The Waning Cain

I first met Herman Cain this past February when he addressed a Republican luncheon in Las Vegas, and spoke about his ideas as a potential candidate for president in 2012. Overall, I liked his frankness and some of his ideas to tackle some of the most serious issues our country is facing. If I had to describe Herman Cain in one way, it would be that he pulls no punches, tells it like it is, and has no patience for nonsense.

When I saw Cain for the second and third time, in early March and again in May, his speech was pretty much the same. He recited his sturdy one-liners like “not on our watch,” and his “immigration is four problems.” He didn’t offer too many specifics on foreign policy, but all three times he gave the audience some applause-worthy red meat. Herman Cain is an outsider, a different kind of presidential candidate. He’s not a politician, and he’ll tell you so.

However, is that what American wants? Or needs?

If you’re anything like me, you don’t like the typical career politician. You know the type: Always running for office, avoiding controversy once elected, putting on the fake smile, and never actually doing anything. Washington has too much of that. Too many people want to be something, rather than do something. There is a difference.

Now, suppose I need to have surgery to remove my appendix. Do I want the career doctor? Or would I prefer to have the receptionist operate on me? If my football team – the New England Patriots, if anyone cares – makes it to the Superbowl, do I want a career quarterback in the game? Or would I settle for the guy who runs the concession stand?

In the world of government and politics, it is important to understand how the system works. Regardless of how much a presidential candidate may want to change the system, he or she is just one cog in the machine. One could say that in order to change the system, you have to know the ins and outs first.

Herman Cain says he doesn’t want to know how Washington works. In fact, he said at the Right Online conference in Minneapolis this weekend that he doesn’t need to know how it works, because it doesn’t.

Wouldn’t fixing the problems of our country be more difficult, if our next president had no idea how the system works? Is Herman Cain ready to be president, simply because of his business credentials?

Some examples from the campaign trail may shed some light on the situation.

While being interviewed on Fox News Sunday last month, Mr. Cain was asked about the Palestinian concept of “right of return.” This refers back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs either fled or were expelled from their homes in what became Israel. Palestinians believe that these refugees, and their descendants, have the sacred right to return to their homes and property in Israel, or be compensated by Israel. This has become a major sticking point in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Herman Cain was caught flat-footed, only able to demonstrate that he was not familiar with the concept. His answer was convoluted at best, first stating that it should be negotiated, and then claiming that Israel doesn’t have a big problem with people returning. This was after slamming President Obama for “throwing Israel under the bus.”

The previous day, when announcing his candidacy for president in Atlanta, Herman Cain said that Americans do not need to re-write the Constitution, they need to re-read the Constitution. This line grew great applause from the audience in attendance. However, Mr. Cain went on to quote the Constitution as including a line about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” which actually appears in the Declaration of Independence. Cain went on to talk about Americans’ right to “alter or to abolish” government – also found in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. This prompted several pundits to suggest that it was Herman Cain who needed to re-read the Constitution, and with good reason.

On Afghanistan, Herman Cain refuses to put forward a plan, saying that he would defer to the experts – unnamed experts. While I certainly hope he would surround himself with knowledgeable experts as president, it is still concerning that he has no tentative plan with which to deduce how he would handle the issue as a whole if elected. Cain has used the “defer to experts” line so often, it became part of the Daily Caller’s New Hampshire GOP Debate drinking game, this past week.

Then there’s the 2nd Amendment. Herman Cain, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer earlier this month, stated that he supports the 2nd Amendment. That’s great! But when asked about gun control, and whether states or local governments should be allowed to control guns, he answered, “Yes.” Now perhaps this was yet another example of how Mr. Cain was unprepared for the question, but he’s not running for president of Wendy’s, he’s running for president of the United States. And if he truly wants to be the next president, he needs to know that these questions are coming, and have answers.

Finally, there is a problem of messaging. It’s a problem most Republicans have, so it’s hard to be too critical of Cain.

In one interview, Mr. Cain was asked about his position on homosexuality. He replied, “I believe homosexuality is a sin because I’m a Bible-believing Christian. I believe it’s a sin. But I know that some people make that choice. That’s their choice.” When asked to clarify his position that homosexuality was a choice, Cain replied, “I believe it is a choice.”

Now, having been raised Catholic, I understand that Herman Cain’s view of homosexuality being a sin is perfectly valid. It is what his faith teaches him, and he has a right to believe that. However, as president of the entire United States, Cain would have to represent all Americans – even homosexuals. Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie answered the same question with the following:

“My religion says it’s a sin, but I’ve always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual. So I think if someone is born that way, it’s very difficult to say that’s a sin. My church says that, but I don’t look upon someone who is homosexual as a sinner.”

In speaking with young people daily about politics, both gay and straight, I can say that the “religious right” is one of the reasons many people leave or avoid the Republican Party. That is not to say that having a foundation of faith is a bad thing. I simply believe that most Americans do not want to get their moral advice from a political party.

As a gay man, I know I was born with a predisposition to be gay, as Governor Christie speculates. Much like heterosexual people develop an attraction for the opposite sex, gay people develop it for the same sex. It’s just that simple. And while the church would advise gays to not act on those attractions, the reality of life necessitates otherwise.

For Herman Cain to believe that homosexuality is a choice, not actually being homosexual himself, would be like me, as a Caucasian, believing Black people face no discrimination in America today. It is simply presumptuous. What it does do, is ensure that many homosexuals never hear his conservative vision for America – because he has already turned them off.

As a gay conservative, I know first-hand how hard it is to convince gays of the merits of conservatism – due in large part to the religious standards within the GOP.

Again, it all goes back to messaging.

This past week on the Alan Stock News Show in Las Vegas, Herman Cain stated that “all Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists have been Muslim – except a couple.”

This is up there with John McCain’s “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” song.

While conservatives will stand up and say “But he’s right! All terrorists ARE Muslim,” they are wrong. There are terrorists all over the world. Some are Black, some are white. Some are male, some are female. Some are right here in the United States, and aren’t Muslim at all.

It’s one thing to say that the radical Islamists who have attacked us look similar, come from similar places, etc. It’s another to make an insensitive statement that all terrorists are Muslim.

Herman Cain is a good guy, and he wants to get involved and help save his country. I get it. And I applaud his willingness to get out there, in front of the public, in front of the media, and be a candidate.

However, we elected a candidate with no experience in 2008, and look where it got us.

Up on stage with six other candidates for the 2012 nomination, Herman Cain, for the first time, looked to be outclassed. His answers were vague, he repeated his standby lines, and offered very little new information as to who he is, and what he would do as our next president.

Herman Cain might make a great CEO and even a great elected official some day. But he is not ready to be president of the United States.

We conservatives may like his no-nonsense attitude, but that and three F-bombs landed Donald Trump back on Celebrity Apprentice, if you know what I mean.

Future “Leaders” of the Republican Party?

This week, a video surfaced on the Texas College Republicans Facebook page, of the newly-elected state chairman of the organization, Charlie McCaslin, endorsing College Republican National Committee chairman candidate Alex Schriver. The video was put up by an Alex Schriver supporter. The Texas College Republicans were proud of this endorsement, and Alex Schriver and his team were ecstatic about having the endorsement of the 30 College Republican chapters in Texas.

What the video showed, however, was a clearly intoxicated McCaslin giving an offensive endorsement of Schriver, including recalling hooking up with a girl on a desk, and calling Schriver’s opponents “nerds and fags.” The full unedited video also shows McCaslin say they’re going to “one-up them so hard on Monday, they’re gonna be recovering from pain in their asses for the next week.”

Again, this video was put on Facebook by an Alex Schriver supporter.

And this video feeds into every false stereotype of Republicans out there, from the southerner, to the sexist, to the homophobic bigot, etc.

Now this was a private event, but it ceased to be private when it was put on a Facebook page for the world to see. And the worst part?

Alex Schriver toasted Charlie McCaslin when he was finished embarrassing himself, by yelling “TO CHARLIE!”

See, Alex Schriver might be a great guy, but he has proven he is a bad leader. Schriver had no problem with what was said on that video, either at the time, or in the days following. It was not until his opponent issued a press release and put the video on his website, that Schriver felt the need to apologize.

Furthermore, while the apology contained all the usual tributes to disappointing family and friends, it did not urge Charlie McCaslin to resign for bringing shame on the Texas College Republicans, and the College Republican name. It was as weak of an apology as I’ve ever seen.

People naturally have a tendency to be sorry, only when they get caught. And when it comes to our political leaders, we should expect more.

The College Republicans are an integral part of the Republican Party, and they represent the future of the GOP. And as a Republican, and a College Republican, I expect more from the future leaders of my Party. McCaslin’s actions have given Democrats ammunition to use against Republicans for a long time to come, and Schriver’s tacit endorsement is simply unacceptable coming from someone who wants to lead the CRNC into the 2012 election.

Can you imagine if this happened in Summer 2012, while Alex Schriver was chairman of the College Republican National Committee?

That brings me to Mike Esteve.

Mike Esteve is the State Chairman of the Maryland Federation of College Republicans. He, like me, is an openly gay Republican. Like me, I am sure he faces enormous criticism from the Gay Left and all liberals for being a traitor, among other things. Yet every day he represents a growing segment of the GOP, and represents them well within the Republican Party in his state.

Today, he issued a statement via Facebook in which he stands by Alex Schriver. At first, I thought this was a poor attempt at an April Fools’ joke, but I was wrong.

Mike Esteve actually believes that those who condemn Alex Schriver and Charlie McCaslin publicly are the ones damaging the image of the College Republicans and Republican Party. He said as much when he called into my radio show, Zombie Nation (podcast will be up shortly), last night.

If Mike Esteve had his way, we would simply sweep this under the rug and “quietly taken it to the appropriate persons, ensuring that [the video] was removed.”

Is that how we want to build the future of the Republican Party? By sweeping these things under the rug? Should we wait until Congressmen must resign, because they were sending shirtless pictures of themselves to women on Craig’s List? Should we wait until the scandal is much larger, and a Governor is taking trips to Argentina on the taxpayers dime to “clear his mind” with his soul mate, who isn’t his wife?

This is completely unacceptable, and Mike Esteve has lost my respect as a Republican, a gay Republican, and a College Republican.

He believes this is nothing more than campaign tactics, but this is about leadership. This is about Schriver’s ability to lead the largest grassroots Republican organization in the country into the 2012 election. This is about Schriver’s ability to unite Republicans, gay and straight, male and female, black, white and Hispanic, under ONE unified banner to take on the liberal agenda of Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. This is about Schriver’s ability to raise money, from donors that don’t want to hear about banging chicks on a desk! This is about Shriver’s ability to overcome the false stereotypes placed on Republicans by liberals, who believe we are all old, white, racist, sexist, bigots.

This video clearly shows Alex Schriver can no longer do these things. And Mike Esteve’s defense of this video, and suggestion that we simply ignore it, shows that the future of the Republican Party will not be strong until we stop putting politics first.

That is the problem with politics.

We must remember the difference between right and wrong. Charlie McCaslin in Texas understood this, and resigned. He realized he could not effectively lead 30 chapters of College Republicans in Texas with this hanging over his head.

Alex Schriver has yet to realize the same.

And today, Mike Esteve has given gay Republicans all over America a bad name.

Demand better. I know I do.

The problem with America’s education system: Excuses.

One reason the U.S. military is the most powerful fighting force on the planet, is that leaders don’t tolerate excuses. You do the job, and you do it right, or you will be reprimanded, counseled, and instructed to not make the same mistake again. The Marines call it a “Page 11.”

The same mentality works in the NFL. Good coaches like Bill Belichick, for example, don’t accept excuses. He wants the job done right, or you hear about it – in terms that cannot be repeated here. But that leadership, combined with high expectations, has resulted in numerous playoff appearances, four Superbowl spots, and three championships (Damn you, Giants!). And when players sit out, waiting for a better contract, they end up on other teams (Deion Branch to Seattle, Asante Samuel to Philadelphia, etc.).

This level of accountability is missing from America’s education system, and it is one of the major obstacles to success. In the private sector, employees are expected to perform their tasks satisfactorily, or they will be written up. Verbal warning, written, final, termination: Taken with an appropriate amount of coaching, these are four easy steps to a better employee, or a new one. It’s really that simple, just not in academia.

As an example, this past Sunday the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s higher education reporter Richard Lake wrote an article titled: “Workload has picked up, faculty at UNLV say.” In it, Lake reports that the faculty at UNLV is working harder than they were two years ago according to statistics from the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). But even Lake notes that gauging the faculty’s actual workload is difficult due to the many different functions they serve.

Greg Brown, the president of UNLV’s chapter of the Nevada Faculty Alliance said, “The workload has increased substantially,” in large part because, as Lake reported, “the university has 10 percent fewer full-time faculty than it did in 2006 and virtually the same number of students.” But it does not have the same number of programs and classes, which is why I’m happy Mr. Brown teaches history and not math.

Prior to returning to school at an older age, I would have believed this nonsense, as I’m sure many people who read the article do. But having first-hand knowledge of how higher education has changed since I was in college the first time, I find these claims to be ridiculous.

First, many of the classes at UNLV consist of a PowerPoint presentation, which is read to the class, and later posted online for download. In a class like this, 39 students may as well be 339 students, since the presentation does not change. Furthermore, in these classes, professors typically learn very few students’ names, and rarely deviate from the lesson plan. So where is the increased workload? Grading quizzes?

Quizzes are conducted primarily in two ways: In-class or online. Many professors utilize UNLV’s WebCampus system to administer quizzes, as they are automatically graded by the system. Other professors have in-class quizzes which are done on a ScanTron – a sheet with bubbles, which can either be purchased from the university bookstore or picked up “for free” courtesy of student government (actually paid for by student fees). ScanTrons are also automatically graded, so where is the increased workload? Scanning 339 quizzes may take longer than 39 quizzes, but nowhere near as much time as actually hand-grading quizzes in the past.

So it must be papers. Clearly there is increased workload in correcting 339 papers versus 39, right? Even I can agree with that. But what the article doesn’t point out is that most tenured professors have graduate assistants that help in grading papers and other assignments. And what about classes that assign very few papers, if any? (None of my classes this semester have assigned papers)

The article also points out that some professors don’t necessarily have to teach 3 classes per semester, as many other activities count toward this “requirement.” Waivers are given to 255 of 712 full-time professors at UNLV, to perform other functions toward their 3-class workload. Some professors focus on research, others serve as a department chair, some supervise internships, and one in particular hosts a radio show.

This article also does not discuss part-time instructors or adjuncts. Some part-time instructors teach three classes and make less than $50,000/year with no job security. Their tenured counterparts make six-figure salaries to teach one class, conduct some research – which may or may not be published or bring money into the university, and host a radio show – with the ultimate job security. That seems upside-down to me.

Richard Lake’s article includes comments from one professor, Pushkin Kachroo, who taught four classes last semester and still had time to supervise graduate student research and serve as the director of UNLV’s Transportation Research Center. His salary is $116,000, while Dina Titus makes $107,855 for teaching one class, restarting her research, and hosting a radio show.

Explain that.

How about supervising internships? I did an internship last fall. I met with the professor supervising the internships for that department, and he told me I would be required to write a 10-page paper on the actual work I was doing, plus a 5-page book report on a relevant book of my choosing, with his approval. Aside from two reminder emails for required updates, I did not interact with this professor again. I hand-delivered my assignments to an administrator in the department, and had to look up my grade in UNLV’s WebCampus system. I got an “A,” but so did the other 3 students that did the same internship. So, did he actually read the papers? Or just verify that the work was done?

In a traditional class, a professor might assign 3-4 papers throughout the semester, with a class of 40 students. That’s up to 160 papers. The professor who supervised my internship would have to be supervising 80 internships per semester, just to reach a portion of the workload of teaching a traditional class with several writing assignments. Does anyone really think he supervises 80 internships per semester, every semester?

Ultimately, these are all excuses not to teach students.

UNLV’s provost Michael Bowers may believe that other activities should count as classes, such as “counseling a doctoral student,” or “reading a dissertation, making edits on it, [and] helping the student revise it,” but this is absurd. Apparently the days of professors helping students because they want to are gone.

If a professor can get credit for teaching a 3-credit course by hosting a radio show, why do I not receive the same credit for hosting MY radio show? (SHAMELESS PLUG: Zombie Nation Radio airs live every Thursday at 5pm on www.vegasallnetradio.com, podcasts available at www.facebook.com/zombienationradio)

Instead, we are told that having former congresswoman Dina Titus at UNLV is beneficial because of the experience she brings. I could agree with that if she was actually teaching students. Instead, she is only teaching 39 students in an ELECTIVE – Women in Politics – a 400-level course that only certain students can even qualify for. Her other two class requirements are made up for by her radio show, and “restarting her research” – which is a futile effort, given that she will be leaving at the end of the year to run for office again.

Meanwhile, students wait to graduate because some classes aren’t offered this semester “due to budget cuts.”

And did I mention that UNLV’s 4-year graduation rate is 11%? (6-year: 36%; 8-year: 48%).

Excuses.

There are far too many excuses, and not enough accountability. Everyone is self-interested, and not focused on what matters: EDUCATION.

Maybe, if there is no 2011 NFL season, we should hire Bill Belichick to oversee an audit of Nevada’s System of Higher Education. At least then, taxpayers and students would be taken seriously, and we wouldn’t have to listen to the politically-driven hogwash.

Do Democrats Hate Poor People?

All too often, the issues facing our country are discussed in purely political terms with partisan ideology at the center. This guarantees that opinions will be formed purely on emotion, and not the facts. If the issue is illegal immigration, Republicans hate Mexicans. If it’s education, Republicans hate children. If it’s welfare reform, Republicans hate poor people.

So on that note, let’s examine how Democrats fare under the same level of scrutiny, shall we?

 

Hating Mexicans

In America, we have immigration laws – like them or not. They are in place for a reason, mainly to ensure that we know who is coming here, and that we can accommodate the increase in local, state, and federal services their presence requires. Currently, we let roughly 1 million immigrants into America legally, almost 2,800 per day. Think about it: 2,800 people per day that need jobs, housing, food, education for themselves or their children, drivers licenses, social security cards, and many other necessities. Now add to that another 1 million who come in illegally, or overstay their visas. These are people we don’t know. They could be anyone from a hard-working farmer to an Al Qaeda terrorist – and anyone who tells you differently is wrong. If we don’t know who they are, then we don’t know how they aren’t. Now, while some people will say it’s racist to single out Mexicans in the illegal immigration discussion, let me explain why that is by showing you the country of origin of those living in the U.S. illegally, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

#1 – Mexico: 62%

#2 – El Salvador: 5%

#3 – Guatemala: 4%

#4 – Honduras: 3%

That’s quite a drop-off from #1 to #2, isn’t it? Also bear in mind that these 4 countries equate to 74% of our illegal immigration problem, and they all enter the U.S. through our border with Mexico. So it’s not racist to talk about our southern border, it’s REALITY.

So, don’t like the laws? Change them. But until then, the government’s job is to enforce them. And that’s what Republicans want. They want a secure border. They want legal immigration. They want those here illegally to be deported when caught, according to the law.

Now we can argue immigration reform all day, and I’m one Republican who thinks it is impossible to deport the 15-20 million people here illegally. However, until we actually pass immigration reform and discover a way to handle all of these issues, we have no choice but to enforce the laws.

But what about Democrats? Do they hate Mexicans too?

Many liberal Democrats argue against raiding businesses that hire illegals. Why? Because they will be deported, and working for $3 per hour in unsafe conditions is still better than Mexico.

Really?

If that’s the case, isn’t the problem Mexico? And if everyone with the motivation to work hard leaves Mexico, who will be left to fix it, other than the drug cartels?

So these liberals would rather have illegal immigrants working in unsafe conditions, unable to report accidents, earning slave wages – simply so they don’t have to return to their home country?

Appalling.

Slavery was wrong in the 19th century, and it’s wrong today. But you don’t hear anyone saying that liberals hate Mexicans, do you?

 

Hating Children

Education is a hot button issue that is frequently distorted into an ideological war of emotions, when in fact there is nothing emotional about it. Schools exist to educate. Period. And on that measure, they are failing.

Since 1970, our education system has flat-lined on achievement in reading and math. Despite that, we’ve increased funding exponentially with zero results. Zero. Absolutely no movement of the needle. So the answer is more money?

“Since 1971, educational spending in the United states has more than doubled, from $4,300 per student to more than $9,000 per student, adjusted for inflation.” – “Waiting for ‘Superman’”

So if money is the answer, why has money not been the answer? And does wanting the correct answer constitute hating children? Of course not. Does putting your own selfish agenda ahead of the success of our children, and our nation, constitute hating children? Judge for yourself.

Many of the obstacles to fixing our education system reside with those controlling it: Teachers’ unions.

Do not confuse teachers’ unions with other unions, or you will fall into the same trap of thinking with emotions. Unions were created to help workers negotiate for better pay and working conditions, against giants of industry who were profit-driven. Education is a non-profit endeavor, paid for by tax payers, and therefore there is no evil CEO to demonize.

There are many things that will help toward improving our education system, including the use of technology to lower the cost of educating our children as a whole, rewarding the best teachers while coaching or removing the underperformers, adequately preparing middle school children for high school, and high school children for college, and making school districts accountable to parents and tax payers.

Unfortunately, teachers’ unions do not want technology to lower the cost of education our children, because it will result in a need for less teachers – even though our school districts are wildly under-staffed as it is.

Teachers’ unions also do not want teachers to be treated differently, in any way. So rewarding great teachers, and firing bad ones, is completely off the table.

Furthermore, these unions resent standardized tests, as they do not believe the performance of students has any bearing on how qualified a teacher is. After all, they can’t make the kids learn.

In fact, according to “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers (the two most organized unions) spent $55 million on federal campaigns over the past 20 years, and 90% of it went to Democrats. So, if teachers’ unions are in the way of improving education, and they donate almost entirely to Democrats, do Democrats hate children?

Let’s pretend you own your own business. Would you want to keep your good employees, and get rid of the bad ones? Would you want to reward your best people with incentives to perform well? Would you expect a return on your investment? Well none of that applies to education, mainly because of teachers’ unions.

Apparently, if you support school choice, merit pay for teachers, and accountability to parents and taxpayers, you hate children. But if you want to give those controlling our education system more money, after a 40-year track record of failure, well… you’re a kid’s best friend. (Read: nightmare)

 

Hating Poor People

Almost a full 50% of Americans pay no income tax. Now just to clarify, most do pay it in their paychecks, but they get it all back on their tax returns. And while they do contribute to Medicare and Social Security like all Americans do, this 50% of Americans are far more likely to need Medicare and Social Security than those who do pay income tax.

With that said, the answer to everything these days seems to be: “Tax the rich – or you hate poor people.” I guess it is perfectly okay to hate rich people. After all, rich people are the ones hiring the rest of us. But it’s not all rich people that are evil blood-sucking greed-mongers. What about actors? Hollywood is gluttonously wealthy, yet you don’t hear liberals screaming for them to hang, do you? Nobody blames the ills of society on Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller, do they? Yet from June 2009 – June 2010, they were the two highest paid actors in Hollywood, earning $75 million and $53 million respectively.

“But it’s different,” they’ll say, because people pay to go see Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller, which justifies their huge salaries. Of course that argument doesn’t seem to work for the rich guy who created Wal-Mart, an outlet in which millions of Americans pay to buy things – justifying his huge salary.

You see, it’s all about emotion. The guy who runs the business must be exploiting workers, while Johnny Depp makes people smile. Of course if Wal-Mart went out of business tomorrow, we’d see how many people would be smiling when all of their employees were out of a job, and the public could no longer buy a pair of jeans for $8 or an entertainment center for $69.

If you wanted to raise taxes on soda and bottled water, would that be good for poor people whose grocery bills would go up? Well, that’s what Democrats in New York and Nevada want to do.

Does it help or hurt poor people when gas is $4/gallon? Wouldn’t drilling for oil inside the U.S. help bring those prices down? Many Democrats are against drilling in America, even though they love beating up Republicans for going to war for oil in the Middle East. If we had more drilling here, Democrats would have one less thing to blame on Republicans – so obviously that’s out of the question.

 

Conclusion

There are many things to dislike in our country, and even some things to hate. There are a lot of things to love about American too, but most people take those for granted.

To think that Republicans hate Mexicans, children, and poor people, simply because of their political views is just plain ignorant.

I don’t think Democrats hate Mexicans, children, and poor people either. But they do hate Republicans – and that’s really what all their bitching is about.

He Shall Take Care That the Laws are Faithfully Executed

A political science professor of mine once said that “some people in America consider the Constitution very important.” I should hope so. It is the very foundation of all law in our country, and the single document through which our rights are protected.

The Constitution ensures that the government cannot oppress its people, and gives individual states the right to handle matters not specifically assigned to the federal government. So should “some” people consider it very important? Or is it, in fact, very important to all of us – whether we choose to realize it or not?

Yesterday, President Obama announced that his Justice Department will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. For those on the left this is a major victory. They have been waiting for DOMA to be repealed ever since President Bill Clinton (Yes, a Democrat) signed it into law in 1996.

For anyone who does not know, DOMA allows states to choose not to recognize gay marriages, partnerships or unions from other states where they are legal, and provides no federal recognition of same-sex relationships whatsoever. This has been a major sticking point for the gay marriage movement, because no matter how many states legalize gay marriage, there will be no federal benefits for gay couples.

For the record, I believe marriage is a state issue. It always has been, and nowhere in the Constitution does it mention marriage falling under the responsibility of the federal government. Therefore, I happen to personally feel that DOMA is unconstitutional. If a state decides gays can marry legally, or enter into domestic partnerships or civil unions, the federal government should be obligated to recognize the laws of that state – so long as they do not conflict with federal law.

I also believe that any state has the right to choose not to recognize a marriage from another state. Keep in mind this would not be an issue if the federal government stayed out of marriage altogether. I still have no idea why the federal government gives anyone special benefits because they are married. That is the very definition of “special rights,” whether you are traditionally married or gay married.

The 14th Amendment, which is cited so often in protecting marriage recognition across state lines, simply states that “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

That means no state can deny you rights protected by the federal government. However it does not prevent states from denying you rights protected by other states. Example: You have a concealed weapons permit from Nevada. You own a gun, and are allowed – by Nevada law – to carry it concealed on your person, within the laws set forth in Nevada.

You are not allowed, however, to bring that gun to Maine – unless you obtain a concealed carry permit from Maine. Maine will deny your right – protected by Nevada – to carry a concealed weapon, until such time as you obtain that right from Maine. Meanwhile, Illinois does not allow any concealed weapons at all. Therefore, Illinois will deny your right – protected by Nevada – to carry a concealed weapon.

So clearly states have the right to have different laws from other states, and the Constitution does not force them to recognize privileges you’ve obtained from other states.

So while the left celebrates Obama’s refusal to enforce DOMA, the rest of America is wondering why this president feels he has the power to choose which laws are valid and which are not. As stated in Article 2, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution, “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” DOMA is currently the law, and therefore President Obama is constitutionally obligated to enforce it – whether he likes it or not.

Imagine, for a moment, if George W. Bush decided that he did not personally approve of Roe v. Wade, and chose to overturn it. “I will no longer enforce protections to allow abortions.” How do you think the left would react? With outrage, I’d imagine – and they would be justified. Whether you like it or not, abortion is legal in America. You can try to make it illegal, advocate the overturn of Roe v. Wade, pass laws restricting abortion, etc… but TODAY, it is legal.

Likewise, TODAY, DOMA is law. President Obama may choose to ignore the law, but the moment he chooses not to defend DOMA in court, he is in direct violation of the Constitution – which by the way is his SOLE responsibility as president: “To preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

500 BILLION PEOPLE saw him recite the oath on inauguration day. A few people even saw him recite it a second time later in the week. Did he not understand what he was pledging?

Regardless of whether you support or oppose President Obama politically, there is no doubt that he is testing the limits of presidential power. He has done this numerous times.

Health Care – President Obama has given the federal government unprecedented power in the area of health care, even though it is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution. Obamacare has been declared unconstitutional by two federal judges, and will not likely stand up to a Supreme Court review.

The government simply does not have the right to mandate that every American buy a product from a private company, or face fines. (And for those of you who will bring up car insurance, it is only mandatory if you choose to own a car – and you get to make that choice)

Cap & Trade – The Constitution does not give the federal government power over energy, yet President Obama’s Cap & Trade policy would put costly burdens on companies (which would be passed on to consumers) to meet arbitrary goals that the largest polluters on the Earth (India and China) refuse to agree to.

You think we’re losing jobs to India and China now? Wait until these companies have to live under oppressive costs invented to fund a premature green movement. They’ll simply move to India and China where there are no restrictions – and they get the added bonus of cheaper labor. Then all the liberals will complain about evil corporations moving to China to exploit workers. You know the story. It’s as old as time.

Student Loans – Where the hell does the federal government have the right to take sole custody of the student loan industry? I have no problem with federal loans, Pell Grants, etc. But to remove student loans from private institutions completely? That’s just ridiculous. While President Obama says he wants to increase access to education, he really just wants to control the access to education.

There are many more examples just like these.

I’m not a birther, or a right-wing radical – I’m just an American that sees a president consistently ignore the restrictions placed on his office, and the entire federal government. And while every response I get to this article from a liberal will no doubt conjure up images of George W. Bush shredding the Constitution while drinking the blood of poor people with Dick Cheney – two wrongs do not make a right.

President Obama is constitutionally obligated to execute the office of the President of the United States. He is constitutionally obligated to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.

While campaigning in 2008, then-candidate Obama promised to repeal DOMA. With super-majorities in Congress, he never made one attempt. He had the opportunity, and Republicans would have had no choice but to sit back and watch it happen. He did not act. He is not repealing DOMA now. He is ignoring DOMA – and that’s just as unconstitutional as DOMA itself.

We, as Americans, should want a president who stays within the confines of the Constitution, and within the restrictions it places on the power of the federal government.

We, as Americans, should want any law we disagree with to be overturned legally – so the repeal has a foundation in law and cannot be overturned later on what some may call a technicality. I happen to believe violating the Constitution is a tad bit more serious than a technicality.

This is not a matter of gay versus straight, or Democrat versus Republican. This is a matter of what is right. And even if you believe President Obama’s heart is in the right place, his methods must also be in the right place – or they have no merit.

The ends do not justify the means, when the means are illegal.

Unions vs. America: The Final Battle?

The events taking place in Wisconsin regarding collective bargaining agreements, there’s no better time to address the relationship between unions and businesses. When labor unions began in the late 19th Century, they were desperately needed to represent the interest of workers in America against the exploitative nature of industry. Over the years, these organizations helped institute minimum wage laws, child labor laws, 8-hour work days, vacation time, sick time, and more. These were well-intentioned measures, and most Americans are happy they exist today. But making sure workers have basic rights is not what labor unions are about today. They are about profit, greed, and political influence.

Today, most labor unions are very similar to the “evil corporations” they so frequently rail against. They claim big business doesn’t care about its workers, only profit. But are unions any different? They need members to pay dues, or they cease to exist. Clearly they are also profit-driven. They believe industry has too much influence compared with the working class. But unions have far more influence than their numbers would suggest, given that only 8% of Americans are in unions. And what do many of these labor organizations do with the hard-earned dollars they take from their members in the form of dues? They give them to politicians running for office – almost exclusively in the Democratic Party – whether their members support them or not.

The issue with unions today is a simple math problem. For years, unions have negotiated pretty good contracts for their workers. These contracts typically result in higher pay, better benefits, and more perks than non-union employees receive. As years go by, these contracts are renegotiated over and over again, raising wages and increasing benefits and perks each time. Then, when we have an economic crisis like the Great Recession (2008 – present), companies can no longer afford the expensive contracts they negotiated when profits were good. As the costs of these labor contracts rise, profits must rise along with them – or something needs to give. Either the union agrees to make concessions, or the business goes bankrupt.

This face-off is happening all over the country, including in Wisconsin. During the economic crisis, some unions have agreed to work with businesses to arrive at a mutually-agreeable solution to the problem of expensive contracts and low profits. But that is not always the case. Unions were willing to do very little in the case of Ford, GM and Chrysler, so the companies had no choice but to declare bankruptcy in order to restructure their organization and renegotiate labor contracts. Who are the labor unions helping if their own greed causes businesses to fail? It’s clearly not the workers, who end up out on their collective-bargaining asses when their company closes its doors.

We see this problem everywhere in America, and frankly it is out of control.

In government, collective bargaining agreements are paid by tax dollars. When federal, state and local government experiences drops in revenue due to high unemployment and a slow economy, unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) are unwilling to give up a dime. Governments are then forced to fix their budget issues while suffering under the strains of paying these high-priced contracts – which would never have been agreed to under the present conditions.

In business, the unions’ unwillingness to cooperate often results in businesses going bankrupt or closing altogether. This may be good for the individual unions who get to show off their “power,” but it’s bad for their members who have no jobs, and bad for America. If businesses go away, so do our hopes of putting Americans back to work. Industry should not be allowed to exploit workers, but unions should not be allowed to exploit industry either.

In education, unions may be the largest contributor to our failures. Without declaring financial exigency (think bankruptcy), universities cannot renegotiate their contracts with tenured professors. In K-12 education, unions demand more and more money be spent on education, yet they ensure that very little ever makes it into the classroom. Nevada is the perfect example of the problem with education, since it has the lowest graduation rates in the nation. The Clark County School District (CCSD), which covers Las Vegas and surrounding areas, is the 5th largest school district in the country. Only 11% of its operating budget makes it into the classroom, yet unions and education officials are screaming bloody murder over impending budget cuts. The University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV), where I am currently a student, has $647 million in total operating funds for this year. Under budget cuts proposed by newly-elected Republican Governor Brian Sandoval, UNLV will see a cut of $47.5 million (or 7%). Unions and education officials, as well as Democrats in the state legislature, are twisting the numbers and telling Nevadans that the cut is 29%.

Americans won’t put up with this nonsense much longer.

They see what is happening in Wisconsin, and realizing that this is a battle between greedy unions and over-taxed taxpayers. They see teachers shutting down schools so they can protest, instead of educating their children by DOING THEIR JOB! Fire these teachers for abandoning their positions, and replace them with unemployed Wisconsinites who put education above greed.

Americans are starting to see the damage unions can do when they put greed ahead of their original purpose – protecting the basic rights of employees.

This is not an issue unions can win, unless they are willing to work with businesses and governments to achieve mutually-agreeable solutions. Bankrupting businesses and governments through unreasonable demands during this economic crisis won’t earn them any support from hard-working American taxpayers.

We will learn as these battles unfold exactly how much power unions will be allowed to have in America, and how the outcomes will affect their power in the future. We will also see how this will affect the Democratic Party, with which labor organizations are closely aligned.

With unemployment at 10% nationwide, there are plenty of Americans ready and willing to take the jobs of ANYONE who strikes. Perhaps it is time to call their bluff.

Facts are stubborn things

Democrats have long relied on emotions to garner support from the masses, as evidenced by the myriad of bills passed with names like “Affordable Health Care for America Act,” which doesn’t make health care (or health insurance) more affordable, but does impose hundreds of taxes and fees, and allows for the government takeover of student loans and other provisions which have nothing to do with health care.

This tactic is currently going on in the state of Nevada as newly-elected Republican Governor Brian Sandoval attempts to fix a looming budget crisis. At his State of the State address in January, Gov. Sandoval announced he would be reducing the amount of funding to high education with a “less than 7% cut” from the state’s general fund. He went on to say that counting stimulus dollars from 2009-10, the net result would be a 17.66% decrease in funding for higher education.

Immediately the Democrats went to work! Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, who gave the Democrats’ response to Sandoval’s address, said the cuts to higher education would “feel like a 36% cut.” Oceguera’s math skills are just another glaring example of the poor education system in Nevada, but nevertheless, this hyperbole should not be allowed to continue.

On Thursday, January 27th, UNLV President Neal Smatresk appeared on “Face to Face” with Jon Ralston – a local political show in Nevada. Smatresk said, “Our current budget is $172 million. It would go down to $125 million. That’s a huge reduction by any measure.”

Smatresk is right! That’s a decrease of $47 million, or 27.3%!

But what is UNLV’s budget? Is it $172 million as Smatresk says?

According to the Nevada Policy Research Institute, UNLV’s total operating funds for fiscal year 2011 (which we are currently in) is $642,517,830. That’s not exactly $127 million, now is it?

In fact, a $47 million cut from $642.5 million is around 7% — not 27%, and not 36%.

Many, including the Young Democrats at UNLV, are now saying that Gov. Sandoval is cutting 29.1% from higher education in Nevada. This number is achieved if you consider the roughly $557 million higher education received from the state’s general fund in the 2009-10 biennium, compared with the $395 million it will receive in 2013.

But, if you consider that the state’s general fund only accounts for 30% of the entire Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) budget, all of these arguments fall completely flat on their face.

The total operating funds for the NSHE in FY2011 is $1,744,202,381. A cut of $162 million is roughly 9% – not 29.1%, not 27%, and not 36%.

In fact, a reduction of $162 million from the NSHE budget will still leave the system with 3.6% more money than it had in 2007, just before the economic crisis began.

Not too shabby.

So, why all the hyperbole and doomsday proclamations? Here’s your answer.

When Smatresk claimed, in his “Face to Face” interview, that UNLV had already faced $49.6 million in budget cuts over the past four years, he neglected to mention that UNLV’s total operating budget from FY2007 – FY2011 actually INCREASED 10%!

Poor guy.

The argument is now being made that tuition may need to be increased 73% to make up for these “unprecedented” cuts. That’s remarkable, because from FY2000-FY2010, tuition at UNLV went up 74%! Student fees over the same time period went up 770.8%!

The NSHE, as well as education officials like UNLV President Smatresk, have an obligation to be cheerleaders for higher education. I get that. And obviously their priority is the education of students, right?

Over the past decade, the number of administrators-per-student at UNLV has gone up 90%, while the number of instructors-per-student has gone down 6.6%. How exactly does that help educate students?

Since 2000, UNLV’s total spending has increased 140%, and per-pupil spending from 2003-2010 has increased over 18% (adjusted for inflation). Has education at UNLV improved 140%? Have the graduation rates improved 18%? The answer to both is: No.

The 4-year graduation rate at UNLV is a dismal 11%. The 8-year “Van Wilder Plan” graduation rate stands at an embarrassingly low 48%. That means more than HALF of UNLV’s 24,000 students will NEVER graduate, and we’re supposed to believe money is the problem?

So while Nevada’s Republican Governor tries to save the state hardest hit by the housing market crash and ensuing economic disaster, Democrats are once again politicizing an issue that shouldn’t be political.

Most people, Republican, Democrat or otherwise, care about education, even if we disagree on methods and policy. But twisting numbers to fit an agenda does nothing to help solve the problem. In fact, placing the blame on Gov. Sandoval prevents any focus from being put on how UNLV and the NSHE spend the money they already have.

Surely the NSHE can find a way to cut 9% out of its $1.7 billion total budget. Sure it may suck to have to renegotiate the contracts of high-paid tenured professors and non-educators, but that’s life. Maybe UNLV can’t buy the old Carl’s Jr. building for a cool million. Perhaps the brand-new 40,000-seat domed stadium will have to wait. These guys get paid the big bucks to make tough decisions. UNLV head honcho Smatresk makes $25k/year less than President Obama – and I don’t hear Obama complaining about how stressful his days are.

Ultimately, the budget cuts are a matter of simple math. The cuts are $162 million, and the total NSHE budget is $1.7 billion. Do the math. Its 9%.

$1.7 billion – $162 million = a 9% cut.

9%.

Not 17%, not 22%, not 29%, not 36%.

9%.

Neal Smatresk: “I estimate we lose a third to up to half of our whole programs if that cut actually goes through.”

9%.

Point that out, and you’re called a liar – or worse. They can spin it all they want, but it is still 9%.

Meanwhile, Nevada leads the nation in bankruptcies, foreclosures, and unemployment, and has the worst graduation rates in the nation.

The 200,000 unemployed Nevadans saw their income decrease by 100%.

The NSHE will see a 9% cut.

It’s 9%.

Hunting RINO Hunters

(Warning: No RINOs were harmed in the writing of this piece. Mark Ciavola does not endorse actual hunting of RINOs, or any violence to any one for any reason whatsoever, unless deemed appropriate by a court of law and a jury of his peers. In no way does he mean to offend the effete sensibilities of CNN, MSNBC, or liberals who had no problem with similar wordplay until one of their own was shot. All Rights Reserved. Charges may apply. Do not eat.)

For the last few years the term “RINO,” Republican In Name Only, has been tossed around like “party favors” at Lindsay Lohan’s house. It has been used within the conservative movement to separate the men from the boys, in what is nothing short of a macho pissing contest on who can be more or most conservative. Last summer I opined on the term itself, attempting to make the point that these moderates are needed for the GOP to win seats in liberal states like Maine, Massachusetts and Delaware. I also pointed out that there is a big difference between a “RINO” and a traitor. However, as political rhetoric becomes more and more intense, reason is often left by the wayside.

Whether we like it or not we have a two-party political system here in America. Today, Independents, Libertarians, Green Party candidates, and other third-party options simply cannot win elections – especially at the federal level. Even with many Americans becoming increasingly disenchanted with both major parties, these third-parties pull an insignificant portion of the total vote. They do, however, succeed in playing spoiler on many levels, often costing Republicans elections. The reason for this is that many Independents are right-leaning, as are Libertarians. Only the Green Party and Socialist Party, in less than a dozen states, produce candidates that take votes away from Democrats. Perhaps the most interesting part of these right-leaning third-parties is that many of their followers are former Republicans.

The 2008 Republican Party Platform listed nine items: National Security, Government Reform, Economy, Energy, Environment, Health Care, Education, Crime, and Values. Clicking on the first plank, National Security, you will be treated to a 6,336-word novel that includes opinions on everything from homeland security and veterans to immigration and policies for the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. Only the most ardent political junkie would ever make it through reading the entire plank only to be smacked with a 3,512 treatise on Government Reform, which for some reason includes the preservation of the District of Columbia. In total, anyone wishing to know where the GOP stood in 2008 “on the issues” would be subjected to an information overload of more than 35,000 words – seventeen times the length of this post.

If a “RINO” is someone who doesn’t adhere to the majority of core Republican values, we sure don’t make it easy to be a real Republican! There are 75 planks-within-planks. Even by Reagan’s standard of 80% agreement, real Republicans would disagree with the platform 15 times! It is worth mentioning that GOP.com currently features a six-plank platform including National Defense, Health Care, Energy, Education, Economy, and Courts, with a one-paragraph blurb explaining the conservative side of the argument on each issue. It is broad, and most-likely intentionally vague, so as to adequately satisfy the entire Republican Party. Remember, the GOP has an obligation to represent ALL Republicans – both fiscally conservative and socially conservative. It is not the “Social Conservative Party” or the “Fiscal Conservative Party”… it is the REPUBLICAN PARTY.

As I have stated in previous articles, and countless times publicly, I do not believe in the mythical creature “RINO.” And while I am still one of the most conservative people I know, nowhere on my voter registration form was I asked if I was a conservative. Anyone who checks the box marked “Republican” is a “Republican In Name Only,” since the form does not ask you to rate on a scale from 1 to 10 how conservative you are.

The term “RINO” is being applied to Republicans who voted for TARP. Twenty-one in the House of Representatives including Paul Ryan, and 34 of 40 Republicans in the Senate voted for TARP, which was designed as a loan that would repay taxpayers – unlike the bailouts that followed under President Obama. Is Paul Ryan a “RINO?” What about Senators Coburn (OK), Cornyn (TX), Kyl (AZ), and Thune (SD)? These are some of the most conservative Republicans in Washington. Pushing people out of our party because they disagree on a few issues is ludicrous, especially when we are in the middle of an ideological battle for the heart and soul of our country. Ultimately, these representatives must act in accordance with their constituents’ wishes and not the agenda of a national conservative litmus test.

Then you have this moron, who blames Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “RINO” status for Jerry Brown’s 2010 victory. Arnold didn’t keep Republicans home on Election Day, conservatives did. Meg Whitman didn’t tell Republicans to stay home and hand Jerry Brown a victory in liberal California, conservatives did. Republicans and conservatives were not rushing to vote for Jerry Brown because Arnold and Meg were “RINOs.” Jerry Brown won because there weren’t enough Republican votes, due in large part to the unwillingness of conservatives to elect a moderate Republican over a Democrat. Period.

With all of this in mind, I’d like to introduce you to a new term: CINO. Conservatives In Name Only.

What is conservatism? According to Ronald Reagan, conservatism consists of small government, fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility, and liberty for all. These basic tenets permeate every conservative discussion in our country today, especially within the Tea Party movement. But how many conservatives are really conservative? And what about the CINOs? It’s easy to say you’re conservative, but actually standing for these true conservative principles create an interesting dynamic.

To most conservatives I’ve come in contact with, small government means adhering to the U.S. Constitution in determining which issues the federal government should take control over, and which issues should be left to the states by virtue of the 10th Amendment. It also means keeping spending low, reducing our national debt, and running an efficient government that stays out of the marketplace. Conservatives preach all day long that individual schools and communities should have local control over education. They believe that the influence of powerful teachers unions and the federal education bureaucracy has severely damaged our education system. Conservatives believe government should stay out of your personal life.

CINOs, however, have no problem with big government if it is advancing their own agenda. They have no problem with a variety of federal spending, including earmarks, if it keeps them elected. CINOs believe in local control over education, unless that local control results in the removal of school prayer. CINOs don’t want the government telling us which light bulbs to buy, or which cars to drive, but they WILL try to put a federal marriage amendment in the U.S. Constitution telling us to whom we can pledge a lifelong commitment of love.

What if marriage was defined in the U.S. Constitution in 1780? Only property owners would be able to marry. In 1820, slaves would have been prohibited from marrying. In the 100 years between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Act, a federal marriage amendment would have banned interracial marriage. Today, in 2011, none of us would support any of those definitions. So why is anyone seeking to define marriage in our most revered American document? CINOs are for state’s rights, until those rights produce unpopular results. CINOs are for small government, until they see government as a way to protect their own values.

Take a look at the New York Conservative Party platform. I can say that I either support or am indifferent to almost everything on the list. As for where I disagree, I would be indifferent toward a state constitutional ban on gay marriage so long as there are civil unions or domestic partnerships in place so that gay couples can still have legal proof and protections of their relationships. I simply cannot get behind collecting DNA samples of “every criminal who commits a crime,” and I’m not sure how any conservative could. Most people would think I’m a conservative for being okay with 43 of the 45 planks in the New York Conservative Party platform, but to many others my true belief in small government would relegate me to “libertarian” status even though I do not support the legalization of drugs or an isolationist world view.

As we evolve as a nation, we seem to remain center-right. Yet, many of those in the Republican Party are seeking to implement a far-right Party philosophy. How can the GOP be “America’s Party” if we are alienating so many moderates and Independents with an irrational addiction to far-right, and often not conservative, stances? Should we not be sticking to the core tenets of conservatism, while trying to deliver our message to a wide audience in ways they can relate to?

I often talk about the problem of attracting young people to the Republican Party. They are often turned off by social conservatism. To be clear, I believe social conservatism has its place within our Party just like fiscal conservatism does. We should all be advocating for what we believe in. It should not, however, be the ENTIRETY of our Party, or firmly established in the U.S. Constitution. We should welcome pro-choice conservatives, gay conservatives, and young conservatives into our Party. We may disagree on some issues, but for the most part we can work together to elect Republicans and maintain control of Congress and state legislatures across the country. While I am pro-life, everyone 37 years old and younger was born into a country where abortion is legal. Let’s face it: Pro-life is a choice; pro-abortion is not. Let’s deliver that message!

The fact that there is a segment of the Republican Party committed to “hunting RINOs,” shows that they care more about a purist agenda that fits their own values, and not the success of the only viable alternative to the liberal agenda – the GOP. Remember, Senator Jim DeMint famously said, “I’d rather have 30 Marco Rubios than 60 Arlen Specters.” I would rather have zero Arlen Specters, because Arlen Spector is an opportunist traitor who ditched his Party in order to thwart the will of the people and keep his cushy government paycheck. However, ultimately I’d rather have 30 Marco Rubios and 30 Scott Browns than allow a Democrat super-majority to ruin our country. And if Senator Jim DeMint doesn’t see that, then he is too senile to represent anyone in Congress.

CINOs spit on Reagan’s 11th Commandment.

CINOs piss on the theory that anyone who agrees with you 80% of the time is your friend, not your enemy.

CINOs rejoice in seeing moderates like Mike Castle lose in Delaware, only to cost Republicans a winnable Senate seat with a mismatched candidate like Christine O’Donnell. (Castle had won 18 elections in Delaware, which is only 28% Republican)

CINOs express an almost divine dedication to candidates like Sharron Angle, who – as a statement of fact – lost a GOP primary race for State Senate in 2006, a GOP primary race for U.S. Congress in 2008, and now a general election for U.S. Senate in 2010. It’s remarkable to watch someone fail upward. Even a casual observer would see that if Republicans in her own State Senate district didn’t want her, and Republicans in her own U.S. Congressional District didn’t want her, that the entire state of Nevada wouldn’t want her either. Yet these “conservatives” from all over the country pushed for Sharron in her U.S. Senate primary since she won the macho pissing contest to be labeled “most conservative.” That label may win you a GOP primary (although usually not in Angle’s case), but it won’t garner you much support from Independents and conservative Democrats. And appealing to national conservatives who cannot cast votes in Nevada (or Delaware) is entirely irrelevant.

CINOs are committed to advancing their own personal agenda, even if it means the demise of the Republican Party.

CINOs constantly invoke Reagan’s name, yet refuse to follow his most successful strategy: an inclusive GOP! (They don’t call them ‘Reagan Democrats’ for nothing, folks!)

They are CINOs.

And I’m announcing CINO season OPEN.

Big Government and Short Attention Spans: A Recipe for Disaster

LQQkin4LUV: yo. spot me a $20?
CaliGIRL420z: k
LQQkin4LUV: imma give u $15 back. k?
CaliGIRL420z: hellz no!

Would you take that offer?

Whether or not that chat conversation is real, the federal government does that to us every day. They take our tax dollars, and then return far less to us in the form of funding and services. So why do we let them get away with it? Do we think the government is the only entity that can provide those goods and services, or do we simply not care enough to pay attention? The answer of course is both, and that chat exchange is the most in-depth many of us get when discussing economics.

Most of the issues we deal with as Americans, especially those that involve government, turn into a political war of opposing ideologies. However, some issues have nothing to do with Party affiliation and big government is one of them. Many people hear “big government” and they think a far-right, Glenn Beck, Tea Party lecture is about to follow, but that is not the case here. This is an honest explanation of what “big government” means, and how the more power the federal government has, the less we do. Unfortunately, learning that often means reading and investigating beyond the headlines – something we’re becoming increasingly unfamiliar with as a society.

First, it is important to understand that almost all arguments against big government are directed at the size of the federal government, and not necessarily the states.  Sure, state government can become bloated and inefficient, but that’s the problem of those living in that state – and not necessarily yours or mine. In addition, state government is far more in touch with their own people than the federal government will ever be; an important fact to remember when discussing policies pertaining to taxes, education, energy, health care, and so on. Putting the debate over the actual spending aside for a moment, the real question is whether an issue falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government or the individual states.

If you had a friend that only earns $25,000 per year, but somehow managed to spend $41,250 this year while racking up $175,000 in credit card bills – would you think an intervention is in order? What if your friend already owed his grandparents $1,137,500?

That’s exactly what our federal government did.

Our federal government brought in $2 trillion in revenue, spent $3.3 trillion, and racked up $14 trillion in debt; all while being committed to spending $91 trillion in Social Security and Medicare down the road.

Is there anyone left in America that thinks we’re not in a crisis? We’re going to be paying for this mismanagement for decades, if not more! And if you speak up you are somehow considered to be a racist, anti-poor, right-wing extremist.

Education is one of the biggest areas in which the American people are victims of big government. Yes, I said it – victims. We enjoy a public education system in this country, albeit one that competes very poorly with those in other countries despite much higher funding. In exchange for that public education we pay taxes, a portion of which is directed to various school districts all over our nation in the form of federal funding.

The U.S. Department of Education accounts for roughly 9% of all K-12 education spending in the nation. To put this in perspective, state and local governments in California estimate $112 billion in education spending for 2011, while the federal government will spend roughly $78 billion across all 50 states. So if federal education spending is just a drop in the bucket, why do we need the Department of Education to pay 4,603 employees a total of $1.8 billion to administer it? Couldn’t we just keep that money, along with the $77.8 billion in federal education dollars, in our states? Do we really need the middleman skimming off the top?

This is why many conservatives favor a voucher system in which the government gives the money to parents, to spend at the school of their choice. That, of course, is a threat to the public school system, who until recently have had no reason to concern themselves with efficiency. Education “advocates” continue to demand more money, even though the U.S. already spends more than most countries that rank above us in test scores. They scream bloody murder about education “cuts,” even though they are merely reductions in planned increases, and not actual cuts at all.

The same can be said about health care. In passing health care reform in March 2010, Congress decided NOT to allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. So if you live in Texas, you can only purchase policies available in Texas, from companies licensed in Texas. If you live in New York you’d be very upset to hear that the average insurance policy there is $200/month higher than the average policy in Iowa. Too bad you can’t “shop around.” So if we don’t have a national health insurance system, why do we need the federal government to regulate it?

If all personal health insurance purchasing is wholly contained within a state, why can’t the state handle these issues? Massachusetts did when they passed universal health care. And while their system is costing far more than expected, and currently bankrupting the state, people can choose to move elsewhere if they don’t like it. That’s the beauty of living in a country with 50 individual state governments. Unfortunately President Obama and the Democrats don’t agree, and they’d prefer to saddle the entire nation with one giant, expensive, unmanageable health care system, from which there is no escape. Their almost $2 trillion health care bill requires us to send more money to Washington, so a fraction of it can be returned to us in less efficient ways than if we just kept it here to begin with.

We would realize this, if we were paying attention! But we’re clearly not.

There are no easy solutions to this problem, especially since many Americans simply don’t care enough to take an active role in keeping our government in check. We’ve also created a society so dependent on the government that no one wants to risk losing their hand-outs. The Tea Party movement addressed some of these issues, but was then demonized as a group of whack jobs by those who felt threatened by their demands for smaller government. But is trying to save our children and grandchildren from mountains of debt an extremist view? Is giving up local control, to a national system that treats us like numbers, a partisan issue?

Our inattentiveness has led to a runaway federal government that reaches so deep into our lives that we don’t dare confront it.

We may each have different views on how to address these issues, but that’s no excuse for remaining complacent. Whatever the solution is, it’s time for all Americans to get involved and demand better from our government and our elected officials.

If we don’t, we may have no country left to fix.

Liberals treat traditions like Michael Vick treats dogs

Only twenty percent of Americans self-identify as liberals, but that doesn’t stop them from having a very loud voice in the media, and in our political process. Simply look the annual budgets of groups like the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – groups that represent heavily Democrat-leaning segments of our population – at $21 million and $40 million respectively. The NAACP boasts 750,000 members and donors, while HRC claims to have 750,000, which when combined represent less than 5% of the American population. Even the most generous accounts estimate that African-Americans represent 13% of the population, and openly gay Americans at 3%. Clearly these groups, and many other leftist organizations, have more than 16% of the influence in our government, politics and media, and it is often aimed at our most treasured traditions.

There is no time of year when liberals exercise their disproportionate voice more, than over the holiday season. Groups like PETA speak out against eating turkey on Thanksgiving, going so far as to use children to advance their vegetarian agenda. But being vegetarian isn’t good enough for PETA, because milk, eggs, cheese and numerous other products are still made by exploiting animals. Atheists, who claim 50 million Americans among them (14% of the population), routinely speak out against Christmas. They believe it is an oppressive holiday, celebrated by intolerant and ignorant Americans who worship false gods. They have no problem telling Americans that God does not exist, but have a big problem with people saying “Merry Christmas.” Christmas may be the biggest religious holiday of the year, but it has also turned into a “Hallmark Holiday,” for those who don’t subscribe to its religious significance. At the very least, Christmas represents giving, sharing, and spending time with family and loved ones. How can that be a bad thing?

Holidays aren’t the only traditions that liberals have a problem with. Religion, marriage, family and patriotism are all areas where liberals are at odds with most of America. Many liberals see religion as a joke, or farce, presenting many philosophical arguments as to why believers are deluding themselves as to the existence of God. Marriage, which culturally has always been between men and women, is being slowly altered into whatever they “feel” is a reasonable facsimile. A man in Japan even married an Anime character last year! Family, which historically and culturally has been represented by two opposite-sex parents, has been re-imagined as a hodgepodge of different shapes and sizes due to failed commitments, teen pregnancy, and selfishness. Even those who believe in same-sex marriage and parenting can admit that having two parents is better than one, and that children should not be the accidental consequences of poor judgment. Unfortunately, liberals find strength in victimhood, and overcoming challenges – even when they are self-imposed (See: Social Justice).

Our president, Barack Obama, gives us an unending list of traditions thrown by the wayside. He ended the White House tradition of holding a public ceremony on the National Day of Prayer – an annual observance for people of all faiths. There are some that see no problem with this, citing the separation of church and state. But that didn’t stop Obama from hosting the first Seder at the White House, or a Muslim dinner celebrating Ramadan. Then he chose to skip out on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – an event that symbolized freedom for an entire generation of Eastern Europeans and Americans alike. He opted to not lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day this year in favor of a vacation in Chicago. President Obama, and the White House website, made no mention of the 66th anniversary of D-Day this past June. Then, as honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, decided not to speak before the group on their 100th anniversary, instead choosing to appear on The View. Finally, Obama ended a long-standing tradition in sports by not calling to congratulate the World Series Champions after their victory in 2009, or in 2010 when the San Francisco Giants won their first title in 56 years. Obama did invite both teams to the White House, as he has done to countless teams and athletes since taking office. In fact, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post illustrates how big of a sports fan Mr. Obama is by recalling his 44 rounds of golf, 16 off-site basketball sessions in addition to countless games on his home court, and a total of 45 sports-related events hosted at the White House (“about six times the number of news conferences he has held,” according to Milbank).

Perhaps it is the sports fan in Obama that prompted him to call Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, and thank him for giving Michael Vick a second chance. He may have also thanked Lurie for maxing out to him in 2008. But seriously, he doesn’t honor the National Day of Prayer, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the 66th anniversary of D-Day, the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts, or the last two World Series Champions – but a man who ran a dog-fighting ring resulting in the hanging, drowning, electrocuting and shooting of dogs deserves Obama’s attention? Keep in mind, at least nine dogs were killed at “Bad Newz Kennels,” and 48 of the 66 dogs seized from his property had been starved, tortured and severely injured. Yes. Thank you for giving him a second chance Mr. Lurie. I’m sure it has nothing to do with his ability to bring Philadelphia a championship, and everything to do with Vick’s remorse.

America is a free country, and if liberals don’t like our traditions, they don’t have to observe them. However, actively rooting against them is infringing on the basic personal freedoms that liberals claim to fight for. As Americans, we have the right to free speech, which means if I want to say “Merry Christmas,” that’s my right. I also have the right to be as patriotic as I want to be on July 4th, eat turkey on Thanksgiving – or any other day of the year, and choose to practice my faith. Liberals may not understand many of these traditions, or why they are important to many people in our society, but that’s too bad. A lack of understanding is no justification for intolerance – something liberals should practice as much as they preach it.