Friday, November 28, 2008

The Laughable Revolution

By Douglas Kohn

America, like many other nations, tends to view Latin American politics as a matter of trends. Of these various social and political trends lately, the one that makes the most headlines is the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ of Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela, and the seemingly endless rants of a blowhard elected dictator whose position is becoming ever more untenable.

As the most recent poll by the Latinobarometro points out, the Latin American public is significantly further to the left on economic and political issues than Americans would like them to be. In poll after poll, the people of Latin American nations consistently favor big government doing many of their services.

The so called Revolution of Chavez has expanded its following to include the states of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba. For all of Chavez’ blustering, this is relatively little to show for his efforts and his active foreign policy that has come at the expense of the long term economic and social health of his own Venezuela.

The other story of Latin America has been the notable progress of pragmatic, center left governments throughout the region, having permeated much further than Bolivarianism. In Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and others, fiscal restraint and government deregulation has been the real trend, in spite of the left wing preferences of the population. Rising economic growth, decreasing inequality and an overall increase in the quality of life in so many Latin American nations have ensured that these governments are reelected and prudent policies continued.

Chavez received his first setback a few years ago in a plebiscite that would have greatly expanded his powers and ability to preserve his socio-economic policies. His rants of racism in the United States have had the rug pulled out from under them in the election of America’s first black president.

Chavez then made the mistake of trying to tangle, possibly militarily with Colombia, the most Pro-American country in South America. With American backing, the democratically elected right wing government of Colombia has brought order to a country usually known for its lack of it. Through a combination of military buildup and amnesty programs, Uribe has nearly eliminated Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC. Chavez tried to support this group through back channels and gave them some protection, in spite of their heinous acts of hostage taking and other forms of brutality. This was a major diplomatic loss for him. Colombia, in conducting daring raids into Ecuador and its own territory, has won the respect of many in the region. America’s Colombia policy may be counted as one of the only foreign policy success stories of Bush Administration.

Venezuela, after these setbacks, is increasingly looking for allies and support. It is now reaching out to Russia, Iran and other regimes united only in their hostility to the United States. Venezuela is stepping up armed cooperation with these nations as well, hosting Russian naval units. These developments, however, are probably not nearly as dangerous as some in the media have been portraying.

The best evidence of this is Chavez’ most recent difficulty that the opposition party has gained ground in municipal elections in Venezuela. Chavez, essentially an elected dictator, is now a cornered animal. With the decrease in the price of oil, his policies now seem increasingly wrongheaded and imprudent. The ultimate test of Venezuela’s electoral system is about to come, the world will watch and see if Chavez lashes out like a caged animal as his power decreases, or if he peacefully concedes the failure of his false revolution.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Case Against Universal Healthcare

By Douglas Kohn

To implement a ‘universal health care’ plan in America would be one of the greater follies of our government. There are many reasons to be against it, but there is one glaring one. We already have it. America has had universal health care for many years. It may not be like Britain’s National Health Service but it is on just as great a scale relative to our population. The simple fact is, anyone within the geographical boundaries of the United States of America, even a tourist, can go into a hospital emergency room where by American law, the hospital is obligated to treat them even if they are unable to pay. Even if an individual has so much as a head cold, they can go to a hospital where they will receive treatment, and if they are unable to pay their bill, there are no consequences.

This goes beyond the Medicare and Medicaid programs that target the poor and the elderly respectively. The bottom line is, there is no one who is denied health services in the United States when they go for treatment. This is despite what Michael Moore may have us believe. The 47 million uninsured or under insured in America still have access to all the health care they could possibly need. For this reason alone, a ‘universal health care’ law would be simply redundant.

The other reason that ‘universal health care’ would be folly is America’s great tradition of scientific research is far beyond that of other nations. According to Economist Magazine’s World in Figures 2007, America spends 2.59% of its GDP on R&D (research and development). As a percentage it ranks 7th among all nations listed. However, as a hard number, no nation comes even remotely close to what America spends.

This number includes the very hefty amount of money spent by drug companies on R&D. Yes, this drives up the cost of many drugs in America (where 1/7 of GDP is spent on health care), but it pushes the bounds of the medically feasible. This is a service to America and to mankind that no one in their right mind can doubt the great achievements that result from American research. The bottom line here is that if new costs are imposed on insurance companies and hospitals engaged in activities such as clinical trials, this country will look more and more like Europe, where relative to their economic power very little R&D is done. The only sizeable country that rivals America in scientific achievement is Japan. The others on the list are very small countries all with populations of under 10 million and GDPs comparably small.

There are other factors that make medical care much more expensive relative to other developed nations but the primary reason for high cost health care in America is R&D. This is widely noted by leaders of pharmaceutical companies.

The last reason to oppose ‘universal health care’ is that there is no reason to impose greater costs on the American taxpayer for those who can afford their own health insurance and medical care. The existing bureaucracy has become so complex that many people who can afford it simply opt out of the existing system and pay medical costs out of pocket. We have programs for the poor and elderly, we have emergency rooms that take literally anyone and also impose great costs on the taxpayer. Why, if someone can afford to pay for their own health insurance, should the tax payer take up the burden? At the very least we may look at the logic on car insurance, where laws prohibit owning an uninsured vehicle.

The last reason that ‘universal health care’ is a bad idea in America is that when the government runs an economic entity in this country it usually is handled terribly. The late great economist Milton Friedman eloquently put it; ‘if the US Government ran the Sahara Desert, in five years, it would be out of sand.’ Look at every single government run program. Social security is going to be bankrupt in the near future, welfare was a disaster, Medicaid and Medicare are becoming ever more cost prohibitive. Even our great military is such a disaster, that $2.5 trillion of its budget went missing. Nearly every time the government steps in to run something in America, it runs over budget or is unsustainable in the long term. One can only imagine with the massive bailouts of the idiot bankers of Wall Street, how badly underestimated the overall costs will be.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Conservative Solution to Poverty

By Phil Fraietta

Throughout my lifetime, I have often times found that those of the left and even in the center tend to take the position that conservatives are not interested in helping the poor. While I still believe this a complete falsity, I must say that over the past decade it has become clear to me why many people feel this way. We, as right-wingers, need to stop using the populist rhetoric of “job creation,” and instead need to offer clear but conservative solutions to poverty. Conservative reforms to education would certainly be a good place to start. One such reform that I believe should become a staple of the conservative movement is school choice.

School choice may in fact be the Civil Rights issue of our day. The late great economist Milton Friedman first proposed the idea in the 1960’s. Unfortunately, the “conservative” No Child Left Behind Act failed to include school choice because the far-left, in particular Senator Ted Kennedy, fought against it.

The idea of school choice is simple in principle but genius in application. School choice simply refers to allowing parents to use tax vouchers in order to opt out of sending their children to public school and instead sending them to a private school of their choice. Right now, the tax system forces parents who choose to use private schools for their children, to still pay public school taxes. In my opinion, this is simply wrong. Why should one pay for a service they do not use? Why not allow one to use that same tax money to send their child to a private school?

School choice would not only better the public schooling system by forcing it into even stiffer competition with the private school system, it would serve as a pathway to the American Dream for many impoverished Americans. Take conditions such as those on Fordham Road right outside this campus for example. A family living in conditions like these is forced to send their children to run-down public schools with poor quality teachers and almost no path to advancement. Under school choice, this same family would be able to use a tax voucher and send their child to Fordham Prep. Clearly a student at Fordham Prep has a greater chance to succeed than a student using the Bronx Public School system. Not coincidentally, 73% of Hispanic Americans and 82% of African-Americans (both of which suffer higher poverty rates) support school choice according to the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance.

In fact, most people of all demographics support school choice (63% according to The Center for Education Reform) and see it as a great way to help the poor. So then why is it that school choice has still not be installed? The far-left opposes it.

They argue that school choice is unconstitutional in that it violates “separation of church and state” by sending tax dollars to religious schools. But those of us who are actually familiar with the Constitution know that “separation of church and state” does not appear and that all the Constitution does is prohibit the State from establishing a national religion. The far-left is also under extreme pressure from the teacher’s union to oppose school choice. Clearly, if public schools were forced into stiff competition with private schools, sub-par teachers would have a difficult time keeping their jobs. But, I for one, would rather see our children being educated by the best teachers we have to offer, rather than making sure sub-par teachers still have work.

School choice is an issue we as conservatives can all support. It is vital for us to push for school choice as the number one means to help the poor. The American Dream is beautiful, but the government monopoly over education has started to break it. School choice is a conservative way to reform education and make the American Dream attainable for everyone once again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bush vs Obama in the Media

By Rachel Ring

Although I’m still concerned about the outcome of the election and would’ve preferred anyone over Obama (by anyone I mean, Hillary, Kerry, even Ted Kennedy), I refuse to treat him or even think of him in the same disrespectful, disparaging light as the liberal media and even fellow Republicans painted our current president, George W. Bush.

His treatment from the media was absolutely unpatriotic, deplorable, and downright scary. Obama should be weary of the media building him up to take him down, as the media has done to Bush post 9/11, our hero who led us out of the dark confusing days into a strong global war on terror that has produced results. Even the war in Iraq, since the surge, has been going well, but you would never hear that from the media. It’s certainly no longer reported that Fallujah has been given back to the Iraqis for control and that US marines have withdrawn their posts there, or that suicide bombings have gone down dramatically. Of course that wouldn’t be reported, because that would have been positive news about Iraq and consequently, about Bush’s competence and decision making.

Furthermore, I’m intrigued as to how Michael Moore is going to create another piece of misinformed propaganda about Bush. He intends to do just that on the economic crisis, yet he must be conveniently blocking out some very important years in history. 1966, 1977, and 1995 are three glaring years that again, Americans won’t hear about because it would make Bush seem less like an incompetent president.

1966 started the Lyndon Johnson “Great Society” program, which increased entitlement programs (read: welfare, read: higher taxes) nationwide. 1977 was the year Jimmy Carter plummeted the country into a recession due to his bad foreign policy agenda, which lead to the gas crisis. 1995, under the beloved Clinton administration (again, I’m baffled as to why he is so revered considering he was impeached), showed us a Democratic president signing into law the deregulation of banks. (And who could forget that Clinton had Osama bin Laden in his sights and let him go?!) Most recently, in the past two years, the public has seen a Democratic Congress sit by as the sub prime mortgage crisis raged out of control. Their motivation behind that: move slow, pin the crisis squarely on Bush, and guarantee a Democratic President-elect.

Besides all of those essential facts, I still refuse to revert to the kindergarten like behavior of the Democrats and “rogue” Republicans have done the past 6 years. Not only was their behavior distasteful, it was downright embarrassing internationally. What must enemies think of a country who can’t stand behind their president, with at least a bit of basic respect? It was unpatriotic, not in the sense that a person in America can’t disagree with the government, but there are ways to disagree with a President and compromise than instead, tear him apart personally to demonize him to gain public support and get their way. That’s the exact opposite route I hope Republicans take in dealing with Obama, to if nothing else, demonstrate that there is a fundamental difference in the way Republicans view authority than Democrats have recently, and that difference needs to be noticed so that damage control can be done in the way Bush was treated (an apology would be nice too).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Liberals Won't Tell You

By Douglas Kohn

Anyone who hears a left wing intellectual or writer speak of Barack Obama would notice they never speak to the strength of America. I am hoping that Barack Obama’s presidency does not end in disaster, but that is another question. On other issues, Barack Obama, by his very identity is having an impact on America and the World.

The reaction globally to Barack Obama’s electoral victory is astounding. Historically speaking, only Kennedy has engendered that reaction. But this shows the enduring strength of America in the hearts and minds of people around the world. The Liberals do not mention this; they prefer to say that it is only because of Barack Obama’s personality and charisma that the rest of the world is reacting this way. But Bill Clinton was no less charismatic than Obama and the world did not welcome him in the same way.

To the rest of the world, rightly or wrongly the election of Barack Obama is the embodiment of what America has meant to them. A nation that unlike any other is able to redress historical wrongs. America is still the shining city on a hill. It is still the canary in the coal mine of civilization. And the rest of the world still sees it as the last, best hope. Hopefully, Obama governs well and keeps it that way.

What the liberals do not say, is that America, not Barack Obama, is what has captured the fascination of the world.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

History returns, but is America still exceptional?

By Douglas Kohn

Ever since the founding of the nation, people have touted the everlasting idea of American exceptionalism. Even though every country is unique in its own way, Americans liked to see their place as exceptionally exceptional, especially when compared with other capitalist, democratic nations.

This notion was further reinforced by an essay written on the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto called ‘On Marxism and American Exceptionalism.’ It was written by two American communists. Former Neoconservative Francis Fukuyama declared an end to history after the Cold War, and Samuel Huntington declared the Clash of Civilizations. The new world we are entering is looking increasingly like the latter.

Now, after the Cold War has ended, the world is on the precipice of the return of the 19th Century. America will no longer be one of two poles during the superpower years of the Cold War or the only pole during the hyperpower years of the end of the 20th Century and the Beginning of the 21st Century. The world is going to have many poles, with America being of the foremost of several great powers, with political power increasingly distributed by population, rather than technological or economic dominance.

The primary powers in this new world will be America, China, India, Brazil and possibly some form of European political entity. I am intentionally leaving Russia out of this equation as I believe that country to be in real decline, even if they will be able to cause trouble in many ways in the future. The new world we are living in will look increasingly like the map of Europe in the late 19th Century, with many great and powerful nations uneasily trying to maintain a precarious balance of power.

Every single time in history that has had the doctrine of a balance of power has led to war. This was most appropriately played out in Europe after the 30 Years War, after the War of the Spanish Succession, again after the Napoleonic Wars, after the Rise of Germany, and lastly after World War I. In his famous Sinews of Peace speech at Westminster College, Winston Churchill declared that after the Second World War the doctrine of a balance of power was unsound and in a new age ‘We cannot afford to offer temptations to a trial of strength.’ This may have been the world that was taking shape in the days of the ideological conflict between the Free World and Communism, but it is no longer the world we live in.

Somehow, a new balance is going to have to be put in place, and this is why America’s much longed for isolationism may not come to pass. It is a desirable place to be, where you do not have to depend on the rest of the world for sustenance, but the world is much smaller and America will have to find some place in it to preserve its interests and keep any possible competition for geopolitical power as peaceful as possible.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The End of Empire

By Douglas Kohn

America’s posture since the rise of Bill Clinton increasingly looks like we are trying to forge an Empire. The NeoConservatives, who took their inspiration from earlier American liberal ideas were the main intellectual force behind this. The movement culminated in the invasion of Iraq. Such was the imperial hubris that several essays came out in direct defense of it, such as ‘The Case for Empire.’ It seems that as America is humbled militarily and economically, this new empire will have to be the first thing to go.

Contrary to popular belief, the ideas of the NeoConservatives have a long history in America going back to the founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson spoke of using America’s future potential power to build ‘an empire of liberty.’ The NeoCons further believed they drew inspiration by twisting many of the ideals of Winston Churchill.

America has at least a small military presence in nearly130 nations, though most of these are not combat ready troops. Our largest permanent bases remain in their post war locations, with Japan, Germany and South Korea having the most.

Much of this is unnecessary. Why do we have bases in South Korea still? Yes, North Korea is a problem but South Korea has nearly twice the population of the North and are armed with the most sophisticated American weaponry money can buy. Their army has over half a million men, and though it is smaller than the North’s, it has much more sophisticated weaponry and tactics. America maintains a force of 37,000 men in Korea, a fact greatly despised by a local population that has come to greatly despise the country that saved them from Communism. Our 37,000 men would not be able to help the South Korean army in any significant way if the North were to invade. South Korea is more than able to take care of itself in the event of a war, which is very unlikely.

The Bush Administration recently set up the African Command for the Pentagon. Under his administration engagement with the nations of Africa has deepened on every level. Funding to fight AIDS has increased to a historically high level. This is not a problematic policy; AIDS is a truly global problem that has the ability to spread by exponential levels when more people contract it. It is something that could very well reach America’s shores quite easily. However, there is a new semi imperial scramble for Africa going on. China has engaged with Africa on record levels as well, mostly on an economic sphere. America has only two recognizable interests in Africa, increasing African oil production to keep prices low and contributing to fighting AIDS.

Our constant intervention here is unnecessary. It was not necessary to intervene in Somalia when an Islamist regime was formed. Yes, it would have been a radical Islamic regime and we have worked with many of these before, but it would not have been in a serious position to cause major problems around the world. Somalia is not a powerful country and would not have had access to nuclear weapons. The spread of Christianity in Sub Saharan Africa will serve as its own check on the spread of Islam and its militants. We do not need significant numbers of troops to trounce around Africa, our election of a Kenyan president will give us much sway over the hearts and minds of the continent.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Opportunity for "Fundamental Change"

By Phil Fraietta

Throughout this election season President-elect Barack Obama constantly hammered the idea of “fundamental change” and bi-partisanship. With the current American automaker crisis, President-elect Obama has the chance to bring this “fundamental change” and bi-partisanship to life by finally rejecting the political wishes of lobbyists and those in his own Party.

Prominent Democratic leaders in Congress, in particular, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have lobbied for a federal bailout of the auto companies. This is not the way to restore the auto companies. Contrary to their belief, the current troubles the auto companies face are not due to the current credit crisis, but are instead due to the all-powerful labor union United Auto Workers (UAW). To give an example of the power of this union we can compare data on the average labor cost per U.S. hourly worker reported by General Motors (GM) and Toyota.

In the year 2005, this data was as follows: General Motors $73.73, Toyota $48. Anybody familiar with economics should immediately take note that in a free-market equilibrium system, such a drastic difference in these statistics would not be possible. It is the power of the UAW that allows for such a drastic difference. Also, American auto laborers belonging to the UAW are often times paid to not work! In fact, according to The Detroit News, as of 2005, 12,000 UAW workers were paid to not work.

In addition, current federal mileage standards also force American automakers to produce small cars that make almost zero profit, at plants organized by the UAW. This is why we see American automakers continually produce cars that do not sell. These are just a few of the problems American auto companies suffer, but what is most important is that none of these problems have to do with people being unable to receive credit to purchase automobiles.

In fact, even when the economy was thriving in 2005, GM reported a third-quarter loss of $1.7 billion, according to The Washington Times. What this data tells us is clear—American automakers are hammered by their labor contracts. One would think that Pelosi and Reid would recognize this and demand that the bailout will only be provided if these labor contracts are re-written. However, we are talking about the far-left ideologues of the United States. What have they decided to do to ensure the taxpayer money goes to good use? Place limits on executive pay. What a shocker!

Also, not by coincidence, Pelosi and Reid are only fighting for bailouts for the American automakers stationed in the blue-state of Michigan and controlled by the largely Democratic union, the UAW. This despite the fact that nearly 113,000 Americans work for “foreign” auto companies, which are not doing so great right now either. In fact, Toyota is reporting a 70% fall in profits in the third-quarter according to The Guardian. So then if the proposed auto bailout is meant to protect American jobs, why not provide money for companies such as Toyota as well? This answer is simple; these companies are stationed in the red-states of Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. This proposed bailout bill by Pelosi and Reid is entirely partisan-based and has been created in order to please the lobbyists for the UAW, as well as, the voters of the blue-state of Michigan.

Assuming President Bush decides to end his term as a conservative (which is a broad assumption) and veto this bailout proposal, it will be the first piece of legislation before President-elect Obama. If Obama truly wants to bring fundamental change and bi-partisanship he should stand-up to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, the UAW and partisan-based politics in general and veto this proposed bailout for failing to address the issue of labor contracts.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New World Order

By Barbara Delo

America voted for a fix to the economy. But what we may get is a new world order.

The news media is already reporting that Obama wants to start off with a surge of executive orders, the least balanced and accountable form of action, to begin what he sees as a mandate to change America.

I believe that America, despite its flaws, is a great nation. I am convinced that many others feel this way too. I hope you’ll join me in watching carefully, standing firm, and making our voices heard to our representatives and senators so that the basic tenets and principles of our nation are not altered in a misunderstood reading of the wishes of the American people.

Let’s start with the representatives who will listen best, those who are up for election in two years.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Trouble on the Northwest Frontier

By Douglas Kohn

Terror, militant Islam, tribalism, violence, backwardness and corruption are the running themes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, particularly in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, where the NATO fight against the Taliban has taken on a new front. There are many problems with taking the fight there, though further measure will be necessary to end it.

The area has not had a significant governmental presence since the time of Alexander the Great. When Alexander and his men fought a deadly battle against the Indian army of the time, his men became so demoralized that they forced him to turn back. He then died in Babylon.

The area is full of many cultures, but no civilization. As civilization is defined as a culture that has some form of written record, this area has a literacy of less than 10%, and most literate people are in the capital of the region at Peshawar. America is not going to bring civilization to this part of the world that has never been reached by it. We made grave errors in our war aims and it will take a master warrior and politician to not make this battle look like a loss for America.

At the height of its Empire, Britain had many problems in this area that was ostensibly under its rule. Pashtun (the main ethnic group) warlords were carrying out raids into British India and harming Imperial interests and security in the region. Britain then took military action, but it was a much more measured response. They raided all over the area and set their aims at killing and capturing the warlords and radical Muslims that were causing them so much trouble. This region was also the buffer zone of the Great Game of imperial domination between the British and Russian Empires. America would do well to look at their records in the region.

At the outset of Operation Enduring Freedom, America did not just set its goals as the removal of the Taliban and the neutralization of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, we set out to establish a democratic government in Afghanistan, a country of little civilization to speak of in its long history on the map. Not realizing that this is a near impossible country to govern, we set up a weak parliamentary system led by an impotent technocrat, Hamid Karzai. We now need to eventually withdraw from Afghanistan and Pakistan while saving face and accomplishing at least some of our goals. The fight is not over.

President elect Obama, as part of his campaign pledge, promised to step up efforts to finish the war in Afghanistan and kill or capture bin Laden. What he does not realize is that we are going to have to lower our expectations and aims for the rest of the country, because it is not fit for any government, much less a weak democratic one.

Afghanistan has seen the passage of many invaders through its borders, especially through the Khyber pass on their way to the vast riches of India. Aryans, Greeks/Macedonians, Arabs, Turks, British, Russians then Soviets, and now the Americans have all been pinned down in this region of fierce warriors. If Alexander could not conquer it, does America really believe it can?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Saving the Saudis

By Douglas Kohn

When America’s closest historical permanent alliances come to mind, the names that usually come up in conversation are Britain, Canada, the rest of the English speaking world, Continental Europe, Japan and Israel. We have other allies to be sure, but few of them are on as deep a level of cooperation and common values as these.

However, an alliance routinely overlooked by many in America who wish we did not need it is the Saudi monarchy. Reminiscent of the absolute monarchies of 15th Century Europe, this oil powered ally of America’s is no less significant than any other. Relations were first forged at the outset of World War II by President Roosevelt very much under the auspices of Winston Churchill. The Saudi royal family, though they have to carefully manage their behavior publicly, is currently our most important ally in the Middle East. I think it would suffice it to say that in the short term, they may even be more important than Israel.

The Saudi royal family is firmly pro American. The Saudi people are not. This is a massive disconnect. There are many threats to the Saudi family but their power does not seem to be in serious question. At any given time there are some 200 wealth wielding members of the al Sauds and another 7000 in the extended family. The state’s infrastructure and traditions are firmly still in place and the standard of living has been rising on the back of oil exports.

The world is changing. Al Qaeda has been beaten from much of the Middle East and the alliance between the al Sauds and the Wahhabist (anti American) clerics remains. Al Qaeda’s intellectual firmament remains the Wahhabist ideology. But there are many nuanced issues that deserve their own attention.

The first is that Saudi Arabia remains an ally despite being a despotic repressive regime at home. The al Sauds are experienced in the art of statecraft and need peace and security for themselves. America’s oil for security pact with Saudi Arabia may be under strain. However, it seems the internal security of the monarchy, though challenged, is not in critical danger.

Unusually for many countries around the world, the Saudi official position, while officially impartial, is known to be friendly and comfortable with George Bush, in spite of his mistake in Iraq. The al Sauds have long ties with the Bush family and with the Republican Party. The Saudis will meet with President Elect Obama this week and size him up for the first time. Among inner circles within the Saudi Court it is known that hearing his calls for hope and change ring hollow and even cause nervousness. Stability is the word of the day. The Stability of Saudi Arabia and the Greater Middle East is necessary for furthering American interests there and facing up to an increasingly belligerent Iran. Saudi Arabia will also be a key diplomatic force in pushing through any Israeli Palestinian Peace Accord.

If Obama pushes the Saudis away he will be making a colossal failure. The last monarchy that the US turned its back on was Iran, and it then became one of our fiercest enemies, blocking every move America has made to try to set up stable regimes in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan (though it originally cooperated with us in Afghanistan). The Saudis knew that in ousting Saddam from Iraq, the only check in the region on Iranian power and influence had been removed. Iran was now free to play a chess proxy game across the region to increase its influence at the expense of the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and our smaller Gulf allies. The Russian invasion of Georgia further complicated that country’s value to Western Strategic schemes in the region.

This issue has a very long history. If one goes back to read the old New York Times articles from the 70s they railed on and on about how the Shah was running the most evil and brutal regime ever created. The truth is he was running an enlightened monarchy and was favoring eventually introducing democracy. He had also built a country with a highly educated workforce and vast industrial and mining base. But the Times and eventually the Democratic Party did not let up. When finally Ayatollah Khomeini took over, there was nothing left but for America to elect Reagan to get the hostages out.

We must not make that mistake today. It seems that even on its own the Saudi Monarchy will stay in place. But President Elect Obama must not try to take a moral stand on them. They are slowly reforming. It is painful to not see it go further but the alliance must be maintained. They are now the key to holding back Iran.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The 2008 Election: A Libertarian Perspective

By Phil Fraietta

On November, 4th 2008, around 11 PM Eastern Time, the final blow was dealt to the Republican Party as Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States. But, I do not believe this loss will throw the Republican Party into the wilderness forever, in fact I believe it will finally make the Party wake up. What do I mean by “wake up?” I mean that the Party will now finally understand the reason for its demise—the alienation of libertarians.

At first thought the average reader will probably say, “ So what? There are hardly any libertarians anyway” but this statement is simply untrue. In fact, the American National Election Studies finds that roughly 13 percent of voters are libertarians. The shift away from the Republican Party started four years ago in the Bush-Kerry election. In the 2000 election, libertarian voters preferred President Bush to Former Vice-President Gore, 72%-20%, according to the Cato Institute.

In 2004, however, libertarians preferred President Bush to Senator Kerry, 59%-38%, once again according to the Cato Institute. And now in 2008, although the data has not been made official yet, it is very likely that Senator McCain and President-elect Obama may have split the libertarian vote. This assumption being made due to the vast number of “libertarians for Obama” movements as well as Obama’s victories in the libertarian strongholds of the nation.

These areas include the “sun-belt” region of the nation, as well as the “live free and die hard” State of New Hampshire. Not coincidentally, in the 2008 election, President-elect Barack Obama won such sun-belt States as New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada, while only losing Arizona by 162,482 votes. In 2004, President Bush won all of these States. Perhaps even more telling is the election data over the past 8 years from the State of New Hampshire. New Hampshire, a State that is known for its heavy libertarian presence most notably seen by its lack of State Income Tax, State Sales Tax and seat-belt laws, went for President Bush in the year 2000 by a 1.4% margin. In 2004, however, the States went for Senator Kerry by a 1.37% margin, and now in 2008 the State went for President-elect Obama by a 10% margin.

From this evidence I believe it is undisputable that libertarians are leaving the Republican Party and opting to instead vote with the Democrats most likely because the Republican Party has decided to forget about us. The Bush Administration grew the size of government larger than any Administration since the Lyndon Johnson Administration. The Republican Establishment, who instead chose to compel to an idea of “compassionate conservatism”, has laughed off our prominent voices in the Party, such as Ron Paul and Jeff Flake. And what did they get for it? A government controlled by the far-left.

What I believe this election must do for the Republican Party is help us return to our Goldwater-Reagan roots. We need to center a platform on limited government ideas. Such ideas as school vouchers, privatized Social Security, and a flat-tax may be good places to start. But, either way, as a libertarian while I am deeply stung by the Obama victory, I am also confident that it will return the Republican Party to its limited government roots and bring us victory in 2012.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Honor, Duty and Looking Forward

By Douglas Kohn

No one writing for this blog is happy with the result of this disappointing, though historic, election. John McCain, a great man who has served his country in a way that the vast majority of us will never have the opportunity to do, lost. We must look to the future and to make the best with what we have.

First of all, Barack Obama is now our President. He is not the President of African Americans or Democrats or Liberals. He will govern all of us, and as he is the President- elect we owe him our loyalty and must uphold the honor of this country.

As a matter of policy, now all Conservatives can do is hope for the best, that Barack Obama is not the Socialist of his youth. May he rule his people well.

I Love America

By Barbara Delo

With Democratic victories in the Senate and Presidential races, political control in Washington has shifted from Republican to Democratic- from a philosophy of limited government to a philosophy of larger government, from a philosophy of greater freedom to a philosophy of greater government control and regulation over our individual lives.

Perhaps this was the result of panic over the economy.

Perhaps this was just the swinging of the pendulum after 8 years of a Republican presidency.

Perhaps the nearly billion dollars spent by Obama made the difference.

Perhaps this occurred because of disarray and dishonesty that had infiltrated the Republican Party itself.

Regardless, we now have a President who ran on the platform of changing our great nation. How far he succeeds in moving our country towards the world of George Orwell in the book 1984 depends on how we respond to this setback. We must not give up but rather MUST start today to defend our freedoms, use our talents to become involved in the political debate, and build the skills and grassroots organization needed to be successful in the future.

I love America. Too much change could destroy it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Liberal "Tolerance"

By Katie Poedtke

This morning, as I passed a freshman dorm on my way to the deli, a female student blew the smoke from her freshly lit cigarette in my face and snarled “I HATE McCain!” I assume that the sight of the small McCain-Palin pin I wear on my jacket sparked this disgusting reflex. Such knee-jerk, thoughtless reactions are inarguably much more common amongst liberals than amongst conservatives. Blogger and investigative journalist Michelle Malkin details this fact brilliantly in her 2005 book “Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Going Wild” in which she describes the outrageous behaviors of unhinged liberals after the 2000 and 2004 election cycles, as well as some of the unbelievably hateful treatment that she herself has been subject to as a crusader in the conservative movement.

In every major US city, police forces are preparing for the riots that are expected should Obama lose on Tuesday. Just as I could never imagine any conservatives I know blowing smoke in the face of an Obama supporter, I could never, ever imagine Republicans rioting if an underdog Democratic candidate for president were to win a surprise victory over a media-darling Republican (and I realize I’m pushing the limit of a hypothetical situation with that). Such irrational behavior is not in our nature and it is just plain wrong.

“There are crazies on both sides,” a friend told me in discussion of my run-in today, “take abortion clinic bombers,” he said. Abortion clinic bombers are not conservatives. They are radicals, and indeed, “crazies.” In no way does killing abortionists help the pro-life cause, and the vast, overwhelming majority of conservatives recognizes this clearly and condemn such crazies. Liberal crazies, on the other hand, get much more sympathy from their liberal cohorts in this country. Take Bill Ayers, and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, for example. Conservatives have clear limits on what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, on what is right and what is wrong. Liberals tend to accept a wide “diversity” of philosophies, behaviors, and tactics as helpful in advancing liberal causes, which reveals the dangerous lack of rationality in today’s American liberalism.

Liberals often assert themselves as staunch proponents of diversity and tolerance, yet, in reality, the diversity they promote is a diversity of liberal thought and tolerance and that alone. Conservative thought is outside this spectrum. Conservatism is too diverse to be tolerated. And so we, conservatives, get smoke blown in our faces. Literally. Since our beliefs fall nowhere in-between the bounds of liberal thought, as diverse as that spectrum may be, I suppose we do not deserve their respect.

And they say conservatives are the “close-minded” ones?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trickle Down Socialism

By Douglas Kohn

Gradually, American government has moved further and further left over the last 60 years. There has never been a concerted effort at communism or socialism in America, but it has been a gradual march. Each time the left makes an advance, no President rolls back the expansion of government. No one rolled back the New Deal or the Great Society.

Obama’s Robin Hood policy seems contradictory. The rich will be taxed more, even though the wealthiest 5% pay 60% of the tax bill and the lowest 40% pay no income taxes. It has been long, slow and arduous, but the left is winning. Especially with the country’s changing demographics, where there is a large immigrant population hostile to the Republican Party and Conservatism in general, it is hard to see anything standing in the way of this mutation of all that is American.