Saturday, December 29, 2007

How does the next month play out?

We are in the business of talking politics, and making our political predictions. No one can argue that at this point it is all merely a guess, but take a stab at giving me your prediction for how the next month plays out. (Thanks to Political Realm for the blog idea!)
  • Who will win the Iowa Caucuses?
  • Who will win the New Hampshire primaries?
  • Who will win the Democratic nomination?
  • Who will win the Republican nomination?
  • What will be the biggest surprise during primary season?
My prediction is below (as posted in response to Political Realm):

The GOP:
Iowa goes to Huckabee, Romney is left to spin the results.

NH goes to McCain, Romney holds out for Michigan.

Huckabee takes Michigan with McCain in 2nd.

Huckabee takes SC, McCain finishes distant second with Romney and Thompson tied for third. Fred Thompson drops the race short of Super Tuesday. Romney holds out for Super Tuesday. Rudy has yet to make any movement.

Rudy/Huck statistically tie for 1st in Florida, breathing life into Rudy's campaign just before Super Tuesday.

Super Tuesday winners are Rudy, Huckabee, McCain. Romney drops the race.
Ultimately, McCain drops the race, endorses Huckabee. Huckabee gets the nod and McCain looks for the VP nod.

The Dems:
John Edwards sends a shock through the nation in Iowa, coming out on top.

Edwards' surge in Iowa translates into votes in NH, where he finishes statistically tied for 1st with Clinton, Obama finishes 2nd.

Clinton wins in Michigan and Nevada, with Edwards securing 2nd place finishes, Obama just behind but slipping in the polls.

Edwards' surge rallies his support in his home-state, and he takes the win in SC, Clinton claiming second, Obama third.

Clinton's poll numbers begin to slip, but she manages to take Florida, Edwards finishes second on the wave of momentum, and Obama finishes third.

Super Tuesday goes to Clinton overwhelmingly, with a surprise strong 2nd place finish by John Edwards. Obama drops the race, endorses Hillary (in hopes of getting the VP nod).

My guess is based on polling trends, and a little hope for dumb luck.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

HOPE for a New Year

Where rational thought ceases, and New Year's Resolutions begin... that is where we find ourselves in this blog.

I first have to give a very major acknowledgement to my Best Friend, Curtis Brower, who's resolution last year was to give up tobacco, alcohol, and fast-food for a year. He is just days away from successfully following through on his resolution... and is a prime example of the importance of taking charge of the self, demanding results, and the control and commitment it takes to follow through with personal responsibility of the highest order!

Now, in the same spirit of reaching for success on a personal level, my hope for the new year is that the United States take a good look at the pure evil that exists in the world around us, as well as the corruption that drives us towards evil and hatred right here in the United States.

It is my hope that we can enter this season of political ideals, and select the candidate that can best heal the divided nation in which we live.

It is my hope that we can get past semantics, and that politicians can learn to tell the truth...

It is my hope that this New Year can deliver a message of hope, not by force, but by example, that the people of the world will want to take action on their own, and demand a better life... one in which rockets are not lobbed into schools, and markets are not bombed by cowards... demand a life where my child can grow in peace next to your child, and we needn't fear for their basic survival... rather we only dream of their endless potential.

World peace is an unrealistic goal, as long as there are those willing to kill, willing to defy society, willing to follow fools and jesters in the name of religion.

The Declaration of Independence stated that there are basic rights endowed by the Divine Creator, including Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness.

World Peace begins with the respect for life... for your own, for that of your children, and most importantly, that of your neighbor. Without the respect for life, the cycle of violence will only continue. The respect for life is the first step, the second is the respect for Liberty. That means how I, or your neighbor, choose to live that life. As long as we do not encroach on your free life, we shall be left to live our lives as we so please. Of course we all need to agree on how to ensure this freedom... and how we do so is that Pursuit of Happiness. We get to debate and discuss how we want to live, how we want to measure success, and how we can all achieve success. But this discussion can never happen in the presence of Tyranny. Happiness needs freedom to thrive, freedom needs a respect for life.

So as we choose our new leader, we need to ensure that we are choosing a leader based on the ability to reason and understand the building blocks for freedom... Not a continuation of the "freedom by force" mentality. It doesn't work... never has, never will. The people of the world cannot see the freedom if it is given to them... they must work and fight for it on their own.

So look for a candidate strong enough to see the right answer, and make the right choices, even though he is lambasted by his own party. Look for the leader who understands that to succeed, we must first stand united. Look for the man who can bring Hope back to the highest office.

Happiness to you and yours in this New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

LAKOTA - the World's Newest Country!

Lakota, a land of majestic hills, flowing prairies, forests and wild game is plentiful... and it is now a Sovereign Land.

But where is Lakota? If you are scouring the maps of the Middle East, stop... Eastern Europe, try again... Ahhh... South America? (buzzer sound).

Lakota lies within the borders of the US.

The Lakota tribe has unanimously voted to withdraw from the legally binding treaty of 1868, thus returning all land (yellow above) to the Independent Nation of Lakota.

What does this mean to the citizens of those states? Well, let's first look at the areas affected:

According to the old treaties, all of these residents would have been living on this land at the invitation / courtesy of the Lakota tribe, as defined in the 1868 Treaty. The US constitution states that the Congress has the power to make treaties and regulate trade WITH the tribe. The tribe, therefore legally, has the right to cancel treaties with the United States.

Will this be upheld in the courts? The answer is yes... it has to. The Indian tribes are sovereign nations living within the US, and willfully abiding by US laws (for the most part). This would make it to the Supreme Court, and they would HAVE to uphold the decision.

The residents inside the borders of this new country are going to be forced to renounce their US citizenship, turn in their US passports, and be issued documents as citizens of Lakota. If they do not, they are being asked to move.

The question then comes up about property rights... During the occupation of the west, land grants were provided by title holders in NY, and often with no permission or authority from the tribes. All those property's will have to be tried in Lakota and US courts.

The biggest impact is that more than half of some of these states are being consumed by this new nation. This means that Senators, Congressmen, and other elected officials are hereby not affiliated with the United States. Businesses, roads, taxes, etc... there is a lot to consider.

NOW - let's talk logistics and then implications.

Logistics: Lakota houses Rushmore, US Interstates, infrastructure, and I am sure that there are some military bases involved. As well, what if the people of Lakota chose not to abide by the rule of law in Lakota, and declare independence from Lakota and wish to rejoin the US claiming squatter's rights? And what if the governors of the states affected mobilize their national guard... can they declare a state of emergency in those regions of their "states" or would that be considered an invasion by US forces into a sovereign country (yeah, I said it with a straight face).

Implications: What if other tribes follow suit, and declare the treaties withdrawn? How would this shape the west? What rights would the citizens of the US have? Would they have to fight against the new government in a military civil war similar to Bosnia)? Could the US survive, or could we just eliminate the treaties, sue for the land (in court or by force), and declare all reservations null and void, thus uniting the United States?!?

How does this change the face of the US, and how does it effect the future of our nation? Are we at risk of seeing the same reaction from the federal government as was seen in 1860? Is this the catalyst for the next civil war?

What a day!

UPDATE: Rumors are spreading that Putin and the Kremlin plan to recognize Lakota as a sovereign nation.


Archbishop of Canterbury: The Nativity is merely a Legend

The Church of England's Archbishop of Canterbury has officially stated that the story of the Nativity is nothing more than a legend, with no facts to support the Magi as kings, the winter Birth, or the Virgin Birth.

He added that Christmas was set in winter because it fit with the traditional Winter Festivals, and that new Christians need not buy into the legends of Christianity to be accepted into the church.

My hat comes off to this man.

Christianity, and the belief in God in general, is not about legends and myths. We should search for the truth in the faith, and restore credibility to faith and religion as a whole.

His speaking out is in direct attack of the commercialization of this religious holiday, that of the imagery of the nativity.

What we should be celebrating is the enlightened compact between the Father and Man, that if we follow in the footsteps of the Savior, we too shall find peace in our hearts, in our souls, and a place in Heaven (or peace in the afterlife... however you choose to look at it).

Thoughts, comments?

Rudy's Health an Issue?

Rudy Giuliani was admitted to a hospital in St. Louis, MO yesterday after suffering flu-like symptoms.

Is this merely a case of campaign fatigue? Or is this related to his past health problems?

This could not come at a worse time for Rudy, as his national polling numbers have suffered at the hands of the Huckaboom... and he is polling lower than at any other time in the campaign nationally, and is losing traction in key states like Florida.

One has to ask at this point if Rudy is up for the challenge of running for president, or if he has just one too many health issues to give confidence enough to the voters that he can do it.

Either way, keep Rudy in your thoughts and prayers, that his health will return!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Doing the Right Thing - Being Human

Politics is a battlefield... That goes without saying. It is the most vicious game that one can participate in. There seem to be little rules, no clear fouls, and the out-of-bounds seems non-existent.

So why do we do it... why do we blog on political issues? Why do we run for office, or why are we involved in political parties?

Each and every person can provide a very different answer. Some seek glory, some seek social change, some seek to simply protect the constitution. There are some who see it as their civic duty, some who see it as a career.

No matter what your motivation, there seems to be an aspect that has gone missing... that is the human element.

It is widely understood that we (the masses) are no longer considered citizens, rather consumers. We are no longer concerned citizens, we are poll results. We are seen as mindless drones in need of political ads to sway us, or commentating to change our vote.

Wake up, readers... we are not mindless drones, and we cannot allow ourselves to be 'led out to pasture' by media, political ads, etc. We must demand that our politicians NOT consider politics as "business as usual"... we must demand the human element!

Take the time, as a political leader, to reach out to me as a human being... I am not talking about making a political ad about living with your mother in an attempt to SEEM more human, I am talking about reaching out in a different way... a way that is off the beaten path of politics... engage the people on a personal level...

Treating every "voter" as a human being... what a concept.

Reaching out to us means showing your soft underbelly... it is hard as a politician... but it is real. And that is what the people crave... real change, real ideas, real emotion, real heart, and real people... people from their own ranks... A candidate with something that the others are missing... the human element.

"Underdog" Quote of the Day

"It is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog!" - Mike Huckabee

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh, Christmas Feud... and the effects of Negative Campaigning

As I have said in previous posts, there is little time to make big gains in Iowa and the other early states. The front-loading of the process has made Christmas time the prime time to campaign... however, it is the one time of the year that the Iowans are not interested in campaigns... they have made up their minds... or they just want to be left alone for the time being.

So why has the campaign of Romney released two new ads attacking Huckabee, to be aired during the campaigning cease-fire? And how does that make the people of Iowa view him?

Mike Huckabee also released an ad to be aired in the early states over the Christmas cease-fire. How might this ad make voters view him?

When it comes down to it, I have to ask myself which candidate is acting more presidential, taking the higher road, and trying to better define himself instead of running negative ads against someone else. When it comes down to judgement, who is making the better choice? Think of what Christmas means to you, and then imagine sitting down to watch a re-run of "The Christmas Story" with your family... Then both of these ads pop up during a commercial break... which one do you want to share with your family? Which one makes you listen, and say, "Oh... thanks for the Christmas message".

And now, the effects of Negative Campaigning... I will keep this short...

For starters, There has been one candidate who has consistently used negative advertising in their campaign. I am not going to name names, I will let you figure that out. So what does that tell you about the candidate? Perhaps it implies that their record or message is not strong enough to support itself, so they must try to tear down the other campaigns.

But what else does it do? It puts hate into the heart of that candidates supporters. They begin attacking, sometimes viciously, the other candidates. It invokes negative emotions, and the people are left to act on these sometimes strong emotions... It destroys the base support, and distracts from the candidates ability to distinguish themselves in a positive light.

It also should be noted that this is the Primary season... this is not the time to be filling the hearts of the party's base with hate and anger in an attempt to build up one candidate over another. Once the primary season is over, and the negative candidate has lost (for example), their supporters are so angry at the other candidates that they refuse to be part of the party, and they refuse to vote, refuse to support the party and vote third party, or worse: they support the opposing party just out of spite.

Negative campaigning is a poison, and we have a personal responsibility to insist that candidates maintain campaigns that stick to the moral high ground. We don't need politics as usual... we complain about it year after year. So do something about it, and demand that the candidates STOP negative ads, stop negative campaigns, and run on their merits and records.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Green Christmas - our obligation to the earth

As we begin the Christmas season, I would like to suggest one or two quick things:

I am a firm believer in personal responsibility, and moral obligation... obligation, in this case, is towards the earth and the future of the earth...

When wrapping your gifts, try to use recycled wrapping paper. If you couldn't, then the next best thing is to sort all your paper into recyclables after your gifts are unwrapped... this extra 5 minute task is one of many small steps you can take to have a greener Christmas!

As well, try turning the heater down by just one degree throughout the day and/or night... You will be amazed at the energy savings. We just got our energy (gas) bill yesterday, and we reduced our gas usage by 20% over the same period last year, with the same average daily temp... 20%, and all we did was adjust the thermostat by 1 degree all day.

It is the little things that make the biggest difference sometimes!

Welcome to winter, and a great Christmas Season!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Change to blog name...focus remains the same

I have changed the name of the Blog from "Conservative Issues, Conservative Guy" to "The New Conservative"...

The previous title, I thought, limited the scope of my articles, and/or gave a preconceived notion as to what my thought process was: as a "conservative".

But as I have been continuing my education as a leader, in the Leadership Program of the Rockies, I have determined that labelling myself as THE Conservative Guy discussing Conservative issues was not entirely accurate.

In our last class, we discussed a model of the political field that was split into five categories, shown below with the percentage of Americans who also fit into the categories...

The left to right resembles the apparent location on the political spectrum. The first category is the one in which your belief is that regardless of work in, the output should be the same for everyone (i.e. socialism). Care & Fair represents the fundamental belief that everyone should have the same opportunity, and believes in social progress. Economy voters are pocketbook voters, and will vote on the basis of Jobs, taxes, and the economy first. The Order group are those who will vote on social order first (i.e. immigration, national defense, anti-crime). And the Faith group are those who vote based on faith related issues, and as such, are the very social conservatives.

We were then asked to fit ourselves into one of the categories...

I struggled with my decision, because my stance (politically) is an issues based stance... and as such, I had to select the "Care & Fair" category... Because I care about the issues, as well as the people that the issues effect. But that does not mean that I do not care about issues such as Life and Marriage, that are key to the Faith group... or that Immigration and National Security are not very important to me... or the Economy for that matter... I believe that all these issues are important, and can be handled in a way that is RIGHT, morally not just politically. And that is where the Care and Fair comes into play... doing what is right is to do what is not easily defined, sometimes...

As such, I began to think about the shifting political field, from the SOCON and FICON stances, into the Care and Fair group... I believe that there are those of us who fully embraced George W. Bush's "Compassionate Conservative" stance... And the compassionate conservative is one who doesn't fit easily into one of the above categories, but spans the spectrum of the four on the right... We are complicated, motivated, and changing the way the political game is being played.

I am a New Conservative... Compassionate yet Logical... Caring and able to Reason past Emotion. And I am looking for answers to the problems of the world, in a way that heals this nation's divide. I believe in personal responsibility and moral obligation... obligation to ourselves, our fellow man, and our planet... But obligation that is not to be forced by government, rather led by Divinity, and free will. I believe that government is not the answer to our problems, rather the source... and the only solution is the moral high-ground...

I say, "Let's do what is RIGHT... let's think vertically"... and that makes me a New Conservative.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm no expert on Hinduism, but Don't Hindu's worship cows?

In a discussion with a reporter, who happens to also be a scholar in comparative religion, Mike Huckabee asked a question regarding the Mormon faith, and their belief in "spiritual children", namely in their understanding of the relationship between Jesus and Lucifer.

Hugh Hewitt, in his blind rage, claimed that this was the last straw, and the final phases of the Huckabee campaign. Hugh, as you all may know, is a radio host who has been backing Romney for some time, and even authored a book: Mormon in the White House?

Similar comments from Romney, stating that this question was an attack on his faith, also leave me scratching my head.

Mitt Romney is a Bishop in the LDS church... but no one refers to him as Bishop. He was a Gov. of Massachusetts, and he is referred to as Governor, always has.

Mike Huckabee is a Pastor in the Baptist church... and since day one, it has been his label... even though he served as Governor of Arkansas more than twice as long as Romney was in MA. And as such, questions of religion have been swarming around him.

So, if Huckabee has to answer questions about faith, why is it a problem if someone wants to question what Mormon's believe? Shouldn't the Mormon church answer the question, and provide the correct answer? Do you think that if Romney was in front, these questions would not be asked by the average Joe? I tell you, they are on our minds... but if we dare to look into what the Mormon faith believes, we are labelled as religious bigots, especially by Hugh Hewitt...

This labelling as bigots is nothing more than a fear campaign by Hugh and the Romney supporters...

Why can't I ask the questions:

I am no expert on Hinduism, but don't Hindu's worship cows?

I am no expert on Islam, but don't Muslims believe that Jesus was just
a prophet?

I am no expert on Daoism, but Daoists believe that there is no

I am no expert on Mormons, but don't they believe that Jesus and
Lucifer are brothers?

The answer is that I CAN! And I SHOULD! And any person, including presidential candidates, should be able to explore and try to understand other faiths... in fact, I encourage it.

And the response, instead of "This bigot is attacking my beliefs", should be:

"While the Hindu's don't worship cows, they are considered a
matriarchal figure in the religion, and as such are considered sacred, and they
hold a special place in the Hindu society."

"Muslims do believe that Jesus was a prophet, but it is their belief
that he was God's most beloved messenger, and thus the Messiah. Jesus
holds a special place in the Muslim faith"

"Most traditional Daoists are polytheists, and as such, believe that
many gods play a role in the balance between nature and man. They do not
believe in the Judeo-Christian God, rather focus on a spiritual philosophy of the
Three Jewels of the Tao: compassion, moderation, and humility"

"Mormonism teaches that all spirits (angels, devils, mortals, and gods) are
children of God, and are thus his spirit children. As such, in the spirit
world, during the discussion of the creation of earth, Lucifer (a spirit child
of God) proposed that he be sent as the savior/ruler of earth to demand rigid
following of God's teachings. Jesus (another spirit child of God) answered
'thy will be done' and was selected as the savior. Lucifer rebelled
against God, and as such was cursed to be the devil. So in a sense that
God created everything, and we are all his children in spirit, one would
consider Jesus and Lucifer as spirit brothers."

There is a high road and a low road to every action we take. The responses above represent the high road, and further serve to help your fellow man understand that which he claimed to not understand.

So, is asking a question about another's faith bigotry, or can we believe that man is curious by nature, and is genuinely interested in what the other faith's of the world believe?

Or are we seeing politics as usual? Anything and everything you can do to cut down your opponents...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Last Debate before Iowa Caucus - Today 2ET

Watch it live here: DEBATE

In My Back Yard...

Yesterday, a coal train overturned dumping 25 cars, each carrying 150 tons of coal... all right down the road from my home. Just after the coal train derailed, an RTD light rail commuter train collided with the wreckage. Luckily no-one was hurt!

But there is a more serious concern here: 25 cars of Coal, each with 150 tons... That is 2750 tons, or 5.5 million pounds of coal!

And somewhere this Christmas, a LOT of naughty kids will have empty stockings!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican

Every Republican is aware (or should be aware) of the 11th Commandment, laid out by Reagan in1966 while he was running for Governor of the People's Republic of California (sic). The commandment was that no Republican should speak ill of another Republican in campaigns.

So when does negative campaigning begin to creep into the 11th Commandment realm?

Is stating a contenders record and leaving it for the public to decide breaking the 11th? If so, look at Fred Thompson's CNN/YouTube ad and response during the CNN/YouTube debate (his was the only negative attack ad)

Is out-of-context quoting furthering the creep towards the 11th?

Or does negative campaign ad creation fit the mold?

The answer, as I see it, is that every candidate should be able to face their previous statements and stances. If they ran on an issue, or it is something that they fundamentally believe, then it is appropriate to discuss... because you KNOW the Democrats are going to use it!

I think that the Romney campaign was close during the spats against Rudy... and now the spats against Huckabee... Though negative, I am not willing to say that the 11th has been broken. Fred Thompson has also been negative in his campaigning, but has not yet broken the 11th... But what I would warn both campaigns against is maintaining the negative... it is beneath them both.

Though I understand the importance of drawing differences between each candidate, and that is the only way they are going to get the nomination, negativity is a turn off to the voters. There has to be a better way... like highlighting your strengths, rather than highlighting your contenders perceived weaknesses.

So who would I say is guilty of breaking the 11th? Though he is not in the campaign, I would say that Hugh Hewitt has done so... he is such a huge Romney supporter that Romney doesn't have to say ill things about his contenders... Hugh will do it for him.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Is Huckabee surge REALLY a Problem for Conservatives?

As I was reading through my blogroll, I came across an article discussing the problems with a Huckabee nod from the GOP. As a former pro-Huckabee blogger (now officially neutral due to circumstances), I still like discussing the viability of candidates, and enjoy discussing such with fellow bloggers. Though our friends make good points about Mike's lack of foreign policy, and the troubles he will face as his dirty laundry is finally aired nationally, I wonder if there is a blind-rage factor, as seen by Hugh Hewitt. Now, to be fair, the blogger does state that they do not officially have a horse in the race, but I wonder who their favorite is... it is definitely NOT Mike Huckabee.

I decided to post my response to his article below. Because I cannot officially support or endorse any candidate, I like to take a step back and think of the issue not in a pro/anti candidate light, but rather an electability light... and I challenge all my readers to do the same. I have made a couple points about it below.
(let me start by stating that on-the-record I am unable to support or endorse any candidate before the primary)

When selecting a president, and a presidential candidate, there are a few things to consider. National appeal is surely one, but Electoral appeal is more important in winning. Prior races and prior opponents surely matter. And of course, the ability to serve all citizens.
The biggest issue I have with President Bush is that he became so wrapped up in his own agenda that he isolated a good number of citizens (or allowed the left to isolate themselves), thus furthering the political divide. When I look at a candidate, I look at a candidate that has a wide base appeal, because this country needs a leader who can bring the nation together and heal the political divide. Fred Thompson (to mention someone directly) has come out and all but stated that he is going to continue the butt-kicking of the democrats (and independents, I presume). He is a continuation of the "Cowboy Republican" image that has further isolated the GOP from the rest of the nation. National appeal wins elections... and we need a candidate that can do more than 49.5% of the vote... else we run the risk of a deeper political divide.

Regarding Electoral appeal... Looking at the 2004 electoral map, one must consider which candidates are capable of holding ALL the Bush states. A candidate like Rudy, where many have voiced SOCON concerns, may cause a series of undervotes or 3rd party votes, thus tipping the tables and handing over entire states to the Democratic contender (most likely Clinton). The base, as a whole, is more concerned with SOCON issues than FICON issues... So the base is more likely to get out and vote on behalf of a SOCON, especially against Clinton... This puts Rudy and Mitt in question... and McCain and Huckabee if you consider past stances on immigration a part of the SOCON agenda.

The ability to serve all, as I hinted at above, is a HUGE factor. You specifically mentioned Huckabee above, so I will here as well. Mike Huckabee's recent endorsement of the Teacher's union in NH and the Machinist Union in Florida are not signs of liberalism, but rather as the ONLY Republican candidate who went out to speak to them! He is reaching out to all citizens, where others are ignoring those votes as they traditionally go to Democrats. I already discussed Thompson's view of anyone other than a Republican... and I don't see the other candidate's ability to reach out, or their efforts at all... especially in this campaign.
And past races are very important. Rudy was losing to the Clinton machine in his NY bid for the Senate. NY is a tough state for a GOP contender, but losing to a carpet-bagger? This doesn't bode well... as well, there was a LOT of dirt that the Clinton's had that they never got to use on him... so he will be faced with a tough battle, especially when so many Republicans have all but sworn not to support him even if he gets the nomination. Mitt went up against the Kennedy machine, which might as well have been the Clinton machine, and lost in MA. To win, he had to take even more liberal stances, all of which he has now changed as he is seeking a higher office. Remember Kerry in 2004... we will see the exact same thing by the Clinton's against Mitt... even if it is not true, the perception is there, and the masses will hear about it. Huckabee has faced the Clinton machine time and again in Arkansas, and the people chose him over the Clintons. Of course, the same old mud is going to be news to the rest of America, but I can guarantee that Huckabee, having been faced with all the same mud before, has canned responses to all of it.

I think that Huckabee is capable of taking on the Clintons and winning...Electorally, and nationally... It is pitting a uniter against a polarizing figure... and we will come out on top. Electorally, what states do you see switching their 2004 votes in favor of Clinton over Huckabee? I cannot think of one!

Now... If Clinton happens to NOT get the nomination... well, we will surely have a WHOLE NEW discussion about electoral strategy! An Obama or Edwards nomination on the left will change things drastically...

The key will be if Huckabee can maintain his high numbers in the face of all the old mud coming out for the nation to see... if he can, and he can answer the questions, I do not see why you suggest he is not viable. Is he not as established a politician as all the rest?

One additional comment about Huck - notice that his support is not from the Independents (Paul) or the center-left Republicans (Rudy). His support is the SOCON base. The same base that Fred had, and squandered... So I don't think that the Clinton "positive" comments effect the SOCON vote.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Imagine... Humans on Mars

To my loyal readers, I apologize for the recent bombardment with space exploration topics! I try to keep things changed up and interesting here, but since the debate question aired I have been in a space frenzy.

I created a new video for the Mars Society and wanted some feedback. Check it out, share it, and let me know what you think (either here or on the video itself!).

Thanks! And have a great weekend!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Can Democracy Survive in the Middle East?

Our founding fathers made an astounding declaration to the tyrannical King of England in the late 1700's, stating that it is the natural order of humanity that we are endowed with Life, Liberty, and the freedom to Pursue Happiness. In doing so, they were effectively signing their own execution papers, should a Revolution Fail. But what they did was more than profound in a philosophical sense... it was the essential beginning to a people becoming self governing.

Their basis rejecting being ruled by the King of England was not in favor of rule by a church in their own land, rather a recognition of the basic rights of humanity, and building on that principle, founding a government of the people.

Now it is well discussed that during the American Revolution there were about 1/3 who were "gung-ho" for fighting the British, about 1/3 who decided to stay neutral, and about 1/3 who remained loyal to the crown. The Revolution came about on a political and militaristic front, keeping opposition at bay while maintaining and winning the war.

So now, I want to consider the requirements for freedom, and ask whether the people in the Middle East can actually survive in a democracy, and enjoy liberty.

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin

All of the countries of the middle east seem to have a Theocratic form of government... even the more secular countries are still under increased pressure from the Muslim Leaders. The theocratic rule is impossible to contest, because the laws and enforcement of those laws are the "word of god" (sic). And as we have seen in the last few years, the theocratic radicals are highly motivated to fight for maintaining their form of prophetic doctrine by ruling over the people with fear of having "god's punishment" handed to you. This would represent the 1/3 loyal to the crown, or in this case, loyal to their religious leaders.

In countries like Sudan, you are not only killed for being Christian, but you are sentenced to death without trial by the people for allowing a teddy bear to be named "Muhammad". In Saudi Arabia, you are not allowed to make the mark "X" as it too closely resembles the Christian Cross... punishment could include life imprisonment. In Iran you are hanged for homosexuality.

What we see is the ability for a democracy to be created, and to survive... if Democracy, in the crudest terms, simply meant "Majority Rule"... but American Democracy is something different... something that can not exist in that part of the world without drastic changes. American Democracy includes Liberty. The ability to lose a vote, but challenge the outcome... to be wrong, but still be heard... to live how one chooses without fear of persecution or death for choices... the only place where the mind, body, and spirit can be free (current government oversteps excluded - we are talking ideology here). In these countries, you do not have the same respect for basic human rights... You do not have the freedom to protest, not even in order to stay your own execution.

The 1/3 who want change in these countries cannot say so for fear of death. The other 1/3 seem content, until their son or daughter is killed by masked men because they were seen showing too much skin or not praying the correct way.

"Fear is the foundation of most governments." - John Adams

"...give me liberty, or give me death!" - Patrick Henry - March 23, 1775

If Democracy is becoming a gift given to people, misused by electing leadership that promises to harm others for political or religious gain... then Democracy is little more than a mob rule. We can fight to give it to any and all countries.. Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine... and it is a gift in which there is no understanding of the meaning, or the intent. The people are sure to squander it, and will find themselves once again in bondage.

But if Liberty is a prerequisite for Democracy, and the understanding of the principles of basic human rights are fully understood... well, then my friends, we will surely see a Middle East destined to be free.

Have we seen signs of this happening? For sure, there have been some. In Iraq, the people have begun rising up against the terrorists, fighting for their own peace. So there are signs of hope... but they are as brief flashes in a sea of despair. One can only hope that Liberty as well as Democracy takes hold in the Middle East, and true freedom and peace will prevail.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

America's Failed Economy (?)

Let me preface this post by saying that I am an Economist by NO means. I have a rudimentary understanding of advanced market studies on economy... but I do understand economic principles, and am currently enrolled in a Leadership Program which teaches the capitalist economy.

With that said, I have to restate my blog title: America's Economy has Failed

President Bush's relief plan is the next sign of the failing times.

A year ago, I moved away from California, mainly due to work reasons, but also on the burner were the reasons of overcrowding and real estate prices. a 500 sqft shack in the worst part of San Jose was being sold for $500,000... That is right. I stated at the time that there was no way that the market could survive when the middle class could not even afford housing.

Moving to Colorado, where the foreclosure rates were pretty much leading the nation until recently, I was excited to find affordable housing... and when I talked to the banker regarding home loans, I was sure to specifically request a 30yr fixed. Why? Not because the rates were great, but because I knew that a few years down the road, if I had an adjustable, that I would be out on the street with a LOT of other Coloradans.

Now, the Federal govt. is freezing the rates all together. So in a sense, it is a bad time to be a banker. The federal govt. is dictating who they have to do business with and at what price... Anybody see any resemblance to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged?

The president says that he is bailing out the citizens... what is really happening is that he is bailing out the bankers. Though the citizens will initially lose their houses, the banks will be left with useless real estate, which they will have to unload at a lower price (market correcting itself), and the banks will take the loss. Then, the $500,000 houses will be back on the market for the $150,000 that it is worth, and the citizens can afford a lower mortgage at a higher rate, the banks make their money back over time... everyone is happy in the long run, and the free market works...

The problem is that the rate freeze will help people keep houses that they cannot afford, house prices will remain high, and at the end of the five year freeze there is going to be an economic implosion. Banks retain their wealth, the people continue to barely make their high mortgage payments, and the economy stagnates.

This, as a free market guy, is wrong on so many levels... so many, in fact, that I am still learning the impacts in my class.

Any opinions?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rudy, Huckabee beat Clinton; Romeny loses to Clinton in Colorado

Rasmussen Reports conducted a survey in Colorado at the end of November, gathering data on head to head match-ups. The match-ups were related to the Senate race between Schaffer and Udall, as well as head to head presidential preferences in a Rudy/Clinton, Huckabee/Clinton, Romney/Clinton, McCain Clinton match-up.

The results:

Schaffer leads Udall in the senate race, 42% to 41%.

Rudy Beats Hillary: 44% - 40%
McCain Beats Clinton: 44% - 40%
Huckabee Beats Clinton: 42% - 41%
Romney Loses to Clinton: 40% - 43%

Remember, it all comes down to picking up electoral votes in the general election. Who is REALLY electable? Look at which states they stand to lose or gain from the 2004 electoral map.

From Colorado's standpoint, Rudy, McCain, and Huckabee stand to hold Colorado, while Romney would deliver Colorado to Clinton.

If there are any more state head-to-heads, please let me know. I would like to build an electoral map based off these head to head match-ups.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Seriously Discussing Space Travel

While growing up, I wanted nothing more than to explore space... be it by telescopes or riding my own rocket... I was dreaming big even as a child. Now, working for the Human Space Programs, and previously for military satellites, I am constantly reminded of my dream, and as my mousepad states, that "the voyage must continue".

Last Wednesday, my question was aired on the CNN/YouTube debates for the GOP candidates, which discussed the issue of space exploration, specifically if a candidate was prepared to change the Vision of Space Exploration set forth by President Bush and declare that they will be sending a human to Mars. Since that question, I have been fielding e-mails and phone calls from family, friends, blog-mates, YouTubers, the Mars Society, Technical Newspapers, etc... and it has seriously been a re-ignition of my drive for space exploration interests. This is why I would like to take a moment to discuss the Mars Society, and Space Exploration in general.

To find out more about the Mars Society, their homepage is full of content sure to keep you busy reading for hours! But in short, their goal is to bring the discussion of Human to Mars exploration into the public arena. They want to broaden the discussion by providing an alternative outlook on Mars Exploration to the general public, who may not know much about exploration otherwise. As well, they are petitioning world governments to collaborate in sending humans to Mars, as well as focusing on private companies willing to unite and take on the task. They were founded by Robert Zubrin, who also founded Pioneer Astronautics, and are working on a series of technological advancements which will change the way that we can explore Mars... for example, in-suto technologies which make it possible to use Mars' Carbon Dioxide atmosphere to create Methane for Rocket Fuel, and thus not needing to bring the fuel with you, just fill up while you are on Mars. The most important aspect is that they are thinking outside the box. Science today is cluttered with the "no-can-do-ers", who say that going to Mars requires trillions of dollars, decades, and giant battle-star type ships... But a little forward thinking goes a long way!

As far as space exploration in general... well, I am torn between my more Libertarian tendencies of saying that all endeavors should be free from government intervention, and thus the only way that we should be exploring space is via the private sector... and my out-of-the-box thinking that NASA and other space agencies can be a great tool for collective science. NASA, who has had a 50 year budget of around $612 Billion, has provided a means to farm out the collective money for advancements in space science across the board, from life support systems, propulsion systems, to robots and nano-technologies. Of course the NASA Juggernaut should not be our only means of research and exploration, but they are vital to the cause of space exploration, as a beacon of hope, innovation, and inspiration... which is essential for popular support.

Imagine for a moment, if tomorrow NASA ceased to exist. The message being sent would be that the US, as a whole, no longer supports human space exploration... this would be a blow to the entire world... Of course, the private sector would surely step up to fill the gap, thus declaring that we are still engaged.. but with the apparent lack of total US support for space, getting investors and funds would be instantly more difficult.

Now imagine for a moment that NASA announced a change in their vision for space exploration, and suggested that the private sector should focus on Human to Mars technology, backed by an X-Prize style of competition... It would show that NASA is using the free market system to encourage growth in the private sector for space exploration, and ensuring that there is a perfect balance between the government and private industry, as well as ensuring that the private sector gets the public support necessary for independent financial support from the free market.

The long and the short of it is that we need, in my humblest of opinions, to continue space exploration. We learn so much from necessity... If we NEED a new technology due to exploration, then one is surely created. Without pushing the boundaries, we lose the need for innovation. So be it by the government, free market, or a mix of the two, the continuation of Human Space Exploration is a must.