Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chandler in NRCC Sight

Rep. Ben Chandler's Republican opponent, Andy Barr, has made the NRCC's Young Gun's list -- a list of 39 house races that it is targeting, the number needed to attain a majority. The significance is extra cash for the campaign.

Todd Lally has not made the list in his bid against Rep. John Yarmuth, but is on the NRCC's "radar" according to Joe Arnold.

The NRCC really needs to send some money Lally's way. Notwithstanding the Democrats' voter registration advantage, and the fact that he's a nice guy, Yarmuth is simply too liberal for Kentucky. On health care, for example, Yarmuth has long championed a single-payer system. Nancy Pelosi tapped Yarmuth to help with "messaging."

If Lally can get enough money to inform Kentuckians of how far left Yarmuth is, this can be a Republican pick-up. The NRCC needs to help Lally as well as Barr.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kagan on Foreign Law

Elena Kagan's admission that she would apply foreign law as a Supreme Court justice is the most revelatory and troublesome thing she has said thus far in her confirmation hearings.

Sen. Chuck Grassley asked Kagan during today's Judiciary Committee hearing, "Should judges ever look to foreign law for ‘good ideas,’ should they get inspiration for their decisions from foreign law?”

Kagan replied, “Well, Senator Grassley, I guess I’m in favor of good ideas coming from wherever you can get them.”

Her answer may not alarm non-lawyers, and progressives desperate to win approval of foreign nations will no doubt applaud it.

Here's the problem with foreign law: we as Americans had no say in electing the legislators who wrote the foreign statute. The rule of law rests on the consent of the governed, but U.S. citizens did not consent to be governed by leaders of any country but this one. And when we are subjected to the laws of another country, it diminishes our sovereignty

Likewise, the application of foreign law precludes the redress of a democracy. Because we did not elect the members of the foreign parliament, we cannot vote the bums out when we don't like the laws they pass. Kagan's answer, moreover, reveals a certain arrogance about the role of a Supreme Court justice. Her job is not to look for "good ideas." Her job, should she get confirmed, is to apply the law -- U.S. law -- by reading statutes, precedent and the constitution and applying those sources of law to the facts of the case on appeal.

Kagan Waffles

It's day two of Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, and she appears to be engaging in a bit of historical revision about her role in the Clinton administration.

Previously, Kagan described her role as a "policy adviser to Clinton." In 2007, Kagan said that "[d]uring most of the time I spent in the White House, I did not serve as an attorney; I was instead a policy adviser . . . . It was part of my job not to give legal advice but to choose when and how to ask for it."

In her testimony to the Judiciary Committee today, however, Kagan said "I tried my hardest when I was in the - when I worked in the Clinton administration, including as a lawyer, to provide good legal advice to the president."

The Clinton Library has released Kagan emails that show her advice included which campaign finance "reform" proposals would hurt Republicans and thereby benefit Democrats: "Soft $ ban - affects Repubs, not Dems!"

In essence, Kagan's legal advice was intertwined with her political advice. That raises the issue of whether Kagan can vote as a Supreme Court justice without weighing the political ramifications of the cases's outcome. Simply put, can this former political operative be neutral?

Save the Golden Goose!

It takes a great deal of courage to defend the rich. Those who do are usually quickly pilloried as greedy, selfish, self-interested, fat neanderthal pigs. You know the drill.

Well, one courageous rich person has come forth recently to defend his ilk. He is Ziad K. Abdelnour, President and CEO of Blackhawk Partners, Inc., a high flying and very successful Wall Street investment firm.

You can read his eloquent and excellent blog at (, but the essence of his piece is that rich people are vital to the success of a society and that a society should be judged as much by how it treats its rich as how it treats its poor. The society that harms the rich kills the poor.

In one particularly beautifully phrased section, he eloquently summarizes the problem with our current situation:

"The wealth of America isn't an inventory of goods; it's an organic, living entity, a fragile, pulsing fabric of ideas, expectations, loyalties, moral commitments, visions and people. To vivisect it for redistribution would eventually kill it. As Mitterrand's French technocrats found in the early 1980s, the proud new socialist owners of complex systems of wealth soon learn that they are administering an industrial corpse rather than a growing corporation."

We currently have an administration that obviously has not learned the lesson taught by France's experience. We have a President, and a host of his allies, that seem hellbent on killing the proverbial golden goose. They have a vision for a society where everyone is poor, or nearly so, rather than one that seeks to make everyone wealthy. In a twist on LBJs "War on Poverty", one commentator labeled Obama's initiative as a "War on Prosperity". That is a fairly accurate moniker.

The golden goose is not quite on the chopping block, but he has quite a few hungry, ax wielding bureaucrats giving him the chase of his life.

Money Bomb Results

Rand Paul raised $172,000 in his Internet-based money bomb yesterday. This was his first money-bomb since he won the primary.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rand Paul on Biden's Visit

Jack Conway's schedule inexplicably precluded him from joining Vice President Joe Biden in Louisville to tout all the jobs supposedly created by the Porkulus bill.

Conway's absence did not go unnoticed by the Rand Paul campaign. Here's their statement:

Government is not very good at creating jobs. President Obama's stimulus package cost $413,000 per job created and those jobs largely went to political cronies.

Private businesses create useful jobs because the consumer votes every day to reward the businesses that are able to distribute what the public desires in a timely and inexpensive manner.

Jack Conway may be able to hide when the Vice President comes to Kentucky, but he can’t hide form the litany of liberal policies he shares with Barack Obama. Jack Conway would be just another rubber stamp for the agenda of Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

McConnell Helps Rand Paul Money Bomb

Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has sent an email blast to encourage Republicans to donate to Rand Paul's money bomb today.

Paul, after beginning his campaign with a series of gaffes, has shown the discipline to control his message. He is no longer running as a gadfly but rather as a serious contender who wants to win.

Here's McConnell's pitch on Paul's behalf:

The out of control tax and spend policies of the radical left in Washington MUST be stopped.

As Republican leader, I'm doing my best to lead the charge against these frightening proposals. And it seems like it's one thing after the other - Government run health care, trillion dollar deficits, tax hikes, and massive "stimulus" bills that do little more than plunge us further into debt.

We're doing our best to stop some of the worst of it in the U.S. Senate.

But I'm going to need a lot more help to really take the fight to the opposition, and stop their out of control spending and power grabs.

That's why I'm writing you this note today about a candidate I urge you to support.

I need Dr. Rand Paul in the Senate. It's just that simple. You can support his one day moneyblast by following this link.

I know I can count on Rand to do something very important -- stand up for conservative values in Washington. Rand Paul has built his exciting campaign on the goals of limiting the size and power of government, and standing up against those who would promote out of control tax and spending.

I can't think of a better advocate for those principles.

Unfortunately as so often happens, his success frightens those who think a Big Government Agenda is a good idea. You have probably noticed that Rand now finds himself as one of the left's biggest targets. Big Labor, Trial Lawyers and wealthy special interests from across the country are pouring money into efforts to stop him from getting to Washington.

I urge you to help Rand Paul fight back, and have the resources necessary to get the job done.

Rand's grassroots supporters are having a moneyblast, TODAY -- Monday, June 28. Please consider supporting that one-day fundraising event with your most generous contribution.

I'm supporting Rand Paul, and I hope you will too. The stakes are so high this year, and Rand Paul can help get America back on track.

SCOTUS Clarifies that 2nd Amendment Applies to States

This is sure to make the left blow an empty gasket with an orange plastic tip: The Supreme Court of the United States has clarified that the second amendment right to bear arms applies to the states and local governments, as well as the federal government. In so ruling, the Court struck down Chicago's gun ordinance, the most restrictive gun law in the country.

Several years ago, the Supreme Court -- which had not considered the second amendment in nearly a century -- held in Heller that the right to bear arms applies to private citizens, not just "militias."(See previous posts here.) That case involved a statute in the District of Columbia. It therefore remained unclear whether the holding was limited to federal enclaves or applied, by incorporation, to the various (real) states. It seemed obvious to many of us that the second amendment applies to the states every bit as much as the first amendment.

The majority was 5-4. Note that Justice John Paul Stevens dissented, so the outcome probably would have been the same even if Elena Kagan had already replaced Stevens.

Given the liberal distaste for anything related to guns, the battle now shifts to what limits may be imposed upon the second amendment right. Just as the first amendment is not limitless --pornography is not protected, for example -- the litigation will now turn for defining the limits of the right and the standard of review of government efforts to regulate gun use and ownership.

One wrinkle in the Court's reasoning for all the con-law geeks out there. The Court used the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to incorporate the second amendment, thereby rejecting an opportunity advanced by some of the litigants to use the privileges or immunities clause of the fourteenth amendment.

Tea Partiers will like result of the case but be disappointed that its reasoning does not give them a foothold for more expansive property rights. Will Rand Paul pick up on this distinction? Moreover, will Paul note that the Court has implicitly rejected his contention that the fourteenth amendment was intended to apply only to former slaves?

R.I.P. Sen. Robert Byrd

It doesn't matter for the moment what one thinks of his politics or his past associations: Sen. Robert Byrd devoted himself to public service, and for that he deserves our respect and gratitude, and his family deserves our condolences.

Byrd's death, following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, changes the face of the Democratic party. There is a real void in that party that President Barack Obama has not and probably cannot fill.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Colbert "Eyes" Rand

A while back, I asked an ophthalmologist friend (about the same age as Rand Paul) what he thought of Paul's self-accreditation and the ensuing fuss.

Here's his reply, by way of Stephen Colbert. TGIF! Got to love this senate race.

More Gov't Over-reaching from the P.R.M.

The Daily Caller has canvassed ridiculous ordinances from towns in Massachusetts and has come up with some doozies.

Number one on the list: government-mandated teeth brushing. Note, however, that this ordinance applies only to children in daycare. Doesn't that create an equal protection problem for those non-daycare kids, the ones whose mothers gave up their careers to devote themselves to child-rearing? Plainly, Massachusetts should just seize those children, to save them from exposure to reactionary ideas and gingivitis.

Then there is the law against defacing a milk carton. Who thinks of this stuff? It's too bizarre even to make up.

My favorite, however, comes from Cambridge, home of Harvard and epicenter of the Nanny State. The Cambridge Climate Congress has proposed banning meat sales in Cambridge on Mondays. The ordinance did not pass, but that was before Harvard alum Al Gore found himself with no place to sleep and extra time on his hands to promote climate change. Note that the ordinance didn't set the meat-out for Fridays, like the old Catholic custom. Good to see that the old wall between church and state has not cracked in Cambridge.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McConnell Statement on McChrystal Resignation

WASHINGTON D.C.—Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Wednesday regarding Afghanistan and the decision by President Obama who, as Commander in Chief, has accepted the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and announced his intention to nominate General David Petraeus to replace him:

“In his remarks, the President restated our nation’s goal in Afghanistan and Pakistan: to break the Taliban’s momentum and to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda. Our nation is at war and all Americans should unite around this goal and provide our men and women in uniform the tools necessary to carry out this difficult mission.

“We are once again fortunate to be able to call upon the selfless service of General David Petraeus to answer the call of duty. His experience in carrying out at a counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, when many questioned whether or not such a strategy could succeed, should provide a tremendous resource as he leads our forces in Afghanistan. Having known General Petraeus since his days serving at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, I have the utmost confidence in his leadership and I expect the Senate to quickly approve his nomination. General Stanley McChrystal has spent all of his adult life in service to our nation, carrying out some of the most important and perilous tasks that we ask of our warriors. Our country is indebted to General McChrystal and his family.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McConnell Comments on McChrystal Interview

If President Barack Obama thought Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was going to thrown him lifesline on whether to can Gen. Stanley McChrystal for insubordination, Obama must be disappointed at McConnell's relentless caginess.

Talking Points Memo has McConnell's reaction to McChrystal's Rolling Stone interview:

"It seems to me it's important to remember that we've got a conflict going on in Afghanistan, a challenging conflict, which has enjoyed bipartisan support, unlike the war in Iraq," McConnell said. "And I hope we can keep our eye on the ball here, and win in Afghanistan and not get diverted off of that on to these other issues that seem to have developed."

. . .

"The important thing here is to get the mission right and to win," McConnell added. "And rather than getting diverted off on this I think it's important for everybody around here to remember that we've got a big stake in having the Afghan conflict come out the right way. This is a war that to date has enjoyed pretty broad bipartisan support."

Monday, June 21, 2010

McConnell and Reid Defend Israel

A little late to the party but good news nonetheless: Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Democratic Leader Harry Reid, along with 83 other senators, have signed a joint letter in support of Israel's blockade and flotilla raid.

From Politco via Hotair, the letter states:

We fully support Israel’s right to self-defense. In response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israel from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Israel took steps to prevent items which could be used to support these attacks from reaching Gaza. Israel’s naval blockade, which is legal under international law, allows Israel to keep dangerous goods from entering Gaza by sea. The intent of the measures is to protect Israel, while allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Late last month when Israel learned that groups operating in Turkey wanted to challenge its blockade of Gaza, Israel made every effort to ensure that all humanitarian aid reached Gaza without needlessly precipitating a confrontation. Israeli forces were able to safely divert five of the six ships challenging the blockade. However, video footage shows that the Israeli commandos who arrived on the sixth ship, which was owned by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (the IHH), were brutally attacked with iron rods, knives, and broken glass. They were forced to respond to that attack and we regret the loss of life that resulted.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kelley Paul Defends Rand

Rand Paul's wife Kelley has made an ad to take on the media for being mean to Rand about forming his own opthamaologist board (of which Kelly is vice president).

Jake at Page One says it reminds him of a hostage video. I think it looks like one of those commercials that try to ape Desperate Housewives.

In any event, the ad suggests that the Paul campaign, despite the turnover of personnel, is still not ready for Prime Time. The video was poorly produced. The camera work was worse than amateurish (there's this new technology called the zoom in: use it). The audio contained the repetitious noise of shuffling cue cards. And the cue cards apparently were held so high above the camera that poor Mrs. Paul looked heavenward the whole time, which made a weird ad even weirder.

Even more basic, however, was the decision to run the ad in the first place. It has only prolonged a story that would quickly die otherwise. It made the Pauls look like whiners. And it didn't exactly enhance Rand Paul's looming masculine presence to send his wife out to fight for him.

Not a good showing for the GOP nominee.

Rand Paul on BP Oil Spill

Rand Paul has some harsh words for the Obama administration's reaction to the BP Gulf spill. Thankfully, it's a more thoughtful analysis than Paul's disastrous interview with Matt Lauer. Paul makes a particularly good point about the Obama administration's failure to waive the Jones Act and accept help from vessels flying under foreign flags; this reflects Obama's indebteness to Big Labor and the longshoremen.

Here's Paul's release:

"Recently, the President disturbingly noted he was studying the crisis in the Gulf in an attempt to find our “whose *ss to kick.” I’ll move past the obvious problem with the appropriateness of the comment to just say this: Look in the mirror Mr. President.

"This crisis has been a case study in failure to lead, failure to act, and using a crisis to advance your own agenda rather than solve the problem.

"Make no mistake, this is an environmental disaster of epic proportions, and should be treated as such. BP should be held responsible for whatever their negligence was. Congress and the Administration should examine how this happened, and what we can do to prevent this in the future. But it should be noted that offshore drilling of this kind has been in place for 40 years with few problems. It’s wrong for the Administration to use this crisis as a platform not for cleaning up the mess; but rather as one to threaten, bluster and seek to advance parts of their agenda.

"If the Administration were serious, they’d be leading, much like Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Governor Jindal has had to wait weeks for federal waivers, assistance and supplies. He finally decided he’d had enough and is proceeding, in some cases without assistance or permission. He’s protecting his state while President Obama does photo ops.

"That’s why for the people closest to the disaster, over 65% of his constituents approve of Governor Jindal’s handling of the spill, while only 30% approve of President Obama’s inaction.

"But this isn’t the whole story. Part of their inaction has also been because of their special interest friends. You see, the Obama Administration could have waived something called the Jones Act, which is a party of a 1920 law that prohibits foreign ships from assisting in this type of crisis. The fact is many foreign countries have technology to clean up oil spills that exceed our own. We should be taking advantage of their offers to help. Now why would we not waive this Act, as was done just 3 days after Hurricane Katrina by President Bush? Because the single biggest proponent of the Jones Act is also the single biggest donors to President Obama and Democrats in Congress – Big Labor.

"Then to add insult to injury, the President Obama announced two actions that, instead of helping clean up the mess, will lead to bigger problems.

"First, he declared a moratorium on offshore drilling for wells more than 500 feet deep. According to a Senator from his own party, this could cost as many as 330,000 jobs and will surely cost hundreds of millions of dollars in increased costs to consumers and businesses.

"According to the Minerals Management Service, Offshore drilling on the Outercontinental Shelf accounts for 27% of our domestic oil production. And that has been shut off, with no plan in mind to deal with the job loss and increased costs that will follow.

"And now, he is using the crisis to revive his failed energy Tax/Cap and Trade scheme.

"As the White House Chief of Staff said about another crisis “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste -- and what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before."

"So what we have here is inaction and failed leadership, coupled with political opportunism and special interest paybacks. That’s not the kind of leadership Americans need or deserve."

Sen. Wicker Gives GOP Address

This week's GOP address is by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). Not surprisingly, he chose to discuss the BP Gulf Spill and the Obama administration's response to "do more harm than good." Here's the video.

Wicker blasts President Obama's speech to the nation as a page out of Rahm Emanuel's manual -- never let a crisis go to waste:

In his speech Tuesday night, President Obama made it clear that he intends to exploit this crisis to push his liberal agenda for a cap-and-tax scheme. This is a disservice not only to the victims and their families but also to the millions of Gulf Coast residents who are struggling in the wake of the spill.

Americans increasingly reject the cap-and-tax proposal because it would drive up the cost of energy and force American jobs overseas.

The President spent more than a third of his address advocating this national energy tax, revealing his true priorities. Now is not the time to push a controversial, job-killing, partisan agenda through Congress.

In addition to devastating our economy, this proposal would do nothing to fix the disastrous leak or clean up our beaches, marshes, and waters.

Another idea that takes us in the wrong direction is the Democratic plan to increase oil cleanup fees and raid those funds to pay for unrelated programs. These funds are needed to clean up spills, not to satisfy Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi’s desire to raise federal spending.

In addition, the administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling has the potential to become the third wave of this disaster. If left in place, the moratorium will permanently eliminate thousands of jobs and drive up the cost of energy for all Americans. You don’t have to take my word for it. Earlier this week democratic strategist James Carville said the moratorium was [quote] “wrecking the economy” of the Gulf Coast.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Meanwhile, in the Middle East

While the Obama administration dithers in the Gulf of Mexico, tensions grow in the Middle East. The Jerusalem Post has come to the sad conclusion that in light of the Obama administration's position at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Committee, "Israel should rethink the value of all U.S. promises, regardless of how or where they were made."

The Obama administration is preventing Israel from maintaining the ambiguity of its nuclear policy that has kept states like Iran that want to "wipe Israel off the map" from so doing.

The Obama administration calls for Israel to become a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty; the irony is that signatories include Iran, Syria and Libya, and yet the Obama administration singles out Israel as the problem state when it comes to nuclear weapons

As with the Gulf oil spill, the administration's credibility with Israel is in shatters, because America is no longer being led, just ruled, and not very competently.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rand Paul Opposes Kagan

Rand Paul has announced that he opposes the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. It's a reasonable position for a conservative to take, except that Kagan could be much worse. Compared to some of the potential nominees, Kagan looks downright moderate (she appointed some outstanding conservatives to the Harvard Law School faculty as Dean.) Paul has stronger issues to press than Kagan's nomination, in my view.

Paul's press release is quoted below. The only part that leave me confused is Paul's complaint that

"Elena Kagan does not believe that the Constitution is the sole legal authority for the Supreme Court, specifically stating that judges could "mold or steer the law" and that it could be based on "the Constitution or another accepted source of law".

Now if Paul's point is that the Supreme Court cannot legitimately cite international law, then I agree with him. And I agree with him that a judge has no business "molding or steering" the law; that's a cover for judicial activism.

However, Kagan is correct that the Court can apply "another accepted source of law," other than the constitution. Indeed, the U.S. constitution is not always at issue in U. S. Supreme Court cases. The Court can rule on any number of sources of law, including statutes and foreign treaties.

Here's Paul's release:

Among the views of Elena Kagan of concern to Dr. Paul are:

1. Elena Kagan does not believe that the Constitution is the sole legal authority for the Supreme Court, specifically stating that judges could "mold or steer the law" and that it could be based on "the Constitution or another accepted source of law". She will clearly be an activist judge for her liberal positions and in Dr. Paul's opinion, will legislate from the bench.

2. Elena Kagan argued against a federal partial-birth abortion ban.

3. Elena Kagan has actively worked against the 2nd amendment, and in favor of greater restrictions and licensing for guns.

4. While at Harvard, she banned military recruiting there, showing her disdain for our armed forces.

5. She has written in support of discrimination via racial quotas.

For these reasons, Dr. Paul would vote against the nomination of Elena Kagan, and calls on Jack Conway to state his position and tell Kentucky voters how he would vote on this liberal Obama nominee.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

NYT Profiles Pauls

The New York Times cannot get enough of Rand Paul. Today it profiles Paul from the perspective of what it was like to grow up in the libertarian home of Ron Paul:

In keeping with their position as the First Family of Libertarianism, the Pauls of Lake Jackson, Tex., did not have many rules around their home.

“Behave yourself and be polite” is how Representative Ron Paul describes his regulatory philosophy about rearing five children. Mr. Paul, a Republican, and his wife of 53 years, Carol, never believed in assigned chores or mandates.

They did not give out allowances, which they viewed as a parental version of a government handout. They did not believe in strict curfews; Mr. Paul says that unintended consequences — like speeding home to beat the clock — can result from excessive meddling from a central authority.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Come Clean Mr. President"

RNC Chairman Michael Steele has a good re: line in a recent fundraising letter pointing out the lack of transparency in the Obama White House: "Come Clean Mr. President". Already the BP oil spill has seeped into the public consciousness as a metaphor for even more things characteristic of the current administration than simply ineptitude.

Tipper and Al Gore Call it Quits

Tipper and Al Gore announced that they will separate, according to Politico.

And thus ends one of the most obnoxious supposed romances in political history. Remember how Al Gore claimed that he and Tipper inspired the novel and movie Love Story ? It was a little disturbing that he chose to misappropriate a story-line in which the wife dies, but whatever.

Then there was that dramatic make-out scene on stage at the Democratic National Convention. Yick. It was one of the most gruesome public displays of affection ever, worse than when Pamela Anderson made out with Kid Rock in the Derby paddock.

It was altogether fitting, given that Al Gore invented the Internet, that the Gores announced their break-up via email.