Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who Is Driving This Bus, Barry?

At Tuesday night’s debate in Ohio, Barack Obama had this to say:

Senator Clinton equates experience with time spent in Washington. The American people don't find that an accurate measure. The decision to go into Iraq was the most important in a generation.

Once we drove into the ditch, there were only so many ways to get out... She was ready to give in to George W. Bush on Day One on this issue.

an excerpt from The poverty of international journalism
John Barbieri (2008-01-22)
The U.S. has keenly been trying to build up allies in East Africa and the Horn of Africa to counterbalance other perceived ‘threat’ countries in the region. These key U.S. allies include Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. These allies are meant to act as a counter-balance to the ‘threats’ of Sudan (the Bashir regime), Eritrea and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in Somalia. The Bush administration has clearly supported incumbent Kibaki due to the fact that his government has been one of these key allies in the ‘war on terror’ in the East and the Horn of Africa.

A Timeline

June 2006
The Islamists seized Mogadishu, the capital raising concerns that fundamentalists were gaining increasing influence in the Horn of Africa nation, without an effective central government since 1991.

Raila flew to the US, where he held talks with Senator Barack Obama, one of the candidates seeking the Democratic Party ticket to vie for the American presidency.

Aug 28, 2006
There are signs of tension between Sen. Barack Obama and African leaders. On Monday, Obama stepped up his criticism of government corruption in Kenya.

But as CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports, the government fired back, saying Obama is a stooge for an opposing political party.

After remaining largely silent, the government of President Mwai Kibaki is beginning to respond, suggesting that Obama may have fallen under the spell of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

A potential presidential candidate himself, Odinga's been at Obama's elbow here fairly often and is a member of the Obama family's Luo tribe.

"Sen. Obama has to look at critically about where he's receiving his advice from," said government spokesman Dr. Alfred Mutua. "Just because somebody, somewhere wants to run for president and is using Sen. Obama as his stooge, as his puppet to be able to get to where he wants to get to."

September 26 2006
Ethiopian troops were reported to have moved into neighbouring Somalia yesterday to protect its weak transitional government a day after fighters loyal to an Islamic movement took control of a key Somali port.

December 8, 2007
The Ethiopians gave no reason for their departure Saturday from Somalia, though they had been under pressure from rights groups to vacate civilian houses.

January 7, 2008
Soon after the Dec. 27 vote, Kenya's election commission announced that President Mwai Kibaki (pronounced muh-WHY key-BAH-key) had been narrowly reelected. Immediately there were charges that the votes had not been counted honestly. Kibaki's rival, Raila Odinga (rah-EE-lah o-DIN-gah), called him a thief who stole the election and demanded that Kibaki step down. The head of the election panel later said he was pressured into making a quick announcement, and that he is not sure who won the election.

Who is Raila Odinga?

International media reported widespread violence erupted throughout Kenya’s rural areas after the nation’s electoral commission declared incumbent President Mwai Kibaki defeated challenger Raila Odinga, and Odinga’s supporters claimed the voting was rigged.

But Solomon Kimuyu, a Dallas resident who has maintained his Kenyan citizenship, said he saw televised images of the violence long before the polls closed, just prior to a media blackout in Kenya. And he asserted members of Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement with close ties to the National Muslim Leaders Forum orchestrated much of the rioting.

Muslim extremists tied to the opposition party pledged long before the election that if certain conditions were not met prior to the Dec. 27 voting, violence would result, he insisted.

While violence in Kenya has been portrayed as a spontaneous reaction to injustice and vote fraud, Muslim radicals planned much of it in advance, Kimuyu insisted.
And while “we will never know” if the election was rigged by the party in control, he maintains voters unquestionably were threatened and harassed by Muslim supporters of the opposition party.

“People were prevented from going to the polls, and people were prevented from counting votes,” he said.
He also pointed to a controversial document the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya posted on its website. It was purported to be a memorandum of understanding between Odinga and his party and the National Muslim Leaders Forum. The document appears to have been signed by Odinga and Sheik Abdullah Abdi on Aug. 29, 2007.
The posted document states Odinga agreed to rewrite Kenya’s constitution within six month to declare Sharia, or Islamic law, legally binding in the country’s Muslim-declared regions in exchange for the Muslim leaders’ endorsement. It also includes provisions banning open-air Christian meetings in Kenya’s northeastern and coastal areas and ordering primary schools in those regions to conduct daily madrassa classes promoting Islam.

Given the statements that Barack Obama has made about Pres. Bush and Sen. Clinton, and the current US policy of building up allies in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, one has to wonder why Barack decided to choose sides in the Kenya elections. Who is driving the bus into the ditch with respect to Kenya, Barry?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Conservative Looks At Carbon Cap & Trade

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

All of the candidates left in the race to become the next POTUS, both Ds and Rs, say they are for carbon cap & trade legislation. They say it is the Gospel truth that man made global warming exists, and resistance is futile. You must put in place policies to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone who causes the harm is going to have to pay something, and the people that solve the problem are going to profit. They say it is Gospel truth that there is a real value into putting a price on causing harm. The Cap & Trade legislation is a partnership between the US governement and US businesses in setting this price on all of these greenhouse emissions that are causing harm.

What do the candidates say?

As President, I will put in place a market-based cap and trade system to reduce carbon pollution. Here's how it will work: the federal government auctions permits for 100% of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions. Companies purchase those allowances but they can be traded, borrowed, banked, bought, and sold. The market will determine the cost of carbon pollution and companies will be rewarded for cutting emissions.
Hillary Clinton
As President, I will set a hard cap on all carbon emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming-an 80% reduction by 2050. To ensure this isn't just talk, I will also commit to interim targets toward this goal in 2020, 2030, and 2040. These reductions will start immediately, and we'll continue to follow the recommendations of top scientists to ensure that our targets are strong enough to meet the challenge we face.

In addition to this cap, all polluters will have to pay based on the amount of pollution they release into the sky. The market will set the price, but unlike the other cap-and-trade proposals that have been offered in this race, no business will be allowed to emit any greenhouses gases for free. Businesses don't own the sky, the public does, and if we want them to stop polluting it, we have to put a price on all pollution. It's time to make the cleaner way of doing business the more profitable way of doing business.
Barack Obama
I support the simple, but powerful solution known as "cap and trade," which is at the core of bills I have introduced in the past two Congresses, as well as some currently under consideration.

The goal is to cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by electric power plants, transportation and manufacturing by creating a cap and trade system where companies would have pollution allowances that they could sell if their emissions fall below limits, or buy if they found they could not meet requirements. The trading is aimed at reducing the economic impact of putting limits on carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, the leading greenhouse gas.
John McCain

Maybe it’s just me, but I find this position by the candidates approaching an article of faith of a religion instead of a political debate. The skeptics of man made global warming can no longer debate with the proponents of man made global warming. Glenn Beck had Joseph Bast of the Heartland Institute as a guest. Here is a portion of the transcript.
BECK: Next week, right here in New York City, the first-of-its-kind global warming conference is scheduled. It -- I mean, it has a suspiciously important-sounding generic title, The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. But this one is different. This one is for the other side.

Joseph Bast, who is the organizer of the event, says that he has got hundreds of experts on science, politics and the economics of global warming coming to this, including the president of the Czech Republic, who I absolutely love, who is giving the keynote speech. He`s attending, and it will be "hard for journalists and policymakers to ignore the event."

Really? Quite honestly, they have been doing a pretty good job of ignoring the other side so far.

I live in New York. I`m a global warming skeptic. And yet, I haven`t heard about this until today.

America, I promise you this -- the mainstream media can ignore this conference all they want, but this program will cover this conference like it`s the second coming of Jesus Christ. I promise.

Joseph Bast is the president of The Heartland Institute.

How frustrating is it, Joseph, that you can`t -- I mean, you are actually buying full-page ads in "The New York Times" and other papers to let people know that this is happening, right?

JOSEPH BAST, PRESIDENT OF THE HEARTLAND INST.: That`s right. And it is a little frustrating. I mean, we have hundreds and hundreds of scientists who dissent from the so-called consensus on global warming, but the media acts as if every single one is on the payroll of an oil company and therefore is just a front for a special interest group.

BECK: Well, I mean, let`s be honest here. First of all, GE owns NBC. They did a whole week of global warming specials and everything else.

I mean, the other side is financed by people who make money as well. They always accuse you at The Heartland Institute of being financed by big oil. What is it, 4 percent one year you took from Exxon? What is it?

BAST: Exactly right. In no year have we gotten more than 5 percent of our budget from Exxon. They haven`t even contributed to us in 2007 or 2008. This conference is entirely funded by individuals and foundations. So there`s no corporate funding at all.


You invited Al Gore to come. He`s not coming.

BAST: That`s right. He turned us down.

BECK: Yes.

BAST: Al Gore doesn`t believe in debating.

BECK: Yes.

Is it -- you would think that if it was so easy to debate, if it was so clear, you wouldn`t have to demean people. You wouldn`t have to smear their reputations. All you would have to do is lay out the facts.

Why is it, or has there ever been an actual civil debate on both sides where you could listen to both sides and say, OK, I happen to believe this one?

BAST: There used to be those debates actually back in the early 1990s, when The Heartland Institute began writing about this issue. I would be invited to conferences and there would actually be pro and con debates.

I think the other side, the alarmist side, lost those debates so often that they have just given up. The word is out now. Any time a skeptic is on the program, the alarmists decide not to attend.

BECK: Is it true -- no, go ahead.

BAST: Since yesterday -- yesterday in Denver, there was a debate. Our guy had to debate an empty chair. So that`s pretty common.

So how does anyone who wants to argue a political issue win if the other side believes their position is the Gospel truth? It is analogous to a heretic arguing with a church he belongs to. The church will excommunicate him because of his loss of faith and hope. Here is the deal for me. The US government is not a church, and the first amendment forbids making any law that establishes a state religion. I feel like the man made global warming crowd are coming real close to being a religion.

The buying and selling of carbon credits smacks a lot to me of a practice going on in the catholic church 500 years ago. Back in the day they were concerned about salvation of one’s soul through good works. They had a plan of buying and selling indulgences. Everyone who causes the harm (the nobility) is going to have to pay something, and the people that solve the problem (the priests) are going to profit. A heretic priest by the name of Luther took strong exception to this practice, and the Protestant Movement took hold.

I concede there are some (pliny et al) who debate man made global warming theory, and I applaud this. I do worry, especially with some of the supporters of Obama, that debate is being replaced with religious devotion. Some examples of what some supporters of Obama say:
This is not a campaign for president of the United States, this is a movement to change the world.
Rep. Elijah Cummings
I'll do whatever he says to do. I'll collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear.
actress Halle Berry

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The democratic Party?

I purposely used a small letter ‘d’ for democratic in my title to address the question of whether or not the Democratic Party in words and actions promotes democracy.


In the phrase of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Freedom and democracy are often used interchangeably, but the two are not synonymous. Democracy is indeed a set of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also consists of a set of practices and procedures that have been molded through a long, often tortuous history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom.

In a democratic society, majority rule must be coupled with guarantees of individual human rights that, in turn, serve to protect the rights of minorities--whether ethnic, religious, or political, or simply the losers in the debate over a piece of controversial legislation. The rights of minorities do not depend upon the goodwill of the majority and cannot be eliminated by majority vote. The rights of minorities are protected because democratic laws and institutions protect the rights of all citizens. The essential elements of constitutional government include majority rule coupled with individual and minority rights, and the rule of law.

Watching The Glenn Beck Show on Feb. 22 with guest, Jonah Goldberg was very eye-opening to me about the history of the Democratic Party, and how by their words and actions they are contrary to some of the pillars of democracy listed above. I encourage everyone to read the entire transcript to appreciate the entire discussion between Glenn and Jonah. For those who don’t have the energy and time to read the entire transcript I want to provide some of the highlights below.

GOLDBERG: It is -- it is amazing. But to call yourself a progressive, "The New York Times" liberals call themselves progressives. Everyone calls themselves progressives. And Hillary Clinton does. And no one seems to care what the actual progressives did. And the actual progressives were state-ists run amok.

Hillary tries to get away by saying, "Well, liberal has come to mean big government." The progressives were the original big-government people.

BECK: But in a spooky sort of way.

GOLDBERG: Yes, they believed -- progressives come of age, what I call in the book, of this fascist moment. But they believed that the age of the individual was over, that we had to redefine ourselves only through the collective, through the group and through the state. And therefore, the individual had to be crushed. The concept of the individual had to be crushed. We all had to work towards the larger collective endeavors.

BECK: Let`s look at Hillary Clinton. She said, April 24, 1996, "As adults we have to start thinking and believing that there isn`t really any such thing as someone else`s child."

She has also said, from "It Takes a Village," "Videos with scenes of commonsense baby care -- how to burp an infant, what to do when soap gets in his eyes, how to make a baby with an earache comfortable, could be running continuously in doctor`s office clinics, hospitals, motor vehicles or any place where people gather and have to wait."

This smacks of "1984."

GOLDBERG: Right. And that`s the relevance. You know, our image of "1984," the giant Jumbotron TVs in all public places saying, "Work makes you free" and all that kind of stuff.

Well, Hillary Clinton`s vision is to have the big Jumbotron TVs and still give the message of the state. But it`s not this mean Orwellian thing. It`s this nanny state, hug you, love you to death kind of vision.

BECK: Right.

GOLDBERG: But still to me, it`s still a tyrannical vision. And you know, this notion that the quote from Hillary Clinton, where she says, you know, we have to move beyond the idea that there`s any such thing as somebody else`s child, this was central to the progressive vision.

The whole idea of progressivism was to crack the outer shell of the nuclear family, get rid of the sovereignty of the nuclear family, get rid of this concept of local communities. Everything had to be in relationship to the state. Mussolini defines fascism as, you know, everything in the state, nothing outside of the state.

The early feminist progressives were all about liberating children from the tyranny of the family and reorienting them toward the state.

BECK: When people try to shut you down by calling you a fascist, doesn`t that make them more of a fascist, no matter what I`m saying?

GOLDBERG: There`s a weird catch-22. It`s this -- because the use of the word "fascist" in American political culture is essentially, it`s a way to silence people. It`s a cudgel. It`s a way to shut someone up. "Oh, he`s a fascist."

When Al Gore says his critics on the Web are digital Brownshirts, when he says people who disagree with him on global warming are like Holocaust deniers, it`s his way of saying, "Oh, you don`t have to listen to these people. They`re crazy. They`re illegitimate. They`re evil. They`re bad. They`re fascists."

And so in that sense, if you want to call it fascism or not, it`s undemocratic to simply demonize anyone who dissents from the popular, conventional view that people like Al Gore are putting out. You know, when you call them a fascist, basically what you`re doing is you`re saying we don`t have to listen to them anymore.

BECK: We were never like this. We were never like this until Wilson and FDR.


BECK: This is a totally new concept. And it really stemmed from seeing the great success in Italy. Seeing -- I mean, I`ve read things about the scholars that went over and looked at Stalin and said, look at what he`s doing. Look at what he`s doing for industry, look what he`s doing for people.

This is the future. OK, he`s killed a million people at the time, but he had to do it for the good.

GOLDBERG: You`ve got to break some eggs to make an omelet.

BECK: Yes.

GOLDBERG: No, Woodrow Wilson says it quite plainly. He says the essence of progressivism requires that the individual marry his interests to the state. Those are his words.

It`s the idea that the individual has to define himself in relationship to the state, that he gets his livelihood, his meaning -- FDR comes out what he calls the second Bill of Rights in 1944, addresses the nation and says basically what he wants to do is basically overturn the Bill of Rights. Remember, the Bill of Rights is negative rights. It says the government has no right to take your gun away, has no right to go into your home, has no right to bridge your speech.

He wants to create the second Bill of Rights, which are all positive rights. You have a right to a home, you have a right to a job. It`s things government can give you, and that you can demand from government, and if government isn`t giving you these things, if it isn`t giving you these trinkets, then the government has violated your rights.

It is a radical redefinition of our Constitution and our understanding of what makes a citizen in this country.

BECK: ...How do you stop this?

GOLDBERG: The logic of conservatism says that there are no final -- there are no perfect solutions to anything. It`s just going to take a long argument.

I mean, this argument has been going on in America for a century now. You know, during the Cold War, this was an intense argument.

You had liberals constantly looking to places like the Soviet Union as a model. You know, saying that it was a better place. You still have these incredibly sand-poundingly stupid people talking about how Castro has a better model. You know?

BECK: I wonder who that is.

GOLDBERG: And all you have to do is just -- you have to just keep having the argument, you have to keep focus -- it`s a door-to-door fight.

BECK: Right.

GOLDBERG: And saying, you know, it`s first principles, and even if freedom makes things harder, it`s better to have it harder than to not have it free.

After sleeping on it, and reading the transcript, I have reached the conclusion that the Democratic Party since the time of President Wilson to the present does not in words and action reflect democratic principles. Democratic principles are reflected by conservatives like Fred Thompson whose words speak about the importance of core first principles, and his actions show that it is better to have a system of governemnt that is harder than to not have it free.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Conservative Looks At Clean Government

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

All of the candidates left in the race to become the next POTUS, both Ds and Rs, say they are for change. They say Washington DC needs to be cleaned up from all of the shady business dealings involving evil lobbyists. John McCain once told Don Imus that if he had to choose between “so-called free speech” and clean government that he would rather have clean government. I respectfully disagree with his premise of choosing either free speech or clean government. I believe, as a conservative, that “WE THE PEOPLE” deserve both.

I actually agree somewhat with the candidates’ assertions that there are a lot of shady deals going on in the nation’s capitol. I simply strongly disagree with the candidates’ solutions. The 1st amendment protects the rights to petition the Government for a redress of grievance. This is what lobbyists do. Lobbyists petition the Government for a redress of grievances. So more government regulations, and more government involvement in more aspects of one’s life increases rather than decreases the numbers of lobbyists. This increasing the regulations and oversight in DC is analogous to raising the thermostat setting when your house is too warm. Dillinger was once asked why he robbed banks, and he replied because that is where the money is. The same reply can be made by those who lobby Congress. The more power that Congress assumes in regulations and oversight the more lobbyists are drawn to them. This is analogous to how fresh fecal material draws flies.

Another consideration that is important is the perception “WE THE PEOPLE” have of the prominence and control we allow the Federal government to wield over us. I heard a reporter in New Orleans say that voter turnout there appeared to be lower than expected because many of the residents no longer believed the Federal government can fix all of their problems. I didn’t have the same reaction as this reporter, because IMO it is good and healthy to lower one’s expectations on the Federal government’s role in one’s life. This is true not only for those who have been mugged by reality in the wake of a hurricane season, but also for many fundamental Christians who get too engrossed in pressing the Congress and SCOTUS to deliver the laws and controls on everybody’s life that matches their beliefs.

I recently read an article by Mart Laar about the miracle of Estonia. Estonia is an eastern European country that won independence from the USSR in the ‘90s. Estonians were very poor from years of communist tyranny, but they were rich in ideas and visions of creating a capitalist democratic republic geared toward promoting economic growth. Very early on they chose to limit via the rule of law the bottlenecks created by excessive regulations, soft loans, subsidies, and tariffs. By eliminating these bottlenecks they removed the opportunities that would otherwise exist for corruption in government, bribery, and political muscle trampling on free market competition.

While I do not envy the survival level life they endured at the start, I do envy that they completely scrapped the communist model to create from scratch a new capitalist democratic republic. WE THE PEOPLE do not have this situation of starting from scratch here. I think we can get cracking on deregulation. This will require making Congress an economist-friendly instead of economist-free zone by an electorate who lean on the Federal government less in their pursuit of happiness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Revising & Extending My View of Sen. John McCain

One month ago I posted a blog with a laundry list of why we can not trust a McCain administration to produce consistently strong economic policies. At that time all of the Rudy and Mitt supporters recommended, and it made it to the top of the list of recommended blogs. Now Rudy and Mitt have joined Fred in dropping out of the race, and they all are now supporting Sen. McCain. In fact many of the top economic advisors for these campaigns are now involved in McCain's campaign.

By the company that he is now keeping, I am encouraged to revise and extend my remarks.


John McCain wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. He wants to cut spending. I now applaud him on taxes, and his administration can be trusted on taxes.


John McCain does not want entitlements expanded. I now applaud him on entitlements, and his administration can be trusted on entitlements.


John McCain still wants very tight regulations, and he will sign bills into law that reach his desk to regulate industries on greenhouse gas emissions, that regulate car makers with tougher CAFE standards, setting prices on prescription drugs by HHS, and mandates on health insurance industry. We need to keep enough conservative Senators in the US Senate to filibuster these kinds of onerous regulations so they do not move out of Congress to the White House. These regulatory burdens will cost us billions of dollars annually with especially large increased costs of electricity and gasoline.

The political speech laws affecting political campaigns are already law, and I hope the SCOTUS will rule against them.

The regulations with respect to illegals will need to be blocked in Congress. If the McCain-Kennedy bill is resurrected after a temporary period to declare borders are secure now, then the net cost to taxpayers of retirement benefits for amnesty recipients is likely to be at least $2.6 trillion.


We the people do not get to elect anybody in this election who has executive experience managing a large government bureaucracy or a large private business corporation. I am disappointed, but what doesn't kill me will make me stronger. I realize more than ever that there are better ways to pursue happiness for myself than to lean and rely too much on the Federal government saving me.

I now believe John McCain is the better choice than whoever is selected by the Democratic Party, and I will vote for John McCain in the general election. I will also continue to be critical of all of the politicians who by their own words and actions will cripple US economic growth.

I hope my revised and extended remarks do not irritate anybody too much. I can't develop amnesia, and say that I agree completely with Sen. John McCain in every way shape and form. I can declare now that he has my vote in November.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Face Of The Republican Party

This is not another John McCain drive-by hit piece so please read on.

After Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008 I now believe that Sen John McCain will win the GOP nomination for POTUS 2008. When this happens Sen. John McCain is de facto the face of the Republican Party. I have watched the political career of John McCain for many years, and I have observed many different faces of McCain. Many blogs have been written about the maverick, John McCain, and the legislative accomplishments that he is mostly remembered for.

I would like in this blog to highlight the one face of Sen. McCain that I hope he can call more attention to. This is the face of the politician who opposes increased entitlement spending in a failed Medicare system. These are Sen. McCain's words:

I strongly opposed adding another unfunded entitlement to the fiscal train wreck that is Medicare by providing all seniors with a costly drug benefit, even those, like me, who can more than afford to pay for their medicine.

I want to see more of the face of the politician who opposes increased subsidy spending for ethanol. These are Sen. McCain's words:
In the early 1980s, ethanol subsidies were used to prop up America’s struggling corn farmers. Unfortunately, the ‘trickle down’effect of agricultural subsidies is clearly evident. Beef and dairy farmers, for example, have to pay a higher price for feed corn, which is then passed on in the form of higher prices for meat and milk. The average consumer ends up paying the cost of ethanol subsidies in the grocery store...The Congressional Research Service, the Congressional Budget Office and the
Department of Energy all acknowledge that the environmental benefits of ethanol use, at least in terms of smog reduction, are yet unproven...ethanol is an inefficient, expensive fuel.

If what I describe above does become a prominent message of Sen. John McCain, then I believe he has a chance to get some conservatives enthused about his candidacy. He already has persuaded Sen Tom Coburn's support. Sen. Coburn still strongly disagrees with his colleague, John McCain, on campaign finance reform legislation, but perhaps Sen. Coburn working with McCain can make it possible to change his mind. I heartily agree with Sen. Coburns words on this subject:
Ethics-based reform is desperately needed in Congress but regulating the lobbying industry is only treating the symptoms of the disease. The problem in Washington, D.C., is not the lobbyists. The problem is members of Congress.

When a disgraced lobbyist described Congress and its budget process as an “earmark favor factory,” most Americans were reminded that earmarks are a key aspect of the culture of corruption in Washington, D.C. Corruption scandals involving members of Congress revealed that earmarks are the gateway drug that leads to spending addictions.

The climate in Washington has provided lobbyists the ability to wine and dine congressmen in a culture where votes and influence are bought and sold. Congress does not need to reform the lobbying industry as much as it needs to reform itself.

I believe disclosure and transparency is the best disinfectant against corruption because I trust the wisdom of the electorate far more than I trust politicians. By forcing disclosure and transparency, the public will be able tie together the nexus between gifts from lobbyists with the “special interest” earmark from a congressman in return.

If politicians have to report on everything they do, the public will be aware of their transgressions and consequently corrupt politicians will be thrown out of office.

I am not yet ready to announce any support or enthusiasm for voting for John McCain for POTUS '08, but I am offering a suggested approach for the McCain campaign to employ in winning support from like-minded conservatives.