Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Personal Note; Election Day Reminder

I am sorry that I have been unable to post to my blog lately, as I have been preoccupied once again with local political matters. I am taking this opportunity to remind all readers that General Election Day is one week from today (Tuesday, November 3) in Pennsylvania and other states.

In the Keystone State, there are some critically important statewide appellate judicial races, including one which will determine which party controls the State Supreme Court (which will be especially important because of congressional redistricting after the 2010 Census), as well as many local races for judges, municipalities and school districts which effect citizens most directly. It is noteworthy that New Jersey and Virginia have gubernatorial elections, while there is a mayoral contest in New York City.

I urge those conservatives who have been protesting the growth of the federal government this year to come out to vote on Tuesday, November 3 in these state elections for those candidates who most closely share their views, which would send a message to Washington to reign in the spending, borrowing and taxing and to restore liberty.

I am eager to return to posting regularly as soon as I can, but am pleased in the meantime to have had this timely opportunity to post today. I thank my readers for their loyalty to my blog.

Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 3!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Obama Admits U.S. Is the Wealthiest Economy

United States President Barak Obama admitted recently that the U.S. is “the wealthiest nation in the world.” He made the comments in order to justify the expenditure of his proposed federalization of health insurance, which amounts to a massive new welfare entitlement financed with tax increases and higher insurance premiums.

Of course, as I have noted in earlier posts, the U.S. is neither a nation nor a nation-state, but a union of states. Regardless, the point is that despite the recession, which Obama and his supporters have attempted to portray as the worst since the Great Depression, he has admitted that the U.S. remains the wealthiest economy in the world.

Wealth is measured by economists in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Even though U.S. GDP has contracted in 2009 for the first time in many years (it even increased in 2008, even though some economists date the beginning of the recession as late 2007), the U.S. GDP is still larger -- by trillions of dollars -- than that of any other economy in the world.

The financial crisis of 2008 did cause the recession to become one of the worst since the Great Depression. Although it is true that it was the worst financial crisis, during which banks became reluctant to extend credit, a depression was avoided by swift federal action. It is not yet clear that the Panic of 2008 has been the worst economic recession, a title still held by the 1981-1982 recession, during which unemployment peaked at well over 10%.

Indeed, those same economists who declared the recession began in 2007 have just announced that the recession is already over -- before most of Obama's policies have taken effect. The same natural business cycle that caused the recession, albeit with some contribution from liberal policies that triggered the collapse of the mortgage industry, has caused its recovery, albeit with some contribution from tax rebates, lower interest rates and the extension of federal credit to the financial industry. In short, this recession was scary, but not proof of the failure of the free market system that would justify Obama's massive spending, borrowing and taxing

Nevertheless, it is worth considering Obama's point that the U.S. economy is so strong that even such a blow as the Panic of 2008, like September 11, could only temporarily weaken it and not even come close to allowing the next largest economies, as measured by GDP, to pass it in size.

If Obama realizes that the U.S. still has the wealthiest economy in the world -- by far -- and the recession is over, according to the economists he trusts, then he should save the 90% of his spending spree that he had insisted was a necessary component of his so-called “stimulus” bill but has not yet been spent. Those hundreds of billions of dollars are thus not necessary to stimulate an economy already in recovery and instead should be saved and used to pay down the debt or reduce taxes, which would promote long-term growth instead of risking another recession which would be caused by the higher taxes and inflation the economic stimulus would necessitate.

Although Obama and his liberal supporters are already making the dubious claim of credit for the economic recovery, we conservatives should encourage the opportunity be taken to rescind the most unnecessary parts of the stimulus spending, which would be good for the U.S. economy, for which both parties could share the credit, as when the Republican Congress rescued the Democratic President Bill Clinton from his economic mistakes. Otherwise, after claiming credit for the current recovery, Obama would not be able to escape the blame for the “double-dip” recession his inflationary policies would trigger.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Celebrate Columbus Day

Two major media articles recently focused on the Columbus Day Holiday. Neither was positive, with one praising the negative treatment of Christopher Columbus in schools as being more balanced, and the other focusing on how the holiday is increasingly less observed in terms of days off or celebrations and is under attack from those who do not appreciate the achievement of the Discoverer of the New World.

The first article celebrated how the negative aspects of the Discovery of the New World, or even about Columbus himself, are included in the curriculum in many schools across the United States, which the article indicated represents a change from the more heroic treatment of Columbus before. I find this premise shocking, as Columbus was totally ignored in the curriculum of the 1970s and early 1980s to which I was exposed. Furthermore, it is nothing new for the left to criticize Columbus, as it has long been a trend among liberals to attempt to ruin the reputations of American heroes and Founders. The far left especially does not appreciate the introduction of Christianity and Western ideals of liberty and equality to the New World by Columbus. Leftists cannot acknowledge that it was these very ideals that ended slavery, not the pseudo-egalitarian Marxism to which they subscribe.

The Discovery of the New World by Columbus led to its liberation not only from slavery and politically, but spiritually because God is Freedom. The beginnings of liberation could already be seen in Columbus’ own time. Indeed, Columbus could be called the Liberator of the Caribbean Sea. That sea was named for the Carib Indians, who practiced a most vicious form of cannibalism, in which they would capture Taino Indians, kill them and eat them, except for the young women, whom they raped so as to produce young males, whom they would fatten until adolescence, upon which they, too, would be killed and eaten. The Tainos lived in absolute terror of the Caribs, until Columbus liberated them. The multiculturalist left who insists that all cultures are equal, except that it condemns Western Civilization as the root of all evil, cannot bring itself either to criticize any non-Westerners for such practices or to give the least bit of credit to Westerners for ending them.

It is not unreasonable to raise the point that the initial contact between any two peoples leads to an exchange of diseases, as there is a lack of immunity on the part of one people for the diseases carried by the other. Therefore, it is something that would have happened if the American Indians had discovered the Old World. However, this necessary consequence of discoveries ought not to be the primary emphasis on the Discovery of the New World, which would be like regarding the Discovery and all the riches and new foods it brought as a bad thing for the Old World strictly because the Indians gave the Europeans syphilis. In other words, it is one thing to point out negative consequences of the Discovery, but another thing to regard the entire Discovery as a bad thing because of them, despite all the good things which outweigh them.

Finally, the article on the curriculum made much of the ignorant old argument that Columbus could not have discovered the New World because there were already people there, as if Columbus’ discovery detracts from theirs, as if one’s discovery is mutually exclusive of another’s, or even as if to credit Columbus for his discovery is to ignore the humanity of the American Indians. It ought to be reasonable to expect that in a school, the origin of the word discovery would be explained in the first place. Alas, it is often not. Discovery comes from the Latin prefix dis, which means “to do the opposite of” and the word cover, which put together mean “to uncover.” The Atlantic Ocean was the cover that hid the Old World and New from each other. Through his exceptional skills as a navigator, Columbus removed that cover by permanently bridging the two worlds, which produced a double discovery as each world discovered the other – the greatest discovery in the history of the world.

As for the second article, I intend this post to represent a proper commemoration of Columbus Day, contrary to the trend of minimizing or ignoring the day. Conservatives ought to celebrate Columbus Day as equally as other federal or state holidays and support accurate education about the Discovery of the New World as part of a broad defense of Western Civilization.

Happy Columbus Day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Liberal Popularity Contest

United States President Barak Hussein Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, a once prestigious prize that has been reduced to a popularity contest for European liberals. Along with some more worthy awardees, Obama joins a gallery of fools, phonies, violent communists and even a terrorist who have won the prize in recent decades.

The selection by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee of the new U.S. president also reflects a trend toward awarding recipients in the hope that they will achieve peace, instead of awarding those who have already achieved it.

The Nobel Committee’s announcement that it was awarding the Peace Prize to Obama was unusual because it contained numerous criticisms of another individual, namely former President George W. Bush, and by extension, the United States, none of which were necessary if Obama’s accomplishments were worthy of the award on their own merit. Instead, it appears as if the Committee awarded the Prize to Obama for representing a break with Bush’s policies, with which it sometimes did not agree.

In selecting Obama, the Nobel Committee pointed to Obama’s emphasis on diplomacy and his acceptance of the primacy of the United Nations. It welcomed Obama’s policies as changes from those of Bush, as if he did not support diplomacy or the U.N. Apparently, the fact that Bush did what the U.N was unwilling to do in order to enforce its own resolutions was interpreted by the Nobel Committee as a rejection of the primacy of the U.N.

Bush did, in fact, engage in diplomacy – through the U.N – in regard to Iraq. He had obtained a unanimous vote from the UN Security Council threatening Iraq with war for failing to fulfill its obligations under previous U.N resolutions to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction programs. I doubt that opponents of the Liberation of Iraq who complain about a lack of sufficient “diplomacy,” like the Nobel Committee, mean diplomacy between the U.S. and Saddam Hussein. They more likely mean diplomacy with the French and others at the time who lacked the willingness to back up their words and enforce U.N resolutions. In other words, these supporters of “diplomacy” mean that the U.S. should have agreed with those opponents who favored continuing weapons inspections upon which Iraq was cheating, while continuing economic sanctions, upon which Iraq was also cheating. Neither act, however, would have represented diplomacy, let alone resolved the crisis. For many liberals, especially European ones, the process is more important than the result. Moreover, Bush attained numerous diplomatic agreements with other states in regard to cooperation in the War on Terrorism. But when it better served U.S. interests, he bypassed the U.N and instead diplomatically gained unanimous support from NATO, such as in Afghanistan.

The Nobel Committee remarked that a leader only has authority when his leadership is based on the views of a majority, which is a typical liberal European view. A policy is neither right nor wrong based upon popularity, but upon whether it is moral and effective. Furthermore, majority vote of U.N. members would mean two things that hardly confer legitimacy: 1) weighing the vote of each member, no matter how small, as equal to that of the greatest powers and 2) weighing the votes of dictatorships that violate human rights as equal with those of representative democracies that respect human rights.

The Committee cited Obama’s encouragement of another round of negotiations between the Israelis and the Arabs even though no agreement is expected from the latest round. Apparently, the Committee, which never awarded the Peace Prize to President George W. Bush, gave Bush less credit for successfully mediating an end to the long, bloody civil war in Southern Sudan and successfully mediating a quick end to the Macedonian civil war before it escalated into a major regional conflict than to Obama for only initiating the latest round of peace talks on the Palestinian Question – something that every recent U.S. president has done.

Obama had expressed the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, which the Nobel Committee cited as a factor worthy of the Peace Prize. Every recent U.S. president has expressed similar thoughts. Apparently, President George W. Bush received less credit from the Nobel Committee for successfully negotiating nuclear weapons cuts with Russia than it gave Obama for only announcing his goal.

Finally, the Nobel Committee again contrasted Obama’s support for climate change policies with Bush’s policies. Liberals believe that climate change will lead to conflict. Apparently, Bush’s extraordinarily successful humanitarian efforts in Africa did not merit consideration.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been given to a number of undeserving awardees over the last quarter century:
Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid in South Africa, even though he refused to condemn the violent practices towards other blacks of the communist African National Congress; Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet dictator who tried to rescue communism, was awarded the Peace Prize for not invading Europe after the overthrow of communism there, as if he would have been reasonable to have done so; Terrorist Yassir Arafat shared the Prize with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after having made an agreement with Israel that he failed to keep and reverting to terrorism; Rigoberta Menchu, the Marxist opponent of the pro-American Guatemalan government, won the Prize based upon her autobiography, which was later exposed as containing false accusations of atrocities against that government, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize for his support for human rights that has largely been unsuccessful, and for the deal he made on behalf of President Bill Clinton with North Korea’s Communist regime to eliminate its nuclear weapons program in return for generous aid, a deal it began to violate not long after Carter’s appeasement.

Conversely, George W. Bush is in good company with some of the people the Nobel Committee never deemed worthy of a Peace Prize, such as Ronald Reagan, who, as the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “won the Cold War without firing a shot,” or Pope John Paul II the Great, for his successful nonviolent opposition to communism. The Nobel Committee would never have considered Bush for the Peace Prize for combating the scourge of terrorism.

Thankfully, the Nobel Committee made no mention of Obama’s role as a wartime president in Iraq or Afghanistan. To his credit, Obama defended his support for the Afghan War in his speech announcing his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, citing the danger to world peace represented by the enemy the U.S. is fighting there. It is a concern that the award will alter Obama’s decision-making as Commander in Chief in order to live up to the reputation – a result that some have speculated was the Committee’s purpose. We conservatives must continue to encourage Obama not to reject his generals’ proposal to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan in order to win the counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban so that they do not take that country over again and turn it back into a safe haven for al-Qaeda and other terrorists, or not to avoid the last-resort option of military force against Iran if it is necessary to prevent that terrorist-sponsoring regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Readers' Opinion Survey: The Greatest Foreign Threat to U.S. Security

I am interested in what the readers of this blog consider to be the greatest foreign threat to the security of the United States. Therefore, I am inviting you to participate in an opinion survey.

There are many choices. Please choose from among the following, listed in alphabetical order:

China, H1N1 Influenza, Iran/Syria/Hezbollah/Hamas, North Korea, al-Qaeda and its allies, Russia, or Venezuala and its allies

I did not include illegal drugs because -- alas -- it is an import arising from domestic demand, which makes it an internal threat. I also did not include the entry of people into the U.S., legally or illegally, as it is more of a potential means for the other security threats to enter than a security threat itself. However, please feel free to make another choice in addition to the ones I have suggested.

Please post a comment to this post indicating your choice and a brief explanation. You may choose more than one if you are categorizing your choices (e.g. greatest short-term threat vs. long-term threat, most likely to attack, most potentially dangerous, etc.).

I shall reserve from commenting on the choices until after I have received your responses. The more responses, the better the survey will be. Look for a post summarizing the results and providing my thoughts within a few weeks. Until then, readers may follow the progress of the survey by viewing the comments.

Thank you for your participation. I hope you enjoy the opportunity to express your thoughts.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Six-Month Blog Report

Thank you for visiting my blog. There have now been well over 800 visits to my blog since April 2. Hits have come from all but three States in the Union, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as 44 foreign states. California and Malaysia continue to be the American and foreign state leaders, respectively. Searchers have landed on 56 pages and viewed a total of ten more, in addition to those searchers who also visited my homepage. Interesting hits in the last month from searchers included the first visit from an Ivy League School, the University of Pennsylvania, as well as one from the National Defense University. I am especially appreciative of those of you who regularly view my homepage.

Please continue to visit every few days and to post comments or to ask questions or make suggestions for topics. Again, thank you for making blogging enjoyable.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Two Unintended Positive Consequences of Obama's Policies

There have been at least two positive consequences of the policies of United States President Barak Obama that he did not intend.

The first one has been a sharp increase in the purchase of guns, which represents the bonus of being one of the few policies Obama has implemented that have actually stimulated the economy. Many Americans apparently have been concerned that the Obama Administration might try to violate the right to keep and bear arms that is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Therefore, they are stocking up on guns and ammunition.

The second one has been that a plurality of Americans now consider themselves to be pro-life, as opposed to having been pro-abortion before Obama took office. Obama's policy of providing taxpayer money to groups that promote abortion abroad, as well as to the destruction of human embryos, has caused some Americans to reconsider their views on abortion. Obama's proposed federalization of health care would include coverage for abortion, which may be adding to the discontent that some Americans are experiencing on this issue.

The World is Rejecting Obama

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected the passionate in-person pleas of United States President Barak Obama and his wife on behalf of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympics and instead awarded the bid to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chicago, Obama's hometown, received the least number of votes among the four cities bidding to host the quadrennial games.

Obama's premise as a presidential candidate was that American allies were not cooperating with the U.S. because of a lack of respect for U.S. President George W. Bush. Obama's liberal supporters supported a change in American foreign policy, which they believed would be better served by a more humble and enlightened leader. They opposed the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, whose policies they regarded as too similar to Bush's.

Two examples that Obama and his supporters cited were Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan. In the case of the former, American allies were reluctant to accept Bush's requests to take in terrorist detainees in order to help the U.S. close the facility that its allies opposed. In the latter case, American allies were reluctant to send a significant number of combat troops to Afghanistan to support the American war effort there. However, there are a number of reasons why American allies decline to assist the U.S., none of which were necessarily based upon a lack of respect for Bush in particular.

American allies have declined to accept terrorist detainees for the same reasons that Americans do not want the terrorists on their soil, either. One reason American allies declined to send anything more than a few combat troops to Afghanistan is because they are unable to do so, as they have become increasingly dependent on American protection and have neglected to contribute financially to their own defense.

A reason some allies oppose American policies at times is just for the sake of opposing American policies in order to appear independent from the U.S. to their domestic populations, or out of nationalism, as in the case of the previous French government (which has since been replaced by a more pro-American one), which had declared its policy to be based upon opposition to a unipolar (read: American-led) world.

Another reason American allies sometimes oppose U.S. policies is because they sometimes disagree with the U.S. Their populations especially hold different views from Americans, if not the governments themselves. For example, many Europeans and other Westerners do not regard the Afghan War as their war, but as an American war. Indeed, they do not regard it as any more of a war of necessity than the Liberation of Iraq. They regard both as wars of choice, as they do not even consider the War on Terrorism to be a literal war. Furthermore, they are more concerned about provoking terrorist attacks by siding with the U.S., such as the Madrid bombing by al-Qaeda that resulted in the election of a liberal government that rewarded terrorism by pulling Spanish troops from Iraq as al-Qaeda had demanded.

Bush was nonetheless able to receive much cooperation from allies and others around the world for the War on Terrorism, but American allies oppose American policies at times for their own reasons, not necessarily because of a lack of personal respect for the American president.

Obama and his supporters expected that his personal qualities and anti-American rhetoric would lead to greater cooperation from American allies than Bush received in regard to Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan, but he has not received significantly more support in either case: allies have agreed to accept only a token number of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo and have promised to send only a few more combat troops to Afghanistan.

The rejection of these American requests made by Obama, together with the IOC's rejection of Chicago's bid, disproves the premise held by Obama and his supporters that the lack of allied support for the U.S. was because of Bush. Opposition from American allies and others to U.S. policies and interests is not because of a lack of respect for Obama, per se, any more than it was of Bush, but because Obama's premise held that allied opposition to the U.S. was strictly personal, then he must accept the personal responsibility for allied rejection of himself. Indeed, Obama's premise only served to raise the stakes for his requests to allies for assistance. Obama and his liberal supporters appear to be suffering from the psychological condition of projection, whereby they are projecting domestic attitudes onto foreigners.

Moreover, Obama's anti-American rhetoric appears to be validating anti-Americanism instead of abating it through his emphasis on a change in American foreign policy, a concern I first expressed here in my post, Obama's Anti-American Address to Muslims Fails to Achieve Its Purpose, in regard to Muslims. His rhetoric is apparently having a similar effect on anti-American Westerners.

The world's rejection of Obama's policies is exposing him and his liberal supporters as foolish and their policies as counterproductive, to the detriment of American interests.