Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

U.S. Grant and I would like to take this time to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas. We hope that you all are able to spend this day with those closest to you. As we celebrate this joyous day, we ask that you keep in mind those who are experiencing difficulty: those suffering from ill health, those experiencing job loss, and those who are missing a loved one. Most importantly, we ask that you all keep in mind the reason for this special day: the birth of Christ.

Merry Christmas!

W. Sherman

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Proof That Detroit Could Be Replaced Over Time.

I am fired up, you should be too. The reason?... Carbon Motors Corporation an Atlanta based company that may represent the perfect example of what the free market solution to the auto industry crisis could look like. You can learn more about them at http://www.carbonmotors.com/. I recently learned about this break through company in a Fox News article back on December 12, 2008. After doing a little follow up research it became apparent this is clearly worth writing about here.

This new auto industry participant specializes in the manufacture of new state of the art fuel efficient police motor vehicles. It is the company’s hope to have orders for up to 50,000 new vehicles in the coming years with the first models going into service in 2012. Based on reported responses from members of the law enforcement community these new specialty cars could have a very strong market.

The development of this new product is significant for our purposes at DMRightSide because this is proof positive we can soon see in action that shows the Big 3 can, and are going to be replaced. Keep in mind that it has been shown that law enforcement agencies purchase upwards of 70,000 vehicles or more per year. These often are either General Motors of Ford products. If the E7 can take even a small percentage of that figure in its first year of mass production a clear message will be sent that the times are a changing.

Furthermore as reported by Fox once this company hits the production stage not only will they need to choose a state to build the plant in (creating a new mini-economy in effect) but also creating up to 10,000 new jobs along the way. Many of these jobs may likely be ideal for the soon to be displaced UAW workers at the Big 3. If a few more of these new innovating companies take off we may be looking at a genuine redistribution of this area of the industry and after that who knows?

I would be the first to admit that this one lone company is not going to sink a company the size of General Motors or Ford, these companies will likely take care of themselves. At the same time many small entities like Carbon Motors taking the time to innovate and chip away at the “way it has always been” will translate in to an expedited fall of companies that frankly deserve some “street justice”.

In the process of doing so these new little entities are going create new jobs, wealth, and bring about the sort of innovations that make our nation as great as it is. Keep in mind this company in the future and others like it. They may be the saviors of our future.

Regards,

U.S. Grant

Friday, December 12, 2008

Small Government: A Powerful Tool in Fighting Corruption

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D). Need I say more? By now we’ve all heard how he was trying to sell Barrack Obama’s vacant Senate seat in a less-than-discrete manner. At a press conference, the U.S. Attorney said that what Blagojevich did would “make Lincoln turn in his grave.” Illinois residents are upset about this, yet they re-elected this guy while he was the subject of three federal investigations. What should they expect? Additionally, there is speculation regarding whether the Obama team may have had any involvement in this matter. It sounds like there wasn’t any active involvement, yet this event does provide another telling indicator about media bias; John Fund’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal sums this up well: “[T]he media devoted a lot more time and energy to investigating the inner workings of Sarah Palin's Wasilla, Alaska, than it has looking at Mr. Obama's Chicago connections.” Reality is now confirming for us Mr. Fund is quite correct.

As someone who is an advocate of small government (heck I used to work for an organization whose website is http://www.limitedgovernment.org/), I find corruption scandals an instructional tool for the value of small government in promoting clean government. This lesson is especially important at a time when small government is being blamed for the current recession, and at a time when some are advocating more government control of our healthcare and banking systems.

When government is small, the opportunities for corruption are reduced. There are fewer agencies to be run, which means there are fewer opportunities to dole out Cush Government Agency Positions as rewards for campaign contributions, personal loyalty, or other non-meritorious reasons. In the Illinois situation, if Governor Blagojevich was taking bids for Obama’s seat, what are the odds that he was doing the same (or at least could easily do the same) for positions in the State Department of Education, Human Services, etc. The point is, the fewer government agencies, the fewer government positions the Governor can “sell.”

Along the same lines, a smaller government means that there are fewer special interests clamoring for favors. In addition to fewer people seeking agency jobs, there are also fewer entities trying to get government contracts (with certain legislators and executives getting cuts of the profits), and fewer people seeking appropriations for pet projects.

A small government is also easier to monitor. When government employs millions of people to work in millions of agencies, corruption is hard to catch. By contrast, when there are fewer employees and fewer agencies, government accountability offices have a much easier time monitoring the situation, as do media and ordinary citizens.

Smaller government means more services provided by the private sector, which, in turn, means less motive for corruption. How many businesses will sell jobs for $500,000? (None that I know of.) While there may be nepotism in both the public and private sectors, a private business cannot expect to make a profit if they allow utterly unqualified individuals to run said businesses; government, on the other hand, can get away with it (remember Brownie?). Finally, unlike government, in order for a private business to stay afloat, it must earn the dollars of its customers. That means producing better and safer products, providing quality customer service, and efficient operation. Government agencies, unfortunately, seem to get funded regardless of performance.

The Illinois scandal is a reminder that not all of those who go into public office are angels. Regardless of their motives when first running (Blagojevich ran as a “reformer”), having the ability to appoint people to high level positions and having access to taxpayer dollars sometimes leads people to make bad decisions (or in Blagojevich’s case, ones that are just downright stupid). This scandal should remind we the people of our responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable and throw out the ones that abuse their positions. This weighty task could be made easier by reducing the number of people whose acts we have to monitor.

Update: On November 21, I posted on whether Senator Grassley would be the next victim of hte Democrat wave. In that post I mentioned the possibility of a Vilsack-Grassley showdown in 2010. DailyKos has conducted polling on this matchup, and supposedly Vilsack is giving our Senior Senator a run for his money. Krusty has the story. I still stand by my earlier predictions that 1) Vilsack won't run, and 2) even if he does, he won't win.
By W. Sherman

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Desperation brings new antics in this crisis of ours…

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but like all things in this world, such actions, even in times of the greatest despair, should be balanced with temperance and prudence. Clearly our nation and the rest of the world has forgotten this concept.

There are two events of recent that clearly show why this is the case.

Let us first consider the ever growing hysteria surrounding the impending death knell (a death knell anyone with a pulse was aware of long before now) of the American auto industry as we currently understand it. While the hype and rhetoric of late seems to want us to believe that the “Big Three” only in recent years really hit hard times, the bottom line is that these guys were officially screwed long before they actually thought vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade had staying power and made sense.

If this was where the current situation ended, things would be bad enough but manageable. Of course, like all things American, though, this obvious crisis had to be moved up to the next level. This is evidenced by the outrage that followed when the leaders of these corporate entities had the “nerve” to fly on private jets to appear before congress. Why this stuns anyone frankly stuns me. Executives, especially of large companies use private jets; this is true for companies that succeed or fail. It is not a crime, it saves time, and let’s face it, if the company is really going to fail that quickly, it is more likely due to crap products, poor marketing, and abusive union contracts- not a private plane.

Subsequently, this past weekend brings us to the greatest of all insults the actual placement of three hybrid sport utility vehicles on an alter at a large metro church in Detroit. It is official: our society is become the butt of even the crappiest jokes in the world. If I have read correctly with these newly added features of the alter came free blessed oil anointment for auto executives and workers. (It is only a matter of time before people start selling popcorn and hot dogs out side the door at this point.)

Adding insult to injury, though, now after a Chicago employer had to make the surely difficult decision to close down and layoff countless employees the recently dismissed workers are staging a sit-in to protest their release. I have only one question: When in the hell did it become acceptable to protest getting fired? The Reverend Jessie Jackson compared these fools in denial to heroes in the way of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. I can only wonder whether he is actually serious. These people are neither heroes nor making a difference, nor stopping injustice. They are a bunch of disgruntled workers who find delusion preferable to reality. If that makes a hero, we should sign up 95% of the disgruntled fast food workforce in this nation for a national merit award.

This laid off worker sit-in is even getting attention from Congress and the head of the FDIC. Why is the FDIC (they regulate banking you know) sticking its nose in this anyway? These people couldn't even keep a lid on the ARM crisis, and getting them into labor relations makes zero sense.

The bottom line is this whole “economic crisis’ is terrible; no one disputes that. Yet our response as a nation is out of hand and not getting us to a better place. The media frenzy to cover this garbage certainly is not helping either. My closing message to you: please just pay your bills, try to stay employed, and above all else, do not go buy an Escalade. If you can manage to not screw these things up, I have faith we will all still survive.

Regards,

U.S. Grant

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thank you, Counsel, your case is submitted ...

Well, not yet. For starters, things have been busy around here, and unfortunately, I haven’t had time to do a lot of blogging. But I did want to take the time to let you all know that on Tuesday, December 9, the landmark case of Varnum v. Brien will be argued before the Iowa Supreme Court. In this case, the 7 justices of the Court will get to decide whether Iowa can constitutionally prohibit same-sex couples from marrying.

For those outside Iowa, this case brought before the Iowa District Court for Polk County in 2006. In August 2007, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Plaintiffs, and ruled that Iowa law, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, was unconstitutional. The case has been appealed and is now before the Supreme Court.

The Iowa Supreme Court has previously been presented with two cases tangentially related to marriage rights of same-sex persons. This past January, the Court entered a ruling in the case of Schott v. Schott. In this case, the female Plaintiff adopted the children of her partner, also a female. After the couple decided to end their long-term relationship, the Plaintiff filed a petition to determine the custody status of the children. The Polk County District Court ruled that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over this matter. The Supreme Court reversed this decision.

In 2005, the Court ruled in Alons v. Iowa Dist. Ct. for Woodbury County. The underlying controversy in this case arose when the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County granted a decree of dissolution of marriage to Kimberly Jean Brown and Jennifer Sue Perez. The couple had entered into a civil union in Vermont and sometime thereafter, relocated to Iowa. Ms. Brown filed for divorce from Ms. Perez on August 1, 2003, and the Court entered the above-referenced divorce decree on November 14. The Court ultimately amended the decree, declaring the rights of the parties, but revoking the dissolution of marriage.

Despite the issuance of an amended ruling, the Plaintiffs in Alons—a church, a pastor, a few Iowa Legislators, and a Congressman—brought a suit against the Court, claiming that it didn’t have jurisdiction to dissolve a marriage that is not recognized in Iowa. The Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of standing.

Neither Schott nor Alons directly address the issue of whether the State of Iowa can constitutionally prohibit same-sex marriage. Both cases are cited by the Plaintiffs-Appellees in their brief, and will likely be used as support for the argument that same-sex marriage should be allowed in Iowa. But the cases could just as easily be cited for what they are: a case where a parent can file a petition to determine custody of her children, and a case where the Court declined to hear a Third Party’s challenge to court decision. When asked to read the tea-leaves, and predict how the Court might rule, the only prediction that I can make is that this decision will make some people very happy and others very upset.

For those who are so inclined, the parties’ briefs and the District Court are publicly available (I was unable to read them, given the busy time of the year). Additionally, the oral argument can be seen live online. U.S. Grant and I will be watching this case, and will provide our thoughts when the opinion comes down.

BY: W. Sherman

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day To Be Thankful.

On behalf of both of us here at DMRightSide I would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and great holiday weekend.

As we all sit around a table this afternoon with friends and family, let us not forget those less fortunate and those currently away from their loved ones seeing to it that we remain safe here at home.

God Bless you all.

U.S. Grant

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Register Gets It Right... What!?

As a rule I am not a fan of the Des Moines Register. Like many of my conservative brethren, I find their editorial selection woefully biased and often unhelpful to anyone trying to “wade” through an issue. Today though is an exception to the rule.

In today’s issue (November 24, 2008) a guest writer named Andrew Moylan (government affairs manager for the National Taxpayers Union) provided a highly informative and compelling discussion of the potential tax consequences President Elect Obama’s energy policy may have for our struggling nation.

Mr. Moylan correctly identifies that the Obama plan for energy and the United States as a rehashing of the same failed ideas of the last 30 years, and plan that likely spells disaster if implemented.

In support of his disagreement with President Elect Obama, Mr. Moylan cites to the following key arguments:

1. The much discussed and hyped windfall profits tax on oil companies is only going to result in higher prices passed onto the consumer. This is compounded by the reality that oil companies pay almost twice in taxes what they reap in profits.

2. The windfall tax was already attempted in the 1980s and not only were prices raised but the amount of imported oil increased. There may also be no windfall to profit with the current bottoming out of oil prices. With the shockingly low price of oil right now, any major gains may be consumed by what is surely an abnormal drop in the price of oil.

3. As President, Obama may also restore the ban on off shore drilling. Not only does this drive the price of oil down due to supply and demand, but 50% of those who voted for him are opposed to the ban.

I knew there would be a time to sit back and say “I told you so” to those who believed Obama was actually something new, actual change; I had no idea I would get to say so before he is even sworn in! More importantly, it is not just the fringe right making this argument. The point is now coming from a published opinion piece in the Des Moines Register. If this article can make it into that heap of mediocre journalism, there has to be something to it.

The bottom line here is that not only is Mr. Moylan quite correct in his reasoning why the Obama energy plan my cost us dearly in taxes, but the back lash of this clearly ill-conceived electoral result may be felt earlier than originally suspected. This is a bitter sweet reality that I can only hope does not cost the nation too dearly and is something we learn from and remember four years from now.

Regards,

U.S. Grant

Friday, November 21, 2008

Will Grassley be the Next Victim of the Democratic Wave?

This past Tuesday, David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register had a piece about potential opposition to Senator Chuck Grassley in 2010. I suppose he stole my thunder, because frankly, I’ve been wondering the same.

For those of our readers that are not from Iowa, a little background: Senator Grassley is Iowa’s Senior U.S. Senator, having held the post since 1981. Since his election to the Senate, he has faced token opposition from Democrats. He is the ranking member on the Finance Committee, and also serves on the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees. Between 2003 and 2007, when Republicans had the majority in the Senate, Grassley's role as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee made him one of the most powerful Senators.

But times are different: Democrats feel emboldened with their electoral successes in 2006 and 2008 and their voter registration advantage of 100,000. Additionally, the Senator is getting old (he’ll be 77 on election day 2010) and the word “change” all of a sudden has a credible ring to it. Furthermore, the Republican Party of Iowa is in bad shape, and some Iowa Republicans are upset with his vote to spend federal money on an indoor rainforest. So, asks Yepsen (and myself), will the Democrats put a credible candidate up against Grassley in 2010? Who would it be?

Yepsen has thrown out the following names as credible challengers to Grassley: former Governor Tom Vilsack, former First Lady Christie Vilsack, former Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson, and Congressman Bruce Braley. Odds are, none of these people will likely run for Senate.

Governor Vilsack, the ex-2008 Presidential candidate, would give Grassley the most significant challenge. The former State Senator from Mount Pleasant (home to the good folks at the Public Interest Institute) won the Governor's Race in 1998 by defeating a well-known Congressman, and was re-elected in 2002. He left office in 2007 on relatively favorable terms, with the Iowa economy flourishing (thanks in large part to a thriving national economy) and Democrats were doing well electorally.

Chances are, Governor Vilsack will not run. The ex-Presidential Candidate is currently being considered for a position in the Obama Cabinet, and has said he will “do whatever Obama asks.” Even if he doesn’t get a cabinet position, why would he run? The guy served as the State’s Chief Executive for eight years, and would not likely be thrilled to run a state-wide campaign only to be Iowa’s junior Senator, and one among 100. There are two caveats, however: recently, two of President Bush’s former cabinet secretaries are now U.S. Senators (former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez is a Senator from Florida, and former Ag Secretary Mike Johanns was recently elected to represent Nebraska). Additionally, Mark Warner, an ex-Governor and ex-Presidential candidate, was recently elected to the U.S. Senate from Virginia.

For at least the past four years, Christie Vilsack was rumored to have political ambitions. Supposedly, she had planned to wait until Jim Leach retired and run for the Southeast Iowa seat. But when Dave Loebsack upset Congressman Leach in 2006, plans changed. The Vilsacks recently relocated to Des Moines from Mount Pleasant, and chances are, Christie is probably waiting for Leonard Boswell to retire, than she is to wait for Grassley. As she and her husband learned last January while campaigning for their friend Hillary, Iowa voters don’t elect candidates to Federal offices merely because they are married to former office holders.

Former Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson ran the Iowa Democratic Party during the 2006 election cycle. While Democrats enjoyed great successes in those years, she has been literally invisible since. Odds are, she’s not interested.

Congressman Bruce Braley, who represents Northeast Iowa in Congress (a District held by Grassley during the 1970s), was mentioned as possibly seeking a Senate seat. Congressman Braley came to Congress as part of the Democratic wave of 2006, and cruised to re-election two weeks ago. While this political newcomer may have an interest in a Senate seat, chances are, he’s not interested in Grassley’s seat right now. First, he probably realizes that Iowans are not willing to give up a Senator with tons of seniority for a guy who has only served two terms. Second, unless redistricting makes his district more Republican, Braley can use the next six years to build up his congressional accomplishments, and be in good shape to replace Senator Tom Harkin when he decides to retire. Finally, Braley probably knows that 1) Iowans don’t vote out incumbents easily (unless you’er Senator Roger Jepsen who was defeated by Tom Harkin in 1984 or John Culver who lost re-election to …Chuck Grassley in 1980) and 2) Iowa Congressmen have had little success in pursuits for statewide office (ask Senators Taukee, Lightfoot and Ganske or Governors Lightfoot and Nussle). A caveat to that last point: all of the unsuccessful Congressmen who ran for the Senate and Governor were Republican.

Another candidate that is rumored to be considering a run is former State Representative, Gubernatorial Candidate and Third District Congressional Candidate Ed Fallon. Fallon is a liberal populist from Des Moines, whose pet project is getting the State to pass a clean elections law (READ: government-run campaigns). However, Fallon has been unable to raise money in the past, and he did not do well in his 2008 primary race against Congressman Leonard Boswell. Additionally, a lot of Democrats are still bitter for his public support of Ralph Nader in 2000, and they made it known during his primary race.

Any Democrat thinking about challenging Grassley in 2010 also has to consider whether the political climate will be as pro-Democratic as they are right now. Anything that goes wrong during the next two years will be blamed on the party that controls the whole government—the Democrats. Additionally, Governor Chet Culver will be up for re-election in 2010, which means that the wallets of Democratic donors will be spread among more than one candidate. Finally, while people like Tom Vilsack and Bruce Braley are popular politicians, Grassley is an institution.

By W. Sherman

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A little more on the Iowa GOP.

The week so far has been calm by comparison of late. This gives us a moment to sit back and consider some other more abstract points in need of both discussion and time. Last week my colleague W. Sherman set forth a great discussion of the “soul searching” that Iowa GOPers’ will be doing for the coming months and years. With this article, I will expand on that in one specific area, the fiscal v. social conservative argument.

This debate was reignited recently by the now famous appearance of Iowa GOP leader Doug Gross on Iowa Press a few weeks ago. Doug made the point (correctly might I add) that until the Iowa GOP moves back to the more moderate disposition, the party will continue to be in the minority on election night. This is a topic I feel quite strongly about and believe is deserving of many more rounds of commentary and discussion.

I am certain that Doug Gross’s point of view regarding the direction the Iowa GOP should take is the correct one, and the only point of view that is going to push the State Party back into the leadership limelight. The reason for this is simple, as many before me have said, Republicans are great at shaping economic policy and creating sustainable jobs. Additionally, I have always been taught that if you excel at it, don’t stop doing it. It is this sort of fiscally conservative, pro-business attitude that I believe is in line with the general needs and concerns of Iowans.

What is not in line with the state of Iowa is the scarier and arguably darker side of extreme social conservatism. It is this cause within the party that represents its greatest obstacle to victory. Yet, as it has been noted it is this more extreme wing of the party that has been the deciding factor as of late. However, there is no reason for this other than a lack of intestinal fortitude by the GOP moderates (also known as reasonable people) to simply stand up and declare no more!

We have to start thinking of our party in terms of marketing. We must consider all aspects of the product. I know that there are some key social issues that are an intrinsic part of the conservative agenda, and I do not believe anyone wants to do away with those views. At the same time one has to ask if it makes sense to pick party leaders who represent the most extreme views when we live in an increasingly “middle of the road” society. We are not going to reach the youth vote and moderates when we have these sort of extreme and brash people as our brand packaging.

Some might question if this will work. They ask “will this really get people to agree with us?” The answer to this based on the slight experimentation I have conducted suggests it will. I can think of a number of young people who in recent weeks when having asked me to explain my beliefs I have responded using this reasoning and packaged things in a grow Iowa first way. The response is overwhelming. People who may be in the middle or unsure start by first hearing how the Republican Party can lower taxes and bring prosperity and they suddenly agree. We no longer appear as a judgmental pack of moral zealots. I never backed away from my views, but I also did not use them at the first 45 seconds of the conversation. As a result I had an audience and agreement, two major steps towards winning someone over. It is basic salesmanship 101.

In closing I urge all Iowans who desire a more profitable future and one with lower taxes to get behind this approach to GOP leadership. In the coming months as we pick leaders look to see who wants change, and who seeks to keep everything the same. When we ask ourselves the infamous question “are we better off than we were four years ago?” and the answer is an obvious no there is little question a change in direction is needed.

Regards,

U.S. Grant

Friday, November 14, 2008

Let the Discussion Begin ...

Last Friday, I discussed my thoughts on the “soul-searching” process within the Republican Party. Apparently, some within the party read my post. Within the last week, the following has taken place:

Buzz has been circulating about who the next RNC chair will be (the list includes former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Congressman and Iowa Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Nussle).

The Iowa Family Policy Center announced that it will be hosting an event with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal as the keynote speaker.

Mike Huckabeee, a former Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate, will be returning to Iowa on a book tour.

Buzz is circulating about the next Iowa Republican Party Chairman.

Iowa House Republicans elected Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha as their leader.

Former Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Gross appeared on Iowa Press with National Committeeman Steve Scheffler to discuss the changes that must be made within the party. Later in the week, he hosted a select group of activists to discuss the future of the party and what needs to be done to put us back in the Governor’s Office.


Additionally, Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet on Monday to elect their leadership. Senator Paul McKinley of Chariton is vying for the spot, and Senate GOP members would be wise to elect him as leader. As one who knows Senator McKinley personally, I can vouch for his intelligence, his knowledge in the areas of education (he is currently the ranking member on the Senate Education Committee) and business (he was a small business owner) and commitment to conservative principles. He will make a great leader.

Looking ahead and putting new people in charge is a start, but we still have a long hard road ahead. An additional challenge we face is the need to build bridges between those in our own part. For example: a recent Des Moines Register editorial, written by a former candidate for the party’s gubernatorial nomination, indicates that social conservatives are feeling threatened by efforts to rebuild the party. Additionally, another blogger has been heavily critical of Mr. Gross for his efforts to help rebuild the party. That blogger accused Mr. Gross (wrongfully) of taking pot shots at Mr. Sheffler on Iowa Press. With this sort of internal dissention so openly manifested, the wrong message is sent to the people of Iowa, and road blocks to progress are created.

Coming up in the near future are two days that have the potential to unite the Iowa Republican Party. The first will take place in early January when the Legislative session begins, and the Democrats begin an ill-advised effort to impose an agenda Iowa clearly does not need. This is a golden opportunity for the State GOP to step forward and assert a sense of revitalized leadership in governing Iowa. The second day will come on January 20, when the Obama Administration takes over, and begins its efforts to raise our taxes and weaken our defense. This is again an opportunity to begin re-branding the GOP as a party that is back in action, bigger, and better than ever. We know the Obama administration is going to stumble. The GOP just needs to be ready to respond when it does to maximize the opportunity.


The bottom line is though that none of this will happen if the Republican Party can’t unite around the need to stop the further degradation of our state and our nation by the left and the fact that without a united coherent message victory is nearly impossible. Who ever is the next leader of our party at any level will have to embrace these realities and have a clear plan to address them.

BY W. Sherman

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A simple thank you.

On this special day we at DMRightSide would like to offer our thanks to the many brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces for their efforts and sacrifices made on our behalf. Without these brave individuals this Nation would not be the true blessing it is.

Our freedom really belongs to all of you, thank you for allowing us to enjoy it.

God Bless, and remain safe.

U.S. Grant
(On Behalf of DMRightSide and personally.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Time To Re-Group

Well, the polls turned out to be right: Barack Obama defeated John McCain, and will be our 44th President. Democrats increased their margins in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as in the Iowa Legislature. It is safe to say that times are tough for the GOP.

As Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media spend the next two months eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Obama Administration in Washington, we Republicans are left wondering where we went wrong, and how to fix things. In short, we must figure out how to start winning elections again.

Two things are predictable: first, the conservative wing of the party is going attribute the losses this past Tuesday, and two years ago, to an alleged shift to the center. By contrast, the moderate wing of the party is going to allege that the party’s losses are attributable to an extreme move to the right. Second, there will be a call for new leadership within the party. Nationally, there will be at least two changes: President Bush will be leaving office, and a new chairman will be elected for the Republican National Committee. At the state level, the Republican Party of Iowa will have a new chairman, and House Republicans may have a new leader this coming session.

Discussions of the party platform and leadership shake-ups are healthy for any party. But in order for the Republican Party to become a governing party again, we have to go beyond merely being palatable to the party’s moderates and conservatives. We also have to go beyond a few leadership changes.

First, we have to show the American people that we are able to govern again. This will be challenging, but not impossible. Showing that we can govern means embracing pragmatism over ideology. Showing that we can govern means putting the people before ourselves.

Second, we have to reach out to more voters. This means moving beyond our traditional rural southern and Midwestern base. We need young people; Latinos; suburbanites; and people living in the Western part of the country. People in these demographic groups are the future of the country, and we need to work hard to bring them over from the Democratic camp.

Third, we have to change our election strategies. Regardless of whether we like the idea that people can vote early or that absentee ballots are being sent out in September, this is how the game is now being played, and thus far, the Democrats have been kicking our asses. Several State Legislative candidates won on election day, only to find out that they lost too many votes in the 24 days leading up to the election to either retain or pick up a seat.

Fourth, we have to be an aggressive and relentless opposition. Right now, the Democrats control the whole government—if anything bad happens, it is their fault. There are those within the Democratic Party that understand this, and are trying to lower expectations on Obama and company. Let’s not let them get away with it.

Finally, each of us should think about what we can do for the party. Whether it is getting involved in your local Republican party, running for a state or local office, working on a campaign, or just talking with the misguided souls that are about to regret their vote this past Tuesday when April 15 rolls around, we all can and should do our part to bring the party back to where we know it should be.

By W. Sherman

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Final 48......

It is finally here: the last 48 hours of the 2008 Presidential Election. Soon all of the world will know who will be taking over as “leader of the free world” after President George W. Bush leaves office in January 2009.

By now it is no secret to anyone that the departure of W is an eagerly anticipated event by members of both parties. It is true also that the Bush Presidency has been marked by many troubling events, with some managed better than others.

As the Nation approaches this surely historical change in command, before we allow the historians and pundits to define the truth for us, now is the time to step back and take a breath, to recollect the last eight years.

The growth and change we have seen as a nation has been vast and stunning. Under President Bush, we have evolved from the travesty of the Clinton approach to foreign policy, to a country dedicated to seeing our international commitments through to the end. (Contrast the failures of Clinton in the Balkans and Somalia to the success in helping stabilize Iraq and there is no comparison.) The bottom line is we are stronger and more effective.

Furthermore, in the last eight years the nation has come to terms with the reality that we live in a new and more dangerous world than we previously understood. We have seen what our international neighbors are truly capable of doing to us as a people. The reality that we simply cannot all be friends has become a center-stage reality. The most troubling aspect of this truth is not the fact it exists (for it surely has always been) but is the fact that even now there are those on the far left that still want to dilute this self-proving truth.

Looking to the U.S. economy, it is clear that there is a problem. Yet to associate this with President Bush or the Republican Party is a great mistake, and academically dishonest. It was the Democrats after all who helped bring about the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. This law is arguably half the source of our current housing and lending woes. This garbage law, paired with a lessening of fiscal planning and personal responsibility, created a recipe for disaster long before President Bush ever stepped near the White House.

In the next 48 hours as we prepare to vote (realizing that many of us probably already have) remember these truths about the last eight years. Think about what we have learned about the need for an honest leader with strength, wisdom, and experience. Remember all we have learned as a country in the last eight years, the next four years will surely have related incidents. After you have done all of this, when you have considered all of the facts, it is my sincere hope you realize one thing above all else; with all we know now this is the time for a leader; a leader who puts country first. The only leader that fits this mandatory set of criteria is John McCain.

Regards,

U.S. Grant

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is Capitalism and Deregulation to Blame for the Financial Crisis?

This past week, the Economist, one of my favorite news sources, raised a question that I have been meaning to write about for weeks: the future of capitalism. As many of us have seen, the U.S. economic system (the world’s best economic system) is under fire as a result of the current financial crisis. Subsequently, many of the pro-growth, free-market policies adopted during the past 25 years are in danger of being replaced by the outdated, statist policies that failed during the 1970s. This populist knee-jerk reaction is not the correct way to respond.

This growing desire to wrongly blame for the status quo is well addressed by the article. Specifically mentioned are the criticisms that have been raised against capitalism—namely, that American-style capitalism is a failing policy, and, more specifically, that deregulation of finance is a losing approach. In rebuking these false arguments, the article looks to the record of capitalism in the developing world, and notes that millions of people have been moved out of poverty as a result of the success of capitalism. In fact, it is highlighted that this decade could be the highest growth decade in history. With these indisputable realities, one cannot help but wonder, “where are these critics getting their information?”

There is some consensus that regulation of the financial markets does require a second hard look by regulations. Most reasonable minds and the author of the article seemingly agree with this. As also mentioned in the article great places to start are requiring banks to keep capital reserves during good times, as well as having the Federal Government consider asset prices in their decision making process. But the current crisis cannot be blamed on deregulation alone. Millions of Americans know this and the same sentiment is reflected in the article.

Over-regulation shares as much if not more of the culpability for the current problems. The article notes that the U.S. mortgage industry is heavily regulated, as evidenced by the role of quasi-governmental entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Regulators and Congress thought they had the proverbial thumb on these areas, while in hindsight, we know otherwise. Pairing this excessive entanglement with industry with ill-advised Federal efforts to increase home ownership brought us total disaster as a nation.

An additional point made by the article also provides proof from beyond our borders that over regulation equates disaster. Looking to the more recent economic crises in Japan and South Korea (also heavily regulated economies), it is not hard to see a greater picture forming that spells out what brings disaster.

Ultimately, as rightly stated by conservative thinkers for years, and most recently this article, we need better government, not more. There could not be a more accurate statement. Complicating an already broken system not only fails to address what brought the first problems into existence but then sweeps them under a rug where they remain hidden for years. What happens then is a re-emergence of a then bigger, more severe issue.

Less is more, both in life and in regulation.

W. Sherman

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The test is now.

This Friday the modern day energy mafia otherwise known as OPEC will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the sudden “problem” with the price of oil. This re-convergence of many of the world’s most tyrannical, and anti-American governments to discuss what should be done to raise the price of oil should serve as another grave warning shot to all Americans that we live in a time that continues to be one of great peril, and not just at home.

Commentators today have rightly identified why some of the more infamous OPEC member countries are so agitated with the recent plummet in oil prices. To sum up those reasons is easy: they planned on using record prices to fund militarization, defy international law, and oppress freedom loving people around the globe. (Apparently with prices for oil dropping at record rates it is becoming difficult again to be a flush murderously oppressive government.)

Not only is this Friday meeting troubling news in that it indicates an increased potential for conflict around the globe, but such conduct will directly affect, (and likely harm) the American public as well. Based on what has been said recently there is in fact little question that one of the primary motivating factors of these rouge nations is to cause as much harm to the American public as possible.

Ironically a recent headline has also been that it is predicted that an Obama presidency would likely see a near immediate challenge by one of these rouge nations. Not only has coverage of this point been overdone, it is not even news worthy. A coke addicted in-bred with the IQ of Forrest Gump could have told you that countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela are out to get the United States any way they can. (For those out there excited about the break-through quality of the American news outlets, this ought to let a little wind out of your sails.)

The bottom line is this;
1.Oil is a weakness for the United States and most westernized countries.
2.This problem is complex and no amount of promised change or hope is going to solve it or any other economic problem quickly.
3.Throwing money at this issue or any other like matter is a short term solution that will screw you in the end because it breeds complacency.
4.The much hyped but still mythical Obama presidency is not going to be tested in 6 months, America is being tested now though and it takes a steady hand to respond to this still every present security and economic threat.

The end result is that we must elect a leader here in a few short weeks that has the best chance at handling a test already being administered to the United States. That leader is NOT Barack Obama. John McCain does offer the best chance we have at quashing the tyrannical governments seeking to do us harm like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. These rouge nations are not going to let up on their assault on America. If we the electorate neglect this reality and choose the wrong leader we will be tested in ways no American would wish on anyone.

Regards,

U.S. Grant

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Parting Thoughts on a Wild Two Weeks.

The last two weeks have been an intensely emotional roller coaster ride when one thinks about the U.S. economy. Between the drama in passing the questionable $700 Billion Bail Our Plan and the rise and fall of the stock market, it has been hard to catch a breath in regards to our economy.

People are still talking about, and in many cases criticizing, the passage of the bail out. I cannot blame them; it is truly an affront to all small government-minded, freedom-loving people everywhere. Even worse (yet unsurprisingly), a large portion of the free world soon followed in our reactionary, populist footsteps, and imposed similar responses.

Compound this reality with the fact that the last Presidential debate, arguably one of the dullest exchanges in recent history between two men vying for the position of leader of the free world, did little to help the situation. Both candidates seem to be in a race to the bottom regarding who can buy out more personal debt faster, or who can crack down harder on those “greedy” men on Wall Street. This discussion is not only pointless but also redundant.

I realize that today, after the world relief package went through, the market also saw a historic rise. This is a great thing, but who is to say it would not have happened without governments world wide destroying economic freedoms, crushing free market ideals, and misapplying billions of dollars of taxpayer money. This seems like a certified deal with the devil, and as many of us know, the devil is in the details.


I am pleased to know that today, world markets are breathing more easily. Furthermore, even though John McCain’s discussion of buying out mortgages disappoints me, I will still vote for him without question. The thought of an Obama Presidency makes my skin crawl. I do invite both Senator McCain and the electorate to wisen up to the devil in the details here. The crisis is not over, and failure to recognize this could lay the seeds for another one in the future.

Regards,

U.S. Grant

Note On Follow Up: Click HERE TO See The Washington Post October 14, 2008 For More On This From Those In The Industry!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Want Good Judges? Vote McCain

Very few law students—especially in the Midwest—have an opportunity to hear a lecture from the Chief Justice of the United States. Even fewer law students have an opportunity to pose a question to him during a Q & A session. And even fewer law students have an opportunity to shake his hand and have their picture taken with him. Yesterday, I became one of the fortunate few to have all three of these opportunities, thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts’ visit to Drake University Law School for the 2008 Dwight D. Opperman Lecture in Constitutional Law.

Quite honestly, there is little that I learned about Chief Justice Roberts that I didn’t already know. Having watched a large portion of his confirmation hearings in 2005, I knew he had an exceptional legal mind and was very likable. These expectations were confirmed today. Having taken Constitutional Law, and read some of his judicial opinions, I also knew that he is a judge who seeks to interpret the true meaning of our Constitution, and doesn’t arbitrarily assign meanings to parts of the Constitution that aren’t there. Again, this initial intuition was confirmed today. Finally, as one who has been paying attention to current events and one who is aware that election day is one month and one day away, I know that in order for our nation to continue to have good judges like Chief Justice Roberts on the bench, John McCain must be elected President.

A little history lesson to begin with: the last four Presidents each appointed more than one Supreme Court Justice. Presidents Bush, Bush and Clinton each appointed two (all of whom sit on the current Court) and President Reagan appointed three (two of whom sit on the current court). With Justice John Paul Stevens approaching age 90, there is a great likelihood that the next President will appoint at least one Supreme Court Justice.

On the Supreme Court, the vote of one Justice carries a lot of weight. One vote is the difference between allowing partial-birth abortions and upholding a law banning this gruesome procedure. It is the difference between forcing school children to be bussed an extraordinary distance for the sole purpose of “diversity” and allowing parents to have their children go to the best schools for them, regardless of their race. Finally, one vote is the difference between allowing cities to ban handguns from law-abiding citizens and upholding the second amendment right to keep and bear arms. On a more general level, one Justice may mean the difference between a Court whose decisions are based on the original meaning of the Constitution and a Court whose decisions are based on what the Constitution “should” mean. One vote may mean the difference between a Court whose decisions are based upon the Constitution and its original meaning, and a Court whose decisions are based upon foreign precedent and “contemporary human rights documents.” In short, one vote means a lot.

Another history lesson: John McCain has a track record of supporting good, originalist judges. He voted to confirm Justice Thomas, Chief Justice Roberts, and Justice Alito. Barack Obama voted against the Chief Justice and Justice Alito. Joe Biden voted against all three of the judges. For those of us who want good judges who will base their decisions on what the Constitution says, and not legislate from the bench, John McCain is your man.

By W. Sherman

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On The Path With Senate Candidate Jarret Heil: Great Saturday, Great Showing.

This past Saturday, the Oktemberfest Parade took place in Marshalltown, Iowa. This annual tradition draws out a high volume of members of the community, which spans age, race, and political preference. Of course, it is also an ideal setting for any political candidate looking to reach out to those last few voters when they are less than six weeks out from Election Day.

I was fortunate enough to not only attend this parade (hats off to Marshalltown might I add, it was a great time) but also to help Senate District Candidate 22 Jarret Heil reach out to those voters through the course of the parade. As anyone who has ever “done a parade” knows, it can be a sweaty, hot, and arduous task, but it never fails to also be a great experience for both the electorate and the candidate.

Heil’s experience this past Saturday was no exception to this rule. As we have indicated before here on D.M.Rightside, the race in State Senate District 22 is a closely fought battle (recall this is one of the few open seats in the Iowa Senate). Steve Sodders (Heil’s opponent and a Democrat) has worked hard to try to keep pace with Jarret and his message of prosperity and growth for Iowa’s families. Yet he has not yet managed to catch up to the substance that Heil has to offer District 22 and the entire State of Iowa. The Oktemberfest Parade gave all of us another reminder of this reality.

Heil not only made his presence known via an impressive display of well crafted reminders of who to vote for come this first Tuesday in November, but also via a tremendous amount of volunteers who turned out to walk with Jarret in a show of support and effort. The sea of navy blue that enshrouded Heil was nothing short of impressive and clearly overwhelmed the otherwise simple showing by his opponent.

Jarret Heil is clearly on the right track and is marching down the path to victory at this point. I strongly urge all conservative-minded readers to keep Jarret in mind in the coming weeks. Volunteer, donate, or simply keep him in your prayers. By doing all of this, we will be helping to guarantee many more great Saturdays and great showings for the State of Iowa.

By U.S. Grant September 29, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oppose the $700 Billion Bail-Out

By W. Sherman

At about 4:00pm yesterday, I sat down at the Village Bean, a coffee shop in Des Moines’ East Village, to type up this point. Reading the Wall Street Journal, this is what I learned that Congress had reached an agreement on what is now, the infamous bail-out. I learned that Treasury would get $250 billion immediately, and an additional $100 billion if necessary. I learned that the Treasury would get the remaining $350 billion upon Congressional approval. Finally, I learned that companies receiving these funds would be forced a host of provisions, including restrictions on executive compensation and allowing the federal government to take an equity interest in such companies.

And then things blew up.

The Journal reports that throughout the day, Congressional Republicans devised a plan that would create a government-sponsored insurance program for mortgage-backed securities. Under the plan, banks would pay a premium to the Treasury Department to insure the investments. Additionally, Senator Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, proposed allowing the Treasury to make loans to the banks, rather than buying up the bad debt on the banks’ books.

Like many conservatives, I believe that House Republicans were right to oppose this bail-out. First, the government is freeing these failed banks from owning up to their bad decisions, by putting the taxpayers on the hook for the losses. As Steve Chapman stated in his Chicago Tribune column, the plan “nationaliz[es] the money-losing part of the financial sector, to the benefit of capitalists who have made spectacularly bad decisions—fostering more bad decisions in the future.”

Second, the bail-out will put too much discretion in the hands of the government. John Paulson, in his column in today’s Wall Street Journal, poses shows that the bail-out leaves unresolved the questions of who will receive the taxpayer subsidies and at what price.
Third, accepting the bail-out means accepting legislation packed with tons of election-year gimmicks. The most widely reported gimmick, of course, is the cap on executive compensation. Regardless of what one may think regarding the reasonableness of CEO pay in this country, the government should not be setting the compensation of executives in private companies. Additionally, as Charles Krauthammer states in his column, “artificially capping the pay of people brought in to lead these wobbly companies back to health is a fine way to tell talented executives to look elsewhere for a job.”

During 2008, we have seen several investment banks, their insurer (AIG), and two mortgage giants fall. For all of their financial woes, an injection of $700 billion in taxpayer funds is not warranted. When banks make bad decisions, they need to take responsibility for those decisions—even during election years.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Evil Empire Part Deuce!

This week the Russian Government announced plans to send two large-scale naval warships with support to the Caribbean. This move follows the arrival last week of two nuclear bombers to the country of known U.S. enemy Venezuela. At this point, every right-thinking U.S. citizen had better be asking themselves, “what the hell is going on here?!”

These new aggressive overtures, paired with the recent Russian incursion into Georgia, ought to be sending one clear message to the free world. There is little question that the great Bear has reawaken and is clearly seeking to reassert itself as a newly reformed dominating world power.

The million-dollar question is what do we do about it, if anything? It is clear that the sort of aggression shown by the Russian forces as of late cannot be tolerated in the long run by the West. To do so would be like allowing a teenager with a ceiling-less expense account to keep wrecking brand new sports cars every week. If such conduct persists, someone gets hurt, or in this case, a major world conflict results. At some point the wayward party has to be knocked into line. Yet, with the seemingly endless fountain of new oil and natural gas wealth, it is tough to determine what could actually have the desired effect of calming this continually obstinate state. Clearly, sanctions and international outrage are not going to get it done.

It is true that regardless of the influx of new wealth into Russia since the cold war, they have seemingly still failed to build a truly modern surface fleet that can compete with the other more western navies in the world. At the same time the fact that the bastard step child of Europe (a.ka. Russia) has now decided to move back towards the days of holding the world hostage with its military and nuclear might should be raising red flags in every free nation on the planet.

Ultimately these troubling turns of events sends one strong message that cannot be ignored. We absolutely cannot stop funding our military and allowing it to become any smaller than it already is. A resurgent Russia, North Korea, Islamic- Fascists, and socialist hack leaders in South America means we cannot ever afford to let our guard down as the preeminent leader of the free world. This week is simply another frightening reminder of that reality.

Written By:
U.S. Grant

Monday, September 15, 2008

Your Country Is Calling You To Action, But Did You Hear It?

Today was a tough day in the history of out nation. For the first time in a long time the American people experienced a new level of economic frustration and shortcoming. It is true that right now all of are getting less distance out of our dollars. That stress paired with the ever more common failures of American financial giants can make it tough to find a proverbial silver lining in an increasingly gray sky. While no reasonable individual would pretend right now that there are no problems with the American economy, today John McCain boldly reminded us of a few profound truths in which we can take solace.

Recall today’s comments from the campaign trail; John McCain, while speaking to voters in the great State of Florida, reminded us of the steely nature of the American worker and what they can be capable of in the most trying of times.

“Our workers are the most innovative, the hardest working, the best skilled, most productive, most competitive in the world. My opponents may disagree, but those fundamentals of America are strong."

Some may attribute this heartfelt account of the true nature of the American worker as mere political hyperbole, or a product of clever conspiracy oriented spin-doctors. The truth is, though, not only is Senator McCain’s observation of the American worker correct, but our history supports it.

Recall back now nearly 70 years ago when our Nation was attacked by our then enemy Japan and Europe was on the brink of collapse and domination. Even before this our nation lay in economic ruin, but when the going hit a level of difficulty even never before conceived, the tough did not get going… they did one better and instead, the American people used their commitment and resolve to fight through what is still arguably the most difficult modern situation in our Nation’s history. If the American people can not only fight two major enemies on different sides of the globe, pull out of an economic slump of historic proportions, and maintain an unmatchable espirt de corps, we can survive this as well.

Furthermore let us thank God that Senator McCain’s mindset of perseverance was the prevailing attitude of great men like Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Regan. Without these men and the American “can do” attitude, we would all be speaking German in a socialist state, where I can assure you civil rights would not even be on the radar let alone a priority.

Senator Obama seems to either forget about the proud history of the American people, or he simply does not care. He would rather focus on suffering and frustration rather than empower and motivate the populous to an actual solution. There could not be a more counter-productive attitude in regards to how to best respond to the trying time we all face. If we allow the nation to assume the mindset promoted by Senator Obama, the attitude that we need to wait for the government to help, by the time government arrives at even a concept of solution, the patient will have expired.

When John McCain calls upon the “still strong fundamentals” of the American economy, he is not showing a na├»ve disregard for the American citizens situation, he is calling to action a force more effective, a force of far greater size and strength than any possible government bailout or nebulous disabling promise. John McCain is calling to action the will of the American people to come together and to apply the powers of their heart, energy, and commitment to success as a means of responding to an otherwise difficult situation.

In consideration of all we have accomplished with that tried and true approach so far, I’d say that the McCain solution has far more going for it than any pied piper-esque false prophet’s hollow words any day.

Submitted by U.S. Grant.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Drill, Baby, Drill!

If one phrase can describe last week’s Republican Convention, it would be “drill, baby, drill!” This past weekend, I was talking with a family member who told me that this was a dumb slogan, and asked me whether the Republicans really wanted the delegates who chanted this slogan representing the party. I responded to this question by saying that if I had to choose between an allegedly dumb slogan and gasoline at $4 per gallon, the slogan will win any day.

Americans are tired of high energy prices. High gasoline prices and heating oil are straining Americans’ pocket books, and diverting spending away from other goods and services. These high oil prices also drive up the price of agricultural production, which in turn, has contributed to the cause of high food prices.

Many on the left have blamed these rising prices on the current Presidential Administration and “big oil.” They argue that “big oil” is scamming the American people by pricing oil too high in order to increase their profits. The Administration, with their close ties to “big oil,” is the enabler.

What’s funny is that the same people who claim that the oil companies are ripping off the American people by pricing oil too high also are rabidly opposed to increasing the supply of oil by allowing oil companies to drill offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). This position is sorely mistaken.

This past week, Deborah Thornton, a Research Analyst at the nonpartisan Public Interest Institute of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, released an article titled, “The ‘Drill Nothing’ Congress and Bubbling Crude.” The article effectively made the case for drilling offshore, and dispelled the myths perpetuated by the opponents of drilling.

Thornton, in her article notes that, while the U.S. currently produces 8 million barrels of oil per day, the number could be increased by 3 to 4 million per day if it taps the estimated 89 billion barrels available offshore or the 10 billion barrels contained in ANWR. The price impact of this increased production could decrease the price of gasoline by nearly $2 per gallon.

Of course, there is the oft-repeated line that if we start drilling, no effect will be felt until ten years down the road. While this line is akin to saying that a person shouldn’t save for retirement because the effects won’t be realized until 40 years (or if you’re of my generation, 50) years down the road, Thornton blows it out of the water. In a market where the price today is based upon the future price, the possibility of increased production will effect the price paid today. As Thornton points out, prices fell from $34 to $11 per gallon within five years, when President Reagan removed domestic oil controls. The opposite effect occurred when President Clinton rejected ANWR drilling in 1995.

There is also an oft-repeated argument that more drilling will create more environmental harm. Again, Thornton addresses this issue head-on by stating that three out of five times, oil pollution is caused by natural seepage, rather than by oil companies. Additionally, despite the fact that oil transport has increased, the number of oil spills has decreased.

This November, many Americans will be driving to the polls. Their vote could determine whether the price they pay at the pump is $4 or $2. If they want to pay the latter price, then they will be wise to cast their ballot for the candidate who is not afraid to say, “drill, baby, drill!”

By W. Sherman

Monday, September 8, 2008

Obama/Biden, More of the same;… The same empty economic voodoo language that is.

There has been much said lately about the state of the U.S. economy and the now titled credit crunch that the nation has been experiencing for some time now. These are important topics too, deserving of some discussion both in political and non-political forums. Yet in the last few weeks since both the Democratic and Republican conventions, there seems to be an unhealthy focus on the part of the Democratic party on talking about and promising to fix all of the financial ails of the nation and its citizens. If I had a dollar for every time I have seen or heard a sound byte of the Obama/Biden ticket talking about the average person and their money problems, I’d have no money problems anymore, or would I?

The problem is that, while without question some of the strife the nation currently is facing is a result of questionable economic policies used by the Bush Administration a lot of it frankly… is just not.

Take one of the big promises made by the Obama/Biden ticket: “we will save your pensions!”. This nebulous promise to bring certainty to millions of Americans’ retirement accounts has less value than a North Korean made automobile. There is already a security net in place for pensions everywhere: it is called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (aka the PBGC).

ERISA provides for legal protection of vested rights obtained by employees through the course of their careers, and the PBGC is a government run corporation that steps in to insure those pensions in the event that the company is unable to honor their commitments. While this is a highly simplified explanation of benefits law and concepts, the bottom line is, if you have a pension and it is vested you are already saved. Obama/Biden got here about 35 years too late.

Furthermore, just to cover all of the bases for those still concerned that those gosh darn corrupt corporate boards are all out to get us, there is Sarbanes Oxley (Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002). This law, which applies to publicly traded corporations, addresses issues like transparency, proper regulation, and criminal penalties for those public firms that do engage in wrongful conduct. (Remember it was a response to Enron and Worldcom). While this law is far from perfect, it does beg the question how much more could the government ever reasonably be expected do?

With all of this already available law in place to protect the retirement security of America’s workforce, one can’t help but wonder why we even care about social security anymore!

Beyond the obvious multitude of laws, though, that apply to this issue, there is also the reality that it is and always has been each individual’s responsibility to save their money in preparation for retirement, not the federal government’s. There is no legislative substitute for a thrifty attitude, proper spending habits, and a well- diversified retirement savings plan.

In closing there really is little question that the Obama/Biden promise to save our pensions is based on pure conjecture and nothing more. Like many other grandiose promises offered by the Democratic Party this year, this one again has little basis in reality and disregards the facts as they are. Candidates that promise to do what has already been done shouldn’t be trusted—your personal and economic futures are far too important!


By U.S. Grant 

Friday, September 5, 2008

McCain Gives Great Speech at Republican Convention

As I write this piece, I am listening to Karl Rove and Greta Van Sustren talking analyzing the speech just given by Senator John McCain. Apparently, the crowd behind the set booed Obama Campaign operative and NBC “journalist” David Gregory during a commercial break. I love a room full of fired up Republicans!

Following the amazing speech given by Sarah Palin on Wednesday night, McCain had a tough act to follow … and he rose to the occasion. McCain, in the biggest speech given during this campaign season defined himself as a public servant who puts his country first, and is willing to challenge anyone—regardless of party affiliation—in the name of bettering America. He talked about his support for strong defense, low taxes, low spending, and his opposition to earmarks—red meat for the Conservative base. He talked about helping workers affected by job loss in the global economy, improving education through school choice, and healthcare reform through market mechanisms—a nod to the Democrats who complained that the previous speeches didn’t include theses issues. He talked about his support for the surge when it wasn’t popular … a reminder of the value places on independence and why they call him a Maverick. And he talked, in detail, about his experience as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam … a reminder of his commitment to our country. The crowd cheered wildly throughout the speech.

One of the features of a party convention is a lot of back-patting and celebrating. But in this convention, McCain reminded Republicans about the losses in 2006, and told them “we were elected to change Washington, and Washington changed us.” With John McCain, we will get a straight-talking President who is not afraid to ruffle a few feathers in both parties. McCain has proved time and again that he is not afraid to vote against his party, even when it is the popular thing to do (anyone remember the Medicare Prescription Drug Program or the Highway Bill)? People know this—that is why the Obama campaign has not been successful in their claims that four years of McCain is another four years of President Bush. After tonight, this comparison will be even less effective.

Now, the campaign goes into high gear. With sixty days until the election, we must do everything we can to win see to it that John McCain is elected our next President. Let’s get busy!

(Also, for those of our Iowa readers, local school board elections are this next Tuesday. Remember to get out and vote good, common sense leaders that will be able to do the job right).

By W. Sherman

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gustav, Katrina, and what needs to be understood.

Four years ago, one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States occurred when Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area. This terrible natural event caused endless amounts of damage, and took the lives of countless people. There is no question that the devastation seen after the fact will surely be imprinted in the minds of all feeling Americans for years to come. It was a risk management nightmare.

Today, New Orleans is facing another similar threat in the form of Hurricane Gustav. While Gustav is a less severe storm, it poses many of the same dangers as Katrina. Unlike Katrina, though, this storm presents us with a chance for risk management excellence.

Gustav presents the nation with the challenge of responding reasonably, and not excessively. We must ask ourselves how we correctly understand risk and how to best respond to it as a society. Risk is the essence of any situation, whether it is a hurricane or the operation of a motor vehicle. It is an unavoidable matter and one that we must come to terms with.

In the days leading up to Gustav there has been a tremendous amount of discussion relating to the risks and threats posed by the storm and how to best respond to them. These dialogues are important and should continue. However if we are ever to actually come to a conclusion on how to best handle these types of situations, we must stop framing the problem in terms of people and feelings. We must start to look at these situations instead more rationally from a risk management standpoint.

The people in the affected areas did choose to live and work in this location. They are aware of the fact that this region is prone to dangerous weather events. As a result, from a risk management standpoint, they need to realize that if they cannot afford to address the risk presented by their current location, they should not live there. Otherwise, they are free to purchase insurance and other means of security to deal with the risks presented by their chosen location. This is how they can exercise good risk management.

There is no question that at this time our thoughts and prayers should be with the people who stand in the line of this dangerous weather event. At the same time, we must remember that many of the threats they now face are ones that they surely have been on notice of for years. As a result, I hope that as we begin considering how to put things back together, we remember how risk should be responsibly allocated. Taxpayers are not an insurance company, and never should be.

By U.S. Grant

Friday, August 29, 2008

TIME FOR CHANGE … ON THE DES MOINES SCHOOL BOARD

Imagine that you are a candidate running for the school board in Des Moines. After three years, you are up for re-election, and your record consists of the following: Closures of several schools; a high drop-out rate; a controversial decision to purchase a building for $4.5 million, despite the fact that it was appraised at $2 million; a sale of land to the third-highest bidder, who turned out to be the brother-in-law of another Board Member (not up for re-election); and an alleged closed-door meeting in which the Superintendent was awarded a 4% salary increase, despite the fact that all but one of Des Moines’ high schools and 60% of the city’s middle schools made the federal watch list for academic failure. For more commentary on this disturbing series of events, visit the blog of another local conservative, The Real Sporer.

YIKES! If it wasn’t enough that people are tired of paying more and more for public education only to get stagnant to declining student achievement as a result, incidents like those listed above will make life even more difficult for the incumbents this election year. I suppose that they might find it comforting to know that the Board Chairman (who is up for re-election) believes that the Board has done a good job. And I suppose they could also take comfort in knowing that they have the backing of the local teachers’ union.

In two weeks Des Moines residents have a chance to make a change to their school board. Three great candidates are running for seats on the board, and this past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to hear them speak at a forum sponsored by the Northeast Neighbors.

Steve Flood, a challenger, is by far the most energetic candidate, and made it clear that he wasn’t going to tolerate closed-door meetings. He also said he would do what it takes to restore the faith of the taxpayers. A Senior Vice President at Holmes Murphy, he demonstrated that he understands what it means to have a high drop-out rate ($2 Billion cost to the State) and the effect of school closure on neighborhoods (a 20-30 percent drop in home values). Finally, he implied that he is not going to buy into the myth that small class-sizes are good for their own sake. Rather, he stated that what matters is the quality of teachers and their ability to control students.

Another great candidate was Kristine Crisman, a Connecticut native now living in Beaverdale. This woman was not shy about calling the Board and current system out for its lack of accountability to parents and its lack of parental involvement. She also pointed out how, nearly ten years after implementing the local option sales tax, not all of the school buildings have air-conditioning, but all of the administration buildings do.

Finally, businessman Mike Pike had some great moments. My favorite moment came when, after being asked what his background in education was, he replied “I’m don’t have a background in education. I leave the educating for the educators.” Amen. The idea that one must have a background in education to serve on a school board is ludicrous. The school board should definitely have some diversity in background, but it is very important that the board contain members whose jobs don’t entail feeding from the public trough. The third candidate with whom I enjoyed visiting was Mike Pike.

After the past three years, it is clear that change is needed on the Des Moines School Board. On September 9, we have a chance to reverse the wayward course of the Des Moines Schools, and vote in three new board members. Considering the abysmal record of the current board and the undisputed reality that our schools shape the future of our communities we must not fail to take advantage of this vital opportunity.

By W. Sherman

Monday, August 25, 2008

On The Trail With The New Breed…


Men of substance; this was the theme this past weekend at a gathering for Republican State Senate District 22 Candidate Jarret Heil (Marshall and Hardin Counties).

On Saturday evening both Sherman and I were fortunate enough to be one of the 60 or so people able to meet with Heil and his guest of honor for the event, Republican Senior Senator Charles Grassley. Also of note in attendance was the Republican Challenger for State House District 43 Jane Jech.

Grassley, present solely in support of Heil’s hard fought candidacy, provided the attentive crowd with nearly 15 minutes of remarks in support of Heil’s candidacy for the 22nd district.

The main thrust of the commentary was that it is simply not enough to be behind the republican ticket or just John McCain. Grassley, taking a more holistic approach to this election year, clarified exactly what was really at stake. He explained that while it is critical that Iowans support key federal candidates and John McCain, any benefits we hope to obtain through a win in those elections would be incomplete unless we can secure those same types of candidates more locally at the state level. The question artfully posed by Grassley was do Iowans want a man of substance or a man of mere charisma and nothing more?

Heil clearly fits the bill for this challenge set out by one of the nations leading statesmen. Heil’s commitment to development of affordable healthcare solutions, advancement of Iowa’s education system through responsible means, and commitment to developing jobs in Iowa pairs perfectly with the greater Republican agenda of mutual prosperity and individual freedom. Paraphrasing Senator Grassley, we are reminded that freedom also means economic freedom and candidates like Jarret Heil, Jane Jech, and John McCain is the only way to ensure this.

In closing, we urge all our readers to give Jarret and Jane and others like them this election year a closer look. By doing so you will clearly understand the holistic view that Senator Grassley so accurately articulated this past weekend. We must ensure that the nation is strong both at the top and bottom in leadership. Jarret Heil and his other Republican running mates are how we make certain this happens.



For a closer look:
Jarret Heil
Jane Jech

By U.S. Grant

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Obama Tax Plan: Change or More of the Same, Liberal Redistribution Scheme?
By W. Sherman

Much has been written about Senator Barak Obama’s ideas on tax policy, lately. Earlier this week, William McGurn wrote a great editorial on the single factor that drives Senator Obama’s tax policy: fairness.

For starters, we know that Obama wants to raise marginal income tax rates on the country’s top-income earners, while cutting taxes for the middle class. We also know that he wants to slap a wind-fall profits tax on “Big Oil.” We know that senior citizens will have to pay zero income taxes, and we also know that Obama wants to increase the payroll tax on persons making more than $250,000 by four percent. The motivation behind this policy? Fairness.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. McGurn gave a laundry list of instances in which Obama stated that persons making a certain amount of money have to pay more taxes in the name of fairness. According to McGurn, Obama told ABC’s Charlie Gibson “I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.” McGurn concluded that for Obama, “Robbing from the rich will do, especially if it's done in the name of fairness.”

Obama’s tax policy looks a lot like those of liberals that have run before him, which is too bad, given that he fancies himself the candidate of “change.” In fact, Obama’s tax policy is nothing more than a manifestation of the famous quote by the late Senator Russell Long, “Don’t tax me; don’t tax thee; tax that fellow behind the tree.” Under the Obama plan, the “rich” and “Big Oil” will pay all the taxes, the middle class will pay a lot less, and senior citizens, a group with which Obama may have trouble electorally, will pay no taxes.

Why have this policy? Because it is fair. Fairness is not just a goal of Mr. Obama’s tax policy; rather, it is the goal. Mr. McGurn notes that Obama is certainly willing to sacrifice increases in government revenues in the name of fairness: Charlie Gibson pointed out to Obama that the reduction in capital gains taxes actually resulted in more government revenue, and an increase in these taxes may result in lower government revenue. Nevertheless, Obama stated that, in the name of fairness, these tax rates should go up.

McGurn notes that the top 1% of income-earners in this country pay 40% of the nation’s income taxes—the highest in 40 years. The top 10%, McGurn stated, pay 71% of the nation’s income taxes. According to Mr. Obama, fairness demands these folks pay more, all other consequences be damned.

As kids, most of us learn that life isn’t fair. Hopefully, tax policy is the same way.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finally!

A congratulations is due to Rick Davis. For those of you who don’t know, Rick Davis is the campaign manager for John McCain. Mr. Davis has finally articulated what all of us in the right-thinking free world have known for a long time: The main stream press has shown a gross bias towards Democratic Presumptive Nominee Barack Obama.

The facts support this. Just a few weeks ago, two major networks sent their evening news anchors to the Middle East to follow Obama on his trip there. More damning is the following statistic: McCain receives one third of the news coverage that Obama receives (according to the ultra-right wing Washington Post). With stunts like this, it is not hard to figure out who the media likes.

Not that anyone should be surprised by this reality. The fact that the mainstream media has disfavored conservative candidates is not new, and is certainly not a state secret. At the same time it does clearly seem that with the coverage of the Obama campaign, people like Katie Couric (CBS) and Andrea Mitchell (NBC) have sunk to new lows in their reporting.

This brings us to the act undertaken by Mr. Davis that is so worthy of our praise. In a letter dated August 17, 2008, Mr. Davis directly questions the quality of NBC’s reporting after Andrea Mitchell’s grossly biased comments on this past Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press. While the letter falls short of the real lambasting NBC and others deserve for their failures as journalists, it is a legitimate shot back at an institution that has locked out and stymied conservative candidates for years.

It is highly unlikely that Mr. Davis’s efforts will yield any actual tangible results. So long as media favorite nut jobs like Nancy Pelosi are hailing Barack Obama as a “blessing from God sent to us all,” the media will continue to regurgitate such garbage. Regardless, at last someone in a position to make a difference is actually trying to turn the volume down on the “Obama-is-the-Messiah” hysteria that is sweeping every naive mind in the nation.

By U.S. Grant

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Let's get it started!

Greetings all!

Welcome to the new D.M.RightSide blog! We thank you for taking the time to visit this site! As the creators of this blog we would like to provide you with a little information regarding the formation of this site and when you can expect postings to occur etc...

This blog was created as a solution to the need for more online forums offering a conservative perspective on the events occurring in Central Iowa and beyond. With the 2008 Presidential Election on the horizon it is now more critical than ever that forums such as this one exist.

Postings will be made twice weekly by Sherman and Grant regarding relevant current issues from a conservative perspective. From time to time there will also be guest publications as well. Tuesdays and Fridays are the days to remember.

The creators (Sherman and Grant) are two conservative activists in Des Moines, Iowa. Their backgrounds cover the areas of business, law, economics, and public policy. Obviously both are also politically involved.

We urge all readers to respond to what they read on this site regardless of their point of view. Discussion is our goal and provided responses are not obscene, vulgar, or otherwise unacceptable will be posted regardless of the opinions contained within.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you all!

Sherman and Grant