Gaza: Israel vs. Hamas & Iran

I am not sure what Israel hope to accomplish against Hamas in Gaza with the current conflict. Israel surely do not want a repeat of the last Lebannon war. Then, it might have tactically weakened Hezbolla but the resultant military stalemate became a political loss of Israel. I am not just sure that Israel can take out Hamas even if Israel take over Gaza. Certainly this does not mean it is worth the effort to inflict massive damage on Hamas.

What is more potentially interesting is that Israel may be, through the attack against Hamas, may actually provoking Iran, Hamas' major backer, into some sort of response. A military response by Iran would certainly justify an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear program.

All this is happening just before Bush leave office (a more supportive PotUS for Israel) and potentially laying the ground works for an Obama administration support.


Merry Christmas

Picture from my latest artistic blogrolled site Stuck in Customs



I wonder what it would be like if our newscasters delivered the news like the sportcasters (say from ESPN Sportcenter). The sportcasters are able to be critical of mistakes (as they and newscasters should be) and yet remain cheerful when the right things are done (as they should be but newscasters are not). I understands that world events, economic reports, and crime news are significantly more serious than a sport contest. Yet the dour harping of negatives by newscaster need to be balanced by positive reports.

To some extent, some bloggers ("blogcasters?") already do this. Bill Roggio and his crew certainly have done this very well. Too bad we don't get more of this from the MSM when it comes to news. We only get if from the MSM when it comes to sport news.

Automaker Bailout

W is using the TARP moneys to bailout the auto industry. It would have been best if no bailout occurs at all. Second best would have been restructuring ala bankruptcy as a precondition for a bailout. But using the TARP at least means no additional new money is being spent by the feds during the whole economic crisis.


Speed Kills?

Interesting info regarding driving speed and auto accident fatality from Autoblog
The NHTSA undertook a two-and-a-half year study that examined 5,471 injury accidents nationwide in order to figure out how accidents were being caused. Government researchers conducted their own evidence gathering at crash sites in order to establish a first-hand account of causation. What did they find? Among other things, that more drivers crashed as a result of crossing the center line (11%) than as a result of speeding (5%). Speeding, in this case, defined by "too fast for conditions," not necessarily above the posted limit.

In accidents where driver error was the cause, speeding also came in last as a causative: the 8% who drove too fast were tied with the 8% who fell asleep or had heart attacks while driving. What's more, the NHTSA's causation percentages are strikingly similar to the percentages found in an independent study conducted by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. In its study of crashes in 2007, the VDoT found that 2.9% were due to speeding -- dead last -- while 3.8%t were due to drivers falling asleep or falling ill at the tiller.


Can Google be trusted? No

Google cranks up the Consensus Engine
Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance.

Not so very long ago, Google disclaimed responsibility for its search results by explaining that these were chosen by a computer algorithm. The disclaimer lives on at Google News, where we are assured that:

The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program.

I know that its signifies. This means that the results of searches will be biased rather than objective. For the users, some searches, likely political or controversial topics, will be less reliable. For the searched, they too will be affected and it will only be a matter of time when this will be influence by money to google.

While not what one would typically think of as a media company, Googles delivery of information to users for both news and entertainment does qualify it as a media company of sort. It has thus acquired the same status as most other Mainstream Media outlets, that of bias driven policies.

What we all need and search for is objective truth. Once that was thought to be probable with google searches. Now that is no longer the case. The solution for now is to go beyond the first 2-3 pages of google search results.

HT: Public Secrets


Job Economics

Two interesting reads today regarding jobs and economics. Firstly, a review from the MIT Press on a book entitled "Minimum Wages" by David Neumark and William L. Wascher.
In this book, David Neumark and William Wascher offer a comprehensive overview of the evidence on the economic effects of minimum wages. Synthesizing nearly two decades of their own research and reviewing other research that touches on the same questions, Neumark and Wascher discuss the effects of minimum wages on employment and hours, the acquisition of skills, the wage and income distributions, longer-term labor market outcomes, prices, and the aggregate economy. Arguing that the usual focus on employment effects is too limiting, they present a broader, empirically based inquiry that will better inform policymakers about the costs and benefits of the minimum wage.

Based on their comprehensive reading of the evidence, Neumark and Wascher argue that minimum wages do not achieve the main goals set forth by their supporters. They reduce employment opportunities for less-skilled workers and tend to reduce their earnings; they are not an effective means of reducing poverty; and they appear to have adverse longer-term effects on wages and earnings, in part by reducing the acquisition of human capital. The authors argue that policymakers should instead look for other tools to raise the wages of low-skill workers and to provide poor families with an acceptable standard of living.

Now complement the above with the following article by C Edmund Wright at American Thinker
When the jobs report for November came out last week, many so-called "experts" were shocked at the massive loss of an estimated 533 thousand jobs. Even a Time /CNN organization called "The Curious Capitalists" were at a loss to explain it.

Let me attempt to help out these "curious capitalists" (though I am still skeptical that anyone working for CNN or Time is either curious or a capitalist). I caused part of this job loss and I know precisely why; the election. The results portend big trouble for small business.

The job destruction process has started. We are about 20% of the way through our ramp down process and on schedule to complete the shut down by spring 2009. Watch the financial news and you will see continued job cuts each month. We are not alone in our strategy. Far from it. Atlas has shrugged all over the country.

Like many business owners, we are no longer willing to take all of the financial and legal risks and put up with all of the aggravation of owning and running a business. Not with the prospects of even higher taxes, more regulation, more litigation and more emboldened bureaucrats on the horizon. Like others we know, we are getting out while the getting is, well, tolerable. Many who aren't getting out are scaling back.

Those in government, especially the recently elected administration, just do not seem to understand how economic work. While the government intention may be good, their results is far short of good.


Illinois/Chicago Politics

When I was writing my previous post on Anh Cao's election over a corrupt African-American Democrat in a district designed for African-American Democrats, I was heartened that voters were able to reject race-party affiliation to vote out corruption. I wondered whether there might be a culture shift away from the corrupt Bayou politics as usual since hurricane Katrina. I also wondered what could change the corruption of Chicago politics short of a natural disaster that might cause harm to the good folks of Chicago. Well since Chicago is known as the Windy city not from the cold winds from Lake Superior but from the hot air of Chicago politics, today Chicago suffered a wind storm with the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. His attempt to sell Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder is astounding in its outright bald face plain and simple corruption! I hope voters there will take a good look at what they have and vote against corruption. If guilty, it is exceedingly unlikely that Blagojevich only became so corrupt once he became governor, instead with near certainty he enter the office with a flawed and corrupt character, the same character that allowed him to rise in political circles to become governor.

And as Obama really is a product of this same system, it really causes me to wonder what is the link between Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Now more than ever I have questions about Obama's character and his ability to judge character of others he associated with.

BTW, I know the capital of Illinois is not Chicago but Springfield but it really is all about Chicago politics even if it plays in Springfield.


Automakers Bail-out

The big three US are looking to the US government for cheap loans to continue business as is. This would be a mistake for the automakers, the US government, and ultimately the US taxpayers. The first question to be asked in all this is why are the US automakers having a problem being competitive. In manufacturing there are three factors to being successful: cost efficiency of production, quality of product, and appeal of product. Currently the cost efficiency of production for the US automakers is prohibitive. While it cost the foreign automakers about the same to manufacture automobiles in the US, the big three automakers are burdened by legacy payments to retired United Auto Workers union members. This substantially increased the cost of operation for the big three. While it is not necessarily wrong to guarantee retired workers a pension, it was a poor decision to use operational budget for this rather than set up a separate fund/portfolio to do so. Considering that the quality of US autos have improved significantly in the past decade, as well as the appeal of SUVs and pickup trucks remain high for US automakers (their major products rather than passenger cars) I believe this aspect of cost inefficiency to be the primary factor for the big three financial woes at this point. For the US government to bail out the US automakers as is would only perpetuate a broken system and reset the date of failure. (Didn't we bail out Chrysler in the 80s?)

I see two potential solutions.
Firstly, let the automaker fail. The benefit would be that in the restructuring and reconstruction of the automaker, a better and more efficient company would arise that would then be competitive. This is the most free capitalist approach to the problem and sets the best precedence for other large companies facing similar problems. We cannot be bailing large inept companies out over and over again. There can be no true success without a chance of failure. I believe this to be the superior, though harder, solution. Harder to do as well as harder to suffer through. I am skeptical this option will be chosen.
Secondly, the federal government could assume the retirement cost and thus remove the financial burden from the big three automakers, thus allowing them a chance of being cost efficient again. Naturally this sets a poor precedence for future bailouts. However, this allows a political solution for politicians wanting to, or expected to, do something to help. And this option would certainly be more palatable than a hand out to the big three, whether they take on new management of not.


Anh "Joseph" Cao for Congress: Louisianna's 2nd

Congress's first Vietnamese-American Anh Cao defeated 9 term incumbent William J Jefferson (Louisiana's first black Congressman since the end of Reconstruction). From Wikipedia
On 30 July 2005, Jefferson was videotaped by the FBI receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills in a leather briefcase at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Virginia.[9] Jefferson told an investor, Lori Mody, who was wearing a wire, that he would need to give Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar $500,000 "as a motivating factor" to make sure they obtained contracts for iGate and Mody's company in Nigeria.[10]
New Orleans Mardi Gras float satirizing "Dollar" Bill Jefferson

A few days later, on 3 August 2005, FBI agents raided Jefferson's home in Northeast Washington and, as noted in an 83-page affidavit filed to support a subsequent raid on his Congressional office, "found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers." Serial numbers found on the currency in the freezer matched serial numbers of funds given by the FBI to their informant.

Late on the night of 20 May 2006, FBI agents executed a search warrant[11] at Jefferson's office in the Rayburn House Office Building. This is "believed to be the first-ever FBI raid on a Congressional office,"[12] raising concerns that it could "set a dangerous precedent that could be used by future administrations to intimidate or harass a supposedly coequal branch of the government."[13]

Despite this, Jefferson was re-elected. This might have been due to the fact that the district "was specifically drawn to give African-Americans an electoral advantage and one in which two of every three voters are registered Democrats." This naturally make Congressman Cao's victory all the more interesting.

I also not the current happenings in Louisiana's election since Katrina. Perhaps the inept response to Katrina by the established political class of Louisiana, long known for its corrupt ways, was the final straw. Since then, Bobby Jindal has been elected as America's first Indian-American governor. Cao's election appears to represent a similar dissatisfaction with corrupt politics as usual in the Bayou.

HT: Powerline


Racism v. Sexism

When confronted with racism, those affected band together to fight back. Sometimes they even win: witness African-Americans & Obama.
When confronted with sexism, women fight among themselves and thus usually end up losing.


WoT: Mumbai 08

The events in Mumbai are winding down. Bill Roggio has an excellent analysis of the tactical aspect of the terrorist attacks.

What is unclear to me is what was the goal of the attack? Possibilities:

1. The attack was to force India to withdraw from Kashmir. I am skeptical of this one for several reasons. Firstly India has suffered several terrorist attacks before over Kashmir without a change to the status of Kashmir, why would the terrorists expect a different outcome this time? Secondly, the tactical play of this attack appears different. While possible, I do not believe it is probable that this is about Kashmir.

2. The attack was to distrupt and weaken India's center of commerce. This certainly will be a result to some degree but what exactly would be the gain for the terrorists? Only if this would benefit one political party over another. I am skeptical that one political party in India would stoop to such low to gain political power. There was also a possibility that the attack was meant to influence the US election 3 weeks earlier but was post phoned for one reason or another. This one seems least plausible.

3. The attack was to sabotage the warming relationship between India and Pakistan. The Kashmirs would have the most to gain if relationship between India and Pakistan remain contentious. The Pakistani intelligence agency remains implicated in training the Mumbai terrorists. I think this is the most plausible.

4. One step further than thought #3 is that rogue elements of the Pakistani intelligence service are trying to push India and Pakistan toward actual war. Win or lose, and especially a likely stalemate, these elements would then take the opportunity to seize Pakistan, supported by Taliban elements in the Northwest territories of Pakistan and disgruntled elements of the Pakistani army. I would think that even rogue Pakistani intelligence elements would think this is too risky.

5. Conspiracy ideation might run along the line that the entire Mumbai attack was a red-herring. That not even the participating terrorists knew what the real plan was. The real plan could have been to grab something or someone else in Mumbai proper, or even elsewhere in India. By grab it could be grab to take or grab to kill. If the true target was that sensitive, I am uncertain that we would know anytime soon. Since this is already conspiracy laced thoughts, there is no need to further delve deeper into what the true target may have been. Intriguing never the less.

6. A Powerline post suggests another possibility in direct opposition to #3 and #4. That is, the Pakistani intelligence agency is acting in full accordance with the Pakistani government to weaken India, perhaps in continued desire to gain territory like Kashmir, or to see the down fall of India in general. Why are they then also seeking rapproachment with India? To obtain cover for their true goal. Could Pakistan approach be like the Palestinians, that is negotiation with Israel continues while bombing to destroy Israel continues?


2010 Election: Census for 2012

The Republican Party needs to regroup and regroup fast. While there has been an argument to make the party more centrists, I think this argument is lost both on value and sentiments. The Republican Party cannot win more votes if it disenfranchises its most active (in terms of word of mouth support as well as get out the vote effort) faction, the Christian conservatives. Every poll thus far have suggested that the Republican voters want to make the party more conservative, more right leaning rather center leaning. Those who can still remain Republican with this shift should do so, those who cannot should consider whether the Democrats or the Libertarians have what it takes to win their vote, or even whether they should sit out of the next election. Meanwhile the Republicans should proceed with preparations for the 2010 state elections because this election will have at least a decade long consequence.

Why are the 2010 state elections so important? Because the next census will be conducted in 2010, and electoral changes will be reflected in the 2012 election. That means who ever is in charge of the states when the districts are redrawn will be doing so.

From Wikipedia the following states are expected to change:
Probable Gainers:
Texas (4)
Arizona (2)
Florida (2)
Georgia (1)
Nevada (1)
North Carolina (1)
Oregon (1)
South Carolina (1)
Utah (1)

Probable Losers:
New York (2)
Ohio (2)
California (1)
Illinois (1)
Louisiana (1)
Massachusetts (1)
Michigan (1)
Minnesota (1)
Missouri (1)
New Jersey (1)
Pennsylvania (1)
Iowa (1)

Obviously more effort should be placed in states expected to gain, but even effort will be required in states expected to lose as their congressional district map will also be redrawn.

Considerations regarding priority should also weigh which states will Republicans have the best chances. For this I referenced Jay Cost's recent post on 2008 polarization of the PotUS election. I recognize that many states may have voted for Obama that remain in Republican control but Jay's evaluation looks at how far the state population voted away from the national mean, thus providing a window at the trend for these states. From his analysis, I then categorized states as either red or blue, the remainder are listed as neutral leaners.

Thus cross referring the expected 2010 census winners and Jay's analysis i get the following:
1. Neutral states gaining representations: Texas (4), Arizona (2), Florida(2), Georgia (1), Nevada (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), and South Carolina (1)
2. Red state gaining representations: Utah (1)
3. Neutral states losing representations: New York (2), Ohio (2), California (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), Pennsylvania (1), and Iowa (1)
4. Red state losing representations: Louisiana (1),
5. Blue states gaining representations: none
6. Blue states losing representations: none

I ranked neutral states gaining representations first because these states will also be in play for the Democrats, thus these states are where the Republicans must make the greatest efforts. Second is the state (Utah) where Republican will likely win if sufficient attention and effort is made. Third are neutral states where the Republicans cannot lose if they do not want to be redistricted out of representation. Fourth is the state (Louisiana) where Republicans will likely maintain representations as long as they can maintain control. Note that no solid Blue states are expected to gain or lose representation.

For Democrats, they too will focus on the neutral states expected to gain or lose. But because none of the Blue states are expected to gain or lose, they will be able to place resources to win in Red states changing.

Neutral states that leaned red expecting to gain representations are Texas (4), Arizona (2), Georgia (1), South Carolina (1), and Utah (1) for a total of 9. Neutral states that leaned blue expecting to gain representation are Florida (2), Nevada (1), North Carolina (1), and Oregon (1) for a total of 5. For the moment if we assume that the new district goes along with the color of the states, this would mean a net gain of 4 for Republicans.

Neutral states that leaned red expecting to lose representations are Louisiana (1), and Missouri (1) for a total 2. Neutral states that leaned blue expecting to lose representations are New York (2), Ohio (2), California (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), and Pennsylvania (1) for a total of 11. Assuming that the party in power based on the state leaning redraws the map to exclude their political opponent, this means a potential net loss of up to 9 congressional seats for the Republicans.

If the Republicans cannot control the redrawing of the congressional district, they could lose an upward of 5 seats before 2012 election season even roll around.


Victory in Iraq

In the days leading up to the Iraq invasion in 2003, I was against the invasion. I was against it because I could not understand what would have been the gain for the US. Like most others, I thought we should first finish our effort in Afghanistan.

But instead of believing the MSM, or even the Bush administration, I sought to figure it out for myself. These were still times when 911 felt fresh. I started out asking why we were attacked. Did US involvement (our purchase of Middle Eastern oil) not bring wealth to an area not seen good times since the fall of the Ottoman Empire? Many ideas were proposed. I quickly rejected the idea that as victim we were responsible or deserved to be attacked. I also rejected the premise that poverty and ignorance led the terrorists to attack us. No, they were mostly middle class or higher, and for the most part college educated. Why then did these men not made a success of themselves in their own town and nations? As I looked deeper, it became clear that despite the veneer of civility, the people of the Middle East, Arabs in particular, were an oppressed bunch. Politically, all the nation states of the Middle East were authoritarian.

At the same time, the few voices opposing the war suggested that the Iraqis could not possibly govern themselves should we liberated them, that we cannot and should not "impose" democracy on Iraqis. I was struck by how elitist and even racists these Western voices were. Were the Germans not similarly disposed as unfit for democracy as evidence by their actions during WW2? Same with Japan? And are these not among the stalwarts of Democracy in the 21st century?

Sometimes an idea is so obvious and commonplace that it is taken for granted, and not even register or appreciated. That idea is that all men crave self-determination once the basic securities of food and shelter are obtained. That like the Germans, the Japanese, and even the Vietnamese, when given the opportunity and freedom for self-determination over their lives, most will gladly do so. A people's political voices cannot be suppressed for long. This came to me like an epiphany.

The Arab voices had been muffled in the Middle East for a long time. It is one thing to speak up in dissent and ask for change away from oppression, taking great personal risk of liberty and life to do so, it is another to do the same and take great risk of liberty and life of your family and friend. When people cannot speak out directly at home, in one's community, one's nation, then people finds alternative outlet. For most Arabs, it became easier to accept the harsh reality of the present and work toward a better afterlife as promised in Islam. For small few, having moved through Islam, the choice was to strike back at their own government. It isn't Islam per se, but politics in the name of Islam. For these Arabs, these would be terrorists, they sought change not for greater liberty, they sought change to empower their own politicalization of Islam. They are Islamofascists.

How would the Islamofascist strike back at their own government, weaken their government and empower themselves while keeping friends and family relatively safe? By only indirectly attacking their own government, and do it away from their own nations. How would these few act against their government indirectly? By attacking what keep their government going and in power. And thus it became obvious to me that when the terrorists attacked us on 911, it was to force us to reconfigure our support for Middle Eastern regimes, perhaps even withdraw from the region entirely.

Given our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, nay, given the whole world's economy reliance on Middle Eastern oil, the US cannot withdraw from the Middle East. Could we then reconfigure our relationship with these authoritarian regimes and push for greater liberty and democracy? We have been for quite some times without much success. Never the less, this could never be the solution because no nation state ever want to be told how to be by a foreign power. But there was an alternative. Iraq was technically in a state of war, with a ceasefire intermittently broken.

Iraq was an opportunity to directly transform a political process of a nation toward democracy. There is hopeful reason to believe that a free and democratic Iraq could transform the entirety of the Middle East, just as a democratic Japan has done for the Far East and Germany had done for Central Europe. It was a huge gambit that would take years to accomplish and decades to take effect. Victory in Iraq and transformation of the Middle East certainly not guaranteed. I saw the Iraq war as an opportunity of great transformational and historical power. A gambit that earned my awe and respect for the strategic thinking involved.

I understood that the hunt for Osama bin Laden would be a dead end. As soon as we kill him, another would rise in his place, declare bin Laden a Martyr, and continue their Islamofascist plans without him. Only through culture and political transformation can we eliminate their raison d'etre and limit their appeal and recruitment power (financially or manpower wise). I also understood immediately that Iraq as the transforming nidus of the Middle East policy could never openly be declared as our reason, motive, or goal in resuming military action against Sadam Hussein's regime. The world will not tolerate the arrogance of the US stepping into the Middle East with the strategic goal of transforming the regional governments. They did not even want the US to remove the homicidal dictator of Iraq!

I thus tolerated the pretext of weapons of mass destruction on Iraq's part to nullify the ceasefire. I also tolerated the apparent meme of war for oil, because it really wasn't for oil but about oil. Such fine but important difference would not be appreciated.

After the Iraq invasion started March of 2003, I understood that the success or failure of the endeavor to transform the Middle East via democratization of Iraq cannot be known until at least five years have passed. A few months over the five-year mark, I believe Iraq should now be seen as a success for Democracy. Today, November 22, 2008 is Victory in Iraq. Does this mean that a Democratic Iraq will transform the region? I hope so, but I doubt we will understand whether this happen or not for at least a decade.


Republican Party: Abandon the Evangelical and Shift to Center?

The point of a political party should not be about winning elections, nor should it be about pandering to the voters. The point of a political party is to enact positive change to our nation, and that means moving the middle away from the middle. The left understood this very well, why do we not? By moving toward the middle and abandoning out core principles we deserve to lose each and every time.

I am not religious. I do not see the evangelical faction of the Republican party pushing God onto the agenda. I see them as pushing a pro-life and pro-family agenda and i have no problem with either of these. Even as a libertarian the government still has to protect its weakest members and maintain the most basic unit of our society and community.

Having said this, I think the party should push these on the State level. Abortion is not and should not be a federal issue. It has no place in our constitution and all powers not explicitly given to the feds in the constitution belongs to the state. We should leave it there.

I would say the same of marriage. Having said that, I also think marriage should be a church issue and make civil unions a legal issue. I personally think civil union legal rights should only be given to families (i.e. couples with kids), whether the couple is heterosexual or homosexual).

The party should continue to push for strong nation defense primarily on the national level. Other aspects of the Republican principles like small government, fiscal responsibility, economic opportunity, and personal responsibility apply equally to State and Federal levels.


Internet Boycott

I have decided to boycott some of the more liberally biased media. I will no longer post any link or follow any link to the NYT, LAT, or CNBC/NBC. I am contemplating CNN, FN, and WaPo as well. Everytime anyone goes to one of their web page, they gain in ad revenues. I cannot support that. I encourage all of you to boycott them as well.

Since they have no idea whether I am watching their TV network, this naturally does not affect that medium.


Emotional Thoughts

I think the intolerance of the left is due to two factors. Probably not limited to the left but currently surprisingly common on the left. Firstly is the idea that what they think reality is is what reality is, rather than matching reality to thought. Some of this is pure hubris of course. (The opposite of course has its flaws as well, as what we see isn't always what it is either), Secondly is the tendency for those on the left to respond emotionally. This certainly is not limited to the left but definitely some people are more emotional than others.

Naturally the adage "moderation in all things" should be considered. A healthy skepticism should always be maintained, that what you think may or may not be true and what you see may be all that is, or not. Only with skepticism can critical analysis be conducted. And the greatest enemy to skepticism is bias.

Regarding emotion, it adds value and quality to life. Like flavor and color. But it should not and cannot not replace what it is tied to, is not in itself value. And thus when one's idea is challenged, the idea has to be allowed to defend itself unarmored by emotions. Because emotion binds and bias the idea from truth.

Surprising though how some can imbue abstract thoughts with emotional values. Perhaps the surprise is really I, being able to compartmentalize and keep the two separate.

Thought for the post: when Descartes say "I think therefore I am" how can he be certain this is not just a close loop process of his programmed computer head rather him as a sentient and independent entity?


Palin: Energy Conservation & Independence

To Governor Sarah Palin,

Now that you have returned to Alaska and resume work as Governor, I thank you for all the hard work and resilience you have demonstrated as our VP candidate. Please take the next few months off to relax, unwind, and enjoy the holidays. But come the New Year I hope you will take some time to consider whether you want to return to national politics. I like millions others hope you will. Toward this hope I have a few thoughts to share should you are interested.

Firstly, govern well. By that I mean take good care of the people of Alaska especially as we as a nation enter difficult times. In doing so, I hope you will be attentive to political principles that work and those that do not. I hope some of the principles you find productive would include principles many conservatives and Republicans are fond of, including conservative fiscal policy, small government footprint in American lives, fair economic opportunities for employers and employees, the promotion of a culture of personal responsibility in and out of government, and the continued recognition that a strong nation requires preservation of traditional families.

Secondly, consider forming a political action committee (or a 527) for Energy Conservation and Independence. On the most basic level, this will allow continued involvement nationally on a topic that touches all American lives. Locally energy conservation means exploring “green” renewable energy sources, thus providing credentials on environmentalism. Such an organization will also provide the opportunity to become an expert on a vital topic that spans and binds the international community. There are global energy exporters who are America’s friends (Canada, Mexico, Norway), foes (Iran, Russia, Venezuela) and associates in between (Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East). How these nations energy income has affected their influence regionally and globally? There are also net energy importers like China, Japan, and India. How will the competition for energy affect their relationship with the US, both as current competitors and as potential collaborators? As part of the organization’s activities, conduct fact-finding trips over sea. Once there see first hand how, in addition to energy economic, nationalism and religious ideologies are driving these nation motives and actions.

Thirdly, with the accumulated experience gained, hone and refine a philosophy of governance and politics. The best philosophy is one easily understood and readily appealing to the public (your base, the independents, as well as the opposition) of Middle America as a whole. It should also be well supported by a record of evidence that the intellectuals would and should appreciate. Maybe write a book providing how your vision and philosophy could positively transform America.

Fourthly, build political alliances. Identify candidates for political offices nationwide, red states and blue states, you respect and agree with. Through you political action committee provide energy expertise, campaign support, or even personal appearances and endorsement. But even more importantly cultivate and maintain contact with the rank and file who remain excited about your potential candidacy. These regular folks, me included, love you because we feel you are one of us and speak for us. We will certainly need to be organized and rallied to provide the ground game for any national campaign for you when the time comes.

Finally, contemplate why and how you appeal to the base as well as why so many on the left have become deranged over you. Accentuate your positives and attenuate your negatives but always remain true to yourself, and those who believe in you.

Best wishes for the future.

Political Party & Elections

With the recent 2008 election losses, some commenter have suggested that the Republican Party become more centrist in order to win. I think this misses the point of political parties in general. If the goal of any political party is to win election, then it is only about empowering some to lead others. Shouldn't we be primarily concerned about where we are being led to? It has to be about ideology first.

And if the party's ideology is in tune with the center, then how can any candidate from that party even possibly be leading rather than just manage the status quo once elected. Now if the status quo is great, then we may not want to expend the effort to make things better. But i assure you that things can be better. And once the premise that things can be better, then you have to ask how can you enact policies to change and make things better. And as soon as you do so, then you are proposing non-centrist ideas.

The goal then of any party is to suggest actionable plan that appeals to the center, to be adopted by the center, to make the party ideals mainstream. When this occur, it is not the party becoming more mainstream, it is actually the center being shifted toward the party's ideology. Thus in order for a party to be successful, it must have non-mainstream non-centrist ideas. However, if the party actionable plan is too extreme, then it will not appeal to the center. Society adopt changes very slowly.

In a previous post i suggested some principles the Republican party should adhere to, cultivate, and build upon.

Strong National Defense
Small Government in Society
Conservative Fiscal Policy
Fair Economic Opportunity
Culture of Personal Responsibility
Traditional Family Value

These may not be new ideas, but they are great ideas have made our nation great and should continue to guide our nation forward. These ideas continue to appeal and resonate with most Americans. Thus the solution for the Republican party to win elections is not to become more centrist. Rather, it is for the Republicans to offer and deliver meaningful changes and improvement to America that remain congruous to these principles.


Rebuild the Party

From Rebuild the Party.com
As Republicans, we face a choice.

Either we can spend the next several months -- or years -- trying to figure out what just happened, excusing our defeat away as a temporary blip or the result of a poor environment, and waiting for Barack Obama to trip up. Or we can refuse to take this defeat lying down, and start building the future of our party now.

2008 made one thing clear: if allowed to go unchecked, the Democrats' structural advantages, including their use of the Internet, their more than 2-to-1 advantage with young voters, their discovery of a better grassroots model -- will be as big a threat to the future of the GOP as the toxic political environment we have faced the last few years.

The time is now to set in motion the changes needed to rebuild our party from the grassroots up, modernize the way we run campaigns, and attract different, energetic, and younger candidates at all levels.

There is much more. Read it all then join in on the effort.

Intellectualism: thinkers vs. doers

The problem with some intellectuals, usually professors and pundits, is that they think being smart and showing how smart they are is enough to change the world. It isn't. To change the world and make life better for your fellow men and women requires a good idea that is actionable, followed by the hard work necessary to act, and the resolve to endure adversities and resistance to the goal. Most elitists do not understand this and thus tend to look down on the doers as being inferior intellectually.

I am reminded of this in medicine. In the field of medicine there are two kinds of doctors, proceduralists (like surgeons) and non-proceduralists (like internists). Internists tend to think they are smarter than surgeons and tend to look down on surgeons as mere technicians. But it is actually harder to become a surgeon (grades and skills) than to become an internist. I am not saying internists aren't smart, just that the impression they hold of their own intellectual superiority is incorrect.

Related post: Political Elitism


Mainstream Media

In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq the MSM was pretty much committed to promoting the invasion. Afterward, they became rather critical of their lack of critical evaluation of the justifications for war. More recently the MSM promoted the candidacy of Obama without much critical evaluation of who he is and where he stands on the issues. I wonder how long it will be before they come the regret their Obama worship.

It is not MSM bias that should concern us all. Everyone has bias. I am certain even they are aware of their bias. What should concern us all is the fact that the MSM are so gullible. Or perhaps even worse, that they know it and still feel compelled to go forward.


My Political Party

As part of my on going “back to the blackboard” rethinking of everything (political), I want to work out some ideas on what and how I want my political party to work. When I say “my” what I mean is the party I want to be a part of rather than having my own political party.

Firstly, I want to know what are our core principles. I want these principles enshrined in the party's charter or its constitution. The principles that matter to me, and ones that I also believe to have broad appeals are:

Strong National Defense
Small Government in Society
Conservative Fiscal Policy
Fair Economic Opportunity
Culture of Personal Responsibility
Traditional Family Value

These may not be new ideas, but they are great ideas have made our nation great and should continue to guide our nation forward. The current issues and challenges should always be considered, referenced and debated on these core principles. While these should be our principles, our actions should remain decisive, ethical and magnanimous. Our means must be compatible with our goals.

Secondly our spending priorities should be:
1. Fund our party organization and groups on all college campus. They will be the future of the party. Even if they don’t, an educated voter is much preferred over an ignorant one.
2. Develop a 50 states effort. If we give up states like California, Washington, and New York we will never win.
3. Fund election campaign. How much funding support should consider the candidate compatibility with party principles, appeal to party members, and electability.
4. Fund charity projects. Our ultimate goal through politics is a stronger and better America, but crisis will develop that will transcend politics. We have to demonstrate we care for more than political power.
5. Fund research projects. We need proof that our principles as applied to the issues are actionable, effective and beneficial.

Thirdly I would like the party to interact more with its members. The party cannot be just about fund raising and votes. I would like to see that every year (or every other year) a convention is held for party members. During this convention current stance in response to current issues and challenges should be addressed. Proponents and opponents should debate where and how the party should respond. Then the members (those present and over the net) votes and thus party positions delineated and updated. Politicians can also make announcement for the upcoming year.

Fourthly political candidates for the party should be judged based on how close they are to the core principles of the party. Their appeals are determined through a series of state level election. The states should be grouped regionally; one state from each region would then hold its primary election each month. Allow a few weeks for the candidates to debate, retool, hold rallies, and then repeat with a new set of states, again one from each region. The states within each regional group can decide among themselves what order they shall hold their primary election. Likely I would prefer that each primary election is limited to party members but at the same time, each primary election should also serve as recruiting opportunity for non-members to join up and thus vote.

What I do not want my party to be a hateful opposition party. When they other party cannot do something, we should take no glee if the America would suffer for it, we should say we can do it. When they do something right, we don’t say that it was no good, we say we can do better. I also do not want my party to be into identity politics. We should court Hispanics because they share many of our principles of small government, conservative fiscal policy, and economic opportunity. We should reach out to African-Americans because only through returning to traditional family value, accepting a culture of personal responsibility, and embracing economic opportunity can they be strong and free. We should stop bashing gays. We should be pro-immigration and come up with a new term for “illegal immigrants.” We cannot be viewed as an anti-minority or anti-immigrant party.

The funny thing is that I have never truly identified myself as a Republican until this election. I voted for W and have been fairly happy with him (I am primarily a Strong National Defense guy) and since he won, I could remain an independent. I was never really all that into McCain until Palin. Now that the Democrats are in power I figure the best way get them out of power is to throw my lot in, for now at least, with the Republicans. And if the Republicans do not offer me participation other than my vote, then I will still judge each candidate based on my party platform and vote appropriately.


Conservatives & Republicans

Conservatives and Republicans are not synonymous. The contentious line between the two will only be highlighted with this election losses. There has been consideration for Republicans to build a bigger tent to get more independent voters. Conservatives have considered moving to form their own party that better represent their thoughts. And then there are the Libertarians, with many similar ideologies.

I believe the Republicans should continue to be a political machinery to elect candidates. I believe the Republicans should be a party of strong national defense, sound fiscal policies, small government, personal responsibility, economic opportunity, and family value.

I believe if people can identify personally with 3 or 4 of these six platform, then they should be welcomed into the party, as long as there will not be compromises on the other 2 or 3 platforms. Then we can have that big tent without driving away conservatives or independents. I do not believe there needs to be or should be a split between Conservatives and Republicans. I also believe that it would be a good thing for the Republican Party and conservatives to continue to have some differences of opinion as a contest of ideas can only make both stronger.

I believe the party should also reach out to Libertarians for similar reasons.

Nov 5, 2008: The Day After

Well despite my best hope and wishes, my candidate did not win. First thing first, congratulation to Obama for a historic win. I can only hope he will do his best for this country. Now on to the analysis.

Why McCain lost.
1. He could not effectively communicate his hopes and goals for America under his leadership.
2. He ran a bi-partisan campaign in a partisan election.
3. He was a foreign policy expert when the country needed an economic expert (he should have voted against the bail-out bill)
(4. Bush failed to effectively explain his actions and allowed his good work to be misrepresented)

Why Obama won.
1. The country was ready for change, and bought his message.
2. He effectively presented himself as a template for voters to leave their own impression on who he is
3. He had the money to win.

What comes next.
1. The Democrats do not have super majority in the Senate or the House. This is the brightest spot for Republicans and Conservatives.
2. The Republicans will need to regroup for 2010. There will be finger pointing and there will be skirmishes. I will look more into this later.
3. Sarah Palin will have to decide what she wants to do regarding 2012. If she wants to run for the nomination, then she will have to start the preparation now, define her her political philosophy, gather her supporters, build her network, accumulate both foreign policy and economic credentials, and start thinking strategy and tactics for 2012. In many way, as a Palin supporter, I do feel that last night loss will allow Palin to campaign as an outsider running against the DC establishment in 2012. This is a small bright spot. Currently, if she does win the party nomination in 2012, I think she should pick a reform minded congressman or senator from California or Florida, perhaps a Hispanic? I will definitely have more thoughts on Palin in the next 4 years.

Again, last night was a huge disappointment. But there are also opportunities to be grabbed for the future.

Final thought. The biggest problem with racism in the US is not bigotry but the culture of victimhood when you are a minority. i hope that with Obama's win there will be less "woe is me because America is KKK."


2008 Presidential Campaign Analysis

This post from Malstrom is absolutely the best thought out and insightful analysis of this presidential election campaign i have ever read. It is long but all great.

On polls and political analysis:
One thing that is very different about this election is the omnipresence of polls and how polls are the axis around all political analysis is conducted. This has never been the case in previous elections. Real political analysts (meaning not hacks or unprofessional pundits), use historical trends, demagraphical data, and other ‘truths’ of past elections. Much of this cannot be translated into a chart or graph. It is a myth that analysis is done via math or graphs or computer models. The original economists, for example, used only words and essays. Political analysis is not about math. Political analysis is about people. To analyze politics, you must be able to analyze people. In other words, the poet and novelist becomes the political analyst, not the mathematician and software engineer. Politics is all about people.

On what drives conservatives to vote:
One of the reasons why Democrats lost the elections of 2002, 2004, and won in 2006 so handily is the appearance (and disappearance) of the phenomenon I refer to as ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’. Conservatives are generally apathetic and have been lately about their candidates. While Bush was a Republican, he was not a conservative. He was conservative on a few things, the things that mattered most to conservatives (foreign policy, judges, taxes), but Bush has no interest in the conservative movement and doesn’t want to ‘lead’ it unlike Reagan. So conservative support for Republican candidates have been very soft (as illustrated in 2006). But if a Democrat or the legacy media (who conservatives believe are the same) insult or attack conservatives or what they believe, the result is ‘broken glass conservatives’ meaning the apathetic, soft Republican (or Democrat) conservative suddenly turns enraged and will literally walk over ‘broken glass’, if need be, to vote. ‘Broken glass conservatives’ phenomenons are all easily prevented if someone had some sense. An example of a ‘broken class conservative’ scenario would be Congressman Murtha (twice) declaring western Pennslyvania as ‘racists’. Remember, Murth’s district is mostly Democrat, and they know about Murtha’s shenanigans (the idea of ‘he’s a crook, but he is OUR crook’). But conservative Democrats took the insult personally and, out of the blue, Murtha’s safe seat suddenly becomes competitive . In 2004, the ‘broken glass conservatives’ were generated by, what conservatives felt, media bias in that veterans who served with Kerry were never had the spotlight shown (which they resorted to their own ads which became the ‘SwiftBoat Ads’) as well as Dan Rather and the forged memos.

In 2008, there are more phenomenons of the ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ than I have ever seen…

-Conservatives believe the media has been outrageously fawning over Obama and doing everything it can to protect him. This has enraged them even more than in 2004.

-Obama’s comment of people in rural areas were nothing more than ‘bitter clingers’ who cling to guns and religion have caused lingering outrage at him. This comment, alone, is one reason why Pennslyvania turned on him.

-The Bail-Out Bill enraged many and was when conservatives finally abandoned Bush. But Bush is not on the ticket anymore so that doesn’t matter. Rather, the enragement is aimed at Pelosi and Reid, the leaders of the House and Senate.

-Media treatment of Sarah Palin generated many ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ and even overlapped to the Hillary Clinton supporters.

-Joe the Plumber. At first, Joe the Plumber recieved much amusement and delight of the electorate since it was funny to watch the presidential candidates refer to some citizen and even talk directly to ‘him’ on the camera. After the debate, naturally the press put up photos of the ‘conversation’ between Joe and Obama in amusement as well (amusement in how this citizen somehow ended up as the topic in the third debate). Then, Obama and Biden mocked joe the Plumber and said plumbers could never earn $250,000, and this followed with news came out about Joe’s salary, his marriage, his driver’s license, his taxes, his lack of a plumber’s license, and him ultimately being fired by the plumbing union. This enraged people like I have never seen before. Joe the Plumber became the ‘John Galt’ icon. I heard stories of visible Obama supporters being rattled by this such as SoCal voters peeling off their bumper stickers and uprooting their Obama signs.

-Socialism. People who are over 50, who either fled a socialist country or was in the military to help liberate socialist countries, find the thought of any presidential candidate, even ‘warm’ on the ideas of socialism, to be deemed ‘unelectable’ and are outraged it took to the Joe the Plumber incident to discover what, they believe, Obama’s true motives are.

On why McCain will win PA:
Pennslyvania has been grossly misreported on this election cycle. During the Democrat primary, union bosses approached Hillary Clinton and said, “Promise us you will not put Obama as your Veep and you will have our support.” The moment Obama become the nominee was when he lost Pennslyvania. Obama has been spending money like a drunken sailor in the state, blasting the state full of advertising, but it isn’t working. The famous Philly machine won’t be at Obama’s disposal as the governor, Rendell, is a Clinton supporter , and he has been hinting at Pennslyvania going red by the mysterious leak of the Obama internal campaign poll of PA being +2 a couple of weeks ago and publicly asking Obama to come back to the state as well as saying that things are ‘tightening’ there. The evidence that PA is going red should be with how the safe Democrat seats are becoming suddenly competitive. Rendell is a Democrat and doesn’t want to lose house seats which is another reason to ask Obama to come back.

Pennslyvania is not a New England state, it is a mid-atlantic state. It is mostly a rural state. Obama likely thought Philly and Pittsburgh would be enough to carry the state (Obama is relying on cities to swing entire states his way). But Kerry could barely hold the state even with the Philly machine and the Democrat base on his side. And McCain and Palin are far more popular, campaign wise, than Bush and Cheney were in 2004.

Obama does not have the Democrat base solidified behind him. In states that massively swung to Clinton, such as Pennslyvania, a sizable number of Hillary Clinton supporters are voting for McCain under the banner of ‘Party Unity My Ass’ or ‘PUMA’s. In McCain Campaign offices throughout Pennslyvania, manning their phone banks, are DEMOCRATS which voted for Hillary Clinton. An unholy alliance has developed between senators McCain and Clinton. Both are friends to one another. Both have a framed picture of the other in their offices. The PUMA story is the biggest one not being told about in this election.

On Palin political appeal.
Palin is appealing to conservatives due to the ‘fire in the belly’ where she is expressing what conservatives want, what they wished their conservative politicians would say and fight back against, in their perception, is a hostile media to them. Palin does not articulate conservative philosophy in her speeches as she appears more populist. Palin is not a female Reagan, but a Truman in a skirt. I’ve been reading much on Truman lately, and I’ve been struck with the similarities. Truman was an ardent outdoorsman, one from a small town and related extremely well with the rural population. Taft, among others, thought Truman was below them and kept referring to him as ‘filth’ and a ‘redneck’. Famously, Truman alone believed he would win his election when everyone else said he wouldn’t and traveled across the country visiting various farms and other small towns. The reporters traveling with Truman noticed that everywhere he went, there were large crowds. The electorate referred to Truman more by his first name, ‘Harry’, with the common phrase of ‘Give em Hell, Harry!’ Truman was not a wordsmith, but he had a fire in his belly and, most of all, his speeches held warmth. At every stop, Truman praised the rural people there and often talked about something in the locality. Truman, by his biographers, is most remembered for his constant energy, how his appearance was always ‘fresh’, how he always looked ‘rested’, and appeared in high spirits most of the time. Truman was constantly made fun of by his rural pronounciation and his non-intellectual demeanor by the press, yet those things endeared him to the rural electorate. In all my life, I have never seen a Vice Presidential nominee out-pull the Presidential nominee or steal his spotlight. Win or lose, Palin will likely have a long shelf life.

On Palin and the Republican Reformation:
McCain’s choice of Palin and push against ‘Socialism’, since the nominee is head of the political party, has swung the party back into the control of the conservatives rather than Republicans. Most of these ‘Republicans’ tend to reside in the Washington loop, and have been there since Reagan, while others are ‘moderates’. The Obama Campaign with its psych-ops of ‘landslide’ polls, have made conservatives giddy in that it is flushing out the Washington Republicans and moderates from the party. For example, Colin Powell, who is pro-choice and for affirmative action, who appeared to be Republican mostly as Reagan made him a four star general, Bush the Elder put him in charge of the Joint Chief, and Bush the Younger put him as Secretary as State, is now forever blacklisted after endorsing Obama. George Will, longtime columnist who has been in Washington for a long time, wrote against the Iraq War (which already put him on thin ice), but now he will be flushed out. Peggy Noonan, long time Washington person since the Reagan years, is now flushed out. Parker, ditto. From the conservative side, they are celebrating as they consider these Republicans to been in Washington too long and are no longer connected to the people. The point is that Palin has become a Conservative Touchstone that, like a wave, has flowed through the party and is revealing who is and who is not a conservative. And these non-conservatives will not be well recieved anymore. (In the case of women, such as Peggy Noonan, I suspect some old fashioned female jealousy going on as well. Remember, Pelosi wanted Hillary Clinton to lose because she wouldn’t be the dominant female in Washington anymore. This might seem strange to guys, but only women exist in women’s world.)

On the campaign.
It is said that at the end of a presidential campaign, the candidate who is campaigning on the enemy’s turf in the final days becomes president. The stories that say “Obama is campaigning in final days in Bush states’ is getting it wrong, of course. Obama has no choice but to campaign in Bush states since there is no other way for him to get to 270. McCain can lose some Bush states and still win. In political analysis, novices measure the election by states. Experts do it by counties. The counties McCain and Palin are visiting, be it Pennslyvania or even Ohio, are democrat counties meaning they went for Kerry the other time. Obama keeps staying in safe urban areas and other Democrat strongholds. Obama’s strategy doesn’t appear aggressive to me (he appears to be getting angry, even emotionally melting down. Such as when he got angry when trick-or-treating. Even today, he gave McCain the middle finger). When we look at the candidates themselves, we see McCain confident and laughing and Obama… being a little theatrical (”I will change the world!”). OK, candidate comparison is a matter of opinion. But there is a tradition that the campaign in the lead tends to share their internal poll numbers in the closing of an election. I’m hearing much about internal McCain polling, however, this might be the campaign’s way to provide an alternative to the way off public polls.

Again, please read it all.

HT: Strata-Sphere

Prediction: McCain wins PotUS

I just voted. Turn out I believe will be high.
I believe McCain will wins for the following reasons.

Major Factors:
1. Obama is a socialist. America will not vote for a socialist.
2. Palin will induce a high turn out for McCain. The base is excited like never before.
3. PUMAs will vote for McCain in substantial numbers, enough to win it for McCain.

Minor Factors:
1. We remain at war against terrorists. McCain will be viewed as better than Obama.
2. Obama's luster will not rub onto the independent.
3. Independence are independent because they do not trust the MSM. The fact that the MSM has been in the tank for Obama will help drive the independent voters toward McCain away from Obama.

Non Factors:
1. Obama's race. Yes most African-Americans will vote for him, but they always vote Democratic anyway. I suspect the increase in turn out for his race will be offset by the increase in turn out against his race.
2. That McCain is defending red states is irrelevant. Because Bush won in 2004, the only way any Democrat can win is to contest enough red states to win. But despite the hype, that will not be as easy as we are led to believe. Not only that, McCain is also contesting blue Pennsylvania.
3. The polls may show that Obama leads, but most of the polls are actually within the margin of error. That means statistically, the race remains a tie.

What Dems say of Obama


Obama contradicts himself

This is why he cannot be trusted. He says whatever it takes to appease his audience. He promises whatever he can to gain votes.

He is a sophist at best, a demagogue at least.

Troopergate: Palin Cleared

from Powerline Blog:
Now, only hours before the election and after endless nonsense in the press, the investigator appointed by the Alaska Personnel Board has cleared Governor Palin, concluding that "there is no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with the firing." No kidding. Given that the investigator, Timothy Petumenos, is a Democrat who contributed to the campaign of Palin's opponent, Tony Knowles, in 2006, this should finally put the silliness of "Troopergate" to rest.


PotUS: McCain is better than Obama

I've gone back to the chalkboard to consider what should matter in choosing the PotUS. I've considered both the Leadership skills necessary to be PotUS and the Issues and Challenges the PotUS will need to manage. I will now evaluate both McCain and Obama in reference to these considerations.

Leadership Factors.
Good Judgment. Both men are obviously intelligent. Both men have also demonstrated good insight. McCain has demonstrated this by recognizing the problems of Iraq and recommended the Surge. Obama has demonstrated good judgment by recognizing that voting on contentious and difficult issues could hurt him politically and it would be better to just vote present instead. Obama has repeatedly skirted the difficult issues whereas McCain has not. Even if it would cost him political points (not just the Surge but also on immigration), he has acted on his insight. Regarding wisdom, Obama has not demonstrated to me any evidence of having any. McCain by putting the needs of his country first over his own political career has. When it comes to good judgment it seems clear to me that McCain clearly has demonstrated superior judgment over Obama.

Firm Resolve. Both men have convictions, but Obama's convictions are to further his own ascent while McCain's are clearly about furthering the USA. I suspect that Obama believes the US would be better off being more socialistic but he seems to lack the faith of conviction to publicly declare this. When it comes to the grace to admit to being wrong, Obama is the clear loser here for first being stubborn when he declared the Surge a failure before it actually begun, as news of its success began to surface he maintain his belief of defeat, and even after it was widely acknowledged to be a success he still refuse to admit defeat. McCain has demonstrated resolve with the Surge, with his unpopular stance on immigration, and even with accepting public campaign financing against the money machine of Obama. McCain wins hands down.

Persuasiveness. I do not believe either candidate has a true understanding and appreciation for the common man's perspective of life in the US. Both are out of touch. When it comes to both being an effective communicator and being able to inspire others, I believe Obama to be superior to McCain. McCain speaks the truth whereas Obama is full of platitudes. McCain's life is inspirational but he doesn't seem to be able to inspire others, particularly the common man, as Obama has. When it comes to persuasiveness, Obama is much more so than McCain.

Over all, my analysis of Leadership ability of McCain and Obama, McCain will be a capable commander in chief. He has demonstrated good judgment and the resolve necessary to carry out his good judgment. He will need to better communicate them though to the public. Obama lacks the judgment and resolve to be PotUS. Obama's persuasiveness, in the absence of judgment and resolve, make him a sophist not to be trusted.

The Issues & Challenges.

Protecting the US from outside threat. Obama lacks the fundamental understanding of what it will take to protect the US from foreign powers, whether it is a resurgent nationalistic Russia or the stateless terrorists of Islamofascism. Obama wanted to take the Georgia crisis to the UN before he realized that Russia has veto power on the UN Security Council. He also wants to treat the War on Terror as a police action, which means we punish wrong doers rather than preventing acts of terrorisms. Obama is too naive to effectively secure the IS against foreign threats.

Sound Fiscal Policy. Too much taxation inhibits private economic growth. This doesn't seem to bother Obama much as he supports increasing taxation on the middle class, small business and large business. This does not bother him because he is a socialist interested in using taxation to redistribute the wealth and furthering the role of government in our economy. McCain wants to make the Bush tax cut for middle America permanent and reduce corporate taxes so they can remain competitive internationally, as well as keep more jobs here. McCain also understands that a large federal deficit ties up credit that could otherwise be used to grow the economy. He has promised a spending freeze on everything except defense. Because Obama is a socialist, he wants the government to grow, provide more services, and thus will spend more. Given that the increased taxation will limit economic growth and thus limit government tax revenue over all, the federal deficit can only grown under Obama. Over all, I believe Obama's plan to socialize the US economy unacceptable.

Resource Management. Out most national resources are the American people who work to make this country more productive as they work to provide more for our families. Obama seeks to support our labor forces artificially by mandating a rise in the minimum wage (though this will inhibit job growth) and to restrict free trade (which will make out products more expensive in foreign markets). McCain wants to generate more jobs for more Americans by creating favorable economic environment for private enterprises to grow and generate more jobs as well as better products. McCain favors free trade, and for the low end jobs that are subsequently shift to foreign lands due to cheaper foreign labor, McCain has endorsed education programs to retrain our workers for better jobs here.
The other aspect of resource management to discuss is energy policy. McCain wants the US to be energy independent by furthering exploration and refinement of traditional energy sources like coal, oil, and nuclear. McCain also favors building up our green and renewable energy sources. On the green and renewable energy sources Obama agrees, but he would rather we become green even at the expense of continued energy dependence on foreign oil, such as from the Middle East, Venezuela, or even Russia.
While Obama's resource management proposal are well intentioned, I believe McCain's plan is both more practical and better for our nation in the short term and the long term.

Secure Individual Liberties. Obama's actions have raised concerns for me regarding his respect of free speech and opposing viewpoints. On several occasion he and his staff have sent letters threatening legal actions against sources of contrary viewpoints. Obama has also consistently opposed the right of each individual Americans to own and bear arms. McCain has been the opposite. Obama also favors agreeable liberties over security, treating terrorists as criminals to be punished after the fact rather than preemption of terrorist acts. There can be no liberty without security.
But the most glaring example of his disregard of individual liberty is his support of live birth abortion. Make no misunderstanding that this is not abortion because once the fetus has been delivered free of the mom, it is a child. In essence, he supports the legalization of infant murder. I do not care where you stand on abortion, pro-choice or pro-life. We are talking infant murder. The state is supposed to protect its most vulnerable members, not exterminate them.
McCain is both constitutionally and morally superior to Obama.

Overall Governance Theme. Obama sees what is wrong with America and wants to fix it, McCain sees what is right with America and wants more of it. Obama wants to change a failing America, McCain wants to change how DC fails Americans. Obama believes in the American State, McCain believes in the individual American. McCain comes closest to cultivating a culture of individual responsibility (Palin has outright stated this) that I believe America needs to build on and less reliance on the State.

In nearly all aspects I considered, McCain is the clear choice for PotUS. On November 4, 2008, I will vote for McCain/Palin. I hope you will as well. Do not let the socialist get elected.


PotUS: Issues & Challenges

What i expect from my president, in order.

A. Protect the US from outside threats. I view this as the primary responsibility of the executive because this is the essential and historical role of any community leader from a family patriarch, the tribal chieftain, to a people’s King. The constitution sets foreign diplomacy and commander in chief as the responsibility of the President. Performing these responsibilities well is the most important function for the PotUS in a world that remains full of dangerous challenges. Ultimately, regardless of how generous and responsible the US is as a member of the international community, some out there will want to hurt and harm us. Once they believe this is in their best interest, we will not be able to talk them out of it. I want a president willing to make war before we are attacked as well as one willing to talk so we won’t be attacked. It certainly won’t sound fair but I rather have foreign blood spilt than ours, foreign lands bombed than ours. I do not want war all and I want wars prevented within reasons. But I recognize that there will be times when undesirable war is preferable to hoped for peace. But once a war I want us resolved and determined to win. Once won I want to see the US as magnanimous in victory in order to jointly build a new future with our former foes. In short I want our foreign policy predicated on the simple idea of “There is no better friend and no worse enemy than the US of A”.

B. The second responsibility for the executive branch is to maintain a secure environment for Americans to pursue happiness. Here the president will need to lead, direct and set the agenda for Congress to formulate legislations further secure the American pursuit of happiness. Factors essential for a secure American environment are sound fiscal policies, fair resource management, and secure individual liberties.

B1. Sound fiscal policies have three aspects: first is a fair taxation plan that would stimulate economic growth, second would be appropriate federal spending to grow the essential governmental function, and to reduce the federal deficit.

B1a. Regarding taxation, it may seem tempting to tax the rich and give it to the poor, but in practice this just does not work. Firstly, who has the most money? Large businesses. But if for every penny they are taxed, they certainly pass it down to the consumer in terms of higher product cost. Sadly, it is the poor consumer that pays more as a percentage of their income on buying essential products for living than do the rich. If not big businesses then what about medium size businesses? Some of the tax they will certainly pass along to us, the consumer voter. But what tax they cannot pass along will eat into their bottom line and reduce available capital. Less capital means less growth in terms of hiring as well as building a better business. Either way, the community loses. Alternatively the rich individual can be taxed. From the Tax Foundation the fact is that this is already happening, with the top 10% (those making about $109,000) earners paying 70% of the federal income tax revenue. The bottom 50% earners (making less than $32,000) currently pay less than 3% of the federal income tax revenue. Squeezing the rich individual is harmful in three ways. Firstly it makes the rich even more involved in politics to reduce their tax, and once tax issue resolved, they will try to influence the governments in other ways. We cannot afford a plutocracy. Secondly like with small businesses less disposable income due to higher taxes mean less money to spend on personal services, from assistants to maids, cooks, and gardeners. Again the working voters get cut. Thirdly taxing the more financially fortunate is just counter intuitive to the American dream to become more financial fortunate. While my personal bias currently is for a federal flat tax along with a federal sales tax instead of the federal income tax (less tax bureaucracy too!) this is currently not likely. In lieu of this, I am and think we all ought to be opposed to raising taxes on any segment of the public.

B1b. Appropriate federal spending to grow the essential governmental functions covers firstly maintaining an active and competitive military, secondarily a national security program, and a functional transportation infrastructure for internal commerce. Maintaining the military is the primary function of any national government to defend its people and existence. The military must be well trained and well supplied in terms of men and equipment. Naturally we must care for our military personnel as they are serving and once they have served. I support a well-funded program to support the family of soldiers on active service; the families of those who love ones have died in service, and for our veterans after they have served our country. I also believe the best defense is a strong offence and this requires a technologically advanced military. To go on the offense you need accurate and reliable intelligence service. A similarly effective intelligence capability needs to be applied to protect against foreign terrorist acts within the US. There can be no freedom or prosperity without security. And prosperity will also require a well-maintained infrastructure for communication and transportation, especially as the US is structured as a federal union of states.

B1c. The president proposes the federal budget to Congress. If the US government is not in deficit, then it might be alright for the government to spend liberally, but given the size of the federal government, there needs to be limits on non-essential federal spending to reduce the federal deficit. The deficit needs to be reduced because these credits are especially sorely needed elsewhere right now. The first way to reduce the deficit would be to cease the expansion of government services except as above (B1b). The second way to cut the deficit is to increase revenue. This will occur if governmental policy stimulates economic growth. Increasing taxation usually inhibits economic growth. Thirdly, there needs to be a serious discussion with the American voters about reducing welfare.

B2. For fair resource management, the essential resources to focus on firstly is human labor, secondly promotion of trade, and finally energy independence, and promotion of trade. Human labor isn’t just about fair wages, human labor development is about having the opportunity to work and earn a living as well as opportunity for both personal and professional growth through work. The opportunity of work can only come about through a growing economy. And once employed, we need to provide circumstances for the American worker to be both productive and opportunities for advancement. I believe essential to productivity and advancement is a sound education, from grade school through high school (to provide the basic understanding of how life and our country works) as well as appropriate trade and vocational education. As the American voters progress, by necessity we will have others to do the more menial and more labor intensive jobs to others. But by doing so more people will have opportunity for employment and grow the market for goods. This is true whether these lower paying jobs will remain here in the US or is sent across our borders. And if sent across our borders, we need to establish trade agreements with these other nations to make it easier to both allow them to accept our needs for basic labors as well as open their markets for our goods. These trade agreements should be both free and mutually beneficial. But one thing we cannot depend on oversea for is our energy needs. The US needs to become less dependent, or even independent, for our energy resources. Energy is to our economy what food is to our body. The US cannot perpetuate the energy import as we have been. The PotUS needs to take leadership to promote expansion of our traditional energy sources as well as build up more energy resources, both green and nuclear.

B3. Secure individual liberties by preserving the bills of rights and protecting against act of crime or terrorisms. The most important bill of rights are the first protecting freedom of speech, to essentially speak against the government, and the second to keep and bear arms, also to personally defend oneself. But regardless of how the Bill of Rights is interpreted, it becomes meaningless if America is entrenched in fear due to crime or terrorist acts. I do not believe our liberties need to be sacrificed in order to obtain personal security. I believe we can navigate through and preserve both liberty and security. A president needs to understand the significance of both and take consideration of both.

C. Everything thus far discussed, to protect the US against foreign threat and to maintain a secure environment for Americans to be happy, are all practical and earthly responsibilities but won’t be enough without something for the soul and spirit for America. In my opinion the most important them for America to move forward with is the concept of “individual and personal responsibility.” No nation can ever be great if its people do not have the initiative to act or to act without personal accountability or responsibility. Without personal responsibility, then the state becomes responsible for everything. This can only lead to failure. Accepting personal responsibility means accepting that an individual can change the future. I believe this is cause for optimism, for through actions from each and every individual America can be made better and greater. This is what I would like to see for America.


Business: Dems vs. Reps

As an Obama victory looms likely, along with a possibility of a democratic filibuster proof majority, business are stepping in the fray against the Dems. All the more reason to believe that despite the economic crisis, business people believes the Reps are better for business. Is the reason predicated on tax schemes? Actually no. The reason is because the Dems are anti-democratic when it comes to union voters.

Firstly, the Chamber of Commerce acts to shore up GOP Senators:
The nation's largest business lobby, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has raised ire among Democratic leaders for pouring millions of dollars into an advertising push to prevent the party from winning dominance in the Senate next year.

The Chamber says it has raised enough money this year from corporations to spend about $35 million on the election, double its budget for House and Senate races in the 2006 election. The group is supporting pro-business candidates, almost exclusively Republicans in contested Senate races.

Business executives fear that Democrats, bouyed by heavy spending from organized labor, could gain enough muscle in the Senate to spark policies favoring increased unionization, higher taxes, more restrictions on trade and more regulation on the financial-services and housing sectors.

Secondly, individual retailers acts on their store managers:
Retailers are meeting with store managers to warn how a strong showing for Democrats in the Nov. 4 election could cause what they fear would be more economic pain for their companies, in particular by potentially making it easier for unions to organize stores.

The companies are worried about presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's stated support for the Employee Free Choice Act, which would do away with secret balloting and allow unions to form if a majority of employees sign cards favoring unionization. The legislation, retailers fear, would have improved chances of becoming law under a Democratic administration.

The legislation passed the House last year but died amid a Senate filibuster and a threatened presidential veto. The issue in this election is whether Democrats, who hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, can win the presidency and gain enough seats to prevent Republicans from using procedural motions, such as filibusters, to thwart legislation.

The bill was crafted by labor as a response to more aggressive opposition by companies to union-organizing activity and as a way to shield workers from antiunion pressure from their employers.

Healthcare Tax & Credit

Obama has suggested that McCain will tax employers contribution to employee's health care cost. This is true. With things as they are, it is actually cheaper for employers to pay for health care than it is for individual to buy health care. If you want more people to buy health care, then you have to make it just as affordable for individuals, the self employed, the part time employed, or those who work in a business that does not provide health care. Thus McCain will repeal the employer's health care tax credit and give it to everyone who pays taxes. Thus this will make health care more affordable to more people. Why not do both, because then it will allow some to double benefit. More here.

I work in health care. I make no distinction between the insured and the uninsured. The health care given are equivalent. I have also seen how government provided free health care is delivered. We do not want government funded health care.

Walter Williams comments:
The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute's annual publication, "Waiting Your Turn," reports that Canada's median waiting times from a patient's referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist, depending on the procedure, averages from five to 40 weeks. The wait for diagnostics, such as MRI or CT, ranges between four and 28 weeks.

According to Michael Tanner's "The Grass Is Not Always Greener," in Cato Institute's Policy Analysis (March 18, 2008), the Mayo Clinic treats more than 7,000 foreign patients a year, the Cleveland Clinic 5,000, Johns Hopkins Hospital treats 6,000, and one out of three Canadian physicians send a patient to the U.S. for treatment each year. If socialized medicine is so great, why do Canadian physicians send patients to the U.S. and the Canadian government spends over $1 billion each year on health care in our country?

Britain's socialized system is no better. Currently, 750,000 Brits are awaiting hospital admission. Britain's National Health Services hopes to achieve an 18-week maximum wait from general practitioner to treatment, including all diagnostic tests, by the end of 2008. The delay in health care services is not only inconvenient, it's deadly. Both in Britain and Canada, many patients with diseases that are curable at the time of diagnosis become incurable by the time of treatment or patients become too weak for the surgical procedure. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown plans to introduce a "constitution" setting out the rights and responsibilities of its health care system. According to a report in the Telegraph (02/01/2008), "What this (Gordon Brown's plan) seems to amount to in practice are the Government's rights to refuse treatment, and the patient's responsibilities to live up to what the state decides are model standards." That means people who have unhealthy habits such as smoking, heart sufferers who are obese or those who fall ill because of failure to take regular exercise might be refused medical care, even though they pay taxes to support government health care.

Taxes: McCain & Obama

From today's WSJ:
When it comes to taxes, the difference between Barack Obama and John McCain is arguably as wide as it's been in a presidential race since Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale battled in 1984. Sen. Obama is proposing to raise taxes more than any recent candidate, while Sen. McCain wants to cut them substantially. Most of the campaign debate has been over whose taxes would be raised, and whose cut.

Here are the facts:

My personal stance on Taxes.
1. Some taxation is necessary to protect and maintain the function of our society.
2. Too much taxation inhibits economic growth.
3. Taxation cannot and should not be used for income redistribution.

In review, as this article evaluated, McCain's taxation is better for our country.

As a reminder as to the impact on the average American family:


Palin & Immigration

Here are excerpts from a recent interview of Palin on Univision
Governor, let me ask you about immigration. How many undocumented immigrants are there in Alaska?
I don't know, I don't know. That's a good question.

As governor, how do you deal with them? Do you think they all should be deported?
There is no way that in the US we would roundup every illegal immigrant -there are about 12 million of the illegal immigrants- not only economically is that just an impossibility but that's not a humane way anyway to deal with the issue that we face with illegal immigration.

Do you then favor an amnesty for the 12 or 13 million undocumented immigrants?
No, I do not. I do not. Not total amnesty. You know, people have got to follow the rules. They've got to follow the bar, and we have got to make sure that there is equal opportunity and those who are here legally should be first in line for services being provided and those opportunities that this great country provides.

To clarify, so you support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?
I do because I understand why people would want to be in America. To seek the safety and prosperity, the opportunities, the health that is here. It is so important that yes, people follow the rules so that people can be treated equally and fairly in this country.

Speaking as a legal immigrant and a proud naturalized American, I whole heartedly agree with Palin on no to amnesty for illegal immigrants but yes a legal path for legalization of their status. I already believed this before I saw this today.
I hope it help them gain hispanic votes.

from the same interview, i thought this reasonable as well:
Do you think that we should talk about birth control with our teenage sons and daughters?
Yes. Use me as the example of why you should, even more admittedly. My daughter, of course she is 18 years old, but has really been forced to grow up very quickly now and starting her own family and you know, life has changed so quickly for her. And she is a good and responsible and a very kind hearted young strong woman, and she is going to be just fine. But if we can use this, and if my daughter Bristol can use her story as a kind of teaching tool for others, then so be it. Let us do that.