A more free press Friday, Feb 27 2009 

Yesterday marked an important day for news media and proponents of the free press. That is, for the first time in 18 years the press will be able to show to the public the true cost of war. Beginning in 1991, during the Gulf War, George H. W. Bush’s administration banned the media from publishing photos of the war dead. What better way, after all, to subdue and placate the population than to completely dehumanize the massive loss of human life? This propaganda tactic of camouflaging the human cost of war was used by Bill Clinton and, more prominently, George W. Bush during their aggressive wars. Never mind that the families may have wanted to publicize the photos of these fallen heroes–we need to garner support for our bloody wars. We can’t do that if we’re showing the flag-draped caskets, now can we?

I’m glad Obama’s administration and Robert Gates have chosen to reverse this perverted policy. But, to be sure, the change only allows the media to publish photos of the coffins arriving in Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. We should recognize that for what it is, which is a completely sanitized glimpse of the horrors of war, unapologetically censored by the American media and government.

In our endeavors to openly discuss the wars, we should keep in mind not to become complacent as we all too often do when talking about such things. An honest account of war should include even the images we do not wish to see. Would it have sufficed to simply say the atrocities at Warsaw were wrong and regrettable? Would anyone argue that censoring the ghastly photos of Nazi brutality is equitable and appropriate for civilized society? No, of course not. They are there to show the kind of suffering that no person should ever have to go through again; they are there to remind us that we, as human beings, can never again tolerate those tragedies. We should not continue to support the censorship of graphic images that arise from war. They should serve to remind every one of us that no war comes without an ultimate cost that no person should bear.

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A principled stand against government spending? Wednesday, Feb 25 2009 

Recently, there’s been plenty of talk about Republicans and their refusing to accept money from the stimulus bill that was recently passed. Particularly, they like to focus on Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor. See, for example, King Banaian’s blog post: “I asked whether Gov. Pawlenty would join Gov. Jindal et al. in refusing any of the stimulus money.” A commenter notes, “Every governor will be forced to choose between principle and payouts, not just the Republicans.”

Their argument is that you’re taking a principled stand against government spending if you do not accept money that your constituents’ paid for. So even if you’re putting money in, you should demand to receive none, even when your economy is doing terrible and is facing huge deficits.

First of all, I would beg to differ that it is a Republican principle to allow your state to be taxed and then to not receive any benefit from that. I’m sure many Minnesotans would disagree with that so-called principle.

But what exactly is this strong principled stand that “Jindal et al.” have taken against this government spending bill, that so many like King and others are raving about? According to Politico, Jindal is refusing “money specifically targeted at expanding state unemployment insurance coverage,” or $98 million dollars. So Jindal takes $3.7 billion instead of $3.8 billion from the federal government, and this is called a principled stand against government spending by Republicans. Bravo.

Anti-Iran propaganda Tuesday, Feb 24 2009 

Anti-Iran propaganda seems increasingly popular today, even among some SCSU professors who needn’t be named. The main thrust of their argument is that Iran is developing nuclear weapons in an apparent attempt to attack the U.S. or Israel. This is merely propaganda that parrots the Bush White House, which was in splendid isolation on its position on Iran. This doesn’t stop the media, a few confused intellectuals, or the current Obama administration from entertaining this idea. Let’s explore it in more detail.

We already know the hawks’ position, because we see it on the news all the time. (It’s the same argument President Bush used in 2002: “Iraq has WMDs”; only this time one letter has changed.) But does it have any merit? The answer, plainly, is no.

There is no question, first of all, that Iran has a nuclear energy program. However, it is a complete non-sequitur to translate that into the statement that Iran is therefore developing nuclear weapons. Let’s be abundantly clear about one fact: Iran is legally permitted to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which it is a signatory. Article IV states:

1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.

2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

So, when Iran resumed its uranium enrichment program, it was fully allowed to, which is completely contrary to what you’ve probably been hearing. In fact, the treaty implores that the U.S. and other nations help facilitate the use of peaceful nuclear programs, namely in places like Iran. But opponents claim Iran’s program constitutes a grave and imminent threat to security, which is clearly manifested in their attempts build a nuclear bomb.

My response is, show me the evidence. The onus is on those who make the positive claim that Iran is developing nuclear weapons (or is attempting to). The onus cannot possibly be on the people who make the negative claim, if we are to take anything away from the principle of negative proof. But this doesn’t mean people have not investigated the issue at all. Quite to the contrary, all eyes are on Iran and its nuclear energy program. So what are the conclusions that have been made regarding Iran and nuclear weapons?

Contrary to popular belief, Iran has not kicked out the inspectors. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that leads the inspections, concluded in 2007 that Iran posses no nuclear weapons program or even any material that could be used for a weapon. ElBaradei is very concerned about the U.S. rhetoric towards Iran, stating, “I’m very much concerned about confrontation, building confrontation, because that would lead absolutely to a disaster. I see no military solution. The only durable solution is through negotiation and inspection.”

Okay, that’s what the independent and autonomous U.N. agency says. What does U.S. intelligence say? Well, as it happens, the National Intelligence Council released a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in 2007, aggregating the judgments of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, stating unambiguously that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program. In fact, we know the Iranians can’t create a nuclear bomb. All their centrifuges are blowing apart because they lack the technical capabilities to extract the molybdenum from their uranium. Yet Bush calls this a grave and imminent threat. Just read the 2006 NSS for the U.S. and listen to Bush’s State of Unions to see the type of warmongering and saber rattling that was going on, calling Iran the number one threat to the United States.

So, let’s quickly summarize: Iran is in full compliance with the IAEA and the NPT. No one, absolutely no one, has demonstrated Iran has a nuclear weapons program. They do not even have the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon if they wanted to.

They don’t want to though. But president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has stated all sorts of crazy things about blowing up Israel, right? First of all, Ahmadinejad never said anything of the sort. Now, I don’t understand Persian, but Juan Cole of the University of Michigan does; he sates Ahmadinejad stated something very different. Furthermore, Ahmadinejad has, in fact, stressed Iran’s nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. However, this is completely irrelevant. As president, he retains little power on foreign or domestic issues and absolutely none over the military. Who, then, retains all this power? Of course, it is the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. Neither the media nor the White House will tell you this, but it’s absolutely critical if you are to understand anything about Iran. Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa, robustly declaring “the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons.” That’s something you simply don’t hear.

What about something substantive? Well, Iran has agreed to additional safeguards and increased inspectors under the condition that the U.S. respect Iran’s legal right to enrich uranium for nuclear energy, but the U.S refuses to do this. Iran went so far as to send a two page report in 2003 in attempts to normalize relations with the U.S.–to suspend its enrichment program, to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and to reign in Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups–so long as the United States recognized Iran’s right to exist, lifted the embargo, and guaranteed it would not pursue regime change. So what was the White House’s response to the most important diplomatic initiative to come out of the Middle East in over half a century? They completely rebuffed it. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice actually lied about never hearing about this document. The White House censured the Swiss diplomat who introduced this document to the White House! Simply amazing.

How did we get into this predicament? Part of it had to do with the neoconservative policy concocted by Paul Wolfowitz that essentially stated what’s good for Israel is good for the United States. That is to say, to the United States has gone against its own interests to pursue the interests of Israel. This includes the very overt threats against Iran (something neither Obama nor Clinton have stated they’re willing to terminate), which are very much illegal under international law. President Bush’s rhetoric on regime change in Iran blatantly violated Article 2 of the UN Charter. Let’s just imagine: the Iranian government suggests to Israel, as the U.S. has suggested to Iran, that it stop its many war crimes and commit to a nuclear arms-free Middle East (which Iran supports), and then maybe it will think about not pursuing regime change and overthrowing the Israeli government. Who would possibly accept this? So why do we accept it from the U.S.? Because we own the world?

Fiscal resposibility? Monday, Feb 23 2009 

The American Issues Project, a conservative group, has garnered some attention from a commercial it’s airing about Obama’s stimulus bill. (You can watch it by clicking the link.) They argue that if you spent $1 million every day since Jesus was born (roughly 733,285 days), you would still not have spent as much as Congress just did. It’s arbitrary, but it puts things into proportion. Spending is out of control, there is no doubt.

The problem is that the Republicans have fared no better. And they are supposed to be conservatives. It’s clear they preach it, but they certainly don’t practice it. Case in point: if you spent $1 million ever day since Jesus was born, you still will not have spent as much as Congress just did; quadruple that figure and you still will not have spent as much as the cost of our wars in the Middle East. Couple that with Bush’s tax cuts and you begin to see what kind of mess we’re in, namely huge deficits and debts.

I’d note, though, that Obama’s plan to halve the deficit by 2013 is a good step in the right direction.

Gaza 2009 casualties Friday, Feb 20 2009 

In an unfortunate post to his blog, King Banaian, a professor of economics at SCSU, describe the Gazan casualties in the 2009 U.S.-Israeli offensive not as victims but rather as terrorists deserving to die.

Currently, there are two or three conflicting accounts of causalities for this latest attack.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a nongovernmental organization, places the death toll at 1,284. The PCHR says that 894 (70%) of the dead were civilians (280 of which were children and minors under the age of 17, and 111 were women). So what about the other 390 dead? PCHR says 167 (43%) of them were civil police. This means 233 (17%) of all the dead were Hamas militant combatants. (Hamas claims this number is only 158.) The PCHR also claims 4,336 were wounded, most of whom were civilians.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMoH) has slightly different numbers. They claim 1,324 people died during the attack, with most being civilians, and a total of 5,400 were injured. (Source.)

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Israel’s military, however have come up with different numbers. The IDF claims it has been able to identify 1,200 of the 1,338 (?) claimed to have been killed. Of 1,200 that they’ve identified, the IDF claims 580 (48%) “had been conclusively ‘incriminated’ as members of Hamas and other terrorist groups.” The IDF also claim 300 (25%) of these 1,200 dead were “women, children aged 15 and younger and men over the age of 65.” (Note the difference in the definitions of “minor.”) The IDF says, though, that some of these women were actually terrorist fighters. This leaves 320 unaccounted for. The IDF says these are all men. (Source.) Of course, we know not all men are combatants. The IDF seems to disagree. I also assume this means they have not been able to identify the additional 124 the PMoH claim were killed. Unfortunately, the IDF does not discriminate between a civilian police force and military combatants. Police are meant to keep the peace and enforce laws–they are a branch of civilian emergency services, like paramedics and firemen. There is no more justification for counting police forces as non-collateral damage than there is for a businessman, a nurse, a teacher, or any other ordinary civilian.

The Israeli casualties don’t seem to be in dispute. It’s been reported that 13 Israelis have died, 3 (23%) of whom were civilians; the other 10 were soldiers (four of these soldiers were killed by friendly fire). However, Hamas claims they killed at least 80 Israeli soldiers. It was also reported that 518 Israelis were wounded, 336 (65%) of whom were soldiers and 182 (35%) who were civilians.

So whose numbers do we go with? Well, we could go with the IDF, which is generally recognized as a component of the Israeli propaganda system, but usually quoted by the U.S. media nonetheless. Or we could go with the group that is affiliated with the International Commission of Jurists and has won two European human rights awards (1996 French Republic Award on Human Rights and the 2002 Bruno Kreisky Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Area of Human Rights). In fact, it is the Palestinian’s numbers that are used by the UN and the Red Cross; an Under-Secretary General of the UN says the Palestinian numbers are not even seriously disputed.

But the numbers simply act to reinforce what we already know, which is that Israel does not abide by the principle of distinction or proportionality, not to mention the illegality in launching their attacks in the first place. In fact, we always find very high rates of civilian casualties wherever the IDF goes. Gaza is just the latest example. There are plenty more, which are even more agreed upon. The IDF always attacks civilians targets. Naturally, this causes tremendous amounts of damage to the infrastructure, which usually goes unreported.

SCSU University Chronicle & Israel Thursday, Feb 19 2009 

It appears the University Chronicle, the student-run newspaper for St. Cloud State University, has abandoned all journalistic integrity.

First, some background information: On February 11, 2009, two SCSU HURL (human relations) professors, Drs. Slisli and Tademe, led a panel along with some students to discuss the plight of Palestine from a decidedly pro-Palestinian viewpoint. Their objective, as far as I could tell, was to discuss some of the issues that most Americans don’t get to hear about from their own media. Within the first few minutes of their program, Dr. Edelheit, a professor of philosophy and the director of Religious and Jewish Studies, interrupted them in an outburst, demanding that the panel explain the juxtaposition of Gaza images and Warsaw images on a promotional poster for the event. The panel rebuffed the shouting professor and refused to continue until the professor calmed himself or left the room. After realizing his efforts were fruitless, Dr. Edelheit left the room and the panel went on with their discussion. (It should be noted that the panel did respond to questioners after they finished the presentation, regarding the poster and the images they chose to use.)

On February 18, Dr. Edelheit hosted his own forum on Gaza in order to present his side of the Gaza conflict, but mostly to explain his anger over the images used in the aforementioned poster. He stated that he invited the two HURL professors, who did not respond to his invitation; they were not present at his forum.

(On February 12, the University Chronicle published a letter I wrote regarding Israel’s war crimes in Palestine, that was completely separate of and written before the February 11 panel’s discussion. It can be read here.) (Link fixed.)

In the February 16 publication of the University Chronicle, the editorial board–consisting of Ali Tweten, Joey LeMay, Paul Crawford, and Andy Downs–wrote a diatribe on the panel’s discussion of massive human rights violations taking place in Palestine. “An environment that actively suppresses opposing viewpoints is misleading to its audience, creates polarizing results, and causes problems rather debates possible solutions [sic],” they wrote.

Sure, I think we can all agree to that. But it does not apply to the panel’s discussion of U.S.-Israel and Palestine. If anyone, it would apply to Dr. Edelheit who very purposefully disrupted the program so that they could not present their discussion to the audience that was all too eager to get a new perspective on the very important issue. It was Dr. Edelheit who was showing his contempt for the audience by prohibiting the panel from discussing and presenting their case. In his own presentation on the topic, Dr. Edelheit admitted he knew full well what he was doing and that he acted very deliberately (“I did disrupt, quite willfully”). As I already wrote in a letter I sent to the Chronicle, published in the February 19 edition, the professor’s actions were completely unbecoming for a professor of this institution. Excuses for Dr. Edelheit’s actions and behavior have no merit and have been repeatedly dismissed by a majority of people who have spoken on the issue.

Nonetheless, the editorial board continued: “The United States’ role as peace negotiator is crucial, as it is utterly impossible to envision lasting peace between Israel and Palestine without the U.S. endorsing, helping implement, and standing by a proposed agreement. But coming up with an agreement for long-lasting peace has proven difficult, especially when we give our attention to only one side.”

Let me first address the first sentence. It actually shows, quite clearly, the contempt the editorial board has for Palestinians and their right to self-determination. They basically parrot the U.S. government’s stance on the issue, which is that the U.S. owns the world and anything that goes on in a region that interests us has to go through us first. This is unimaginable to most sane and rational human beings, as it flies completely in the face of self-determination, which states that nations and peoples should have the freedom to make choices and determine their future without external pressure and demands. However, as a world superpower, the U.S. and, apparently, the University Chronicle editorial board believe we have the right to dictate the existence of other people.

(I should note that it was in the very rare exception to U.S. rejectionism that Israel and Palestine got the closest they’ve ever been to resolving the long-standing conflict. I am, of course, referring to Taba, 2001–before Israel pulled out and abandoned the negotiations, that is. It is actually very easy to envision a peaceful Israel and Palestine without the interference of the U.S. In fact, that is the only possible way to move forward on this issue. For those who see the U.S. as needing to impose its will on others, this is not an option.)

But the editorial board brings up a good point in that second sentence I quoted. When we give our attention to only one side, it is very difficult to come up with rational and pragmatic solutions. But this is exactly all the U.S. media, including the University Chronicle, do. They present one side, which is unconditionally favorable to Israel and the United States. They mimic longstanding American beliefs that we, or Israel, can do no wrong; that what is right for Israel is right for the United States; and that Israel and the United States are unjustly criticized. I made a point about this, actually, in my letter to the newspaper that was published in the February 12 edition. I quoted Noam Chomsky, who wrote the following: “The basic doctrine is that Israel has been a hapless victim of terrorism, of military attack, of implacable and irrational hatred. . . . Israel is sometimes chided for its response to terrorist attack, a reaction that is deemed wrong though understandable. The belief that Israel may have had a substantial role in initiating and perpetuating violence and conflict is expressed only far from the mainstream, as a general rule.” This, though written nearly 30 years ago, is still the predominant view that is expressed by the media and the U.S. government. And, as the editorial board pointed out, this “is misleading to its audience, creates polarizing results, and causes problems rather [than] debates [on] possible solutions.”

Okay, so the editorial board has merely expressed its opinion, however ignorant it may be. I agree, this is perfectly acceptable in a free and just society that is supposed to pride itself on free speech. However, when the Chronicle to decided to publish a story on the Gaza issue and Dr. Edelheit’s presentation in the February 19 edition, they chose no other than Joey LeMay, the same student who espoused quite clearly his contempt of Palestinians and ignorance on the issue just a few days earlier. In fact, the Chronicle deliberately decided not to publish an article on the first panel discussion that spelled out the atrocities taking place in Palestine; but they chose to publish, very prominently as the lead story, only Dr. Edelheit’s position on the issue. But what should we have expected from the author who just days earlier attacked said panel? This is a pretty good vindication of Chomsky’s point and shows quite clearly the overwhelming bias there is in favor of U.S.-Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

The type of ignorance the editorial board and others display is the exact reason I, along with others, have called for a more reasoned debate on the issue. All too often one side is presented, which is the U.S.-Israeli side, naturally. I would be more than willing to sit vis-à-vis Dr. Edelheit and debate the real issues that affect Palestinians and Israelis and anyone else who believes Israel is justified in committing grave war crimes against the Palestinian people. If the HURL professors who led first panel are unwilling to engage in open discourse with their dissenters, then I think there should be a student-led dialog on the issue, as there are clearly very vocal proponents of both sides, and this should include Dr. Edelheit and any other professor if they so choose.

Update: Joey LeMay wrote a defense for his and the Chronicle’s actions in an April 30 editorial. I wrote a response to his defense on this blog, here.

Israeli war crimes Sunday, Feb 15 2009 

Please note: This is a more detail post of an article I wrote to the University Chronicle on Israeli and U.S. war crimes, which can be read here. (Link fixed.)

In humanitarian international law, the United States is a “High Contracting Party” of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  As such, it has the obligation under Article 146 to prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention, including its leadership. Israel, as a signatory of the Convention, has the same responsibility.

Considering this, the United States has forsaken its legal and, indeed, moral obligation to work within its power to stop Israeli war crimes.  How can we honestly call ourselves defenders of peace when we do not act to stop and simply ignore criminal violence perpetrated by our allies and even ourselves?

The Fourth Geneva Convention, created in 1949 to protect civilians from the horrors of war, has been systematically disregarded by Israel for over 30 years.

The applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the occupied territories of Palestine-affirmed by Theodor Meron in 1967, the UN Security Council, and the International Court of Justice in 2004-is not in doubt: Israel is an occupying force.

This means virtually everything the United States and Israel do there is in violation of international law. Of the innumerable examples, this includes illegal settlement within Palestine; the building of annexation walls; restricting the freedom of movement within Palestine; and the attack on Gaza earlier this year, which was condemned as representing “severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law” by UN Rapporteur for Human Rights, Richard Falk.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government cheers on Israel’s oppressive violence and expansionist policies, supporting it publicly, materially, diplomatically and monetarily.

The American media and general public, firmly in lockstep with U.S. foreign policy, also ignorantly defend Israel, usually blissfully unaware of Israeli war crimes.

Noam Chomsky, one of the most important public intellectuals of our time, explains these sentiments: “The basic doctrine is that Israel has been a hapless victim of terrorism, of military attack, of implacable and irrational hatred. . . . Israel is sometimes chided for its response to terrorist attack, a reaction that is deemed wrong though understandable. The belief that Israel may have had a substantial role in initiating and perpetuating violence and conflict is expressed only far from the mainstream, as a general rule.”

These words, though written nearly 30 years ago, remain true today.

U.S. Justice Robert Jackson, the chief of counsel for the prosecution at the Nuremberg Tribunal, spoke of a “poisoned chalice” from which Nazi criminals drank. We, too, have drank from this chalice. Jackson was making a fundamentally crucial point on universality: “If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. And we are not prepared to lay down the rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us. We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.”

To wholly ignore U.S. and Israeli war crimes is to render the Nuremberg Trials farcical. We absolutely must universally apply our standards, including to ourselves and our allies. We must move away from the perception that the U.S. and Israel can do no wrong. It is critically important that we not ignore our own wrongdoings.

Educate yourselves: review the facts, read the documents, and stand firmly against all aggressive violence.

On taxes and fiscal responsibility Sunday, Feb 15 2009 

Please note: This is a post I made on another blog prior to the election, explaining my views on fiscal responsibility and the candidates. It is not an endorsement for any candidate, but merely a comparison between the two leading ones:

According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and other independent, nonpartisan organizations, both Barack Obama and John McCain will increase deficit spending. That is to say, both will be spending more than they earn in revenues. This, of course, is fiscally irresponsible. The government (and the American people), for a long time now, has been living beyond their means. This sounds cliché, but it’s undeniable. We’ve reached unprecedented deficit spending. The United States has an astounding $10 trillion national debt. We are a nation of negative savings. Our largest export is debt. An honest politician would have to tell the American people we’re going to have to start cutting back on some things (if not many things); that the life we’ve become accustomed to over the years is simply not sustainable.

This is where taxes come in. As a libertarian, I naturally argue for lower taxes. No income taxes–what a person earns is theirs to keep and spend as they please–is an ideal tax policy. But we cannot forget we’re living in reality. Most politicians, naturally, do not like to be honest. Instead, they promise us guns and butter. Their argument is that our way of life is sustainable–even necessary. Keeping this in mind, keeping the candidates’ promises in mind, we ought to consider whose tax plan is most responsible.

Obama has made his plan abundantly clear: a tax cut for 95% of working Americans, and a tax increase for families earning more than $250,000 or for individuals earning $200,000 or more. Obama’s plan would give 80% of Americans a bigger tax cut than McCain’s plan. Yet, as noted in the opening of this post, Obama’s plan to raise taxes on some individuals would not be sufficient to pay for all of his proposed expenditures, which are ambitious.

On the other hand, McCain has promised to eliminate earmarks from the budget and make whoever proposes them (in)famous. Unfortunately for McCain, this accounts for less than $20 billion of the budget. Yet, McCain still proposes huge government expenditures, a large proportion of which is explained by our military adventurism and McCain’s steadfast support for it. In addition, McCain is supporting tax cuts on top of all of this. The once anti-Bush tax cut maverick who opposed Bush’s tax proposals “because of the disproportional amount that went to the wealthiest of Americans” now supports similar tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans. This is why most experts have reckoned McCain’s deficit spending will be nearly twice as large as Obama’s.

For the fiscally responsible, neither candidate is ideal. (This is why I so adamantly am against the two party system on which American democracy is based, which I will discuss in a later post.) However, if we are choose which is the more responsible and conservative between the two, the choice is clear: Obama.

Most contemporary fiscal conservatives will probably tell you that small government and low taxes is ideal, but they will also recognize that, otherwise, spending increases should be matched by tax increases. In this sense, we can say President Bill Clinton was fiscally conservative (he created a budget surplus).

It is for this reason, among many others that I hope address in the future, that I cannot support John McCain for President. We can be sure of a few things about McCain: He does not represent small government conservatism. He does not represent government accountability and fiscal responsibility. Instead, what he represents in the continuation of the neoconservative philosophy of big government spending vis-à-vis tax cuts for all. President Bush has been unwavering in his commitment to this philosophy, and the American economy has paid dearly for it. We must say “No” to John McCain come election day.