Thursday, May 31, 2007

The U.S. ranks 96th out of 121 countries around the world in peace

According to the first Global Peace Index, the United States is ranked 96th out of 121 countries in its peacefulness, and in the drivers that create and sustain that peace. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the country intelligence division of The Economist Group that publishes The Economist newspaper, compiled the Index. They measured countries' peacefulness based on a wide range of indicators - 24 in all - including ease of access to "weapons of minor destruction" (guns, small explosives), military expenditure, local corruption, and the level of respect for human rights.

I'm surprised it took this long to rank countries based on such an important topic. The only other powerful indicators of world peace might be the Nobel Peace Prize and Amnesty International; also, the Carter Center, headed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalyn Carter reports its own findings, from its "waging peace" around the world.

The troubled U.S. government openness and transparency conditions contributed significantly to its low ranking. A high level of trust between public officials and the general public only exists when our candidates, who run for office, are both honest and accountable; this would be especially attainable in a national electoral system that is fair and equitable among its political parties.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Vote for leaders, not people

Campaigns come and go, but the people never change. They move at their own pace in their own direction. It is up to the leaders to do the right thing. I'm not talking about being correct-- it is that leadership is thoughtful and humble in its responsibilities.

As for the people, they're not right all of the time. But in crises they do what is correct.

In 2008, do what is correct-- vote for true leadership.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vote YES on HR 2317 lobbying ethics

HR 2317 is up for a vote in the US House of Representatives today. It would require lobbyists who bundle campaign contributions to candidates, to report their activity. This would include, for instance, purchasing food and drinks for fundraisers throughout the year; lobbyists have worked hand-in-hand with trade groups in organizing campaign dinners for chairmen of Congressional committees.

This campaign helping by lobbyists is wrong-- they should not do favors for potential lawmakers before they may get elected! It makes common sense-- future legislative work should not be contingent upon previous campaign assistance. Vote YES for lobbyist bundling disclosure.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The House must vote YES on debating the lobbying ethics bill

There is disdain among Americans of what they see as unethical campaign behavior among candidates. They often grumble about how "special interests" stand in the way of their own public official's subsequent decision-making. Yes, lobbyists must be held accountable and must follow the rules when contributing to potential Congresspeople they may later deal with; but also, public officials must see to it that they are always up front and honest with their people as candidates.

HR 2316 and HR 2317, ethics bills moving through the U.S. House of Representatives, must be voted on for debate on the floor. Our elected Congresspeople must vote yes on having a debate, if they are to foster a high level of trust with their constituents.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Our nation is better served with open politics

TIME's Real Clear Politics is an example of the backwardness in American politics today-- they claim that the reason Ron Paul shouldn't be in the Republican Party debates is because he is a libertarian-- not a rightist. That kind of reasoning is bad politics-- not open politics.

Another good example of power grab politics is the way the redistricting process was handled in Texas a few years ago. Then U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay from Sugarland, Texas, bullied his peers in the Texas legislature into passing a biased political re-alignment of U.S. House districts in Texas.

For the good of the country, let us progress in electoral politics. True leadership by our two major parties-- the Democrats and the Republicans-- respects constructive ideas, even if it's from a political minority. A flourishing of parties in the political process is a sign of a healthy republic.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tell the EPA to allow states to regulate car emissions

California and 11 other states have passed bills to cut global warming pollution from cars. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is standing in the way. Yes, the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Agency [emphasis mine].

In spite of a recent Supreme Court ruling urging the EPA to FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING, they have not taken the first modest step of granting states a routine waiver to cut auto emissions. Please, do your part-- ask the EPA Administrator to grant California's waiver to regulate car emissions; help pave the way for statewide global warming actions across the country.

The EPA is doing damage right now by not helping. The fight against global warming starts at the local level, and states are having a stronger effect than our feds.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Personal involvement is often better than government beaurocracy

Libertarians are not only for deeper cuts in government beaurocracy, but also for improved private sector community service! Good examples of nonprofits and businesses making a difference in our nation's health is the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Novo Nordisk. The ADA recently announced a $150,000 grant from Novo Nordisk to support ADA's efforts to fight discrimination against people with diabetes.

The Fellow will provide assistance to people facing discrimination in the workplace, at school and child care centers, at correctional institutions, and in places of public accommodation; the ADA receives about 300 requests for assistance each month. ADA's legal advocacy program uses a four-step approach to fight discrimination: educate, negotiate, litigate, and legislate. It has developed educational materials, negotiated standards for fair treatment of people with diabetes, brought federal and state lawsuits and administrative actions, and changed unfair state and federal laws.

The strongest motivation for community service is often not a government program, but people who personally get involved through organizations privately built to fight societal ills.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Let's honor our form of government

I have railed against the undue influence of special interests to our elected officials because of their unethical campaign contributions. May I also caution our representatives from our own, sometime unethical influences, as constituents. Yes, that's right; we must always remember to show respect for the men and women we duly vote into office. Some of us may strongly disagree with an electoral system we feel is politically monopolized by the two major parties. Nonetheless, our republican form of government requires showing the utmost dignity for our own elected officials at all levels, from local to national. The next time we write that letter to our representative, include a "Dear [title]" and close with a "Thanks in advance [your name]."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Encourage good business and dismantle the CPSC federal agency!

President Bush has chosen a chair for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Michael Baroody, Executive Vice President for the National Association of Manufacturers; the Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for him as early as the first week of May. Mr. Baroody has a history of relaxing product hazard notices to the very consumers he does business with.

Why would our Chief Executive Officer choose someone who hates to notify the public about even minor safety concerns? I graduated with a degree in management, and I can tell you it's not good business to harm your customers-- if your product is defective, you should immediately notify it's owners, apologize profusely for the carelessness, and offer a replacement free of charge. We shouldn't have a CPSC anyway, because a company is fully responsible for the products/services it provides.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Quality of life is more important than global neighbors' economic growth height

The late Pope John Paul II seems to be well on the way to being beatified, a major step toward canonization, or, becoming a Saint in the Roman Catholic church. His influence on me is strong today on a concern he related publicly during his papacy: immoral social symptoms of over-exuberant economy. A May 4, 2007 TIME magazine article, "Global Warming Report: Convincing Asia", reports that China, India and Indonesia currently prefer the continued high rate of rapid growth in their respective economies (and the high carbon emission correlative to that) over a highly significant cooling of the global climate. May we remind them that the larger issue of peoples' quality of life around the globe is more at stake than national economic exuberance?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

One man stood ahead of the pack: Ron Paul

The news is in: Ron Paul stood beyond the pack and opposed the Iraq War. He not only has opposed it from the very beginning, but is also against a national ID card and foreign intervention, period. Ron Paul was the most resolute and strongest speaker in the bunch.

I understand it's early in the presidential race for 2008, but the strategy among the others was blatant: display confidence! And chat, chat, chat.

If I were a voter against the war and against government encroachment in my private life (and I am like most people), then there was only one choice tonight at the Republican presidential debate: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Volunteerism is good for our nation's quality of life

One of the great legacies of President John F. Kennedy was the Peace Corps; young people heeded the call for community service, and in subsequent decades provided critical care to the needy the world over. There is no reason why this spirit of helping one another can't be inspired again by our nation's leaders at all levels of government.

Today, a very active charity is the American Diabetes Association (ADA). It is the nation's leading health non-profit organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. Freedom of association has always been vibrant in America, and the ADA is a successful example of inspired volunteerism.

There are many ways to serve your community, depending on the gifts and talents God has blessed you with. Do your part to support others that are in certain areas of life not as fortunate, whether that be health, family, education or any other quality of life.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Read the U.S. Constitution, stupid!

Libertarian Doug Stanhope, who was to announce that he was seeking the political party's presidential nomination, dropped out today, May 1, 2007. As a professional comedian careerist, he said, “Federal Election Commission rules would not allow me to campaign at paid gigs while also retaining a personal income from those shows.”

What's that phrase, "don't throw the baby out with the bath water?" The FEC, like other regulators, is uprooting good people while targeting those that are bad. Of course, it's not their fault, it's Congress' for limiting personal freedom in the interest of fair play. Let's not stop with some regulations, however; let's include many government "services" that have been refined and honed so much that the original programs are now bogged down by beaurocracy.

How about the phrase, "if all else fails, read the Constitution"-- you'll be amazed of the foundational guidance for governance it provides!