Saturday, April 19, 2008

Progressive Taxation

Here at the Third Way Center we are committed to controlling government spending, and protecting individual liberties against the State.  But we feel very strongly that our current tax system is retrograde and unfair.

The wealthiest one percent in this country owns over one-third of the countries wealth [ ], yet paid less than a quarter of Federal taxes [].  If we add in data from even-more regressive State taxes, the situation becomes even bleaker.

Looking to the top 10%, we find that it owns about half the country's wealth [ ], yet paid only 52.2 percent of federal taxes.  Again, this leaving out State taxes, which would drop the percentage paid down to around 40% or less.

If we think about these numbers in real terms, it becomes clear that those who own the majority of land and buildings in this country are not paying their share from the defense of this property.  To take an imaginative scenario:  the costs of a war which destroyed all personal property would be catastrophic from the rich; but assuming there was some new country where Americans could immigrate and ply their trade (and stipulating that the global economy would remain un-affected), such a war would have a rather negligible effect on the wealth of most everyone else.  The rich benefit much more from U.S. spending for protection of property rights than the rest of us.

One may counter that this point is moot since most U.S. spending is not on the military.  However, one must first of all note that much of the spending is there to maintain the economy which supports the military, and to maintain domestic peace that allows for protection of property rights (e.g., welfare spending to pacify the "lumpen proletariat").  Moreover, the poor are often hurt by excess non-military spending just as much as the rich.  As such, it is instructive to think of all U.S. spending as being direct or indirect supports for protection of property rights, plus an unavoidable surplus that is just like an extra inefficiency.  Yes, it would be great to have more efficiency in certain areas, but since we don't have this, we need to think about who is really benefiting the most from Federal spending as compared to how much they pay-in.  (And here one must consider points such as the following:  the middle class may receive more in the way of Social Security payments, but it is also more badly hurt by the damaged business climate that comes from Social Security taxes.  Etc.) 

Since the situation is muddled, we must look to the interests of the less well-off.  So long as we do not have a strict libertarian governmental situation, one cannot readily say that the rich are being "soaked" unfairly.  Rather, it is a simple question of how to extract a maximum of wealth from them over the long-term without having countering negative economic effects that offset the value of the increased tax revenues.

Yes, lowering taxes on the rich in the 1980's in the U.S. has led to them paying a higher percentage of taxes now.  However, the upper-bracket was 70% before Reagan.  That's a little excessive.  That sort of rate is certainly going to have too many negative effects on wealth accumulation and entrepreneurship.  Moreover, the simple fact is that lower-taxes for about 30 years plus massive borrowing plus any number of government schemes which hurt the poor and help the powerful and well-connected have let the very wealth earn more compared to the rest of us.  That's not exactly progress.

We need to bump the highest tax-bracket up to 50%.  Indeed, everyone earning over $100,000 a year ought to be in that bracket, as combined with an increased standard deduction for everyone.  This would garner over $200 billion annually, and probably quite a lot more than $200 billion.

Moreover, a tax on personal wealth for the top 1% is needed.  Perhaps a 2-3% tax on real estate, financial instruments, and cash on hand, with an exemption for the first million dollars of property and for all debt-financed property.  There's nothing unfair about this, and there is something quite fair about lowering taxes and other government interference for the bottom 99% by raising the standard deduction and balancing the budget.  Such a tax would garner over $300 billion per a year (although it is very difficult to estimate the precise number).

There is no reason that the bottom 50% of earners ought to pay Federal taxes in our current condition of wealth disparity.  The bottom 80% already pays only 20% of Federal taxes [].  One might imagine that this number suggests that the situation is not as retrograde as one might think.  But another thing that is suggested is that the costs of lowering this number are not so great.  And once we consider that wealth disparity in the U.S.  is ultimately about personal wealth rather than personal income, we can see that lower this 20% figure would be the fair thing to do.

Moreover, looking beyond particular justice to general justice, we see that it is still the proper course of action.  More wealth left in the hands of the bottom 80% of earners would do wonders for improving our culture and for allowing broad-based wealth accumulation.  This will allow for a situation in which less government intervention is required in areas such as housing, health, and education, and ultimately lead to smaller government and lower taxes for all.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Anthony Giddens


Giddens has many interesting ideas and certainly one can endorse his rejection of "market socialism."  

One suspects, though, that he places the "Third Way" too far to the Left.  In particular, his emphasis on anti-traditionalist transformation in the area of gender and his appeal to Habermas are suspect.  Habermas is not "Third Way"; Habermas is the extreme Left.  So is most of what passes for "feminism" today.

I think the major idea between the "Third Way" term is that earlier Leftist politics need to be limited, even as the militaristic Right needs to be rejected and even as broader non-acceptance (in something of a libertarian mold) of "conservative" thought on social issues needs to be maintained.  There is then much dithering on how far socialism needs to be curtailed at the moment, and on much disagreement on social issues such as abortion, school prayer, etc. (although no major "Third Way" thinker today consistently and ardently take the "conservative" side of these issues). 

There is also a generally taken-for-granted rejection of what we might term "strict libertarianism":  the view that, in almost all cases, the option of immediately moving toward limiting the government's to protection of property rights is the better option.  This type of libertarianism just isn't on the radar for most, but I think it is fairly evident that the Third Way is not compatible with this libertarian option (an attractive one, in many ways, at least as compared to the type of government we typically get in the U.S.).

One might distinguish between "Left Third Way" and "Right Third Way."  Left Third Way wants to disguise its socialism under new colors, the better to sell it.  It's not so much that socialism failed, as that the public gagged on it.  Right Third Way honestly doesn't want substantial, long-term increases in the percentage of GDP devoted to government, but it does want the massive amount of wealth the government takes in to be well-spent and procured progressively.

Third Way Center on Zimbio 

Libertarianism and the Third Way

"Third Way" is a terribly vague term, insofar its positioning between socialism and the unrestrained free market captures the de facto political position of almost every major party in the West.  So, to help flesh things out a bit, I envision "Third Way" as standing for centrism, gradualism, and as being tied to certain political figures such as Bill Clinton and Gordon Brown.  In this sense, "Third Way" ties in very well with the historic, pre-New-Deal character of the Democratic Party, and is more generally representing the Right-side of many major Center-Left parties.

What, then, is the relation of a Third Way so-conceived to libertarianism?  I think that Bill Clinton's comment, "the era of Big Government is over" provides the most important clue here.  Third Way thinking opposes a further long-term slide toward socialist levels of public expenditure, even as it perhaps does not oppose past movement in a socialist direction.  Third Way thinking also aims at innovation that makes use of the free market (capitalist exchange) and at representing the spirit of individualist liberalism.  As such, the Third Way involves a moment of libertarianism, perhaps more of the CATO-style than of more strident and purist forms.

Two factors might be motivating this moment of libertarianism.  One is a simple ascension to political reality:  we are not going to achieve the pure, Nozickean libertarian situation anytime soon, so one might as well offer guidance to the government on how it is to spend our money.  And guidance that emphasizes education and health spending, along with historical respect for individual liberties, is preferable to guidance that emphasizes the need for new armor divisions and spying powers.  

But a second motive is possible:  one might take libertarianism, and, in particular, property-rights anarchism, to represent an ideal for which we are not yet ready.  And so one might wish to move toward the libertarian situation (relative to some hypothetical socialist state) without going all the way just yet.  I think this first view, regarding the currently non-practical nature of libertarianism, must be the view of any true Third Way thinker.  The Third Way is not merely claiming that social spending--e.g., for public education and housing--is preferable to military spending, but that the restraint on the market represented by such spending is needed for the present moment.  Some might further be drawn away from more socialist ideologies by an interest in partially achieving the libertarian situation here and now (but only partly).

I would suggest that a situation of anarchy does indeed represent an ideal, the way in which communism represented a superior stage in history for Marx.  One cannot move to the ideal directly, but must pass through the necessary stages.  These would be Feudalism, Classical Liberal Capitalism, Restrained Free Market (Third Way), Classical Liberal Free Market, and finally, anarchy (the dismantling of government in totum).  The Libertarian Third Way thinker is then claiming that we have not properly achieved "Restrained Free Market" and must stay in this stage until we reach a level of culture such that, for example, private charity really would cover the educational and housing needs of civilization.  

As to why anarchy:  it is a given that less coercion is better than more, all things being equal.  As such, if one can have a situation free from private coercion without the public coercion of the police and military, that is to be preferred.  If one can also have this situation be equal or better than one with public coercion when it comes to issues of support for the less-well-off, then that is an ideal which does not seem matchable by government.  Perhaps this is an un-attainable ideal, and perhaps one can admit to this (breaking somewhat the analogy with Marxism) as a Third Way libertarian, but this does not mean the ideal is without theoretical or political interest.      

Does this ideal of anarchy--de facto, an ideal of as little government "as possible"--already inform many Third Way thinkers?  I believe so.  But it might be useful for them to consider the situation more consciously.

Can Labour Provide a Model for the Democratic Party?

Britain's Labour Party under Gordon Brown has been described as "Third Way."  Mixing socialist and free market ideologies to offer intelligent policies for a suitably restrained free market society.  Can Labour's model work in the U.S.?

Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have also been cast as "Third Way."  One might imagine that the Third Way model employed by Brown is already at work in the campaigns of Obama and H. Clinton.  At the same time, Obama would take us much further to the Left than did Brown's coming-into-leadership as Prime Minister.  One might say that Obama does not fully match up with the Third Way needs for moderate change and free market commitments.  

An Obama who offered half as large increases in healthcare and the total of remaining proposed increases on social spending would have been a much stronger and "more Third Way" candidate.  

At the same time, in 2012, there may not be as great an anti-militarism stance available to the Democratic Party, and there is always a need to distinguish the DP stance from that of the GOP.  I have suggested previously that more progressive taxation, in the form of tax cuts aimed at the lower income brackets, would be a useful substitute issue.  One wonders how this compares with Labour plans for the UK.

Is Hillary Finished?; And Looking to 2012

Hillary Clinton does not seem to be building up a sizeable lead over Obama in Pennsylvania.  Obama has recovered remarkably quickly from his "gaffe" problems.  This portends the end for Hillary Clinton.  

Such an event is important for our country.  With Obama's leadership, we likely will see a Democratic Party that is not scared to challenge the military-industrial complex, and that promotes issues of substance and idealism in place of a simple stance of "we are not the Republicans."

I think Obama will still lose the general election, because he doesn't have anything to fully offset Republican's Arab-phobia, but also because voters just don't like the Dem.'s healthcare plans.  Indeed, McCain's healthcare proposals are much more sensible and demonstrate a kind of innovate, pro-free-market approach that we endorse here at Third Way Center.  On the other hand, one must accept that there are certain built-in lobbies within the Democratic Party, and one such lobby is the medical industry, and, in particular, that segment of it that has to deal with illegal immigrants, their children, and other groups likely to be outside standard insurance situations.  Moreover, the Dem.'s proposals would have a lot of useful benefits when it comes to supporting education and reducing inequality; as compared to Republican's retrograde tax plans, these proposals may look quite attractive in 2012, when the country will likely be substantially better-off and so more willing and more able to accept $150 billion per year, new Federal healthcare spending. 

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why Hillary Does Not Deserve Your Vote

Hillary Clinton stands for nothing but post-menopausal feminism.  Her entire raison d'etre is to show "the girls" can finish first--but she's not going to win.  Whether Obama or McCain defeats her, she will lose.  Feminists should look elsewhere for a leader.  Perhaps in the GOP.

Hillary Clinton has changed her opinion countless times on countless issues and has absolutely no guiding ideology.  She just copied everything from her husband, as he seemed to do well.  She could just as well run as a Republican, if she had had a different husband and if the GOP had been open to man-hating feminism.

Hillary supported the war and would have continued to do so if it had not been such difficult going for our fighting men in action.  She is essentially a coward.  She cannot be trusted as commander-in-chief.  It is true that there have been great women leaders in the past in the English-speaking world, but they had almost a superhuman status.  Thatcher might be an exception, but we don't need another Thatcher and Hillary does have the brains or will-power of Thatcher in any case.  Hillary is nothing like them.  As to other women leaders in the West--they all command nations with limited military activity.   In any case, Hillary has not made the transformation away from traditional female traits toward the type of being who can command armies.

Obama ought not say he would support Hillary as DP candidate.  She doesn't deserve anyone's vote.  Obama needs to take Hillary out--out of the race--by going all out against her.  Perhaps he ought to contact the Republicans for some notes on dirty laundry, as I am sure they would much rather run against "the Black Man"--who, realistically speaking, has absolutely no chance of becoming President in today's racist America--than against Hillary, who might have some infinitesimal chance of beating of McCain.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reverend Wright


Reverend Wright is clearly a man of insight and conviction.  Just a little short on the facts.  There is no evidence that any government "invented" HIV.  Nor was the Tuskegee incident about infecting African-Americans; rather, it had to do with failing to treat them.  Here one must keep in mind that they many blacks with syphilis would not have been treated regardless of what the government would or would not do; although still the U.S. government was wrong in its treatment of the Tuskegee subjects since, for one, there was some chance that some subjects would have gotten treatment had they not been in the government program.  Moreover, the medical value of the experiment, particularly in its later stages, was very questionable, and seemed to have to do more with demonstrating white power over blacks than with medicine.

But Wright was a preacher, not an investigative reporter or a scientists.  If he offers some false opinions from time to time, there is no shame in having been in his congregation, nor is there exactly "shame" from Wright himself.  Given what the government did in Tuskegee, and given a host of other facts about its treatment of race and of security matters, it is not absurd to imagine that it invented HIV.  This view is simply not supported; that is its fault.

Obama needs to hit back at H. Clinton.  Yes, it is good to look the like the contender who is above it all, but getting at H. Clinton's stupidities and womanly changeability is necessary to seal the nomination and show that Obama is strong enough to lead a nuclear superpower tied to a massive security apparatus.  Maybe we don't have Tuskegee anymore, but we have its equivalent for Arab terrorists.  Yes, it's important for Obama to show that he is a man of peace, but he has to at least hint that his willing to countenance the blood-letting and killing that nation requires.  A good place to start might be by draining a few pints from Hillary....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who is John McCain?

One must preface all other remarks with the comment that, whoever John McCain is, his will likely be our next President.  American's don't like to lose, and Obama's plan for Iraq, however wise it might be, suggests an American loss in Iraq.

John McCain is a military man thru and thru.  His is the son of a military man who was the son of a military man.  

John McCain is an insider.  His father was not just a military man, but an admiral.  McCain's family has been in the U.S. for many generations, and represents the Scots-Irish branch of the American family, which is arguably the most prototypically American.  McCain is very wealthy.  His family is very wealthy.  McCain was raised in unusual circumstances that placed him in close contact with the military officers of our nation and the power-elite, but not necessarily the ordinary people.  

Here at Third Way Center we can only speculate on what a man like McCain truly stands for.  He does not stand for the Third Way, that much can be said.  Rather, he stands for some version of "neoconservatism."  But then our quandary is determining quite what this stands for, "neoconservatism."

It is an axiom of American politics that the further to the Right you are, the more pro-Israel you are, unless you fall off the deck and become a neo-Nazi.  McCain has some Rightist credentials on this score.  His is a friend of Israel.  Neoconservatism--ditto.  But he is a different brand of neoconservative:  neither a Jew nor a Fundamentalist.  Rather, he is an Episcopalian neoconservative:  he comes from an Episcopalian background, but attends a Baptist church.  In short he is a George F. Will neocon with some Fundy shading.  He must satisfy the religious-Right and Zionist lobbies, but must also appear hard-headed and open to the pragmatism of the business community (which cares very little about Zionism unless it is going to make them money).

Let's be clear:  Third Way Center has no objections to Zionism, nor to U.S. support for Israel.  Israel is an important ally of the United States, even if it's policies concerning Palestinians are indefensible.  

But we cannot understand who McCain the militarist is except by situating him relative to Zionism.  Without Zionism, McCain is nothing, a backbencher ex-military man who would long ago have had to retire.  But McCain does not have the true Christian Right credentials of the hard-core Zionist, which makes him difficult to understand.  Why has the Right gone to such elaborate lengths to invade Iraq and maintain Bush in office, if it is going to turn next to a figure such as McCain?  Is it simply a question of military contractors allying with belief-centered Zionists?

Perhaps that's it.  There doesn't need to be a more involved explanation.  Some people have a financial interest in seeing the government spend more on the military, and less on education and health care.  Some people have a spiritual and/or ethnic interest in seeing Israel's enemies in the Middle East defeated.  On this reading, John McCain stands primarily for military spending.  But what of the long-run?  What will the GOP do once it has sufficiently pacified the Iraqi insurgents?  Or do the pro-McCain movers-and-shakers just not care about this issue?

Alternately, might see McCain as standing not merely for military spending, but also for further overseas interventions.  I suppose there are any number of other countries we might invade.  Apparently the Republicans are electable no matter how odious the circumstances of such invasions.

The Third Way stands against Big Government, and for innovative government approaches to social and cultural issues.  It most certainly does not stand for endless war abroad.  John McCain's way is not the Third Way; it is the old way of death and war. 

The Coming Democratic Majority

Recent poll data suggests that as many as 75% of Hispanics vote Democrat.  This is the largest immigrant group, in terms of recent arrivals, number of children had domestically, and future projections.  Asians, as a block, also constitute a large immigrant group.  And they too seem to vote Democrat.

More generally, we can say that non-whites overwhelmingly vote Democrat, insofar as they vote.   Of voting non-whites in the U.S., around 70% vote Democrat.  Whites currently constitute no more than 70% of the U.S. population, and will be a minority before the end of century--likely before then.

One wonders why Asians and Latinos vote Democrat.  Is it an image-based phenomena--certainly, members of the Democratic Party are on average more oriented toward multiculturalism and acceptance of "others."  (But at the same time, Asian and Latino populations are often coming from very socially-conservative backgrounds, which might make the GOP image seem more appealing.)  Also, the GOP has a reputation for supporting controls on immigration.  

Or is the voting phenomenon under discussion more issue-based?  Latinos earn, on average, less than their non-Latino white counterparts.  Perhaps they have a greater interest in progressive taxation, and more interest for government services such as healthcare and public education.  With certain Asian groups, there is a similar situation.

There is also the issue of Affirmative Action.  This benefits, at least on a surface level, both Asians and Latinos.  The GOP--although not John McCain--has been more strongly opposed to Affirmative Action than the Democrats.  (One hopes that Affirmative Action is not the draw for Asians and Latinos, as this suggests a rather crass racialist politics, and also because the future of these programs, and thus the potential draw to the DP, is rather in question.)

Finally, there is foreign policy.  I wouldn't wish to cast aspersions upon the loyalties of Asian-Americans, but one must wonder whether they might oppose military build-ups that would threaten their home country, e.g. China.  More generally, there is less of a connection to the American military machine among immigrants, relative to the native-born, and that also influences perceptions of what America does with its often rather hard to follow military deployments.

Whatever draws Asians and Latinos to the Party, more must be done to get them registered and voting.  This is particularly true when it comes to Latinos.  (One might note that such activity may even benefit the GOP in acting to convince them that Latinos really do exist as members of the Republic and that current trend point to white minority status at the political level as much as in other areas.)  George W. Bush might not have won the last election if Latinos had been sufficiently mobilized.  I fear that the coming election too will be lost to the GOP because of lack of voting among the non-white community, part of which is still stuck in permanent resident status rather than acting as part of the citizenry.

One solution, looking to 2012, would be to grant illegal immigrants amnesty and quick access to citizenship in return for a reduction in the amount of legal immigration, thus shifting us down the process toward white minority status without actually speeding up the process over the long run.

On the other hand, one must recognize that movement toward minority status will make many whites vote GOP, esp. if that party ever supports immigration policies substantially different from those of the DP.  However, this conversion process from DP to RP will likely take quite a bit of time, and so shouldn't be a huge problem, from the DP standpoint, for 2012, even if amnesty is enacted.

Looking to the long-term, a major goal, besides getting more Latinos as citizens who are registered and voting, must be keeping white in the Party and, indeed, evening expanding white participation, particularly among males.  With Bill Clinton and the changes he made to the DP, it seems we are already moving in that direction.  However, once the GOP no longer has the war issues alternately hurting and helping it, the field will be quite different.  If the GOP can really act as the party of smaller government, that will attract many white voters, and may also make strong inroads among the Asian-American community.  (You might say, though, that hell is likely to freeze over before such happens.)  What would the Democratic Party offer then, once its anti-militarism cards were gone?      

One issue might be "progressive taxation."  Historically this term has been disturbing for many.  Obviously, one must not go overboard with such.  But it is at least possible to target tax-cuts, as economic growth increases revenues, toward the lower tax-brackets.  For example, one might do away with the farce of claiming that Social Security taxes have some fixed connection to Social Security expenditures, and lower these taxes while maintaing the same level of benefits.

Ideally, the Republican Party will call for cuts in Social Security through severe means-testing (with exceptions made out of fairness to the very old--e.g., in 2020, those born before 1940).  Then it might be time to abandon the Democrat Party.  In the mean time, one hopes that the DP might push for more progressive funding of the same benefit levels to which both parties are committed.   

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why Obama is Better than Hillary

Can there be anything more pitiful than a female politician attempting to ride the coattails of her husband?  Hillary Clinton is a media creation, thru and thru, and one who changes her positions as she reads the latest polling data.  She has called repeatedly for delegates pledged to Obama to change their vote--a pure act of desperation, smacking of patronizing white racism.

It is not that H. Clinton's proposals differ wildly from Obama's.  Although we can note that she supported the war in Iraq and has not made a great a commitment to either progressive taxation or needed increased spending on social matters.  The main issue in considering Clinton vs. Obama is:  who will defeat the GOP?  One might have imagined that H. Clinton was the better choice earlier in the race on this score, but such is no longer the case.  Moreover, her artificial character as an appendage of Bill Clinton and her ties to Clinton era scandals would have severely weakened her in the general election, even has she managed to make a fitting showing during the primary season.

Now Obama himself is far from the perfect candidate.  He is far too much a fan of Big Government, nor does he seem to understand what the average voter thinks about some of the more minor social issues, such as Federal regulation of gun rights.  His background is also disturbing for many, esp. the Muslim ties (but this all the more reason to support him).  

His church has many position that are offense to the average American, but at the same time it is a church long at the center of American political life.  Obama's status as a black man (an African-American) is a major selling point, as his election would ease many racial tensions and help promote a better American culture.  Most importantly, Obama has the proper ideas about the war, progressive taxation, and the need to shift Federal spending from militarism to support for civilization.  

[Addendum 4/12/07:  It no longer seems to me that either candidate can beat McCain.  McCain has the power of Zionism and the military-industrial complex behind him, and (vis-a-vis Obama) the power of pro-Anglo-Saxon sentiment, while Hillary Clinton and Obama are rather weak candidates.  As such, at this point in the race, "Who can beat McCain?" is no longer the central question.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Bitterness Comments

Obama has claimed that small-town voters who are frustrated at job losses try to "explain" their feelings with reference to religion, guns, and anti-immigration sentiments.  He has tried to explain his own comments in terms of a simple description of the frustration that exists.

The Obama spin-doctors are not doing very well on this score.  It is clear that Obama is applying the typical psychoanalytic-Marxism upon which liberal Leftists are educated.  Yes, obviously frustration exists, and perhaps some of it is rightly directed at anti-religion, anti-gun, and anti-immigration-control activists.  But what is not obvious is that there is something un-real or false about certain pro-religion, pro-gun, pro-immigration-reform attitudes.  And that is exactly what Obama was saying:  that these attitudes are false value-expressions of a true, "base" situation, the condition of the workers (presumably, "the proletariat").

Perhaps Obama is correct to some degree.  Certainly, those who have sufficient wealth to separate themselves from criminal and immigrant groups can more readily be anti-gun and pro-mass-immigration.   Nor need they rely on the solace of religion as often.  Considering Obama's claims more generously, it seems credible to imagine that many very religious, pro-gun, pro-immigration reform advocates are not believing what they believe for the right reasons, but have instead got caught up in fantasies concerning the evils of the Federal Government, or the possibility of turning back the fait accompli of America's demographic revolution, etc.  

But it is clearly wrong to imply that all pro-religion, pro-gun, pro-immigration-control attitudes among the working class are false expressions of a real situation.  Such a claim takes us to typical Leftist rhetoric of the Frankfurt/New School variety.

Still, we have to understand where Obama is coming from.  The Marxist Left provides the student with endless, fascinating tools for analyzing his or situation.  And, as I have implied, there may be some truth to some of its rhetoric, even if it is wrongly skewed in an anti-white, pro-government direction.  So it is not so surprising when someone like Obama, a graduate of Harvard, dips into the pool of Marxist rhetoric.  It is as simple as breathing for someone like him, who has also been caught up in years of Leftist political organizing.  

Obama remains the only candidate with a chance of defeating John McCain, a warmonger (a seller of war), Big Government Republican who received only a marginally better score than Obama from the NRA and FAIR (the immigration reform group).

It is sad that Democrat candidates cannot be more pro-gun, pro-marriage, and pro-prayer, but one has to ask how much their attitudes really matter in the long rung relative to the task of defeating GOP militarism and GOP retrograde taxation, so as to enact much needed increased spending on education, homelessness, and a host of other social issues.  When it comes to immigration, think what you will, but there is not a dime's worth of difference between the views of the major Presidential candidates on this issue, nor are the lines entirely clear at the Congressional level.   In any case, the mass immigration lobby cannot be defeated, for whatever reason this might be.

As such, Obama remains the only choice unless you want to waste your vote on the typical open border looneys from the Libertarian Party, the defeatists, isolationist, "America First" Constitution Party, or the conservative Roman Catholic madness of Pat Buchanan.  

Obama in '08. 


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Military Spending

Obama has unfortunately claimed that we need to expand our armed forces. It is true that if the U.S. fights questionable, major wars in the Middle East without the support of key allies such as Germany and France, the U.S. will face a strain on its military manpower. But does this not mere imply that Obama's bomb for scaling down our involvement is correct?

The U.S. spends over 45% of the total world spending on military matters. Since the U.S. has powerful, rich allies such as Germany, Japan, and Great Britain, has defeated the Soviet Union, possess ballistic supremacy paralleled only, at most, by Russia, and continues to be separated from all credible external threats by vast oceans, this is far, far too much military spending.

I believe that Obama ought to do more to assure us that he is committed to reducing military spending once we have moderated our position in Iraq.

Should Obama Come Out Against Gay Marriage?

Obama has stated that so-called "gay marriage" is a States' Rights issue. That's a position that everyone can agree with, although one must take note of the chain-effect whereby one State's definition of marriage can effect that of other States.

Would it not be wise for Obama to in addition offer that he personally opposes "gay marriage" and would not wish to see it recognized by his own State of Illinois?

I am sure this stance would go a long way in the general election to convince independents that Obama is a moderate and sensible candidate. Also, this stance will not take him to the right of H. Clinton on this issue.

Are Democrats the Party of Small Government?

Estimated cost of the Iraq War this year: over $200 billion.
Estimated annual cost of Obama's universal health care programs (with opt-out provisions): $105 Billion.

Then there's another thing. The GOP leadership favors more government borrowing and/or taxation as part of their proposals for Social Security, while the Democrats favor less.

Has the world gone topsy-turvy?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Imitation Republicans

One who looks to the Republican Party today must consider: Is this the real GOP? Is this the GOP of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Coolidge, and Eisenhower? Is the a party committed to promoting economic growth for the middle class, protection of our cultural and natural heritage, and furthering the interests of the man (and woman) in the street?

The GOP of today, at least when it comes to the current leadership, shares only a name with the pre-Reagan GOP. The GOP of today serves corporate power, the ultra-wealthy, and little else except perhaps what certain neoconservatives like to term "creative destruction." --I think that would be with an emphasis on the "destruction."

Why ought a conservative or right-winger vote for an imitation party? Might it not be better to vote.... Democrat? The same truth holds, of course, for the moderate with rightist leanings.

The Democratic Party may not be permanent home for those seeking refuge from 25 years of GOP warfare, military belligerence, debt financing, retrograde taxation, and half-hearted "deregulation" that is really just selective deregulation for the interests of large corporations and the wealthy. The Democratic Party is a flawed beast. It's greatest flaw is that it has not broken with its traditions of supporting what pundits like to term "big government." But at least the Democratic Party has kept to its historic roots. At least the Democratic Party favors progessive tax structures that ought to be endorsed by anyone calling him- or herself a "conservative," and by any Rightist or moderate focused on the interests of the historical American nation, or on the guiding light of European Protestant culture. At least the Democratic Party looks to educational funding that will preserve and strengthen our the historical American nation, and indeed the nation in general. And at least the Democratic Party has shown a much greater degree of skepticism concerning the inflated claims of our military-espionage industry, and shows a willingness to look to the interests of the common person rather than of industry and influential, wealthy insiders who skew our foreign policy away from our needs and toward war, conflict, and inflated defense budgets.

There may come a time when the Republicans again favor a moderate, restrained foreign policy oriented toward meeting our treaty commitment to Japan and NATO, but otherwise committed keeping American troops at home. There may come a time when the GOP stands for immigration reform, smaller government and more progressive taxation, ending Affirmative Action, a return to Federalist principles (i.e., ones embracing ideals of subsidiarity), and the empowerment of individuals through needed funding for higher education. Until such a time, one must watch as the GOP remains unable to adjust to the end of the Cold War, and lies writhing in the grips of industrialist / military / corporate / ultrawealthy-elitist networks. This spectacle is no longer matched by the show put on by the feminist and minority-racialist activists of the Democratic Party, who shenanigans have never been that vast in comparison with what "the big boys" can get up to in Washington, Iraq, etc. But it is a spectacle we pay for quite dearly; this spectacle must come to an end.

Obama, who perhaps is a bit of grandstander on certain racial issues (although really he is quite restrained), and who is certainly no moderate when it comes to his plans for healthcare and Americorps, is the true heir of Lincoln in this election. I am not sure if that speaks to the strengths of Obama, or to the weaknesses of McCain, Huckabee, Ron Paul (an extremist), and the other GOP candidates. 2008 is a sad year for the GOP.

McCain, in particular, has betrayed the GOP. He had every chance to keep to his more progressive views (relative to Bush) concerning taxation, and to moderate his stance on immigration. Instead, he caved-in to Bushite pressure and took up a cowardly, anti-American, "politically correct" stance on immigration reform activists. (At least Obama can simply support near open borders without having to imply that his GOP detractors are racists. McCain, a small, literally tortured man, needs to do otherwise--in part, because that's what Big Business wants, but also in part because the GOP is, in our times, just so plainly incoherent and morally bankrupt.) Combine these facts with a general GOP record a major spending on the wars and other conflicts it causes, and there is no reason for the conservative, Rightists/Center-Rightist, or moderate leaning Right to support the GOP any longer, apart from certain special interests need such as gun control or space funding. ( --Concerning abortion, all the candidates are the same: McCain just lies more often.)

You may say: there's not a dime's worth of difference between the major parties. I would have to agree. But now, with the specter of McCain and the insanity of the relection of Bush, plus some halfway decent proposals from Obama, there is at least a nickel of difference. All things being equal, that nickel ought to be worth your vote.