Archive for December, 2008

Good Samaratin Decision Goes the Wrong Way

By Caomhin

California’s Supreme Court inexplicably passed down a decision which sets a precedent for accident victims to sue those who would try to help them after suffering from a trauma. Lisa Torti, friend of a victim of a car accident, will now face a civil suit and potentially catastrophic civil damages, for attempting to rescue the victim from said accident.  My heart goes out to the victim of the accident and her family, but suing a friend who felt that her life was in danger, and now the precedent it has sent in California, will cause undue suffering to both Ms. Torti and anyone else who may potentially seek to come to the aid of those involved in a horrific scenario.

I am a strong proponent of tort reform.  I have the utmost faith in our legal system, even when in certain circumstances; it appears that those with vast amounts of wealth seemingly have favoritism in proceedings.  I believe that to be more of an aberration and that we, as society, are indeed blind to prejudices caused by petty things such as income, race, religion, gender, etc.  I am Catholic, I was raised according to the faith, and I am strong believer in the Church.  I believe strongly that we are guardians of life, of all our fellow humans, that every life is precious, that every individual is deserving of our respect and that we should rush to the aid of the unfortunate.  That is not all dictated by my religious beliefs.  I believe these ethics are inherently held within all of us.  I believe that each of us yearns to see suffering end and to alleviate all concerns and tribulations that face each and every one of us.

The decision that the California Supreme Court rendered, to allow this case to go to trial, sets an extremely dangerous precedent.  Our instinct, as human beings, is to rush to help.  I can imagine no scenario where one senses extreme and present danger to simply walk past the situation.  If you happened upon a horrific accident and you thought you could provide help, you would, formal training or no.  This court case will make people question their instinct, to think twice before they make an attempt to save a life or provide aid.  The time that it takes to rationalize the decision, to worry about whether or not you’ll face a future law suit, can be the matter of life and death.  We must not punish those who pursue the defense of life.

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Conviction with Relation to Rwandan Genocide Long Overdue

By Caomhin
A United Nation’s court convicted Theoneste Bagosora of genocide for his role in the Rwandan Massacres in 1994.  While I am highly critical and skeptical of the UN at many times, I commend this decision, one that is long overdue.  The horrific events that transpired in Rwanda are unforgivable.  I remember hearing about the atrocities, and being 16, not truly understanding the scope and savagery until a little time later as I had done more research on the subject.  When I did, I was highly alarmed that the Clinton Administration had done little to prevent the slaughtering after it had begun.  It is still extremely disturbing to me to this day to know that we did not fulfill our duty in preventing this tragedy.
Those who know me know that I’m highly sympathetic to President George W. Bush, as he was dealt with an extremely difficult hand; one in which I believe he dealt with better than almost anyone could.  I have both praised and criticized him on a variety of issues.  One of these issues I’ve criticized the Administration is the Darfur situation, in which the Chinese have essentially stonewalled the international community from defending the people of that region from a genocide that has, unbelievably, been unfolding under the radar.  While no longer as prevalent in the news cycle as it had previously been the atrocities that have and are occurring in Darfur are a negative mark on the international community.  President Bush as achieved a great deal in Africa, his initiatives in the fight against malaria and AIDS have been incredible, but he should have held a firmer stance with regards to Darfur.
Africa faces many significant political problems, the situations in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe, the ongoing piracy in Somalia, and significant Al-Qaeda operations within the northern part of the continent, notwithstanding.  The continent has now suffered two significant genocides in the last fifteen years and this must not be faced with lackadaisical reactions by the international community.  These atrocities must be stopped before they have a chance to occur; no matter when, no matter when.

Support Michael Steele for RNC Chairman

By Caomhin

The GOP needs to be restructured, but not necessarily rebuilt.  It has become apparent that many members of the Republican Party did not adhere to fundamental belief of fiscal conservatives and as a result we suffered greatly both as a political entity.  Staunch advocates of capitalism, free markets, free trades, limited government, and a reduction in government waste were ignored even while the GOP maintained a strong majority.  Rather than adhere to the principles and abide by what some of our elected officials had promised to do, they pursued opposite avenues, and instead of shrinking the size of government, enacting stronger ethics guidelines, eliminating pork spending, and voting according to conservative principles, we saw movements towards the polar opposites of these core values.

As a result, yes, we lost the majority, but more importantly, due to the failure of some members of the Republican caucus, our image was tarnished in the eyes of our fellow citizens.  Knowing the atmosphere and hostility that the main stream media has for Republicans, we are increasingly under ever more powerful microscopes than that under which liberals are held.  This is not cause for concern to me; however, as I truly believe that should we enact and abide by the philosophies of such great minds as Adam Smith, Calvin Coolidge, Milton Friedman, and Ronald Reagan, than we should invite such scrutiny.

We should hold ourselves to a higher standard than that of our rivals; in fact we should invite it and embrace it.  For it is our message of empowering individuals to live their own lives without being stonewalled or impeded by the government, to work hard and attain any level, recognition, or promotion according to one’s talents.  We must encourage and promote the fundamental viewpoints that we are granted free will by God with certain inalienable rights which allow us to develop society not by coercion but rather by our own decisions and actions and that we are responsible for such actions.  That government has no right to determine winners and losers, to try to influence human behavior with such false monikers as “tax credits”, which is simply a tool in order for elected leaders to persuade the masses to pursue courses that coincide with political view points.  This cloud of confusion needs to be lifted.

We must stay true to our beliefs and promote our message with honor, pride, and dignity.  Surely, as it is said, we will be known more by our actions than our words.  Without demanding adherence to our core philosophies from those elected to represent us, we are subject to the failures that we have seen as a result of such deviations.

With this in mind, I find it necessary to announce my support for former Lt. Gov. of Maryland, Michael Steele, for Chairman of the RNC.  Michael Steele has the drive, the commitment, the dedication to the cause, technical savvy, articulation, and tireless work ethic that we desperately need.  Steele is dedicated to growing our party and reaching out to the youth vote (technically I suppose I’m still the youth vote, though at 30 I suppose I’m reaching the limits of this category if I have not already exceeded it) and I have witnessed this first hand through the utilization of his website.  In fact, in the short time since the campaigning for the position of Chairman, I have seen more everyday technology used (such as more advanced websites, social networking services, text messages to cell phones, etc.) aggressively than in more publicized national campaigns.  This is sorely need and given the limited resources of the campaign at this time, is simply the tip of the iceberg for what will come with Chairman Steele at the helm of the GOP.

In particular, I know the difficulties that the GOP faces in the Mid Atlantic, being from Pennsylvania myself.  I know how desperately we need an articulate, dedicated voice that can effectively deliver the broad philosophy of our party.   Having a track record of success in Maryland, through his appearances on many nationally syndicated shows, Michael Steele has shown time and again that he can and will be a tremendous leader for the Republican Party.  I strongly encourage you to seek out further information and support his candidacy.

Please Visit:

Steele for Chairman

Free Trade is Necessary For A Strong Economy

By Caomhin

Pushed into the background during this year’s presidential campaign (and quite curiously so) is the issue of free trade and the pursuit of such agreements.  Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are a means by which two sovereign nations negotiate terms in which their exports are free from tariffs.  The results of such achievements are an increase in utility among consumers of both nations, who have now have access to new products and services at a lower cost to them.

Among several other benefits of free trade agreements are the availability of new investments by members of both nations, improved relations and cultural understandings that result from an exchange of goods, services, ideas, etc., both amongst the people and governments, as well as higher levels of competition, the end result of which, leads to the improved quality of goods and services.  FTAs benefit citizens at a variety of levels.

While we remain in tough economic times, the pursuit of FTAs must not be forgotten, rather, they must be aggressively pursued for the benefits that they reap.  History has taught us the dangers and naivety of protectionist and isolationist stances, which have led to economic, political, and military disasters.

The defense of our nation’s sovereignty is of the utmost importance, to be sure.  However, FTAs, when negotiated directly with other nations, do not undermine our sovereignty or do harm to our nation; instead, they greatly benefit our nations.  Disputes are handled through additional negotiations between trading partners or through the World Trade Organization.  While many seem to have negative connotations associated with the WTO, this is a fallacy.  Free Trade benefits the members of all nations involved, regardless of the disinformation being provided by special interest groups.

We can work through international organizations and direct negotiations with other countries in ways that do not deplete our national independence.  This is done through solid legislation and negotiations.  The ability to back out of an agreement if the deal is fundamentally flawed or unfair is of course retained and thereby maintains sovereignty.  We must not enter into lopsided deals that put us into a competitive disadvantage, but rather seek to have tariff free agreements on both imports and exports.

I strongly urge the legislature to complete the implementation of the trade agreements with Peru and Oman and to pass the FTAs with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.  One of the panaceas we seek to the ailing economy is to open up new opportunities and new markets that will benefit both consumers and producers, allow for new flows of investments, and to have a positive impact for the citizens our nation.  Following through on these agreements is a great step towards fixing that which ails us.

McConnell’s Selection of John Sununu for TARP Oversight A Solid One

by Caomhin

 

The appointment of John Sununu to the TARP oversight board by Sen. Mitch McConnell should be met with at least a sense of relief.  Sununu, the current Senator from New Hampshire, who unfortunately, lost his re-election bid in November, is an excellent choice for this role.  Despite his vote for the financial bailout bill, Sununu has consistently demonstrated fiscally conservative principles.  Consider this his opportunity to clamp down on which initiatives TARP funds are to be used.

He now has the opportunity to attempt to block the efforts of lobbying groups such as the UAW and the Big Three from procuring funds which were never authorized for their use either in letter or in spirit.  What we are seeing now is certain industries with strong connections to Washington looking to cash in for favors they have done for politicians in the past and this must not occur.

I completely disagree with Sununu’s vote in authorization of taxpayers funds for these purposes but I am strongly satisfied with his appointment to this oversight position.  First, I think that Sununu understands that the bill was indeed a bad piece of legislation that was rushed through with little debate (other than the insertion of pork projects) the end result of which was a massive bill with little to no understanding of how the $700 billion dollar figure was calculated. After even more recent debates and talks on Capital Hill it has become apparent that every industry is going to step forward seeking tax payer funds as the recession mounts.  After all, there is not going to be widespread profits among firms during this recession and their central argument will be “we’re not making money and without this money we will fail,” and indeed some will.  Congress has no place to decide winners and losers in the American economy.  Indeed, the vast majority of corporations will see contractions during any recession, this is simply true.  However, America has only suffered through one Great Depression, which was caused by the Federal Government and the Fed’s over zealousness and invasion of the private marketplace.  Only fools will rush to follow that precedent.

John Sununu’s background and voting record strongly indicate that he will serve the nation well in this role.  The TARP funds will undoubtedly be sought after by every segment of the economy as the recession sets upon the nation.  The reality of the fact is that while many of us strongly opposed the authorization of these funds, they are now authorized.  The nation needs people of great integrity with an understanding of economics and finance who can be entrusted with the task of reviewing the use and subsequent payouts from this fund.   John Sununu will serve the taxpayers well in this position.

Congratulations Sen. Chambliss

By Caomhin

Congratulations to Sen. Saxby Chambliss, previously endorsed by And To The Republic, for his run off-victory today in Georgia.  Sen. Chambliss’ victory prevents the Democrats from having a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, but more importantly, allows of the most unique GOP Senators to continue to provide fresh ideas in the halls of Congress, such as his willingness to promote the Fair Tax as an alternative to our current system of taxation.  We are very happy to have Sen. Chambliss serving our nation in the Senate for another six years and wish to give our sincere thanks to the people of Georgia for giving Sen. Chambliss their vote and the opportunity to be their voice; a voice we know will greatly benefit not only Georgia, but our entire nation.

Memo to Congress: Just Say No

By Caomhin

Congress failed the taxpaying citizens of this nation greatly today by refusing to tell the auto manufacturers what it needed to tell them, “no.”   It is a travesty what is unfolding in the halls of Congress and even more so that the UAW has taken its propaganda war to seemingly ever local newspaper in this nation warning of the second coming of the Great Depression if they have to reap what they sowed.  That is indeed what they would be doing.  We would not be “allowing them to fail” we would be allowing them to see years upon years of terrible management, unresponsiveness to the marketplace, and fat, bloated union contracts come tumbling down around them.

They can survive this, of course, but they’d rather not do anything to rock the boat that they are accustomed to guiding.  Have we heard the UAW come out and offer to switch to 401(k) plans from their current pension plans, or offer to pay a little more for health insurance, or accept lower wages so that higher numbers of workers are not forced to be laid off?  No.  Have we heard the CEOs of the Big Three reveal some great change in their business model that inspires confidence, one that shows how they can reduce production costs, increase efficiency, redesign and revamp car plans in a manner conductive to the profit motive?  No.  We’ve heard nothing but the same from them.

The limited liability that shareholders enjoy protects them from loses other than what they have invested into a corporation.  It is an assumed risk when one purchases stock that they may lose their complete investment.  It is harsh but this is the reality of all investments.   I mention this because the American tax payer is not a shareholder in the auto manufacturers.  The American taxpayer is not asking to be a shareholder in these corporations.   If Congress wants to invest in these companies, they can buy stock.

What you are hearing from many a politician is the words written and paid for by the auto manufacturers lobby.  You’re hearing the money that was funneled to politicians by the unions and CEOs that if you don’t give them money than your world is going to come to a screeching halt.  You’re witnessing an incredible display of fear mongering.

The argument that you can’t let an industry fail can be applied to any product and any market.   For example, if the telecommunications market was on the verge of bankruptcy we could apply the same logic.  Without the telecoms we would face massive cutbacks in the technology sector, in retail, in the ability to reach emergency services.  We would see a massive slow down in corporate responsiveness, a complete crawl of the dissemination of information, etc.  They could use this argument.

Every single sector of this economy can claim this same argument.  I vehemently opposed the original bailout as irresponsible, recklessly through together, having no concrete plan of operation, and for rewarding bad decision making on the part of private corporations.  It distorted the free market, punished responsible and financially sound companies by preventing them from growing, rewarding mismanaged companies by giving them a tremendous infusion of cash and artificially keeping them in business, and tremendously shook confidence in the market by consumers.   It and subsequent bailouts and the policy of keeping interest rates at such low rates has created the environment that is ripe for hyperinflation which will punish low wage earners, retirees, and the unemployed even more so than they would have otherwise been facing.

The auto manufacturers have had problems for years and for years they have dragged their feet, refused to change their operations and address their many issues.  There is nothing that they are proposing that would encourage me to personally make an investment in their companies, although I will say that at least Ford tried to improve their cash position as opposed to GM and Chrysler, let alone to see a few thousand of my tax dollars go to their companies.  Chapter 11 bankruptcy is an option as is drastic and complete overhauls of their operations and union contracts.  A sound proposal to private investors demonstrating a commitment to becoming profitable is a start.  If a line of credit is what they want and they cannot get, than what does that tell you about the effectiveness of the first bailout aimed at freeing up credit markets as well as the ability of these companies to pay back these loans if they can’t get it from previously released tax payer funds?

Another question you have to ask yourself is: what if $34 billion is not enough?  They haven’t even offered up a Plan B, so I’ll draw that conclusion for you.  They’ll come looking for more.  If they get it now they’ll get it then, too.  They will have no incentive to fix their operations.  Why would they?

Since the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006 and now with a wider majority, it has become painfully obvious they are quickly developing an extremely serious gambling problem.  Once an addict starts pumping money in the bet, an addict can’t leave.  They’ve already rationalized that they’ve put so much into it that they can’t walk away now; they just need a little more to get another chance.  They’ll hit it big eventually, so they believe; they just need that one more chance.  This is the road we’re heading down.  For the health and benefit of all involved, we need to pull them away from the table right now.