Monthly Archive for July, 2004

More On Education Problems

There is a good article in the Detroit Free Press discussing the problems with Detroits public education. Main points follow,

The issue isn’t money. The district is spending more than $13,000 per pupil this year — a large sum even for a big district.

Despite the schools’ dream-crushing performance, the big question before voters in November is whether Detroit should return to an elected school board instead of the current appointed one. That is the wrong question.

The Detroit’s system isn’t floundering because of the way school board members are chosen. It’s doing so because it can. It has a monopoly on the provision of Detroit’s public education.

If you’re fed up with your local public school, what choice do you have? Charter schools? They currently serve only an eighth of Detroit’s total student population, and no matter how the school board is selected, it isn’t likely to invite new competitors onto its own turf. Private schools? Not so easy if you don’t have the money.

Detroit families will have better-managed, more effective schools when they have real choice, and when all schools have to compete with one another to serve their kids.

Lots of folks like to gripe about Microsoft because the courts say it has a monopoly. But nobody is forced to buy Microsoft products. It actually has competitors. And if you decide that one of those competing products would better serve your needs, guess what? You don’t have to pay Microsoft a dime.

Will we ever be able to say the same thing about our education monopoly?

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Education Vs. Education Funding

The Wall Street Journal has a good article dealing with the complete disconnect between more money for education and the performance of education. Here are some interesting facts,

…whatever the problem with education, it’s not caused by any unwillingness to throw more money at it. Between 1997 and 2002, state and local governments increased K-12 spending by 39%. Even after adjusting for inflation and growth in pupil enrollment, real spending was up nearly 17%. And it went up in every state, even those with strict tax and spending limits.

When we cross-referenced spending increases with the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading scores, we found virtually no link between spending and performance.

According to these same tests, fewer than a third of fourth-graders are proficient in reading, math, science or American history.

The results are a direct refutation of the We Need More Spending chorus. Even a quick glance shows that the results are all over the map: Some states show improvements despite lower spending increases while others spend more yet make no dent in their scores. Surely it’s telling that, even after jacking up its education spending by 46%, the top-spending District of Columbia improved its scores by no more than Florida, which is at the bottom of the spending chart but has been at the forefront of reforms allowing choice and demanding accountability.

The real problem is that, notwithstanding the $370 billion the states spend each year on K-12 public education, it remains a rare American monopoly. This election year we are going to hear candidates calling for all manner of new education spending. The question so few of them–Republicans included–are addressing is this: Is there any other part of American life that would receive tens of billions of more dollars if it kept showing no improvement in performance?

Once again, on such a central issue for Hispanics in particular, an issue that unlocks the key to getting out of poverty itself, it is the conservative philosophy that offers true reform. Instead of the same old “more money” solution that has kept us in failing schools for so long.

Capital Punishment Vs. Abortion

I have received several responses in regards to my post below dealing with Abortion. The responses common theme is that conservatives are “hypocrites” and have a “backwards view of reality” because of their anti-abortion, and at the same time pro-Capital Punishment views. How could conservatives be for life with regard to abortion, but against life with regard to the death penalty? Since they both involve life conservatives are inconsistent at best, hypocrites and illogical at worse. So their argument goes.

Although to some degree both issues involve life, they are fundamentally very different. The central difference between Abortion and Capital Punishment is innocence. In one case, you are executing a convicted criminal who has committed the worse crimes of society; in the other case you are executing an innocent human being. These are two fundamentally different things. We can agree that there are times when it is acceptable to kill: in self-defense, in protection ones loved ones, in times of war. However, we should all agree that it is never acceptable to intentionally kill an innocent human being.

Whether Capital Punishment is one of those acceptable times to kill is debatable, since we’re dealing with a guilty person. But if one believes human life begins at conception (Like John Kerry below), one has to conclude that abortion is the killing of innocent human life, something that is, unquestionably, a clear-cut wrong.

So these issues are fundamentally different. However, to see how different these issues are, lets take the liberal view in practice. Presidential candidate John Kerry for example, the most liberal member of the senate, on the one hand will strongly oppose the death of a person who has committed, through his own choices, the most egregious crimes imaginable to man. For example, someone who murdered children merely for pleasure. Or an obsessive child molester. A cop killer. Regardless of the severity of the crime, the liberal will continue to oppose his death.

On the other hand, this same liberal (Kerry), will vote against a law that would make it a federal crime to perform second and third trimester abortions. The bill itself, “The Partial Birth Abortion Ban” is named after how this procedure is done. You partially birth the unborn child, enough to where you can see the back of the head, than you puncture the back of the head and suction out the brains. All without any anesthesia, all late in pregnancy, and all against someone who commited no actions deserving this punishment.

Yet these liberals have the nerve to call the conservative view of reality backwards? Call me backwards, but if I had to err on the side of caution in only one* of the cases above, I would always do so with an innocent person than with a guilty person. It is clearly the conservatives who have their priorities in order here.

*For the record, I haven’t made up my mind on Capital Punishment yet. It is an issue that involves several different factors and considerable thought. However, my point here is not to speak for or against Capital Punishment, or for or against Abortion for that matter. But to show why I see the liberal view as the backwards-illogical view when dealing with the priority of these two issues.

Cuba And Communism

I am getting this information from a fellow Hispanic’s blog.

Another example of how inefficient communism/socialism is when it comes to Economics.

Government dumps mangoes into the river rather than let the farmers sell it .

On the positive side, it looks as though more and more people are starting to speak out against Castro, and his repressive regime. Anti-government slogan on cemetery wall .

But don’t hold your breath for the liberal media to report this.

The Fundamental Question In Abortion Debate

“Life begins at conception”.

So says Presidential Candidate John Kerry. Yet Kerry continues to support the most ardent pro-abortion legislation. He voted against a law that would make it a federal crime to abort a child in the second and third trimesters, the partial birth abortion ban. The ban itself is named after how the abortion is performed. He voted against the Laci Conner law, a law that would make it double murder if you kill a pregnant woman and her unborn child. He voted against parental notification in abortion. Etc.

Everybody knows John Kerry is the most pro-abortion Senator in the US Senate. My point here is not to prove that. My point is to ask the question of how someone can be both? How can someone be both, one who believes life starts at conception, and be the most pro-abortion senator in the US Senate? Let’s put aside that this is probably another Kerry flip flop, where he tries to be on both sides of every issue. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he truly believes this. My question is, can somebody be consistent in believing both?

I believe one can’t. There is no other central issue with regard to abortion than whether or not abortion is murder. The whole debate goes in completely different directions depending on how you answer this one central question. If abortion is murder than it’s not a “personal choice”, it’s a choice whether to commit murder. If abortion is murder than its not “the state interfering with my own decisions”, it’s the state interfering to prevent a murder. If abortion is murder its not “the government shouldn’t have the right to control what i do with my body”, it’s the government having control in preventing you from commiting a murder. If abortion is murder it’s not “I’m for women having a choice”, it’s “I’m for women having the choice to commit murder”. If abortion is murder, than the passage of those very laws Kerry voted against, would be laws against murder, something everybody should support.

In addition, if you believe life starts at conception than abortion must be murder. There is no logical way around it. Since we all agree that the intentional killing of an innocent human life is murder. And since you believe human life begins at conception, and all abortions are performed after conception, than ipso facto abortion is murder. So Kerry is against laws that prevent murder.

Kerry’s defense of these contradictory beliefs is to use the “its a religious issue” argument. He argues that his belief is a religious belief, and because of its nature as a religious belief, it should not be forced upon others. But this doesn’t cut it either, as Francis J. Beckwith(Philosophy professor at UNLV) proved in his book “Politically Correct Death: Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights” writes,

But this would cut both ways. If the pro-life position cannot be enacted into law because it is philosophical (or religious), then neither can the abortion-rights position. Now the abortion-rights advocate may respond to this by saying that this fact alone is a good reason to leave it up to each individual woman to choose whether she should have an abortion. But this response begs the question, for this is precisely the abortion-rights position. Furthermore, the pro-lifer could reply to this abortion-rights response by employing the pro-choicer’s own logic. The pro-lifer could argue that since the abortion-rights position is a philosophical position over which many people disagree, we should permit each individual unborn human being to be born and make up his or her own mind as to whether he or she should or should not die. In sum, it seems that the appeal to ignorance is seriously flawed.

So either abortion is murder or it isn’t. Kerry can’t have it both ways.

Union Leader On School Vouchers.

Linda Chavez has an interesting article detailing some of the comments Andrew Stern, the president of the largest union in the AFL-CIO, himself a huge Democrat supporter, made with regard to the Democratic party, here are some quotes I found most interesting,

“We[Democrat party] can’t talk about education. . . We can’t discuss when it is failing our members (children) in public schools in urban areas. You know, we’re the experiment. Maybe vouchers aren’t the only answer, but then, what is? I’m tired of hearing if we just pay teachers more, you know life will be terrific. It’s a huge problem.”

There are two main reasons why I believe Democrats are against Vouchers. The first reason is because the privatization of public schools would practically destroy one of the Democrats most ardent supporters. The teachers union. The second reason is because Democrats don’t understand basic principles of Economics. Andrew Stern touched on the first reason with the above quote, but he touches on the second reason with the following quote,

“We[Democrats] don’t understand markets, we don’t understand employers, we don’t understand competition; we don’t understand globalization; we don’t understand how wages are set in an economy.”

This is something a lot of us who have been paying attention know already, it’s just refreshing to hear it from Democrats themselves every now and then.

The Democrat National Convention

The Democrat National Convention is currently going on in Boston. We’ve all seen the list of speakers, from Bill Clinton to Al Sharpton. But there is one person that isn’t going to be a speaker at this year’s Democrat Convention: Senator Zell Miller from Georgia. That wouldn’t be very important if it was just any Senator, but what makes Zell Miller important is that he is himself a Democrat, and a very prominent Democrat. In fact, he was a speaker at the Democrat National Convention in New York twelve years ago in support of Bill Clinton and against George H. W. Bush. What makes a sitting Democrat Senator for the first time in his life vote Republican, and speak at the opposite party’s convention(first time in history?), well, instead of me telling you, I’ll let Senator Miller explain for himself.

The Liberal Mind

I just finished reading through a three part series named Pilgrim’s Egress, which is an unfolding of some of the events in Duke University’s Political Science Professor, Michael Munger’s, life.

Throughout this account, Professor Munger sheds light on the liberal mindset and some of its psychological makeup. This is important coming from Professor Munger, because he is speaking from the lions den itself. It is an undeniable fact that academia, especially in the social sciences, is dominated by liberals. So Professor Munger, being a Duke University Poli Sci professor, comes from a unique perspective of being right in the heart of liberalism.

I want to post some quotes that I thought were particularly telling. However, I hope this doesn’t give the impression that this is all Pilgrim’s Egress is about, it is not. It is a definitely worth reading and should be read in full/completely. Especially the section on his Cuba trip, and the Economic critique of that country. But for those who are just passing by, here are some interesting quotes,

You have to realize that the idea of political correctness, as opposed to its archenemy, political incorrectness, lies behind the bland smile of many otherwise decent liberals. There really is a right, and a wrong, view. Right is what they believe; wrong is anything else. If they are tolerant, it is the same kind of patronizing tolerance that keeps them from correcting one of their yowling whelps in a restaurant. They give the child time to work on his issues, and he’ll come to the right conclusion on his own. But don’t be confused—the tolerance the politically correct Left shows is not the kind of respect that implies, or even allows, an exchange of views. They are right, and you are wrong, and only an idiot would disagree. (You are the idiot, by the way.)

And what exactly is this view that completely unites liberals? Professor Munger explains,

The very idea of “political correctness,” then, is the product of two certainties that intertwine in the minds of the intellectual Left. The first certainty is the moral superiority of planned economies, and education systems, with equality of income and the absence of opportunity for social differentiation through effort or excellence.

The second is the inevitability of historical “progress” toward this goal, as societies evolve and improve. Together, these two certainties constitute a dynamic teleology, with both moral and historical force. To be politically correct, then, is not simply to pay lip service to current fads of speech or fashion, such as what name to call a minority group to avoid insulting its most sensitive members. Political correctness is the sense that there is a right side in history, and people on the other side are evil, delaying progress and misleading the gullible masses.

And some interesting insights into the psyche of liberals,

The academic Left needs to see itself as being outré, oppressed, the “Other” in the society in which it lives. If the Left thought of itself as conventional, and established, two things would happen. First, they would actually be responsible for the problems and inadequacies of American university education, rather than the rebels trying to make things better against overwhelming odds. Second, they would be overcome by unhappiness on a grand scale. Many people on the Left require a sense of “otherness” to be able to survive psychologically. Intellectual laziness and moral bankruptcy are not very attractive. Better to be beaten down and discriminated against by “the man.”

The academic Left, as a religious community, doesn’t like people at all. They have rarely spoken to, or met, anyone who doesn’t fully share their views. The series of educational and employment choices that lead to a career in the humanities or social sciences nearly guarantee a kind of isolation and groupthink that is self-perpetuating.

But Leftists often hate dealing with persons personally.

The idea of engaging with a nonacademic, someone unaware of Foucault’s genius, is very upsetting. Professors love the working class, as a big lumpen proletariat in need of assistance, by force if necessary, but professors find the idea of actually working appalling. Stands to reason: if you spend your time caterwauling about how deadening working must be, you have to believe that workers are the walking dead.

The idea of moral progress is irresistible, crack cocaine for the intellectual. Various projects, from the reform of institutions to reforming the minds of citizens, are constantly hatched and chattered about. In spite of the disasters that always result (Mao’s “Cultural Revolution,” Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” Pol Pot’s reeducation camps, and Hillary Clinton’s health care “reforms”), educated people are always convinced that things should be, and could be, better.

And why is it that the liberals keep holding onto beliefs that have repeatedly failed, time and time again, Professor Munger writes,

Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises said this really cool thing in Epistemological Problems of Economics. He said:

Scarcely anyone interests himself in social problems without being led to do so by the desire to see reforms enacted. In almost all cases, before anyone begins to study the science, he has already decided on definite reforms that he wants to put through. Only a few have the strength to accept the knowledge that these reforms are impracticable and to draw all the inferences from it. Most men endure the sacrifice of the intellect more easily than the sacrifice of their daydreams. They cannot bear that their utopias should run aground on the unalterable necessities of human existence. What they yearn for is another reality different from the one given in this world…They wish to be free of a universe of whose order they do not approve.

And that’s what socialist “theory” is: an alternative universe, a happy place where laws of economics (resources are scarce, producing things takes work, governments cannot create value), and possibly even physics (all roads should be downhill, because in my mind that would be better), don’t apply.

And that my friends is the central problem of why facts don’t sway liberals. They keep pursuing this utopia that they will never find.

To summarize, I think Eric Hoffer said it the best when describing the intellectuals,

“A ruling intelligentsia, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed and wasted at will.”

Kerry Has Strong Advantage Among Latino Voters

The Washington Post has an article claiming Latino voters are overwhelmingly in Kerry’s camp.

This is really troubling and, I must admit, very hard for me to understand. Why do my fellow Hispanics overwhelmingly(2/3) support a liberal candidate over a conservative candidate? Maybe it’s time for me to lay down my beliefs, and open up the floor to challenges among Hispanics. I am not going to get specific into an individual candidate, unless it relates to the overall point, but going to concentrate on giving an overall belief why I lean conservative(Republican) over liberal(Democrat). Please feel free to critique where you see necessary in the arrival of my beliefs.

Economy:

Capitalism is the heart and soul of the American economy. As my previous blogs have shown, capitalism is what separates a prosperous nation from an nonprosperous nation. It is precisely this economic system that makes it possible such that a person like my father who came here at age 20, with no education, not even the education to write his own name, can rise, with hard work and dedication, to a level where he owns his own home, and is able to be the sole provider to a family of five. My father isn’t unique in all of this either, this story can be repeated over and over by many other life stories.

This is the same capitalistic economy that allowed me to rise from my poverty-stricken hometown of Compton, California to where I am now. I was able to pull myself through college and land a career at one of the most prestigious companies in the world. You find me another economic system that allows such drastic change; I challenge you.

At its core, economics is “the study of the efficient allocation of resources”. You judge economic systems not by how much lemonade they produce, but by how much lemonade they produce compared to the amount of lemons they started out with. If one economic system started out with two lemons and produced just as much lemonade as another economic system that started out with ten lemons, the first economics system is superior. Capitalism is so efficient at allocating resources that countries that adopt it often have much better results than countries that don’t, even though the country that didn’t adopt capitalism may have had more natural resources.

And why is the efficient allocation of resources so important? The result of an efficient allocation of resources is such that the poor people live superior. There will always be rich people in all countries, no matter how hard some economic systems try and abolish it (ie Communism).The way to compare economic systems is not in comparing one rich person to another, the true comparison is in the poor. You compare one countries poor to another, and the economic system that allocates resources better, is much better at getting lemonade to its poor. Therefore the poor are much better off.

And there is no doubt that the poor in the USA are far better off compared to the poor, and middle class for that matter, in most of the rest of the world. There is no other country in the world where so many poor people from several parts of the world risk death and leaving family members behind to come to a country where they usually don’t know the language, the culture and the area. Why do they go through such a huge sacrifice if not for the opportunities and financial advantage capitalism brings for them? If voting with your actions was allowed, all these immigrants who come to the USA are already casting their vote in favor of the USA’s economic system over their home countries. To understand poverty in the USA better, especially compared to the rest of the world read this article.

One more point that needs to be made here before I conclude this section, not only is capitalism the best economical system for the poor, but its counter part, Socialism, or government sanctioned welfare, is the worse economical system for the poor. Its failures can be seen in how Communism resulted (biggest killer of the twentieth century-more than Hitler, famines, etc) in the last century but can even be seen if you compare Europe to the USA; a continent that mirrors the liberal philosophy more than the USA.

So when capitalist are against social programs, and the expansion of government, it’s not that they dont have the same goal (help the poor) as those who do favor social programs, and the expansion of goverment. It’s that they believe those programs will actually hurt those poor people. And history is on their side. Those programs, if not done properly, actually encourage behaviors that in the long run hurt poor people more than they help. They either create a dependency, stimmy responsibility, or slow the economy down such that those at the bottom hurt the most. They also slow down economic mobility. Which makes it harder for those at the bottom to move up economically.Which is especially important for those at the bottom(poor).

So where does that leave us with regard to politics? It is clear for anybody who has been paying attention that conservatives (Republicans) are much more aligned to true capitalism than liberals (Democrats). It is always conservatives who are usually more for free trade than liberals. It is usually conservatives who are usually more for a free market (and laissez faire economic policies) than liberals. It is usually conservatives who are for lower taxes compared to liberals. It is usually liberals who fight for the expansion of government while conservatives fight for the expansion of the competitive market. In other words, if I were to hold pure capitalism up as the standard, it is usually always conservatives who are closer (not equal, but closer) to it than liberals. Liberals are closer to socialism/communism, the very same economic systems that showed such inefficiency during the last century that practically every country that adopted it failed horribly economically. In fact, those economic systems are such a failure that only under those systems did famines occur at greater levels than under dictators. As far as poor people are concerned, they are much better off living under a dictator than a communist/socialist regime.

So in conclusion, I lean conservative on economics for two reasons.

Premise A. Capitalism has repeatedly shown to be the best economic system for the poor.
Premise B. Conservatives are more capitalist in their economics than liberals.
——-
Conclusion: Those who care for the poor most should prefer conservatives.

Now, I grant that capitalism is a hard concept to grasp. Noted Economics Scholar Thomas Sowell explains it this way,

Some ideas sound so plausible that they can fail nine times in a row and still be believed the tenth time. Other ideas sound so implausible that they can succeed nine times in a row and still not be believed the tenth time. Government controls in the economy are among the first kinds of ideas and the operation of a free market is among the second kind.

And I understand that. However there are many books that explain capitalism in laymens terms. Two notable books are Economics In One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt and for those who don’t mind reading extra, there is the awesome, Basic Economics, by Thomas Sowell himself.

Education:

Some people think that the most important political topic with regard to education and how it relates to poor people is affirmative action. I disagree strongly. I think it is vouchers, sometimes referred to as school choice. Now, I personally disagree with affirmative action, but that is not the reason I lean conservative on this issue. It is not because I disagree with affirmative action, but because I so strongly believe in School Choice.

School choice means many things to different people. But what I call school choice, and what I believe to be the heart of school choice, is accountability. The key to the success of Capitalism is not the companies it creates, but the inefficient companies it eliminates. And the reason it does that so well is because of competition. Competition has repeatedly shown to be the greatest cause of efficiency than anything else. Under the current school system, if you lived in Compton, California, like I did, you would be forced to send your kid to that cities school system. What if that school system was wrought with gangs, failing teachers, and failing methods of teaching? There is nothing you could do, you would still be forced to send your kid to that school. Too bad for you.

Under vouchers/school choice, all of that changes. Before I get more into vouchers, let me give some background info. Currently in California, the government spends an average of $7,000 a year per student. In some other states, that number could approach 11K/year per student.

If a voucher plan was implemented, what would happen is all public schools would immediately go on a grading system. Those schools that fail for one consecutive year (or whatever time deemed by the Voucher designer), would be given a warning to improve and given a certain amount of time to do it. If that school does not improve in that period of time, vouchers would come into play, being phased in little by little to give the market time to catch up. The government would give the parents the $3,000, or some other fraction of the original amount of money that they had originally sent to that childs public school for that childs behalf. It’s important to note a few things here. One, that money is not coming out of anybodies taxes, it is coming out of money that was already being allocated for that child. Another point, the remaining ($4,000, in this example) goes back into the public schools that are passing to help encourage their success.

Now, what does that parent get to do with that 3k? This where the name voucher comes from, that voucher must be used for some other alternative means of education for that child, of the parents choosing. If the parent wants to send that child to some other school, in some other city, that is ok; if that parent wants to send that child to a private school fine. Shoot, if that parent wants to leave that child in the current school, that is fine too. In other words, the parent gets options that he/she never had before.

It’s important when discussing school choice not to get bogged down into the details of how school choice is implemented. Some voucher programs only allow the parent to send their kid to other public schools, some allow private schools. Some voucher programs give more money to the parents, some give less. Some have tougher grading scales on schools; some have more lenient grading scales. Some allow home schooling as an alternative to public schools, others don’t. Some don’t take the money given to the parents away from the school that fails, others do. The point here is not to get bogged down in the details but to see the overall picture. Vouchers, unlike any plan the liberals suggest, adds accountability to a school system that has never seen it before. A school system that has been a monopoly for most of its existence. And competition, just like its track record in economics, does wonders to create efficiency.

And vouchers can only be found under the conservative banner. It makes more sense for them to be under the conservative banner as well, since conservatives are the pro-capitalist, remember. So every problem they encounter, they naturally want to solve that problem by a free market competitive solution; a solution that has proven to work time and time again.

And what exactly is the liberal alternative? That’s easy. It’s not reform, its simply more of the same thing. The liberal solution today, like that of yesterday and yesteryear, is simply more money. Liberals have this tendency to believe that the school system is like a bucket in the corner of the room, the more money you throw at it, the more money may eventually fall into the bucket. The bucket being those students who attend these schools. However, experience has shown that there is very little correlation between more money spent on schools, and better results out of our children. In fact, often times the very opposite is true. The most highly paid schools in the nation (DC for example) have the absolute worse educational record. And the reason is simple, in a monopolized market, you don’t have to improve, the consumer has no alternative. And in education, the consumer is us.

And I must admit, I have never seen an objection to vouchers that can not also be made against Capitalism in general, yet Capitalism works very well. So again, I think on another central issue, conservatives win over liberals.

Social Issues:

Hispanics have traditionally come from a very socially conservative background. They come from either a Catholic background, or, for those who changed religions here in the USA, they come from an evangelical Christian background. Either way, this worldview makes them socially conservative. For the record, although I do not consider myself very religious, and by that I mean I don’t attend church regularly, I still consider myself a Catholic. And my family still practices, to some degree, that Tradition.

Abortion:

Conservatives are without a doubt the pro-life party. To show you how extreme liberals are on this issue, we can bring up the issue of Partial Birth Abortion Ban. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban was created to make it illegal to perform abortions late in pregnancy. Sounds like a common sense bill, doesn’t it? Its name comes from the method of how the abortion is performed, where you remove the baby partially out of the womb, until its head shows, only to puncture the back of the head and suction out the brains; all with no anastasia. This should be a common sense bill that should have bipartisan support, right?

Negative! Almost 35 Democrats (liberals) out of the 48 Democrats in the US Senate voted against this bill. In fact, if you take our current presidential candidate, John Kerry, as an example, you will see the extreme nature of the liberal mindset. Kerry voted against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, against the Parental Notification law (where it required parental notification when minors wanted an abortion), he voted against the Laci and Conner’s Law, where it made it double murder if you killed a pregnant women and her unborn child, and he voted for passing the morning after pill out to high school students, without parents permission.

These are all laws that most Hispanics would find as common sense laws. Yet liberals continue to go against the Hispanic position on this. In fact, this is one of the issues where you will find more agreement among liberals than anything else. The abortion industry has such a tight grip on the Democratic party that the first place all the Democrat’s running for president went, was to an abortion convention.

On a side note, I stumbled across this today. If you are not sure where you stand on abortion, read this article. If you are repulsed by the article, you are on the conservative side when it comes to abortion, if you see nothing wrong, you are on the liberal side.

Gay Marriage:

Gay marriage is no exception when it comes to liberal beliefs. Liberals are not only for gay marriage, but they are for it in such a way where it is forced upon us without a vote by the people. John Kerry for example, was one of only six senators to vote against Clintons Defense of Marriage Act. The very Act that would make it illegal for one states marriage laws to affect another states. Remember when Kerry kept talking about how we should not amend the constitution, that we should leave the issue of marriage up to the states? Well, when that very issue came up before him, an amendment that calls for exactly that, for each state to make its own laws without any coercion by other states, he voted against it (typical Kerry, flip flop). Some liberals may not go this far, but generally liberals are for gay marriage at such a degree that the average Hispanic would be repulsed.

Before I conclude, I would like to give you another view of the differences between conservatives and liberals. An even bigger overall picture as to the differences between conservatives and liberals, is the fact that in every discussion, in every topic, conservatives trust the person more, and liberals trust the government more. Let’s take the 2000 election as an example. There were three main issues,

Education:

Conservatives: Give parents choices (vouchers).
Liberals: More money for the government sponsored method.

Taxes:

Conservatives: More money in the pocket of the citizens (tax cuts).
Liberals: More money for government.

Social Security:

Conservatives: Allow the individuals that so choose, to invest their Social Security investment as they so choose, while those that wish to continue to have the government do it for them, can.
Liberals: Government must be the sole decision maker in Social Security.

You notice how it’s always conservatives who are looking for the free-market, less government solution, the solutions that teach responsibility? While liberals are always leaning to the socialist, big government solution? History has clearly shown which way we should lean, yet liberals continue to resist.

Now, these are my positions, and these are the issues of which I judge all candidates I vote for. If a Democrat mirrors this standard more than a Republican, I will vote Democrat. I doubt that will ever happen, precisely because parties do mean something. Republicans tend to follow the conservative philosophy (mentioned above) and Democrats tend to follow the liberal philosophy.

So again, those are my views, and I challenge all Hispanics reading this to show me where I am wrong in supporting the conservative philosophy over the liberal philosophy. I strongly stand behind my belief that conservatives have more beliefs in line with Hispanics than liberals, and are the true supporters of Hispanics, and the poor and needy.

Why do some countries feast, while others live with famine?

There’s a good article in the Economist explaining exactly why,

Economic freedom, argues the report, does much to foster the investment poor countries urgently need if they are to grow. James Gwartney and Robert Lawson, its authors, have found that the freest 20% of countries invest around $11,000 per worker, more than 12 times the figure for the least free 20%.

The effects of economic freedom on coveted foreign direct investment (FDI) are even stronger. The freest fifth of countries attracted over $3,000 of FDI per worker, against $68 for the least free fifth. Moreover, freer countries make better use of what they have: the authors estimate that investment is 70% more productive in the most free countries than in the least free.

This translates into faster GDP growth (see chart). After adjustment for differences in initial income, climate, the proportion of people near coastlines and human capital, countries with a freedom score below five saw growth of less than 0.4% a year, on average, between 1980 and 2000. Those scoring more than seven clocked up 3.4%. Economic freedom, it seems, can take you a long way.

For those who don’t have access to the Economist website, there is another article dealing with the same report on Fox News. The Fox News article goes into deeper detail, it writes,

The report—published by the Fraser Institute, the Cato Institute, and other think tanks—also shows that since the 1980s there has been a close link between economic freedom and economic growth. What is more, however, is that there is evidence that the link between freedom and prosperity has become stronger over the last quarter century.

To see why, compare the U.S. to the Big Three among continental European countries. In the new report, Germany is ranked 22; Italy, 36; and France, 44. This placing reflects the fact that these countries have not kissed big government goodbye. There has been no German Ronald Reagan and no French Margaret Thatcher.

However, the post-war economic systems of France, Germany and Italy have always been more restricted by regulations and high tax burdens than America’s. Still, in the first decades after World War II, this did not stymie economic growth in continental Europe. The prosperity gap (search) between America and Europe’s Big Three shrank. Then, starting in the early 1980s, the gap slowly but relatively steadily widened again. The result is that in recent years the prosperity gap between France and Western Germany on the one hand and the U.S. on the other was as big as it has been since the late 1960s.

In other words, the more capitalistic a country, and by that I mean less government regulations, less taxes, and a free community to trade, the greater are that countries citizens. It’s practically a one to one correlation.

PS: For those who would like more information on this topic, read the articles posted on the right, titled, Europe Vs. America, and Self Inflicted Poverty.

The 9/11 commission’s findings.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting take on what the conclusion of the 9/11 commision was,

So the doctrine of pre-emption has its uses, after all. In a world of conflicting intelligence, uncertain consequences and potential foreign opposition, it is still sometimes necessary for America to attack an adversary before it attacks us.

We refer readers specifically to the recitation of non-action that starts on page 11 of the executive summary. Beginning in 1997, the U.S. tried diplomacy to get the Taliban to drop al Qaeda and Pakistan to drop the Taliban, but the efforts failed. We now know that only an ultimatum turned Pakistan, and only military force toppled Mullah Omar.

The details, however, should not obscure the Commission’s larger message about the dangers of not acting against a looming threat. After a year of recriminations against a President who chose to act against another threat, in Iraq, the report may even do some good.

This is similar to what Charles Krauthammer mentions in the article below with regard to our multilateralism policy with Iran,

Well, that happens to be exactly what we have been doing on Iran. And the policy is an abject failure. The Bush administration, having decided that invading one axis-of-evil country was about as much as either the military or the country can bear, has gone multilateral on Iran, precisely what the Democrats advocate. Washington delegated the issue to a committee of three — the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany — that has been meeting with the Iranians to get them to shut down their nuclear program.

The result? They have been led by the nose. Iran is caught red-handed with illegally enriched uranium, and the Tehran Three prevail upon the Bush administration to do nothing while they persuade the mullahs to act nice. Therefore, we do not go to the U.N. Security Council to declare Iran in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty. We do not impose sanctions. We do not begin squeezing Iran to give up its nuclear program.

Instead, we give Iran more time to swoon before the persuasive powers of “Jack of Tehran” — British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw — until finally, humiliatingly, Iran announces that it will resume enriching uranium and that nothing will prevent it from becoming a member of the “nuclear club.”

The result has not been harmless. Time is of the essence, and the runaround that the Tehran Three have gotten from the mullahs has meant that we have lost at least nine months in doing anything to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

Critics of pre-emptive strikes are great at pocking holes in the policy, but never offer a better solution. I am all open to a better solution, but until I hear one, I will stick to the one that seems to work the best.

The grand fallacy: Part II

Thomas Sowell continues his discussion from earlier on the grand fallacy. He defines the grand fallacy as,

Too many people in the media, in academia, and even in courts of law, act as if numbers plus a preconception equals proof. The preconception is that various groups — by race, sex, or whatever — would be evenly represented in occupations or institutions if it were not for discrimination.

His basic point is that sometimes there are much deeper reasons than the easy solution of discrimination. Reasons that we as a society may now be blind too.

What To Do About Iran?

Charles Krauthammer has an interesting article on the dilema Iran poses and how it differs from Iraq.

Like it or not, Iran is a problem that we are going to have to deal with one way or the other.

Three More Judicial Nominees Blocked

Exactly as I predicted, Democrats blocked the other three Judicial Nominees today,

U.S. Senate Democrats blocked three more of President Bush’s judicial nominees Thursday, raising to 10 the number they have stopped in a battle sure to extend until at least November elections.

The Constitutionality of this was brought up again,

The U.S. Constitution says the Senate is to give its “advice and consent” on judicial nominees, but Republicans said the president is the one with the power to make such nominations.

“We shouldn’t rewrite the Constitution to allow senators, especially those of the opposite party, to nominate judges,” said Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

McConnell warned Democrats about setting a precedent that “senators of the opposite party get to pick a president’s circuit court nominees … this precedent may well be used when there is a Democrat in office.”

Sex Discrimination?

Thomas Sowell has an article on the possible cause for what some people see as sex discrimination, which is related to the Wal Mart Lawsuit, he writes,

The grand fallacy of our times is that various groups would be equally represented in institutions and occupations if it were not for discrimination.

Ralph Nader Fans? Not Economists!

Thomas Sowell has a piece on the editorial of the Wall Street Journal completely bashing Ralph Nader as being completely out of the mainstream with regard to Economics, the article states,

Some years ago, the distinguished international-trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati was visiting Cornell University, giving a lecture to graduate students during the day and debating Ralph Nader on free trade that evening. During his lecture, Prof. Bhagwati asked how many of the graduate students would be attending that evening’s debate. Not one hand went up.

Amazed, he asked why. The answer was that the economics students considered it to be a waste of time. The kind of silly stuff that Ralph Nader was saying had been refuted by economists ages ago. The net result was that the audience for the debate consisted of people largely illiterate in economics and they cheered for Mr. Nader.

The article goes on to give basic fundamental economic principles that the public is ignorant about, and how those principles should be corrected by Economist. A must read article for anyone interested in making a sound judgement on this upcoming election.