Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Scroll Article Doesn't Give Justice to Issues

This week's Scroll had an article by the President of the College Republicans, Tanner Nielsen.

The article reads well and is generally true, however, his points are too general and he oversimplifies the issues that he touches on and in effect the article can be considered by some to be narrow-minded. Here's why:

He said, "“Where the federal government spends too much, Congress annually deliberates whether to raise the budget by man billions or a few billion every year."

The truth is that Congress is currently controlled by the Republicans, his own party. Maybe the Republicans could learn something from President Clinton, who, although morally rehensible, at least understood money basics.

All President Clinton had to do to create the largest surplus in U.S. history was to raise taxes and then limit government spending. Imagine that, he raised income and then cut expenses. Now there's an idea.

Nielsen also said, "And where terrorism is an enemy bound to destroy us, certain members of Congress annually deliberate over means of 'co-existing' with despots and monsters.”

The reality is that because of our Republican economic foreign policy the U.S. supports dictatorship regimes as long as those dictatorships show favorable trade with America. For example President Bush was recently in China. While there he chided China for continuing to violate basic human rights. How can Bush do this while at the same time borrowing from Chinese savings and surpluses to fund the Iraq War? That is just one example of many.

He also said, "For example, people who promote laziness may call it welfare."

Is he including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as one of those parties that promote laziness? Democrats and Republicans both agree that the Welfare system needs serious reform. However, it would be incredibly selfish and un-Christian to get rid of welfare. The truth is that the distribution of wealth in the United States has continued to be more and more unequal. What that means is that the rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to get poorer. That's just bad economics.

He also said, "As conservatives, we have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for we mean to reduce its size."

How does one reduce the size of government without making it more efficient?

What's the moral? The moral is that serious issues cannot be summed up in 10 word catch phrases. Although Nielsen's article presents valid and serious arguments, his implied arrogance that the conservative answer is the only answer is an indicator of narrow-mindedness and partisanship.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Report by the U.S. Army War College

The Christian Science Monitor has a great report about a 67 page document released by two senior analysts from the U.S. Army War College that says a US troop presence in Iraq cannot be sustained more than three years.

The Christian Science Monitor is an actual newspaper and has little to do with Christianity. They are an independent newspaper that has won many national awards and is read internationally. For more information visit this link.

The analysts agree with President Bush that an early withdrawal from the region would embolden the insurgency, however they also state that,

"It is no longer clear that the United States will be able to create (Iraqi) military and police forces that can secure the entire country no matter how long US forces remain."

Basically, this information can only lead someone to believe that the United States is "stuck between a rock and a hard place."

The story also references an interview with a top military official done on National Public Radio:

"In an interview Friday morning on National Public Radio's Morning Edition news program, Lt. Gen Odom also said that the consequences of the US invasion of Iraq had helped two of American's opponents: Al Qaeda, because it gave them a place to train followers in terrorist tactics, and Iran, because it did the one thing that Tehran had been unable to do itself - get rid of Saddam Hussein. Odom also said there will be chaos in Iraq 'whether we pull our now or in eight or ten years.' If the US leaves now, however, he believes some positive benefits will result, such as Al Qaeda would be 'run out of Iraq.'"

Why is all of this important? Why do we place so much importance on Iraq? Well there are many reasons, here are just a few that I can think of:

1. Our beloved soldiers are over there.

2. By being in Iraq, we may be attacking the "leave and branches" of terrorism. Instead we should be attacking the roots, and that may or may not involve military action.

3. The Iraq War represents a major fault in U.S. foreign policy. Iraq may be a single state, but in that sovereign state are two nations: the Sunni and Shia. The report referenced in this post also asserts that one of the main issues is that the new Iraqi Government may not be able to maintain cooperation between themselves as a multi-ethnic government or in the Iraqi Forces as a multi-ethnic military.

There is no easy answer here, and I do not envy President Bush, but I do not believe that our continued presense in Iraq, unfortunately, will amount to much in years to come.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Election Position Descriptions

Alright, so I thought that it would probably be good to set forth some sort of agenda so that everyone can know what to expect during next weeks meeting. Oh! I'm also bringing milk and donuts!

1. Prayer.

2. Pledge of Allegiance.

3. Learn from the Constitution.
I forgot to ask for a volunteer to choose a part of the constitution and to teach from it in our next meeting. Unless someone wants to volunteer to give it I'll do it.

4. Create a purpose and a mission.
I will present some things from the DNC platform, but other than that I figured that we should create it together so that it can be something that we all stand behind. I'll bring a sample constitution.

Here's what everyone can do: Think about what you believe the Democratic Party stands for and then think about what we as students can do about it. Bring this to the meeting.

6. Election.
The election will be for the Executive Board. The Executive Board determines the agenda and policy and coordinates all activities. Below are the positions and their descriptions.

President: 1: Be the Chief Executive Officer of the College Democrats;

2: Define the agenda of the College Democrats during his or her tenure;

3: Act as the official representative of the College Democrats to other groups and the media;

4: Carry out the mandates, policies, an directives of the Executive Board;

5: Preside over all meetings of the College Democrats.

Vice-President: 1: Assist the President in the performance of his or her duties; including brainstorming ideas and evaluating the progress of the Executive Board and organization as a whole;

2: Act as President when the President is unable to perform his or her duties;

3: Assume the office of the President upon the President’s death, resignation, removal, or inability to perform duties;

4: Be the Chief of Staff and take on projects of his or her choosing.

Treasurer: 1: Direct fundraising activities and prepare all grants;

2: Manage the bank account and budget;

3: Take minutes and perform clerical duties;

4: Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing.

Communications Director: 1: Coordinate all postering and publicity activities;

2: Notify media of all events of the College Democrats in an attempt to ensure media coverage;

3: Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing.

Someone who is qualified for these positions is someone who is committed to the cause, someone who can give time, and someone who is creative and diligent.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Meeting a Success!

Thanks to everyone who made it to the meeting last night! It was great to see all the participation and unity. We had over twenty people present and that's not including those who wanted to be with us but had other committments.

Real quick I'm going to recap what we went over.

1. We need to have as much participation as quickly as possible when Winter Semester starts. That means checking your email often and checking this blog.

2. We must eliminate the false image that many of the students here at BYU-I have about Democrats. That false image is dangerous to the Church, to LDS issues and to individuals.

3. We must quickly develop and implement a two phase public relations campaign that will first eliminate the false image and phase two will be to recruit more Democrats by encouraging students to learn the issues and then choose a side.

4. We have a great opportunity to participate in some national campaigns as soon as this spring and definitely in November.

Also, we will be having elections this Wednesday at 6PM in the Manwaring Center. I'm working on getting us a different room. I'll send an email out when I know what room it's going to be in. To receive the email you must have registered at http://www.collegedems.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

We Are Not Anti-War, We're Anti-Iraq

It's certain that the President gets blamed for too many things.

However, the nature of the beast is that if you're the poster child for a key issue, it's probably going to be you who gets blamed.

Confidence for President Bush is floating around the 37 percent range. The following are the results of a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll taken Nov. 11-13, 2005 of Adults nationwide.

63 percent do not approve of the President's handling of the Iraq War

54 percent believes that it was a mistake to invade Iraq.

38 percent believe that the war has been worth the cost.

63 percent want to bring home our troops within the next year regardless of a stable government.

32 percent are confident that Iraq will be able to create a stable government.

The American people are not stupid. We live in a popular sovereignty where power is given by the consent of the governed. It is evident that the greater majority of people in the United States do not support, and do not have confidence in Iraq's future.

NPR has a great timeline about Iraq and I suggest that everyone read it.

Also, Fox News has a story by the Associated Press about former Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff. The story reveals Powell's reservations about invading Iraq and the lack of information justifying the invasion.

Like I said above, the President cannot be blamed for everything. The President can hardly do anything without the approval of Congress. So, I suggest that if you've read this blog that you contact your senators and representative to ask them sincere questions about Iraq if you have them and to voice your opposition if you oppose the war.

There is no easy solution to Iraq. I affirm the conservative sentiment that now that we have invaded Iraq that we cannot simply leave them to crumble. However, we are a sovereign nation, and if being in Iraq is not in our best interests, than our best strategy is to figure out how to leave Iraq as soon as possible without it then becoming a greater danger.

Monday, November 28, 2005

NY Times Editorial on Foreign Policy, etc.

Kudos to Peter for establishing this site. I'm curious about the links--is fox news included just to illustrate that this is a "fair and balanced" blog? ;-)

As an avid China-watcher, I found the following NY Times editorial echoing my personal sentiments toward US foreign policy regarding China.

from: nytimes.com
November 23, 2005
China Snubs Democracy

Almost everywhere President Bush went in Asia last week, he proclaimed America's support for democracy and human rights in China. And almost every time he did so, Chinese leaders either ignored him or changed the subject. Beijing even dispensed with the symbolic gestures that often accompany American presidential visits. None of the human rights cases Mr. Bush personally raised with China's president, Hu Jintao, earlier this year have yet been resolved. Christians who tried to worship alongside Mr. Bush were turned away or detained. Prominent democracy advocates were confined to their homes for the duration of Mr. Bush's stay.

Despite the lack of results, we applaud Mr. Bush for raising these sensitive but crucially important issues. Democracy and human rights are universal, not merely American, values. Beijing's stonewalling on democracy is more than a diplomatic snub of Mr. Bush; it is an insult to China's own people. One thing still reliably Communist about the Chinese Communist Party is its Stalinist repression of all political dissent.

Still, the ritualistic American preaching of democracy to China's increasingly confident leaders has become less likely than ever to directly produce any useful effects. Washington's international reputation has been battered by its invasion and botched occupation of Iraq, while China's has been steadily rising on the basis of its phenomenal economic advance. Beijing's leaders are in no mood to listen to lectures from an American government that depends on Chinese surpluses and savings to finance its supersized budget deficits.

The best way for America to advance democracy in China, as elsewhere, is by setting a positive and consistent example, at home and abroad. That is not something that the Bush administration has yet learned how to do, even after having made democracy the rhetorical centerpiece of its second-term foreign policy.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Hey Folks,

Ron Nate, the faculty advisor to the College Republicans, helped initiate a chain of events that will now allow us to campaign for Democratic candidates at the expense of the Democratic National Committee.

What does that mean for you? It means that you will be able to receive political campaign experience at no cost to you whatsoever.

This is also a great opportunity to to increase LDS influence in Washington. By showing that Mormons are not a politically homogenous group we will be doing a great service for LDS issues.

We'll be going to places like Ohio, Pennsylvania or New Mexico. We'll be campaigning alongside influencial people in Senate and House races. This is an exciting and important time for the LDS community and BYU-I is going to be at the forefront of it!

If this sounds interesting to you, feel free to email us at demspresident@byui.edu or post to this blog. Be sure to tell your friends that our next meeting will be Wednesday, November 30th at 6:30 PM. Stay tuned for the meeting location.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Welcome to the College Democrats! Feel free to post your thoughts and comments.