The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The McCain-Palin ticket

One thing I'm not going to be accused of is inconsistency. And it would be hard to hide the fact that (as noted in my post of August 1) I've never thought that Sarah Palin would be a good choice for Vice-President. So I'm not going to defend it. I think that Sen. McCain made a mistake. But hardly one that would make me re-think my endorsement of his candidacy.

The choice undercuts the
experience theme; Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama seem experienced by comparison. And it was clear that Obama and his Democratic allies would pounce on that; that was hardly a surprise. And obviously they will use this to question McCain's judgment; I've already admitted in my previous post that Obama made a good choice in picking Joe Biden for his running-mate. But one somewhat unfortunate pick is hardly enough to question John McCain's judgment. Look at all the bad judgment calls that Obama has made! (Let me mention William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and John Stroger, just as examples!)

It would appear that the choice of Sarah Palin was made for two reasons: first, to win over disaffected supporters of
Hillary Clinton (and McCain's ad talking about the Democratic Party's snubbing of Hillary Clinton might have clued me off to this announcement, if I'd read it correctly! But there were really more highly-qualified women, like Carly Fiorina), and second, to reassure conservatives that he was not going to ignore their thoughts. And given those two factors, it was understandable. But that is not the same as saying it was a good choice.

Despite it all, my vote will still be cast for the McCain-Palin ticket in November. But not as happily as if the names on the ballot were McCain-Romney or McCain-Fiorina.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Credit where credit is due!

It seems that Barack Obama actually did something right. So let’s give him proper credit for the decision.

Of all the possible vice-presidential choices,
Joe Biden is certainly the best he could have chosen. Oh, Biden is certainly too liberal for me, but there aren’t any moderates highly enough placed in the Democratic Party for one to be the nominee. At least Biden has a lot of experience, and actually has made some statements on foreign policy that make sense.

Though I’ve been taken to task on this comparison, it actually reminds me of the decision in 2000 by George W. Bush to pick Dick Cheney. In both cases, we see a relatively inexperienced candidate (though Bush certainly had more experience than Obama has now) picking a highly qualified and very experienced VP candidate, and also a VP candidate that is certainly not a moderate, but one in his party’s mainstream.

No chance that I’ll come out for Obama — after all, Biden’s really too liberal for my taste anyway — but for Obama, this is a good sign.

Friday, August 22, 2008

McCain's houses

So, the Obama campaign is trying to make some political hay out of the fact that John McCain, who married into a lot of money, could not remember how many houses he and his wife own. It's funny that Barack Obama had no trouble supporting John Kerry, who married into even more money, for the Presidency in 2004.

Yes, McCain is rich. But should that disqualify him for the Presidency? I think not. Whatever you think of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, (and I am not a fan of his, but most Democrats, I believe, are!) he was also an heir to a lot of money, and I believe that Nelson Rockefeller, whose very last name suggests money, would have made an excellent President.

The real issues in this campaign should be three: Obama's great lack of experience, his radical agenda (which include his political mentors, such as Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers), and his dishonorable character, as evidenced by his treatment of Alice Palmer and his strong backing for the Daley machine in Chicago. There are no other issues that come even close to these in importance.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What "change" means to Barack Obama

We know that the big theme of Barack Obama's campaign is "change." But what really does "change" mean to Obama?

We might get some clues from his first job in Chicago, before he sought political office, working as a "political organizer." He was hired from New York by Gerald Kellman, a political disciple of Saul Alinsky, who was among other things the author of a book entitled Rules for Radicals. Alinsky was an extreme radical, who regularly used the word "change" himself, with the specific meaning of "socialist redistribution of wealth." And of course, Kellman, as Alinsky's disciple, taught Alinsky's ideas to his worker, Barack Obama. (In fact, as can easily be found from such sources as Freddoso's book and this website, Kellman clearly saw Obama as a tool to help reach African-Americans, as his own organization at the time was mostly white and ethnically Jewish. But clearly, Obama was too bright to stay merely a tool.)

Can we doubt that Obama's "change" means anything else? He talks about repealing tax cuts, and instituting more taxes, and it is clear that redistribution of wealth is an idea that resonates with him too. Can we conclude that "change" in an Obama administration could mean anything else?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jerome Corsi's book on Obama

Recently I recommended David Freddoso's book on Barack Obama. About the same time, Jerome Corsi's book, "The Obama Nation," a pun on "abomination," came out. This book is also worth reading. The two are very different, though.

Freddoso concentrates on recent events, the past 12 years, starting with Alice Palmer. Corsi's covers Obama's whole life. You should read both, though. It is really interesting to see, in Corsi's book, just how Obama can't even tell the truth about his own life story.
This is a man who wants us to trust him with the Presidency of the United States?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Taking a break from election-related posts...

I just saw an interesting book, of which so far I've only read a small part, but which I really like and want to recommend. It is called "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness," by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. The book espouses a political philosophy that the authors call "libertarian paternalism," which can be basically defined as giving the maximum amount of freedom, while encouraging desirable behavior through incentives rather than compulsion. It's a pretty good idea to me.

He has some ideas I like very much — though the one I'm about to mention is one I'd hate to praise too extremely, because it's an idea I had myself several years ago. The authors' idea to solve the problem of disagreement over gay marriage is: Let the government get out of the role of defining marriage entirely, but just provide a sort of civil union or domestic partnership arrangement; let marriage be defined by churches and any other organizations that want to grant status as married, and keep the two separate. Thus if a church wants to deny gay couples the right to marry, they could, but some other church might marry them, and the policies of neither would matter under the law, as the legal status of a couple (same sex or different sex) would depend on a legal contract, which might set up whatever conditions the law and the couple might want to be included. It seems very sensible to me.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More about Barack Obama and his "movement for change"

In the book I recommended Monday, there are lots of great reasons to reject Senator Barack Obama and put your support behind Senator John McCain. Yesterday and the day before I featured one: his unscrupulous, machine-politician methods of eliminating his political mentor, Alice Palmer, and bulldozing his way into the Illinois State Senate. Another proof that Obama is just another corrupt Chicago-machine politician is the way he behaved in a recent election, where, after his election to the Senate, when he might have effected some change if he really wanted to, he could have but refused to, and once more stabbed a friend in the back. It was in an election for President of the County Board back home in the Chicago area.

If you can't go and get the book, at least read about it here, and here, and here.

More about some of the machine corruption which Obama has supported can be found here, too.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Read all about it!

Besides the book I recommended earlier this week, you can read about Barack Obama's gaming the rules in 1996 to stab his erstwhile mentor Alice Palmer in the back...

here, and here, and here, and here...

This is the guy who'll bring change to politics? This is simply a Chicago machine politician!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

How Barack Obama got his first elective office

Barack Obama this year has shown that he is a master of gaming the rules to his advantage. It turns out he has been this from the beginning of his political career.

Alice Palmer had been an Illinois State Senator for years. Obama was one of her staff members. It seems that in 1996, the local congressman, Mel Reynolds, got into legal trouble over a charge of having sex with a minor. When he left the Congress, Palmer decided to run for the congressional seat, and Obama was her hand-picked successor.

The only trouble was, after Palmer chose to run for the congressional seat, a certain Jesse Jackson, Jr. chose to run for that same seat. With such a famous name running against her, she finished very poorly, actually coming in third after Jackson and another State Senator. So she decided to go back to her old State Senate seat — the only problem was, Obama wanted it now!

In the ensuing primary, each candidate needed to get a certain number of petition signatures to qualify for the ballot. She needed something over 700 signatures, she filed over 1700; but Obama, as machine politicians often do, managed to get around 1000 of Palmer's signatures voided, enough to rule her off. In addition, he got two other competing candidates disqualified the same way, so Obama ran unopposed. Naturally, he won the seat! (It was a solid Democratic district, so the primary was all he needed to win.)

A machine politician par excellence, Barack Obama used all the nasty tricks that the Daley machine is known for. Naturally, since Daley had thought of Alice Palmer as a rival for power, he was not too unhappy at what Obama did.

Is this person worthy of being President? Hardly.

More about Obama's past to come in later posts.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Book recommendation

If you want to learn more about what kind of politician Barack Obama is, get this book and read it:

"The Case against Barack Obama"

by David Freddoso

This has all the information you need to have: how he schemed to get elected to the Illinois Senate by getting his opponents ruled off the ballot, the story about his relationships with Jeremiah Wright and other radical types, etc.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The vice-presidential candidate

Obviously, no choice that John McCain or Barack Obama could make regarding a running mate would be likely to change my support for McCain against Obama. But McCain could make some good choices, or some bad ones, and so here are some points I would like to make.

I had previously said some favorable things about Mitt Romney as a VP nominee. Nothing has changed; Romney would still be one of the better choices. But today I saw a newspaper article saying that McCain is being recommended by some supporters to pick a female VP. Two names were given: Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Carly Fiorina.

I find the whole idea of picking someone purely on the basis of race or gender as somewhat repugnant, but I recognize that politics can work that way. In any case, however, if McCain does pick a woman, I would hope that it would be someone who is qualified. And while I feel that Palin is not really qualified, Fiorina would be an interesting choice.

To nominate Sarah Palin would be the equivalent of the Democrats' nomination of Geraldine Ferraro some years ago. Ferraro clearly had insufficient experience, and would never have been nominated if it weren't for her gender. (In fact, I'm certain that Barack Obama would never have been nominated this year if it weren't for his race, for the same reason.) Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal (another governor being talked about for VP, who would break precedent because of his ethnicity), will, I am sure, be rising stars of the Republican Party, and if they do good jobs in their States' executive mansions, they may well be tapped for high national office in future years. But neither one has been Governor for even a full term; Jindal not even for a year!

Carly Fiorina, in a sense, has even less experience; she has never held any elective or appointive office. But her experience as CEO of a major high-technology corporation is valuable. She's actually run something that is bigger than some States. And I think this gives her some of the same appeal that a Mitt Romney has. I think she'd be a good choice.