Sunday, May 31, 2009

Paybacks Are A Barack

Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza and vindictive politics. When you win an election, you are expected to use all of the powers of your office (and then some) to reward your friends on the government nickel and to punish your enemies.

This week saw some interesting examples of Barack O. Capone bringing Chicago style politics to Washington.

First, as you may recall, Barack punishes journalists who cross him by refusing to allow them to ask questions at press conferences, a.k.a. Fox News. We were reminded of that again this week when, Obama Sockpuppet Gibbs made it clear that journalists who question race-baiting nominee Judge Sotomayor do so at their own risk. Said Gibbs,

I think it is probably important for anybody involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they’ve decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation.

On May 11, Team Obama inexplicably dismissed Gen. David McKiernan as commander in Afghanistan. According to The Economist, the only “reason” given by long term defense secretary Robert Gates, was the desire to get “fresh eyes” on the situation. You may recall Gen. McKiernan as the General who countered candidate Obama’s claims during the campaign that an Iraq-type surge would not work. McKiernan will be replaced by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was instrumental in the Iraq surge. Replacing a commander in this manner is unusual, and when asked whether this would end McKiernan’s career, Gates said, “Probably.”

This week, evidence also started to emerge that Chrysler has targeted Republican dealerships for closure, even though many of these dealerships are some of the most profitable Chrysler has. Interestingly, the list of closures also includes multiple dealerships owned by a financial supported of Hillary Clinton.

This brings us to the most interesting discovery of the week. In an article that I highly recommend that everyone read, former Clinton advisor Dick Morris outlines what Obama has done to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In a series of interesting moves, Obama has completely marginalized Hillary by dividing up the traditional duties of secretary of state among a group of special envoys who have been charged with handling all of the complex, high-profile duties of her job. In effect, Obama has done to Hillary what the government often does to people it wants to get rid of, but who it can’t fire: Obama has given her a desk but no duties. Said Morris:

It may appear odd to describe a secretary of State as marginalized, but Obama has surrounded Hillary with his people and carved up her jurisdiction geographically. Former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) is in charge of Arab-Israeli relations. Dennis Ross has Iran. Former U.N. Ambassador Dick Holbrooke has Pakistan and Afghanistan. And Hillary has to share her foreign policy role on the National Security Council (NSC) with Vice President Biden, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, CIA chief Leon Panetta, and NSC staffer Samantha Powers (who once called Hillary a “monster”).

With peers who are competitors and subordinates who can deal directly with the president, Hillary is reduced to announcing foreign aid packages for Pakistan while Holbrooke does the heavy lifting.

Moreover, Obama has deprived Hillary of her power base and her income. He has then added insult to injury by making Bill Clinton a special envoy to Haiti, a significantly smaller, more irrelevant role than even the evil George Bush gave to Clinton (coordinating the relief effort for the Asian tsunami and later for Katrina).

Thus, contrary to popular belief, Obama is an over-achiever in something. In five short months, he has put himself in the running for the title of Most Abusive and Corrupt Politician of American History (MACPAH?). Let us hope that when his tyranny ends, someone comes along to teach him and his friends that paybacks are indeed a b. . .
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Up Yours Pravda

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been served. That’s right, Pravda got all up in our faces and stuff and just slapped us around like some cheap Czechoslovakian-era whore. Surely we don’t deserve this, right? Pravda (not be confused with Prada) means “truth” in Russian. Could it be that they speaking truth to us for the first time their miserable history? Heck no! Let’s tear this sucker apart!

Thus spoke Pravda:

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

Bahhh! The friggin’ Ruskies are going to call us out for flirting with Marxism? That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever. . . well. . . ok, they might be right on that. In fact, I have to reluctantly concede that we probably went beyond flirting. We seem to have taken Marx to Vegas, gotten hitched and handed him the check book. But it wasn’t us, really. . . it was the Kool-Aid goggles.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. . . .

The population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blind the foolish.

How dare you! Nobody eats at Burger King. You got me on McD’s though, boy is my face red. . . and my butt enlarged. What? There’s more? You’re not done de-pantsing us yet?
The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

I’m not even sure where those places are, but I know when I’m being insulted. And let me tell you. . . oh, who am I kidding, it’s all true. Damn you bright light of truth. But please noble Pravda, aren’t we still better than you capitalist Russian pigs in anything?

These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

I’ll take that as a “no.”

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Natural Law and Slavery

In the fantastic comments that followed yesterday’s post about judicial activism, Freedom21 asked a question that deserves its own post. She wanted to know if we believed that slavery would have ended earlier in the United States if our earliest Supreme Court Justices applied natural law, rather than merely interpreting the Constitution. I think the answer is “no.” Here’s why. . .

Natural law is the idea that certain rights are so fundamental to human beings, that they exist whether or not they are written into the government’s charter. In other words, these rights are so well understood to be “human rights” that they should be granted by courts even if the Constitution fails to include them. This is an enticing theory, but I see it as flawed because there is no consensus on what constitutes a natural right.

If there is no consensus, how can the court agree (after all, the Supreme Court works on the basis of majority rule). Additionally, if there is no consensus, are these really natural rights or are the judges just imposing their own utopian views upon an unwilling public?

Take the idea of slavery. Was there a large enough consensus in the legal community in the early 1800s that a majority of the Supreme Court would have considered freedom from slavery to be a natural right? The answer is “probably not.”

Since judges come from the population at large, there is no reason to think that their views would have been significantly different than the views held by the rest of the public.

With that in mind, consider that as a political issue, the idea of freeing the slaves really didn't take hold in the public until the middle of the Civil War -- and even then it was by no means an overwhelming majority belief. The right of equal treatment for all races was not achieved legally until the 1950s or later. The rights of women were not secured until well into the 1900s. Indeed, many of the things that we would consider natural rights today, would have been dismissed as fringe positions in the 1800s.

In fact, even today, many of the rights that you and I would consider “natural rights” are not recognized around the world. In Mexico, you are guilty until proven innocent. Germany will throw you in jail for flipping a Hitler or denying the Holocaust (this will soon be EU-wide law). Don’t offend a religion in France. Germany bans religions that it considers cults, and requires you to tithe (through your withholdings) to any religion you do join. Spain bans political parties that it considers terrorists. Sweden limits the names you can give your children. Want to be an imam in France? The government has to approve you. And be careful what laws you break (e.g. bribery), or they will strip you of your citizenship, shut down any corporations you own, and banish you from French territory.

So while many in the 1880s certainly felt slavery to be evil, it is not at all clear that there was a consensus at that time that being free from slavery was a natural right or that non-whites were entitled to natural rights. Thus, it is difficult to see how a majority of the Supreme Court would have chosen to declare freedom from slavery to be a natural right.

Moreover, even if the had, there would have been two political hurdles that would have prevented such a decision from taking effect. First, believe it not, the Constitution does not actually make the Supreme Court the arbiter of constitutionality. Until the Court’s “power grab” in Marbury v. Madison, many thought that each branch would monitor the constitutionality of its own actions. This power grab, however, changed that, and gave us the Court that we know today.

The other branches accepted this power grab in large part because the Court’s early rulings tread very lightly. If the Court instead had chosen to take such a strident position (banning slavery) against the political interests of the rest of the government, it is likely that the Executive and Legislative Branches would have smothered the Judicial Branch and stripped it of its powers. Thus, its ruling would have been discarded and slavery would have endured.

But even if the other branches accepted the Court’s ruling, that still would not have ended slavery. Indeed, the South had little choice but to accept slavery because its entire economy depended on slave labor. Abolition would have meant economic ruin to the South. Thus, if the federal government banned slavery, the South would have left the union at that point and we would have split into multiple countries -- a civil war would have been unthinkable right after the country was formed, especially with memories of the Articles of Confederation still fresh.

If the South broke away, the Northern states could no longer have applied political pressure to the South and there would have been no civil war. Therefore, not only would slavery have endured despite the Court’s ruling, but it likely would have lasted much longer in the new USA South.

Thus, I suspect that applying natural law would not have solved the slavery problem, and could, instead, have made it much worse.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rebuilding the Republican Party: Judicial Activism

Today we skip ahead a bit in our series on Rebuilding the Republican Party and talk about judicial activism. You’ll be hearing that phrase and its associated concepts (i.e. “compassion”) a lot over the next month, so this is a good time to make sure that our leaders understand what they’re talking about.

As you saw in the re-worked pledge that started this series, Republicans fundamentally oppose judicial activism. But what is judicial activism, why is it intellectually and morally wrong, and how is it dangerous to you?

Judicial Activism Defined

Judicial activism, simply put, occurs when a judge steps beyond the powers given to them by the Constitution, and substitutes their own opinion in place of the law. This can take two forms, and the left loves them both.

In the first form, the judge creates new law by either finding new rights under existing law or by striking down valid laws of which the judge disapproves, so called “legislating from the bench.” The left loves this because they know that the public will never accept their political views, thus they appoint judges who will impose that worldview on the public.

The second form arises when a judge chooses to misapply or ignore a law so as to favor one litigant. This discrimination is usually disguised as appeals to “exercise compassion” or as calls for “fairness” or “justice.” Leftists love the sense of moral superiority they get from discriminating in favor of the “good guy.”

Why Judicial Activism Is Wrong

Both of these forms are morally and intellectually bankrupt. Our government derives its power (and its very existence) from the consent of the people. We the people created that government through the Constitution, in which we ceded certain rights to the government so that it could work toward the public good, but, in so doing, we put clear limitations on those rights. (We will discuss Constitutional interpretation another day.)

One of those limitations is that we clearly defined the roles each branch of government would play in administering the government. The role of the courts under the Constitution is to apply the law in a fair and unbiased manner. The courts are not empowered to create law. That power rests solely within the legislature. If a law must change, it is up the people to demand that change from the legislature, not for a judge to impose it upon the rest of us.

When a judge legislates from the bench, they are tossing aside the limits placed upon them by the Constitution, so that they can substitute their own personal view of what the law should be. They are stealing powers that belong to the legislature, they are frustrating the will of the people, and they are breaking the very agreement under which we gave them a right to exist. That’s arrogant, that’s illegal, that’s tyranny.

The left likes to counter that this is all for the good. But that’s garbage. If this change is so “good” then convince the voters and have the law changed by the legislatures. Even the Constitution itself can be changed if needed, as it has been twenty-seven times.

Moreover, if it is acceptable for judges to exceed their powers “to do the right thing,” then why not let others in on the act? Why not let the Post Master General withhold mail service from businesses that he or she thinks should be banned (e.g. strip clubs, gun shops, abortion clinics)? How about letting the FBI Director decide what constitutes illegal surveillance? The public might not approve, but who cares, right? It’s all for the public good. . .

How Judicial Activism Hurts You

Judicial activism is dangerous and destructive on a personal level as well. As noted above, the left loves to demand fairness and justice and compassion. And that sounds great. Except that these concepts are in the eye of the beholder. When you set judges free to impose their own prejudices rather than following the law, you open a can of worms that will destroy the judicial system.

Leftists like to think that allowing judges to act compassionately will mean that the good guys always benefit. But I’ve actually practiced. I know the reality. I’ve seen the judges who used to work for insurance companies and who see all plaintiffs as malingerers. I’ve see the judges who always favor the husband, or always favor the wife. I’ve seen the judges who always favor the poor criminal suspect, or the judges who always favor their friends the prosecutors.

If you open this flood gate, law will vanish and it will be replaced by personal prejudice. The winner will be the person who hires the attorney with the best relationship with the judge -- and that ain’t you, that’s the guy with the money. Welcome to the banana republic.

Moreover, even if you could take the bias out of it, the problem with basing rulings on compassion rather than law, is that it’s erratic. Whereas the law looks at the facts as they occurred and applies a ruling that all can anticipate (so you can arrange your affairs accordingly), rulings based on compassion become manipulator’s court. Sure, your ex-husband was the world’s biggest ass, and you did everything right under the law, but he’s one heck of a great actor in court. You lose.

You didn’t commit that crime? But the victim’s cries for justice strike our compassionate cords. Hope you like orange jumpsuits. Or maybe you’re the victim, but the judge feels such compassion for the poor criminal, who had such a rough life, and, after all, he killed your mother so long ago. . .

Compassion works fine if every single judge shares your views. But they don’t. If the law lacks compassion, then change the law. Don’t make a mockery of the legal process.

Think Strategically My Republican Friends

So what does the party do? For the reasons outlined herein, Republicans should oppose judicial activism. That’s a no brainer. But, that being said, there is a problem with simply opposing judicial activism.

If the democrats keep moving the ball ten feet left every time they are in power, and the Republicans respond by simply stopping the ball from moving, the democrats will slowly, but surely, get everything they want.

The only way to stop this inevitable march is to get the democrats to abandon the weapon of judicial activism. It’s time to fight fire with fire: appoint reactionary Republican judges. Don’t be obvious about it, but do it. History has shown that when the Republicans adopt a democratic tactic, the democrats scream bloody murder and quickly try to stuff that genie back into the bottle. That will be a victory for us all.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Rebuilding The Republican Party: Introduction

The Republican Party has floundered. It was capsized by a leadership, bereft of ideas and which neither knows what the party stands for nor understands its most fundamental principles. This same leadership now seems content to tread water in the hopes that Obama will so anger the voters that their wave of discontent will magically right the vessel. Good grief.

Over the next couple months, I intend to lay out in simple, but detailed postings (1) what the Republican Party needs to do to right itself, (2) why Republican principles work, and (3) I intend to provide workable, conservative solutions to numerous problems that neither party seems capable of solving, i.e. healthcare, education, immigration, etc.

It is my firm hope that our candidates will read these posts so that they can breath life back into the party, so that they can solve the nations problems, and so that they will stop sounding like idiots when they try to explain conservative principles in debates. Call your Congressman, tell them to read along!

* * *
Today we start with something many of you may have seen already. During the last election, the Republican website was appalling. It could not have been worse if they had let democrats designed it for them. Among the parade of horribles, I found a statement purporting to tell us what it means to be a Republican. . . grrrrr. Needless to say, I was not amused. Nor did I care for the 92 page platform that read like a stream of consciousness textbook trying to justified the Bush years. Stupid, incoherent, and defeatist does not a successful philosophy make.

In my pique, I re-wrote this “pledge” and I sent it to the party. Here it is to start my series on “Rebuilding the Republican Party”:

I am a Republican because...

I believe in limited and accountable government. I believe in the Constitutional separation of powers between the branches of the government, between the federal government and the states, and between the government and its citizens. I believe in state’s rights. I believe in the protection of civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights. I reject judicial activism and the shift of power from the legislature to the executive. Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.

I believe in fiscally responsible government. I reject deficit spending, unfair and excessive taxation, and unnecessary and irrational regulation.

I believe in free market economics and the protection of property rights. I reject government ownership of private business and the confiscation of private property. I believe in free and fair trade.

I believe in a strong national defense, and in promoting the values of democracy, freedom, and human rights around the world. I reject isolationism, but I also reject adventurism. Walk softly, but carry a big stick.

I am the Republican Party. I believe in freedom, liberty, and responsibility.

These are the principles that almost every Republican agrees upon. These are the principles that 60% of the American public shares. These are the principles that should be the focal point of our party. When someone asks, what it means to be a Republican -- this is the statement that should greet them on the party’s website.

I will address each of these points in detail over the coming weeks. In the meantime, tell me what you think?
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Friday, May 22, 2009

“That Certain Part Of The Male Anatomy” -- Huh?

I like to think of myself as a keen observer of the modern world. But lately, something has arise that, frankly, has me stumped. According to a, oh how shall I put this. . . b*tch goddess on late night television, my performance may not be what it used to be. It’s not exactly clear what she’s talking about, but in her angry, condescending way, she seems quite certain that something on me is not up to standards anymore.

Apparently, it’s not my fault, but, as I age, a loss of testosterone causes things to shrink. Indeed, a much more pleasant young lady informs me that if I take the pills she is offering, "a certain part" of my anatomy will again become larger.

Here’s the problem though. I’m not entirely sure what part of my anatomy they’re talking about, because they never do tell me. So I got to looking. And sure enough, it turns out they are right. My elbows seem to be smaller than they were when I was younger. . . I’ve got EDS (Elbonic Definitive Shrinkage)!

Now I was always raised to believe that it’s not the size of your elbows that matter, it’s the range of motion. But I will admit to being concerned. This issue seems to be very important to these two ladies, and I wonder how it will affect my social life if I don’t rectify this situation immediately.

So I’ve debated taking these pills. Unfortunately, the FDA has not evaluated their claims. Thus, I am concerned about adverse side-effects. What if my elbows go limp or lock up, or God-forbid I become double jointed? And if they do grow again, will my shirts still fit?

I wish I knew the answers.

Damn you late night television for making me insecure.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Word of Advice To The Gay Community: Rethink Your Friends

Before we get into this, let’s be absolutely clear about one thing . . . I am NOT taking a stance on abortion or on homosexuality in this post. I may in the future, but not today. So DO NOT start arguing about whether abortion/homosexuality is right or wrong. Capiche?

Many of you may have missed it, but the other day Sweden became the first country in the world to decide that the government (and doctors) may not stop women from using abortion to select the gender of their children. This practice is already wide-spread in India and China, where the number of males now far exceeds the number of females, even though both governments have made the practice illegal. In Sweden, it is now a right.

As India and China have shown, and as Sweden is now demonstrating, a great many parents are willing to go to fairly extreme lengths to get the “perfect” child. Indeed, many fear that as genetic manipulation becomes more prevalent, parents will begin selecting specific traits for their children. Want an athlete, add the strength and speed gene. Want a scientist, give them the brainiac gene. Want a natural leader. . . Khhaaaaaan!!! Pushed too far, we could even end up with multiple strands of humanity -- the athletic, the intelligent, and the rest of us.

Why should this bother gays? Most gays firmly believe that they are gay because their genes have made them so. The jury is still out on this, but it’s certainly highly possible. And if this is true, then it is only a matter of time before that gene can be found.

Now let’s put two and two together. If parents will abort a normal healthy child because they don’t like its gender, or because it has some genetic disease or an unfavorable genetic trait, how do you think they will act when they discover that their child carries the gay gene?

So does it make any sense for gays to align themselves with the abortion rights crowd? Isn’t that like helping to build the gallows from which you will be hung?

I could understand the position of gay groups if they thought it was going to be illegal to abort children because of their homosexuality, but Sweden tells us that it won’t be. If Sweden won’t protect fetuses based on gender, how can they protect children based on sexual orientation?

Moreover, even if such a law could be put in place, the Indian and Chinese experience tells us that parents will find ways around it.

So as a word of advice, you might want to rethink your allies.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

“I’m A Buyer”. . . Always.

If any of you have ever watched CNBC, you will have noticed an interesting phenomenon. No matter what is going on in the market, the economy or even the world, their fund manager guests always tell you that it’s a good time to buy stocks.

If the market is down, they tell you that stocks have never been cheaper and you don’t want to miss the coming rally. After all, "all the bad news is already priced into the stocks." If the market is up, they tell you to act fast or you’ll miss this incredible rally. When the market becomes obviously, ridiculously over-priced, they tell you that we’ve entered a new kind of market, where old-style valuation methods simply no longer matter.

So when do you sell stocks? You don’t. There’s even a theory for that: buy and hold. If you hold stocks long enough, you’re guaranteed to make money. Forget the fact that anyone who bought stocks in the last ten years lost significant amounts of money. . . that’s “just a matter of time frames.” Indeed, if you bought at the lowest point fifteen years ago and you sold right at the high point last year, you made a killing! So don't worry about that little ten year issue, just keep buying.

Why is this? As they say on CNBC, let’s begin with a few “disclosures.” Most of the fund managers who come onto CNBC are what is called “long-only fund managers.” This means they are forbidden by regulation or their investment charter to hold short positions. Thus, the only way they can make money for their funds is if stocks rise. But how does deluding themselves make the values of their portfolios go up?

It doesn’t. But here’s the dirty little secret, they aren’t paid for performance. They are paid a fee based on a percentage of the assets they manage. In other words, the more money you put into the fund, the more they make, whether they make you any money or not. Thus, they are not deluding themselves, they are baiting you.

But long only managers are not alone in this game. Wall Street is crawling with traders, people who move assets in and out of stocks (e.g. hedge funds). If one of these traders buys a stock, they want it to go up as quickly as possible so that they can get right back out. But if all of these trades have the same knowledge and training, and thus reach similar conclusions about the value of the stock, who will buy the stock from them? Wouldn’t the other traders’ analysis also say it’s time to sell? The answer is simple. They want you to buy it.

Indeed, during the last run up, the professional traders started buying in March, near the bottom. As the rally continued, they put more and more money into the market. They also started appearing on television to tell you that you better start buying stocks or you were going to miss the greatest bull market of all time. As we approached 900 on the S&P, the pros started bailing out. But as they were selling, they went on tv to encourage the “retailers” (you and I) to keep buying. Why? So that they would have someone to sell their shares to without the price collapsing before they could get out. Indeed, several cynically noted that “once the retail investors start buying, it’s time to get out and wait for the crash.” These same cynics, by the way, also shared a few stock names (that they coincidentally happened to own) that they felt would continue to rise even through the coming crash. So you can feel safe about buying those no matter what happens.

Nice huh? Well, gotta go, need to buy some stocks. . . they're up thirty percent in the last month, but I'm told they still have room to run!
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Democracts Don’t Find Canada Stimulating

I love Canada. . . mostly. It seems very pretty and I have truly liked the Canadians I have met. I’m a big user of Canadian oil and timber. I’m grateful that Canadian soldiers have fought alongside Americans in every conflict that I can think of, and have always distinguished themselves. I wouldn’t wish Canadian healthcare on anyone, and I really did not like “The Red And Green Show,” but that’s ok -- into every relationship a little rain must fall, eh?

Unfortunately, that rain is about to turn into a downpour, and it ain’t water falling from the sky. The democrats, in their union-sopping protectionist ways, have chosen to start a trade war with our dear friends the Canadians.

All over the country, federal, state, and municipal authorities are now scouring their worksites looking to make sure that Canadian products are not being used by their contractors and are demanding that contractors certify that they are using only American made products. It’s “Buy American” time, stimulus style. This a great way to treat a friend.

In response, a group of cities in Ontario have banned U.S. companies from competing for billions of dollars worth of municipal contracts. Hmm. . . no one could have seen that coming -- at least no one with a “D” behind their name.

I understand that Canadian authorities also may have seized the crews of various American television productions taking place in Vancouver, and may have sent teams of suicide pipe-fitters south of the border with instructions to fix our infrastructure or die trying. No doubt this is what Janet Napolitano was talking about when she accused Canada of allowing terrorists to cross their border.

So far, Obama has remained silent on this issue, to avoid inciting awareness.

In all seriousness, protectionism is a fool’s game. The historical evidence and theoretical evidence is so overwhelmingly one-sided that you really do have to be an idiot to believe that protectionism is a good thing. I hope that somebody in D.C. wakes up before this goes too far.
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Understanding Liberal and Conservative Minds

Have you ever wondered why liberals and conservatives can never agree? Belief it or not, it’s because of the way they think.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of people on this here planet of ours -- short term thinkers and long term thinkers. Short term thinkers tend to live for the now, i.e. they value instant gratification and discount the future. Long term thinkers are the reverse, they seek to maximize their gratification in the future and will sacrifice in the present to achieve that goal. Neither one is necessarily more correct than the other, they are simply different ways of thinking.

What does this have to do with liberals and conservatives? Everything. Liberals, by and large, are short term thinkers. You see this in their policies. They see a problem and they want it fixed now -- they show little interest in the long term effects of their solution so long as the problem is solved in the present.

Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to be long term thinkers. When they see the same problem, they also want to fix it, but not at the price of causing a greater harm in the future -- they will look for a solution that fixes this problem long term, and prevents it from re-occurring, even if that does not lead to an immediate “fix”.

So what does this difference mean? It means that while liberals and conservatives both want to solve the same problem, each is looking at different criteria for what constitutes the best solution.

Let’s look at environmentalism to illustrate this difference. When I raised this issue before, I was asked: “liberals care about environmentalism and that requires long term thinking, so doesn’t that mean liberals are long term thinkers?” No. While it is certainly true that the implications of environmentalism are usually long term, the solutions proposed by liberals demonstrate short term thinking.

Take the idea of "alternative energies." Everybody agrees that alternative energies could be a good thing. But that’s where the agreement ends.

Liberals (short term thinkers) want to require that industry use alternative energies. Conservatives, on the other hand, want to give incentives for industry to adopt cleaner technologies. These two solutions show the classic divide between short term and long term thinking. Liberals need to “know” that the problem is “now” fixed, i.e. that the final solution is in place. They do not consider the long term costs or whether better solutions could be found. Conservatives, by comparison, believe that by giving the proper incentives, industry will fix the problem in a way that has greater benefit and fewer costs than imposing one solution now.

It’s the same story with an issue like over fishing. We know that fish stocks in the Atlantic are being over-fished. The conservative answer is to adopt the system that worked in Alaska, where the waters were turned into a quasi-private fishery and licenses were sold. Conservatives believe that in the long term, this will give an incentive to the fishermen to stop over fishing. Again, this shows long term thinking because the solution is not guaranteed in the present, but should result in a better solution in the future.

Liberals, however, do not like that solution because to their way of thinking (short term) it doesn't solve the problem because you have to trust that the fishermen will change their behavior. In other words, they can't look at the solution and see how it fixes the problem right now. So instead, liberals propose quotas -- even though the quota system already in place is actually making the problem worse.

So how does this help? It helps us understand the seemingly intractable differences between these two groups. It helps us understand where the other side is coming from. It also should help us craft solutions that satisfy the needs of both sides.
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Is Barack Obama A Misogynist?

As I watched Barack Obama give his healthcare address this morning, something struck me. No doubt, you have already guessed where I’m heading, but I’ll go there anyways -- always give the audience what they want, right?

At the end of Obama’s press conference on healthcare today, Nancy Pelosi asked to make a final comment. She then gushed about how Obama’s leadership has done more to muck up. . . er reform healthcare than anyone else ever, anywhere, any time. Barack looked annoyed. When she finished, he wished everyone good day but never acknowledged Pelosi’s comments. Not even a “thanks.”

This struck me as rude. Sure, Pelosi asking to make an additional comment was a bit of a breach of protocol, but still, simple politeness says that you acknowledge her comments. He didn’t.

Then I remembered the rather sexists things he said about Palin during the election (remember “small town mayor”?) and how he never once disowned the misogynistic comments that his followers threw at her. Then I remembered the dismissive and condescending manner in which he treated “Hillary” -- note he never uses her last name as he does with males. Even his joke about her at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner seemed kind of nasty.

So is it just that he views these particular women as competitors? Or is there more.

He abandoned Nancy Killefer, but he fought for Tim Geithner, even though both had the exact same problem. Indeed, Geithner’s was arguably worse on many levels. He did dump Daschle, but not until feminists started to complain that after Killefer/Geithner, he better not protect a second male (he also didn’t abandon Daschle until Daschle’s lobbying became a big issue).

He seems to have appointed many more men than women. And come to think of it, I can’t think of a woman he’s been particularly nice about since Oprah.

Does this mean he’s a misogynist? No, not yet -- I’m not a leftist so I don’t accuse first and look for proof later. But this is an issue that is worth watching.
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