Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My thoughts on the election of President-Elect Barack Obama.

There will be much excitement in the coming days - a great positive energy will likely sweep the country. But will it last?

I'm glad - truly glad - that an African-American has won the Presidency, because that is a barrier that needed to be broken. This is a great sign for America, and shows that America really is the dream we hoped it was.

But I am deeply concerned about the choice.

For those of you who voted for Barrack, congratulations. It is my fervent prayer that I am flat wrong and he is the best President ever. Really. I have children, and I care about the world they will grow up in. But what I predict with Obama has me frightened for their futures.

For example, I predict that our economy will receive a quick boost. And we will likely see some fairly quick economic growth. But this is in the short term. The Democratic policies that Obama espouses have often, in the past, failed over the long term. I predict we will see short-term successes and long-term failure in our foreign policy and in our standing as a world power. I am nervous for the security of our country and our borders.

My thoughts on the election? Well, I’m not mad at you for voting for him. After all, we should all vote our conscience. It's just been so confusing to me how many things had to be ignored in order to vote for him. If you voted for Obama, I believe that:

- You ignored that the current economic crisis is a DIRECT result of previous Democratic policies (Carter & Clinton) and that Obama had a direct hand in the crisis dating back to 1996 (see my previous blog).

- You blamed Bush for the crisis (he does have some blame, but not all) and ignored the fact that, aside from the roots of the problem coming from earlier Democratic policies, the current Democratic controlled Congress had oversight under Frank and Dodd - and they failed. So, you took it out on McCain - one of the few who truly fought to fix the problem before it became a problem (check the record).

- You ignored the fact that his economic plan will allow millions of people who pay no taxes to receive free money from the government. And you resent when we call that a "hand-out". What else is that?

- You ignored the fact that government handouts keep poor people poor and dependant. Check history.

- You ignored the fact that his economic plan is nearly identical to many socialist ideologies, and that socialism has failed, while this country was built on the kind of capitalism McCain promoted - that all should have equal opportunity to build their lives and their wealth if they are willing to do the work.

- You allowed him to deny any Marxist leanings, even though his economic policy sounds exactly like Karl Marx's "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" platform (Robin Hood-ism!) and his own words from his book state that he "chose his friends carefully" and "sought out the Marxist professors" in college.

- You ignored the plain, history-proven fact that when you tax the rich - those who lead business - several things happen…they pass those tax increases on to the consumer, businesses move out of the country, people lose their jobs

- You ignored that the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget crunched the numbers and figured out that by 2013 Obama would outspend McCain by at least $27 billion and by as much as $119 billion. That's bigger government. And guess where that money is coming from? Your taxes. Watch for it.

- You ignored the fact that he has no military experience and almost no relevant foreign policy experience to speak of. But you believed he knows how to lead the Nation and the military in the most crucial war of our time.

- You approve of pulling out of Iraq in defeat.

- You ignore how many experts in foreign policy consider his proposals regarding Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel, and others, to be foolish and immature.

-You ignored that, when asked about "when life begins", he claimed the issue was "above his paygrade", but then you gave him the power to appoint the people who will legislate this issue. (And, frankly, countless more babies will be killed. I know - you don't like that imagery - you prefer words like "choice". Face it.)

- You ignored that, while he had excuses for all of them, he had multiple questionable relationships. Rezko, Ayers, Wright, Khalidi, Acorn....Not just one or two, which could be dismissed, but several. How many does it take to raise a red flag for you? His answers on some of these where evasive or even outright lies. "Just a guy in the neighborhood" "In twenty years at that church I never heard him say anything like that." C'mon.

- You ignored the fact that his extreme left voting record cannot serve the needs of the whole country, and we will likely (and sadly) be divided for the duration of his Presidency.

- You ignored the fact that for all his rhetoric about crossing the aisles, he has no record of it.

- You ignored that he accomplished next to nothing as a Senator. "Present". Wow.

- You ignored that he has less executive experience than the Republican Vice Presidential candidate that you mocked. But you assumed he could lead a Nation.

- You railed against the GOP spending $150,000.00 on Sarah Palin's wardrobe, but had no problem with the $140,000.00 rental fee for the Greek columns at the Democratic National Convention.

- You railed against McCain's negative campaigning, but had no problem with the incredible attacks on a private citizen when he asked a hard question of Obama.

- You ignored his broken promise about public campaign finances.

- You ignored that his own running mate claimed he was not qualified to be president, and just a few months later compared him to Kennedy, FDR, Lincoln, and yet never explained what changed.

I could go on. There is so much.

BUT HERE IS THE DEAL - I HOPE AND PRAY THAT I AM WRONG.
I WANT TO BE WRONG ABOUT HIM. I HOPE HE IS THE MAN SO MANY THINK HE IS.

We do not really know much about him. He is unproven and untested. He is, rightly so, questionable - and many of those questions have not been answered. He is a brilliant politician, a wonderful orator, a master communicator. He is smooth. He is intelligent. I believe he loves this country, I do not believe he is a terrorist or the Antichrist.

But there is so little history on him that we must all admit he was elected primarily because of (a) his personality (b) a deep hatred for Bush (c) a blind hope - not one rooted in his experience - that what he was saying really might be the best for this country.

I do regret that we won't get to see, for once, what the Presidency looks like with someone who truly was not an extreme Conservative or extreme Liberal (McCain was long considered to be in the middle and among the most bipartisan Senators of record). Instead, we will have a very liberal Democratic President and a Democratic Congress, and half this country will be disenfranchised, experiencing the same frustration you have felt for eight years under Bush (I hope your response to that isn't just "take that"). So much for checks and balances. What we needed more than anything is true bipartisanship - which out of the two candidates, only McCain had any record of. I hope Obama's previous voting record - one of extreme partisanship - goes by the wayside and he can truly learn (because he doesn't know how yet, according to his record) how to cross the aisles. This country needs it.

Clinton inherited the internet boom, and the country enjoyed some years of prosperity. He left a surplus, but he also left a recession, which few people recognized until later. Bush inherited that recession and 9/11. He has not been a great president, but he does not deserve the dishonor he gets. He has kept us safe since then and for that he deserves our thanks and respect. And other good things have happened under him, things that get ignored. But the real point here is that no President is solely responsible for what happens in their term, as the previous president also leaves a mess. And sometimes, as is the case with the Carter/Clinton legacy, it can take decades to see the full fruit of an administration. That’s how it goes. Stop blaming Bush for everything that is wrong. We live in a new world and it is very possible that history may record him differently. Likewise, I will not blame Obama for everything that goes wrong in the next 4-8 years. He is, unfortunately, inheriting the worst financial crisis in 70 years and two wars. He has an uphill battle and will deserve some of our grace (although few afforded that to Bush). But, right now, I do not feel as safe as I did just a few hours ago. I hope, for my kid's sake, I am wrong.

I will not, like so many Bush detractors did, sport a "Obama is not my President" bumper sticker. I found that kind of thing extremely immature and unpatriotic.

Come January, Obama will be MY President.
I have a responsibility to and will pray for his leadership.

Obama has a lot to live up to. I pray for his success. Truly.
Again, I pray I'm wrong about him. Truly.
But I am nervous for our future. Truly.

Please, President-Elect Obama...prove me wrong.
Tony

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

WHY I CANNOT VOTE FOR OBAMA

The following blogs reflect my feelings on several of the basic issues of this election.

1. Abortion
2. Economy/Taxes (Updated Oct 13)
3. The Economy
4. The War
5. Experience (Updated Oct 10)
6. Size of Government
7. Party Warfare
8. Immigration

I am not an expert in these areas - these are based on my understanding of these issues. Each topic in a separate blog so you can comment on individual topics if you want.

ABORTION

This is a biggie, and I will state my thoughts without any reference to my faith (which, of course, is important to me).

I have never heard any proof from the opposition - scientific or otherwise - that life does not begin at conception. Biologically, a complete human is formed at conception - complete DNA and Chromosomes are present at conception and nothing will be "added". Everything that is there at birth is there at conception, just not fully 'developed' (this is comparable after birth to things like teeth and hair - not fully developed yet, but present in a newborn).

I've asked pro-choice people to name the exact moment when it is no longer okay to abort. Is it at midnight right after the first trimester? Is it one hour before birth? One hour after birth? Pinpoint the very second or even hour when it is no longer okay to end a baby's life. Then tell me what changed from one second to the next. I have yet to hear an exact time pinpointed and explained.

Since even the scientific community is at odds over when life begins, we MUST err on the side of protecting innocent life. If you were about to demolish a building but weren't sure whether or not anyone was inside, would you simply press the button to charge the dynamite, or would you check to be sure there wasn't a living person inside first? Until you are sure, you cannot destroy the building. It really is that simple. And it is a primary role of any law and of the President to protect the innocent.

Pro-choice pundits never use the term "abortion" - they always say "choice" or "women's health". They do this because they want to minimize the perception. But, make no mistake - what they are talking about is the "right" to choose to kill an innocent baby. When another life is at stake, it is not simply a matter of "don't tell me what to do with my body" - there are two bodies at stake. It is not a matter of choice, but of responsibility.

What about cases of rape and incest? These account for less than 1% of all abortions. While it wouldn't fix everything, even legislation that ended all abortions other than those cases would be a step in the right direction. (Although the argument for protecting innocent life still stands.)

Even with the Death Penalty the evidentiary standard is "proof beyond a reasonable doubt", otherwise you acquit - erring on the side of innocence. It is exactly the opposite with abortion - unless there is 'absolute' proof of life, then killing is allowed.

Obama says he supports Roe V Wade, but that we should do what we can to "decrease the number of abortions". Why? If there is nothing wrong with an abortion, why decrease them? Because there IS something wrong with them - and he knows it. He said during the campaign that knowing when life begins is "above his paygrade" - and yet he wants the authoritative position to make the decision for the nation (via Supreme Court nominees)?

Obama actually supported legislation that would allow even a living baby who has just been born surviving an abortion to be killed. I cannot ever give my vote to a man who would support something as heinous as this. I do not want that innocent baby's blood on my hands, and my vote for Obama would be just that.

[I have composed an open letter to pro-choicers, asking very pointed but fair questions. It outlines my overall viewpoint better than this short statement. You can download it HERE. If you disagree with my viewpoint, I'd LOVE for you to download it and send me your answers!]

ECONOMY/TAXES

Okay, I'm not an economist, but here's how I understand it.

Tax Plan
Obama promises to cut taxes for 95% of Americans, but his plan also sounds like Socialism - he's talking basically about a redistribution of wealth.

Quote from Ken Blackwell: "Only 62 percent of Americans pay federal income tax, meaning that 38 percent get a 100 percent refund of any taxes withheld. So Mr. Obama's 95 percent that will receive money from the government includes roughly 33 percent of Americans who pay no income tax. One-third of Americans pay no income taxes yet would receive a government check of perhaps $1,000 or more. Having the government take money from business entities or affluent individuals and giving it to those who pay no federal income taxes is not Keynesian. It's Marxist."

Not interested.

UPDATE OCT 13: Obama basically confirmed this idea when he told a plumber - on camera - that he plans to "spread the wealth around". Robin Hood, anyone? Click HERE for the article.

Who Would Spend More?
This just in from the BIPARTISAN Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (http://www.crfb.org/):

"An analysis of the presidential candidates' tax and spending proposals shows Barack Obama would create a larger deficit than John McCain by the end of his first term. The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says by 2013 Obama would outspend McCain by at least $27 billion and by as much as $119 billion. The projected deficit for 2013 is already $147 billion, so both men would leave the country in the red.

But Obama's proposals would push the deficit to $433 billion. Under McCain the deficit would fall somewhere between $314 billion and $406 billion."


Flat Tax
I am a big fan of the flat-tax idea. While I can't say I understand it all - both in practice and in results - I cannot stand the current IRS system. I would rather pay more in taxes and not only never have to save a receipt, but also know that even the drug dealers are paying taxes.

"Unlike the current system, a flat tax is simple, fair, and good for growth. Instead of the 893 forms required by the current system, a flat tax would use only two postcard-sized forms: one for labor income and the other for business and capital income. Unlike the current system, which discriminates based on the source, use, and level of income, a flat tax treats all taxpayers equally, fulfilling the “equal justice under law” principle etched above the main entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court building. And unlike the current system, which punishes people for contributing to the nation’s wealth, a flat tax would lower marginal tax rates and eliminate the tax bias against saving and investment, thus ensuring better economic performance in a competitive global economy.

There have been several flat tax proposals over the years, all of them based on the pathbreaking proposal developed by two Hoover Institution economists. While no two plans are identical, they all share common features that fix the major flaws of the current Internal Revenue Code."


I lean towards a sales/consumption based tax over an income based tax (because even drug dealers have to buy things at the store, but not everyone reports their income!) , but I'm not really well-versed yet.

Also, this sort of tax would ebb and flow with the economy (since it is based on economic activity and growth). Therefore, government growth is held in check by the population and their growth, not vice-versa.

John McCain supports tax reform and the Flat Tax.

THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

The recent crisis has been unfairly skewed against John McCain. It is the tendency to blame the current administration and thus the correlating candidate, however, simple research will show that the current economic crisis is based on Democratic policies enacted over the last thirty years.

The Community Reinvestment Act was passed by Jimmy Carter and the Democrats in the 1970's to give incentives to help low-income borrowers purchase homes. A noble idea at face value, and it helped for a while. In 1995 the Democrats, under Bill Clinton, added massive new provisions that forced banks to make mortgage loans to people who could not afford to pay them back. These people were inticed by a literal feeding frenzy from predatory lenders, offering mortgages with "no money down" and "no reported income", etc. Even welfare and unemployment checks were considered "income" for qualifying! Because more and more homes were being sold, home prices skyrocketed. Eventually, these low-income people could no longer afford to pay their mortgages and they defaulted. The government agencies (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac) who guaranteed the banks these high-risk mortgages were insured, failed, and so the banks failed. This is where we are now.

It may surprise some Democrats to know that in 2003, The Bush administration recommended a significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In 2005, John McCain warned of the mortgage collapse. He co-sponsored a bill called "The Housing Enterprise Regulatory Act of 2005" (with Republican Senators Hagel, Dole and Sununu). Google it at www.govtrack.us - Bill S190. It was reintroduced in 2007.

All three times, it was the Democrats who blocked it. Look it up. And Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank keep saying the Democrats have no blame. This is an outright lie, and the fact that they say that while looking straight at the camera into the American public's eye should give voters pause.

The real dirt is in the fact that Obama actually has his hands dirty in this situation. I won't go into it too much - you can download my bigger explanation HERE - but it is notable that Obama actually received incredible sums of money from Fannie Mae. How much?

In three years, he collected $126,349.00…more than John Kerry received in 20 years. Obama received FOUR TIMES more money from Fannie Mae per year than ANY OTHER SENATOR over the last 20 years! He received 49 TIMES more money than John McCain. (Obama's Fannie Mae Contributions, per year, were $42,116.00. McCain's were $862.00.)

And he received the second highest amount of contributions from Freddie/Fannie, right behind Christopher Dodd.

His advisors are former Fannie Mae CEOs (Jim Johnson, Franklin Raines).

He was also the lead attorney for ACORN, the driving force behind Clinton's buildup of CRA, and he was their lawyer for many cases. "ACORN was the driving force behind a 1995 regulatory revision pushed through by the Clinton Administration that greatly expanded the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) and laid the groundwork for the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac borne financial crisis we now confront. Barack Obama was the attorney representing ACORN in this effort."

Obama: "I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work"

This is an extreme left-wing radical group. While they promote the poor (which is a good thing when done right) their methods are extremely radical and sometimes, illegal. Just TODAY, AS I WRITE THIS (Oct 7, 08), their offices are being raided for voter fraud in Las Vegas, registering illegal names to vote. They were already busted for this in 2006 - of 1,800 voter registrations they submitted, 1,794 were FAKE!

Now, I don't pretend to understand national or global economics. I couldn't really tell you whether Obama or McCain has the better economic plan (although, according to the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Obama would outspend McCain during a four-year term - see "Who Would Spend More?" in above post). I can only tell you that I can't vote for someone who, very literally, (1) helped to cause this crisis, (2) profited from it, and (3) but makes no admission of it and instead blames the opponent who actually tried to stop it.

THE WAR

FACT: In 1998, Clinton and the Democrats were already pushing to go take down Hussein, much in the same way Bush did in 2003. Look it up. READ THIS SPEECH FROM CLINTON, DATED 12/16/98

FACT: Both sides believed Iraq had WMDs. Only after the fact did the Democrats deny it. SEE THIS LIST OF DEMOCRAT'S QUOTES ON EXISTENCE OF WMDs

FACT: Both sides voted to go to war, based on the same information.

FACT: The war has been badly managed for years - for this Bush is responsible as Commander In Chief. (The only defense for mismanagement is that this war is unlike any other in history. There is no proven "method" for how to fight a war like this. Mistakes were inevitable.) Thankfully, General Petraeus turned it around.

FACT: McCain recommended and pushed for the surge, Obama was against it and wanted to retreat.

FACT: The surge worked, Obama was wrong, and his decision would have meant great military failure.

This war could be lost like any other war, but victory will look different from any other war. We will not see treaties signed on great battleships, like in WWII. Victory comes only in the decrease of radical terrorists and in protecting our homeland - which could mean there will never be a real "end". It will likely go on for decades. This isn't Bush's fault - it is necessary to protect America from terrorism.

In a time of war, popular or not, McCain is the obvious choice for Commander in Chief over Obama.

EXPERIENCE

What is the candidate's actual experience leading...well, anything:

McCain - Tons
Palin - Lots

Obama - Very Little
Biden - Tons

How's the balance for you?

Okay, I don't explain my little graph much, but I welcome you to comment back with a list of things Obama has actually "led" besides his campaign. And while you might find a couple, please first compare the list to McCain, Palin and even Biden.

Obama has "led" very little. Even in terms of presenting Bills in the Senate - he "sponsored" some, but that is a far cry actually authoring and owning it - something McCain (and Biden) have done a ton of.

The attacks on Palin's experience show me that "experience" is an important issue to the Democrats. So, why don't they compare Obama's experience to the man he is actually running against? Because it would pale by comparison. You know what Obama cites as his "executive" experience? Running a presidential campaign. (Look it up!) Yes, "running for President" qualifies him for "being President".

As far as executive experience, McCain is far more qualified than Obama. As for Palin, Governor of a state is a pretty strong credential. And her pathway to governorship was largely one of executive positions. Funny how the Democrats are forgetting that Bill Clinton was merely a governor of Arkansas, with no foreign policy experience. Why was that okay for the Democrats in their presidential pick, but not in a Republican VP pick? Odd.

Which leads me to Foreign Experience.
Again, if they are making a big deal of Palin's foreign policy experience, it must be important to them. They are doing so to draw attention away from having comparing Obama's to McCain's. Again, he pales by comparison. (Have you ever seen a presidential candidate compared to a VP candidate so much? Telling, isn't it?)

(Just added, 10.9.08)
Now, I'll grant that Obama has some foreign policy experience (he is a Senator, after all, and has worked a little on proliferation and genocide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) but very little. In fact, he himself suggested (during the primaries) that it was his four years living in Indonesia when he was 10 years old(!) that gives him foreign experience. Wow.

But what is really odd about the issue, is that he actually has more foreign policy experience than either Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan did when they assumed office! And they were, arguably, two of our better foreign policy presidents in recent history (beloved around the world).

So, does this mean Obama is the right guy for the job? No. Apparently, it means that previous foreign policy experience may not be all that necessary, if two of the best had none. But if it does matter - then, the following is worth consideration:
- He only has slightly more than Sarah Palin
- He has far, far less (incomparable, really) than John McCain.

So, I ask you the question...does it matter?
My answer is: maybe not, but if it is important, I would choose the candidate with tons over the candidate with barely any.

SIZE OF GOVERNMENT

Granted, I am speaking a bit beyond my knowledge here (I wasn't a Political Science major!), so this is just my understanding.

A basic difference between the Dems and Reps is that Dems push for more government control and involvement and Reps push for more free-market and people helping themselves.

Reps want to lend a hand, Dems want to give a hand out.

Reps want to teach them to fish, Dems want to just give someone a fish.

Reps want less government, Dems want more.

Government control (like in the area of health care) is basically Socialism, an ideology with a history of failure around the world. (Just Google "failure of socialism").

Karl Marx posited that socialism would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution, it being the transitional stage between capitalism and communism. (I don't want us headed towards communism!)

"Those who want to go directly to hell, they can follow capitalism. And those of us who want to build heaven here on earth, we will follow socialism." - Hugo Chávez

Hmmm.

PARTY WARFARE

My favorite thing about McCain/Palin IS their record of fighting, even (and especially) against their own party.

As a registered Independent (you thought I was a registered Republican, didn't you?) even though I tend to side with Republicans, the plain fact is, policy/ideology aside, there are bad people on both sides of the aisle. I am equally disappointed when Republicans fail as when Democrats fail, thus I don't want to be aligned to anyone blindly.

A far-left President will ever only satisfy the far-left.
A far-right President will ever only satisfy the far-right.
So, in both cases, only 50% of the population can be satisfied.

In this election, the choice is different.
- John McCain was not wanted by many Republicans because he was not far-right enough.
- Barack Obama is the most liberal Senator in office (based on voting records).
- John McCain has crossed the aisle successfully in 53% of the Bills he sponsored. Barrack only did this 13% of the time.

Clearly, Obama can only satisfy the far-left. McCain has a proven record of being more in the center, which sets him up to potentially overall satisfy a broader percentage of the population.

Palin is also a strong aisle crosser and own-party fighter, with a young, but strong record of reform across the aisle.

IMMIGRATION

Illegal immigration is illegal. Simple enough.
My dad is an immigrant, so this is not an issue I'm insensitive to. But there is a right way and a wrong way to be an immigrant - all are welcome, but within the law. And our borders NEED to be protected, not just because of immigration but because of terrorism. Obama is softer on all fronts here, from my understanding.