Friday, October 27, 2006

The Conservative Left and the Liberal Right

The Conservative Left and The Liberal Right: A contradiction? Or the clearest way to describe two minorities influencing political policy. One of those minorities is fighting for survival; the other is enjoying complete dominance.

The Liberal Right bears little resemblance to its conservative roots. Its neo-conservatism ideal rejects the small-government foundation of the Republican platform. This party is concerned with liberal immigration policies, liberal foreign policies, liberal fiscal policies, liberal trade policies, and liberal tax policies. Moral outrage drives the popularity of this party, while moral legislation is non-existent.

The Conservative Left breaks from many of the ideas of their liberal counterparts. Moral responsibility coupled with social policies is the foundation of this emerging group. Though a Conservative Left is a fundamental Democrat, they break on various issues including abortion, immigration (illegal), and fiscal responsibility. The Conservative Left revolves around health care, balanced budgets, conservative foreign policies, conservative immigration policies, and conservative trade policies.

In today’s political atmosphere it is necessary to reevaluate what each of our political beliefs are. More importantly, understanding how we differ will add to the political diversity this country was founded on.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

If the Democrats Take Back Congress...

Any Fox Network viewer will tell you that the consequences for Democrats taking back the two houses of congress are catastrophic. Partisan fighting would continue, the war on terror would take a massive blow, and the possibility of presidential impeachment would loom. And though each of these concerns are unfounded and almost laughable (do you think the Democrats would impeach President Bush to put Cheney in power?), there will be some major changes that will occur.

The legislation that will be introduced “within five minutes,” as Nancy Pelosi notes, is the proposal to let the government negotiate drug prices. In a country seeded with capitalistic roots, how does the largest purchaser of drugs forfeit negotiating power? The very idea is perplexing. In 2003 when the congress passed a bill banning governmental negotiating, the idea was to let the third party insurance companies use their understanding of the industry to navigate prices. However, what happened next did not surprise the minority party. The drug prices paid by Medicaid/Medicare increased 10% a year since the law went into effect. Even more startling, the Veterans Benefits, which are not part of this legislation, buy their drugs at 50%-60% of the prices Medicare pays, though they purchase a fraction of the volume.

Yes, Big Pharma is worried; and rightfully so. They have already poured $500,000 in to Rick Santorum’s close race (the leading proponent of the 2003 Medicare bill), and multiple others across the country. If the Democrats do impeach President Bush, it will be long after drug prices drop.

(A great article can be found in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Fearing a Democratic Victory, Drug Makers Fund Key Races.”)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)

Congressman Ryan makes a point concerning the torture bill being debated in Congress. Worth a listen.

Holy Shiite! The Sunnis have lost control...

As we continue to fight this global war on terror (actually, let me rephrase that), as we fight this war in Iraq it is alarming how many American’s have no idea of the power struggles between Sunnis and Shiites.

Who can deny that Saddam Hussein was an evil and malice dictator? However, would you be shocked to know that woman’s rights in Iraq, America’s relations with Iran, and partisanship in Iraq has become increasingly worse without Saddam?

Saddam is a Sunni, and Sunni’s are a minority party in Iraq. How, you might ask, if Sunnis are a minority power could Saddam remain as a dictator? Easy, fear. There were many attempts at taking Saddam out of power by the two other parties. The Kurds paid dearly for their attempt with the massacre fueled by chemical warfare. American’s determination to label this genocide is incorrect; Saddam was not interested in destroying the culture, but to send a strong message to those who opposed him. Shiites were just as scared, though they maintained the majority of the population, and watched the Sunni leader control Iraq for decades.

With Saddam out of power and the seeds of democracy now growing, the Shiites are using their majority to take back control. However, the Shiite’s are interested in intertwining religious ideals into their new constitution. One of those ideals is the lack of influence woman maintain in society. Iraqi woman can expect more oppression, less freedom of thought, and a non-existent role in any position of influence.

Over the course of Saddam’s administration, the Sunni controlled Iraqi government was at odds with Shiite dominated Iran. Saddam was a spoken enemy of Iran, and the Shiite Iraqis looked to Iran for strength and support. With Saddam removed from power and the Shiites now in control of Iraq, loyalties run deep and an alliance between the two great Middle East countries is being formed. Look past the soft media and you will find many Iran loyalists in the newly formed Iraqi government. America’s purpose of creating stability in the Middle East is being accomplished. Unfortunately it’s not the stability we were hoping for.

Another issue between Sunnis and Shiites is the great partisan divide that continues to widen. Shiites now in power are looking to avenge the many years of Sunni control over their nation. The problem with democracy in the Middle East is history runs deep and is not forgotten. Unlike America where the domination of power by one party can easily be ousted by the diversity of the population, Iraq is at the mercy of the united Shiite citizens. Many Sunni delegates have walked away from the new government in complete dismay because the Shiites propose and ratify legislation that opposes their group. This discontent between these two cultures is also what is sparking a civil war.

As we continue to watch Iran speak with more confidence and less remorse, know that we have made their position stronger by providing a friendly neighbor. The Sunni controlled Iraq is history, and history the Shiites will not forget.

(There is a great article in the NY Times titled, "Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite?")

Monday, October 16, 2006

What’s up (or down) with the gas prices?

Could our two oil executives who are running America actually have some impact on gas prices? Recent polls seem to suggest this idea, with the majority of American believing that the recent uncharacteristic dip in gas prices is the basis for some conspiracy theory. And why not? Gas is down a dollar a gallon in most neighborhoods to the delight of all Republican candidates.

However, the reality that gas is impacted by the commodities market is not easily understood. Investors buy future commodities much like they do other investments. They buy on speculation that the prices will rise, and sell to realize a profit. One of the reasons Southwest Airlines has continued to realize profits, is largely dependent on how they have managed their oil portfolio. Many investors bought oil at a high price speculating that another hurricane might damage the oil supply from the Gulf of Mexico (where 25% of our oil supply comes from). With no real hurricane activity coupled with the ending of summer travel months, demand has decreased and negative speculation has brought skyrocketing gas prices back to earth.

Will these prices last? Most likely no. When demand rises, and the commodity markets begin to return confidence to investors, gas prices will again increase. For the time being, Christmas has come early for Republicans, and they are playing the Santa role bringing the gift of gasoline to America.

CNN Money Article

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Study on the number of Iraqi deaths

There is a new report being published today trying to determine how many Iraqi lives have been taken by the war. The figure of 655,000 deaths might shock you, as they did me, largely due to the poor reporting of today's media. The writeup can be found in the Washington Post.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Economic Report

The Economy is souring, everybody take a deep breath…but don’t get comfortable…

A new report came out earlier this month reporting on the continual increase in economic measures. However, before you spend your day window shopping, realize a couple significant points:

  1. The economy is being driven by record profits from America’s largest corporations. Though this is good for economic measures, nominal wages have not increased, meaning the profits are not trickling down.

  2. Unemployment rate is remaining constant. Constant, but unstable. Our country continues to replace skilled workers with seasonal and low wage labor. The new report indicates that the Rust Belt is suffering the most with labor issue, given the layoffs forced by the auto industry.

  3. The National Deficit figures for this year will be reported on Friday. The deficit has been cut in half since 2004’s record setting figure of $500 billion. Many of my friends have asked how much a 250 billion dollar deficit will affect our fiscal situation…not much. 250 billion in a government budget of nine trillion is minimal.

  4. The greatest contributor to the decreasing deficit is the record profits by corporations, which increase the nation’s corporate tax. It should be noted that personal income tax has not played a role in the deficit, and has remained constant. This is important to note as the Bush tax cuts of 2002 and 2004 were almost exclusively to personal income taxes.

  5. With interest rates turning upward over the past year, the real estate market has slowed. This will pose a problem for economic growth to continue. The real estate market accounted for a large portion (20% I believe) of new economic growth over the past three years. Investment in residential housing decreased at the sharpest rate (down 11.1%) within the past decade.

Where do you get your information??

Ever wonder how reliable your news source is? A couple years back there was a study conducted on news sources and the viewer’s/reader’s knowledge of current events. Very interesting read especially when the report begins to detail cable and network news programming. Ever wonder which viewers have the most distorted perception of current events? Read on….

(Fox News Incorrectly Labled Mark Foley as a Democrat)

The Daily Show Viewer Survey

Perhaps one of the more interesting surveys involve my favorite program.  The National Annenberg Election Survey put out this nugget on viewers of The Daily Show.  Not that I am posting this to boast, but hey, if the shoe fits…

Click Here for full survey:

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Detailing Bush's First Term

This paper was written as the first of two parts. This one explained why Bush would not receive my vote in the 2004 election, while the other explained why Kerry would. Its interesting reading this paper now and feeling completely vindicated for my choice.

(First 115 words…)
As election time nears and many of my friends are undecided, I have taken some time to explain a couple reasons why I feel this country needs a change. I have tried to be as factual as possible to strengthen my arguments and form a persuasive essay. Most of you know I am voting for John Kerry in November; this paper is not to explain why I am voting for Kerry, but rather why I am not voting for Bush. However, unlike the Bush campaign I will not use half truths pounded out by the media, I don’t need too. There are too many factual examples of manipulation and corruption within the present day administration.

Download Full Text Here

A Moral Dilemma

This is a paper inspired by the book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas”. It discusses two points:
  1. How we label either party with stereotypes that are hypocritical and

  2. Most Americans vote for a political party that do not have their best interests in mind.

(First 140 words…)

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." -FDR

With the 2004 presidential election come and gone, many citizens will tune out the various debates that our lawmakers continue to engage in. Both sides will retire to their blue and red corners of this polarized nation with a sigh of relief, the red for their victory, the blue for their participation in the democratic process. The red will declare that moral values of the voters will continue to hold this country together, while the blue argues this very subject tears this land apart. Both sides are blinded by the hypocrisy of their own parties as they view their prospective leaders as figures of deity….

Download Full Text Here

Economics Paper from 2004

Perhaps one of my passions (and an intragal part of politics and policy making) is economics. This paper was written three months before the 2004 election.

(First two paragraphs of the article)

Perhaps one of the most partisan debates today is the economics of monetary and fiscal policy. Many administrations in the past have implemented their own beliefs in regards to this subject. In studying various administrations of both parties, I have come to various conclusions:
  1. The Federal Reserve and the chairman have a greater power of controlling the economy then the president.

  2. Economic policy is a misguided reason to side with any candidate.

  3. Each president in the last 100 years has sided with variations of two economic theories, Keynesism and Supply Side.

  4. National debt and deficits need to be maintained with judgment as both can enable detrimental effects in regards to our money supply.

Download full text here