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Justice and the Enemy by William Shawcross: A Critical Book Review

I. Introduction

Justice and the Enemy is a thorough and organized masterpiece about the global war on terror. William Shawcross is very successful in laying out a dense amount of information in a succinct format. This work has the suspense and chronological timelines of Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly. It has the intellectual makeup and refined arguments of The Federalist Papers. Finally, this work has the profoundness and painful truths also found in another book about the global war on terror’s relation to Islam titled, How to Win A Cosmic War by Dr. Reza Aslan. http://www.williamshawcross.com/pics/enemy.jpg

This book presents a historical account of terrorism, while also presenting the competing philosophies of bringing terrorists to justice in the modern world. Shawcross seeks to examine competing solutions in bringing justice to an enemy that seeks the annihilation of the west.[1] He also accurately examines the controversy in bringing terrorists to justice in a time of political correctness and legal perplexity. While the blame for rising tensions and hateful rhetoric towards the United States has often been attributed to American involvement in the Middle East, Shawcross accurately explains these tensions actually stems “from the struggle within the Muslim world for the soul of Islam.”[2]

This book can be broken down into two major questions. First, should terrorists be tried in civilian courts or military courts? Second, should enhanced interrogation techniques be used in the global war on terror? The following analysis will discuss these two major points in further detail.

II. Should terrorists be tried in civilian courts or military courts?

“Military commissions have long been recognized as part of American and international legal practice. U.S. presidents have claimed the authority to conduct these commissions under Articles I and II of the U.S. Constitution. ”[3] Shawcross explains that a further precedent for military trials is found in the case of Ex Parte Quirin.[4] The Supreme Court held that a military tribunal had jurisdiction to try eight Nazi saboteurs that landed by U-boat on U.S. soil.[5] The most important distinction made in this case is that between a lawful enemy combatant and an unlawful enemy combatant.[6] Lawful enemy combatants are uniformed soldiers, while unlawful enemy combatants enter the country in civilian dress.[7] The Supreme Court said that unlawful enemy combatants are subject to “trial and punishment by military tribunals.”[8]http://img.allvoices.com/thumbs/image/609/480/66416208-khalid-sheikh.jpg

Furthermore, in Johnson v. Eisentrager, Shawcross quotes Justice Robert Jackson’s majority opinion in which he says “We hold that the Constitution does not confer a right of personal security or an immunity from military trial and punishment upon an alien enemy engaged in the hostile service of a government at war with the United States.”[9] Shawcross says this opinion makes it clear that unlawful enemy combatants do not have the same rights as American citizens.[10]

While the opinion in Ex Parte Quirin and Johnson has been the majority view for over five decades, the Obama administration has interpreted the decision in a different manner. Shawcross explains that in 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder invoked a protocol called the “Determination of Guantanamo Cases Referred for Prosecution.”[11] This protocol says, “that where feasible, federal courts should be used unless other compelling factors suggested that prosecution in ‘a reformed military commission’ was more appropriate.”[12] Shawcross bluntly says that if there is an attack on “U.S. soil and its victims were Americans, and particularly American civilians, then a civilian trial would be favored” based on this protocol.[13] This decision was a tremendous departure from the ruling in Ex Parte Quirin and Johnson. One could almost call it a “lawfully” blind analysis because the protocol overlooks whether the combatant is lawful or unlawful. As a result, Attorney General Holder moved forward with prosecuting Khalid Sheik Mohammed on American soil after the protocol was invoked.[14]

Shawcross counters the opposition to Military Tribunals by explaining, “Defendants in military tribunals have ultimate rights of appeal almost identical to those convicted in federal court.”[15] This results from the safeguards that have been introduced since 2001.[16] While concluding the discussion on tribunals, Shawcross bluntly states that it does not matter whether a Military Tribunal or Federal Court tries an Islamist because Islamists will denounce the decision.[17] In fact, radical Muslims denounce all law except Sharia.[18]

What may be even more interesting than the idea of the Islamic disregard of the American court system is Shawcross’s discussion of justiciability of whether or not an enemy combatant is tried before a military commission or a federal court. Shawcross reveals that Justice Jackson remarked, in Ex Parte Quirin, that there might not be justiciability of the military commission issue because it is a political question left for another branch of government.[19] If a claim is not justiciable, then a federal court will likely not hear it. If this type of claim is not justiciable, it could have broad and sweeping ramifications on the trials of enemy combatants. This also means that the legislative branch and executive branch could be at liberty to try an enemy combatant any way they prefer. Whether this is good or not is left up for discussion.

III. Should enhanced interrogation techniques be employed in the global war on terror?

“Michael Ignatieff says “torture is probably the hardest case in the ethics of the lesser evil. A clear prohibition…erected in the name of human dignity comes up against a utilitarian case also grounded in a dignity claim, namely, the protection of human lives.”[20] Shawcross is clear to point out that “enhanced interrogation” may save human lives, but the legality of this form of torture is left for debate. The first question that Shawcross answers is whether there are legal grounds to use enhanced interrogation.

         In the Fourth Geneva Convention, which outlawed torture, common article 3 applies to “non-international armed conflicts, including civil wars, internal armed conflicts that spill into other states, or internal conflicts in which third states or a multinational force intervenes.”[21] It could certainly be argued that terrorism is under the umbrella of the “internal conflicts” and “multinational force” provisions. After all, these terrorists start internal conflicts and come from different countries, but are all led by one philosophy, Radical Islam. However, the validity of this convention is in question, especially since it is questionable as to whether any captured American soldiers have been treated according to this protocol since 1950.[22] Therefore, it may not even be germane to this debate.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/waterboarding.jpgThe Authorization for the Military Use of Force of September 18, 2001, gave the “president the right to use ‘all necessary and appropriate force’ against those who organized the 9/11 attacks.”[23] This authorization shows little regard for international agreements like common article 4. Shawcross says this is legal cover for the killing of supposed terrorists, but it also appears to be legal cover for enhanced interrogation techniques.[24] He describes enhanced interrogation techniques employed in the global war on terror as being the following: sleep deprivation; walling; slapping; forced nudity; prolonged wall standing; and waterboarding.[25] President Bush said these techniques were “designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations.”[26] But not everyone agrees with this assessment.

Shawcross explains that President Obama has taken a different approach to enhanced interrogation. One of the first actions he took was shutting down the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation and only permitting the use of interrogation in compliance with the Army Field Manual.[27] Subsequently, Obama ordered the release of documents detailing the CIA’s interrogation methods.[28] Shockingly, he refused to release documents, at Vice-President Cheney’s request, detailing the success of enhanced interrogation.[29] Are enhanced interrogation techniques successful?

If these techniques are effective, it is absurd that President Obama would not want to release them. While it may not justify using these methods, some credit must be given if enhanced interrogation saves American lives. Shawcross makes a compelling case for why they have been effective. Discussing the capture of Osama bin Laden, he writes, “Important parts of the intelligence that eventually led to his hiding place in Abbottabad, Pakistan, had originally derived from enhanced interrogation of detainees including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed”[30] Leon Panetta, the former Director of the CIA, said that some detainees provided “useful information” after being interrogated using enhanced techniques.[31] However, he said it was debatable as to “whether those techniques were the ‘only timely and effective way’ to obtain such information.”[32]

Shawcross says that Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA from 2006-2009, believed that there was no debating this question.[33] Hayden stated that when first briefed on finding bin Laden, “a crucial component of the briefing was information provided by three CIA detainees, all of whom had been subjected to some form of enhanced interrogation.”[34] Shawcross concludes that enhanced interrogation does save American lives.[35] However, his quote of political scientist Michael Walzer does bring into the moral question of whether torture is the best way to save American lives. While writing about the “the politician who feels he has to make the decision to use torture to save lives” Walzer says, “His choices are hard and painful and he pays the price not only while making them but forever after.”[36]

IV. Conclusion

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.” This statement sums up the question of whether more adequate justice exists in civilian courts or in military courts for enemy combatants. It also brings closure to whether enhanced interrogation techniques should be employed. Shawcross brings forward the evidence in a compelling and vivid way. He provides a format so readers can accurately answer the question of “Does my country’s conscience die when we allow our motives of revenge and retribution to bring justice rather than methods that promote respect for human dignity?”

Shawcross provides compelling evidence that trying unlawful enemy combatants in military tribunals is legal. His use of case law and federal law enforce the conclusion that military tribunals are legal and the most effective means for trying terrorists. Furthermore, he consistently clarifies that these tribunals do not infringe their rights because they can still appeal all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Shawcross also effectively argues both sides of the enhanced interrogation issue. However, it appears his arguments weigh more heavily in favor of permitting enhanced interrogation because of the undeniable results these techniques provide. While President Obama and many others may be against enhanced interrogation, Shawcross makes the reader question whether Osama bin Laden would have ever been found without employing some variation of torture. He also compels the reader to question whether there will be an increase in terrorist attacks if enhanced interrogation tactics are not used. Despite the shocking of the normal human conscience enhanced interrogation tactics cause, their results may be enough to justify their use

[1] Shawcross, William. Justice and the Enemy. Page 5 of Hardcopy.

[2] Id. at 216.

[3] Shawcross, William, Justice and the Enemy. (https://itun.es/us/jQIPC.l). iBooks 101. (10 Jan. 2012).

[4] Id. at 102.

[5] Id. at 106

[6] Id. at 107

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id. at 148.

[10] Id. at 149

[11] Id. at 162

[12] Id.

[13] Id. at 163

[14] Id.

[15] Id. at 257.

[16] Id.

[17] Id. at 256.

[18] Id.

[19] Id. at 108

[20] Id. at 119.

[21] Id. at 86.

[22] Id. at 87.

[23] Id. at 265

[24] Id.

[25] Id. at 120-21

[26] Id. at 122.

[27] Id. at 158-59.

[28] Id. at 159.

[29] Id.

[30] Id. at 126.

[31] Id. at 262.

[32] Id.

[33] Id. at 263

[34] Id.

[35] Id. at 293.

[36] Id. at 293.

Book Review of “A Shameful Act” by Taner Akçam

By Mitch Baroody on November 4, 2013

I. Introduction

            A Shameful Act, written by Taner Akçam, is a historical work, vividly detailing the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman government in Turkey. While the Ottomans ‘ actions were shameful, this book could have easily been titled, Silent Voices, Absent Justice, and Zero Consciences. Akçam’s account provides a thorough roadmap of why the Ottoman’s murdered the Armenians and how these murders occurred.  This book also clearly describes the international responses to these atrocities and the lack of Turkish responsibility in the aftermath of the bloodshed.http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41eNCHI2ieL.jpg

Akçam’s ability to compile this tremendous depth of information is commendable. However, his account of these events is not flawless. The greatest weakness is his failure to hook the reader before digressing into a lengthy, historical recitation. Instead, Akçam begins by stating an overwhelming amount of information in a literary style best equated to stream-of-consciousness.

The redeeming portion of the book begins with the third chapter, which is like starting a new book. Here, his writing is more concise, and the story becomes clearer and easier to comprehend. However, many will never see the third chapter because of the stream-of-consciousness style Akçam uses in the first two chapters. If the reader is able to make it this far, he or she will likely feel pathos for the innocent Armenians who are mercilessly slaughtered. In fact, one may even feel like an Armenian at times during Akçam’s account of these shameful acts.

What more could a family member or the soul of an Armenian genocide victim ask for than an accurate pleading of their case before the world? Akçam presents a convincing argument that shameful acts were committed against the Armenians. His work also causes readers to see, feel, and hear what the deceased are still trying to say. However, even though Akçam pleads a powerful case against the Ottomans, this book can only be a legitimate resource if it pleads a case for Ottoman-inflicted genocide and not just shameful acts.

II. Does Akçam accurately present a case for genocide?

This body of work may be one of the greatest modern accounts of Ottoman (Turkish government-sponsored) atrocities towards the Armenians. However, this book can only be legitimate and considered a profound work if Akçam accurately makes a case for genocide. Many countries go through war, civil unrest, and loss of life. Therefore, the importance of making a case for genocide is necessary in order to separate this event from any other civilization attempting to maintain its existence. After analyzing all of the facts presented, it does appear that A Shameful Act makes a prima facie case for the Turkish atrocities to be considered genocide.

http://espressostalinist.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/centurys-first-genocide-2.jpg?w=950The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide provides the most thorough definition of what genocide is and who can actually be held responsible for committing the act. U.N. General Resolution 260, which adopted the Convention’s agreement, defines genocide as the following:

“…Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group…such as killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”[1]

Furthermore, it does not matter “whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals” acts are still genocide if they conform to the definition of Article 2.[2] Akçam provides a compelling case for genocide based on numerous historical accounts and vivid descriptions of the actions taken by the Turkish government. Therefore, a brief overview of Akçam’s factual progression towards the Turkish shameful acts will be provided, then a brief analysis of how the facts relate to the definition of genocide will be discussed.

The beginning of the book gives the reader an impression that the Ottoman Empire was not a horrible place to live as a non-Muslim during the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. (23). Akçam says that non-Muslims did not have to face trial in Ottoman courts and were even exempt from having their property searched by authorities. (25). They did have to pay a tax, though. (Id.). A reasonable reader should conclude that the region was fertile for families and habitation for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Turks will likely appreciate this picture and will use it to deny the atrocities against the Armenian population. Furthermore, the Turks will also claim that it is not Islamic to murder the innocent as a defense to the shameful acts. (179). However, the pendulum does not weigh in favor of the Turks for long.

The most profound statement in the entire book is, “A nation that feels itself on the verge of destruction will not hesitate to destroy another group it holds responsible for its situation.” (126). 60,000-90,000 Turkish soldiers died at Sankamiş in January of 1915. The failures in this battle caused the Turks to take significant opposition to the Armenians. (125). Akçam writes that one man describes the defeat as “a treacherous deception, to a conspiracy of murderous criminals, to our fighting units being stabbed in the back by the traitors among us…bringing a moral collapse.” (Id.). He says that during this time, the Ministry of War Department distributed leaflets and writings describing the Armenians as traitors and blaming them for the loss of life at Sankamiş. (Id.). The loss of life mixed with Ottoman propaganda begins to increase the hostility towards the Armenians. Akçam accurately paints a picture of the Turks presenting this evidence to gain public and government support for dealing with threats to their survival as a nation in the most extreme ways.

Shortly after the release of the pamphlets, Akçam describes how Armenians began petitioning the German Consul for emergency assistance from the “coming atrocities” by the Turkish government like they had witnessed in an “Armenian village near the Russian border.” (149).  One of the clearest testimonies of what is about to take place comes from a Swiss nurse named Alma Johannson. (150). She says, “Towards the beginning of April, in the presence of a Major Lange and several other high officials, including the American and German Consuls, Ekran Bey openly declared the government’s intention of exterminating the Armenian race.” (Id.). Even more staggering is the testimony of a Danish nurse reporting that Erzincanlı Sabit, the governor of Harput, told German Vice Consul Scheubner-Richter the following: “The Armenians in Turkey must and were going to be killed. They had grown…in wealth and numbers until they had become a menace to the ruling Turkish race; extermination was the only remedy.” (Id.). Even if the nurse’s credibility is questioned, Akçam says “Scheubner-Richter himself reported that a senior official told him ‘there will be no Armenians left in Turkey after the war.’” (Id.). Akçam provides ample testimony to introduce the sentiments existing prior to the slaughter of Armenians.

He then presents evidence about the slaughter taking place, saying that “other consular reports recount a similar story: hundreds of thousands of Armenians driven from their homes in convoys and killed, either on the road or after having arrived at their assigned destinations.” (161). Akçam also says that commanders of the Turkish Army play a role in slaughtering these people and driving them from their homes by eliminating “civilian Armenian population within the military zones and murdering Armenian soldiers within the army units.” (173). This is not merely conjecture or hearsay. These reports are not from newspapers, but from official documents. Furthermore, there is actual proof that the Armenians are missing from their respective towns after the war with little to no explanation as to why. For instance, in 1917, the Catholic Archbishop of Armenia says that only twenty-three percent of the pre-war Armenian Catholics in the city of Anatolia were still alive after the war. (178)

http://adoption.state.gov/content/images/flags/turkey_flag.gif The Turkish government admitted this, confirming that Armenians were slaughtered. Trabzon’s deputy, Mehmet Emin Bey, says “Our government slaughtered a great number of Armenian women and children. And their property was looted. But the number is not one million, as claimed. It is around 500–600,000. And furthermore, it is not right to say that these people “were killed because they were Armenians.” (253). This is a clear statement, from a government official, admitting that Armenians are the sole victims of the government’s mass murder plan. Yet Bey still denies the murders happened because these people were Armenians. This statement shows hesitancy on the part of Turkish government officials to admit the murders were because of ethnicity.

There will always be skeptics that these shameful acts were actually genocide. Therefore, one may want to look at the economic proof. The strongest argument Akçam makes for genocidal intent may actually be when it comes to the policies dealing with Armenian property.  He says, “Despite the dozens of documents outlining the use of Armenian property, there is not a single piece of evidence showing that any compensation was actually paid to any deportee.” (189). Essentially, the government knew the Armenians would not be around, so they decided not to write a policy to compensate the Armenians for their seized property. This is a brilliant argument by Akçam, but is it grounded in factual documentation or just hearsay?

http://www.thelibertybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/un.pngSince the facts have been laid out, it is important to discuss how they relate to the United Nations’ definition of genocide. First, the question is whether the murderous acts were committed with intent to destroy.[3] The answer to this question is, unequivocally, yes. The Turks, as stated above, had a mission to destroy whatever force came between them and the preservation of their empire. It was essential that they silenced whatever they suspected was a potential hindrance to survival. Whether this encompasses a hindrance to their ability to wage war or their economic security, Akçam makes it clear that the Turks were willing to destroy anyone in their path in order to preserve their beloved empire.

Since the intent to destroy exists, the next part of the rule is whether the intent to destroy is based on “national, ethnical, racial or on religious grounds.”[4] The answer to this, based on Akçam’s account, is yes. The Ottoman’s were threatened by the Armenians wealth and stature. The book also shows how they blamed the Armenians for the deaths and losses in battle and for being traitors to the Turkish cause. Therefore, at the time, they believed their nation would not survive as long as there was an Armenian presence. The Turkish government did not set out to destroy Muslims. They did not set out to destroy the average Turk. They set out to kill a specific ethnic group, the Armenians.

The argument in favor of a genocide against the Armenians only needs to encompass ethnicity and not the religious beliefs of the Armenians. One Turkish official specifically admitted, as stated above, that over five hundred thousand Armenians were murdered. The consular reports are also very clear as to who was being murdered. The average Turkish citizen was not facing these murders. Akçam makes it clear that Armenians were the sole recipients of the Turks’ wrath. Therefore, article four is also satisfied. The definition of genocide is basic and is not complicated. Akçam provides evidence that makes it highly likely that these shameful acts conform to the definition in article four.

The weakest point of Akçam’s book is that he often relies on hearsay. There are numerous third-person accounts in the book.  However, Akçam maintains his credibility because the hearsay statements are backed up by government reports and population statistics. It is clear that the Armenians did not go on a long vacation somewhere. They were clearly taken from the earth and were too spread out across the empire, too successful, and too prideful to be engaging in some type of mass suicide by their own hands.  Therefore, while it is fair to criticize Akçam for the many hearsay accounts he provides in the book, there are enough credible accounts to authenticate questionable statements. This leaves the reader with only one conclusion: the Turkish government committed genocide against the Armenian people.

III. Conclusion

Akçam makes a clear case that the Armenians were killed solely because of ethnicity. A Shameful Act clearly shows that a Turkish intent to destroy existed by giving examples of how the Turkish government felt threatened and weakened by various conflicts. Akçam provides adequate examples for one to conclude the Turkish government not only had intent to destroy, but intent to destroy Armenians. This intent was because of its weakening position at home and across the world. Akçam explains that Turks begin to blame the Armenians for their “traitorous” behavior and believes that Armenian wealth and prosperity led to the demise of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, the only solution is to murder one million of them. The government admits the Armenian deaths are a little over five hundred thousand. This statement exists as an admission that Armenians were the sole victor of Turkish, ethnic-centered wrath.

A Shameful Act could have been more concise and could have been written in a simpler format. However, Akçam’s blunt style gives the reader quick facts that destroy any doubt one may have about whether the Armenians were victims of Turkish genocide. Despite his writing style, the message is still clear and the voices of so many victims are still easily heard. Every Turk should take this book as a refresher course on their country’s stained past. As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

[1] Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 78 U.N.T.S. 277, (entered into force Jan. 12, 1951) (See Article 2).

[2] Id. (See Article 4).

[3] Id. (See Article 2).

[4] Id.

Mass. Bill: Chemo patients would have to collect own waste

This is an Article, in which I gave an interview for, about a Massachusetts Senate Bill that clearly “Shocks the Conscience.” It appeared in the “Waste and Recycling News” on November 29. Read the Article below:

By Jeremy Carroll | WRN reporter

Nov. 29 — Cancer patients in Massachusetts would have to collect their urine and feces for days after chemotherapy treatments to be disposed as hazardous waste, under a proposal by a state senator.

Senate Bill 1089 would order health care professionals to give chemotherapy patients the means to collect and dispose of bodily wastes following treatment. The bill was introduced by Sen. James Eldridge, D-Worcester.

“It would hopefully eliminate a lot of toxic chemicals from entering the public water system,” Eldridge said.

The senator said he is concerned that some chemotherapy treatments enter the patient and do not fully process by the time it leaves the body. It ends up being flushed into a community´s wastewater treatment facility or local septic systems.

“It´s a real concern that the people receiving these treatments are having a lot of toxic chemicals enter their bodies,” he said. “And these patients get discharged from hospitals or other health care facilities, [and] there´s no way for them to prevent those chemicals, through their bodily waste, from entering the water system.”

While any amount of chemotherapy drugs left unprocessed would be extremely diluted, Eldridge said the reason for the bill is because experts are unsure if newer drugs are surviving traditional wastewater treatment facilities.

“The answer is, we don´t exactly know,” he said. “So let´s try to prevent those chemicals from entering the water system to begin with.”

Jim Mullowney, CEO of Pharma-Cycle Inc., a startup company looking to provide treatment systems for in-home waste, is pushing for the bill´s passage.

He said the way materials surrounding chemotherapy drugs are handled tells you all you need to know about the dangers of them.

“The empty vials, the empty IV bags, the gloves nurses wear, everything that comes into contact with these materials, even in trace amounts, is being treated like it was a chemical weapon,” Mullowney said. “Yet, we inject it into a patient where it passes through the body in three or four days.”

He said not all chemotherapy drugs pass through the body unprocessed, but a handful do.

“If they took the same chemicals and put them down the drain at the hospital, they would arrest the CEO of the hospital and throw them in jail,” he said. “We wouldn´t stand for it. But for some reason, because we treat them as medicines, we ignore the chemistry.”

Mullowney said even trace amounts of these drugs can be extremely dangerous, as they are often given to patients in nanograms per liter, or one billionth of a gram.

“It´s really common sense,” he said. “How we let this happen is beyond me.”

Not everyone is supportive of the measure. Political analyst Mitch Baroody said it is unfair to pick out just chemotherapy patients, as other pharmaceuticals are often found in studies that search for those items in public water systems. Such a move to single out one type of patient may be unconstitutional, he said.

“The point here is, if you are going to put excessive regulations on cancer patients, then you should put those same excessive regulations on anyone that uses medicine [where the medicine] excretes through the body´s waste disposal systems,” he said.

The bill had a public hearing last month and remains in committee.

“It´s the first time I´ve brought the bill forward,” Eldridge said. “It´s something that is a concern for a lot of legislators, but I think there needs to be an education about these chemicals [to other lawmakers].”

He said he is working hard to get the bill out of committee. The Massachusetts legislative session ends in July 2012.

Marc Hymovitz, director of government relations and advocacy for the American Cancer Society in the New England area, said the organization does not have a position on the proposal.

“It´s not an issue we´ve looked at,” he said by email.

Could We Soon See the End of ITAR’s Chokehold on Space Exploration?: My Interview Below

Article Written by Daniel Sims, Columbia University, for Universe Today (NASA Endorsed Publication)

Jeff Foust of The Space Review may have said it best when he claimed that ITAR, a set of trade regulations regarding defense-related trade, was “an acronym that has become figuratively and literally a four-letter word in the industry given the costs, delays, and general uncertainty involved in dealing with those regulations.” No matter where you are on the political spectrum or no matter where you stand on the debate about what’s next in space, you will find people who hate the ITAR’s (International Trade Arms Regulations International Traffic in Arms Regulations) influence on space commerce. Even in this time of great partisanship, Rep. Howard Berman [D-CA28] along with six Democrats and four Republicans have joined forces to craft a sword that, once given to the president will eliminate ITAR’s influence on space commercial enterprise.

The Safeguarding United States Satellite Leadership and Security Act of 2011 is the name of the bill. Also named HR 3288, the act removes spacecraft and related components from the United States Munitions List which is a list of items which are controlled by ITAR. China, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and North Korea have restricted access to US spacecraft merchants, easing fears that US technology would fall into the wrong hands.

HR 3288 has created much excitement in the space industry.

“Congress has the opportunity to dramatically improve the competitiveness of the U.S. satellite and space industries and ensure an innovative and thriving U.S. space industrial base,” said Patricia Cooper, the president of the Satellite Industry Association, in a press release. She added that they would be jumping for joy if it weren’t for the “outmoded and overly-restrictive regulation” they say they are under.

Why so much joy? Mitchell Baroody, law student, political analyst, advocate, speaker and told Universe Today that “while ITAR may have some positive effects on National Security, the detrimental effects of these ‘red tape-laced’ regulations cannot be ignored.”

For instance, according to The Space Review in 2006, U.S. Satellite Manufacturers have estimated losses from ‘$2.5 and $6.0 billion since 1999 due primarily to ITAR regulations.’

“When industries become over-regulated, this is what happens,” Baroody said. “As a result of ITAR, even…‘friendly’ foreign countries are weary of dealing with the U.S.”

This makes it difficult for our allies because spacecraft are listed after deadly toxicological agents and before destructive nuclear weapons with all three under the same trade rules. Despite this hilarious position, spacecraft’s removal is still, according to Space Politics, “an uphill battle, as Congress awaits the administration’s export control reform proposals as well as delivery of a final version of a report looking at the national security implications of moving satellite export control reform.”

This uphill struggle against protectionism might not be so bad because over the overwhelming need to create jobs. Baroody acknowledged that there are “many who are advocating protectionist ideals, like Donald Trump advocating increased trade tariffs of 25% with China in April of 2011.”

However, Baroody said, there are many more who know that in the present American economy, people are looking for any feasible solution to export control that has economic benefits. “Unfortunately, becoming more protectionist could have some very negative economic implications for the American consumer,” he said.

Baroody does not foresee this bill being stopped by the protectionist movement. “HR 3288 does not, in any way, benefit the one country who has been treating us unfairly, China,” he said. “This bill should not face an obstacle, in reference to protectionism.”

To Baroody, the thought “that idealists tendencies, which are not accurate, can dominate and win over more jobs, more freedom for American business, and more money in the pockets of Americans is…sickening.”

Some could counter-claim saying national security is at risk, but Baroody thinks the US government has gone too far.

“Before the satellite industry was given such a devastating blow in 1999, it is fair to say there was not enough oversight. However, putting satellites on the munitions list went way too far,” he said. “Now, American Manufacturers are winning with HR 3288 and American security is being preserved because the malevolent nations are excluded from being sold these satellites and components.”

Drilling down to the mechanics of the law, this is the only route Congress can take to export reform as Baroody explains: “Title 22 USC § 2778 (The ITAR) gives Congress oversight in munitions list removal. The President has to present any removals to Congress and cannot remove anything until 30 days have passed upon notification of the Speaker and specific committees. They specifically authorized the President to have discretion in removal. In HR 3288, Congress authorizes the President to remove the satellites and related components only if this does not cause a threat to National security.” In other words, congress can’t remove the spacecraft from the munitions list themselves.”

The Safeguarding United States Satellite Leadership and Security Act of 2011 is not perfect. “The bill includes risk-mitigating licensing controls, procedures, and safeguards,” Baroody said. “Red-tape and regulations are always going to get in the way of commerce, regardless of whether it involves space or some other category of commerce. If you put aside the risk mitigating licensing controls, procedures, and safeguards and look at America’s tax system, the answer is obvious.”

“The red-tape a company has to go through to get a product to market, like a satellite, can also be just as bad as paying more for it,” Baroody continued. “Having to paddle through the exorbitant amount of regulations to ensure you are legally allowed to sell your product and your buyer is allowed to keep it, is detrimental to every business. We should have regulations, but they should be within reason and should make sense. Government should not babysit our industries but they should keep an eye on them to make sure no one is getting hurt and the American people are being reasonably protected”.

This bill even has international implications. In an interview for The Space Review Dennis Burnett, vice president of trade and export controls for EADS North America expressed that “You cannot build a big sophisticated satellite without US parts and components, you just cannot do it…Those components might comprise no more than five percent of the satellite, but still, it’s a very important five percent.”

Because of this international impact, the bill was referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee on November 1st. This so called ‘Congress of specialists’ will, if they give the bill their time, study the bill then report on it. If the committee doesn’t give the bill their time, it will die there. Only after the committee’s review will there be a vote on the elimination of the ITAR.


This is article appeared Sunday, June 13, 2011, in the Philadelphia Tribune and is written by Zack Burgess

For more than two weeks now, and especially since Herman Cain was hit with allegations of sexual harassment, several talk show hosts have rallied around him, using race and his conservatism as a way to ex:plain why he has encountered some of his recent troubles.

First there was Rush Limbaugh, who recently said on his show: that the article in Politico is part of a process to tear down a Black Republican. Then there was Ann Coulter.

“Liberals detest, detest, detest conservative Blacks,” Coulter said. “…This is now the second time a conservative Black has had outrageous, and what appear to be false, allegations leveled against him.”

The first, in her view, was Clarence Thomas.

She didn’t stop there, inferring that a cadre of women, who were quick to forgive Bill Clinton for his sexual transgressions, was now attacking Herman Cain. “If you are a conservative Black, they will believe the most horrible sexualized fantasies of these uptight white feminists,” she said.

This prompted radio host Sean Hannity to wonder why liberals were, in his words, so “threatened” by Cain. Needless to say, Coulter was blunt in her response.

“Our Blacks are so much better than their Blacks,” she said, speaking of Democrats. “To become a Black Republican, you don’t just roll into it. You’re not going with the flow… and that’s why we have very impressive Blacks in the Republican Party.”

There has been a collective response to the Politico.com report that GOP front-runner Cain had settled two sexual harassment lawsuits when he headed the National Restaurant Association, a lobbying group for the food industry, in the 1990s.

And given that Cain gave inconsistent answers to questions raised by the article and has refused to acknowledge his latest accuser, Sharon Bialek — he has only been his own worst enemy.

“People refer to Herman Cain as a “Black conservative” as if he is some alien species,” said political analyst Mitch Baroody. “While the NAACP means well in protecting civil rights, I find them to be very quick on the trigger in pulling the race card and setting up divides. By talking about whites and Blacks like they are so different, it effectively makes them different. It allows people to use race as an excuse not to perform or an excuse as a defense to criticism.”

Coulter evoked the Thomas parallel when she dredged up the famous phrase from his nomination hearings 20 years ago.

At that time it was Thomas who made the statement that effectively neutralized questions about inappropriate sexual conduct raised by attorney Anita Hill.

Keep in mind, Coulter has called the Rev. Al Sharpton a “fat, race-baiting Black man” and has defended the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens as being unfairly accused of racism.

“The rendering of Black people as the ornaments of diversity, rather than incarnations of it, is one of the essential reasons why Blacks clash with conservatism,” said Political analyst Yvette Carnell.

Cain’s rise to the top of the GOP presidential pool has set off a furor among conservatives who saw Cain and other conservative minorities as victims of the so-called-liberal media. Limbaugh compared Cain’s problems to those of Marco Rubio, the U.S. senator from Florida who frequently told the story of his family fleeing Castro, which turned out to be untrue. Apparently the Rubios left Cuba several years before Castro came to power.

In a 12-minute exposition on the subject, Limbaugh called the reporting on Cain a “hit job.” “Anything good that happens to any Black or Hispanic in American politics can only happen via the Democrat Party. If it happens elsewhere, we’re going to destroy those people a la Clarence Thomas,” he said.

Speaking of Blacks’ place in America, MSNBC contributor, author and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said in his just-released book, “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”: “The European and Christian core of our country is shrinking.”

He says that “Old heroes like Columbus and Robert E. Lee may be replaced on calendars by Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez.” He goes on to write: “The End of White America. Those who believe the rise to power of an Obama rainbow coalition of peoples of color means the whites who helped to engineer it will steer it are deluding themselves. The whites may discover what it is like to ride in the back of the bus.”

For 21 consecutive months now, MSNBC has been No. 1 among African-American viewers in prime time. So it’s no surprise that Buchanan, hasn’t appeared on the network since his comments.

The Huffington Post’s reported that Buchanan hasn’t shown up on MSNBC since Oct. 22, while doing the rounds on other stations to promote his new book.

“A Conservative does not change because he is a different color,” Baroody said. “A Liberal does not change his philosophy because of his color either. Color should not be a part of this debate. People should lean on the side of conviction and not outward appearance. But because people have put such an emphasis on color, it allows politicos to make excuses like, ‘the media doesn’t like me because I’m a Black Conservative.’ It’s disgusting that we have let our society come to this after the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968.”

ColorofChange.org, a civil rights group, asked its members to sign a petition urging MSNBC to fire Buchanan, rattling off a series of questionable comments he has made over the years.

The Anti-Defamation League also chimed in, labeling Buchanan a racist and anti-Semite. Calderone even spoke with a station executive, who told him that, “the network is taking the concerns seriously.”

He also stressed that the decision to freeze out Buchanan was made long before the groups started rallying against him.

“To me, it’s disgusting,” Baroody said. “Blacks and whites are equals, only different in appearance. In the progressive age we live in today, Blacks and whites should be sticking up for each other more and calling out those that abuse the ‘race card’ as an excuse. Every time someone refers to a candidate as a ‘Black Conservative’ there should be whites and Blacks protesting this type of language because it sets up divides.”

Zack Burgess is the enterprise writer for The Tribune. He is a freelance writer and editor who covers culture, politics and sports. He can be contacted at zackburgess.com.

The S.C. GOP Vice-Presidential Debate: Wait, I mean Presidential

This debate came with no surprises. If you missed it, you likely missed seeing one of the future GOP nominees for Vice President. I’ve called it. None of the candidates in this first debate will be the Presidential nominee. I’m sorry, I’m sure I disappointed a few of you, but I speak the truth even if it hurts.

I call this with about 80% certainty because you never know when someone is going to burst out of their shell and surprise you. However, I find it likely none will be taking front runner status from this debate. Here is a quick rundown of the candidates and my opinion of each candidate’s performance.

Ron Paul: He often seemed like a sleepy and agitated old man. His performance is no different than his performances in the past. He spoke as a strong libertarian would. He opposed “secret” military prisons and advocated for gay rights.

I found myself agreeing with him on many issues but I also disagree with him adamantly on defense issues and believe he has a very fatalistic outlook on securing America and our place in the world. He will have no greater chance at the Presidency this time than he did before. I hate to say that because I really like the guy and he has been really nice to me in the past. He’s a fantastic guy to sit down and talk with, as I have. However, based on content, I have to give him a B-

Gary Johnson- He rarely said anything but from what he said, he is 100% never going to be President or Vice-President. He won’t be on the cabinet either. He is wasting his money and time by staying in this race. He lacks the confidence, decisiveness, and charisma to be a world leader..another libertarian but he is no Ron Paul. Gary throws his hands in the air like an angry mother at her toddler eating mushrooms in the yard. It’s time for him to call it quits. I gave him a C- and I am being very generous.

Herman Cain- He responded as a true business man would. He advocated an objective and advocated knowing what the end game should be in any circumstance whether domestic or foreign. He is relatively new to politics and leeway can be given to him for this debate. I found myself saying “Amen” on several of his stances.

I think this guy is the real deal, don’t get me wrong. However, his lack of charisma at times and lack of foreign policy experience could be a negative. Mr. Cain could surprise us all, continue making great progress, and be a dark horse candidate in this race.

But my guess, if anything, is he will be in the running for Vice-President but will likely end up as a frontrunner for Secretary of Commerce in a new administration. I give him a B+ and I’m proud to do so.

Tim Pawlenty- decisive, knowledgeable, sure of himself, and ready to lead…as Vice President. He was spot on tonight with everything he said. However, he often lacks charisma, something needed to beat Obama. I am also unsure at how far his message can reach at the front of a ticket. Overall, he was pretty good tonight and he earned points with his rant against the Government for interfering in the Boeing deal in Charleston. However, his views on cap and trade have certainly hurt him. But I still give him an A- for tonight because in a weak crop of candidates, he is one of the stronger ones.

Rick Santorum- I am extremely undecided about him. His performance tonight was right on the money with the Conservative GOP message. He was the most confident out of all candidates tonight. However, he lacks the “wow” factor that will take him over the top in 2012. He can’t beat Obama..let’s face it.  He may have beaten 3 other democrats in Pennsylvania races, but he can’t beat the biggest democrat in the White House.

However, if a more centrist and suspect -Conservative GOP candidate wins the nomination; he is an ideal candidate to boost conservative credentials on any ticket. I give him an A- for his performance, but I would like to see him relate better with other areas of the party rather than the hardcore, right wing side.

A quick wrap- Pawlenty and Santorum win this debate and who is better is just a matter of personal preference, Cain is the darkhorse, Paul is Paul, and Johnson needs to quit before he continues to embarrass himself.

Tonight needs to be considered a Vice Presidential debate and nothing more. The next President, by election, was very likely, not on the stage in Greenville. The big boys have yet to arrive. However, I search my brain hoping Gingrich, Romney, Trump and Co. can be considered big boys. I have my serious doubts.

It is going to take more to beat a sitting President. Many, including myself, relate Obama to Jimmy Carter. However, Jimmy Carter did not free the folks in the Iran-Contra affair. Obama has Bin Laden’s death to his name. That is the significant difference that could help pull Obama over the top if the GOP candidate is not strong, charismatic, decisive, and ready to be everything Obama was not.

Right now, the GOP crop is full of what the democrats used to have: Walter Mondales, Michael Dukakisis, and George McGoverns. As we all know, none of them reached much success on the national level. I hope someone steps up soon, or steps out of their shell if they have already stepped up, and lets the country know they are ready to be the image of the Executive branch for the next eight years.

A Taxing Situation

I happened to check out The Hill today and as a result, my focus on unity, peace, and love for the Liberals in Washington quickly decreased. Obama and Co. can take partial credit for shooting a terrorist who needed to be killed, but it still doesn’t fix  the biggest problems in our country: THE ECONOMY and now, SENATOR KENT CONRAD.

Senator Kent Conrad, a democrat from North Dakota. has a plan, and believe me, it’s quite a plan! As the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he is now pushing a new tax plan that will tax every American based on how many miles they drive. This differs from the current gas tax because the government will basically become more “Big Brotherish” and keep a closer look on motorists.

Why is this a “taxing situation?” Frankly, the way they want to keep track is pretty scary. These guys must be in cahoots with Steve Jobs over at apple. They want to put tracking devices in every American vehicle.  These devices will keep track of the mileage and people will be required to pay the tax at gas stations.

Seriously? I mean, really? And no, this isn’t some tea party or government conspiracy talk, it’s true. It sounds more like something out of a Science Fiction movie but it’s here..electronically tracking us to pay taxes.

What is next, a tax on how many times we flush the toilet every day? I guess nursing homes will go out of business! Better yet, a tax on profanity.  There we go. Every time you say “Damn” that is .25 cents. Worse curse words are taxed more heavily. I guess Joe Biden would be in big trouble if this were the case.

While the price of gas is rising to nearly historical levels, the democrats in D.C. apparently want to move towards another historic move: The extinction of automobiles.  I cannot wait to see how liberal scientist Bill Nye will try to explain this. It’s easy. I’ll help him out. It’s a cataclysm called “Liberalistic Geo-shifting of the Transportation Infrastructure.”

There Bill Nye, hope that helps.  Seriously though, how do they think  Americans will afford yet another tax, to increase the cost of driving, that will supposedly benefit our highways?

For states like South Carolina, Maine, and New Hampshire, the funds collected will go to bigger states like California and New York. Have you driven on a road in South Carolina any time lately? They are horrible. Part of this is the state legislature’s fault in South Carolina and part of it is the Federal Funds South Carolina gets, go to putting Jim Clyburn’s name on various universities instead of paving the roads.  Just saying.

It doesn’t make up for the simple truth that roads in other parts of the country are fantastic. Don’t think for one second that a tax like this would restore the roads in a smaller state like South Carolina. The money would never see the light of day in small states.

In conclusion, this assault on the American pocket book is just another liberal plan to cripple an already decaying economy to the point of no return. If there are benefits, I would certainly like to see them.  Unfortunately, by the time any benefit are seen, no one will be driving on roads to enjoy their restoration!

Thanks Kent Conrad! Way to help out the American people. Better get used to being chauffeured around piggy back style!


If you want to read more in depth about the plan, check out: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/159397-obama-floats-plan-to-tax-cars-by-the-mile

The Race for S.C. Attorney General: Who Will Put the Joker Away?

While the feet of gubernatorial candidates are shuffling as controversy rises like smoke from a burning Rome, another race is a lot quieter but just as important.  This race is for Attorney General of South Carolina.  There are three candidates as many of you know: Alan Wilson, Leighton Lord, and Robert Bolchoz.  All three of these guys are great people.  They all know law like they know their wives.  They would all do a great job at putting bad guys behind bars.  The problem is, South Carolina needs one Attorney General, not three.  Let’s get down to business.

I will immediately knock Bolchoz out of the race.  He doesn’t have the name recognition or the likability factor to garner the votes this Tuesday.  His polling hasn’t been very good and his message has come across as extreme to many.  While many agree with him on most issues, his positions would be better suited towards a run for Congress.

I can confidently say this race is between two people:  Wilson and “The” Lord.  Following in the footsteps of two incredible Attorney Generals, Henry McMaster and Charlie Condon, is going to be quite difficult.    What many thought would be hard for McMaster became quite simple.  His impressive and almost legendary work against sex offenders has put his predecessor, Charlie Condon, in Columbia’s shadows.  The question is: who can take over this office and make McMaster look “average”?  Is that even possible?

Leighton Lord touts his experience running triathlons.  He uses this as an outreach to kids.  When he talked about this experience and his outreach, his hopes were to show how much effort he has put into caring about South Carolina children.  Isn’t that nice?  However, while “The” Lord has been running triathlons and reaching out to underprivileged kids, Alan Wilson has had his own outreach program.

See, Alan Wilson knows a thing or two about running.  He ran as bullets were shot his way in Iraq.  He protected Iraqi children from the harsh dictatorship they were used to.  He protected kids in Iraq who, compared to America’s underprivileged, were much worse off.  Alan put his life on the line as he ran and deflected bullets for children.  He doesn’t have to run a triathlon to prove he would protect children in South Carolina, he just puts on his camouflage and shows his medals.

The next experience factor is with prosecuting.  Leighton Lord worked in Washington and did a great job putting away “Asian” gangs.  He hopes to put “Asian” gangs away in South Carolina too since there is such a problem with them (news to many of us).   Leighton was a hard fighter against organized crime and he is a brilliant attorney.  There is no question as to his incredible skills, he is truly brilliant.  He touts his experience working with prosecutors and telling them what to do while in Washington.

Alan Wilson, on the other hand, knows what the role of a prosecutor is because he was one.  Leighton has never prosecuted a case to put a bad guy away.  Alan has been assistant attorney general and has helped a “GREAT” attorney General put sex offenders behind bars.  Alan didn’t have to work for a Senate Committee, even though he could have, to know about being a prosecutor.  He has seen the worst of violence whether in Iraq or on our dangerous streets.  Alan has gotten his hands dirty for the people of our state and our World.  He knows the only effective way to stop crime is to cut it at crime’s throat.  If you don’t believe me, believe the sixty prosecutors around the state that have endorsed him with open arms.  Sixty!

Leighton Lord often talks about knowing the proper roles people should play and directing them to do so.  He knows what but Alan Wilson knows what and how.  Leighton may be a great lawyer who can negotiate a questionable deal with Boeing, but Alan Wilson is a worker than won’t always delegate, he will do.  .

Finally, no offense to veterans, Leighton Lord reminds me a lot of the war in Vietnam.  It was fought with a bunch of people in Washington that were far away from the battle.  They said what to do, but they didn’t know how.  This turned out to be a terrible disaster as you may remember.  Alan Wilson is an example of the brave men that fought that war, not the bureaucrats that tried to run it.  He knows what and he knows how to win no matter the situation.  We do not need any more quagmires now do we? Whether he is under fire or is putting a sex offender behind bars, Alan knows how to make us safer.

Many say Alan is “too young and inexperienced.”  I have also heard, “this isn’t Alan’s time yet; it’s Leighton’s turn.”  But I ask a simple question.  Had MANY Republicans not said, “It isn’t ______’s (fill in 2008 Presidential Candidate other than McCain) time yet; it’s McCain’s turn,” our country would be freer and a lot safer right now.

Let’s not make the same mistake many made back in 2008.  Even if Alan is young, he has the experience to protect each and every South Carolinian.  He has done it on the battlefield and in the court room.  His opponent knows how to direct and be a lawyer.  But South Carolina doesn’t need another bureaucrat and just another lawyer.  South Carolina needs a leader and a fighter too.  I hate to say it, but this is something “The” Lord knows little about when it comes to working outside of his law practice.

After knowing, working with, and walking with Alan’s father, Congressman Joe Wilson, I know the set of values and integrity Alan has.  He comes from a father that has fought for his country and stood up for his people, even when it was unpopular, against a corrupt President. Alan isn’t his father.  Alan has a different drive.  He has different goals.

But he has the same personal bravery, integrity, and call to duty for the people of South Carolina.  I have no doubt that Alan will stand out and will stand up for South Carolinians.  He is a leader and a fighter.  He is the stand up guy our state and our family’s need.  Alan is the “Batman” to put every “Joker” away. He will be getting my vote on Tuesday, I hope he gets yours.

By Mitchell E. Baroody

A Night with the Gubernatorial Candidates: The Good, The Bad, The Contradictory

Tuesday night’s Gubernatorial debate was not the heated explosion  some may have hoped for.   However, this debate effectively represented each of the candidates for who they are….or who they think they are.

The following is a summary of what I gathered from each candidate: Bauer is confident, knows what he wants, and he wants to cut government waste and stop generational dependency; Gresham Barrett  loves God, wants jobs, and has 8 ways to bring them;

McMaster touts his proven leadership abilities, has no clear and decisive plan for anything, but believes he is the only candidate that can effectively execute the laws from the legislature to the homes of the people;  finally, Nikki Haley hates government, anyone that disagrees with her ideas, will intimidate those that disagree with her, and is basically Mark Sanford on steroids.

Before I begin a thorough analysis, let me say this.  Bauer, Barrett, and McMaster deserve a pat on the back for staying after the debate, answering many questions, and greeting those in attendance including young children that recognized them from TV and school.  I will have to say, I am quite disappointed in Mrs. Haley for not taking the time to greet the people in attendance, especially the kids.  She obviously thinks her current “Front Runner” status exempts her from meeting the people in Florence, especially kids.

Now for the analysis.  First we will start with Gresham Barrett.  Barrett was impressive and VERY unimpressive on certain issues.  He was one of the few that actually mentioned a plan for bringing jobs.  He mentioned his 8 step plan and actually knew what each step was.

He identified himself as a job ambassador and constantly referred to former Governor Campbell as someone to idolize himself after.  While bringing jobs sounds nice, let’s look at one way he wants to do it.  He said that tourism is crucial to making our state grow, especially marketing areas like Myrtle Beach.  He mentioned bringing 2,000 jobs by building an oil rig off the shores of the Myrtle Beach area.  For this….I say really?  Common sense says this is a bad idea right now.

After the disaster in the Gulf, should we truly continue putting faith in offshore drilling, miles and miles from the coast?  What if another company messes up and floods our coasts?  This will screw up tourism for years.  The Myrtle Beach economy would have quite a lot of trouble recovering.  This has disaster all over it.  These candidates, especially Congressman Barrett, cannot be for beach tourism and for offshore drilling.  Gresham continued to indirectly refer to no child left behind, and the bush tax cuts that put our country into an incredible deficit (along with the war).

This only reminded me of one thing, his bailout vote.  He seems more and more like the non-conservative President Bush was.  I cannot see Gresham as anything more than a Social Conservative.  I give him that because he talks the Christian talk.  Overall, he’s a nice guy but he didn’t win the debate.  Even though I disagree with a great deal of what he says, I give him 2nd place for being decisive.  As a candidate, he’s pretty good.  But some of his stuff is just hard to stomach.

Attorney General McMaster is another story all together.  While he is a friendly guy, amusing to listen to, and fun to watch, there is no way this guy is going to be governor.  I’m sorry to bust the bubble of so many, but he isn’t going to do it.  This election year is very, very important for our state.  People are listening more than ever.  When you listen to Henry, who I often refer to as General Lee, he does stay on message.

The bad thing is, his message has nothing to do with actual policies.  He touts his experience as an executor, putting sex predators behind bars, and making everything safer.  He makes it sound like he is the only one that knows how to do the job because of his tenure bankrupting the state Republican Party and doing a pretty fantastic job as Attorney General.  Being Governor and being Attorney General are two different ballgames though.   Henry was given the chance to show himself as a true conservative candidate.

All he could say was “I want a strategic plan” for economic development.   In other words, there is no plan.  His connection to Reagan and his past performances as an executor will make everything fix itself…apparently.  I was disappointed most in Henry because he really had a chance tonight…but he failed…not just a fail but a miserable fail.  He was fourth place tonight.

While I was very disappointed in Nikki Haley’s sudden rush off, after the debate, I found myself agreeing with her on certain points.  For once, we do need to audit every government agency.  We need to find out where and why our agencies are losing money.

I agree with her on this.  She wants to put more energy into small business.  I completely agree with her that an environment for small business is necessary.  She spoke against the corruption and lack of conservatism in the state house and will fight it.  She will also bring more accountability and transparency to the table.  Hold up…wait a minute…let’s go back to the corruption first.

She wants to fight corruption in the state house.  She said she will exert her influence on legislators that will not support her reform efforts.  In other words, she will intimidate legislators into backing her agenda.  If they do not, she specifically said, she will expose them in the media through lists.  This doesn’t sound too nice.  She is going to be a dictator?

I guess having an opinion other than your Governor will no longer be allowed.  Furthermore, checks and balances will be history under Nikki.  If you disagree, you better just quit or you will be exposed as a burden to the taxpayers.

Next, she spoke about accountability and transparency.  Wow….that is all I have to say.  Nikki wants more accountability for the legislators.  However, according to a credible but unnamed source of mine, she was absent over 70% of the time for these votes in the house.  This includes one of the votes that would increase accountability and transparency.  Unbelievable huh?  It gets better.  For a woman touting transparency, she isn’t very transparent.

There is a VERY well known “secret” that was just let out about her and blogger, Will Folks.  Many claim it isn’t true.  Many of the same people that were talking about how true it was several years ago are now claiming how false it is.  The best way this could be solved is if legislators were transparent, right?  That is what Nikki would say, correct?

But when asked for her emails and logs as a legislator, she will not clear the air by releasing them.  She is talking the talk but not walking the walk.  What is the conclusion based on this and her not filing legal action against the alleged accuser?  The conclusion is simple.  The affair probably happened, as I heard it did several years ago, and she is probably not being very truthful right now.  I look forward to seeing more evidence in the upcoming weeks.

As a candidate, she is nothing more than Mark Sanford on steroids.  She has the ideologue politics, she may or may not have the mastress, and she doesn’t practice what she preaches.  Yikes, four more years of this?  She said we need an accountant as Governor.  I agree, that would be helpful at times, but the answer isn’t Accountant Haley.  A businessman with experience balancing budgets and saving money would be just as effective.  Despite everything on the table, she still did better than Henry.  I give her third for this debate.  Unfortunately, it looks like she will probably lead the pack for first in the primary.  But there are still a few days left!

Andre standing under Calhoun in State Senate

Finally, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer.  While I have been kind to Andre on my website before, my purpose has been to be very objective in this article…with only slight subjectivity.  Andre hasn’t changed very much.  He continues to tout the same message he has always been bringing.  He wants to bring us out of the Stone Age.  Andre said, “The answer to our school systems isn’t throwing money at it.

The answer is to fix the discipline system.”  He continued to talk about saving money, how he has always conserved money and in fact, given 400,000 dollars back to the state.  He claims to have been the only member to travel and actually sit down with companies to bring them to the state.

If anyone knows how to be a jobs ambassador, Andre does.   He only speaks common sense.  Everyone can identify with what Andre said tonight.  You don’t ever find yourself questioning what he says.

The problem for many is that he makes too much sense.  People can’t understand why a politician would be so incredibly upfront.  Tonight, he was so confident he answered one question with a simple, “No.”  Andre has served in both houses and is a TRUE Conservative.

However, Andre is not the conservative ideologue Nikki Haley is.  Andre knows how to work with the legislator to get thins passed that will help the people immediately.  Unfortunately, he had to sit and watch Mark Sanford lock the door on communication for eight years.  If anything, he knows how NOT to govern.

He pushed off the questions about his personal life saying, “Everyone already knows it.  I have nothing to hide.”  I thought this was another show of his grace, calmness, and confidence.  Tonight, Andre established himself as the one to beat.  He spoke common sense with clear plans.  His ideas are so innovative like his plans to make South Carolina greener and energy efficient.

There are other ways to fix the energy problem than drilling offshore and hurting tourism by having an oil spill on the coast of our state.  Most importantly, he doesn’t shy away from tough issues or even questions.

After the debate, I overheard him being asked a question.  The lady asked, “What about homeschoolers.  Will you give us tax credits?”  His response showed the condition of his conviction.  He replied, “You bet.  Homeschoolers save taxpayers money.  Anything it takes to save taxpayers money, I’m up for it.”  Andre talked the talk and walked the walk tonight.

For this, I gave him two thumbs up and can honestly say, in a tight debate, he set himself apart.  I think there is little certainty, he won it tonight.

As for the primary, I think what we will see is very simple.  Barring overwhelming evidence of an affair coming out against Nikki Haley in the next few days, she makes the run-off with Andre Bauer.  Truthfully, it all depends on how much they are all seen and what type of television ads they put on the screen.  The next few days and tonight’s debate in Charleston will continue to give a clearer picture.  But I don’t’ think it gets clearer than a run off of Bauer and Haley.

Keep Your Politics Off My Football

By Brad Turner

What role do politics play in the world of sports? The answer: None. However looks like the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus has forgotten this. After the news got out of the possibility that the University of South Carolina was going to lose its lone black Board of Trustee member, the Black Caucus got on the phones. And who did they call? Ghostbusters? Well they might as well have because they sure didn’t call anyone who could do more about it. They called the 2010 recruiting class for the South Carolina Carolina football team. That’s right, they called out of state TEENAGERS.

This call to arms is headed by Democratic Representative Todd Rutherford. For whatever reason, he has come to the conclusion that in order to fix a perceived problem in the legislature, he would try to make kids stop coming to college in  South Carolina. Needless to say this isn’t good for anyone.

First off, Rutherford apparently doesn’t realize the potential damage he could do if these future student-athletes listen to him. They are under a contract to come to USC at this point. They have signed their letters of intent back in February. In order for them to be able to go to a different school  they would have to be released by the program then sit out a year. Apparently Rutherford doesn’t care what happens to these kids, even if that means losing a year of their scholarship and football career, as long as he gets his point across.

His complaints stem from the “lack” of diversity of both the University and its board. African-Americans make up 14% of the student body at USC. This is actually the same or better than a number of schools in the Southeast including the University of North Carolina (11%), University of Virginia (8%), University of Tennessee (9%), University of Georgia (8%), University of Florida (10%), Louisiana State University (10%), University of Mississippi (14%), University of Kentucky (5%), and instate Clemson University (8%). In terms of diversity in the Southeast, USC is progressive!

Telling black students to not come to USC is counter-productive to say the least. Rutherford complains that the student body of USC does not reflect the racial diversity of the state. However, he is telling black students not to come. I don’t see how this makes things better. Instead, you would think the logical solution would be to encourage the black population in South Carolina to apply to USC and thus add the desired diversity.

Now for a slightly more pointed message I want to get across. Can he prove that the loss of the lone black board member is in any way, shape, or form a racial attack? No. He only points out that there would no longer be a black member. Leah Moody is currently the only black Trustee. She replaced Samuel Foster II when a bank fraud scandal forced him to resign on July 1, 2009. Foster was the first elected African-American to be elected on the board. Moody is now facing Alton Hyatt Jr. for the spot. House Speaker Bobby Harrell of Charleston has clearly expressed that the election is not a case of race. “What everyone should be thinking about is who’s the best person for the job, regardless of race?” That makes sense to me.

Picking someone just because of race is wrong, no matter their color. If Hyatt is not the best person for the job then he does not deserve to be on the board, simple as that. But if he is, then elect him. We need to help our schools in any way possible. If a less qualified person is placed on the board simply because of race, we are moving in the wrong direction. The black caucus should be spending their time finding candidates who are more qualified for the position rather than try to threaten the state when they don’t get their way.

The backlash from the attack on South Carolina’s football program has come hard and quick. I have to give it to Rutherford, He knows how to get peoples attention. However, the negative attention is probably not what he was looking for. Much of the talk on the sport radio networks have all been the same; this is a political problem and it does not need to be intertwined with athletics. Rutherford defended himself by saying, “Gamecock fans should not be calling and threatening black legislators. Call the Republican leadership.” Well Mr. Rutherford, it looks like you brought this on yourself. The Gamecock nation is not going to sit idly by while you try to blackmail their beloved football program and their University. Most people can plainly see that the football program cannot effect the Board of Trustees in any way. Why can’t Rutherford?

I will admit, I feel bad for Moody. She has come out and said that she does not support calling the recruits, “The race is in the General Assembly.” She is running on her own merit instead of her race. And good for her, she gets it. I’m glad she is distancing herself from this nonsense. She knows that she should be elected on what she can bring to the Board of Trustees. Rutherford should shut up for a minute and listen to her. This is her race to win, not his. If he wants to help, talk to the representatives who have a say in this election and convince them that she deserves this spot by what she can provide to the University and not because of the color of her skin.

Mr. Rutherford, it is time to stop using race as a talking point to get votes. Here is your chance to step up to the plate and back a candidate based on ability. Leave the student-athletes of the University of South Carolina alone, and if you want to make a change, talk to the people who can do it.

Who stole my Constitution?

By Brad Turner

We the People of the United State, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The Preamble of the Constitution of the United States is possibly the most important words in all of American history. It outlined what role of the government was to play in America. However, if our founding fathers knew how our government was taking advantage of their original purpose for the Preamble and the Constitution, they would be rolling over in their graves. Obamacare has violated the Constitution and put government directly into the lives of Americans in a way not seen since FDR and the New Deal.

The phrase “promote the General Welfare” has been taken out of context to point where its meaning has been completely lost. The key to this phrase is “promote,” which has on multiple occasions been replaces with “provide.” TV talking heads and government officials have been guilty of this for a while. This is not a simple case of breaking open a thesaurus and interchanging words; it’s a complete alteration of meaning. The government’s role is to promote the general welfare for her citizens, not out right give it to her. When it comes to health care, we have abandoned the true meaning of “promoting the General Welfare” and replaced it with “the government will give you General Welfare at the expensive of everyone around you.”

Obamacare is forcing “general welfare,” if you can even call it that, on Americans. If Obama was doing his true job, he would promote change he thought was needed to better America. For example, encouraging change through tax relief for insurance companies who allow for pre-existing conditions would promote change without forcing it on Americans. Tax cuts for business that provide insurance is also another way to promote the general welfare. The government has PROVIDED a change that is not within the true confines of the purpose of our Government.

That is also something else that I feel the liberals in Washington have forgotten. It’s OUR government. They have hijacked it from us, doing what they think is best for us. Personally, I have never talked to Nancy Pelosi. How can she possibly know what is best for me? The few hundred men and women who are working in Washington D.C. have forgotten that they are put into power by the people, and can just as easily be removed from that power.

The federal government has acquired an unquenchable thirst for control. The Bill of Rights has been thrown out the window. The Tenth Amendment says:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Now, reading through the Constitution, I cannot find one place that allows the government to force a policy on me that is not for the well-being of the entire Nation. This policy does not even help a majority of the nation (at the same time everyone is paying for it)! So according to the Tenth Amendment, it is unconstitutional. The states are not leading the charge in this, and the people are definitely not. So then how can they justify taking up this cause? Simply put, they can’t. They are blatantly telling the American public that they know what we need, even when we know we don’t. They are defying the public openly (i.e. walking straight through protesters on their way to vote on the health care bill). And while I don’t support physical confrontations or racial slurs, they wonder why they are encountering it. This is why it is that much more important to support leaders, such as South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, who are taking on Obama and his band of far-flung liberals who are taking over our lives.

The schism that this new policy is going to create may take generations to heal. Many Representatives have committed political suicide to push through an agenda that the American people do not want, nor need. The elections in November will indeed finally show that Americans do not want the government injecting themselves into our lives. Here’s to hope that our Constitution comes back to the PEOPLE!

Want to see what different states around the country are doing to counter this new law? Click Here

Who is taking care of you now?

By Brad Turner

So it finally happened. The government turned its back on the American people and their wishes and they are doing what they think is best for us. Healthcare passed in a late session in congress, and the liberal forces who are in charge of our country are giddy like a school girl. So what have we gotten ourselves into.

I was hoping to write my first article for Mitch on the education system in this state, but I feel this is more important at the moment. Our government has taken over healthcare. We cannot sit by and let this happen quietly. If it’s gonna happen against our will, we need to go down kicking and screaming.

The government has taken over a system, that with all of its faults, has worked out for most people. Saying the insurance companies got it right all the time is far from correct, but thinking that the government can do better is absurd! This is the same government who is in control of our education system, which at the best of times is adequate. How can we expect a new bureaucracy to take over and do anything productive. The dangerous slope we are falling down now can only get steeper and we will only pick up more momentum if we do not let our representatives know how we feel.

The idea that the government can step in and require a business to give healthcare to its employees reeks of socialism. The free market system that has carried this country since its foundation is just that, FREE! The government should not be able to step in and tell a business what it has to spend its money on. If an employer wants to provide insurance, then it should have that option, but if it chooses not to then more power to them. An employee has the option to work for that company or not. Nobody is forcing them to work for them. If they find a company that is willing to give them healthcare then work for them. It is the loss of the company that is at stake.

Now I do appreciate some points in healthcare. Helping children who cannot help themselves is great. I’m all for that. However, once someone turns 18 then they are a legal adults. If they want healthcare then they can get it for themselves. The American people are smart enough to choose for themselves insurance. I don’t need their help, and neither do you!

One of the most ridiculous comments I have heard so far has come from South Carolina’s own, Rep. Jim Clyburn. He has the nerve to compare this piece of legislature to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. First off, I see no comparison. The civil rights movement was for basic human rights. The idea that all people are created equal. In no way, shape, or form does healthcare provide RIGHTS for anything. It provides a service for people paid by other people. If anything it is a violation of rights, taking my money and giving it to people who don’t want to spend their money on healthcare.

Finally, the abortion executive order that is suppose to be added on with Obama’s signing of the bill is complete and utter BS! Selective abortion should not, under any circumstance, be covered by tax money! I am morally opposed to abortion. My taxes should not go to the girl who can’t keep her legs closed and gets herself pregnant!

The pride that liberals have in defying the wishes of the American people is beyond belief. The beaming picture of Obama, as the vote passes, worries me. Do we have a president who only cares about pushing his own agenda? I held out hope that maybe he cares for ALL Americans, but it seems that he cares for less then half of them. Here is your change, how do you like it?

Evening Joe: A Heated Debate with One Clear Winner

This past month has been dogged with the Late Night crisis between Jay Leno and Conan O’brien.  But apparently, the winds from NBC blew crisis to Charleston on Thursday night.  Boy, was the beginning of the Gubernatorial debate interesting.

I sat down in my lazy boy, put my popcorn in my elephant container, and began munching down to Joe Scarborough’s sarcasm.  Then a bunch of screeching, scratching, hair pulling, and silence took place.  Not to mention, all of Nikki Haley’s speech was silenced.  The TV then went blank.  I thought of a few reasons this could have happened.

1. CBS affiliate executives have cut down power to preserve it for the upcoming “winter storm disaster” that is expected to hit South Carolina with ice and snow this weekend…we all know the dangers of 1-3 inches.

2. Maria Chapur became angry that she was not invited to be Mark Sanford’s female companion at the SCGOP luncheon in Charleston on Thursday.  So, she made her presence known by knocking out the sound guy and hijacking the debate.

3. President Obama’s renewed hope and change from the state of the union was just to divert our attention from the 100% regulations he would now be having over TV stations.  That means no more Republican debates and especially no more long narratives from Attorney General Henry McMaster.

4. The only other reason would be that they just had poor sound quality and they didn’t have it all together at first.

So, I stuck with the fourth reason, and it came back on at 8:30.  All four of them ready to lead our state into the next decade or were they?  So let’s go through each candidate and analyze their performance tonight.

First, I will start from the bottom with Gresham Barrett.  As a Citadel colleague, I was really disappointed in his performance.  Not that I was even supporting him, but you wish each other the best.  Congressman Barrett was less than confident, and sometimes seemed more like a Southern Baptist preacher rather than someone ready to lead our state…amen?

What bothered me most was the defense of his vote for Socialism in the bailout/tarp saga.  He consistently defended this vote and refused to back down.  I am in disbelief that anyone claiming to be “The 4th most Conservative Congressman” could stand behind a vote like this.

Many in South Carolina’s conservative circles spoke with him the night before he voted and warned him…but he apparently knew best.  Barrett went on to not answer questions, beat around the bush, and really did not establish himself as a credible candidate.

He seemed just like acurrent  U.S. Congressman should: Uninformed and Out of touch.  I am sure that is how many South Carolinians see him as well.

Next, let’s talk about General Robert E. Lee.  Excuse me, I mean Attorney General Henry McMaster.  Where do I begin…. the other candidates seemed to get tickled every time McMaster would speak.  This in return, made things interesting.  The only statement that stands out in my mind about him is that he has “the most executive experience” out of all of the candidates.  I hear him say that in the midstof his Southern charmed, rambling.  While he comes across like a Southern Gentleman, not even waving but bowing at the audience, he too seemed out of touch.

While I appreciate and respect his Conservatism and think he has been one of the best AG’s in S.C. History, I do not believe he showed he could effectively win against Vince Sheheen or Jim Rex tonight.

Often, he didn’t answer the questions, he went on random tangents, and he couldn’t break out of the box and be real with the people.  He seemed too much like a polished politician and not a personable statesman that the people will need to move forward with the state’s problems.

Yes, the state should be open for business, but I have a feeling General Henry may open it for business by delegating a lot of the responsibility the way he does in the AG office.  While it works as Attorney General, as Governor, we have seen the Department of Commerce’s unimpressive performance.  We can’t afford another four years of relying on them.

He finally went on to talk about how he did a great job as Chairman of the Party to bring Republicans to victory.  While this may have been true, he failed to mention the financial mess he left when he ran for Attorney General.   After his performance tonight, I know one thing…I’m not lovin’ it.  So, I don’t think I can “back that Mac” because it may look good, but the intentions it has for each and every one of us may not be so beneficial.

The biggest surprise of the night was Nikki Haley. The “daughter of immigrants” was on top of her game. She did very well.  However, I will bring up a few shortcomings.  She should have never answered the question about censuring Lindsey Graham. She said she would have!  This makes her seem like she is not a compromising figure, something our state greatly needs in the Governor’s office.  This is the one thing I will agree on with Senator Robert Ford, yes a democrat.

This also shows the lack of distance between her and Mark Sanford.  She continues to keep herself close to “Sanfordesque” positions such as not accepting stimulus funds.  The Nikki Haley Campaign analysis is pretty simple.  Let’s look at the election between McCain and Obama.  People were tired of Bush and tired of anyone similar and too close to Bush.  McCain was not different enough.  People voted for change because they were sick and tired of the same ole, same ole.

The same principle will apply to South Carolina this election cycle.  The non-Sanford candidate is going to be the only hope for Republicans.  Nikki Haley is too much like Sanford and will most certainly fail come primaries as a result of it.  I see her poll numbers improving a little but she will never make it to the top when the general election comes around in November.  Her message will resonate with tea party people and could surprise us come June, but she will never beat Sheheen if he wins the primary (which it looks like he will).  However, her performance tonight should be admired.  It was something to be proud of.

Finally, tonight’s winner……..Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, a true non-Sanford candidate.   His confidence, clear and direct answers, and composure show his maturity from the last few years.  Tonight, he was in his element and proved victorious.  First, the bad.  The hosts ganged up on the poor guy and pulled out all of the bad about him.  They mentioned his recent “Animal-kid”  comment and his driving record.  Andre displayed a bit of arrogance to the female co-host when she lambasted him about the animal comment.  He stated that a minority preacher asked him to speak at his congregation.

In response to the  female co-hosts continued bullying, he replied, “I’ll give you his number if you want.”  Even with this comment, he showed something special…”Straight Talk.”  While John McCain often said he was all about straight talk, he hardly showed it.  Tonight, a new bearer of this title is Andre Bauer.

When asked which Senator shared his ideology, he quickly stated “Jim DeMint.”  He had an answer for everything. They were concise and easy to understand.  No elaborate stories, no monologues from “God’s and Generals,” no over-doing religiosity, but just Andre speaking his convictions.

This is the type of Governor South Carolina has been itching for.  Tonight, Andre Bauer showed his seriousness about the race.  For a while, I had my doubts, but tonight I know he is ready to become Governor of South Carolina.  There is no doubt.

If Republicans want to win in November, there must be a lot of thought to who that candidate will be on the other side.  If it is Vince Sheheen, which I feel it will be, it will be a tough fight.

All jokes aside, these four candidates are great people.  They all have excellent qualities with great intentions.  However, when it comes to the difficult opposition this November, in the aftermath of Mark Sanford, the field will be extremely difficult.  Too tough for the likes of Nikki Haley and Gresham Barrett.  I believe the Attorney General and Lt. Governor are the only two that will stand a chance.  While the Attorney General showed he is a good candidate to beat Sheehen, Andre Bauer showed he is the best candidate to not only beat the democrats, but lead our state with honor, integrity, and great vision for the next decade…for this…I salute the Lieutenant Governor.

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Santa’s Clause: Invading our Civil Liberties?

With Contributions by Carissa Fazio

I was getting into the Christmas spirit this morning but also staying depressed with our government continually growing with no restraint.   It is hard to be merry right now.  Anyway, I happened to have a conversation with Carissa Fazio, who made some very interesting observations about one of Christmas time’s most legendary figures.  Then we realized, this figure is actually pretty creepy.  In fact, he isn’t so jolly after all.  Santa Claus has ulterior motives and they aren’t good.  Below are some of the observations we made….take a read for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Santa Claus:

He knows your identity: For starters, Santa knows who you are. When constructing his list of good and bad children, he obviously has to know your name. He would have to know how old you are so he can deliver an age appropriate gift, and also where you live.   Does he have access to some magical database?  This brings up another thought provoking scenario.  Does the U.N. have a database of all world citizens and then hand this over to Santa?  How terrifying!

He knows what you do: Santa delivers gifts based on how good you are throughout the year. He is always watching you. Do not think you can hide what you do from Santa, he is going to find out. He knows when you hit your brother, steal a pack of gum, or color on the wall. He keeps track of everything you do on his list [next to your name].  This brings up the question, how?  My assumption is in the past decade, the Bush Administration started giving him the ability to wiretap anyone and everyone.  This made his operations easier.  Where is Lou Dobbs to stand up for our rights?  Furthermore, does Santa bug our houses?  For him to know these things, he would have to know exactly what we do in our homes.  Finally, he must have access to traffic lights and security cameras at every store in America at least.  This is a SEVERE breach of our Civil Liberties, yet, No One has stood up.  Democrats, you worry about the public option but your very rights to make one are in jeopardy!  Republicans, put down your expensive presents and fight for your rights!

He knows your sleeping patterns: He sees you when you are sleeping. He knows when you are awake. This goes hand in hand with knowing what you do, but on a creepier level. He knows if you are sound asleep in your bed, or sitting up with insomnia. Maybe he sends elves out to keep track of your consciousness status, aka the CIA, but still. Ultimately, Santa knows your sleep patterns.  If this is true, why hasn’t “Santa” given up Osama’s sleeping patterns over to U.S. special forces?  Apparently, President Bush nor President Obama have been very good boys.  But for every day citizens, the greater question is, does Santa monitor our dreams?  I sure hope not!  But if he does, this is such a violation of our rights….Santa the Fasicst is slowly bribing us with gifts, by seeing our greatest desires in dreamworld,  to eventually take over our world as the leader de-facto.

He sneaks into your house: This particular stalkerish act that Santa partakes in makes me thankful for a gas fireplace. We do not have a chimney for him to get down. But, what do parents tell their children who have gas fireplaces? Do they tell them Santa can still get in? Because that would honestly creep me out if I was a kid. “Don’t worry Junior, Santa will find a way to get in the house. He will check your bed to make sure you are asleep, and then leave your presents under the tree.”  Even the government can’t get into our house physically…how can a man like Santa?  I bet he gave the “White House State Dinner Crashers” some crazy tips at getting in the white house!

He likes kids: Maybe this is taking the whole stalker thing a bit far, but letting kids sit on Santa’s lap seems like a pretty weird tradition for him to start. Has the FBI not looked into this yet?  Sure, his white beard makes him look very innocent.  However, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster should probably take Santa’s laptop and check it for “Kitty” material just in case.   Not saying Santa is guilty, but something is up.

So basically, Santa Claus is  the ultimate stalker. But more than that, he is the ultimate idea of “Big Government” and “Big Brother.”  Most people look at Santa Claus as a harmless figure to represent the joy of Christmas.  But is Santa really government propaganda?  Perhaps Santa is used by the government to get into the lives of every American.  If Santa can know when we are sleeping, know when we are awake, and know if we’ve been bad or good, why can’t the government?  The government’s role is to promote the general welfare after-all right? In many ways, they are on the same team.

Maybe the first line in the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town says it all…. “You better watch out.” Big government intrusion is coming into our lives this Christmas, next Christmas, and every Christmas after.  Santa is merely blackmailing every American and every citizen of the World.  He buys our allegiance and what do we give back?  More civil liberties….GONE!  Enough about Obama, what about Santa?  This Christmas, think long and hard before you put out the fire in your chimney or gas fireplace…..you may want to burn the real reason our rights are being taken away!

Have a Merry Christmas even if your merriness  is being watched and over-analyzed by a man in Red.

He’s No Reagan

Twenty years ago today, the Berlin Wall fell.  Communism finally fell, freedom and democracy that Ronald Reagan pushed, prevailed.  It was a special moment in the hearts and lives of anyone that supported the fall.  It was something that should have never been forgotten.  Unfortunately, on its 20th anniversary, it is put at the bottom of the list for remembrance.  I ask myself, “If President Obama were President in 1989, if the wall had fallen, would he be picking up the pieces to put it back together?”

There used to be a time when America had leaders that would celebrate this moment each year.  Reagan started the movement, the fairly odd couple (George and George W.), and Bill Clinton continued it.  Now, the President puts remembering the fall of communism at the bottom of his agenda, even below using his power to advocate for the “Chicago Olympics.” Funny how he still acts like an Illinois Senator at times.

So, Today, there is no Celebration coming from the United States’ highest office.  While the fall of Communism is celebrated abroad, the start of Socialism is started domestically.  Our President continues to push his aggressive, big government agenda, one that if continued will not give much degree of separation from that of the former communist regime in Germany and the Soviet Union respectively.  Although his plans are Socialist and not Communist, Socialism is the first step towards communism.

What would President Reagan say about this snub of democracy?  I can hear his gentle, calming voice saying, “Mr. Obama….Shame on you.”  On this day, I think every American, Republican and Democrat, should echo the words Reagan would say and tell President Obama, “Shame On You.”

The video above is the closest we will get to spreading democracy for a while.  Let’s enjoy what America used to be so that we can temporarily forget what it actually is now.

Breaking The Divide: Changing The GOP Brand

02-21-09-pro-life-cartoonBranded…that is one word I cannot stand.  When you are associated with one group, it is believed that you live like and believe like that group.  Being branded by a political party is one of the worst problems in politics today.  If the political parties knew what they actually stood for, it may not be that big of a problem.  However, both major parties in today’s political spectrum have members that seem very displaced and disillusioned with their platform.

The Republican Party couldn’t be further away from knowing where it stands.  Does it go Conservative or does it go Moderate?  Senator Olympia Snowe consistently shows her moderate views as a Republican;  always moving across the aisle to back liberal, progressive reforms.  Then there are Conservatives like Jim DeMint who stand their ground and hope for the party to move further to the right.

The Democratic Party is on the biggest move towards the left in its history.  Although, the New Deal programs were a pretty big push as well.  Every day, America hears of a leftist initiative coming out of the White House and the Democratic controlled Congress.  However, they have disgruntled democrats that are commonly called “Blue Dogs.”  Whether they disagree socially or fiscally, they still line up with many Republicans just the way Senator Snowe lines up with many democrats.

The question is, where is the median and how do the parties provide separation so that one can clearly stand apart?  While the Republicans struggle with moderates and the Democrats struggle with blue dogs, I don’t foresee either leaving their respective parties or forming new ones.  A three party system, while a great idea, is not realistic in our country.

Therefore, which party can come on top right now and gain superiority from the disarray?  I think it is the Republicans that will come on top if they are willing to make some big changes in the future.  There is one key part of the Republican Party that I think is wrong and is continuously being done wrong.  If it is not corrected, the party will remain in a quagmire state of disarray.  It could grow and become “The Party” if one simple adjustment is made.  That is with social issues.

The Republican Party needs to reach out to Fiscally Conservative Democrats and bring them over.  They also need to make amends with Socially Moderate liberals within the GOP.  Social Issues have been killing the GOP for some time now.  It is time to get over them.

First of all, a new stance on the right to life must be taken.  While moving towards Conservatism, the Republican Party should move towards a Pro-Choice stance on Abortions.  I am sure you have already read my reasoning behind Conservatives backing a Pro-Choice platform, but please hear me out again clearly please.  Being Pro-Choice is being Conservative.  However, the Party must move towards defining a fetus at conception and giving it rights.  Therefore, any abortion would be murder under a new Federal Law.  Yeah, this is the roundabout way of eliminating abortions.  However, it is the Conservative way of doing it.

Don’t call yourself a Conservative unless you believe a Woman has the right to choose what she does to her body as long as it is not Murder.  True Conservative Principle 1, a person should always have the choice to do what they want to their body; the government should NEVER regulate that.  However, if there is an embryo in that body, it should not only be defined as a person but its rights should be protected from detrimental procedures just like every other person in this country.

Second, the Republican Party must embrace Domestic Partnerships for all Americans.  This should apply to couples of all sexes.  Moving towards Conservatism is moving towards keeping the government’s definition of personal lives very minimal.  If two women who don’t ever plan to get married and are not lesbian, want to live together in order to make it by, give them the same benefits as a normal couple whether they are gay or not.  It is fair.

The government should be equal and fair.  Taking these rights, only because of a marriage certificate, is not fair.  True Conservative Principle 2, the government should never be bias towards its citizens.  The Republican Party should push domestic partnerships because they believe in less government in the lives of Americans.  Marriage should be done in a church and is something between heterosexual couples with God.  Receiving benefits is a different story.

These two social issues are enough to sway some Conservative Democrats over to the GOP.  If the Republican Party did a 180 degree turn on these issues, majorities would be seen all over the country in 2010 and 2012.  Many voters are democrat because of social issues.  Change the platform, win the voters.  To do this, religious Conservatives will finally have to admit that being a Conservative is being anti-government regulation even in the right to life and the right to partnership.   Keeping the government out of a woman’s body and a couple’s partnership is also keeping the government out of religion!  It works well for everyone!

I believe victory for the Republican Party lies in a move towards a Conservative stance.  However, before that move can take place, Conservatism must be redefined from its present meaning.  While it may not be popular for a while, it is what Conservatism truly is and it will make the Republican Party the majority party again.  Until then, social issues will be the mark of defeat for the Republican Party.

GITMO Moving to Charleston: Citadel Cadets to Guard Prisoners?

GITMOI can see the headlines now, “CITADEL CADETS CALLED ON BY STATE TO ASSIST IN MANHUNT.”  At four A.M., ten terrorists escaped from the navy brig in Charleston and are on the loose.  The South Carolina Unorganized Militia was called on by the Governor to track down these evil men.  Led by professors of all walks of life, many who don’t know the proper way to salute.  Then the cadets who have no experience shooting weapons, only carrying them, and they have no experience making arrests, only writing punishment slips for each other when their rooms aren’t clean.  They do have experience shouting loud at football games and other situations that we won’t speak of.   This provides the intimidation factor that will allow a quick victory over the terror that has escaped in Charleston. They will get the job done!

Okay, so this is probably a long shot of what may happen in the near future, but it is possible.  I am not trying to make this website entirely based on South Carolina, don’t’ get me wrong.  However, after last night’s article on CNN, I couldn’t’ help myself.  Charleston has been picked for a trial run to hosts a friendly, kind, and warmhearted group of prisoners from GITMO.  These terrorists are incredibly good people, I don’t know what city would be better to bring them to than the one with amicable southern hospitality like Charleston.

I know Mayor Joe Riley (D-Charleston) is jumping up and down with excitement.  For a city already rich in tourism,I bet they will  line the terrorists up downtown and have a terrorist petting zoo.  This would give Charleston the ability to put up another “boastful” billboard promoting its tourism.  Given, most people have never seen a terrorist before!  Everyone is posing the question, how did Charleston get so lucky?

This takes me back to a bigger issue.  Why the heck did you close a good thing in Cuba Mr. Obama?  This was the perfect place for us to have the world’s most evil people.  A place for people that commit the most evil offenses and kill our brothers and sisters in the armed forces abroad.  There was a place, far away from civilization, somewhere that women and children couldn’t come in contact with them.

President Obama closes that place and wants to bring the prisoner to Charleston?  I mean common.  There are places in Alaska and in the West, far away from people, yet the military wants to bring it to a thriving port city?  Maybe this is a slap in the face to Charleston for starting the Civil War, or it is just another example of THIS administration extending unbelievable rights and comfort to more of America’s enemy.   I guess it isn’t that unbelievable.  President Obama did bow to the King of Saudi Arabia.

You think you can stop torture based on location?  No.  Torture is going to happen whether Mr. Obama, John McCain, and any other person likes it or not.  It won’t be written and it won’t be spoken of.  However, when it comes to the life of someone abroad or the lives of American citizens in U.S. cities, this is sometimes the only way to get answers.  Bringing it to Charleston doesn’t solve the problem, it actually creates more of one.

In the event these prisoners do escape, what will Charleston and S.C. do?  Terrorists aren’t regular gang members or bank robbers.  cadetsThey are a different kind of prisoner.  Do you call on the Charleston police?  What about the National Guard?  Wait, that would scare people to death seeing the military on the street.  That would almost be martial law.  Then my idea, the old Citadel and their cannons.

I am sure that would scare the prisoners really good.  Although, it would probably scare the people just as much.  Not only did the cadets and their cannons “start the civil war,” the cannons sure scares me every time I hear one go off on campus. Every internal organ I have shakes with fear.  Somehow, I don’t think it would do the same to Rafiq and Omar the terrorists.  Gives you something to think about.

My Theme for the Gop: Fresh Start for Government, Fresh Start at Home, Fresh Start Abroad

gop-no-ideas2In the midst of the ruckus in Washington, some wonder if there is any room for optimism towards the future.  The answer is clearly very subjective.  If you ask a Democrat if there is room for optimism, they are going to say yes because of the majority in both houses, the white house, and the initiatives that they plan to pass.  As for Republicans, it depends on what day and what democratic initiative is about to pass.  Some Republicans will say they are optimistic because the democrats under the leadership of Obama have failed at all of their initiatives thus far and the American people now see the light.  Then there is the faction of Republicans that is close to building underground shelters for the “ongoing” and “Soon-to-be” communist takeover of America.  So they say.

So where do I stand?  First, I think both parties have a lot to be proud of.  There hasn’t been a great depression, the terrorists haven’t blown up the entire country, the monetary system hasn’t failed yet, and a Russian professor’s prediction of a total collapse starting in October doesn’t seem to be in the works yet.  Whoever is in office would be blamed for these consequences, so it is a victory for all Americans, Republicans or Democrats.

On that note, the democrats have made a growing majority of Americans angry and fearful.  Taking insurance from 85% of the insured in exchange for a government option isn’t a very good idea.  Putting generations into debt, that is democrats including Rep. BOB INGLIS (R-S.C.), with stimulus plans that stimulate rats in San Francisco just don’t get the job done for most Americans.  Young men and women dying in Afghanistan without a clear strategy or a Commander in Chief leading, doesn’t sit well with most Americans.  Powerful democrats like Rep. Barney Frank openly admitting to plotting the takeover of freedoms and instilling more government regulation in our everyday lives just doesn’t sit too well.  The American people are waking up and see what is on the agenda.  This, I will have to say, shifts the enthusiasm and optimism to the Republican side.

However, I don’t think the Republican Party is able to lead the way quite yet.  There is nothing but bickering, power struggles, and a people identified by an elephant not knowing what their platform really is across the country.  Unfortunately, it is a party still creating an identity for itself after losing it during the past election cycle.  If the party is going to succeed and take over the country, as the Democrats hand over the reins after failing to make it better, I think they need to consider an achievable battle plan.  After a lot of thought, I have created a three-step roadmap or “battle plan” to seeing “Red” these next two election cycles.

  1. It starts with the platform.  When Michael Baroody, one of my heroes, wrote the Republican Party platform in 1980, people had a reason to shout “We See Red.”  Republicans knew what they stood for and they had a leader that could clearly articulate it.  Instead of being a party of “Straight Talk” and “Mavericking” it is time to go to a three-fold message that we don’t compromise with.  A message that goes back to the basics of conservatism and what a Republican really is.   I propose the theme, “Fresh Start for government, Fresh Start at home, Fresh Start Abroad.” The fresh start for Government calls for less government, less regulations,  more transparency in government, and more accountability in government.  The fresh start at home calls for more jobs, energy independence (by drilling offshore, coal and nuclear energy, and preventing any increased energy taxation), welfare reform, lower taxes that help boost the economy, and stronger incentives for joining the military.  Finally, the fresh start abroad initiative brings tax payer dollars, given to foreign countries that fail to stand with the U.S. during crisis, back to the American taxpayer, reduces U.S. troop levels across the world, calls for “accountability or abolition” with the U.N., and reaches out to Israel to restore ties destroyed by the Obama Administration
  2. After a clear platform (above) is created, building enthusiasm and energy across the grassroots level around it is key.  Gathering around the candidate will come with time, but knowing what we stand for is the most important thing.

    Myself with Energetic Young Republicans Chelsie Paulson and SCGOP 3rd Vice Chairman Adam Piper

    Campaigns to energize young people are one of the biggest parts of building this energy and enthusiasm at the grassroots level.   If we use technology and many of the techniques our opponents used in the past, we will be seeing a lot of “Red” at the grassroots level.  This will bring momentum unseen to the Republican Party in decades.  Focusing on our future and not our past, while pushing our platform, will energize all bases and allow the party to pick the best andidates and not the compromise candidates.

  3. Picking the RIGHT candidates will be a breeze if we accomplish the first two steps.  Knowing what we stand for as Republicans and building momentum around the foundation will bring forth energetic leaders that share our values and can promote them as President, in Congress, and in other elected positions.  There will not be any “Compromise” candidate as John McCain was.  There won’t be any need to stay home at the polls because the candidate just doesn’t share the right values.  If candidates back the platform, it will energize Republicans, and energize those seeking office.  Therefore, this will energize our government and allow us to see “Red” in the near future.
The likelihood of any of this happening anytime soon is probably dim.  From a South Carolina perspective, it has been great to see the reorganizing of county parties and the energy at tea parties.  However, all of these organizations and protests are pointless without a clear plan and a theme for the future.  Right now, I see none in the Republican party at least nationally speaking.  While I think my plan is great, I am sure a great many would disagree.  As for now, I’d call it anybody’s ballgame.  Speaking of which, it sure is a shame the Phillies and the Yankees can’t both lose the World Series.  I don’t want to cheer for either one! Go Braves!
myself with

Myself with Energetic Young Republicans Chelsie Paulson and Adam Piper

Symptom Care, Not Healthcare: What is Real Reform?

070810_Heathcare_Cartoons_Tease.300wLast week, I walked into the MICU at a South Carolina hospital and talked to a physician. He said, “Something needs to be done about this healthcare crisis. I don’t know what though.” No one has the exact answer, but I do know what isn’t the answer and that is a public option healthcare system.

The question is, when discussing healthcare reform, are we headed in the right direction? If you read my writing much, you probably already know what I am going to say. So, for those that don’t, No we aren’t going in the right direction.

First of all, 85% of Americans are insured. Wow! Therefore, Harry Reid’s plan to include the public option is going to hurt the majority of Americans and put them under a moving van while backing up to repeatedly run them over. It is a true American tragedy. The majority screams for no public option yet the minority continues to push it. Would it be too extreme if I called this a Healthcare Holocaust? Maybe not so much.

However, being uninsured isn’t the real problem in healthcare. One of the real problems is Torts. Tort reform is one of the real ways to revitalize our healthcare system. Our brilliant masterminds and architects in the Senate totally left physicians, healthcare professionals, and insurance companies in the dust. While I worked a brief stint in Risk Management at a hospital, I saw everything. People will sew for the smallest things even if they suffer a scratch in a hospital hallway. This causes hospitals, healthcare professionals, and insurance companies to pay out money that is needed to pay for the real problems that happen. Everyone in healthcare and insurance is getting ripped off. TORT REFORM! It is one of the incredibly clear answers.

However, the biggest problem I find is not with tort reform or insurance at all. It is with the way we practice medicine in this country. When I was young, every time I would go to the doctor, I would come home with an antibiotic. Now I’m immune to certain ones and germ resistant bacteria can now take over my body. Maybe that is a slight exaggeration. I just watched my grandmother suffer and I brought home 35 medicines from the nursing home that she used to take daily. I know, you probably think that is a joke but it isn’t. I am confident the medicine only made her sicker and the side effects killed her. We treat every ache and pain with a medicine that does not heal, but takes away the symptoms temporarily. This puts an incredible burden on insurance companies and on the taxpayer. What kind of healthcare is this? It isn’t healthcare, it is symptom care. Drug companies know many cures to diseases, many could release this but the ever so powerful FDA and Drug Companies want MONEY and POPULATION CONTROL, not healthy people! Furthermore, dying people are given treatments that only prolong their suffering and their death. This raises hospital bills that the American taxpayer pays after they die. Much of that money is just assumed by the hospital putting them into debt. What kind of responsibility is this in our system?

We need broad reform, that is true. However, the focus should be taken to our medical schools and not necessarily to the insurance industry. I don’t think an 85% insured rate is so bad. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? In the free country that we supposedly live in, let people be who they are without government intervention. Everyone cannot be the same, we would eliminate the freedom that many of us love if that happened. If someone cannot buy insurance, it is a shame, but it is a necessary evil for our constitutional republic to stay free. So, let’s fix what is broken, the torts and the way we practice medicine. This, in itself, will make insurance and being a healthcare provider much more affordable.

What Does Being a Conservative Really Mean 2: Defining “True” Conservatism

limited governmentI thought I would go back to the article I wrote on Monday for further discussion.  I would like to thank Jim Lee, candidate for U.S. Congress in the upstate, for his comment.  He’s a solid Conservative and good guy.  Jim’s comment has spurred me to further clarify my convictions on being a “True Conservative.”  I want to make sure I am being very clear.  Many who call themselves a hardcore, nail hammering, trench fighting “True Conservative,” have very little understanding of what it means.  Sure, there are common stereotypes, but the social issues are the problem.

I cannot call myself a blood biting “True Conservative” because of the social issues.  I am a Pro-Lifer, Anti-Gay Marriage, and an Evangelical Christian.  You may be thinking, wait, this guy is a hardcore “True Conservative” then.  But no, I’m not and neither are you if you agree with me on these above stances.

A “True Conservative” believes in limited government, limited government programs, limited regulation, and tons of Freedom.  So what does this mean for social issues?

  1. Pro-Life- Most will say they are Pro-Life and this is the conservative point of view.  I disagree.  Most Republicans and Christians are Pro-Life, but this does not mean they are Conservative.  In fact, they are very far from it.  Being Conservative is believing in limited government control over private lives.  Limited government control means “control over what is only necessary to sustain the country.”  Therefore, regulating whether a Woman can have a medical procedure or not is violating this “limited government” approach that Conservatives claim to believe.  If you are a “True Conservative” you do not won’t the government telling you what you can and cannot do to your body;  you want them out of your life!  So, make sure you don’t say you are “VERY CONSERVATIVE” or are a “TRUE CONSERVATIVE” unless you are willing to accept being Pro-Choice.
  2. Gay Marriage- The practice of marriage is celebrated in many religions.  It has become of paramount importance to our society.  However, a “True Conservative” should never want their government to support this religious institution.  By the government supporting marriage, they are establishing a religious practice.  In effect, this establishes a religion over ever citizen under that government, giving the government the power and control to license and say who can and cannot be married.  This type of government control prevents members of the same sex from seeking marriage.  Not only does it push traditional religious views on homosexuals, the government controls a very personal area of their lives.  For this, a “True Conservative” should NEVER support even the institution of Marriage as it is because they stand for limited government control.   A “True Conservative” should call for the institution of domestic partnerships, marriage to be abolished as it is, and for Marriage to still be an important practice in their respective churches (not in a legal sense), just like baptism.
  3. Church and State- This is where it gets heated.  I am right there with you when you say the country was founded on Christian principles.  I do not doubt it and I strongly believe that.  However, saying you are a “True Conservative” means that you are willing to sacrifice this belief for great freedom.  As Mr. Lee said, “the separation was to protect religion from the state, not the state from religion.”  However, having religion in the state will have a certain eliminate of bias.  It is human nature to be bias, subjective individuals.  Therefore, certain denominational traits will be displayed by these religious views in government.  As a result, they will discriminate against the citizens that live in the respective country.  This leads to government saying what is acceptable religiously and what is not.  Subsequently, people in the country will be lead by a religious leaning they do not stand for.  This is why separating church and state is vital.  Many wars have been fought over religion and government.  The Muslims blow each other up every day because of it.  A “True Conservative” does not want their government to favor one religion over the other because this is government favoritism and negatively effects the way they will live their lives under new laws and regulations.

Be stunned if you want to.  A Republican who says “True Conservatives” actually believe social issues like a liberal.  I said it, I wrote it, and I stand behind it.  However, I don’t call myself a “True Conservative” just a simple to moderate Conservative.  Next time you are amongst friends or anywhere for that matter, make sure you know what you are saying when you say you are a hardcore “True Conservative”.  If you are one, don’t make excuses for why you don’t want to believe in the Social Issues the “True Conservative” way.  The reality is, the three social issues I discussed are being a “True Conservative” in its purist form.

Invading Our Freedom: Obama vs. Fox News

This is a little different than usual.  I thought I would record a video instead of bore you with my long essays.   This isn’t TV quality either, so don’t get your hopes up.  There seems to be a slight delay on the video as well.  Please feel free to leave your comments or to discuss.

What does being a Conservative really mean?

comrade_conservativeIt has been a week since I have written because I have been dealing with the death of my grandmother.  But now, I am back into the action.  I have been pondering the past several days on what to write about.  New stimulus plans, more healthcare debate, Fox news v.s. Obama.  I will be talking about these topics in the next few days but right now, I want to touch on something I find really important:  Conservatism.

It appears that the liberals have it together in some aspects for the time being.  While they are quickly headed to their demise, they at least know what they believe.  On the other hand, conservatives aren’t so sure at times.  John McCain called himself a conservative, but is he really?  Lindsey Graham still thinks he is a conservative. What is the true reality behind Lindsey’s thoughts and the true reality?

Who is a Conservative? Is it Rush Limbaugh?  Ann Coulter?  Glenn Beck?  Even St. Ronald Reagan as he is often hailed?  Maybe it is anyone that is against the Obama administration since Conservative is defined as “Against Change.”  Some think it means being a Republican but Sen. Olympia Snowe isn’t a Conservative.  Some think it is believing in only the Constitution and nothing more. That is a Constitutionalist or some would say Libertarian philosophy.  So what is a Conservative really mean?

I think it is a subjective word but a word with several objective beliefs that are defined by it.  A conservative believes in no more government than was originally desired by the founding fathers of a respective institution.  While there is room for change in a society, just like a speed limit changes, there is little room for deviation in the area of government involvement in the lives of citizens.  In America, a conservative shouldn’t want government programs that go beyond the government’s constitutional responsibility of  ensuring justice, tranquility, defense, the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty.

The founding fathers had no intention of a welfare program that promotes laziness when they sought to promote the general welfare.  They had no intention of ensuring justice by making everyone economically equal.   They also had no intention of securing the blessings of liberty by fighting imperialistic wars in places like Vietnam and perhaps we can consider Iraq.  Yes, I said it.  Conservatives believe in government but not a corrupt government that wants to run the people.  A Conservative should believe in a Government that wants the people to run it.

Simply put, a Conservative is a person that likes the people running the government only when they don’t have the government’s interests at stake.  The people running a government should always have the people’s best interests at stake not an institution that could potentially harm the people.

With so many ideas of Conservatism, I have compiled a top ten list as I often like to do.  This top ten list is appropriately titled, “You Might be a Conservative if…..”

  1. You might be a Conservative if you believe Social Security, Medicare, and Welfare are a complete fraud and abuse of Congress’ constitutional powers of the purse.
  2. You might be a Conservative if you understand losing the quality of healthcare is the only result of the Government running it.  Furthermore, even if there are uninsured, it isn’t the government’s job to pay for their insurance.  It is the government’s job to make sure the environment of the nation is healthy and fluid for them to put together the means to provide or not provide for themselves healthcare.
  3. You might be a Conservative if you believe a little Revolution never hurt anyone as long as the revolution decreases the size of government and increases the size of citizen freedom.
  4. You might be a True Conservative if you realize being Pro-Life isn’t Conservative.  Agreeing that the unborn should be protected and given the same rights as those that are born is extremely important DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME.  I STRONGLY BELIEVE IN THE SANCTITY OF LIFE.  But for argument sake, this isn’t Conservative. Saying the government should regulate a medical procedure for a citizen, is actually quite liberal and not Conservative at all.
  5. You might be a True Conservative if you believe the government regulating who can be married and who cannot is actually quite liberal and not conservative.  Marriage, since it is a religious practice, should actually only be recognized as a religious issue.  Deciding on who can be “Married” invades the freedom of every American to make that choice for themselves.  Therefore, Domestic Partnerships are actually more Conservative than Marriage.  They allow you to choose who you want to have government benefits with, not the government choosing who it will give benefits too.  That is true freedom and truly conservative, like it or not.
  6. You might be a True Conservative if you believe Church and State should be separate.  Christianity is a good example.  There are many interpretations of God and who he is.  Baptists believe “once saved always saved” while Assembly of God Christians, rooted in the Armenian theology, believe you can lose your salvation.  As a result of varying interpretations, one denomination in a religious group cannot rule a country because the other will be offended.  While all may love God, all share his love and understand his love differently.  Therefore, a religion cannot be the basis for a society because it has denominations and as a result, will alienate certain groups within that society even if they are a part of that religion.  Sunni vs. Shiite Muslims are a great example of this on-going battle.  So, separating church and state is the only way to have a smooth government, smooth civil discourse, and a free society.  That is true Conservativism.
  7. You might be a Conservative if you are eligible for unemployment but don’t file because it means too much government in your personal life.  While unemployment is great for those that lose their job, it is not a Conservative program.  Unemployment promotes laziness just like welfare.  It gives people a reason to stay out of work longer.  They are supposed to look for a job, but many just collect the checks and lie every time they report.  Not accepting the money is being a True Conservative.
  8. You might be a Conservative if you vote for the person and not the party.  A true conservative will vote for one with the ideals that promote less government in the lives of people and more people in the workings of government.  One that understands how bad government can be and has the interests of protecting the people rather than promoting programs to run the people is who a True Conservative will vote for.
  9. You might be a Conservative if you believe the Great Depression is an example of what True Conservatism should bring.  It was a horrible time, but a necessary time.  However, it wasn’t a conservative event in history after the New Deal was created.  A true Conservative will allow things to fail, without government intervention, even if it means poverty because this also allows things to freely pick themselves back up and work again.  The New Deal didn’t get America out of the Great Depression, the war did.  Bailouts and stimulus bills are liberal hogwash.  A good depression allows for a good cleansing and allows the free market to take back over.
  10. You might be a conservative if you believe defining a conservative is actually liberal.  You may think I’m crazy with this one but here is my reasoning.  If you define something, you do not give it room to be further examined or explored for further meanings.  It may mean new things in the future.  Therefore, a Conservative doesn’t say exactly what he is.  He states the core things he believes but allows his belief to constantly be explored, further examined, and further defined because this is true freedom.  Having Conservative beliefs cannot be defined by the word Conservative.  Constricting these beliefs to that word is putting too much intervention into this important political philosophy.


After reading these, you probably thing I am a little off of my rocker.  But it is really how I see the word Conservative.   I guess many of us aren’t quite as Conservative as we think we are? The word is abused, misused, and overused.  Many don’t know what it means and many claim to be one but have never understood what “one” is.  It’s much easier to be a liberal than to be a conservative.  Liberals have set rules, regulations, and guidelines.  Conservatives live by one principle, “the less control over our lives, the better.”  The rest is left for further defining.

*Picture of Me Speaking to South Carolinians for Responsible Government

The Nobel Peace Fraud


Last night, before I went to bed, I happened to watch an episode of the Twilight Zone.  Little did I know, I would wake up and somehow be mixed up into one of Rod Sterling’s masterpieces.  Boy was this a masterpiece!  President Barack Obama: lecturer, community activist, state senator, U.S. Senator, President, and now, Nobel Peace Prize Winner.  This is truly amazing.  It is actually extraordinary for the President.  What a great example for our country’s children.  Wait….how do we explain to young people the way to get the Nobel Prize?  I am trying really hard to figure out what the President did to deserve it but……..well I’m having a lot of trouble.

When my cousin, in the 7th grade, asks me how someone can get one, I am clueless as to the criteria.     I guess I will tell him you just have to be President of the United States…wait….Reagan didn’t get it.  The people that chose this must be out of their mind.  Seriously, they need a shot of epinephrine to be woken back up apparently.  So, in the midst of my world apparently spiraling out of control in the Twilight Zone, I have compiled a top ten list of reasons President Obama doesn’t deserve the Peace prize.

Obama bowing to King Abdullah

  1. Putting American generations in debt by pushing a corrupt stimulus package through Congress.  A package that gave millions of our hard earned dollars to programs that the great majority of Americans will never see the benefit of.  Furthermore, leaving the GOP out of the debate.  Peaceful?  Nope.
  2. Tried to pass a Health Care plan by bullying Congress, leaving the GOP out of the debate, and possibly still using a very un-peaceful nuclear option to ruin Health Care for the 85% that are insured.  Also, alienating the poor in his country by passing this plan because of under the table payouts, which will become common place in medicine.  Peaceful?  Nope
  3. Pushing an Employee Free Choice Act that will alienate freedom of choice and the right to privacy in union elections.  Is this making peace with the American people?  Nope
  4. He is soley responsible for bringing the troops out of Iraq.  Oh wait!  That’s right.  President Bush, John McCain, General David Petraeus (most notably), and others are responsible for allowing us to withdraw so many troops.  President Obama voted against it in the Senate.  So the surge that brought a little peace to Iraq because of its overwhelming effectiveness was actually the work of President Bush and co.  Obama said it would FAIL!  Does this make him a man of peace?  A big NOPE
  5. If he brought peace to Afghanistan it would be one thing, but he can’t make a decision.  The Taliban is reforming and the President wants to work with them to restore order.  Working with a group that alienated their people, brought strict Shira law on them, killed many, and made the entire country live in fear?  Our President wants to let some of them come back into power.  But wait, he doesn’t even have a plan for Afghanistan because he can’t listen to the very men that are over there.  Is he bringing peace to this growingly bad situation?  NOPE
  6. Did President Obama spend his entire life fighting poverty, going into the trenches and helping the helpless, bringing peace to the hearts and minds of men and women that had none, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and doctoring the sick?  Mother Theresa did and she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.  President Obama is no Mother Theresa.  His reforms will alienate the poor, hungry, and sick even more..read my piece about Universal Healthcare.  So, does he do these things and as a result, become a man of peace?  NOPE
  7. Did President Obama ever get put in prison for his efforts to fight racism, dictatorship, and the fight for freedom? Nelson Mandela did and he won the prize.  President Obama jokes about racism on late night tv, is quickly moving America towards a socialist state, and can’t decide whether he wants to fight for freedom in Afghanistan while he takes freedom away from Americans with his socialist policies.  To his credit, he did drugs and would have been put in Jail had he been caught.  For the question, I say NOPE.
  8. Martin Luther King was one of the most eloquent speakers in history.  Not to mention eloquent, he was a man of principal, a man of conviction, a true man of courage, and one  who officially broke down the racial barriers in the US.  He was one of the greatest leaders in World History and is an example for all cultures to follow.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Is Obama anything like him?  He bows to Saudi Kings and gives good speeches in Prague.  He talks about his experiences with racism growing up and gives good speeches but they haven’t had much of an effect.  Back to the question, is he anything like Martin Luther King Jr.?  NOPE.
  9. Anwar Sadat won the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts to bring peace between Egypt and Israel.  He was a true peacemaker and martyr.  Obama only alienates Israel, and doesn’t do very much to protect our staunch ally.  Last time he got between Israel and Palestine, it didn’t go so well.  There is no peace there and as far as I know, they are still blowing each other up.  Is he anything like Anwar Sadat, heck, even a flower child that walked around promoting peace getting people to drop everything, smile and be happy?  NOPE.
  10. The biggest snub ever was President Ronald Reagan.  He should have been given the Nobel Prize along with his friend, Gorbachev.  Reagan promoted peace, a non-nuclear USSR, and ensured the safety of his country in an era of uncertainty, THE COLD WAR.   He is responsible for the free Russia and Germany we know today.  He didn’t get a prize, WHY should Obama?  Is Obama anything like Reagan?  NOPE

Argue with me if you may.  These are just ten of many reasons President Obama SHOULD NOT GET THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE.  I am now going to go back to sleep and hopefully wake back up into reality.  If this is reality, then I plan to sleep for the rest of the day.  I am still in disbelief.  Today, when my young cousin asks me about how to win the prize, my answer will be simple.  Be President, alienate the people in your country, don’t’ bring any peace at all overseas, make good speeches with a teleprompter, and don’t be like anyone else that won the prize, especially Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, and Anwar Sadat.

To Win or Not To Win: The Afghan Dillema


It was September 11th, 2001 and I was learning about Sir Isaac Newton in 8th grade earth science.  My teacher was called out of the room, then she came back in with devastating news….New York was under attack and a plane had flown into one of the twin towers.  I froze in shock and wondered what this meant for our nation.  I got home from school and stayed glued to the television, watching more planes do more of the same.  Death was everywhere and I wondered, what did this mean?

I had a sense of pride later that night when my President, George W. Bush, spoke to the American people and let us know we would find those that did it and they would pay.  For next few months, a sense of patriotism not seen in years came across the country.  People loved the troops, people were proud of our fight against terror, and you saw flags on cars every day.  One day….it all stopped.

Today, I look at the news and I see a President that is obviously clueless when managing a war and a fight that could eventually come back home again.  At The Citadel, cadets learn to listen to everyone when making a decision.  Everyone in the chain of command is vital to an operation.  However, sometimes a leader doesn’t listen and that is when things get sticky and the small problem becomes big.  President Obama has consistently been told what to do in Afghanistan.  Gen. McChrystal, the head General in Afghanistan, asked for 40,000 troops to complete a counterinsurgency to make sure the Taliban do not get back in power and to ensure Al Qaeda stays weak.  The President has turned his back on his General and doesn’t seem to be listening.

Last time a General requested a surge, it wasn’t popular but it allowed our troops to stabilize and leave Iraq.  General Petraeus was brilliant for recommending and drafting this plan.  Why doesn’t President Obama learn from history and see that this is vital for victory in Afghanistan as well?  Instead, he mentions possibly working with the Taliban and keeping some of them in power.  Are you kidding me?

This is the SAME Taliban that harbored the SAME terrorists who brought so much bloodshed to our country on September 11th.  He wants to keep some of them in power and not fight against them?  My greatest fear is for the Taliban to reclaim any control over Afghanistan.  While Mr. Obama has been waiting to make a decision, the Taliban has been doing what they do best.  They just claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan this week.  On Saturday, 8 troops were killed when the Taliban overran their base because there weren’t enough troops there to defend it.  This group sounds very amicable to me.  The Taliban will bring Shira law, hate for America, and a love for Al Qaeda to the table.  If they harbored them once, they will harbor them twice.  Furthermore, if Al Qaeda gets a place to train once and conduct a mass attack like September 11th, they will do it  again if the Taliban rule.

If he goes with the strategy to ignore top commanders and work with the enemy, our President will be writing a risky future for our country on the wall.   If we do not win in Afghanistan, September 11th will not seem so much in the past.  It will likely be part of our future again at some point.  This President clearly needs to understand how vital it is to listen to those under him; especially since he has never had combat experience or any form of military training to understand the stakes on the ground.  Being Commander in Chief  means using all of the command under you to make accurate decisions as the Chief decision maker.  I think he needs someone to give him the heads up on what his job actually entails.  Maybe Truman left a manual in the White House somewhere.

The President claims he has the best people advising him.  Advice that comes from people that aren’t Generals.  People like Vice-President Joe Biden.  This is the same Joe Biden that wanted to split Iraq up into four sectarian regions and eliminate it as a country.  He was dead wrong there.  Then there is Hillary Clinton. What does she know about War?  All she knows about is being a lawyer and covering up her crimes ex. Whitewater, how to bomb a hill or two (from her husband), being an ineffective Senator, and how NOT to pass a Healthcare bill (As she tried in the 90’s).  At least she has a few things in common with the President.  My stomach hurts when I think about the non-military advice Obama is getting.  It is truly scary.

ussoldiersThe clock is ticking and I hope we get some sort of decision from the President soon.  However, I am afraid this decision may be one that we feel for years to come.  Pray for our country, Pray for our troops, and Pray that our President receives wisdom in making these decisions.  This isn’t the only crucial decision that needs to be made right now, but our safety is first priority.  Therefore, this has to be dealt with and dealt with timely and effectively. To ensure our own safety, we MUST have an Afghanistan that doesn’t harbor terrorist groups.


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