Monday, November 23, 2009

Support For Health Care Bill Plunges

A new Rasmusson poll shows that support for the Democrats' health care plan has reached an all-time low: 38 percent support it, the lowest number since the tracking polls began in June.

In contrast, 56 percent of Americans said in the telephone poll that they oppose President Obama and the Congressional Democrats' health care plan.

This is why the debate that will now take place in the Senate is good for Republicans; the more Americans learn about the Democrats' plan to increase health care costs, raise premiums and cut Medicare, the less they like it.

Notions to blame Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for "obstructing" the health care takeover, moreover, sound like blaming the fire extinguisher for impeding the progress of a conflagration.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Botox Tax?

The Senate Health Care monstrosity includes a five percent tax on cosmetic surgery, according to Politico. The tax may raise eye brows, but not those of Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. John Kerry.

How is it that Nancy Pelosi omitted this gem from the House bill?


Grayson Goes On Offense

Secretary of State Trey Grayson is finally drawing a substantive distinction between his positions and those of Dr. Rand Paul.

Earlier this week, Grayson sensibly condemned the Obama administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and his co-conspirators in a New York City civilian court, rather then in the military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.

Paul quickly issued a release stating that he, too, thought the 9/11 mastermind and company should be tried at Gitmo, and criticizing the Obama administration. According to Paul,

Foreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution. These thugs should stand before military tribunals and kept off American soil. I will always fight to keep Kentucky safe and that starts with cracking down on our enemies.

Well said on Paul's part, though it was a bit of a surprise, given that some in the libertarian end of the party are not exactly aggressive about the War on Terror. Paul's statement tended to reassure that he would approach issues like the terrorist detainees with clear-eyed common sense.

But then the Grayson campaign trotted out three statements that Paul made last May -- statements that appear to contradict his condemnation of the Obama administration's decision to hold the KSM show trial in civilian court.

One such statement appeared on Paul's campaign site; it has since been removed, but is available by Google cache snap shot. That post said that Paul "couldn't agree more" with those who believe that Gitmo "significantly damaged the reputation of the United States" and should be "shut down." The Paul campaign now says that a volunteer posted the language without the campaign's permission.

Assuming, for sake of fairness, that the web site post cannot be attributed to Paul, we turn to two other statements that Paul spoke himself. In both, he asserts that the U.S. should just dump the terrorists back from whence they came.

On the Alex Jones radio show (May 21, 2009), according the the Grayson campaign, Paul said,

it's kind of unclear whether these people are guilty, not guilty. . . . So I really think deportation, sending them back to their country of origin might be the best way to go. And none of it's fair, because some of them have been held years and years.

Of course, that begs the question of what process is appropriate to determine whether "these people are guilty, not guilty." Deportation -- without an adjudication -- seems to give the suspected terrorists a pass; it's certainly not a conviction.

In Paducah (May 8, 2009), Paul said of terrorist detainees, "I think they should mostly be sent back to their country of origin or to tell you the truth I'd drop them back off into battle . . . you're unclear, drop them off back in Afghanistan. It'd take them awhile to get back over here."

The problem with Paul's approach is that it does not account for the recidivism rate among terrorists. What happens after we ship terrorists back to Afghanistan, as Paul suggests? Are these thugs more likely to wave American flags at our troops or set IEDs to kill them? If the latter, then we have just sent reinforcements to kill more Americans -- sort of a reverse surge.

Republican primary voters need to pay close attention to what Grayson and Paul say about Gitmo and the War on Terror. Grayson and Paul are virtually indistinguishable on fiscal issues: both support limited government and low taxes. Republicans must therefore identify those issues on which they differ -- such as what to do about foreign terrorists.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Did Eric Holder go to law school?

In response to criticism for having the KSM trial in a civilian court, Eric Holder said that acquittal is not an option. What?!?! Under the U.S. Constitution, acquittal is ALWAYS an option. That is what trials are for. This is law 101. For the highest lawyer in the land to make this statement is amazing.

If KSM gets some bright defense attorneys, as he most certainly will, there will be a real opportunity for them to to get him off on some technicality. How about violation of his Miranda rights for a start? Who knows how clever they can be.

It is unconscionable that a war criminal is being tried in a civilian court, but then unconscionable has become routine under the current regime. I am not sure that anything they do should surprise or shock us anymore.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grayson Condemns Obama 9/11 Show Trials

Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Trey Grayson has condemned the Obama administration's plan to use civilian courts to try the master-mind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, and his co-conspirators.

In an email blast, Grayson states that he

disagree[s] strongly with this decision and have launched a petition against this policy on my website. I hope you will sign the petition to President Obama today and join me in opposition to bringing captured terrorist suspects to U.S. soil for prosecution in civilian courts instead of prosecuting them using military commissions outside our borders. I see no need to threaten the security of Americans and spend untold additional millions of dollars trying to mitigate those risks on our own soil. If I am elected to the U.S. Senate I will support measures such as Sen. Jim DeMint’s legislation to extend the ban on moving Guantanamo detainees to the U.S.

It is a welcome relief to see the Grayson campaign finally focus on an important issue of national security, rather than how long his opponents have lived in Kentucky.

No word yet on how Grayson's opponent in the Republican primary Dr. Rand Paul views the use of civilian courts to try foreign terrorists.

If Paul gets his way, however, we will soon hear he and Grayson compare their positions on this and other issues. Paul today called for Grayson to debate him: "I challenge Mr. Grayson to debate before any impartial group. Several universities and media outlets have expressed an interest and I've indicated that I relish the idea of debate."

Meanwhile, President Obama -- flailing to defend his decision to try KSM in New York City's federal court -- gave a curious lesson on the rule of law to the Communist Chinese: Obama promised that the terrorists will be convicted. In addition to tainting the jury pool, Obama made the whole judicial exercise look like a sham with a pre-ordained conclusion.

Wisdom of a Founding Father

"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust..." James Madison

One of the beauties of the U.S. Constitution is that its drafters recognized the natural "depravity" of man and the need to set limits on a government comprised of men and women. History had taught them that no matter what the form of government, the possibility for abuse of power was omnipresent when governmental powers were not limited. Embodied in the U. S. Constitution is that precious wisdom. Madison understood, perhaps better than anyone, that all men deserved a degree of "circumspection and distrust" simply because they were men.

Unfortunately, we today have a government that seeks to break the bonds of this most special document to institutionalize a form of depravity. It is not going too far to label currently proposed legislation, namely healthcare reform and cap and trade, as depraved. These are job and life destroying initiatives that will only accrue to the benefit of a selfish and overreaching government. These are clearly instances of arrogant and prideful man attempting to break the bonds of a limited government as embodied in the Constitution.

We can only hope and pray that this depravity can be stopped.

Friday, November 13, 2009

McConnell Reacts to Obama Trying 9/11 Terrorist in NYC

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell reacted to the administration's decision to bring the 9/11 perpetrators to trial just blocks from ground zero.

“The White House’s decision today to bring the 9/11 plotters within our borders and into our communities instead of trying them at the secure detention facility at Guantanamo is a step backwards for the security of our country and puts Americans unnecessarily at risk.

“This misguided decision is based on the false belief that the terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans in one day on U.S. soil are common criminals—not war criminals. But there are needless risks from this decision: classified information can be inadvertently leaked, as it was in the first World Trade Center trial; our cities will face enormous security problems; and our communities will be potential targets for attack.”

Likewise, the Obama administration undercuts its supposed commitment to teaching the world about the rule of law: there's no way that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-terrorists can get an impartial jury in the venue of New York City.

President Barack Obama said on 60 Minutes in March "Do these folks deserve Miranda Rights? Do they deserve to be treated like a shoplifter down the block? Of course not." So then why is the Obama administration doing just that?

Certainly the KSM's trial will require extraordinary security measures -- more than Obama's hypothetical shoplifter. But the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure will entitle KSM and other terrorists to exculpatory evidence, lists of witnesses and all the rest. Consequently, the terrorists will get to avail themselves of the same rights as the "shoplifter down the block."

Porkulus, the bailouts, the health care takeover, all of these were foolish ideas on the part of the Democrats. But bringing the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks to New York City for trial is not just foolish: it is cruel to the families of the victims and dangerous to America's security.


WSJ Inteviews Rand Paul

The Wall Street Journal online has an interview with U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Rand Paul. (Hat tip to Page One.)

He notes that unlike his father, Rep. Ron Paul, he would abolish the earmark system altogether. That is certainly correct on a macro level but would be hurt Kentucky so long as we are fortunate to have a party leader represent us.

Note that his indictment of the earmark system was in response to a question regarding to what extent he disagrees with his father on the issues. He identified earmarks as one of several "minor issues" with which he disagrees with his father.

Rand Paul needs to specify the other "minor issues." For the most part, however, he seems to embrace his father's failed presidential platform. That means Rand Paul now owns all of Ron Paul's positions (as well as his internet lists).

Asked about the legalization of drugs, Rand Paul responds that "It's a state issue. All issues of crime are better addressed at the state level."

He is correct that the constitution leaves the police power to the states. He is running for a federal office, so I don't view his answer as waffling (which it clearly would be were he running for governor.)

And though his respect for federalism is laudable, on the issue of the criminalization of narcotics, it strikes me as simplistic. It is not enough for Kentucky to criminalize a drug that has not only crossed state lines but in fact is being smuggled into our country from other nations. The interstate and international nature of drug smuggling makes this an appropriate area for some federal coordination with the states.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

This Paperwork Is Really Stimulating!

The Obama Administration's trillion dollar porkulus plan -- the one that was supposed to stave off double-digit unemployment but did not -- comes with lots of strings.

Just ask Campbelsville, KY shoe store owner Buddy Moore, who accepted an $889.60 order from the Army to provide nine pairs of work boots for a porkulus project. The Army Corps of Engineers then called the shoe owner, according to the Wall Street Journal, to demand that he fill out his Recovery Act paperwork, showing how many jobs he had created or saved. Next the government called back to see how those forms were coming along.

Moore has been filling orders for the Army for decades, but has never seen anything like the paperwork required by the Recovery Act. He asked his daughter, Paula Moore-Kirby, to help him with the on-line form.

Moore-Kirby spent eight hours trying to fill out the form as accurately and completely as possible. Eight hours for an eight hundred dollar government contract. After calling the assistance hot line, and told that she could revise the filing if necessary, Moore's daughter reported that the store's share of stimulus funds had created or saved nine jobs -- because Moore sold the Army nine pairs of boots.

Moore-Kirby wonders how the job creation question should have been answered: "Did we create zero? Is it creating a job because they have boots and go out and work for the Corps?"

Little did Moore know when he agreed to sell the Army nine pairs of boots that he was about to become the poster-child for the Recovery Act's red tape and inflated claims of job creation.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

David and Betty Jones Give $1 Million to McConnell-Chao Archives

Philanthropist and Humana co-founder David A. Jones stunned a University of Louisville audience today when he presented a $1 million check to the Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao Archives at its ribbon-cutting.

Jones said the donation from him and his wife Betty was unsolicited. He praised the McConnell Center's development of leaders for U of L and Kentucky. He singled out Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's dedication to many"issues big and small" -- for example, to conservation and parks, as well as McConnell's aid when the Jones's son was injured in the first Iraq war.

Jones also took an opportunity to praise McConnell for his relentless defense of the first amendment. McConnell has defended the first amendment's application even to unpopular speech, including the right to burn the U.S. flag, and the right for corporations to engage in political speech.

The first amendment, Jones said, is central to our survival as a country, and that includes the free speech rights of corporations.

Jones's comment seemed aimed at the Obama administration's gag order of Humana, imposed after Humana notified its subscribers of the potential impact of proposed health care legislation. McConnell vigorously criticized the Obama administration for censoring Humana and other insurance companies.

Likewise, Jones's remark could be an implicit criticism of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which hinders corporations from engaging in political speech. That bill's sponsor, Sen. John McCain, was the guest of honor of today's dedication of the archives. McConnell and the ACLU sued to have McCain-Feingold declared unconstitutional; McConnell lost and the law was upheld. McCain and McConnell both noted that their mutual respect and friendship transcends their differences of opinion on some matters of public policy.


Best Line of the Day

Sen. John McCain (quoting Sen. Tom Coburn) describes the Democrats' takeover of the health care industry: "No Child Left With a Dime." So true, it hurts.

McCain Calls a Terrorist a Terrorist

Sen. John McCain, who was in Louisville this Veteran's Day to celebrate the opening of the McConnell-Chao archives, said what many have thought: the shooting rampage at Fort Hood was an act of terror. WHAS has the video. McCain insisted that political correctness must not be allowed to impede national security.

Some argue that the Fort Hood shootings were a crime, perpetrated by a lunatic. To be sure, the tragedy is both a crime and a symptom of madness. That, however, proves too much: any act of terrorism -- including the attacks of 9/11 -- is both a crime scene and the product of insanity. What distinguishes terrorism from a crime is the political motivation of the person pulling the trigger or flying the plane. When, as at Fort Hood, the shooter screams "Allah Hu Akbar," there is no question as to the motivation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Basic Human Rights

A letter to the editor of the “The American Legion” November 2009, this Legionnaire John S. Duty, from Winchester Kan, states it so succinctly:

Health care is not a basic human right; “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are basic human rights. Health care is a service. No basic human right exist where others have to pay for it.”

You can always count on a veteran to point out the obvious. Thank you John Duty and have a great Veteran’s Day tomorrow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

NYT: We Need More Stimulus

In the world of the New York Times, down is up and up is down. How else to explain the Paper of Record's editorial today, urging the government to pass yet more stimulus -- because the last trillion worked out so well for the poor slobs formerly known as its subscribers.

The Times opines, "government spending, as large and as necessary as it has been, has not been enough to revive hiring." To the contrary, the more the Obama administration spends, the worse unemployment gets.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

McConnell Reacts to Health Care Vote

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued the following statement in response to the House's vote to approve the latest health care debacle:

"Rarely has the disconnect between Congress and the American people been clearer than the vote tonight. Americans want lower costs, less government intrusion, a simpler approach and less spending. Instead, the Democrat leadership has just forced through a partisan, 2,000-page bureaucratic monstrosity—a trillion-dollar government experiment that raises premiums, raises taxes and slashes Medicare to create more government programs. That’s not reform.

As this bill moves to the Senate, Republicans will continue to offer commonsense reforms to lower costs and increase access."

How many of the 220 members who voted in favor of the trillion dollar health care takeover even bothered to read the bill?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yeah, About Those Jobs

President Barack Obama warned that unless he got his way -- unless Congress appropriated billions upon billions of dollars in new government spending, unemployment would reach double digits: “If We Don’t Act Swiftly And Boldly, We Could See A Much Deeper Economic Downturn That Could Lead To Double Digit Unemployment," Obama said last January 3, 2009

One month later, he repeated his warning: “[I]f We Don't Act Immediately, Then Millions More Jobs Will Disappear; The National Unemployment Rates Will Approach Double Digits."

Congress caved and gave Obama the vast sums he said he needed to stave off double-digit unemployment.

Bottom line: the Obama plan did not work. Unemployment has now broken the 10 percent mark for the first time in more than two decades.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the Obama plan a failure: “I know the administration shares our goals of job creation and economic growth. But more debt, more spending, higher taxes and growing the size of government clearly has not worked—particularly in a time of double-digit unemployment.”


While Nation Grieves, Obama Gives A Shout Out

President Obama's My Pet Goat moment came yesterday. Robert A. George writes:

President Obama didn't wait long after Tuesday's devastating elections to give critics another reason to question his leadership, but this time the subject matter was more grim than a pair of governorships.

After news broke out of the shooting at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas, the nation watched in horror as the toll of dead and injured climbed. The White House was notified immediately and by late afternoon, word went out that the president would speak about the incident prior to a previously scheduled appearance. At about 5 p.m., cable stations went to the president. The situation called for not only his trademark eloquence, but also grace and perspective.

But instead of a somber chief executive offering reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion, viewers saw a wildly disconnected and inappropriately light president making introductory remarks. At the event, a Tribal Nations Conference hosted by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian affairs, the president thanked various staffers and offered a "shout-out" to "Dr. Joe Medicine Crow -- that Congressional Medal of Honor winner." Three minutes in, the president spoke about the shooting, in measured and appropriate terms. Who is advising him?

Anyone at home aware of the major news story of the previous hours had to have been stunned. An incident like this requires a scrapping of the early light banter. The president should apologize for the tone of his remarks, explain what has happened, express sympathy for those slain and appeal for calm and patience until all the facts are in. That's the least that should occur.

Goerge's comments appear on the website of NBC's affiliate in Chicago, of all places. Mmmm. The White House hunt may need to expand to go after more game than just foxes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two More GOP Governors

The White House and liberal press can spin it anyway they want, but yesterday's victories in New Jersey and Virginia show that independents can and will dump Obama and return to the GOP.

It is particularly significant that both races were for the governor's mansion. Governors historically have been the farm team from which presidential candidates come, so it essential to the national party's survival to keep winning these state races.

For Team Obama, the only consolation last night was the Democratic win in NY-23. This race was sui generis, and therefore little can be extrapolated from it with any certainty. However, it shows that conservatives will not be marginalized in the candidate selection process. And it shows that it is important for the GOP to cure its dysfunction say, a little before the last week of the general election. The shock is that poor Mr. Hoffman was able to do as well as he did.

But NY-23 is no mandate for Obama or Obamacare. It is, however, a warning to Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich.

Monday, November 2, 2009

C-J's Freudian Slip

Joe Gerth has been dutifully reporting the attacks between the campaigns of Attorney General Jack Conway and Lieut. Gov. Dan Mongiardo in their bids for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Lots of stalkers with camcorders filming each other. Now an accusation that Mongiardo is blurring the line between his official and campaign events, improperly excluding Conway's campaign staff.

Check out Gerth's coverage of the Kentucky Society of Health System's Pharmacists in Lexington:

Mongiardo's lieutenant governor's office sent out a notice last week announcing that Mongiardo would be speaking at them. [Emphasis added.]

After the primary, Mongiardo won't have anybody to speak at.