Archive for October, 2008
Want to add millions to your bottom line with only limited initial exposure? Look no further than Colorado’s revolutionary new revenue generation system: electoral extortion. All you need is 76,047 signatures, a baneful amendment, influential politicians, and businesses with deep pockets to get started today.
This proven method has helped labor unions across Colorado raise over three million dollars of campaign money without the hassle of begging their constituencies. This revolutionary new system can be yours for the low, low price of electoral integrity. Sounds too good to be true; right? Wrong. Unfortunately, labor unions in Colorado have done exactly this.
They have used amendments 53, 55, 56, and 57 to extort businesses into “donating” more than three million dollars to defeat amendments 47, 49, and 54 (amendments that the unions oppose). In a backroom deal promoted by Gov. Ritter and Mayor Hickenlooper, amendments 53, 55, 56, and 57 sponsors agreed to withdraw these measures, measures which local businesses adamantly opposed, in exchange for the businesses help in defeating amendments 47, 49, and 54 (through the form of monetary compensation).
If this is not criminal extortion, I do not know what is. The promise of withdrawing harmful amendments only under the condition of a monetary payment is scandalous. The fact that little outrage has been voiced over this issue is truly terrifying. Citizen-initiated amendments should be a means through which the people can directly change their government, not a means through which special interests can generate revenue.
America’s unhealthy dependence on foreign oil has been a political talking point for decades. Despite all this rhetoric, approximately 60 percent of all the petroleum America consumes is imported from foreign countries. Can either John McCain or Barack Obama succeed where decades of Presidents have failed, or are their plans utterly unrealistic?
Petroleum only accounts for two percent of the total electricity generation in America, yet both Sen. McCain’s and Sen. Obama’s plans to curb foreign petroleum imports rely heavily on decreasing the electricity generated from petroleum sources (via solar, wind, clean coal, or nuclear technologies). Both Senators believe that America can cut its petroleum imports 25 percent by 2018.
Even if we could shut down these facilities and replace them with alternatives, it would only reduce our dependence by a small percentage at a cost of billions of dollars. On the consumer side, both Senators believe that offering tax credits for alternative energy vehicles (flex fuel vehicles or hybrids) and increasing fuel economy standards will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. These policies will undoubtedly help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but unless every American decides to buy one of these alternative energy vehicles, the reduction will be nowhere near the 25 (or even 10) percent decrease that the Senators would like to see.
These two goals amount to the entirety of Sen. Obama’s plan and almost all of Sen. McCain’s plan. Sen. McCain’s final method of reducing our dependence on foreign oil is the only viable one: increasing domestic drilling.
Despite Sen. Obama’s belief that “we can’t drill our way out of [our dependence] problem,” the fact is we can. He claims that we use 25 percent of the world’s oil but only have four percent of the world’s oil deposits. But, if his (and Sen. McCain’s) goal is to reduce our oil imports by 25 percent, then we only need 3.75 percent of the world’s oil to accomplish this, well under the amount Sen. Obama claims we currently have.
Sen. Obama also claims that it will take ten years to reap the benefits of increased drilling. Ten years is exactly the timetable both Senators believe that a drastic reduction in foreign oil imports can take place. Given the quantitative data on the matter, the only viable solution to accomplishing the Senators’ goal of a 25 percent reduction in foreign oil imports by 2018 is increased domestic drilling in combination with consumer and electrical consumption reductions. This is John McCain’s plan.
A recent perusal of the web by an unnamed CSM Conservative operative uncovered a worrisome video created by a fringe group of Barack Obama zealots, and the propagandized children thereof (the link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtGrp5MbzAI, or go to YouTube and search “Obama youth”). Manipulated by shameless parents, this group of disenfranchised little kids professes their unwavering support of Presidential candidate Barack Obama through the art of song.
Resembling a modernized Nazi propaganda jig, the kids sing: “Obama’s gonna lead em. We’re gonna change it, and rearrange it. We’re gonna change the world.” This hymnal-esque song to Sen. Obama is just another in the long line of Obama supporters proclaiming their undying loyalty to their Liberal lord and savior.
This new direction that politics has taken is highly disconcerting. It is not merely enough to respect and admire our governmental leaders; we have begun to worship them. From Che Guevara style campaign posters to idiomatic yard signs, Sen. Obama is more than just a political candidate for the far left. To them, he is the messiah of change. Change to a quasi-socialist’s dream: a government that provides “cradle to grave” comforts to all its citizens through the attenuation of choice and freedom. A government, analogous to the ones found in Europe, where individuals are no longer responsible for their own choices, the government is.
For the extreme left, Sen. Obama is the messiah to bring about this change. Therefore, he is one worthy of more than just praise; he is one worthy of worship.
The overwhelming tedium in last night’s debate was only trumped by the evasiveness and insolence that candidates John McCain and Barack Obama showed. Facing off in a ‘town hall’ style debate (one in which the audience members ask the questions, and where candidates can not hid behind a podium), the candidates showed about as much life as a CSM physicist has. Once again, senators McCain and Obama were at each others throats.
However, in this go-around moderator Tom Brokaw silenced all rebuttals; effectively turning the debate into a political trial in which only the prosecution was allowed to speak. Brokaw routinely chastised the candidates for breaking the time limit rules until the rule breaking became so bad that he just gave up.
The evasiveness displayed by both candidates was remarkable. Instead of answering the audiences’ questions, the candidates answered by rephrasing the question so that it fit one of their cookie-cutter responses. Overall, last night’s debate was so politically disinteresting; it was almost not worth watching.
The American public will see last night’s debate as a resounding tie, but for Sen. McCain a tie is not good enough. Sen. McCain needed to annihilate Sen. Obama in this debate to make up the polling ground he has lost in recent weeks. He failed miserably. He most assuredly failed to sway undecided voters with his regurgitated answers and tired attacks. The reiteration of practiced lines from the previous debate not only removed the spontaneity of a ‘town hall’ debate, but also further convinced undecided voters to stay home on November fourth.
Sen. McCain recovered somewhat later in the debate as it moved toward foreign policy. There he sounded much more confident and knowledgeable when compared to the naivetÃ© Sen. Obama displayed, but it was just too little too late. Running from behind, Sen. McCain needed to make up lost ground by convincing voters that he is the better candidate; he simply did not accomplish this. Sen. McCain is sure to slide in the polls as a result of this political fall; however, it remains to be seen if this fall breaks his candidacy.
Republicans have an image problem. We are now the party of bigots, business fat cats, and ultra-orthodox Christians. Gone are the days when Republicans where associated with lower taxes, less regulation, and smaller government.
This tainting of our public image has transpired because of our perceived singular association with the issues of being pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and anti-illegal immigration. It seems that this is all our political platform is believed to be comprised of. The image of the Republican Party has been hijacked by a few specific policies. Policies that are undoubtedly important, but that many Americans do not hold true. As a direct result, the party’s political clout is thinning. How do we change our tattered perception?
First, Republican candidates need to stop catering only to the evangelical base. I know the evangelical base has proved to be the backbone of the Republican Party for years, but only catering to it has estranged many potential voters from voting for the Right side.
Second, Republican candidates need to replace the emphasis of their campaigns from anti-abortion, anti-illegal immigration, and anti-gay marriage to one of lower taxes, reduced government regulation, and decreasing government size. This does not mean they need to abandon these issues, only lower their visibility.
Finally, Republican representatives need to follow through. Nothing does more to erode the public’s confidence in the Republican Party than when they make promises they do not keep. It is unacceptable for a Republican Congress (i.e. during much of the Bush administration) to grow the government at prodigious rates when they promised to shrink it. If the Republican Party can not return their image to one of smaller government and lower taxes, I fear the future will be very Left indeed.
How much of your paycheck do you deserve? Who should determine how much of it you deserve: politicians, your neighbors, or you? Democrats believe that government should decide the answers to these questions. But is it government’s place to determine these answers?
Democrats (and many Republicans) believe that the federal tax system should be used to redistribute wealth from the “rich” to the “poor.” Our current graduated tax system is based on this philosophy. The more productive one is in America, the more one is punished for their productivity (in the form of taxes).
This belief is far from equitable and goes against America’s capitalistic values. Taxing individuals based on their income gives the government, and hence politicians, the power to determine how much of your paycheck you deserve. Washington currently believes that individuals who get ahead in life (like by enduring four years of mental torture to become an engineer) deserve less of their paycheck than individuals who may have fallen behind (like by getting a degree in communications).
To remedy these inequities, a “fair tax” system has been proposed. In this system, people are taxed on how much they spend, not how much they earn. This system has several advantages over our current system. First, the huge governmental bureaucracy called the IRS would disappear, along with all of the institutions that feed off of it (like H&R Block). This would force many individuals to start producing, rather than feeding off the bureaucracy. Second, it would encourage companies to locate in America because there would be no corporate tax; thus, providing jobs to Americans. Finally, illegal immigrants and tax evaders would be forced to pay taxes like every other law abiding citizen.
Despite the many benefits a “fair tax” system would offer, one will never be implemented in America. This is because Congress would have to pass such an act, but in doing so they would be relinquishing almost all of their power. Congress’s power to legislate is mainly utilized to offer tax breaks or subsidies to narrow groups of individuals whose work is deemed “essential.” Take away Congress’s ability to offer tax breaks, and you take away their power. This is why the “fair tax” will always be just a dream.