Right wing commentary on world politics from a man on a mission to prove that Conservatism transcends national boundaries. Thoughtful comments from people of all political persuasions are welcome and encouraged. Contact the blogger at elephantman.conservaglobe@gmail.com.

Friday, September 30, 2005

PERSON OF THE MONTH - September 2005

I really don’t like the idea of naming inanimate objects as “Person of the Month”. I think that it defeats the purpose of singling out the one solitary person worthy of recognition. However, there are times when a force other than a person has such a great impact on the world that it totally trivializes anything done by a human being. In these rare cases, I think that it is acceptable to name a force of nature as Person of the Month. This is one of those situations.

Throughout September, the news has been totally dominated by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a storm powerful enough to turn a major metropolitan area into a lake. The World was riveted by the destruction throughout the Gulf Coast area and the dramatic events taking place in New Orleans. We prayed for those trapped in the Superdome and convention center, mourned for the hundreds killed, and cheered when the National Guard arrived to save the day.

As the month wore on, the news was filled with stories placing the blame one government official or another. Was it Bush’s fault, the Mayor’s, the Governor’s, FEMA’s, or a combination of all of them? These questions lead to a massive political grudge match employing some of the most vitriolic rhetoric I ever heard.

This was a tragedy, but strength is built through suffering. The people of America have shown their strength by banding together to donate an unprecedented amount of aid, some even opening their homes to evacuees. The story has been rife with potential villains (who they are depends on your political view), but it has also had its heroes. Law enforcement officers from all over the nation poured into New Orleans to restore order amidst the chaos, the National Guard staged a dramatic rescue operation, and countless citizens helped in their own way. America also found a new hero in Gen. Russell Honore, who won us over with his straight talk and gave Conservatives a new battle cry by telling the mainstream media “Don’t get stuck on stupid!
For the tragedy she caused, but also for the good she brought out in us, Hurricane Katrina is ConservaGlobe’s first Person of the Month.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Congratulations Cheif Justice Roberts! By the way, about those gold stripes...

First off, I want to congratulate the youngest Chief Justice in the history of the United States. After those confirmation hearings, I'm sure he'll do a great job.

Second, I applaud the Democrats in the Senate who voted based on qualifications, not ideology.

Third, I think that it would be really cool if Chief Justice Roberts made a tradition out of the stylish gold stripes added to the sleeves of the Chief Justice's robe by William Rehnquist. In an effort to persuade Mr. Roberts that he would look really good with the gold stripes, I have prepared the following image.

SNAZZY, isn't it?!

Yes, I'm feeling a little goofy today, but I am actually serious about this. I believe that having a unique robe for the Chief Justice is perfectly acceptable and I don't really understand why there wasn't some form of distinctive attire denoting the head of the court BEFORE Rehnquist added the stripes. Second, and more importantly, I think that it would be a slight blow to the legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist for the next Chief Justice not to use the stripes in that it would make the late Chief Justice appear self-centered, which he does not seem to have been the case (based on Rehnquist's public behavior and judicial demeanor during the few years that I have actively watched the Court). Yes, this is a minor (if not superfluous) detail; but since there are so many blogs covering Roberts, I figured that it would be worthwhile (not to mention funny) to look at the situation fro a little different angle than everybody else.

Technorati Tags: John Roberts, Judge John Roberts, Chief Justice, Justice Roberts, Roberts, News, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Politics

Sunday, September 25, 2005

PERSON OF THE WEEK - Sep. 18-24, 2005

The circus that was the German parliamentary election was certainly among the biggest news stories this week, and it certainly provided a number of interesting personalities for "Person of the Week" consideration. I had been looking forward to giving this week's award to Christian Democrat Union/Christian Social Union leader Angela Merkel for becoming the first woman to become Chancellor. However, I could not do that in good conscience due to the CDU's poor performance on election day, losing 22 seats even though it became the largest parliamentary faction. I then thought that it might be appropriate to give the award to Gerhard Schroeder for staging a most improbable comeback, but that would be most inappropriate considering that he still lost the election to Merkel and the CDU/CSU. So, I settled on this man.

Oskar Lafontaine had been a prominent member of Schroeder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) for many years, running as the party's candidate for Chancellor in 1990 (he lost) and briefly serving as Schroeder's Minister of Finance from 1998-1999. In 1999, he resigned from all official and party positions that he had held due to "lack of cooperation" and became a rather fierce critic of Schroeder's government, although he remained a high-profile member of the SPD.

In May of 2004, Lafontaine dropped a bombshell on the German political situation by leaving the SPD for the newly formed Linkspartei (Left Party), and alliance of the remnant of the East German communist party and the West German Labor and Social Justice Party. The Linkspartei had only two legislators in the previous session of the Bundestag (parliament); but it gained an amazing amount of support with the addition of a high powered candidate like Lafontaine, who had now been placed at the top of the Linkspartei ticket. With Lafontaine at the helm, The Linkspartei went on to win an astounding 52 seats in the Bundestag in Sunday's election.

With the rest of the Bundestag almost evenly divided between Merkel's CDU/CSU-Free Democratic Party coalition and Schroeder's SPD-Green Party coalition, the Linkspartei now holds the balance of power between the two. Both Schroeder and Merkel have vowed not to work with the Linkspartei, meaning that the two archrivials will now have to form a "grand coalition" together to govern Germany. Negotiations to form such a coalition could take weeks, as both Schroeder and Merkel claim the office of Chancellor, and a new election will have to be called if an agreement cannot be reached.
Say what you will about Merkel and Schroeder, but the mess that has been made of the German Bundestag is really the responsibility of the Linkspartei. So, for leading the party that turned the Bundestag into a three-ring circus, the Linkspartei's Oskar Lafontaine is ConservaGlobe's Person of the Week.

Honorable/Dishonorable Mentions: Angela Merkel, Gerhard Schroeder, Don Brash, Hurricane Rita, Shaul Mofaz

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Poles head to polls in parliamentary elections.

Polls show conservative parties heading for victory in Sunday's Polish parliamentary election. Poland's government works on a parliamentary system with a Prime Minister, but also incorporates a strong Presidency with veto power and control of foreign affairs. Translation: This election is not quite as important to Poland as last week's elections were to New Zealand and Germany, but they are significantly MORE imporatnt than a Congressional election in the USA (Note to Polish readers: Please correct me if I described the system of government wrong, the Wikipedia article was slightly confusing).

The Sejm (parliament) is currently contolled by the remnant of Poland's communist party, the Democratic Left Alliance (which is now Social Democratic in ideology), and is headed by Prime Minister Marek Belka. However, Mr. Belka's government appears set to fall after enduring several corruprtion scandals. Polls indicate that 60% of voters will back a center-right coalition of the Law and Justice Party, headed by former child-actor Jarosław Kaczyński, and the Citizens' Platform Party, headed by Jan Rokita. The real competition is not whether these two parties will take over, but which one will gain more seats and install its leader as Prime Minister.

My personal choice is the Citizens' Platform party; which advocates a flat tax, handing more power to local governments, and a privatized healthcare system. The Law and Justice Party puts more focus on cracking down on crime and has accused Citizens' Platform of trying to start a "Liberal Revolution" ("Liberal" meaning in favor of free markets, not leftist). Personally, such a "Liberal Revolution" sounds like quite a good idea based on Citizens' Plaform's platforms (Wow, this post really lends itself to wordplay).

Other than the conservatives and the Democratic Left Alliance, there are a few other parties: the League of Polish Families, which is to the right of the conservatives; the Self Defense of the Republic of Poland Party, which is highly nationalistic and isolationist; the Democratic Party, which is centrist; and the Polish Peasant Party, which is also centrist and focusses on agrarian issue.

Good luck to the conservatives, and especially Citizens' Platform.

Notes: Poland will also be having the first round of a Presidential election on October 9th, with a runoff between the top two candidates later if needed. Law and Justice Prime Ministerial candidate Jarosław Kaczyński's identical twin brother, Lech (also a former child-star), will be the Law and Justice candidate for President. Jarosław says that he will not take the post of Prime Minister if Lech is elected President.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Thoughts on Israel Missile Strikes.

The media seems to be up in arms about Israel "derailing" the cease fire with Hamas. However, if memory serves me correctly, Hamas itself had declared that violence would begin again before the end of the year (sounds like THEY derailed the cease fire). Furthermore, any doubts that Hamas intended ramp up the level of violence should have been put to rest when a truck full of rocket-propelled grenades accidentally blew up at a rally over the weekend.

A military operation to wipe out Hamas is exactly what is needed to stabilize the Gaza Strip. Remember, Hamas had intended to fill the power vacuum left by the Israeli pullout from Gaza instead of allowing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to take over. So, in a roundabout way, Israel is actually doing the PA a favor by eliminating anti-PA militants.

Hamas has shown no signs of giving up terrorism, and its supporters have shown their true colors by torching synagogues in evacuated settlements. They are anti-Semitic, anti-peace, and want to continue the killing until Israel is completely obliterated. They are not freedom fighters in any sense of the word (if they wanted peace and stability, they would support the PA).

While Israel's actions may be A LITTLE excessive judging from what I read (then again, I don't really trust the media to give me the whole truth when it comes to Israel), they are not without justification. I know it seems wrong to hit a school, but what if that school was being used as a safe-house or weapons cache? Terrorists do have a reputation for hiding their weapons and people in such places. I also know that violence never looks pretty, and I don't like to see people hurt or killed, but these things are sometimes an unfortunate necessity. Terrorists love to operate in densely populated areas, and especially schools and mosques, so that they can use innocent people as involuntary human shields. Israel has a responsibility to keep its people safe from terrorism. Unfortunately, people get hurt in the process. A large scale military operation will mean that there will eventually be fewer terrorists, and therefore fewer innocents being used as human shields.

Hamas wants to see as many innocent Palestinians killed as possible so that they can continue to portraying Israel as bloody killers. The way I see it, Hamas killed such people, not Israel. The only way that Palestinians (and Israelis) will stop dying is throught the elimination of anti-peace terrorists.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

My position on Ukraine.

I wrote last week that I was not sure which side to support after the Ukrainian government brought about by the "Orange Revolution" split into two factions upon President Viktor Yuschenko's dismissal of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. I have now decided to take sides.

As you may know, President Yushchenko's nominee for Prime Minister was rejected by parliament a few days ago. Not willing to accept this result, Yushchenko nominated the same man a second time. In order to ensure that his choice passed this time around, the President formed a political alliance with the "Party of Regions", led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich. If you don't remember, Yanukovich was Yushchenko's rival for the Presidency in last year's election. Yanucovich was the annointed successor of dictator Leonid Kuchma, and his "victory" in the rigged presidential election was the event which sparked the "Orange Revolution" in the first place! This is a step back for democracy in Ukraine, and the people should not tolerate it. I therefore emplore the people of Ukraine to return Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to power in the coming parliamentary elections.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Too close to call in Germany.

Preliminary (unofficial) parliamentary results are in from the German parliamentary elections, and they are not nearly as good as expected for conservative Angela Merkel and the Christian Democrat Union/Christian Social Union (CDU-CSU). The results, by number of seats in the Bundestag (parliament) are as follows. (299 needed for majority/government)

CDU-CSU: 219 (-29)
Social Democratic (SPD): 213 (-38)
Free Democratic Party (FDP): 61 (+14)
The Left Party (Die Linkspartei): 54 (+52)
Alliance 90/The Greens (Budnis 90/Die Grunen): 50 (-5)
National Democratic Party (NDP): None (-1)

Please allow me to remind you that the CDU-CSU had more than a 20% lead in a poll taken in late July. THIS IS AN EMBARASSMENT!

As the count is so close, both Anglea Merkel and SPD incumbent Gerhard Schroeder have claimed election to the office of Chancellor (head of government, always the leader of majority party in the Bundestag). While he has slightly fewer seats, Schroeder claims that the fact that he is PERSONALLY more popular than Merkel (not her party, just her) entitles him to the office (which is utter nonsense). It really comes sown to which parties can form a coalition with 299 or more seats.

The most likely result is an inconvenient and ineffective "grand coalition" incorporporating both the CDU-CSU and the SPD, with Merkel as Chancellor. However, Schroeder could remain Chancellor through a "traffic-light coalition" of the SPD (which uses red as its color), the FDP (which uses yellow), and The Greens; an SPD/Die Linkspartei/Greens coalition; or an SPD/FDP/Greens coalition. "Davids Medienkritik" even mentioned the the outside chance of a highly unusual and improbable CDU-CSU/FDP/Greens coalition led by Merkel.

It would be an understatement to say that the political situation in Germany is going to be a three-ring circus after this election. Stay tuned.

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New Zealand Nail-Biter

If you're in New Zealand, you know the parliamentary election results - but most of you are not in New Zealand. So, the unofficial breakdown of parliament is as follows. (62 seats needed for majority)

Labor - 50 seats (-1)
National - 49 seats (+22)
New Zealand First - 7 seats (-6)
Green - 6 seats (-3)
Maori - 4 seats (+3)
United Future - 3 seats (-5)
ACT - 2 seats (-7)
Progressive - 1 seat (-1)

Disclaimer: These are not official as "special votes" (I need to look up what that means) have not yet been counted. As some seats are decided based on percentage of the nationwide vote, a small percentage change could bump a party up or down by one seat.

Anyway, this is a very interesting result, as the Leftists (Labor) and Conservatives (National) are separated by only one seat. Most speculation is that Labor will form the government, but that is by no means certain - as they are 11 votes shy of majority and will need the support of several other parties. Labor has almost guaranteed support from the Progressives (1 seat) and the Greens (6). Labor is also courting United Future (3) and Maori (4). NZ First (7) has said it will not join either side in government but will vote for the largest party.

Sounds like a slam dunk, right? Wrong! There is a BIG problem: NZ First and United Future both hate the Greens' guts and have vowed not to join them in government. A Labor/Green/ Progressive coalition would have only 57 seats, with a National/NZ First/United Future/ACT block garnering a total of 61 sets. This leaves the balance of power in the hands of the Maori Party (4 seats), and that's where it gets interesting.

Maori is a very young party, formed only 15 months ago when Member of Parliament (MP) Tariana Turia broke away from Labor. So, while Labor and Maori are very similar ideologically, they have a lot of baggage as a result of the split. Turia has said that she is talking to both sides (and high ranking ethnic Maoris) and will have made a decision within the week. Most people see her joining a Labor coalition, but it's not a sure thing.

The other wild card is the special votes, which could affect one or two seats; and this entire scenario goes down the tubes if NZ First and/or United Future set aside their hatred of the Greens to support Labor.

No matter what happens, the resulting coalition will be shaky at best. Most people are saying that the criteria for choosing a new government should be to decide which party can hang on to power for three years without a no-confidence vote. I hate to pop their bubble, but that is NOT going to happen. The polls may be closed, but this election is far from over.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Person of the Week - Sep. 12-15, 2005

I will be away from my computer until Monday, so Person of the Week has been moved up to Thursday.

He is one of the greatest legal minds of his generation, and even his opponents know it.

You know you are dealing with someone special when the President of the United States shows absolutely no hesitation to naming a man of 50, young for a judge, to the highest judicial position in the country; and John Roberts has proven himself more than worthy. He argued his case to the Senate Judiciary Committee without notes, the same way that he argued 39 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also made one of the greatest comparisons that I have ever heard in his opening statement, when he said that his job would be to call balls and strikes - not pitch or bat. In addition to all of this, he managed to spend three days showing up the nations top elected Democrats, finding some of the most eloquent ways of saying "shove it" that I've ever heard and showing a tremendous depth and breadth of legal knowledge. Senator Joe Biden himself called Roberts "the best nominee ever to come before this committee".

For slicing, dicing, and making jullienne fries out of the arguments of every Democrat on the committee, Judge John G. Roberts is ConservaGlobe's Person of the Week.

Honorable/Dishonorable Mentions: Junichiro Koizumi, Jens Stoltenberg, Joe Biden, Arlen Specter

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Zealand, Germany to hold elections this weekend

Well, here is my promised commentary on these two elections. I will probably not be able to cover them as they happen, because I will be away from my computer this weekend. However, I'm sure that I will have plenty to say on Monday.

Let's take New Zealand first (Note to Kiwis: Yes, the pun was intentional; and no, its not an endorsement).

This election is going to be a real nail-biter. The leftist Labor Party (which is the current governing party) is running neck and neck with the conservative National Party. The last poll I saw showed National with a razor-thin lead, but that was at least a week ago. There is a distinct possibility that neither party will win a majority in Parliament, and the balance of power will be left with the third largest party, New Zealand First. The problem is that NZ First is notoriously ambiguous on most issues. Hardly anyone knows where they stand on the issues, let alone which major party they would support. NZ First leader Winston Peters says that his party will not enter into a governing coalition with either Labor or National, but hinted that they might support the largest party in the next Parliament (but no guarantees).

Personally, I would love nothing more than to see the Labor Government, led by Prime Minister Helen Clark, flushed down the proverbial toilet. I am extremely angry at Ms. Clark after she committed the single worst politicization of Hurricane Katrina that I have heard yet. She claims that the Bush tax cuts stripped money from disaster relief efforts (which is not true), and basically said that low taxes literally kill people (National is campaigning on a tax-cut platform). I think that the blog NZPundit put it best, describing Labor's scare-tactic campaign strategy as "Vote for us, or the kid drowns". I beg the people of to replace Ms. Clark with National Party leader Don Brash post-haste.

Things are not quite so close in Germany's parliamentary elections; the conservative Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union is leading the governing Social Democratic Party by a rather considerable margin in the polls. The issue here is not whether or not the CDU/CSU will win, but the margin of victory. The CDU/CSU would prefer that they win enough seats to govern in a coalition with the small Free Democratic Party. However, they be forced into a situation where the only way they can get a parliamentary majority is to form a "grand coalition" with their arch-rivals, the Social Democratic Party. The outcome really depends on how many seats are won by the Left Party (Die Linkspartei), which is the remnant of East Germany's Communist Party. Die Linkspartei has enjoyed a surge of support, and may win just enough seats to make life very difficult for the major parties.

Either way, there is much to be happy about. It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that radical leftist and America-phobe (I just invented a new word, cool!) Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder can kiss his job goodbye (the leader of the majority party in parliament becomes Chancellor). He will be replaced by CDU/CSU leader Angela Merkel, who will be the both the first woman and the first person from the former East Germany to be elected Chancellor. I am really excited about this election.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Norway: Red-Green Coalition storms to victory (Darn!)

THIS IS NOT GOOD! In yesterday's parliamentary election, the people of Norway sacked the conservative coalition government of Prime Minister Kjell Bondedvik in favor of the Leftist "Red-Green Coalition", led by Jens Stoltenberg. The BBC described the Red-Greens as "centre-left", but I beg to differ. Of the three coalition parties, only the smallest, the Centre Party, is truly centrist. The largest party in the coalition, the Labor Party, is Social Democratic in ideology (one step short of Socialist); and the Socialist Left Party is a bunch of former communists.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the anti-immigration, far-right Progress Party won 37 seats in the legislature (up from 26), almost as many as all of the parties in the conservative coalition combined. This means that the radical Progress Party, not the more palatable Conservative and Christian Democrat parties, will now be seen as the voice of Norway's right-wing

So, the new political situation in Norway is this: The Socialists (albeit moderate Socialists) are in charge, and the largest opposition party is xenophobic. Not good at all!

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Monday, September 12, 2005

"Judicial Ideology"

Today, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said "We senators, on behalf of the people, have to exercise our own responsibility. Fundamental to that responsibility is our obligation to ascertain your legal philosophy and judicial ideology". He also thinks that he needs to make sure that Roberts is "in the broad mainstream".

First off, he failed to consider that the term "judicial ideology" is (or should be) AN OXYMORON! It is a judge's responsibility to put ideology aside to the best of his/her ability and rule based on the Constitution.

Second, I would like to hear Mr. Schumer define "the broad mainstream". This "mainstream" should not include Roe v. Wade or any other abortion case, as the "mainstream" of America remains sharply divided on that issue. There is no one "mainstream" view on abortion. Mr. Schumer's party (and I believe Mr. Schumer himself) have stated that Justices Scalia and Thomas are "out of the mainstream", but just as many people agree with them as with Justices Ginsburg and Breyer. I'm sure that Mr. Schumer will find a way to put Judge Roberts "outside of the mainstream", because he thinks that he knows the definition of "mainstream" (and obviously thinks that he's part of it).

I personally think that I am in the mainstream and that Schumer is not, and I'm sure that he would see it differently. So, whose "mainstream" is the real mainstream? The answer is neither. "Mainstream" is in the eye of the beholder, and something so subjective should not be used as a measuring stick.

Roberts was spot-on today when he said that his job would be to call balls and strikes, not pitch or bat. A judge's sole responsibility is to determine whether or not certain laws or actions are in line with the Constitution or not; it has nothing to do with ideology or the "mainstream" of political thought.

By the way, kudos to Roberts for not using any notes for his brilliant opening statement.

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Japan: Koizumi wins in massive landslide!

Conservative Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) rolled to victory in Japan's elections 0n Sunday, winning 296 seats in parliament (241 needed for majority, up from 249 last election). The combined seat count of the LDP and it's coalition partner, the New Komei Party, was 320 seats. The opposition Democratic Party (which is Leftist/Socialist) dropped from 175 seats to 113.

With the LDP back and stronger than ever, Japan has a solid conservative, capitalist government; and America keeps a good friend in Koizumi. It is a great day to be Conservative!

Congratulations to Prime Minister Koizumi and the LDP!

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

PERSON OF THE WEEK - Sep. 4-10, 2005

I really hate to start Person of the Week off on a sour note, but I said that I wouldn't pull any punches. I was absolutely appalled this week when I heard that, when Katrina was about to hit, this woman had to be ordered by the President to evacuate New Orleans. She knew full well what kind of damage that a Category 5 hurricane would do to that city, but she did nothing to get the people out of harm's way. Then, on Thursday, I found out that she had not activated Louisiana's emergency plan, which had been designed for the exact set of circumstances that took place. Then, I find out that the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security had disallowed the Red Cross from bringing food and blankets to the Superdome and Convention Center the day after Katrina hit - BEFORE the levee broke. Apparently, they wanted to make these places of refuge as uncomfortable as possible so as to deter more people from coming. While the Governor cannot technically be held accountable for the conduct of a state agency, she is at the top of that department's chain of command.

For endangering citizens by not evacuating New Orleans, for not ordering that food be allowed into shelters, and for then having the nerve to allow Mayor Nagin to complain about the lack of food in those same shelters, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco is ConservaGlobe's Person of the Week.

Honorable/Dishonorable Mentions: Ray Nagin, Gen. Russell Honore, Viktor Yushchenko, Hosni Mubarak, Ayman Nour, Robert Mugabe.

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I spent some time on Monday thinking about how TIME magazine names their Person of the Year every December (Don't ask why, I just was). And then I thought about how, over the last few years, they have always made politically correct choices that didn't fit their description: "the person who most affected the events of the year, for better or for worse". Think about it: Rudy Giuliani was a great guy, but he didn't fit that description. The only reason that he got picked in 2001 was because TIME knew that they would lose readers if they gave the title to Osama bin Laden (who, by definition, had earned it). The same went in 2003, when TIME didn't want to credit Bush for American military involvement in the Middle East, so the title went to "The American Soldier" (Which is a copout, because the point is to pick the ONE person who affected the world). Bush did win in 2004, but only because they could criticize him about the war at that time (My pick was, unfortunately, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi).

So, then I got to thinking that, since I have a blog now, I could pick my own Person of the Year without concern for political correctness. Then I realized that, as I publish far more often than TIME's once per week, I could name not only a Person of the Year, but also a Person of the Month and a Person of the Week. So, that is exactly what I'm going to do.

I will use TIME's exact definition for my choices for Person of the Month and Year. This would not be feasible for Person of the Week, because then Bush would win every other week. So, my definition will be "the person who, in my mind, made either the most news or the most noteworthy piece of news over the course of the week). No punches will be pulled, if I think that an evil (and/or liberal) person made the most or best news, then they will win. Also, I will try not to cop out often: I will not name large population segments as Person of the Week (it defeats the purpose), and I will only name inanimate objects Person of the Week if they totally dwarf any contribution made by humans (Hurricane Katrina would have won last week).



PERSON OF THE YEAR WILL BE POSTED ONE WEEK BEFORE TIME REVEALS THEIR CHOICE (I want to put in my choice first so that I can't deliberately chose a different person than they did)

So, remember to check back every Sunday to find out the identity of ConservaGlobe's Person of the week. This weeks choice will be posted within the next hour.

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September 11th, 2001


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Yushchenko, Tymoshenko part ways.

A little less than a year ago, my computer's wallpaper was a picture of two Ukrainian revolutionaries standing together in their crusade for democracy, their names were Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia "Lady Yu" Tymoshenko. Well, I guess those days are over, and that makes me really sad.

A few days ago, now-President Yushchenko fired Prime Minister Tymoshenko and her entire cabinet. Yushchenko claimed that Tymoshenko's government was ineffective, constantly bickering, and possibly corrupt. The new Prime Minister is a little-known regional governor who has much more personal loyalty to the President than Lady Yu, having been a member the same party as Yushchenko before the "Orange Revolution" last year (Tymoshenko leads her own coalition of parties, "The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc").

I'm really not sure which side to take here. On one hand, this does look like something of a power-grab by Yushchenko. On the other hand, Tymoshenko has supposedly been involved in some business dealings of questionable legality in the past, and was wanted by Interpol at one point (though not currently). She says that the charges against her were a political move by the former regime; they have since been dropped due to lack of evidence.

I have great respect for both Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko because of their role in bringing democracy to Ukraine. Now, they have taken the next step by forming two separate and viable pro-democracy parties, and a viable opposition is central element of democracy. It will be interesting to watch Ukrainian politics now that Yushchenko and Tymoshenko are no longer allies, as Lady Yu was the primary orator of the Orange Revolution and is just as popular as Yushchenko himself.

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Quick thoughts on Egypt's election.

Hosni Mubarak

As expected, dictator Hosni Mubarak won more than 70 percent of the vote in Egypt's recent presidential election. This is not suprising, considering that Egyptian state-run television had been singing his praises and that he was the only candidate with any name recognition. While Egypt still has a long way to go before it becomes a genuine Democracy, it has taken it's first baby steps in that direction. Congratulations to opposition candidate Ayman Nour for recieving 12 percent of the vote.

Note to Mubarak: Next time, please make sure that the military ENFORCES the law concerning secret ballots instead of forcibly overriding it by forcing some rural villagers to publicly cast their vote for you.

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I'm sorry for not blogging over the last few days, but I've been really busy. I took the time to finish my election blurbs a few days ago, but I lost my internet connection when I tried to post them, so they are now lost in cyberspace. I'm not in the mood to spend an hour writing them again, and I want to move on to the other important news in the World that has taken place since my last post. So, I will comment on the comming general elections in Germany and New Zealand later this week and Liberia when that election gets a little closer.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

World Elections September/October

I feel like a kid in a candy store. There are a ton of countries holding national elections within the next month or so, and several of them could turn out very well for Conservatives or pro-Democracy forces. All of these elections will decide the top government post (President, Prime Min., etc.) in their respective nations. This post consists of a series of small, color-coded capsules - one for each country, where I will offer brief analysis and opinion. I hope to offer more in-depth coverage of each of these elections when they occur. The countries holding elections in the very near future are:

EGYPT (Sep.. 7th, second round Sep. 17th if needed)
JAPAN (Sep. 11th)
NORWAY (Sep. 12th)
NEW ZEALAND (Sep. 17th)
GERMANY (Sep. 18th)
POLAND (Oct. 9th {first round})
LIBERIA (Oct. 11th )

Due to time constraints I will comment on Egypt, Japan and Norway tonight. I will pick up tomorrow with New Zealand, Germany, and Liberia. I just found out about Poland tonight, and I will have to do research before commenting.

Type of Election: Presidential (President elected independent of Parliament)
Current Government: Hosni Mubarak, ruling as dictator
Contenders: Mubarak is running against nine different opposition candidates.
Analysis: The key issue here is whether Mubarak will try to rig Egypt's first multi-party election in decades. The opposition is already saying that election fraud is being committed, and my guess is that they are right.
Projected Winner: Mubarak
ConservaGlobe's preferred winner: Anyone but Mubarak.

Type of Election: Parliamentary (People elect the parliament, leader of the majority party in Parliament becomes Prime Minister)
Current Government: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), headed by PM Junichiro Koizumi, controls the Diet (Parliament)
Main Parties: LDP (Center-Right), headed by Koizumi; Democratic Party (Leftist/Social Democratic), lead by Katsuya Okada; smattering of smaller parties.
Analysis: This election is essentially a referendum on Koizumi's plan to privatize Japan's postal service. The plan failed in Parliament because about 30 LDP legislators broke ranks and voted against the party line. Koizumi immediately called elections and expelled every legislator who voted against the plan from the LDP. This may sound like overkill to Americans, but you have to consider that Japan's government is Parliamentary, not Presidential. The only way for people to choose their Prime Minister in Japan is to vote a member of his or her party into the parliament. Therefore, people vote based on party platform, not the views of the individual candidate. Hence, legislators must vote the party line in order to be true to their constituents. Koizumi is relatively conservative, he's pro-America, and he's one of the better PMs that Japan has had in a long time. I hope he wins.
Projected Winner: LDP
ConservaGlobe's preferred winner: LDP

Type of Election: Parliamentary (Leader of majority party becomes Prime Minister)
Current Government: Parliament is controlled by a coalition of the Conservative Party, the Christian Democrat Party, and the Liberal Party . The Prime Minister is Kjell Magne Bondevik, a Christian Democrat.
Contenders: Two coalitions: the governing coalition listed above and the opposition "Red-Green" coalition of the Labor Party, the Socialist Left Party, and the Centre Party. However, all parties are running independent of one-another. There is also the Progress Party, which is anti-immigration and ultra-right-wing; and the Coastal Party, whose main issue seems to be support for fisherman and whaling.
Analysis. This is really interesting because there are so many major parties, and the government will probably have to be formed by a coalition of 3 or more parties. Former coalition was able to govern only on the whim of the Progress Party, which held the balance of power. However, the Progress Party has indicated that they will not support the coalition again if Bondevik is the candidate for Prime Minister, insisting on Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg instead. This could turn into a serious mess.
Projected Winner: Red-Green Coalition, with Labor Party leader Jens Stoltenberg as PM.
ConservaGlobe's Preferred Winner: Current governing coalition, without the need for Progress Party support. Undecided on choice for PM.

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Monday, September 05, 2005


I spent so much time last night arguing why John Roberts wouldn't be the new Chief Justice, and the President pops my bubble within 12 hours by nominating him! I would like one order of crow, medium rare.

Like I said last night, I think Judge Roberts will be a great Chief Justice. I just thought that he would get the job 15 years from now, not today. The good thing about this nomination is that the Chief Justice's chair will not be empty again for quite some time. Roberts is only 50 years old, so he has the potential to hold the job for 30 years or more. This could make him one of the most influential judicial figures in the history of the United States.

The only minor problem I foresee for Chief Justice Roberts is that he may have some trouble gaining the respect of the other justices, as he is significantly younger than all of them. However, this will probably not be that big of an issue.

So, congratulations to (soon to be) Chief Justice John Roberts. I think that he will do a great job.

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Supreme Court Speculation

As is to be expected, speculation about William Rehnquist's successor has begun less than 24 hours after his death. So, I might as well put in my two cents. This is going to be a long post, but if you read the whole thing, you will eventually find out who my Chief Justice pick is. I want you to read my arguments first, so no fair scrolling down to find out who it is!

Most of the scuttlebutt that I've read has revolved around John Roberts being renominated as head honcho. Personally, I think that Judge Roberts will make a great Chief Justice, in about 15 years. He is significantly younger than every other current justice and lacks the experience on the bench that he needs in ordser to hold the nation's top judicial position. I think that our President knew exactly what he was doing when he appointed Roberts to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's seat and not Rehnquist's. Bush knew that Rehnquist was probably going to either die or retire before the next election, so he didn't feel the necessity nominate the man he wants to lead the Court in the immediate future. Instead, he picked a young gun who would sit on the Court for a long time and have the chance to move up later. I'm sure that the President already had a short-list of Chief Justice prospects (probably all older than Roberts) already made when O'Connor stepped down, and the reason that he took so long to pick Roberts was that he now had to find a suitable younger candidate.

So, I don't think it's Roberts, but who do I think it should be?

I think that the position of Chief Justice requires a man or woman with a boatload of judicial experience at the highest levels. I also think that the only way to gain such experience is to actually sit on the Supreme Court for an extended period of time. So I think that the President should elevate a sitting justice to the top job, and then pick whoever he pleases to be an associate justice. I know that this will make for a more difficult confirmation process, as three different nominees would have to have Senate hearings, but I think that the good of the Court and the country should come before political expediency.

So, now that you've (hopefully) read my read my reasoning, I think that the next Chief Justice of the United States should be...

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas!

Now, I don't have such a definite idea who should fill Thomas' seat after he is elevated. After all, I have not researched every appeals court judge in the country (and do not intend to). However, as I believe in appointing solid constructionists to the Court and playing political hardball instead of trying to find someone that everybody likes, I think that the new associate justice should be...

Judge Janice Rogers Brown.

(DC Circuit Court of Appeals)

Judge Brown is reliably conservative, a minority, and a woman. If I remember correctly she is also the daughter of a Southern sharecropper, so the Democrats can't use the argument that she "hasn't seen hard times" (which is what they're saying about Roberts), and they definitely can't criticize her on civil rights. This would also be a good political move, daring the liberals to filibuster her again (at their own political risk). Most importantly, nominating her would show that Bush has the guts to make waves in order to put the right person on the court.

So, those are my picks. I probably will not comment further on this matter until a nominee is chosen, because I have said everything that I have to say at the moment. So, what do you think?

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

In Memoriam: William Rehnquist

Chief Justice William Hubbs Rehnquist

I will be the first to admit that I am not the best informed blogger when it comes to judicial issues. However, I greatly admired the way Chief Justice Rehnquist conducted himself during his years on the court. Aside from the fact that I agreed with many of his decisions, there is another reason that I respect William Rehnquist: I cannot recall him ever saying anything incendiary or overtly political. Instead, he kept his opinions to himself when he wasn't ruling on a case. As a human being, William Rehnquist probably had many personal opinions on the issues, but we only ever heard his thoughts concerning the cases before him. By respecting his position on the Court and not getting entangled in political issues outside of his jurisdiction, Chief Justice Rehnquist presented the perfect model of a rational and impartial judge. I can only hope that th President appoints someone just like him to fill his seat.

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Aid arrives in New Orleans, media doesn't seem to care.

Well, the theory that the Federal Government was going to leave New Orleans wallowing in its misery just went out the window. The troops have arrived, the Superdome and convention center are evacuated, and we are witnessing the largest airlift ever on U.S. soil. It may have taken a little while to prepare, but the efficiency with which victims are being rescued from the Big Easy is nothing short of stunning. Kudos to to everyone involved in this relief effort!

Now, the bad news. While the cable news channels are covering this very positively, some in the print media seem to still be hellbent on portraying the the government relief efforts (and hence the Bush Administration) as inefficient and uncaring. When I checked out Yahoo! News tonight, I was appalled to find that the Associated Press, Associated Free Press, Knight Rider, and Reuters are all portraying this positive development as a bleak picture of suffering and death caused by aid that arrived too late. Instead of "Thousands Rescued in New Orleans", I read headlines such as "Rapes, killings hit Katrina refugees in New Orleans", "Survivors describe week of horror in New Orleans ", "Guardsmen 'played cards' amid New Orleans chaos: police official", and "Away from the coast and cameras, victims cope without much help". I was especially disgusted by the AP's "New Orleans Left to the Dead and Dying". This is, to say the least, a very creative way of saying that New Orleans has been evacuated. Instead of saying much about the evacuation itself, the story talked about how so many people had died in New Orleans because the aid had some so late.

The Government is staging a very efficient relief effort, the American people are pulling together to donate unfathomable amounts of aid, and all that the news services can think to do is constantly criticize those in charge of the relief effort. This makes me want to vomit!

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Politicizing Katrina: A Tragedy Starring Mayor Ray Nagin

I understand New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's frustration, I would probably be a basket case if I were in his situation. However, I think that his recent profanity-laced tirade against President Bush is reprehensible and inexcusable. I don't care about the language, the man is under a lot of stress, but I do mind his ill-informed mischaracterization of events.

Earlier today, Nagin lambasted the Federal Government's response to Hurricane Katrina, and President Bush in particular. One of the juicier remarks made by Mr. Nagin was this: "They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of #^!$*#%$ - excuse my French everybody in America, but I am %#$*ed." He also complained about the fact that he was promised thousands of National Guard troops which had not arrived, saying that somebody should "get of their #!$ and do something."

First, about the President's flyover: What else was he supposed to do? It would have been neither possible, safe, nor appropriate for the President to witness the destruction in New Orleans. Even if he found somewhere to land, the city is a war zone and it isn't safe (which is why Mayor Nagin is in Baton Rouge). The only thing that could have been accomplished by the President landing in Louisiana would be a nice photo-op with the mayor in Baton Rouge, and I think the President had bigger problems to worry about. He did the right thing by immediately flying back to Washington in order make sure that the bureaucrats "got off their #$*&^@ and did something". While the disaster may be on the Gulf Coast, the people in charge of fixing it are in Washington. Now that he has taken care of the urgent matters, he IS touring those hurricane damaged areas along the Gulf Coast, including Louisiana.

Second: The President does want to send a lot of National Guard troops to Louisiana. The problem is that those forces are not under his command, they are under the command of various state Governors (that's called federalism). It falls to them, not the President to mobilize their troops.

Mayor Nagin should know these facts, as he is also part of the Government. He either lacks rudimentary knowledge of government, is blinded by his hatred toward Bush, or is trying to take advantage of this disaster for political purposes.

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