas Jefferson told us what makes a State in a letter to John Taylor in May of 1816. He quotes Sir William Jones:
What constitutes a State?
Not high-raised battlements, or labor’d mound,
Thick wall, or moated gate;
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crown’d;
Men, who their duties know;
But know their rights’ and knowing, dare maintain.
These constitute a State.
Does Jefferson via Jones speak of you? Do you dare maintain your rights in the face of the Oligarchy? Or do you freely give them to the Leviathan to spread to whom it sees fit? Do you know your duty? Your duty that I have spoken of time and again to be informed? Or are you mesmerized by the rhetoric and swayed by the crowd unable to make your own decision. Can you summarize your candidate’s positions? “Change” is not a position. Being black is not a position. Being a war hero is not a position. Being a Republican is not a position.
Have you freely given up your rights and shirk your duty?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
We here in Russia, Venezuela and Cuba welcome you to our Socialist club. With the passing of the “bail out” plan and the possible election of Obama America will be the newest member of far-left Socialist network of nations.
Soon America can look forward to complete redistribution of wealth. As our savior Karl Marx put it, FROM each according to their means, TO each according to their need. Soon, America will remove any incentive to strive and risk for a better life. Mother Government will provide all that a person needs. Those that try to work outside the system will be punished. Obama has already begun this system of punishment with his healthcare proposal that penalizes those that choose not to carry insurance or submit to the government plan. These people must be brought in line for the good of everyone.
Comrades, it is not the individual that counts not the protection of his or her property but it is the only the common good. Old ways of thinking that suggest the best way to provide for the common good is by protecting the individual and his property are over. The founding fathers of your country were wrong. Protecting the individual and his or her property only leads to corruption and greed. Those that hoard wealth are to be shunned and their property redistributed for the good of the people.
We urge all of our Comrades in the USSA (United Socialist States of America) to vote for Obama. Soon, you will no longer be burdened with the process of voting. The natural progression of Socialism is more government control. Your tacit approval now to Socialist agendas will be taken to mean permanent and total approval of complete government intrusion into your lives. In other words, the removal of the republic and your democracy.
In the future we hope to see government control of your energy infrastructure, housing, employment, education, and of course healthcare. The American Utopia is just around the corner. With the election of Obama you are on the path to true equality. Now, you are no longer merely born equal, but are mandated by government to remain equal.
Workers and Peasantry unite!!! Vote Obama for United Socialist States of America First Secretary!!!
Yo Soy Comunista!
Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Dmitry Medvedev (Vladimir Putin)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The cure for our economic woes will not come from more government interference in business, but less. There is NO historical precedent that suggests that more and larger government will fix any problem long term. NONE! Please show me the example where larger government and more interference resulted in a positive for the long term! Certainly not the “New Deal”. Look at entitlement programs now and the state of Social Security. Certainly not No Child Left Behind. Our schools still suffer. Our teachers hate the added bureaucracy that keeps them from actual teaching. What about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that fixed yesterday’s “ENRON” problem but not today’s. It was just another hurdle that slick lawyers and accountants can easily by-pass. A substitution for market forces, the only forces that can actually correct economic ills. (Trick is, they work at there own pace.)
Laws are a necessary but insufficient part of our life. Necessary as a set of base standards of conduct and insufficient in that they are no more useful than the folks that enforce the law, administrate the law, and write the law. All prone to human frailty and failings. “There ought to be a law” is the vilest phrase ever uttered with the possible exception of “we are from the government and we are here to help!”
The greatness of our country does not lie in the fact that we are largest or the best, but rather in that we are the least. We have traditionally had the least government interference in our daily lives than other places on this big blue marble. And, when government interference was necessary it was proscribed in such a way that understood that the natural inertia of government was to grow beyond its usefulness into something counter productive. The “economic bailout” package was the I-Ching of counter productive-ness. It was the poster-child for big-government inertia gone wild. In its inertia it swept up democrat and republican alike. Few could break its hold. Few could understand that a little suffering now will help us down the road. What is best for me and you today might not be what is best for us tomorrow or our children’s tomorrows.
As our personal economic situations cause us pain this electoral season please remember who put us in this situation. I don’t mean, Obama or McCain. I don’t mean Democrat or Republican. I mean politicians. I mean all those elected to office that contribute to uncontrolled growth of our Federal Government. Politicians of all strips are to blame. And, those in power longest are more to blame. That means McCain has more to answer for than Obama. That means Graham has more to answer for than DeMint. That means Spratt should be kicked out of office as soon as is humanly possible.
WE are the only chance we have to fix our country. A Socialist President (Obama) and a Diet-Socialist President (McCain) can not be allowed to facilitate continued unchecked expansion of our federal system of government. No matter who gets in you had better be writing your President, Congressman and local paper demanding less government interference. Or, it will be more of the same. More Nanny-State, more Big-Brother, more Big-Government that you and I have to pay for.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Sarah Palin has been a sports reporter, worked in commercial fishing, and was the Commissioner/Ethics Supervisor for the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a city council woman, a mayor, a Lieutenant Governor and is currently the Governor of Alaska.
Barack Obama was a community organizer, civil rights attorney, taught law and an Illinois state representative and is currently a US Senator.
Sarah Palin has worked in an executive capacity as the Commissioner of the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a mayor, a Lieutenant Governor and currently as the Governor of Alaska.
Barack Obama has NO executive experience.
Time in Government
Palin has been in government since 1996. Hardly a career politician, more than Obama but less than Joe Biden the Democrat nominee for Vice-President who has been a politician since 1970 having only had one other job as an attorney for two years. She has been Governor of Alaska two years in December.
Barack Obama starting in 1997 was an Illinois state senator. In 2004 he became a US Senator. He will have two years in office as a Senator in November.
You may be asking why I am not contrasting and comparing John McCain to Barack Obama. Simple, there is no comparison. Everyone is well aware of McCain’s qualifications for President. No, he does not have as much executive experience as we would like, but he does have more than Obama and Biden combined. Which is to say that Obama and Biden have ZERO executive experience.
Obama owes his entire success to his inspirational speeches and flawless delivery. But, now that we are into the “meat” of the campaign and we have some off tele-prompter moments to judge him by we see that his oratory abilities have been over stated. His lack of policy that he got away with in the primary is now hurting him as well as the general flawed nature of any liberal platform compared to a Conservative platform.
There is also no comparing Biden to Palin. Biden is a career politician who has not worked a “real job” in 30 years! 30 years in the Senate makes you no longer a man-of-the-people. It makes you the stereo-typical congressman who has lost touch with what it is like to live in the real world. You want change? Sarah Palin is real change with a real record of rooting out corruption and waste in government. Including her own party. Gov. Sarah Palin has looked at the Republican party and found it lacking. What is more, she has taken solid action to correct it.
Palin is a God-Send for the conservative movement, the Republican party and the United States of America. She offers more than any candidate in the past 40 years has offered… Democrat or Republican. You may want to justify your vote for Obama via the limp and sad vehicle that is “Change and Hope” but you will eventually have to own up to the substance of that vote. Obama is not the “Change” candidate. He is a well spoken candidate that offers far less than his history suggests he can provide. Vote the resume. Vote history. Vote an informed choice. Vote McCain-Palin.
Update: On Wednesday night I submitted the above article about Palin vs. McCain to the powers-that-be at the Progressive Journal, at 11:43 pm Wednesday night I see this “diddy” online from the head of the Democrat party in SC:
Carol Fowler (Dem party chairwoman) releases a statement of apology: "I personally admire and respect the difficult choices that women make everyday, and I apologize to anyone who finds my comment offensive. I clumsily was making a point about people in South Carolina who may vote based on a single issue. Whether it’s the environment, the economy, the war or a woman’s right to choose, there are people who will cast their vote based on a single issue. That was the only point I was attempting to make."
What Fowler is apologizing for is a statement that Palin’s “primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”
This is a defining statement for the Democrat party. It at once shows their panic and contempt towards a successful woman that is not Madonna or Oprah and their elitism towards the people of South Carolina who apparently are generally beyond making an informed decision and must cling to a single issue. Or in other words a continuation of Barack Obama’s telling moment that we folks that “cling” to guns and God are merely “bitter” intolerant bumpkins incapable of sophistication.
Should someone tell the liberals that we cling to guns to fulfill our duty and responsibility to provide our own individual protection from all assailants including and occasionally our own government, and that we cling to God for the day that the guns fail us..?
Friday, August 29, 2008
Russian giant Gazprom is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world and is second only to
Oil and gas tax revenues account for a large percentage of
Is this a return to the Cold War? No, maybe the “Chilly Conflict” but not a “Cold War.” The
What? I thought we didn’t have to worry about nuclear war any more?
When did we stop? As long as one country possesses a nuclear device we will have to worry about it being used. This is why we have parked defensive measures in
When Russian and the former republics were dirt poor in the 90s trading in nuclear secrets was all the rage and a good way to earn some money. Information and material was traded all over the world.
So what next? Will
So dust off that copy of “Red Dawn” or “The Hunt for Red October”. Our favorite villain is back with deep pockets and wayward ambitions!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Since I have been writing this column for the Progressive Journal I have received a great deal of feedback and pleasant criticism. No matter who I encounter when it comes to this column folks all have one critique in common, “Do you think anyone in Pageland knows what you are talking about” or “Don’t you think you are talking over the heads of most people in Pageland?” Even if these observations are true, that is not the point.
Because I have been given this wonderful soapbox on which to bloviate I want to raise the level of debate by informing my readers of their obligation to be informed and when informed, engaged. This above all is my goal. There is no way for me to accomplish this goal if I speak from a least common denominator position. Or, in words and concepts that all of us can easily understand. If I “dumb-down” my opinions to make them more accessible I do damage to the truths I wish to ruminate on. Many of the issues of our day are NOT accessible. Rather these issues are complicated and require more than basic understanding. Such is our world and it appears that it will only become more complex as time passes.
If I were to take on the lie perpetuated by the Right-Wing political hit-squads that Barrack Obama is a Muslim, I would have to give you not just his correct history but also a brief history of Islam. I would have to touch on issues of religion, conflict and how there is a long history of the fear of different religions being used to control the masses. I could do this in simple language and remove any information that might be difficult to understand or believe, but I would then be playing fast-and-loose with the truth and using fear and emotion to convince you rather than facts. I would rather have you read the correct and often lengthy truth rather than read a summarized version that appeals to the masses because it reads easy and only touches our baser instincts.
I think the people of Pageland are a very smart and savvy bunch and I think they should expect more from their information sources, politicians and each other. Yes, there are those folks that think that
Until that day I will continue to give it to you “between the eyes” rather than sugar coated. I will use colloquialisms and foreign concepts that many will have to look up online or in a dictionary. I use these in the hopes that am coaxing you into being better informed and in turn more engaged. Less American Idol and more Politico.com. Less Evening News and more of your own original research. Less reacting to what your politicians are doing to you, and more influencing your own life.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Obama was confronted by a Las Vegas TV man about his flip flop on energy policy. Jon Ralston: "You were against drilling and tapping the petroleum reserve, but you've reversed on that. Now you're for both. You want to compromise on energy. So you don't really favor drilling, but for political reasons you're going to change your position. This is change that we can believe in, Senator?" Never mind that Obama’s current stance on drilling (the stance McCain has always had) is the only sane stance, on to his answer when cornered!
Obama responded, “What I said is that we can't drill our way out of the problem, and that's what I've said from the start. Uh, what I've also said is that we've got to focus on alternative energy. What I've also said, uh, is that there's room for domestic production in the overall energy mix. I'm not going to be dogmatic about it. That's not being political. That's common sense, Jon, to give relief to the American people, but more importantly to set ourselves on a path of energy efficiency over the long term.”
So why Senator where you ever against more drilling? What has changed in the past few weeks? Are you only now aware of the energy situation in this country? Or have your political advisors warned you that continuing the Liberal Democrat party line on drilling will do damage to your campaign?
It goes on, Jon Ralston: "Well, there's a story out today about how you [Obama] supported the Dick Cheney bill, the energy bill 2005." [Interestingly Obama voted for the 2005 bill and McCain did not!] "That bill gave subsidies to the oil and gas companies. McCain opposed it, saying that those are tax breaks for the oil companies, but Barack Obama favored it."
OBAMA: “Hold on a second. Uh, eh, er, you know, Jon, I, uh, er -- I -- I thought I was, de -- uh -- taking to you as opposed to debating John McCain but I'm happy to let you, uh, serve as his proxy. Uh, the, eh, uhh, we -- The fact of the matter is that I supported that energy bill, uh, saying at the time that those tax breaks were wrong, but also recognizing that this was the largest investment in alternative energy in history and that it was important for us for the solar industry, uh, to get off the ground in places like Nevada, for wind to get kicked off the ground, that that was something that we had to do.”
Actually, I applaud Obama for supporting this bill for the exact reason he did. Solar does need more funding. But the story here is his treatment of the reporter that DARED ask a difficult and necessary question. How dare this person question “The One” aka Obama. When put in a corner Obama accuses Jon Ralston of being a McCain operative.
This is laughable. 99% of all media is completely in the tank for Obama. It is obvious. And the one guy out of hundreds that have recently interviewed “The One” and dared confront him is accused of being a McCain “proxy”. Too funny! So Obama gets a taste of his own medicine and how does he react? As expected he makes a rookie mistake and in the process reveals himself to be immature and unready to lead.
This political season promises to be a lively one. Look for the media to circle the wagons around Obama in the face of any criticism. Look for Obama’s camp to accuse anyone who dares question “The One” of being a McCain supporter, ignorant or worse a racist.
Wake the kids and call the neighbors!!! It’s politics time in America again!!!
I recently received a mailer for Representative John Spratt, our democratic congressman from 5th district (14 counties in all). At first glance you would think that John Spratt and I don’t differ too much on the issues. It even took a “trained” political contrarian like me a second reading to catch that Rep. Spratt was not like me at all; rather the mailer was just a “least common denominator” representation of his views. Or in other words, John Spratt paid someone good money to create a mailer that watered down his actual stances and voting record to a point to where it would appear to be acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives.
It starts with an innocuous introduction about his offices and background. He says that he is “accessible” or at least his offices are in Rock Hill, Sumter and Darlington and that his staff has helped “hundreds of folks” receive a “fair shake out of the federal government”. The reverse of the letter states his “positions on a few key issues.” These issues are listed within quotations so these are the words of Rep. John Spratt from the 5th Congressional District, a Democrat, a Liberal. He says he is for more drilling if it lowers gas prices; in fact he is “for anything responsible that will bring down prices.” Fair enough, strange to hear that talk coming from the side of the aisle that has made access to oil so expensive. Everyone knows that Democrats are the party of the environmentalists. Perhaps Mr. Spratt should ponder the responsibility of ZERO new atomic energy facilities in the US in 40 years more than half of that time Spratt has been in office (25 years). Perhaps Spratt should ponder the responsibility of us sending $700,000,000,000 (700 Billion) over seas for our energy needs when a large chunk of that could stay home or at least in North America.
Spratt confuses the issue by going on about how many permits and acres the oil companies already have to drill on, suggesting that other places like the Gulf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) shouldn’t be explored or drilled. The number of permits and acreage available is immaterial Rep. Spratt if your investment-to-return ratios are better elsewhere. If I could drill in Mudville and get 10 Barrels a day but drill in Ruby and get 25 barrels a day for the same investment, where would I drill first? Or if I only have money to plant one field with melons and one of my two fields cost twice as much to prepare and to harvest which field do I choose? These are the dilemmas facing the oil producers. Spratt tows the party line using the silly talking points issued to him by Democrats much more powerful than he and tries to turn it in to something palatable for all of us.
On Iraq he says he has “traveled to Iraq four times” suggesting the trip makes him more expert. Hardly. It would be what he did with his time there that made him more expert. I have traveled to Phoenix more than four times to change flights, but have never stayed, am I now an expert on Phoenix? Mr. Spratt, tell us more about your conversations with the troops on the ground. What are you hearing from the Generals and Colonels? The problem is, the Democrat Representative from the 5th District can’t do that. Because to do that would betray his party. A party that has invested in defeat. A party that has made the mission in Iraq harder and more dangerous by giving indirect aid and direct comfort to our enemies. If he discussed what he has seen and what he is hearing from those who know and are expert on Iraq and are in a position of power in the country of Iraq he would have to confess that his party’s positions on Iraq and his own behavior/vote/positions, either by act or omission are and have been less than helpful and often close to Treason. John Spratt will find NO QUARTER with me on this issue. His positions and his party are irresponsible. They have taken up with the blame-America-first and the anti-war crowd rather than do what nations do in a time of war, you pull together. As a son of the South Spratt was no-doubt raised better. He his partially protected in Washington because his party keeps him from the microphones and cameras on these tough issues? As well the media is either so inept that they don’t know to ask the tough question or so biased as to keep tough questions about the war for Republicans only. Shame on you Rep. Spratt.
On Health Care he starts with a dangerous premise that “…every American [has] affordable medical care.” Can you point to that in the Constitution Mr. Spratt? Does that fall under “necessary and proper” or interstate commerce? The Federal Government has no charter to provide health-care nor monkey with its affordability. It certainly doesn’t have the right to tell States that they MUST pay for 20% of a Federal program!!!
On the Budget Rep. John Spratt goes on about his work balancing the budget in the 90’s, before the dot-com bubble burst, before 9/11, before Katrina, before the war on Terror and the War for Energy Security (Iraq). Well, whoop-tee-doo! If I was Bill Gates I bet I could balance my check book with a bit more ease and security. But, I am not, so it is often difficult for me when times get tough. The heady days of the 90’s are gone and we are paying the price for it now. I no more expected John Spratt to be clairvoyant enough to predict our situation today than I expected George W. Bush. But now that the causes of our economic situation are clear, I at least expect honesty. Seems I get none from Democrat Representative John Spratt from the 5th Congressional District. Honesty would admit that the globalized nature of our economy has given us our current situation and a temporary negative budget might be a necessity for the short term. A balanced budget should be the norm of course and we have gone too long in the “Red”, but let’s be clear headed about the situation.
How could a Democrat be a Democrat without talking about education? As with health-care, please point to the passage in the US Constitution that gives the Federal Government the right or obligation to deal in education and to dictate to States how we should educate our children? Increasing Federal spending on education has never worked. Yet we keep spending. Spratt’s mailer is even targeted towards me, it suggests a decrease in loan repayment interest rates and more money for need based grants and loans that I have taken advantage of in the past for college. Why don’t we let states handle the education, we can still have Pell Grants and Student Loans but lets do it on a State by State and community by community basis. In Ireland part of your local taxes goes to paying for local kids to go to college. The benefit for this kind of taxing and spending is obvious. Who knows best how much to tax and where to spend your money, John Spratt, a man who you can’t even pick up the phone and contact, or someone in your community? Federal interference in education has been a complete failure. Shame on John Spratt and all that support it.
Finally, Spratt has two sentences on taxes. In these two short sentences he manages to clandestinely promote his party line that the “rich” should be taxed more and are not paying their fair share. Well Sir, lets do some research.
Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid (2006)
(Folks that make over: ) (Percentage of total taxes paid to the Feds)
Top 1% $388,806 39.89
Top 5% $153,542 60.14
Top 10% $108,904 70.79
Top 25% $64,702 86.27
Top 50% $31,987 97.01
Bottom 50% <$31,987 2.99
Source: Internal Revenue Service (via www.ntu.org)
This means that those that make over $100,000 dollars are paying over 70% of the taxes. Those that make over $31,000 are paying 97 percent of the taxes. 97%!!!!!!!
Let me translate a bit more. 40% of the taxes are paid by the so called “rich”. 20% of the taxes are paid by the “well off”. 10% of the taxes are paid by the “upper middle class”. 25% of the taxes are paid by the “middle class”. Less than 5% of taxes are paid by the people who use the programs the taxes pay for. If you think all your money is going to Iraq, you are VERY WRONG. The majority goes into Federal Funded Entitlement Programs!!!
Terrorism, the term, has only been meaningful to most Americans post-9/11 and since that time so few of us have advanced our understanding of what “terrorism” is and how to prevent and defend against it. This includes elected officials and those on the supposed front lines.
Terrorism 101, Violence as Theatre
The passengers of the planes and victims in the buildings on September 11th were the “immediate victims” of the terrorists but were not the “primary victims/targets”. The primary target and aspired-to victim was you and I. The spectacular attacks were merely theatrics designed to facilitate the real damage, the terrorizing of millions. The act of blowing up planes and buildings without any media coverage would only result in a few 100,000 people being actually affected. But, when broadcasted world wide it then can affect billions of people. If no one goes to see the movie or play can it have much effect? If you never heard of it do you even know that you are missing it? The same for terrorism, it is only effective if it is known.
Because of this fact the Media, some times wittingly sometimes not, plays a necessary role in terrorism. And, the more free and democratic a society, with little to no government controls on media, the larger the potential for effective terrorist attacks.
Terrorism 101, Three Ways Terrorists Win: Over React, Under React and Under Estimate
Terrorism works when the primary victim, say… America, over reacts to an attack by either retaliating against too broad a target or retaliating against the wrong target. This over reaction then lands right into the Propaganda wheel-house of a proficient terrorist organization. The improper actions are turned into recruiting material and new generations of terrorists are more easily spawned. (Important to remember that terrorists “spawn” without us contributing to their propaganda, over reactions act as an accelerant, not a necessary catalyst.)
Terrorism works when the primary victim, say… America, under reacts to an attack by retaliating too late, against the wrong target, or not at all. Bill Clinton pulled our troops out of Mogadishu after the “Black Hawk Down” incident. Ronald Reagan pulled us out of Lebanon after two bombings. Both of these under reactions to terrorism emboldened our terrorist enemies, giving them confidence to strike us. Osama Bin Laden in his “Declaration of War” (on America and the West) speech invoked both Beirut, Lebanon and Mogadishu,Somalia as signs of American weakness:
“We say to the Defence Secretary that his talk can induce a grieving
mother to laughter! and shows the fears that had enshrined you all.
Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut
took place on 1983 CE (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered
pits and pieces at that time; 241 mainly marines solders were killed.
And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made
you to leave Aden in less than twenty four hours!
But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where after
vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold
war leadership of the new world order you moved tens of
thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands
American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your
solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was
dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying
disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you.
Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and
promising revenge, but these threats were merely a preparation for
withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew;
the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It
was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the
"chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic
cities of Beirut, Aden and Mogadishu”
Terrorism works when the primary victim, say…America, under estimates terrorist capabilities, psychological and personal make up and motivations. Many of us think of terrorists as insane or cowards. Both of these characterizations are normal reactions to being terrorized; call it the “who could do such a thing syndrome”. Many of us think of terrorists as Muslim or Arab or “brown” people. I am fairly certain that Timothy McVeigh was neither Muslim, nor Arab nor brown. Terrorism is not a mental abnormality nor is it a tool of cowards. It is important to note that by most definitions of terrorism that Francis Marion would have been a top rate terrorist from the viewpoint of his enemies.
Many of us consider terrorists capabilities to be limited to large sensational attacks in locations like New York or L.A. We only think of the large attack rather than the small systematic one. By minimizing what we assume a terrorist capability to be and by misjudging capacity and mischaracterizing terrorists we under estimate who can be a terrorist, a terrorist’s means and where they might attack.
Terrorism 101, In your back yard.
Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed and Youssef Samir Megahed were arrested in Goose Creek, South Carolina on explosives charges last year, the two University of South Florida students were supposedly on their way to Myrtle Beach with a box of 22 rifle ammunition, a 5 gallon can of gasoline, homemade “fireworks” packed into a pipe and 25 feet of safety fuse. After further investigation a video was found on a laptop in the car that showed how to turn a toy remote control car in to a detonator. The narrative of the video suggests it is directed to suicide bombers and had been previously posted on YouTube.
In Fort Bragg, NC Ali Mahamed worked for the US Special Forces (Green Berets) and from time to time with the CIA. Mahamed was also working for Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda. Mahamed infiltrated and spied on the United States for years before being caught. One FBI agent suggested that Mahamed has actually taught both Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden in terrorist tactics.
Terrorism 101, Our Apathy and Misunderstanding Fuel Terrorism
Terrorism requires our reaction to the primary terrorist incident. For our purposes the terrorist “tree” in the woods does NOT make a sound if we are not there to hear it. You may still have political violence but it is our reaction to it that makes it terrorism. When we react to terrorism with Apathy and Misunderstanding we make the effects of terrorism worse. By not understanding the grievances of terrorists and not seeking out its roots and causes we doom ourselves to more terrorist attacks in number and greater attacks in affect. When we don’t concern ourselves with what our politicians are doing to detect, deter, and defend us from terrorism we doom ourselves to over reactions, under reactions and “mis-underestimations”. When we don’t understand the nuances of terrorism we allow our media outlets to sensationalize terrorism and there-by act as a terrorist force-multiplier worsening the effects and hampering the detection, deterrence and defense.
I hope this handy terrorism synopsis is useful. If you think you are many times removed from the front lines of terrorism you would be wrong. Your proximity to the ballot box puts you smack-dab on the front line with major responsibilities for our nation now and in the future. An ignorant vote is as bad as no vote, maybe worse. Accept your responsibility and inform yourself about these issues and vote accordingly.
Right-Wing Propagandist and Local Arms Dealer
Monday, June 23, 2008
Mr. Wolfgang Munchau of the Financial Times writes this week that the Irish are in danger of ruining their economic “miracle” based on the recent “NO” vote on the Lisbon Treaty referendum. Well Mr. Munchau, I think you discount the Irish and misunderstand the definition of “miracle”.
Wolfgang Munchau suggests in two recent articles that the Lisbon Treaty is destined to be ratified with or without the Irish, fair enough, but I don’t see how if the convoluted rules of the European Union state otherwise. Sure, as Munchau pointed out, The Republic of Ireland could be kicked out in some back room slick deal by an “unpredictable court,” but how is that good for the EU? What precedent and unintended consequences does that course of action suggest?
As an American who has lived in Ireland I am torn as to the best course for Ireland, I suppose on the one hand the “No” vote has signaled to the EU that it is a loose affiliation of States that has real limits on its ability to encroach on the sovereignty of a member. As well, the “No” vote signaled that the Treaty, even with the concessions to Ireland, was still stained with the lingering stench of Corporate Tax Harmonization… a nasty little phrase that means that France and Germany are tired of watching Free Market Capitalism work for such a small “insignificant” country (or the basic idea/rule/heuristic that lower taxes stimulate economic growth, and an educated labor pool keeps costs low by providing levels of efficiency and productivity).
On the other hand the “Yes” vote steers the EU towards a more realistic and streamlined decision making process. Basically, the “Yes” is what is best for the EU and the “No” is what is best for
Yes the rest of
Munchau in an attempt to understand the Irish Miracle has suggested that it is a matter of Corporatism, a Socialist pseudo-egalitarian concept that might be instructive in a classroom setting but looses its meaning when placed into a real world situation. The myriad of interests supposedly represented in a modern so-called Corporatist system can not possibly be satisfied in a complicated real world economy. But, to his credit Mr. Munchau does note that the one interest left out of this “system” is that of the EU. In the American South we would say that
Finally, in what can only be termed “grasping” Wolfgang Munchau also suggests that
The EU in its rush to be fair to all has seen the consequences of that fool’s errand. Utopian concepts will eventually be shown for what they are, and I believe what the road to Hell is paved with.
Wow, you really missed a big one here. You are all over Bush for asking the congress to open up the oil fields in the gulf and in ANWR when that is the very thing he should have insisted upon post 9/11 and then once again post Katrina. Now he is finally doing it (dubious timing, sure) and you think it is to get another "hit" for our oil addiction. To finish your analogy, what happens when a heroin addict quits cold-turkey? Can the US survive the convultions and shakes? De-tox ain't pretty.
I am sure you agree that there is nothing we can do to bring alternative energy to the masses until the infrastructure is in place? What do we do in the mean time? Suffer needlessly? Using current oil based infrastructure is the only means to effectively stave off short term (but very real) economic hardship.
Sure, not drilling would hasten alt energy infrastructer... but at what price? Inflation? Energy Security?
Respectfully, you missed the point on this one. I support your "Green" efforts not just for the nobility of it but the utility as well. But, you can not get from "A" to "C" without going to "B". Refusing to drill ANWR and the Gulf is trying to skip "B" and go to "C".
Keep up the good work.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
'Are you straight?"
'As straight as a rush.'
'Go on, then.'
'In truth, in trust, in unity and liberty.'
'What have you got in your hand?'
'A green bough.'
'Where did it first grow?'
'Where did it first bud?'
'Where are you going to plant it?'
'In the crown of Great Britain.'
- A greeting of the United Irishmen Circa 1791
I am so glad I found my way on whatever list this is. Perhaps some
common sense and a bit of accuracy will help some of us.
First, the idea of Irish neutrality is what is "spurious". Neutrality
or what some like to consider neutrality happens only at the pleasure
of those that are NOT neutral. The same for pacifists. Both concepts
are utopian concepts that can never actually be achieved. Both
concepts survive only at the pleasure of those willing to stand for
something and defend something larger than an unattainable concept
like neutrality. Ireland is full of people willing to stand for these
"larger" concepts and may God bless their efforts.
Ireland the country that welcomed me and that I fell in love with is
not neutral, at least not in deed -though it may strive to be so in
Ireland is connected to the US and the non neutral West via economics,
among other things. It is the fact that these non "neutral" countries
stand for something concrete and are willing to defend and protect it
that provides the market relationships necessary for Western progress
of which Ireland is a major part.
Chief among these ideas in need of defense is that of energy security.
I am not defending US consumption practices, far from it. I am
merely pointing out how energy and OIL are the life blood of Western
(Irish) economies. To deny this is folly and perhaps the root of our
major differences. You do not touch one thing or travel to one place
or have one interaction that is not facilitated in some way by oil.
This FACT is immutable. Is this situation a "best-practice"? I think
not. Is it optimal? I think not. Is it correctable? I think so
-with conservation, stewardship and innovation. (Noticeably absent
from this list is fear-mongering, like Al Gore's "End of Days"
This "correction" is not forthcoming in a reasonable amount of time.
So, until the arrival of the distant future we must be pragmatic and
even utilitarian in our energy security policy. WE being the West or
developed world that Ireland is a part of. This pragmatic approach
includes having an influential role in the areas that provide the
energy the West (Ireland) needs. (Not to mention emerging economies
like China, India and Eastern Europe.) This influential role is the
crux of my admonition.
What bothers me most with the current Bush administration is the silly
and cowardly way they continue the failed policy of denying that the
war in Iraq was about energy security, ie... "a war for oil." Because
the cause of "energy security" in and of itself is as necessary a
cause as there has ever been. That cause should be explained clearly
not avoided as is the policy of the current administration. That
cause, "energy security," is axiomatic, a maxim, a heuristic. It is a
Sadly in order for this moral imperative to be seen clearly many
people must step outside their own bias and out of the narrative they
have placed themselves in. A narrative for Ireland that promotes the
concept of neutrality when in fact Ireland is in the thick-of-it by
action and association –far from neutral. A narrative for many of us
that is an investment in both self-loathing and West-loathing.
Investment in this narrative sadly has some suffering from
true-believers syndrome. Or being so invested in your own bias that
even when faced with facts that counter your position you will
construct walls (read: lies) in your narrative that counter the
cognitive dissonance that occurs when confronted with the truth
-thereby, victimizing you. What is more, when you take it upon
yourself to induct others into your false narrative you victimize
Most wretchedly, once you have induced enough people the process
becomes easier. Your responsibility for the false narrative is
diffused over all that you have convinced of your bias. This
"group-think" will now transform the narrative into doctrine and
promote "mind-guards" to police dissent and deflect any attacks… even
those of reason!
Finally, I find the flaunting of death tolls particularly disturbing
because invariably it is done as an appeal to emotion rather than
reason. It is a distraction if the tolls are void of context as they
usually are. It is sad that many of us pick and choose the value we
place on human life so easily. If we were true humanitarians we would
look not at the cost of human life in terms of our comfort and
emotional well-being but rather we would look at it in a utilitarian
way. A way that sought to preserve the largest number of lives over
the longest foreseeable future.
When we extol the context-less body count we ignore history's lessons.
Lessons that have taught us again and again that freedom, liberty and
happiness are functions of hard work over great amounts of time. Hard
work that translates into men and women standing up for freedom and up
to tyranny. If your narrative suggests that energy security is best
provided in the hands of Saddam Hussein or Mahmood Ahmahdinejad rather
than people of liberty participating in a true Lockeian sovereignty
then you my friend are indeed suffering from a narrative rank with
group-think and self-loathing.
It is important to read this with an open mind but it is even more
important to not assume what is not written here. There is nothing
suggested here-in that says the Iraq war was the proper or best way to
provide energy security. There is nothing here that says the war was
and is being prosecuted efficiently. There is nothing here that says
Ireland should take up arms and join the US in Iraq or Afghanistan.
There is nothing here that says Ireland should take any aggressive
position with its own military. There is nothing here that suggests
Ireland's voice not be heard no matter what it is saying or how
difficult it is for the US to hear. What is written here is an
admonition to Ireland that it is neither neutral nor an outsider
looking in on the US and the broader West. It is a fully vested
player with all the rights, privileges and RESPONSIBILITIES that go
along with the progress and prosperity it enjoys.
So, you don't have to have US military planes, transporting the best
and brightest America has to offer to and from combat, on Irish soil
to be a participant in the battle for energy security. You need only
fill up your car with petrol or take the bus to the City Center or
welcome tourists off of jet planes or purchase a pint from the pub or
any item from any establishment in the whole of the Republic of
Ireland. Like it or not your participation in energy security is tied
not to the military planes in Shannon but the economy and progress you
and the rest of the developed world enjoy daily. To deny this is
either ignorance or hypocrisy of the worst and most dangerous kind.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Recently it took a Canadian University’s study of terrorism deaths to wake up a few of us that continue to “drink the kool-aid” of the Liberal Left and from the Bush Administration. This study suggests what was previously obvious in other studies, that you don’t count civilian war deaths as terrorism deaths. Historically this has always been the case. Why the change now? Who does it benefit?
Canada’s Simon Fraser University in an independent study came to the conclusion that death from terrorism is on the decline, and has been since 2001! They attribute this to the Global War on Terrorism and the lack of support from Muslims to terrorist groups because of terrorist tactics (this is not to say that many Muslims don’t support the causes of terrorist organizations). The data used in these studies does not include Iraq civilian war casualties like US government backed studies do. In many of the US backed studies Iraq can account for more than 50% of the total deaths. This makes no sense. Iraq is a war zone, and while the tactics and organizations suggest terrorism, by definition terrorism can’t really happen in a war zone. Now this flies in the face of the Bush Administration’s characterization of the conflict in Iraq. The Administration likes to call insurgents terrorists. But they are not. They are insurgents using terrorist tactics and belonging to terrorist organizations. When these insurgents step foot on a battlefield in a war zone they are no longer terrorists.
This seems like some kind of procedural or scholarly caveat and rather if it walks and quacks like a duck it should be a duck, but this small caveat is massively important in understanding the conflict in Iraq and putting it in proper context. Fighting insurgency the way you fight terrorists is part of the problem. It has taken years and many unnecessary deaths for us to begin to figure this out. US backed studies from the National Counterterrorism Center, the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terror and the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism all suggest that the civilian deaths in Iraq are terrorist related. Why? I can only think that it is to continue to sell the war. It is to continue to scare you into support (you should support the war, but not because of terrorism deaths). The Bush Administration talks down to us and supposes we can not handle the truth, that Energy Security is paramount to the survival of the West and Developing Nations, instead we continue to get these numbers that one has to read-between-the-lines for the truth.
The ever dangerous and under accounted for “un-intended-consequence” is that the Administration has given the Liberal Left ammunition to attack the efforts in Iraq on dubious grounds. Now Liberal Presidential candidates can suggest that we are less safe since the invasion of Iraq. According to a broad reading from the government backed agencies reporting on terrorism statistics we appear to be less safe. But getting into the metrics we actually see that unless you live in Baghdad or Falujah American’s are actually more safe not less.
So who does this benefit, the Republicans, the Administration or the Liberal Left? The answer is all three. Republicans and the Administration get to over-state the security situation of the United States and the Liberal Left gets to suggest that we are “less safe” because of the Bush Administration’s Iraq efforts and the Global War on Terror. It is a win-win for politcians and governments that want more power and a lose-lose for citizens that want accurate information and a real understanding of national security. So to be clear, the efforts in Iraq and the Global War on Terror have not made us less safe but have made us more safe. Despite politicians and statisticians best efforts!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
No, the senior Senator from Arizona is not a “TRUE” Conservative. But he has an opportunity to be the most Conservative President since Reagan. Possibly even more so if he only keeps three campaign promises. Senator McCain has promised to Veto any bill that has “Pork-Barrel” spending that has not been debated openly on the floors of Congress. Keeping this promise will force into the open all the Billions of Dollars wasted for pet projects that have no real benefit to this Nation.
McCain has also promised not to raise taxes. He hasn’t asked us to “read my lips” yet so at this point I will take him at his word. By keeping this promise he will insure that our economy will continue in the right direction of creating jobs, investing in research, and exploring new markets, i.e.…what we do best!
Finally, the Senator has consistently shown in word and, more importantly, deed that he understands the stakes of letting America’s Liberal left define the War on Terrorism. Or as I call it…The War for Energy Security. McCain knows that if we leave the Middle East all the worst elements will filter in and quickly take over. Just like in Afghanistan. When the Soviets left Afghanistan in the 80’s they left a power vacuum. The US did not foresee the rising danger of the Taliban as it filled the vacuum and instituted a Tyrannical version of Sharia Law. But John McCain, many Conservatives, Republicans and Joe Lieberman see the danger now.
Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine all are on the verge of becoming either democratic allies or safe-havens and training camps for terrorist who have stated aims of destroying our country. That is not over stating. That is not over securitizing the issue. That statement is not hyperbole or sensational. The stated aim of Al-Qaeda is the destruction of the US and the Western world and the institution of a Caliphate where Islam is the world’s religion. John McCain knows this and knows that this kind of enemy ONLY responds to strength. He also knows that carrots work for those that are not yet sending bullets and bombs towards our soldiers and our homeland. He knows that diplomacy has its place and that Smart Power over Hard Power will bring the quickest end to the War for Energy Security.
So, if the Senator can keep these three promises I am willing to look the other way if he wants to have Ted Kennedy over for drinks or John Murtha over to swap war stories or Nancy Pelosi over to discuss immigration. But if he so much as flinches in the face of the Liberal left on these three issues I will work to make sure his Presidency is limited to only four years even if I have to vote for democrat!
Monday, April 28, 2008
But, I think Miley Cyrus is more important than the Reverend Doctor.
This week my niece’s and cousin’s favorite performer appeared in Vanity Fair. The photos showed her bare back, holding a blanket in front of her chest. The 15 year old pop star and Disney meal ticket was billed on DrudgeReport as being “semi-nude” and on Entertainment Tonight and ABC as “semi-topless”. When in fact there was LESS skin showing than shows with most modest swimsuits.
Well, is it then implied-nudity? Because she is obviously “nude” under the blanket she holds. Uh? I guess so, but then I guess I am also implying nudity by wearing jeans and a T-shirt, because as horrible an image as it conjures… I am nude under my clothes, as I assume most of you are as well.
So, hyperbolic spin aside does this photo shoot go too far? If there had never been a Brittany Spears or a Madonna, no. But there has been, and therefore it did. Hannah Montana is barreling down the slutty path pioneered by Brittany and Madonna. It is not too late for her. She can pull back the reins and remain one of Hollywood’s good-girls. To do this she needs to require her entourage to surrender their camera phones back-stage so no more tabloid fodder escapes into the irretrievable ether (the internet), fire her stylist that suggested a plunging neckline to the Nickelodeon KIDS Choice Awards show and finally she needs a conservative uncle, cousin or friend to kick Achy-Breaky’s behind for allowing his daughter to continue this kind of behavior!!!
Please do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting we meet in the town square and burn our Miley/Hannah CDs, Movies, Games, Dolls, Clothes, Lunch Boxes or other swag. I am merely suggesting that we keep an eye on the young starlet and hope for the best. Hope that she starts acting like a Rated-G Disney star instead of clamoring to be a R-Rated Lolita.
Where I disagree with Dr. Wright is in his assertion that the African-American child, learning in our education system, is significantly disadvantaged in achieving equal success to other kids of different races and different learning styles. In other words, black kids are victims of the US-European system of learning. Dr. Wright said so many words of inspiration in his speech, yet lets the underling principle of victim-hood spoil the whole thing.
Case and point, he starts his address by suggesting that 50 years ago it was only black kids that were corrected when they spoke poor English. I was not allowed to say “ain’t” or use double-negatives and taught the value of communicating in correct English. Not because I was white, but because that value was taught to my parents 50 years ago by their parents. Race had nothing to do with it. Because I did not do enough to heed the adults who tried to teach me proper English and grammar I have suffered academically and now all of you reading this must suffer through usage errors and so much more! Suggesting that black kids are at a significant disadvantage to white, brown or tan kids and that only black kids are hassled to learn certain things whether now or in an incorrect historical anecdote is only perpetuating the myth that to be smart is to act white.
I saw this first hand at Central High School. One of my black peers fought past the teasing of other black kids suggesting he was “white” because he was smart. This gentleman went to college and by all evidence leads a great life. Another of my black peers was in college prep courses with me in the eighth grade but decided for another path in high school. He participated in teasing the before mentioned peer for being smart. Now the second peer who dropped out of the college accelerated courses and teased another black kid for being smart has a prison record. While there is no direct causal relationship between a lack of education and going to prison, there is no doubt that there is a correlation.
Dr. Wright’s words empower insane ideas like being smart is being white and his suggestion that the Federal Government introduced drugs into inner cities empowers the epidemic problem of “stop snitching.”
Dr. Wright has suggested in a recent interview that the problem was that he is a VICTIM of sound bites and that if you would listen to his views in context we would understand his side. Well, Dr. Wright I have listened to an entire speech and found that you are at the very least defending your bias against whites and at the worst actually are a bigot. Education and degrees do not defend someone against the dangers of bias, only the ability to see ones own weaknesses and then to search for truth and understanding do that. Dr. Wright has shown me he is neither aware of his weaknesses nor interested in truth and understanding.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
When a Democrat politician says:
I support the troops in Iraq!
I vote against spending for them to accomplish their mission, I question their methods, I equivocate between freedom fighter and terrorist, I down play their success and point to their failures to gain political power for myself and my party even though doing so gives indirect aid and direct comfort to the enemy, thereby endangering the troops and prolonging the conflict. I also where an American Flag lapel pin.
When a Republican politician says:
I support the troops in Iraq!
I vote for all defense spending measures no matter how sound, I hide pork barrel spending that puts defense industry jobs in my district without regard to actual military effectiveness, I over securitize the issues and underplay any soft power efforts as “liberal” or “French”.
When a politician says:
So we can SAVE the children. -Or- It’s for the Children!
If you disagree with us you must hate the children. Give me your money and don’t ask questions. Asking questions means you hate the children. Why do hate the children?
When a politician says:
It’s for national security.
If you question the means or the ends you are unpatriotic and hate America. Anything that makes us safer is allowed, even if it means taking more of your liberty and property.
When a politician says:
I believe in Free Trade and support Small Business.
I believe in trade that is “Free” if by “Free” you mean crippling government oversight and regulation under the guise of the “environmentalism” or “fairness.” Oversight and regulation that makes entering a market almost impossible except for the largest of companies that can afford a cadre of lawyers and accountants.
I support Small Business as long as you are not a White Male. If you are a minority I will arrest the wealth of hard working Americans of all races and sexes and give it to you based on your sex and the color of your skin.
When a politician says:
I am a man/woman of the people!
I have never had a real job and have been a politician most of my professional career but I will role up my sleeves for a photo-shoot to make myself look common or blue-collar.
When a politician says:
I am the candidate of Change
I am a great speaker and the intonation of my voice and the meter of my speech will make you like me so I don’t need to discuss actual policies and positions.
I implore you to blame all that is wrong with the current governmental situation on the incumbent and elect me to make the exact same decisions when I get into office (as my past actions/voting record will show if you bother to look).
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I was told recently by a political operative in SC that Republicans can’t run as conservative as they would like because the depth of understanding required to negotiate the issues in the time frame allotted for election is lost on most voters. Let us see if he is right.
This election cycle has collided with my becoming keenly self-aware of my political virtues. In doing so, I have been motivated to explore what a “Conservative” really is. Let me start by telling what a True Conservative is not.
Rush, the de facto flag bearer of our current movement, is not truly and completely conservative because he lets personal convictions, which do not track with tenets of conservatism, inform his opinions on Abortion and Gay Marriage.
-For a Constitutional Amendment on Abortion
The principles that I am about to lay out will show that Conservatives will find a dissonance between the ideas of personal rights, less government interference, Federalism and wanting a federal ban on abortion.
-For a Constitutional Amendment on Gay Marriage
For similar reasons as stated above being the movement of less government and more personal responsibility does not work in concert with the idea of a federal test for what marriage is or is not.
-Protectionist in Trade or Security
Libertarians parading as Conservatives like Ron Paul and SC candidate for Senate Mark McBride try to pass off populist messages about taking care of our own first at home before we worry about the world as some kind of conservative virtue. I assure you, disengagement abroad is the furthest thing from a conservative principle that there is.
So, what is True Conservatism?
First let us look at the domestic component of Conservatism. True Conservatism is actually “Classical Liberalism.” Classical Liberalism is a doctrine emphasizing individual responsibility and limited government. More specifically free markets, personal property rights, natural rights and the protection of civil liberties make up the “bread and butter” of Classic Liberal virtue. It is the finger in the eye of Tyranny. It was not until Franklin Roosevelt that the term “Liberal” became associated with Big Government, the Nanny State and the Welfare State.
Chief among these pieces of Conservatism/Classical Liberalism is that of individual freedom or the more descriptive ‘individual sovereignty.” The idea that a person possesses the sole moral or natural right to control his or her own body and life and by extension his personal property is to my eyes the alpha-and-omega of every other conservative principle. If we must have a government its only purpose is to promote and protect our individual sovereignty (rights).
If we did not have a government to promote and protect our individual freedoms and rights we would be left each of us individually to do so. We would exist in a “State of Nature” or an every-man-for-himself free-for-all. Survival of the fittest. To avoid this chaos we employ governments to protect and promote our individual rights and we give up some rights and power to the government so it can skillfully and fairly adjudicate any discrepancies between the individuals and protect us via the rule of law.
Most political movements and theories more-or-less accept these principles as I have laid them out. Where Conservatism shines alone is True Conservatives understand that these governments that we put in place to protect us have a natural and predictable inertia to grow and restrict and take more freedom and more liberty and more property. Both Machiavelli and Jean Jacques Rousseau have skillfully chronicled this escalation in power (though from very different approaches). The Conservative knows of this growth, fights this growth and prepares for this growth. This inertial growth is facilitated often out of ignorance but also by crafty design by the modern Liberal left in the form of Socialized education, health care, welfare and a litany of other entitlement programs. Programs and policies designed to protect us from ourselves to such a degree as to rob us of our individual sovereignty. When you facilitate, coax, or advocate for this unnecessary movement against “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property” you are something other than a Conservative.
What is the best system for a government to protect our rights? A True Conservative can look honestly at history and its chronicles for the answer. Collectively Locke, Rousseau, Hobbes, Jefferson and Paine have promised that the best form of government is a representative democracy most likely in the form of a Republic with a system of checks on the balance of power so that the before mentioned inertia does not lead to either a Tyrannical Despot or the Tyranny of the Majority.
Our Classically Liberal Founding Fathers framed a system that checked the inertial power of government by not only playing the Judicial, Legislative and Executive against each other but also by setting as sovereign the States of the Union. Our founders knew that as governments grow the harder it is for them to skillfully and fairly govern. Therefore the smaller more nimble States and the Individual were to retain all powers not expressly listed in the Constitution. How many checks and balances do we therefore have?
Executive v. Judicial v. Legislative
Federal v. State v. Individual
It is the Federal versus State versus Individual system of checks and balances that has borne the most neglect and suffered the worst assaults. A Federal system was envisioned by our Founders. Unfortunately, because of necessity we have moved away from this Federalist system that was supposed to keep the government from becoming the massive Leviathan that it is today.
“The Chicago Tribune showed that the federal government is now the ‘biggest land owner, property manager, renter, mover and hauler, medical clinician, lender, insurer, mortgage broker, employer, debtor, taxer and spender in all history.’”
Fancy a guess as to the decade the Tribune is referring? This quote is from the book “The Conscience of a Conservative” by Barry M. Goldwater initially published in 1960. In his book Goldwater laments that the federal government was about to pass the $100 Billion mark in terms of the federal budget. It is now $3,100,000,000,000.00. That is $3.10 Trillion dollars. Is George Bush, under whom the US budget grew by 1 Trillion, a conservative? NO! Is this what the Founders had in mind??? NO!
If the necessities of ending Slavery and the New Deal had never happened we might not be in this situation. But it did. And we are. If we are to ever “break the rules” ending Slavery was as good a reason to do so as there ever was and it points out the fact that there is no perfect system of government. But in order to form a “more perfect Union” our Founding Fathers created the most perfect system that has ever been envisioned. A system that gave States and Individuals far more rights, duties and responsibilities than we are currently legally able to exercise.
Next, International Relations. As stated before, the beginning and end of everything a government does should be the protection and promotion of my and your individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of property. The best way to protect and promote is to be keenly engaged abroad so that our interests at home are considered by allies and enemies alike. The opposite of this is to behave as protectionists or isolationists. To suggest protectionism in good conscience one must assume economic self-sufficiency and the ability to defend effectively from our own shores and borders. This assumption is not backed up by any historical fact or even by common sense. Security threats are best handled at the source OUTSIDE our own borders and economic realities dictate trade with other nations. Not to mention the pursuit of happiness and property is no where limited to only within the borders of ones own nation.
Conservatives see engagement abroad for the benefit of the individual as axiomatic. Security and economic alliances are a must. The projection of power is a must. Conservatives also understand that because there is no world governing body that can skillfully and fairly adjudicate discrepancies in economics or security and enforce judgments it is incumbent on every nation to behave as though in a State of Nature. Every nation for itself. International Relations exist in a system of anarchy up to and until a nation or group of nations provide leadership and either coerce or attract other nations into agreement. This leadership is based on strength and benevolence. Or Hard Power and Soft Power. Being a part of an alliance should only be undertaken if an individual’s right to life, liberty and property is forwarded. It is this NeoRealist notion that has taken the United States from a fledgling nation vulnerable to attacks of conquest to the world Hyper-Power that it is, with no equal in history. Not the Socialist vision of the American Liberal Left.
Before, you make the mistake of seeing this as merely cold and self-serving please consider this. When are you in your best position to be helpful to others? When you are at your strongest or weakest? Can you help your neighbor best when you are fighting tooth and nail to survive on your own or when you have achieved a level of comfort and affluence, allowing you to attend to other matters? It is precisely US success and leadership that allows us to be the benevolent nation that we are, out-giving other nations by orders of magnitude, providing the order and predictability necessary for International Relations to occur. Conservatives understand this concept rooted in individualism and promote it as policy.
Other nations, Socialist and Communist nations, are based not on individualism but rather on collectivism. They believe that the collective consciousness is the truest direction. That individual efforts should be combined with other individuals in an egalitarian manner. This sounds good, Utopian even, such is the attraction of Marxism and lesser forms of Socialism. Brilliant men and women have been wooed by the Siren’s Song of Socialism for years. In reality this goes against all psychological norms and is thus doomed to failure. Every person’s first duty is to him or herself, not to the community. To suggest otherwise is to go against human nature. Conservatives recognize this truth and promote it as policy.
Rather than telling the farmer to grow only corn or wheat, we tell the farmer nothing and he is free to grow what makes money. Rather than tell the farmer that he will only be paid for corn by the State apparatus and only at the State price, we let the market (less and less so every year) dictate prices. Rather than provide socialized health care with price floors, ceilings and fixes we try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to let the market dictate price and by extension promote innovation and development of resources that happens naturally in a competitive market. Individual competition is good. This competition gives us a market that rewards risk and research & development. Research and Development that has given us many of health care’s greatest advances, advances that would likely not be possible under a system with no free market -a system reliant on ONE source for R&D, the Socialist government.
In closing, True Conservatives believes that governments will always try to grow, even beyond what is healthy and useful. Conservatives believe that it is our duty to constantly keep this natural inertia in check by promoting the separation of powers and the promotion of individualism. Conservatives believe that the most basic idea of Individual Sovereignty is the cornerstone of all Conservative principles and that the best way to protect this sovereignty is with as small a government as is generally useful. Conservatives believe that there is no moral issue that takes precedence over limited government and individual sovereignty. Conservatives believe in engagement abroad and that true peace only comes from strength and when provoked, clear victory. True Conservatism rewards a moral and virtuous life but provides NO religious tests and promotes no moral belief system above another save the innate morality of Conservatism itself.
What is Conservatism? It is the political movement of individual rights, the basis of our founding, the key to our past success, and a moral imperative for our future.