Archive from January, 2011
31 Jan
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Egypt Crisis 360°

One of my best friends is an Egyptian Catholic Copt.

Youssef was raised in Cairo, educated in a French Catholic school, and speaks Arabic, French, and English.  His father is Catholic and his mother is Coptic Orthodox.  I met Youssef 7.5 years ago on my first day of college in Montreal.  We were roommates for 3 years.

Much of my understanding of Egypt comes from Youssef and his stories about home, complemented by my own readings and close following of current events.  Youssef’s father owns a printing press and has, at times, been relatively active in political movements aimed at creating a free and democratic society.  Youssef’s mother works for an American company in the sphere of university-related services.  His family, like most families in Egypt, is devoutly religious.  I remember hearing his family’s typical schedule for Holy Week, which includes fasting and Church services that stretch for 6 hours at a time.  The Christians of Egypt, 10% of the population, in this regard remain a cohesive community, separate and apart from their secular relations with Muslims on the streets everyday.

I’ll recall briefly a few anecdotal stories of the anti-Christian and anti-Western hatred that permeates Egypt.  The fatal stabbings of two nuns that generated no police investigation; a cab driver claiming that “the Americans” stored their weapons in local Churches; unemployed masses of (often illiterate) men smoking shisha, listening to an Imam denounce all that did not comport with his own individual interpretation of the Qur’an.  Of course, there are fairly regular bombings of churches and other acts of terrorism against the Christian minority, to say nothing of Egyptian Jews.

President Hosni Mubarak, a secular leader in the tradition of Nasser and Sadat, has clung to power partially through his alleged protection of this Christian minority and its ancient traditions and roots.  Mubarak has also enjoyed the support of the West and of Israel, for maintaining the peace treaty that his predecessor, Sadat brokered and for which he was assassinated.  For this Mubarak, at times a ruthless dictator whose secret police routinely arrest, torture, and kill political dissidents, was viewed as an ally.  Egypt is the second largest recipient of American aid, with a total of $1.5 billion allocated to humanitarian and military causes annually.

Mubarak also enjoys the support of the Egyptian military, perhaps the most important of all Egyptian secular institutions.  A decorated war veteran and former head of the Egyptian Air Force, his ties with the generals run deep.  While the police of Egypt, 3x more numerous than the military, are deeply corrupt and hated by the populace, the military is generally respected.

Mubarak’s leading political opponents are the Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan in Arabic).  Founded in 1928, the stated political goal of this Islamic group is a worldwide Sunni caliphate: that is, a totalitarian Islamic state spanning the globe.  One of its most influential intellectuals is Sayyid-Qutb, whose 1964 Milestones denounces Western decadence and calls for rule based strictly on the jurisprudence as derived from the Qur’an.  Osama bin Laden’s spiritual mentor, Ayman al-Zawahiri was a member of the Brotherhood; Al-Qaeda itself is an outgrowth of the Brotherhood, as is Hamas.

Mubarak outlawed the Brotherhood in Egypt, barring them from participating in elections.  This suggests a popular threat to secular rule.  To get around the ban, Brotherhood politicians have run as Independents.  According to news reports, the Brotherhood is the provider of food, health care, security, and other basic services to the vast majority of Egyptians; quite similar to the function of the American mafia of yesteryear in ethnic communities.  Having forsworn violence, their operatives now prefer a sophisticated approach to gain further popularity including religious messaging, anti-Western sentiment, anti-government populism, and genuinely useful social activism.

In recent years the Brotherhood has grown in strength, mainly because President Mubarak’s inability to successfully reform the economy of Egypt.  High unemployment has been a problem for decades.  Inflation eats away at the purchasing power of the Egyptian pound.  State socialism, the legacy of Nasser, stifles opportunity and leaves young men and women socially ostracized.  The events in Tunisia, fueled by very similar economic conditions, gave the impetus for a spontaneous revolt among Egyptians, who are struggling to afford basic living necessities.

Mubarak’s violent suppression and outlawing of the Brotherhood, while supported by Egyptian Christians generally as well as the West, garners them additional support from sympathetic citizens, who depend on the Brotherhood in order to subsist.  Polls of Egyptian support for the Brotherhood range from 30% to 80%, depending on the source and how the questions are asked.  (See here for a sample.)  Perhaps the last significant event to damage Mubarak’s credibility was his 2009 announcement to name his son Gamal as his successor, reinforcing his reputation as a Pharaoh-like ruler with dynastic succession.  (His party, the NDP, garnered over 99% of the votes in the last so-called election.)

Egypt itself, by virtue of its geographically strategic position, its status as an intellectual and cultural center in the Middle East, and its 80 million inhabitants, is of critical strategic importance to U.S. interests in the region, and globally.  The wrong successor to Mubarak could conceivably cancel the peace treaty with Israel.  Oil prices, steadily rising over the last 6 months to $90/barrel, could spike at $120, $140, or more.  This would almost certainly throw our (albeit very meager) economic recovery into a tailspin.  Military agreements with Egypt, which have been strong from 30 years, could be canceled, presenting complicating logistical challenges.

Nobody would accuse President Mubarak of being a benevolent dictator.  By all accounts, he is a fierce tyrant who plays off fears to stay in power and trades his peace with Israel and his Western-friendly posturing for silence from the West.  Hence, the United States, which has always supported his rule, is in a difficult position.  On the one hand, the protests began with the youth of Egypt, who were in all likelihood looking for genuine democratic reforms and increased freedom.  On the other hand, this is also how the Iranian Revolution, which ushered in Khomeini, began.  Mubarak, a thuggish ruler unresponsive to the needs his people, can in many respects be compared to the Shah, whose aggressive and violent repression of Islamic extremist and moderate citizen alike, eventually led to his toppling.  It was only a matter of a few short years before the Iranian Revolution turned sour, leaving many longing for a return to the days of the Shah.

The best-case scenario would look something like this: Mubarak announces his intention not to run for office in the next election, and a truly free election leads to the the rise of a Western friendly, popular, liberal reformer.  Unfortunately, this is almost unimaginable.  The currently anarchic protest movement right now seems to be rallying around the intellectual and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.  ElBaradei was previously Director General of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency; a position in which he was generally viewed as uncooperative to American interests, and Iranian friendly.  ElBaradei has a history of being Brotherhood tolerant, if not outright friendly.  Just yesterday, it was reported that the Brotherhood endorsed ElBaradei as “spokesman for the opposition groups.”  While ostensibly more moderate and  Western-friendly than the Brotherhood, Elbaradei is not viewed as a strong leader capable of maintaining secular rule.  Legitimate fears exist that he would soon be replaced by a Brotherhood leader after he had served his transitional role.  The West, thrilled and worried with the freedom uprising, can be fairly confident that no Egyptian equivalent of James Madison will emerge popular and powerful.  If he or she exists, the culture would not support his or her political rise.

It is hard for Westerners to understand the thinking in foreign nations.  The cultural miscommunication between the United States and Europe, at times more or less pronounced, pales in comparison that with the Arab world.  Lack of common religious traditions, few common institutions, a radically different language, a history of warfare and invasion, and a modern world plagued by Islamic terrorism provide the psychic and historical barriers to better understanding.  Western projection of values is truly ignorance and naivete in the extreme.  America’s successful support for democratic rule in the Middle East, most notably Iraq, have come at a great cost and only after many long years of setbacks.  Two weeks ago, Egypt was thought to be a stable and reliable ally.  This is no longer a safe assumption.

My friend Youssef is unquestionably happy with the events unfolding.  As a liberal 20-something, living among Westerners while completing a Masters Degree in Engineering, he despises President Mubarak, his intolerance for political dissent, rampant police corruption and abuses, social unrest, the obviously rigged elections, and sporadic terrorism that define the Egyptian state and polity.  As a friend and as an American, it is difficult to express simultaneously my support for human freedom and also a reluctance to fully embrace a revolutionary movement without a defined purpose.  Power loves a vacuum, they say, and here a vacuum is being created.  Typically such vacuums suck in the most powerful and organized political organizations.  Illegal or not, the Brotherhood is that group, their only potential competitor being the Egyptian military; much more so than young students and democratic activists.

30 Jan
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Can Governor Cuomo Resist Pressure from the Far-Left?

Our newly-minted governor has recently spoken some refreshing words regarding the size of government in New York State (OK, try not to laugh people). He has stated that significant budgetary reductions are needed in order to keep the state from defaulting on its loans. He also states that reducing the size of Albany’s bureaucracy is an absolute must. Part of this is “cleaning up the corruption in Albany”. Finally, he has struck a note with libertarians, indicating that we need to revisit taxation on small businesses to “get our economy going again”. Cuomo sounds more like Susan Collins than Ariana Huffington these days. And, it’s not like Sen. Collins is a stalwart conservative either (although this writer is a long-time fan of hers).

Unfortunately for Cuomo, the ideological left is prepared to harpoon his lofty plans. Welfare groups are loudly complaining about possible cuts in programs to help “the most vulnerable in our communities”. Union thugocracies are threatening to withdraw future political support for cancelling construction projects that are funded with our taxpayer dollars. Teacher’s unions, in particular, decry the reduction in direct state funding for districts, even though our property taxes are sky-high and federal Title I funding can fill in the gap for strugging schools. Special interests groups, like trial lawyers, who benefit from a bloated government, are in no mood for simplifying the state’s civil, penal, or tax codes.

These normally loyal Democratic constituents are giving their de facto leader a very hard time right now. They are not interested in hearing about balancing the budget or reducing the size of government. It’s about living an idealogically liberal ideal in an otherwise austere economy.

Cuomo should be able to “take it on the chin” with the liberal base in 2011 to get things done. Then he can rally the base again in 2012. So why should New York State Republicans care? Because, much damage can be done to our state’s economy between now and the next election. You can almost hear that sucking sound of businesses leaving our state again. Let’s hope Cuomo can resist the siren voices of far-left zealots within his own party.

29 Jan
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Liberalism and The Mortgaging of Our Future

The three major cable news networks, FOX, CNN, and MSNBC reported this week that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has dire predictions for our nation’s finances. Social Security will be insolvent by 2037, not 2042 as originally predicted. Starting this year, Social Security is spending more in benefits than it’s receiving in payroll taxes. With final deficit spending numbers expected to hit $1.5 trillion for 2010, our national debt will exceed $15 trillion. Plus there are at least some economists at every major bank and brokerage house forecasting 1970’s style inflation later this decade and into the 2020’s. What are the Democrats doing about it?

Not much. Obama states he wants “fortify” Social Security to “guarantee” benefits for future generations. He wants to “green” our economy through government “investment”. His health care bill is supposed bring “quality and affordable health care” to the poor and uninsured.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, Social Security will not be around for Generation X and Y. Government sector involvement in the green sector will stifle private industry (real) investment. And, ObamaCare will drive up the cost of health care so much that doctors and hospitals will only be able to afford to provide meager health care to the poor and uninsured. Can you hear the sucking sound of taxpayer dollars being vacuumed into the coffers of insurance companies?

What liberals don’t get is that you can’t live beyond your means forever. They want to provide “social justice” to disadvantaged groups with government programs and debt. What they are doing is stopping minorities and the poor from helping themselves with the tools they need to advance their socioeconomic position in life. But of course, it’s deliberate. It is in their best interest to keep people down, so they have disaffected voting blocks to feast on. When someone says, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”, take Ronald Reagan’s advice and run away as fast as you can.

27 Jan
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25 Jan
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Why Fox News Should Hire Keith Olbermann

After listening to the President Obama’s State of the Union, I first tuned to Fox News to see what the “FOX All-Stars” had say about the speech and it was great to hear the back and forth between 2 liberal-leaning commentators (Juan Williams & Kirsten Powers) and 2 conservative-leaning commentators (Brit Hume & Charles Krauthammer).  It was nice to have some balance in news coverage which so many in the dinosaur media refuse to implement.  However, neither set of commentators made strong points about the speech or took aggressive takes on if they thought President Obama had moved effectively to th center.

However, around quarter to 11,  Sean Hannity came on the air and of course he found President Obama’s speech very flat and didn’t think he was sincere in his attempt to persuade the American people that he was going to cut spending.  As Sean was going through his “ho-hum” opinion…I tuned over to MSNBC where Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell were giving there take on the speech.  And of course…it was a ho hum second-guessing of whether Republicans could even work with President Obama on his new “investment” proposals.

During this time, I was thinking how great it would be if one network featured strong liberal and conservative commentators speaking on the same show at same time.  Usually only the mainstream media applies this approach…but it often matches up 3 strong liberals with 1 weak conservative or 3 strong conservatives with  1 weak liberal.  To me this is not “fair and balanced.”

American media needs  to stop claiming that they are “fair” because they have both parties represented on their network.  Having Alan Colmes on Fox News and Joe Scarborough on MSNBC doesn’t make either network truly “fair.”  It is rather a sham of what news should be in this country.

Nobody in this country can trust supposed “objective” media in this country like ABC  News or the New York Times, because nobody is truly objective about political issues.  Since a majority of the mainstream media tilted liberal for most of the 20th century, it open the door to a revolution in AM radio…called conservative talk radio…led by Rush Limbaugh.  The programming received a following due to the fact that the American public didn’t trust that the mainstream media was giving them the facts straight.  Where Rush and talk radio thrives is in their doubt and parody of the mainstream media.  Most people agree with their sentiment that the media is not telling the “whole” truth and therefore they have built huge audiences that have challenged the power of the “Cronkite/NY Times” model of journalism.

Next, Fox News applied that “liberal leaning” approach to news by coming at from a “conservative” angle.  This drove liberals nuts, since it was another salvo into their overall control of information given to the American people.  As much as Fox has been lambasted by the left, all the insults have only helped them get stronger and now Fox regularly competes with CNN as the most trusted news source.

So with that in mind, I think its time for the media to try something different that will benefit all Americans.  How about just have all journalists admit they are biased.  Yes, have them come out and say that they are liberal-leaning or conservative leaning.  Then, each network should hire 50% liberal commentators and 50% conservative commentators.  This truly would be “fair & balanced” news…since both perspectives would represented in the news.  It would help Americans become better informed about politics and make wiser decisions about who they elect as their leaders.  I also think that it would make more people follow the news and find it useful to follow.

Now, that brings me to the main point of my blog post.  It is time for Fox News to put away its “conservative” only approach to major commentators and hire Keith Olbermann.  Yes, that’s right.  The same guy who gained fame or notoriety (depending on your political persuasion) going after George W. Bush so viciously during his second term in the oval office.  Thought I disagree with nearly everything that Keith Olberman says, it was nice to know that their was someone in the “liberal” media that wasn’t afraid to say that was a liberal.  He wasn’t afraid to say what he believed in.  That is what makes our democracy truly strong.  His opinions were so forthright that caused Americans to pay attention to him and not be lulled to sleep by a mainstream media who doesn’t do their job.

The best news reporting today doesn’t come from the New York Times or the Washington Post…but rather from talkers and bloggers on both sides of the political divide.  Whether it be Breitbart or Think Progress…blogs are the ones who truly break news and bring important issues to the forefront of American voters.  Commentators like Olbermann and Rush rely on these news sources to report to the American people the truth about what is going on in America…even if they just report news that is favorable to their side.

This is why a news outfit like Fox…needs to hire strong commentators from both sides of the aisle in order to be the “New York Times” of the 21st century.  The first news outlet who lets go of partisanship in favor of  strong opinions will be the most successful.  This is why Fox News and MSNBC regularly beat  CNN in the ratings.  CNN’s model for news is dead.  Fox News and MSNBC lead the news race now and are the most influential outlets in the country.  So, in order for Fox News to make CNN and MSNBC irrelevant…as well as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Networks News…it must venture outside of its “conservative” comfort zone…and hire Keith Olbermann.  Even Republicans know that sometime Republicans are the “Worst People in the World”.  That is the type of honesty that all Americans need.

24 Jan
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Goodbye, Mr. Olbermann, and good riddance

There are few times that I will take an opportunity to celebrate the temporary disappearance of a particular talkinghead, but Keith Olbermann is an exception. Though I was lucky enough to see him on television on few occasions, his shows are difficult to forget. Bordering on slander and filled with uncorroborated accusations against Republicans and conservatives, it was a good example of the lengths that the far left will go to win over the public. In the end, he served very little except to rile up his leftist base. It was ironic to see him dub others as “the worst person in the world,” considering his own strong candidacy for the title. Let us hope MSNBC takes this failure as a teachable moment to put someone in their prime-time slot that will provide a constructive voice to the nation’s political dialogue, as opposed to what they have been offering up until now.

21 Jan
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Time Magazine, Chicom Rag

Often you hear claims that Conservative complaints of a Liberal media bias are overblown.  Matt Lauer and Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper – they’re not conservatives, sure, but you cannot claim they are overtly liberal in their broadcasting.  That’s what they say.

Every now and the, however, the mainstream press puts out an article so flagrantly – day I say? – anti-American that any conservative over-hype seems justified.  So Time did yesterday.

In an article entitled Why China Does Capitalism Better than the U.S., Tony Karon of the once-esteemed magazine drips contempt at the idea of liberal (that’s small “l” liberal) democracy and trumpets the growing influence of China and its ruling Communist Party.  Opens the article:

One of the great ironies revealed by the global recession that began in 2008 is that Communist Party–ruled China may be doing a better job managing capitalism’s crisis than the democratically elected U.S. government. Beijing’s stimulus spending was larger, infinitely more effective at overcoming the slowdown and directed at laying the infrastructural tracks for further economic expansion.

One may note that nowhere does it dawn on the author to even consider that half the country was against all government stimulus spending.  The point here is to suggest that the Communist Party was bold, decisive, and constructive, whereas our messy democracy squandered the (too small) stimulus spending.  “As Western democracies shuffle wheezily forward, China’s economy roars along at a steady clip, having lifted some half a billion people out of poverty over the past three decades and rapidly created the world’s largest middle class to provide an engine for long-term domestic consumer demand.”

In the age of Obamacare, bailouts, and takeovers maybe article of this tenor should not come as a surprise.  Politics as practiced is ultimately a reflection of the culture, and in ours there exists significant sympathy for perpetual government intervention (AIG), industrial privilege to tax dollars (GM, Chrysler, banks), and top-down planning (Obamacare).  Time, a national periodical, seemingly adores the Chicoms, who do not bother to dress their authoritarianism in the lofty rhetoric of democratic idealism;  they just get stuff done.

What, specifically, is it that we’re supposed to envy about China?   Time quotes Francis Fukuyama, described as an “erstwhile neoconservative,” explaining that China’s system can “make large, complex decisions quickly, and … make them relatively well, at least in economic policy.”  Further, Fukuyama praises China’s ability to “adap[t] quickly, mak[e] difficult decisions and implemen[t] them effectively,”  Following the theme of the lead paragraph, it is reinforced that the American system has

[B]ecome polarised and ideologically rigid. At present it shows little appetite for dealing with the long-term fiscal challenges the U.S. faces. Democracy in America may have an inherent legitimacy that the Chinese system lacks, but it will not be much of a model to anyone if the government is divided against itself and cannot govern.

Opines the author, “Efficient and rational decision making it’s not. Nor does it appear capable of tackling long-term problems.”* In case you were wondering what the Chinese people were getting in exchange for basic human rights, helpfully embedded in the text is a link to a Time article on “China’s High-Speed Rail.”

That about sums up the disgraceful slant of Time and the apparent loss of conviction by a famous “erstwhile neoconservative” in free democratic societies.  But is there any truth to it?  America is suffering from a complex combination of economic factors and misguided policy that continue to hamper growth.  Paramount among these factors is the burst of the housing bubble, inflated by an easy money policy of nation’s central bank, whose own decision making process – closed-off, insulated from Congress, secretive – resembles in many ways the Chicom’s.

Add to this a policy prescription of more regulation, dramatically increased Federal government spending, stricter “green” regulations on manufacturing, and unease about future tax rates and it should be no wonder why America has yet to recover.  What’s never considered by the Time author is the alternate possibility, shunned by all Democrats and many Republicans, of letting the economy recover through unhampered market exchanges; the alternate possibility of lifting regulations and eliminating bureaucracies, cutting spending, and announcing that the most painful taxes will be eased or eliminated altogether.

There’s much more to dislike in this Time article from the perspective of a conservative (and generally thoughtful person) including muddled history (cf. Karon’s strained commentary on Marxism which seems to hit the wrong note), myopic focus (purported economic growth at the expense of civil liberties), and selective use of statistics (we know America is suffering from the worst poverty in 80 years, but how many truly destitute people live in China?).  An untold number of trees could have been spared the fate of drivel delivery had Karon condensed his article to “America Sucks, Go China!”

In many ways, today’s intellectual climate is reminiscent of the 1930’s: a flagging America, wading through the aftermath of a credit boom and bust, looking east and seeing the apparent rise of authoritarian regimes in Germany and Italy, and striving to emulate them.  Our envy today is in the tradition of that which delivered to us the Fair Deal and New Deal – sequential, dramatic government overreaches that created perpetual unemployment and loss of faith in American capitalism.  Modern China is not Nazi Germany, to be sure, but the commonality they do share is ruthless, tyrannical government action directed at citizens who dare oppose party decree.

Surely this is not our fate.  History delivers a clear judgment on what legal institution ensures prosperity and growth, protects our freedom, and creates a stable and cohesive society.  That institution is private property.

*”Efficient” and “rational” are two words that have been associated with Socialism/Communism for almost two centuries, despite these systems being anything but.  For example, to maximize the efficiency and rationality of France, Saint Simon advocated thinking of all of France as one factory, with different divisions under one authoritarian management; Lenin famously wrote that Russia should “organize the whole economy on the lines of the postal service.”  While in France this was never accomplished, to the extent centralization of all decision making was possible, humanity witnessed the horrific effects of such thinking in Communist countries, including Russia and China, throughout the 20th century.  Famine, rationing, and general poverty disprove the aptness of the two aforementioned adjectives, to say nothing of the dehumanizing social phenomena including secret police, gulags and prisons, antipathy towards authority, and distrust of neighbor.

21 Jan
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A Proposal for the Future of the GOP

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. Our cause is new so we must think and act anew.”
Abraham Lincoln

What a joy it was to watch the newly elected 112th Congress convene with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and a severely diminished Democratic majority in the Senate. Our celebration is no doubt tempered by the knowledge that the American electorate is fickle and that our success at the ballot box in 2010 in no way ensures our future electoral success. How, then, can we as a Party build on our 2010 success and work toward becoming Americas’ majority party for the 21st Century? To achieve this goal, I believe that we must invoke the legacy of our Party and remind ourselves why we are Republicans and the qualities embedded in our basic philosophy and approach to America that can best address the profound issues facing our nation today.

For me, the legacy of our Party is revealed by examining the lives and philosophies of my three heroes…Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

Abraham Lincoln provided Republicans with the moral underpinnings of our political philosophy. He once said that “Republicans are for both the man and the dollar but, in case of conflict, the man before the dollar.” We must rededicate ourselves to this proposition. We must re-embrace the notion that ours is a party that, as Lincoln told us, knows “mercy bears richer fruit than strict justice.” Lincoln showed us that all Americans are entitled to the basic freedoms and dignities of life, and that race, ethnicity and any other characteristic over which the individual has no control have no place in evaluating the worth of an individual but rather that, as Teddy Roosevelt counseled, a person’s “heart and soul…determine his standing.”

We must reaffirm these concepts and apply them to the challenges facing contemporary America. As a young man, I consistently applauded the GOP’s embrace of a non-judgmental, limited government in the economic realm. But I have been consistently perplexed by how our Party can champion limited government in economics while at the same time assert that government should actively promote a specific agenda on so-called moral issues such as homosexuality. As the science becomes clearer and clearer that homosexuality is biologically predetermined as opposed to chose then, as a Party, we must broaden our prospective to understand that if God intentionally created homosexuals, then to condemn homosexuals is to condemn that which God created. And to condemn God’s creation is to sin against God. Further, as someone who has personally felt the terrible pain of family rejection and scorn as a result of being gay, I can assure every reader that neither I nor any other rational human being would ever choose such a path. The pain, isolation and despondency that I and so many others have faced could never be a fate that anyone would purposely choose for themselves.

If we are to be the Party of the future we must, as Lincoln urged, act “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right….to care for him who shall have borne the battle…to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves and with all nations.” I understand that there are many aspects of the stereotypical gay lifestyle that make many people (including me, believe it or not) uncomfortable. That’s OK. However, if we are to continue to prosper as a Party we must accept the differences among us and conduct ourselves in public with respect and consideration for all. We must also understand that the behavior of consenting adults in the privacy of their homes is not for government to judge or impede. This is the true lesson of Lincoln and the logical extension of the concept of limited government so eloquently championed by the great Ronald Reagan.

At the same time, if we are to succeed as a Party, we must appreciate that Lincoln was correct when he said that “important principles may, and must, be inflexible.” Foremost among these principles must be the protection and preservation of life. In addition, we must champion personal responsibility. As a father of two young children, the notion of abortion is beyond comprehension for me. As a Party, we must work to instill in our nation a deep and unshakable commitment to life and to the notion that if a person is mature enough to engage in acts which lead to pregnancy, then he and/or she must act with a sense of personal responsibility to themselves and to the unborn child. Our lives and our bodies are the Almighty’s greatest gifts to us. When we do damage to either, whether it be through abortion or suicide, I believe that we commit the most heinous of sins directly against God. As a Party, we stand on unshakable moral footing when we consistently adopt this position. We must do everything in our power to reduce to zero the number of abortions in this country. Yet, we must also recognize that the Almighty has endowed each of us with free will and some among us will inevitably use that free will to sin against God by having an abortion or attempting suicide. In such instance, we are best served as a Party and as a people if we allow God to impose the punishment for these sins. Rather than pursue the earthly punishment of the sinner, we should strive to use every resource available to foster the notion that life is sacred and to take our cue from the Lord by offering our help to those who are struggling with such choices. As President Reagan told us, “we are never defeated unless we give up on God.”

Teddy Roosevelt enhanced America’s sense of destiny and instilled in us the notion that we are responsible not only for ourselves but also for future generations. “Our duty to the whole, including [to] the unborn generations…[must]…restrain an unprincipled present day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations.” Too many modern American are driven solely by greed, selfishness and a perpetual search for instant gratification. Our celebrity-obsessed culture rewards and celebrates excessive consumption and wastefulness. Our Party must aspire to refocus the nation away from “me” and again towards “we.”

TR also enlightened us that, as a Party, we must champion conservation. To that end, we must encourage the development of clean and renewable fuels. To do so will not only improve the prospects of future generations but could very well spur a new American economic boon. If America can pioneer the technological discovery of new and better energy sources, we will see improvements in our productivity and financial health that will benefit us in ways exponentially more substantive than occurred in the 1990’s when we led the world in information technology advancements.

Finally, our Party was so blessed to have Ronald Reagan as its leader. From President Reagan we learned that “government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” President Reagan taught us to be consistently wary of government intrusion into our lives. I believe that our Party must now apply that lesson to every aspect of modern life, not just those grounded in the economy.

Following Reagan’s inspiration, we believe in limited government and low taxes. We believe that America must be strong in the face of foreign adversaries and that the future is bright with boundless possibilities so long as we remain true to our core principles of individual responsibility and limited government with low taxes. President Reagan said it best: “Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the Democrats believe every day is April 15.”

As a Party, we know in our hearts that, as Reagan taught us: “man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.”

May our Party prosper and may we exemplify our country’s “last best hope” to create a just and moral nation where all are treated with fairness and dignity.

20 Jan
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Liberal Democrats versus the Blue Dogs

What’s up, everybody? My name is Josh Melendez, and it’s my very first blog! I hale from the Cleveland, OH, but have been in NYC for nearly two years now. You will find me writing from the libertarian conservative perspective. As always, I will keep things spicy.

While, Nancy Pelosi continues to be a main powerbroker in the Democratic Party, the more moderate Blue Dogs in the party are being “punished” for not supporting her as Minority Leader. According to the National Journal, Pelosi was one of the most liberal representatives in the House in 2010 in terms of voting record, and the American Conservative Union ratings concur.

With the 2012 Elections forthcoming, it’s amazing that the Democratic Party is continuing to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” Since the party insists on embracing far-left leadership, we had better take back the White House. After all, as the Pew Forum has reported throughout the entire decade of the 2000s, our nation is right-of-center. We won’t have the excuse of an economy going downhill to use next year, as we had in 2008.

12 Jan
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Beautiful Words By Our President

Like many Republicans, I often have my disagreements with President Obama over his beliefs, policies, and actions on how to move America forward. However, tonight in front of thousands in Tucson, Arizona, he did a wonderful job of inspiring all Americans (red states & blue states) to live up to their higher ideal.

While much of the media has tried to make this terrible tragedy in Tucson about politics and rhetoric…the president touched the essence of what it means to be an American.  To be an American is to strive towards greatness and the higher ideals of our republic.  We must try to live in a country that lives up to the vision seen in the eyes of the innocent.  Please enjoy and reflect on the acute rhetoric by President Obama at the end of his speech tonight in Tucson.  No matter our party or ideology his words truly reflect the American spirit and how it must shine brightly in the wake of this tragedy.

I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.

That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.

Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called “Faces of Hope.” On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child’s life. “I hope you help those in need,” read one. “I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.

May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in restful and eternal peace. May He love and watch over the survivors. And may He bless the United States of America.