Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dobbin, Mallick & Theilheimer: a Fear Mongering Trifecta

With the far-left decrying Prime Minister Stephen Harper's alleged fear mongering over the prospect of a coalition of losers, they have also taken this as an opportunity to... fear monger.

It's no great surprise. They've been doing it non-stop for nearly 20 years.

Some of the far-left's premier fear mongerers have dusted off their most dystopic nightmare to send one overhwelming message to Canadians: give Harper a majority, and Canada is over. Done for. History.

Everyone -- especially the authors of these diatribes -- know it isn't true. But these people being who they are, they're saying it anyway. Here's a brief round up.

First up, at Straight Goods Ish Theilheimer declares that, if given a majority, the first thing Harper would do is destroy public health care.

"Politicians and activists need to remind Canadians of how drastic the threat is. The record clearly shows that Stephen Harper loathes medicare," Theilheimer declares.

"Harper deserted Preston Manning and left politics in 1997 to work for the National Citizens Coalition, which was formed expressly to fight medicare, as chronicled by Murray Dobbin. In 1997, as NCC Vice-President, Harper said that Canada should scrap the Canada Health Act."

"Until 2005 Harper publicly professed to believe in two-tier care," Theilheimer continues. "When asked by the CBC about a parallel health care system, he said: 'Well I think it would be a good idea. We're alone among OECD countries in deciding that we'll have a two-tier system but our second tier will be outside the country where only the very rich and powerful can access it and [it] will be of absolutely no benefit to the Canadian health care system.'"

"In October 2002, Dobbin reminds us, Harper said, 'We also support the exploration of alternative ways to deliver health care. Moving toward alternatives, including those provided by the private sector, is a natural development of our health care system.'"

Of course to people like Theilheimer, who denounce "US-style health care" to anyone who will listen, the idea of parallel health care systems seems like a scary idea... until you consider that the best health care systems in the world feature mixtures of public and private health care delivery.

Meanwhile, Canada's health care system -- operating within the framework defined in the Canada Health Act -- continues to perform dismally compared to other health care systems. Perhaps Harper was right in 1997; perhaps Canada needs a new health care framework in order to correct the ever-growing list of flaws in the current system.

Speaking of Murray Dobbin, he too took the interwebs for some good-old fashioned Dobbin-flavoured fear mongering:
"It's been a long five years for Stephen Harper, his gaggle of ex-Reformers and the gang of three from Harris-era Ontario -- Jim Flaherty, John Baird and Tony Clement. Long and infuriating, I am sure, because for all that time they had to pretend that they were a government. They had to masquerade as people who believed that government could be a force for good. They even "stimulated" the economy. They were a minority government and the big ticket items they really wanted to get their teeth into were out of reach.

They couldn't slash Medicare or gut the Canada Health Act. They couldn't cut transfers to the provinces, or further weaken EI. They left the public services unions with their rights intact. They had to leave education alone (more or less). And they didn't risk slashing the civil service they hate so much. Even the CBC has been spared (though they raised millions from their loyalists attacking it in fundraising letters).

The frustration level, especially for Harper, must have been almost unbearable. Remember, this is a man who got so frustrated being in Opposition as right-hand man to Preston Manning that he bolted from politics altogether. The place he chose to cleanse himself after all those years having to play the democrat was the National Citizens Coalition, by a big margin the most right-wing organization on the national scene. He said he was glad to be out of politics so he could say what he really thought.

Harper was hoping for revenge in the last election and blew it by attacking culture. He's eager for another try, making Jack Layton an offer he had to refuse. And if you want to see what real revenge looks like, give this crowd a majority and they will unleash the most destructive, nation-changing blitzkrieg in living memory. I can still remember the night that Brian Mulroney won the historic free trade election 1988. It was devastating. But Mulroney was a kindergarten teacher compared to Stephen Harper. Free trade started us down the road to Americanization. Harper will take us to the end of that road and beyond.
There's very little of substance in Dobbin's tirade. The sole issue of great concern Dobbin raises is the "committee handbook" the Conservatives were caught passing about earlier in their tenure. As disappointing as that affair was, it's but a mere patrol boat in Harper's political game of Battleship.

Dobbin spends the rest of his column chasing conspiratorial phantoms in the dark. Apparently, Dobbin believes in ghosts.

The rank anti-Americanism of Dobbin's column sets the table splendidly for Heather Mallick's contribution to the politics of fear, who is so brazen about her empty anti-Americanism that it's heralded in the title of her piece.

"We’re being conquered. If Stephen Harper wins a majority, the United States of Canada is what we’ll be. Maybe you’re fine with that. I am not," Mallick writes. "The Harperites’ attitude is Republican with a layer of Tea Party, a 'current of bitterness, an anger born of a sense of exclusion,' as Lawrence Martin wrote in his fine book Harperland, Conservatives 'viscerally hating their political opposition' in a way that was new and startling in Canada but old poisoned hat for the Americans. We will become more American in word and deed, in thought and feeling."

The only anti-American bogeymen Mallick seems to have missed are the Koch brothers and Sarah Palin (Mallick's self-humiliating vicious attack on Sarah Palin in 2008 managed to earn her a permanent place at the journalistic kids' table). Speaking of visceral hatred of political opposition, it was Mallick herself who openly admitted to experiencing a blubbering episode during the 2010 Olympics when Harper was simply shown on TV.

"The Harper Government does indeed love 'jets and jails,' as Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has been saying on the campaign trail," Mallick fumes. "Its plan for more jailing and less parole is at the core of the disastrous US prison explosion that even the Americans are horrified of by now (plus they can’t afford it)."

The Harper government may indeed love jets -- they are rather awesome -- but the salient fact is that no one loves jails. The difference between Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff is that Harper knows that Canada needs both.

Speaking of Ignatieff, he did once declare that the United States was his country, yet Mallick has nothing at all to say about that. Anti-Americanism, it seems, applies only to Conservatives.

Mallick even blames Harper for what she considers to be increasing public acceptance of racism. Comically, she refers to the "too Asian?" issue of Macleans magazine, but leaves out a central fact: that the issue was widely denounced by critics.

Facts like that clearly didn't matter to Mallick. They've been sacrificed at the altar of fear, Mallick's last resort to try to prevent a Stephen Harper majority government.

Fear served the Canadian far-left well for 13 years. Yet Heather Mallick Murray Dobbin and Ish Theilheimer have yet to realize that Canadians woke up from that coma in 2006 when they elected enough Conservative MPs to make Harper Prime Minister.

The bid to resurrect that fear in the minds of Canadians is sad and pathetic. Thankfully, it won't get them anywhere.

Jason Kenney's Refugee Legacy Not So Troubling

Kenney filling in gaps in immigration policy

With Jason Kenney's governmental responsibilities as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration intersecting neatly with his party responsibilities as the pointman for outreach to ethnic communities, it was only a matter of time before someone popped up to take some shots at him.

It turns out one of the first is Jim Creskey. Writing in Embassy Magazine, Creskey outlines what he considers to be Kenney's "troubling" record as the Minister of Immigration. In some regards, it reads like a screed from an extremist organization like No One is Illegal.

Creskey's complaints circle around Bill C-49, an anti-human smuggling bill. Authored with help from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, allows immigration officials to temporarily detain a refugee who arrives by irregular means, and to reevaluate them after five years to determine whether or not they are at risk if they return to their country of origin.

Creskey suggests that Kenney, Toews and Prime Minister Stephen Harper fabricated the idea that Canada has been "overrun" by illegal immigrants. If Creskey is attempting to claim that there is no problem with migrants illegally on Canadian soil, he is simply wrong.

Bill C-49 would be one thing if it were targetted at legitimate refugees who belong in Canada. But that isn't the case. Bill C-49 is targetted at refugees who lack a founded claim. In particular, its aimed at denying foreign terrorists entry into Canada, and deporting them promptly if they are already here.

Individuals linked to the Tamil Tigers have spent years terrorizing law-abiding Tamil communities in Canada, often demanding funds while making threats against any family they may have at home in Sri Lanka. They also commit comparatively petty crimes in Canada, including debit card fraud rings.

This on top of attempts to form a Tamil Tiger government-in-exile in Canada.

For years, a policy aimed at using refugee status as a gateway to citizenship has biased immigration policy into letting many of these so-called "refugees" roam free. When one of them is identified as having links to a terrorist or criminal organization, they simply vanish. There is an incomprehensible number of such individuals currently evading deportation orders in Canada.

This isn't to say that Creskey is entirely wrong about the immigration issue. In an earlier Embassy column, Creskey relates the tales of numerous refugee claimants, with entirely legitimate claims, who simply get lost in the system.

It's a sad fact that sometimes, in Canada's refugee system, people get lost in the cracks. Occasionally, Citizenship and Immigration bureaucrats even hand down some poor decisions, such as the decision to deport a blind man back to Algeria. Fortunately, the decision was overturned with the help of considerable public pressure.

Kreskey does the country a service by raising these concerns. But to complain so hyperbolically about Jason Kenney's moves to fill in key gaps in Canada's immigration policy does the country a profound disservice.

Jim Creskey too often sounds far too little like a reasoned, educated thinker on immigration policy, and too frequently like one of the demagogues at No One is Illegal.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hook, Line & Sinker

Justin Trudeau falls for clearly-fake Craigslist posting

When Papineau MP Justin Trudeau turned in his teachers' books for an order paper as an elected Member of Parliament, it may have been for the best.

As an MP, he's demonstrated a distinct lack of critical thinking skills.

Recently, Trudeau has seemingly made a point of demonstrating precisely how shallow his comprehension of a lot of issues are. He stirred up a hornets nets recently, when he objected to the government referring to honour killings as a barbaric practice in a new citizenship guide.

"It’s meant to be pejorative," Trudeau complained. "There's nothing that the word 'barbaric' achieves that the words 'absolutely unacceptable' would not have achieved."

It was a clear sign from a politician with a coveted lineage simply doesn't get so many issues. Canadians judge honour killings perjoratively, and with good cause. Canadians simply don't accept cultural relativism related this issue, in any way, shape or form.

Trudeau's tendency to leap without looking bit him again this week, as he took to his Twitter profile to comment on a Craig's List ad calling for "right wing paid commenters".

"I think this is worth repeating, in case anyone actually thought social media trolls were genuine believers," Trudeau mused.

He made this comment despite the fact that the posting in question has been flagged and removed. And there's good reason for that, too.

The posting is very clearly fake, posted by someone who didn't bother to so much as run the ad through the spellcheck on Microsoft Word before publishing it, something no self-respecting public relations firm would do.

It's basically a case of "crash the Tea Party" tactics brought to Canada.

That an allegedly-serious MP seeking reelection would bother giving this kind of fakery the time of day sends a message about Trudeau's judgement: that he's too busy chasing non-issues around the Twitterverse and decrying suitable uses of the word "barbaric" to keep appraised of what the real issues are.

It should have some voters in Papineau thinking twice about casting their ballot for Justin Trudeau.

The Ultimate Kangaroo Court

PressCore twists parliamentary law to eliminate political competition

Perhaps it was only a matter of time.

On second thought, there is no question that it was only a matter of time.

With Canada's opposition parties having done and said absolutely anything they could -- no matter how dirty -- over the past 18 years to prevent a conservative party from ever coming close to winning government, let alone a majority government, it must have simply been too much to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper lead the Conservative Party to the very cusp of a majority.

In their desperation, with nothing they do or say working to dissuade Canadians from giving him that majority, the opposition finally hatched what they must have thought was a simply perfect plan: they would arrange to have Harper's government held in contempt of Parliament.

Of course, this wasn't a genuine contempt of Parliament. First, the opposition would exploit their majority presence on a key Parliamentary committee to demand that the government provide them with more information than there was to provide. Even when the government provided them with all the information they had to give on their tough-on-crime agenda, and on the purchase of vitally-needed F-35 aircraft, the opposition declared that it wasn't enough.

Then, instead of adopting the committee's recommendation that the government be held in contempt of Parliament properly -- with votes in the House of Commons and the Senate -- opposition leader Michael Ignatieff instead referenced the committee's recommendation that the government be held in contempt during a non-confidence motion, toppling the government.

Since then, it's been off to the electoral races, even with the opposition knowing full well that they couldn't get a genuine contempt motion passed through the Senate. They've been telling Canadians the government has been held in contempt, when they know full well that isn't actually the case. Not officially.

At this point enters PressCore -- a fourth-rate "news" website -- and Paul W Kincaid. In a column on the website, Kincaid (one presumes it's his handiwork, for no author is identified) suggests that Harper and his cabinet are inelligible to run for re-election under parliamentary law.

"On Friday March 25, 2011 the Canadian House of Commons found Prime Minister Stephen Harper guilty of contempt of Parliament," Kincaid fumes. "According to parliamentary law, contempt of parliament is a federal crime. Being that Harper has been found guilty of a crime Harper is barred from seeking re-election on May 2, 2011. No federal government or cabinet minister has ever been found in contempt before."

Once again, this is simply not the case. Not only has nothing even remotely resembling a proper trial been held to "convict" Harper and the cabinet, the committee's contempt recommendation has not even formally been adopted.

"The vote by the Canadian House of Commons is very much the same as an impeachment of the president of the United States of America," Kincaid continues. "In the US if a president or US lawmaker is impeached (a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity) that person is removed from office and cannot run for office again."

Once again, Kincaid is wrong. The vote by the House of Commons is actually nothing at all like an impeachment of a President of the United States. For one thing, an impeachment in the United States is an actual criminal process, albeit one that takes place before the US Senate. A judge -- usually a supreme court justice -- is present to preside over the proceedings. Prosecutors and defense council present evidence on each sides of the case. The Senate acts effectively as a jury. None of this can even begin until the House of Representatives has agreed to issue articles of impeachment.

Nothing like this happened in the House of Commons. Michael Ignatieff introduced a non-confidence measure and the opposition, full of partisan fury, voted affirmative. No vote on contempt recommendation means no contempt finding. Not that this matters much to the howling demagogues of the far-left.

But the utter temerity of individuals like Kincaid -- so brimming with ideological hatred -- renders the matter crystal-clear. For individuals such as Kincaid, this is simply a means by which they can eliminate a politician whom they know they can't defeat fair and square. It's the ultimate political kangaroo court.

This may be the best reason why reform of the rules by which an individual or government can be held in contempt of Parliament desperately need to be reformed. Partisanship will almost certainly never be entirely eliminated from these sorts of procedings, but its role can be limited.

The best way to do this is to institute a method of formal trial, and to set a higher standard to which a contempt vote must be passed by the House as a whole. A rule stipulating that two-thirds of each house of Parliament -- the House of Commons and the Senate -- would reserve findings of contempt for cases in which they are truly and unquestionably warranted.

Rules could be instituted to allow committees to hold individuals in contempt of council in cases where a full-blown Parliamentary contempt finding aren't warranted.

But as it stands right now, it's far too easy for a desperate opposition to use the concept of parliamentary privilege to mask partisan desperation, and use the House of Commons as the ultimate kangaroo court.

In Canada, we now know this all too well. It happened just last week.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lizzie May's Priorities: Herself, Herself, Herself

Green Party leader focused on winning a single seat: her own

As the possibility of a federal election looms large, Green Party leader Elizabeth May wants her party to fully understand what her priorities are:

They all hinge around herself; winning her own seat.

So she won't be walking the national campaign beat as hard as the other federal leaders. While Canada's other federal leaders are helping their candidates get elected, May will be focusing all her time on herself.

As it turns out, getting May elected is the top priority of all Green Party candidates. May seems to expect that getting elected themselves will come second for all other Green hopefuls.

"The Green Party nationally has decided this is a priority for all of us," May declared. "I am not going to be required to be crisscrossing the country as much as I did in the 2008 election."

"So, I can stay home, keep knocking on doors."

This leaves virtually all of the Green Party's candidates at an even greater disadvantage than they would have been otherwise: with next to no support at all from their party leader, they'll struggle to create a coherent federal brand for voters to respond to.

No one should be terribly surprised: after all, she is the same leader who butchered her party's own constitution so she could guarantee herself her position as the leader.

For Elizabeth May, the Green Party is all about her. Nothing else.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Canadian History X

White supremacy in Canada -- particularly in Alberta -- took centre stage recently, as a white supremacist group held a rally in Calgary.

The rally was, fortunately, met with a great deal of resistance from the local community. But underpinning that resistance is an encouraging fact: no where in Canada can these white supremacist groups survive on their own. In Alberta, white supremacist groups have been offering financial support to racists willing to move to Alberta from other parts of the country.

When these sorts of rallies are held, it seems that the natural impetus of Canadian society is to analyze Canadian history and Canadian society to determine what contributes to the creation of these movements in the first place.

The focus is, more often than not, on national history. Far too frequently do we bother to pay attention to personal history.

In American History X, the question of personal history in the adoption of white supremacist beliefs are explored when Danny Vinyard (Edward Furlong) turns in a book report on Mein Kampf to his high school history class. His principal, Dr Bob Sweeney (Avery Brooks) instructs Danny to instead write a report on his brother Derek (Edward Norton), just released from prison for the murder of two black men.

Dr Sweeney declares this to be a specialized history course: he dubs it "American History X".

Derek turned to white supremacism after his father, a Los Angeles firefighter, is shot while battling a blaze in an unidentified predominantly-black neighbourhood. His life quickly spirals into a morass of violence, not only against what he sees as the racial antagonists of his neighbourhood.

Following going to prison, Derek has had a change of heart. Racial loyalties on the inside are not what they are on the inside. Now Derek is a victim of the violence, as opposed to its perpetrator.

However, Derek makes an unexpected friend: Lamont (Guy Torry), a black man who works with him in the prison laundry room. In time, Derek begins to turn away from his white supremacist ideology, and leaves prison determined to turn Danny away from it too.

It isn't merely Derek's and Danny's personal experience in being turned to white supremacism that is useful for understanding how the ideology takes root, it's Derek's and Danny's experience in turning away from white supremacism that are useful in turning people away from the ideology.

The typical assumption is that white supremacists are bad people. This assumption is very natural, but it overlooks what may be a key question in approaching the subject:

If Canadian white supremacists were to participate in a Canadian History X history course, what would they produce? And what would it tell us about how to conquer racism?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rand Paul's Budget Solution: Gut the Government

Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce & Housing, and Urban Development on the chopping block

After the results of the 2010 midterm elections, it could be said that the Republican Party was sent to Washington with a very clear mandate: get the budget under control. Now.

One of the guiding lights of the Republican resurgence, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, has made this mandate his driving cause. He's frequently criticized his Republican colleagues -- in both houses of Congress -- for not being dedicated enough to fighting the deficit.

It's against the backdrop of this tension that Paul recently unveiled his 5-year plan to eliminate the US federal budget deficit.

Paul doesn't merely stop at the easy bargaining points -- programs and spending that many people in Congress could stand to see let go -- he also approaches some much more contentious spending, programs that many would argue are essential.

“There’s a lot of things in here that everybody could agree to, Republicans and Democrats, but nobody’s leading on the president’s side and on our side we felt we needed to put this forward to get the debate started, at the very least,” Paul declared.

On Paul's chopping block are entire government departments, including some that all but the staunchest fiscal conservatives would consider untouchable: the Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce and Housing, and the Department of Urban Development.

Paul understands the crucial importance that many people attach to these departments. But Paul is trying to avoid a Greece-style fiscal collapse where the pain would be much worse.

“There’s an argument for every federal program up here," Paul conceded. "Nobody’s coming up here asking me for money that’s not for a good reason. But the alternative is that we get into a point of financial disaster where nobody gets any money.”

Paul is prepared to accept the criticisms of his would-be detractors.

“There may be some in this town who will disagree with the manner in which we’re proposing moving toward a balanced budget over a five year period. That’s fine, that’s understandable, that’s what this town is about," Paul said. "But to those who may disagree with it, to those who might want to attack it. I would ask that they come up with their own five year plan.”

If any number of Congresspersons could come up with their own five-year plan, one could rest assured that it wouldn't include purging the federal government of the Department of Education or the Department of Energy.

Simply put, any federal government has an interest in ensuring that education remains strong across the entirety of the country, and that some standards exist from state to state. Moreover, with the amount of American energy derived from imports, there's an extremely strong argument to be made against abolishing that department.

The other two major departments on Paul's chopping block -- Housing and Commerce, and Urban Development -- quite easily could, and probably even should be delegated entirely to state governments.

That's certainly what South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint seems to think.

“There are functions and departments at the federal level that need to be devolved to the states," DeMint declared. "Part of balancing the budget is restructuring and devolving federal functions back the states, local communities and people."

It's an interesting argument: that the federal deficit is driven largely by encroachments into matters of state jurisdiction. It's almost certainly true, even if it's an argument that many Democrat lawmakers would be reluctant to agree with.

Rand Paul certainly isn't entirely right with his five-year plan; Education and Energy are clearly two gaps in his plan. But he certainly seems to be on the right track.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The High Cost of Retreating From Tyranny

There is truly nothing more frightening to the freedom-loving mind than the idea of having your country occupied by an oppressive and hostile force.

In Homefront, Kaos Games teams up with Red Dawn director John Milius to present a "what if?" scenario in which the emergence of a ruthless and competent North Korean leader intersects with a disastrous Iran-Saudi Arabia war (and accompanying oil price shock) combines to lead to the rise of a terrifying new global power: the Greater Korean Federation.

The game presents a chilling -- but historically familiar -- scenario in which North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-Un reunites with South Korea and begins to annex countries around the Pacific rim, including Japan.

In the face of the rising threat, the United States has long since retreated from the Pacific rim while the western economy collapses. A bird flu endemic claims the lives of six million Americans while the Koreans slowly creep across the Pacific.

Although the threat grows on their very doorstoops, the "future history" of Homefront suggests that China and Russia do absolutely nothing to prevent it. Indeed, perhaps they make some plays of their own, using the growing power of the Greater Korean Federation as cover for their own moves (think a Chinese annexation of Taiwan, possible Russian seizures of Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet Republics).

If this sounds familiar one shouldn't be surprised.

During the 1930s and '40s, Adolph Hitler took advantage of a massive economic upheaval to creep across Europe entirely unopposed until it was nearly too late to stop him. When the allies finally decided to stand up to Hitler it was already too late; France fell quickly.

So humanity already knows the human cost of retreating from tyranny. It led to the costliest war in human history, one that claimed some 16,000,000 lives.

If any such threat really existed in the world today, it has become clear that President Barack Obama would not be equipped to deal with it. Like the fictional United States presented in the fictional Homefront game, Obama has made a habit of abandoning US allies, to the extent that they actually handed British nuclear secrets over to the Russians.

It's that kind of international disloyalty that contributes to the "America alone" scenarios that Milius so frequently presents. It's a rather simple and intuitive idea: when weak leadership renders the United States a liability rather than a reliable ally, its friends may decide to just stay home.

In the face of an enemy like the fictional Korean foe presented in Homefront -- one so indifferent to human rights and the laws of war that they would irradiate the Mississippi River in order to keep US forces divided -- the abandonment of one's allies can come with a steep cost:

It's the high and intolerable cost of retreating from tyranny.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

As a follow-up to Kosovo: Conflict Through the Centuries, Kosov: Life After Independence chronicles the early struggles of Kosovars to create and manage their own country following its secession from Serbia.

No matter how separatists may imagine it -- from Ulster nationalists in Britain to Quebecois separatists in Canada -- countries do not break up gracefully.

While ethnic Albanians were overjoyed by the Kosovar declaration of independence, ethnic Serbs in Kosovo were naturally ill at ease -- Serbian President Boris Tadic promised nothing short of complete defiance in his bid to overturn what he termed an illegal seccession.

In the wake of such a seccession, it's certain that there are some -- in many cases, even entire families -- that may never accept the seccession of Kosovo. The separation of Kosovo may even spawn future separatist movements within predominantly-Serbian portions of Kosovo.

When that time comes, ethnic Albanian Kosovars may have to swallow their own bitter medicine. Unless abated through a proper negotiation and reconciliation, the cycle will merely continue indefinitely.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Herman Cain: a President For America's Grandchildren

At an Iowa convention for the Faith Freedom Coalition, CPAC standout Herman Cain delivered another barn-burning speech.

Although Cain hasn't yet declared his candidacy for President of the United States, he seems to be clearly indicating that he will run. He's been hard at work outlining his vision for America. He predicates that vision on three foundational principles:

1. Do the right thing - A United States with Cain as its President would not do things like sue the state of Arizona for implementing immigration legislation that safeguards civil liberties more strongly than the federal law does, and certainly wouldn't do it as a tactic of wedge politics.

That leaders should do the right thing seems intuitive. Yet with a President whose administration sues states for protecting their citizens, or dismisses charges against militant groups who intimidated voters on the day he was elected, it seems that the United States has a President who's far more interested in justifying misdeeds after the fact.

Cain is promising better. It's worth keeping in mind that he shouldn't have to.

2. The United States needs to be an empowerment society, not an entitlement society - The American budget has become overbloated with programs that were founded to help people, but have grown beyond that mandate to become so-called "entitlement programs".

Cain wants to restructure these entitlement problems so that the states have enough power to restore them into what they were originally intended as: assistant programs.

This kind of promise should ring true with anyone who believes in federalism.

3. It's about America's grandchildren - Cain declares that this generation of Americans must become "the defending fathers"; that they must defend the founding principles of the United States, and its future.

In President Barack Obama, the USA has a President who is governing almost strictly for today. He doesn't seem to be concerned that the Obamacare health care reforms aren't fiscally sustainable. He doesn't seem to be concerned that the US' public debt now equals its GDP. In fact, he wants to increase the government debt ceiling so it can be driven even higher.

The United States may not necessarily need ain. But one thing is clear: it needs a new President, one that shares Cain's guiding principles.

Herman Cain would be a President for America's Grandchildren, born and unborn. Right now, they desperately need one.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Balkanization 101

In a world where the fomer Yugoslavia is often treated as an all-encompassing example of ethnic conflict, it should be considered unsettling that so few people understand the nature of the conflict there.

While the conflict within Serbia over the destiny of Kosovo -- whether the predominantly ethnic Albanian region will remain within Serbia, or whether it would separate (Kosovo eventually declared its independence) -- is but a fragment of the overall conflict in former Yugoslavia, it's a good place to start for anyone trying to get a better grip on the phenomenon of Balkanization.