Virginia

Two Virginia Democrats Get It Right Online

Scores of articles have been written about Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s online prowess during the 2009 election cycle. 

Steve and I certainly tip our hats to Patrick Ruffini, Mindy Finn and Vince Harris, because they demonstrated for many skeptical onlookers how a Republican candidate who commits the right resources to his or her online campaign can be successful.  Unfortunately, not every candidate has the resources Bob McDonnell had, nor do they often commit to their online campaign with similar fervor. 

In working with several GOP House of Delegates candidates in Virginia last year, Steve and I saw both obstacles – resources and commitment to an online operation – manifest themselves repeatedly.  With perhaps only an exception for the benefits that ActBlue provides Democratic candidates, this problem extends to both sides of the aisle in the Commonwealth.

Trust us when we tell you, there will come a time (probably in 2011) when door knocking alone will no longer suffice for candidates seeking to become delegates or state senators.

Earlier this week, the 2010 Politics Online Conference was held in Washington.  The event drew some of the nation’s top political online experts from both sides of the aisle to share their insight on how candidates and advocacy groups can improve their online operations.

Here’s an unfortunate fact about the conference, though.  Out of the 140 members who serve in the Virginia General Assembly, Steve and I saw only two members attending the two-day event.  We understand that not every member could make it due to busy schedules and travel considerations, but it was odd to hear the McDonnell campaign as the backdrop to so many of the panel discussions and yet to see so few Virginians in the audience.   

State Senator Chap Petersen (D-34) not only attended the event, but he served as a panelist.  Joined by Democratic Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CNN’s Ed Henry (moderator) and Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson (D-Ward 7), Petersen discussed how he uses social media to connect with his Fairfax constituents.

As conservatives who’ve worked hard against liberals like Peterson in Virginia, Steve and I were treated to the disheartening lesson that Chap Petersen really does get it.  He utilizes social media and digital technology for three reasons.  First, so constituents of his district are made to understand that he is working on their behalf.  Second, to provide a forum for his constituents to express their opinion.  Finally, to aid his fundraising efforts. 

Peterson was not the only Virginia Democrat to patrol the Politics Online Conference.  On Tuesday, we ran into Delegate Mark Keam (D-35), who attended both days of the event, sitting in on panels and workshops in an effort to gain new insight into how to better execute his online campaign.

Both of these gentlemen do sit on the “other side” from us, but Steve and I have to congratulate them on their efforts to better their online presence.

Yes, Virginia politicos might be making strong progress with adopting digital technology, but members of both parties, as whole, still have a long way to go before we can categorize their use of social media and digital technology as being “cutting edge.”

If we happen to have overlooked any other member or staffers of the Virginia Legislature who attended the conference, we do apologize and hope you were taking notes.

Ford O’Connell and Steve Pearson, Co-Founders, ProjectVirginia – “Where Politics Meets Social Media”

Hillary Clinton Wants To Redistribute YOUR Hard Earned Money

It seems that this week, half of the executive branch of the U.S. Government is in Copenhagen to try and craft a deal on global warming. This includes our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

On Thursday, Secretary Clinton pledged YOUR tax dollars to contribute to a $100 billion fund (which the U.S. doesn't have - will it mean higher taxes?) to help poorer nations fight global warming.

She just happened to make this announcement on the same day a report came from the Russians showing that the "scientists" who have been assembling the temperature information that the IPCC and others were relying on for years was in fact a total crock (PDF file).

James Delingpole at The Telegraph reports on how the Russians are accusing British scientists of manipulating global warming data.

Russia Today TV discussed this controversy:

(Cross posted @ LeeHernly.com

Help Rep. Dan Burton Save The U.S. Navy Seals

As you may or may not know, three U.S. Navy Seals are being court-martialed for their role in capturing a bloodthirsty terrorist, Ahmed Hashim Abed.

Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) is leading a Save the SEALs mission to pressure the Pentagon to dismiss charges against these Navy SEALS who are accused of punching Ahmed Hashim Abed in the mouth; which caused him to incur a bloody lip when he was captured.

This type of complaint comes straight from the pages of an official al Qaeda training manual, and officials at the detention facility at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say they see clear evidence that detainees are well-versed in its contents.

Abed was the mastermind behind the massacre of four Blackwater employees who were deployed to deliver catering supplies in Fallujah. Not content to merely ambush and slaughter the victims, Abed went for extra Allah points by setting their bodies on fire and hanging them from a bridge.

I hope you will stand with Dan and sign the petition to send a message that you do stand with Dan and the 3 Navy SEALs for defending America. The petition will go to Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations. Here's Dan talking about this case:

You can sign the petition here.

(Cross posted @ LeeHernly.com)

 

Historical Quote of The Day on Good Government

"[A] wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." --Thomas Jefferson

GOP Revival: There's An App for That

What Ramesh Ponnuru has written about Tuesday's wins is right in so many ways:

More important, a few Republican candidates have demonstrated that it is possible to transcend the party's conservative-moderate divide. In Virginia, Robert McDonnell won a landslide — the first Republican win in a governor's race there in 12 years — by running as a problem solver. Social conservatives know he is one of them. But independent voters strongly backed him too. Voters as a whole trusted him more than his Democratic opponent on everything from fixing the roads to strengthening the economy. Once he had that trust, Democrats were unable to get voters to see him as frighteningly conservative, although they tried to make hay out of a hard-right master's thesis McDonnell wrote in 1989.

[Disclosure: I consulted for the McDonnell campaign, and these are my personal views on why he won.]

In the wake of McDonnell's landslide, many observers have pointed to his brand of "pragmatism" to make the case that McDonnell -- and not Hoffman in NY-23 -- is the way forward for conservatives in 2010.

But to point to McDonnell as a subrosa moderate profoundly misses the point. McDonnell is a strong conservative who early in the campaign put Deeds on the defensive by running against Obama and Pelosi's policies, most notably card check and cap-and-trade. There was never any doubt as to McDonnell's conservative bona fides.

But even though McDonnell was in fact a true conservative, there was no need to make the election about those credentials. McDonnell's conservatism spoke for itself.

What the campaign keyed in on very early is that most voters aren't ideological. In a time of crisis, they first and foremost want problems solved -- and specifically, the problems created by too much government meddling and taxes to go away.

Wait, not ideological? So Ruffini's saying we need to run moderates? No. That is precisely the opposite of what I am saying.

Because very few independents care about ideological name-checks, they won't be swayed by scare tactics trying to persuade them that Candidate X is the ideological second-coming of Attila the Hun. We saw this with the thesis attacks. Candidates have wide latitude to run as who they actually are, so long as they can persuade voters they'll deal with the bread and butter issues (which was McDonnell's calling card).

In a purple state like Virginia, you can win by running as a liberal and a problem-solver (Kaine), as a moderate and a problem-solver (Warner), and as a strong conservative and a problem-solver (McDonnell).

Faced with that choice, why wouldn't we choose to run the conservative every time? A non-ideological electorate gives us more leeway to run conservatives in blueish/purple states, not less. To get a flavor of this in action, just look at the closing slide of McDonnell's ads:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2600/4080658254_777a1c8cfd.jpg

The ubiquitous "Jobs Governor" branding and the spinning icons highlighting different issues is evocative of the desire for practical, clickable solutions to everyday problems shown in another recent marketing campaign.

Fixing Northern Virginia traffic? There's an app for that.

Jobs? There's an app for that.

Education? There's an app for that.

Essentially, whatever the issue was, Bob McDonnell wanted you he had the proverbial "app for that" -- a set of practical solutions not overtly branded as left, center, or right.

Considering the issue void that was the Creigh Deeds campaign, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Republicans in Virginia have struggled to make their prescriptions relevant to swing voters. Our issues in local elections have traditionally been issues like taxes and immigration that don't always lend themselves to policy heft. And a lack of policy heft has translated into an intangible sense that there's not enough "there there."

This was the central challenge facing the McDonnell campaign at its outset, and so it systematically sought to dismantle this critique by branding McDonnell as a practical problem solver without compromising his conservative principles.

Republicans can be specific, detailed, and confident in putting forward solutions relevant to the middle class, while also being more conservative than we have been in recent years (especially with the Bush era spending binge). There's not an either/or tradeoff between conservatism and a policy focus, something the McDonnell campaign proved in Virginia this year.

The lesson of the McDonnell campaign: Maintain your conservative principles, but make the election about policy. And whatever the issue, make sure you've got an app for that.

Virginia argues that they don't need to send out military absentee ballots in time to vote

Last year, we covered some of the problems in the counting of military absentee ballots in Virginia, as did others. This problem has not gone away. It has just moved. The day before election day 2008, the McCain campaign filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia to force Virginia to count military absentee ballots that came in after election day. McCain lost Virginia by more than enough votes, but the case went on with the Department of Justice replacing the McCain campaign.There were filings last month and will likely be a hearing this month. So what?

The Virginia State Board of Elections argued in their most recent filing that they have no legal obligation to send out military absentee ballots in a timely manner. Restated, the State of Virginia has argued in a federal court filing that they can legally send out absentee ballots to active duty soldiers the day before an election. Restated again, the Democratic Chairwoman of the Virginia State Board of Election (appointed by the Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine, in his capacity as Virginia Governor) Jean Cunningham just claimed a legal basis for massively raising the barrier to voting for soldiers at war.

Really. Read on for details.

PSA: Tell your friends in the military how to vote by absentee

(Posted on behalf of some Virginia activists who appreciate that those who serve deserve the right to vote)

For all the attention paid to the recent voting in Iraq and Afghanistan, one would think that the process for getting absentee ballots to our own service men and women should be simple and straightforward. Unfortunately, it’s a rather convoluted process and easy to miss the deadlines – especially if you’re deployed in a war zone.

For service personnel who claim residence in Virginia and New Jersey, this is a pressing issue, as the deadlines for requesting ballots for the statewide elections this November are fast approaching. A couple of organizations in Virginia, the Dominion Leadership Trust and ProjectVirginia are working to publicize how service men and women can vote in these two states’ 2009 elections.

The important first step of this process is to alert military personnel that they are eligible to vote absentee and give them the information to navigate the process for requesting a ballot. While both of these organizations are supporting Republican candidates, the information they are providing is a non-partisan step-by-step guide to navigating the process. They are simply asking everyone who knows someone in the military or a military family to email them this information – a small request to support our men and women in uniform.  You can use the links below:

Virginia: http://www.ProjectVirginia.com/military-vote

New Jersey: http://www.ProjectVirginia.com/military-vote-nj

The voting difficulties faced by deployed military personnel are not new – and cut across federal, state and local elections. As Peter Roff of US News & World Report wrote in May 2009, the PEW Center on the States found that only 26 percent of the absentee ballots requested by military personnel were ever actually counted in 2006. The widespread difficulties with military absentee voting in 2008 led Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mark Beigich (D-AK) to sponsor a bipartisan bill, the Military Voting Protection Act and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to sponsor the bill in the House, earlier this year. While this legislation is a worthwhile effort, it is aimed at 2010 – so the rest of us need to step up just a little in 2009 and help spread the word to the troops and their families today.

 

What the right needs to do to regain acceptance and credibility by the mainstream

The right has lost its way and a lot of people are starting to recognize this.  Books are being written (The Death of Conservatism, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, etc.)  Here are my thougths on what is wrong and what needs to be done about it.

Discredit those who are not helpful

Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, etc. have said a lot of downright crazy and dumb things (people with AIDS should be quarantined, etc.)  and are far too tied to Christianity.  They should be called out for that and pushed to the side so that true leaders on the right can rise to the top and give the right a real chance at regaining credibility and the minds of those who are undecided or in the center.  Those who espose hate, and anger should also be discredited and pushed to the side (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.).  It is long past time for Conservative talk radio to become more academic, constructive, and hopeful sounding, and cater to the best in us (love, hope, unity, civics, etc.), rather than the worst (fear, anger, race, etc.).

Stop catering to the Christian right

Christianity has nothing to do with conservative ideas and theory on money, foreign policy, etc.  There is also supposed to be a strong seperation of church and state.  Our country was formed partially for freedom of religion, and if our government is run by someone who wants to impose their religion through laws and perspective, then we lose that.  In addition, America is not a Christian nation; though nearly 80% are Christian, there is still another 20% that are not.

Stop simply opposing every idea President Obama has and propose alternative solutions

The right has really been a thorn in our Presidents side instead of working with him to solve the problems in America.  The way to gain credibility and get some conservative ideas into law is to honestly work with the left to create good policy, and also proactively propose laws to solve some of our problems before the left takes up the problem.

Stop supporting causes that have nothing to do with Conservative ideology

The right should disassociate itself with such issues as abortion, and other things that are outside of the ideas of conservatism.  Abortion is an issue thats argument against it is primarily based in religion.  The same applies to marriage equality for gays; the argument against it can only be made from a religious standpoint.  Because of this, and because no party should be tied to any religion, just as our government should not be tied to any religion, the right as a whole and Republicans as a party should disassociate theirselves with abortion and start supporting equal rights for gays.  These two issues alone keep some of those in the center and on the left from ever supporting a Republican candidate.  It might cause a lot of those on the Christian right to be upset, but then they can choose the party that best conforms to what their idea of government should do on all other issues, or form a new 3rd party that is tightly tied to Christianity.

Stop being inconsistent

Right now many on the right are opposing government run health care on the idea that even though it may save a lot of lives, it isn't proper for the government or taxpayers to help others.  Yet, many of those same people are in support of the war in Iraq to give people in another country freedom and save their lives.  Why should we spend taxpayer dollars to police the world yet not spend taxpayer dollars to save those within our own borders?  Either we shouldn't spend money to help others, or we should and if we should then we should definitely want to help those within our own borders before those who are not within our borders.

Stop being hawks

The right has become a group of hawks and this is contrary to conservative ideas on foreign policy.  Conservative ideas on foreign policy are as spelled out by the Cato Institute:

Cato's foreign policy vision is guided by the idea of our national defense and security strategy being appropriate for a constitutional republic, not an empire. Cato's foreign policy scholars question the presumption that an interventionist foreign policy enhances the security of Americans in the post-Cold War world, and maintain instead that interventionism has consequences, including the formation of countervailing alliances, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and even terrorism. The use of U.S. military force should be limited to those occasions when the territorial integrity, national sovereignty, or liberty of the United States is at risk.

Conservatives need to re-embrace those ideas.  They are the ideas that our nations founders had in mind, and they are the ideas that are the most ethical and that might also allow some on the left to consider the rest of our ideas.

Have a well thought out income tax policy

There either should not be an income tax as Libertarians would like, or there should be an income tax that works to support Conservative values.  A tax that is progressive helps strengthen families at the lower incomes and therefore helps literacy rates, etc. which helps to preserve conservative values of strong families, an educated populace, etc.  Right now the government has taken on far too much responsibility and therefore spends too much and our national debt is growing because of it.  It is time to start cutting back on spending, but at the same time increasing revenue and the only realistic way to increase revenue is through a progressive income tax because those in the middle and lower class cannot support any higher tax burden.

Start supporting alternative energy and embrace that global warming is real and might be caused by us

The science is in, global warming is real and it is probably caused by our actions (and can we afford to gamble that it is not?).  Most of the oil that is easily available is in countries with citizens that do not like us.  Because of these two things, it is long past time to start looking into energy sources that do not emit CO2, and that do not require us to work with countries that are not friendly to us.

Stop catering to Israel

We give far too much money and support to Israel and it hurts our credibilty around the world and doesn't help to reduce the hatred towards us in the Muslim world.  It is time to treat Israel as we would any other country that is a friend and ally of ours.  We should work with them, and be friends with them, but we should point out when they are doing something that works against peace in the middle east and use our monetary aid as a tool to help control their actions rather than blindly supporting them at all times.

Start rethinking drug policy

The war on drugs does not work, and will never work so long as it is punitive rather than based in medicine.  It only makes organized crime stronger, and leads to a larger role of government and often leads to violations of our constitutional rights.  The punitive war on drugs was originally based on racism, and is now based in morality that is derived from religion.  For these reasons, it is time for the federal government to take a non punitive role and start considering policy that would put organized crime out of business, make drug use safer and less damaging to society, and help those who are ready to reform their lives through cessation of drug abuse.

 

 

Emissions Standards: The Global Siege on America >>

Let me begin by pronouncing the agreements that I share with Democrats. Or rather: let me be clear. The Earth is a gift from God, and is, aside from perhaps the feminine form, the most stunning thing in existence. No man alive is so base as to devalue what we have. This vehicle, like the Hand that created it, yields beyond sustenance and gives inspiration.

Now with that caveat out of the way, I submit that the Liberals, the Greens, and the Radical Left’s feel-good ideas of castrating the industrial machine are reckless and downright dangerous for America. The Left (and by extension the Democratic Party), in what has become an international battle royale for energy, prefers to surrender our arms and engines.  They are gruelingly unable to comprehend nuclear and fossil energy as a game-changing tactical weapon like steel and gunpowder. Nor are they able to accept that environmental stewardship treaties ratified by international bodies actually hold deliberate, ulterior motives to tightly bind America in other ways. And a shrugging regard at such powers is one of the most imminent dangers of the new century.

And to temper this sentiment, I believe that America can and should reduce its negative impact on the environment; namely by shifting from coal to nuclear power as a staple like France did and John McCain suggested. It seems that Liberals only like the bad ideas from Europe, but none of the good ones. As a case in point, we would have already reached the Kyoto emissions goals through the nuclear option that Republicans have proposed for years.

 

If President Bush had not pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol that President Clinton signed in 1997, we would have shouldered the burden of what other nations turn and ignore. Sadly, many of the global shirkers were Kyoto's chief architects within the European Union! Aside from ignoring the pollution of China and India which clearly no longer deserve special exemption, it held America to an unreasonable standard.

Europe's Performance:       

The European Union has had mixed results since signing the Kyoto Accord. Spain failed abysmally at achieving its goals and Italy approached underdeveloped Russia to buy carbon credits. To contextualize Russia’s position, the fall of the Soviet Union led to "Perestroika" and an industrial collapse, and Kyoto’s lax standards on Russia were assessed on this collapse. Similarly, Germany claims to have decreased their overall emissions. Yet, the integration of East Germany and the other ex-Soviet states (whose outmoded production stood to be revamped anyway) has tilted this statistic grossly. The reunification of West Germany to East Germany made it much easier to restructure the rusting coal-fired production of the Cold War. This overhaul was slated to happen anyway, making such a benchmark much easier to reach. Now having lived in Spain, I saw the staggering unemployment that fluctuated between 12-18%, and that is one thing that haunts me with upcoming legislations in the pipeline. Spanish Economist Gabriel Calzada detailed the consequences of these legislations in his “Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources,” which demonstrates the damaging falsehoods of the “green job,” whatever that is. According to this perplexed academe, the subsidy of every 1 green job costs 2.2 regular jobs through inefficiencies, displacement, and re-allocation, and he expects the same results in the United States with President Obama’s Cap-and-Trade deal.

The liberal admonitionary chatchprase that “the debate is over” has battered many eardrums, not just yours. In the video below is an interview with Ex Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of Spain. It’s not in English, but I can tell you that he treats the question of climate change as we do in America. His affiliates call climate change a religion, fettered with dogma, and state we have a “blue planet, not a green one.” Like many in the US, he claims not to be a “denier,” as that label presupposes something to deny. He concludes by stating that the debate is not over, because it has yet to even commence, and that there has been a marked decay in parliamentary spirit and democratic debate in Spain in years past, and that people should return to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MD_bDfFaeI

China’s Performance:    

    The People’s Republic of China had recently surpassed the United States in CO2 emission in mid-2008, debunking the notion that America is the #1 offender.  But according to the environmental lunatics on the Left, we, The United States of America, must lead by example through blind faith and hope without assurance, that a military despotism like China will get warm fuzzies and turn green long after we have sacrificed trillions in GDP, millions of jobs, and the strategic high grounds that come with robust productive capacity. Yep. After watching America sadomasochistically self-immolate for a decade, China will want to join the rip-roarin’ fun!

India’s Performance:

Recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited India, and India’s Environmental Minister laid out a stalwart launch pad from which to negotiate future accords with the West. In short, he was not willing to sell his nation down the postmodern drain. I wish I could say the same for our leaders. Take a look for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyfJKgIQPXQ

Hillary’s refuted olive branch in New Delhi will be a microcosm of times to come, as we become the poor little match girl, passing from door to door and selling our eco-wares at no avail to a world hurtling in the opposite direction towards Ayn Rand.

The Ghosts of Energy Present and Future:

In America, we are a nation of people, not “masses” as the planeteers tend to esteem us. Hence, Carl Sagan’s hint at microbes having rights superseding those of humans will not fly far amidst a people unable to subtract anthropocentrism from stargazing, and who care little to imagine the giant unknowable workings of space and time after humans. Politically, it would be madness for a politico to expand his constituencies to mother earth, time, and space (gerrymandering would have to be done in either 3D or parsecs). The only manner in which to mobilize the public, or massage them into becoming pliant, would be to create a false sense of crisis, fear, and to literally demonize opposition as paid off or "flat-earthers." So it comes as no surprise that both Cap-and-Trade and ObamaCare are to be rushed. Despite that, the pending Waxman-Markey Bill puts forth many of the directives of “Old Europe” that will scare away manufacturing to the hills of Asia and Latin America. And Washington DC is counting on your docility to pass it.

Now according to the CIA World Factbook, America produces 14 trillion dollars in GDP as a total of our economy while China produces over 4 trillion. We dump 5.9 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere while China chugs out a full 6 billion. Now comparing the GDP in ratio to national emissions, a revelation emerges: We produce .00042 tons of CO2 per dollar of production. China produces .0015 tons of CO2 per dollar of production. So if cleanliness is the utmost goal, then the United States should already serve as an example to China, given that with a smaller population we produce more goods for the world at cleaner levels. 

Two points highlight China’s energy strategy for the 21st century: a petroleum highway and an emissions-free nuclear grid to make up for it. They already foresaw that T. Boone Pickens would abandon windfarms (which he did) and all the takeout joints in Hong Kong cannot accumulate the biodiesel grease to power fleets of buses. To put it another way: they’re not screwing around.  

According to Westinghouse Electric International, China has made it a national priority to build 100 nuclear power plants by 2020 (more resemblant of the Space Race than ObamaCare). And this national mobilization utilizes United States technology! Lord knows that the EU is already jacked into the atomic grid as well. We are not.

What’s the matter?  Did I frazzle your hippiemojo-windpower vibe and shatter your image of the avuncular T. Boone, who you learned was so hip during the hopeandchange era? Too bad, undergrad. It gets worse.

Aside from holding our debt, China is leveraging its surpluses to purchase assets around the globe, opening up trade channels to fan out their empire. Africa has become the next battlefield for resources, and China is pulling no punches in applying the same colonial takeover methodology as the powers of Europe did a century past. Nearly one third of all of China’s petroleum imports come from the African continent, and they have begun courting nations like Angola, The Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and yes…Sudan. With an economy growing at 9% for the past two decades, they are jealously vying for control of new sources of timber, coal, copper, and oil, and doing so in side by side competition with the United States. Traditionally, China has taken a hands-off approach towards meddling in the affairs of another nations (since they themselves have no desire for scrutiny), but has recently scrapped this diplomatic dogma by cozying up to local oil-friendly African nations and their government officials. A crux of their tactic has been to lay “investments” into roads, fiber optics, technology training, bridges, and other infrastructures that would otherwise bollix African nations to quickly build for themselves. This colonial paradox for a once insular power demonstrates that the searing growth of their nation has alarmingly trumped old wisdoms, and is goading them to do what it takes to win…Confucius be damned and anyone else who stands in their way.

In this quest to outbid America in global energy sources, arms have become a desired currency for petty dictators and warlords, and China is in no short supply. While Western powers have done the same for some time in supporting unsavory regimes for regional interest, the rabbit hole goes much deeper in China’s case. Dangerous regions like Sudan receive their arms shipments from China (and military trainers), while 60% of Sudanese oil output heads in the other direction. This transcontinental circulation of arms-for-oil has been used to curry favor with African members of the United Nations, allowing for more votes to disregard China’s human rights violations and it even compells African nations to rebuff the ineffectual African Union in overseeing Sino-African commerce in its own continent.

Brazil, the fastest-growing economy in Latin America and by far its largest nation, has announced that China has surpassed the United States as a trade partner in an historic demand sweep for iron ore. In February of this year, Brasil’s state-run oil company accepted a $10 billion-dollar loan deal from the People’s Republic of China, and agreed to supply China’s national oil company, SINOPEC, with petroleum output. Through decades of cultural drift from North America, and socialist Brazilian President Lula da Silva at the helm, who blames American capitalism for the global meltdown, totalitarian wheels have been set in motion in our own, western hemisphere.

An Old Bear, still tired of American power, has bellowed out a roar to be heard across Eurasia. It is common knowledge that Russia has been buying up utility companies in Eastern Europe, and providing shelter in the United Nations for Iran, a country with its own untapped resources. The recent invasion of Georgia and South Ossetia impinged into their Caucasus pipeline—one of the few pipelines that flows into Europe independently of Russia. It is no small wonder that Vladimir Putin threatened to sever the pipeline into Europe to keep the west at bay. 

The Final Word:

With exploding demand, China, Russia, and other hostile powers will continue to buy, to seek, and to prod for more economic hegemony, and weave it into their mutual fatigue with America’s superpower status. And what do they all have in common? They purchase assets with government-run oil companies, treating utilities like defense commodities and branching out with the backing of infinite subsidy under the guise of corporate buyout. And to add insult to injury, they are all exempt from Waxman-Markey and Kyoto mandates. Here in the States, we own literally oceans of natural gas beneath our bedrock, and deluvian reserves offshore. We even have three times the reserves of Saudi Arabia in the Rocky Mountains. All of this is capable of being transported with modern technology that has come a long way since the Exxon-Valdez spill ages ago; yet drilling remains illegal in spite of marvelous precautionary advances and a clean record since. This vainglorious distaste for black crude serves as an object of haughty disdain for the Liberal elite, and from others it is merely a reckless childishness regarding the stern realities of this world. Tanks are not powered on corn oil, F-22 fighter jets do not run on solar power, and aircraft carriers do not use windmills. We fuel these battle weapons with fossil fuels and nuclear reactors—the twin strategic pillars of the Republican energy platform and still the beverage of choice for the grown-up world.  

Nothin’ like the real thing. 

As I exit stage right with reminiscence, I recall President Bill Clinton rejecting a Republican push in 1995 to drill in ANWR, a frozen desert, claiming that the project would not yield oil until 2005. This stance would then contort into blatant denial when in 2008, the Democratic Party would then accuse Republicans of short-sightedness for wanting to drill in Palin Country. Fittingly enough, either party has yet to accuse China, a 4,000 year-old kingdom, of being short-sighted.

America is under siege. I suggest we start guarding our aqueducts. >>

 

 

Should We Ban Cell-Phone Use While Driving?

 

The New York Times reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration killed an ambitious study on the dangers of cell-phone use while driving in 2003. The study report was not made public in part over concerns of angering Congress.  After the break of the report, the research report “Using Wireless Communication Devices While Driving” finally has been made public.

The report details cell phones - hands-free or not - contribute to accidents, possibly even fatalities. 

The experimental data indicates that, with the exception of the consequences of manipulating a wireless communications device, there are negligible differences in safety relevant behavior and performance between using hand-held and hands-free communications devices while driving from the standpoint of cognitive distraction. Specifically, the experiment data reveal observable degradations in driver behavior and performance and changes in risk-taking and decision-making behaviors when using both hand-held and hands-free mobile phones, and the nature of these degradations and changes are symptomatic of the potential safety-related problems.

 

You can read the document here:

http://www.wirelessguide.org/2009/090728.php

 

NHTSA said, "We recommend that drivers not use these devices when driving, except in an emergency,". 

An increasing number of studies show that driving while talking on a cell phone can be dangerously distracting.

Some consumer advocacy groups are asking for a total ban on cell-phone use while driving.   There is no question that talking on a cell phone while driving is a dangerous distraction. 

 

So should we ban the cell phone use while driving?

There's no doubt that talking on a phone, with or without hands, increases risk.  A cell phone ban might make us feel better, but opponents say cell phone bans are simply not enforceable.  And there are countless things that distract drivers as much as cell phones -- talking to passengers, shouting at the kids, listening to talk radio, eating a burger, drinking a bottle of water, doing their eye makeup. So it makes little sense to outlaw one activity.

 

What’s your opinion? 

  

 

 

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