pseudobbs

Just another version of Shawn Dobbs

Archive for the category “Politics & News”

Romney was right on… Sort of

The last few days there’s been a lot of uproar over a leaked tape of Mitt Romney speaking to a crowd in Florida back in May. The controversy surrounds his belief that 47% of voters will almost certainly vote for Obama because 47% of voters don’t pay taxes and thus are unresponsive to Romney’s message of lowering taxes. I believe that Romney’s assumption is correct, but for the wrong reasons.

Obama is also trying to claim that his administration will lower taxes. As it so happens, both candidates are lying, but why would Obama make such a big deal about lowering taxes if that message doesn’t resonate with his voter base?

Romney went on to say that this 47% are “reliant on government and believe they are victims;” that the government has a responsibility to take care of them and provide them with food, shelter, health care, and money. This is obviously untrue; that figure says more about the inherent flaws in our tax code than it does about the attitudes and beliefs of half our country. Although, in Romney’s defense, a large portion of our population does indeed feel that way, and that portion will almost certainly vote for Obama.

But the crux of the controversy comes when Romney says it is not his job as president to worry about those people. One woman’s response to this statement was that it made her ‘sick to her stomach.’ What has people so enraged is that Romney is telling the truth.

As mentioned earlier, 47% of voters do not pay taxes. The number of people who are truly dependent on government for their livelihood and believe it is the responsibility of the government to take care of them is significantly less than this 47%, but the truth is it is not the President’s responsibility to worry about them. The United States has one of the most expensive and extravagant welfare programs on earth, and our system does more than enough to help those in need, as long as they are willing to put the same effort forth.

For those who demand their livelihood from the government, it doesn’t matter who is in office. No matter the amount of welfare and entitlements we dish out, they will never be satisfied. A person can only do so much for another person before they finally have to give up and let them do it for themselves before both persons sink, and this includes the President. For some people, no amount is great enough, and it is irresponsible and impossible to constantly take into account the desires of those who cannot differentiate between want and need, and who always ‘need’ more.

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The Problem with the Arab Spring

The news was recently released that several European countries have been holding secret talks with the militant group Hamas.  Though no official response has yet come from the White House, we can be fairly certain that the response will be one of displeasure.  However, the United States has yet to determine its Middle Eastern policy since the Arab Spring last year, in which several Mideastern countries overthrew their governments in favor of more hard-line Islamist regimes. 

The failure of our government to develop a concrete policy towards the Middle East is a result of our own short-sightedness in our foreign policy.  There are two major problems with the United States’ attitude toward the Mideast.

Firstly, we are trying in vain to instill a Western style democracy in the area, when our objective should be to spread economic liberalization instead, using China as a model.  With China’s increased economic freedoms has come, out of necessity, a certain degree of political and social reform. 

No matter how much we wish for it, the Middle Eastern countries are, and will remain, a theocracy.  This is most apparent in Egypt, which most in the United States thought would immediately embrace liberal democracy in the wake of their political coup.  However, Egyptians instead went the other direction, choosing to put their support behind the Muslim Brotherhood or the Egyptian military, which is equally fundamentalist.  The other Arab Spring countries have followed suit.

It is becoming clear that citizens of most Middle Eastern countries do not want a Western style democracy, but they do want some of the benefits that the West enjoys.  This leads in to the second major problem in US foreign policy.

Historically the United States has attempted to reward those countries who embrace democratic reforms while sanctioning those who do not.  This has led to many of the problems we face today.  We are in essence flying by the seat of our pants, rewarding countries who take advantage of this short sighted policy.  The countries of the Middle East have no interest in embracing liberal Western democracy, but it is easy enough for them to throw us a bone once in a while in order to get money or some other sort of reward that they want.  Afterwards, they revert to their old ways.

The United States should stop attempting to provide incentives for these countries to liberalize.  We should recognize that because of the theocratic nature of their governments, it will never happen.  Instead, we should end the system of handouts, rewards, and sanctions and adhere to a simpler guideline.  Engage in trade and commerce with those countries who do not abuse human rights or attempt to illegally develop nuclear weapons, and do not do so with those that do.

This policy allows for consistency while ending the on-again off-again nature of our relationship with the region.  By encouraging trade and free markets, we would, much like China, see a gradual degree of liberalization emerge out of necessity.  We should stop sending humanitarian aid to corrupt governments who do not allow that aid to reach their citizens anyway.

In order to completely disengage from countries that do not meet these simple requirements for a trade relationship with the United States, it is imperative that we curb our dependence on Middle Eastern oil by developing our own resources, investing in renewable energy sources, and increasing trade with Latin America and Canada.  Renewable energy sources hold great promise, but only if we can develop them to the point where they are effective and cost efficient.

A sensible and consistent Middle Eastern policy is essential to our own safety and economic security.  It is important that we end our practice of begging for the Middle East to democratize and dishing out billions in aid to what amounts to nothing more than a half hearted attempt to string us along.

“I Inherited this Mess”

When attempting to make a case for why the public should even consider reelecting a man who has failed to keep nearly every promise he made prior to swindling- I mean, winning- office (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-broken/) there is one fallback that the President would most certainly not use this time around, although it would actually be the truth.

“We inherited this economic mess.”  (Or one of a million versions of that statement oft repeated)

We’ve heard this line before, of course.  It has been used by Team Obama for four years to explain why his administration can’t seem to do anything with the economy (or anything else).  In fact, this line has been repeated so often the mainstream media has taken it as fact, and seems to have completely forgotten about that pesky little housing bubble that was the catalyst for it all.  No, now it was all George Bush and the GOP that caused the recession.  Never mind that subprime mortgage practices were introduced and encouraged by President Carter’s “Community Reinvestment Act” over 30 years ago (http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/09/28/franks_fingerprints_are_all_over_the_financial_fiasco/).

The Clinton administration and Andrew Cuomo (Director of FHA at the time) only exacerbated this problem (http://www.openmarket.org/2008/09/16/clinton-pressure-to-promote-affordable-housing-led-to-mortgage-meltdown/).  Weak attempts were made during the Bush administration to reform lending standards as well as Fannie and Freddy, but these were half-hearted attempts at best.

But to rely on actual facts would mean that nothing was inherited from the previous administration, and someone in this administration would have to assume responsibility.  Perhaps the President?  Not a chance. Ms. Clinton?  Not likely.  Maybe the first lady?  It would seem not.  Eric Holder?  Nope.  Nancy Pelosi?  Harry Reid?  Any Democrat in Congress?  No, no, and no.

Lucky for Obama, come November this year, the previous administration will be his own, and then he can accurately blame “the previous administration” all he wants.  It might just be the first time I would take this President at his word.

Warren Buffett Should Not Be a Role Model

Warren Buffett Should Not Be a Role Model

 

“The soul…can’t be ruled.  It must be broken.  Drive a wedge in, get your fingers on it- and the man is yours.  You won’t need a whip-he’ll bring it to you and ask to be whipped.  Set him in reverse- and his own mechanism will do your work for you.

Make man feel small.  Make him feel guilty.  Kill his aspiration and his integrity…Kill integrity by internal corruption.  Use it against itself.  Direct it toward a goal destructive of all integrity.  Preach selflessness.  Tell man that he must live for others.  Tell men that altruism is the ideal.  Not a single one of them has ever achieved it and not a single one ever will.  His every living instinct screams against it…Man realizes that he’s incapable of what he’s accepted as the noblest virtue- and it gives him a sense of guilt, of sin, of his own basic unworthiness.  Since the supreme ideal is beyond his grasp, he gives up eventually all ideals, all aspiration, all sense of his personal value.”

-Ayn Rand; The Fountainhead

For a perfect example of this principle in action, you don’t have to look far.  Well, you probably don’t even have to look outside of the room you’re in or the street you’re on; most people have come to accept some version of this attitude and live by it.  But for an obvious, screaming, can’t-be-ignored living example of this, look no further than 3555 Harney Street, at the offices of Warren E. Buffett.

Warren Buffett has experienced tremendous success through his ability to foresee outcomes and recognize greatness and integrity in others.  Some say Buffett got rich through luck, or through no work of his own, but that’s simply untrue.  While Buffett does maintain a team of investors today that do the majority of his work for him, he accumulated his first millions through long hours of dedicated labor.

Anyone with a sense of self-worth and personal integrity would be proud of these achievements.  The man of self-worth would show through example how to achieve success, and attempt to inspire others to reach the same heights as he.  Instead, Buffett preaches the injustice of his success, viewing it as a damnable offense to society.

“While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks.”

“[The wealthy] have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.  It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

Besides showing an ignorance of and disdain for our armed forces, typical of liberal plutocrats, these statements reveal Buffett’s “sense of guilt, of sin, of his own basic unworthiness.”  Only those who believe in the unworthiness of all of us “get serious about shared sacrifice.”  Those of us who believe in the principled spirit of mankind, the spirit that gave us the power to fly, the power to walk on water, the power to create the wonders of the world, the towers, the symphonies, the sculptures; the power to be prophets and shapers of our own destinies and futures, those of us who understand that THIS is the essence of mankind, would never preach the value of “shared sacrifice.”  We would preach the value of shared success, of our human ability to elevate ourselves out of a pitiable position and into one of honor and fulfillment, such as Mr. Buffett.  A man with integrity would be proud of an achievement such as Mr. Buffett has achieved.

Rather than pitying those who are “below” him, Buffett should encourage and teach.  Rather than giving away his integrity (his money-the tangibility of his ethic and success) to various charities and others he pities and berating Mitch McConnell for not doing the same, Buffett should seek to use his wealth to give the foundation and structure of his success to others who are capable yet have not the opportunity.  Rather than pity, a man of integrity should feel exalted and optimistic that if he can achieve this kind of success, so can others.  Pity is the most disrespectful feeling one man can have for another.

“…pity- this complete awareness of a man without worth or hope, this sense of finality, of the not to be redeemed.  There was shame in this feeling- his own shame that he should have to pronounce such judgment upon a man, that he should know an emotion which contained no shred of respect.

This is pity, he thought, and he lifted his head in wonder.  He thought that there must be something terribly wrong with a world in which this monstrous feeling is called a virtue.”

-Ayn Rand; The Fountainhead

Leave campaigning to the Republicans

This is from an article published in the UNO Gateway student newspaper, 01-18-12.  The newspaper article was titled “Obama’s strategy in 2012: Anyone but Obama!”

The Gallup daily tracking poll has been tracking the political leanings of U.S. citizens since the 2008 election, and has come up with some interesting results.  Since 2008, the percentage of people who call themselves conservative has increased by 2% while people who call themselves liberal has decreased by 1%.

Within the GOP, voters have reflected this trend almost exactly.  Registered Republicans who consider themselves conservative has grown 3% since 2008, while registered Republicans who call themselves moderate has decreased 3%.  The final totals stand thusly- Republicans who consider themselves conservative make up 68% of the party, while moderates make up only 26% of the party.

On the other hand, Democrats are becoming increasingly out of touch with the values of the general public.  Registered Democrats who call themselves conservative (by democratic standards) have dropped 3%, while those who call themselves liberal has increased by 2%.

This should be the first thing Republican strategists look at in 2012.  Given the state of the economy, fiscal conservatism has become a prerequisite for gaining the nomination, while social conservatism has been placed on the back burner.

This puts Santorum, Huntsman and Perry squarely out of the running, as reflected by their dismal performances in Iowa and New Hampshire.  Of these three, only Huntsman has been able to face reality, finally throwing in the towel Monday morning.  Santorum and Perry are still trudging along under the delusion that they are bringing something new to the table. When in reality they are both merely watered-down versions of Gingrich, the only candidate besides Romney with a full understanding of the multitude and importance of the issues facing the nation today.

They have been trumped by the more fiscally conservative positions of Romney, Gingrich, and Paul.  Of these, Romney remains the most moderate.  So why is it that a moderate like Romney (Moderomney, if you will) is gaining momentum with every passing day?  It’s as if he has channeled the spirit of Secretariat in the GOP race.  The answer is fragmentation.

The base of the GOP is more conservative than Romney, so they vote for more conservative candidates.  Many flock to Newt Gingrich.  Many flock to Ron Paul.  Hardline social conservatives flock to Rick Santorum.  Pigeons flock to the empty lot that, until just a few days ago, housed Huntsman 2012 HQ.  What this means is the base of the GOP has divided its votes amongst the true conservatives, paving the way for Moderomney to win with ease.

Looking ahead to Nov., these numbers indicate for conservatives to pull off a victory, they must nominate someone who espouses the conservative values of the base, or this election cycle will go down in history as “2012: 2008 Part Two.”  In an atmosphere this politically charged, Conservatives have a unique opportunity to present to the American public someone who represents their values, someone who is as conservative as the majority of Americans claim to be.  The current President is as far left as any President has been, and the Democrat party is continuing to move in that direction.  For the GOP to pull out a victory, they must highlight this important difference.  The GOP’s values are shifting in tandem with the public, while Democrats are becoming more radically disengaged from the public.

To avoid living 2008 all over again, Conservatives have to unite behind a Conservative.  Without a true conservative candidate in the race in Nov., the voting block giving the GOP its fire right now will become disillusioned, and the party’s chances of gaining the White House will fizzle.

Republican voters are split, and the current situation benefits only one candidate- President Obama.  The President’s strategy for the rest of the year has already been determined by his contenders- he can just sit back and watch.  “Anyone but Obama” is the most assured way to receive only Obama.

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