Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Week, Another Primary

So, are you jazzed about today's primary in Michigan and Arizona? I am indifferent.

I will support the nominee, whoever he is.  I do not agree with Democrats and the Mainstream Media that the so-called fratricide is killing Republican chances. Anyone who thinks the Republican primary is ugyly, just wait until Team Obama starts spending its millions.  What we are watching now, that's the cartoon before main feature.

 I therefore dispute the notion that the primary is damaging the Republican brand. What is killing us is that neither of our front-runners is conservative.  To the contrary, the more that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum try to increase their conservative street cred, the phonier they look.

But even a phony conservative is better than our current state of affairs. I console myself with this thought whenever Mitt Romney regales us with how many Cadillacs Ann drives, and whenever Rick Santorum whines that he is holier than the Pope.  No, they are not my dream candidate. That would be Mitch Daniels.  The prospect of Mitch Daniels somehow getting nominated in a brokered convention is just that:  a fantasy.

Not gonna happen.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mo Dowd Goes Bat-Shiz Delusional

Conservatives have known for many years that Maureen Dowd lives in a parallel universe unbounded by concepts like facts.  In today's column, she trots out that old canard about George W. Bush stealing the election from Al Gore.

Lady, Girl, give it up.  You lost. And if Republicans can pull it together, you will lose again this year.

In assaulting the Republican field, and particularly Rick Santorum, Mo lets this whopper fly:  "More and more, they openly yearn for a fresh candidate, including Jeb Bush, who does, after all, have experience at shoplifting presidential victories at the last minute." (Emphasis added).

Shoplifting presidential victories?  That's a flat-out lie.  Two mainstream newspapers reluctantly so said.
USA Today reported on April 4, 2001

George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida's disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used, the first full study of the ballots reveals. Bush would have won by 1,665 votes -- more than triple his official 537-vote margin -- if every dimple, hanging chad and mark on the ballots had been counted as votes, a USA TODAY/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder study shows. The study is the first comprehensive review of the 61,195 "undervote" ballots that were at the center of Florida's disputed presidential election....

Even Mo's own newspaper, the New York Times -- not exactly part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy -- reached the same conclusion on its front page, November 12, 2001:

A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward.

Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore. A close examination of the ballots found that Mr. Bush would have retained a slender margin over Mr. Gore if the Florida court's order to recount more than 43,000 ballots had not been reversed by the United States Supreme Court.

Even under the strategy that Mr. Gore pursued at the beginning of the Florida standoff -- filing suit to force hand recounts in four predominantly Democratic counties -- Mr. Bush would have kept his lead, according to the ballot review conducted for a consortium of news organizations....

This is what happens when a columnist forgets to read her own front page:  she internalizes the mythology of the DNC talking points without the reality check of . . . reality.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson Gives GOP Address

This week's Republican Addrsss comes from Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (video here). She hits two points. First, she challenges Senate Democrats to act on four bills that would remove barriers to small businesses expanding and hiring. Each bill has already passes the House with large bipartisan majorities but is stymied in the Senate. Second, she mocks the administration for its bone-headed energy policies, which are succeeding in giving us European gas prices -- the explicit goal of Obama's Secretary of Energy. Hutchinson calls on the administration to let America take advantage of the Keystone Pipeline before Canada decides to sell to China.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rand Paul: No Cabal Between Ron Paul and Romney

Sen. Rand Paul clarified a remark he made this week that he would be "honored" to be Romney's VP nominee. Some have taken that to substantiate speculation that Ron Paul and Romney have cut some sort of a deal. Ron Paul's attacks on Santorum during the last debate added fuel to the rumor.

Sen. Paul said this on the Ron Paul website:

The media speculation about some supposed cooperation between
the Ron Paul campaign and Mitt Romney has gotten completely out of hand. Ron Paul is running for President of the United States. His son, Sen. Rand Paul, is supporting his father’s run for President of the United States. That’s all that’s going on here. There is no secret “conspiracy.” During a radio interview this morning in Chicago, Sen. Paul said:

“If there’s a secret deal they’re keeping it secret from me, I think that’s mostly internet chatter and fun for people to speculate on…”

Speculative fun is exactly right. Sen. Paul explained his own views on the supposed Romney/Paul connection this morning, including his comments about being “honored” if he were to be considered as the GOP vice presidential nominee:

I think the story kind of got misrepresented, because you know when I was asked, every time I’m asked these kind of questions, these are hypothetical questions, I always say you know what? I still have my first choice in the race and that’s Ron Paul. My first choice would be a Ron Paul presidency and my first choice for a position would be an unofficial adviser to a Ron Paul presidency…

But when they push and push and push, and say ‘What about Romney? Would you do it?’ I mentioned that it would be an honor, and what I meant by that is sort of like if you were nominated for an academy award, what’s your response? You’d say “It’s be an honor to be nominated’ and so I think it would be silly for me not to say that if anybody considered me that I’d be honored by it, but I think it was somewhat overblown, it sort of fits into this sort of cabal that people write about…

That there’s this big strategy between Ron Paul and Romney, really the Ron Paul strategy as far as I’m aware of it is to gather delegates and to try to win, and one of the unwritten stories really is that Ron Paul may have already won a couple of states but people haven’t realized it because the delegates haven’t been allotted in Iowa yet, and we still think there’s an reasonable chance we can win Iowa we they count the delegates, we think there’s a reasonable chance we can win Maine when they count the delegates, and this is sort of an unwritten story that’s out there, and also why I don’t like the story out there that somebody’s trying to angle for some other position other than I’m just trying to help my dad at this point…


KY Senate Kisses Horse Industry Good-Bye

What a disappointing vote yesterday in the Kentucky Senate:  citizens will not get to vote on whether Kentucky should expand gambling to aid the horse industry.

At least there was a vote; last go round, Senate President David Williams killed the bill in committee, in an alarming lack of transparency. Yet many are left with the nagging suspicion that this was a rigged vote -- timed to ensure defeat.

David Williams opposes gambling in Kentucky, although it is well known that he personally likes to gamble:  gambling for me, not thee. He has no credibility on the issue and should have just let Sen. Damon Thayer handle the whole thing.  Indeed, given Williams' resounding defeat in his bid for governor, he has little credibility on any issue.  Why is he still Senate President?  Are people still afraid of him after that disastrous election? Sure, he's a brilliant man, but wouldn't a less polarizing leader be more effective?

What is discouraging about the Senate vote is that it is anti-democratic.  Ordinary Kentuckians deserved a chance to have their say on the issue. All senators, regardless of their personal position, therefore should have voted to put the issue on the ballot.  A vote against the amendment is parternalistic; it says that voters cannot be trusted to make the right choice. The only way this issue can be put to rest is by allowing voters to address it directly.

There should be bipartisan support for our horse industry. As an out of state transplant, I can testify that bourbon and horses do more for Kentucky's image than anything else. That add an allure to the state and do  much to counterbalance the notion that we all have meth mouth and run around barefoot. Moreover, the horse industry is a huge employer, offering jobs for a wide range of skill levels, It is a tourism magnet. It is a counter-weight to the dreaded Urban Sprawl.  It is a green industry. Really, there are any number of constituencies, otherwise odd bed-fellows, that should be banding together to save it.

The reality is that other states, like New York, are gunning for our horse industry -- successfully. Those who oppose gambling need to identify an alternative to prevent the horse industry from becoming a vestige of Kentucky's past.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sen. Paul's Amicus Brief on Obamacare

Sen. Rand Paul's amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court not only calls on the Court to strike down Obamacare, but to jettison the 1942 precedent that has allowed Congress to blow past its enumerated powers under the Commerce Clause.  That case held that Congress can forbid a farmer from feeding his family and livestock with wheat he grew himself on his own farm; it ushered in the era of big government -- and big debt.

Here's a link to the brief.  In full disclosure, I am counsel of record.  Constitutional conservatives will appreciate that Paul calls for the Court to overrule Wickard v. Filburn  when it addresses Obamacare.  That's the case that Judge Silberman of the D.C. Circuit reluctantly concluded justified the individual mandate.  Of course, the D.C. Circuit, as an intermediate court, is stuck with Wickard.  But the Supreme Court is not.  In all likelhihood, the Court will distinguish Wickard, if it strikes down Obamacare.  However, look for Justice Thomas to echo Paul's call to make clear that Wickard was wrongly decided.

Sen. Paul spoke about the brief and many other topics yesterday at the Federalist Society's Louisville Lawyer Chapter. This is the first time that he has spoken to any Federalist Society chapter, and he drew a huge crowd.  It's a natural fit, because like the Tea Party, the Federalist Society seeks for rule of law based on the plain text of the constitution as understood by the Framers:  limited government, personal responsibility, liberty.

Here's some of the press coverage.  WFPL  had the best coverage of the brief.  The C-J focused mostly on Paul's opposition to federalizing  the criminalization of synthetic drugs. WAVE 3 fixated on Paul's assessment of the odds of a brokered Republican Convention, which he put at 30 percent. WHAS 11 made the point that Paul is "staying true" to his campaign message.  (How sad that it is actually newsworthy for a politician to keep his word.).

The Daily Caller picked up on Paul's remark that he would be "honored" to be considered as candidate for Vice President. There is speculation that the reason Ron Paul is hitting Rick Santorum so hard, but not Mitt Romney, is that Ron Paul has cut some kind of deal to be Romney's V.P. nominee.  In fact, Rand Paul would probably add more to the ticket than his father.

Here's what the media missed yesterday:  in casual conversation, before the event started, when asked whether he would run for president, Paul very candidly said he was "thinking about it." In the event that Obama is reelected, I expect Paul to run.

A few observations on working with Paul on the brief.  Law students of all ideological persuasions have thought for 70 years that Wickard v. Filburn was wrongly decided.  It makes a mockery of a federal government, and particularly a Congress, that is subject to enumerated and hence limited powers. 

To have a sitting member of the U.S. Senate show the courage and intellectual honesty to say what so many think -- that Wickard   is wrong --  was extraordinary.  It is the constitutional equivalent of telling the Court that the Emperor has no clothes.

I was struck by Paul's command of constitutional law; he is a non-lawyer  who knows more than most lawyers.  He is a voracious reader who loves history.  I was also struck by his humility and sense of humor.  Despite his intellect and position, he is modest and down to earth.

Although I still don't agree with him on all issues, I think that we are blessed to have his service.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rand Paul is Right About Egypt

But for Sen. Rand Paul's efforts to cut off aid to Egypty, there would not be one story about the U.S. citizens being held hostage in Egypt. Plainly, this assault to American sovereignty -- which now endangers Americans -- does not fit into the reelection narrative for the Appeasement Presidency. (How's that Arab Spring working out for you?)

Liberal apologist Dana Milbank directed his bile against Paul for holding up the confirmation of a Hispanic lawyer to the Eleventh Circuit. This was the hit piece in which Milbank made his chimichanga remark against the Republicans, which is too offensive and asinine to reprint here.

Milbank implies that Paul had no need for Hispanics because Kentucky's Hispanic population is only three percent of the state's total.

The ethnicity of the nominee is beside the point. Paul simply asked for the Senate to take ten minutes from the comfirmation to discuss the Americans being detained in Egypty. What nominee wouldn't happily have his confirmation postponed for a few minutes for the sake of American lives?

Mikbank's outrage on behalf of Hispanic jurists rings hollow. Dana, where were you when Democrats stonewalled the nomination of Miguel Estrada? Plainly, conservative Hispanics do not fit into Dana Milbank's world view of how a Hispanic should think or vote. It is difficult to know what is more disgusting: Milbank's hypocrisy or his condescension,

Santorum Surges (Yawn)

By all accounts, Rick Santorum is a good guy. Everyone who knows him, even if they do not support him, comments on his decency -- an undervalued quality in these news cycles in which we are subjected to details of JFK robbing teenagers of their virginity.

Santorum will do. He is perhaps a little more conservative than Romney. Nonetheless, Santorum is an earmark-seeking statist, who opposed right to work and endorsed Arlen Specter. So forgive my lack of enthusiasm.

Again I wonder, why are our choices so poor in this field of candidates? This is why Republicana are fantasizing about a brokered convention. We want someone to save us from the RINOs.

Ron Paul will be a force at that convention, brokered or not. Therefore, if Marco Rubio takes pass on VP, look to Paul supporters to ask for the VP slot to go to Rand Paul to shore up the nominee's bona fixes on cutting the size of government. That is the critical issue for this election, and one which Santorum or Romney needs help to appeal to the Tea Party.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top 1% Pays Highest Percentage

Sure, the top 1% may pay the most taxes, but they still don't pay as high of a rate as the middle class, right? Not true. According to the Tax Foundation, the top 1% payed an average rate of 24.01% to the federal government in 2009. That's more than any other income level- nearly 8% greater than the top 5% and an even greater gap for lower incomes. When it comes to regular earned income, (not capital gains) the top 1% pays the highest rate.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Obama Must Go

‎35% is too much for the government. As Herman Cain says, "If 10% is good enough for God, than 9% should be perfectly acceptable for the government."

How can Obama want the federal government to spend over $3.7 TRILLION dollars this year when our total revenue is is only $2.6 trillion? I don't understand. Where does all that money go? That is $11,874 per person. PER PERSON. Every man, woman, and child in this country.

We have a $15.37 trillion dollar national debt that was supposed to be CUT IN HALF by the end of Obama's first term. Instead, Obama has added nearly $5 trillion to the debt. If we divided the debt up among all Americans, we each would have to pay OVER $49,000. This year, we will pay $242 BILLION in interest on this enormous debt. The richest man in the US, Bill Gates, is only worth $56 billion. Yes, that is a lot of money, but now when our interest payments are more than four times greater than the net worth of our richest citizen.

Now Obama is trying to cheat his way into a second term by waging class warfare. The top 1% pays over 22% of the taxes! You might say, "Well Warren Buffet pays less taxes than his secretary." Warren Buffet pays capital gains taxes, which are taxes off of investments. Any American who makes money off investments only pays 15%. It encourages people to take risks. Buffet's secretary makes "earned income," therefore she pays a regular tax rate. Interesting enough, Buffet's secretary must make between $200,000-$500,000 in order to be obligated to pay a 34% tax rate.

Now for ObamaCare. Obama is FORCING people to buy health insurance. It is someones choice whether or not to buy something. You may say, "You have to buy car insurance." NO, YOU DO NOT. You can chose not to drive, right? Can you chose not to live? Unfortunately, yes, but I can assure you that many people will not make that choice. Even worse, until Obama flip-flopped his view, churches had to pay for and almost encourage what they believed was a sin.

Speaking of flip-flops, Obama has many. Like keeping GITMO open, or canceling our space program after promising to make it a top priority. Also, he called Mubarak a "stalwart ally," then later telling the Egyptian ruler that he must go.

Obama once said that as long as Iran was a threat, he would continue Bush-era plans to put a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. The Russians didn't seem to like that idea, so Obama canceled plans to built the missile defense system. The Russians later praise Obama for the possibly deadly move.

I could go on and on all day. I am fed up with this guy. We need some real change. WTF, as Sarah Palin would say

Friday, February 10, 2012

Grover Norquist is Over-stating the Anti-Catholic Bias at Harvard

Grover Norquist told the Daily Caller that President Barack Obama's HHS regs reflect the anti-Catholic bias to which Obama would have been exposed at the Harvard Law School.

Norquist was graduated from Harvard College and the Harvard Business School. “He went to Harvard, I went to Harvard, I know the level of anti-Catholic animosity you run into from people at Harvard,” said Norquist. “It usually doesn’t translate into government policy, and with Obama it does.”

I beg to differ. Norquist is five years older than the president and I, so he attended Harvard that much earlier. Five years is not a generation, however, so I find it hard to believe that Norquist's Harvard experience was that different from mine or from Obama's.

I cannot say I ever encountered any anti-Catholic sentiment at Harvard. To the contrary, the Catholic student community there was quite vibrant, so much so that in those early years after graduation, I donated to the Catholic Student Center rather than to the law school.

And since Norquist hones in on the law school, I must likewise point out that the Harvard Law School Catholic community was strong enough that we started having our own Sunday night masses at the law school (Pound Hall), so we wouldn't have to walk three blocks in the cold.  In fact, we had an ordained priest in the class ahead, who acted as our own unofficial law school priest. I also recall one student who attended the Sunday law school mass who decided to stay after graduation and attend Harvard Divinity School. He would have moved on if the bias was as Grover portrays.

It's too bad that Grover's experience was so different.  Based on my own not that many years after him, I tend to think he was exaggerating.

Obama's policy as manifested in the HHS regulations, coercing people to violate their conscience, is abhorrent. But it cannot be blamed on Harvard.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

CPAC Coverage: McConnell

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell just spoke at CPAC.  (If you don't know what CPAC is, you have landed on the wrong site. Welcome anyhow!)  Here are excerpts from McConnell's speech:
  • Under the Obama administration, government spending has increased by more than 20 percent.
  • We need a federal pay freeze, because the wage gap between government and private sector employees has doubled the past ten years.  Worse, government benefits are 60 percent higher than those of the taxpayers who pay for them.
  • President Obama, right after he signed the stimulus bill, promised to cut the defict in half.  We know how that turned out.
  • The Obama administration promised that its spending spree would keep unemployment below eight percent.  Another broken promise.

Jesus Would Not Qualify for the HHS Exemption

It's true.  Jesus the Christ would not qualify for the Obama administration's exemption from its new HHS regulation that requires religious entities to pay for not just birth control and sterilizations but also the Morning After (abortion) Pill.

NRO has a good primer that reveals the narrowness of the Obama administration's religious exemption.  According to Mark Rienzi,  senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and a professor of constitutional law at the Catholic University of America,

The existing exemption is incredibly narrow and actually penalizes those charitable organizations that are kind enough to help people who are not members of their own faith. A Catholic soup kitchen, for example, would fail to qualify simply because they serve hungry Jews, atheists, and Muslims along with hungry Catholics. The same would be true for inner-city Catholic schools, which frequently educate poor children of all faiths. On top of that, the exception would apply only to organizations that refuse to hire members of other religions and that file tax returns as churches or religious orders. The conscience clause also applies only to organizations and not to individual business owners who may not want to pay for

How odd it is that the exemption excludes those who minister to people of other faiths -- or no faith.  The Obama administration has targeted "good acts" that might result in conversion.  It is almost as if the Obama administration is trying fight a contagion:  stop effective proselytizing before we end up with more bitter people clinging to their guns and Bibles.

It's a particularly hypocritical approach from an administration that loves to preach "tolerance."  In fact, the exemption punishes tolerance; the charities can only qualify for the exemption if they preach to the choir, and just the choir. So much for embracing diversity.

By this standard, Jesus and his apostles would have lost their exemption any time they ministered to a Gentile.  Don't let Kathleen Sebelius hear about that Samaritan woman at the well!

This is how Obama treats a major denomination that is a swing-vote block in what is sure to be a close election.  This is Obama in his restrained mode, seeking reelection.  Imagine what he will do if he no longer has to worry about being reelected?

The implication for religious freedom, indeed, for all aspects of freedom, is truly terrifying.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

McConnell, Paul Condemn HHS Mandate

The Obama administration's efforts to force Catholic employers to pay for sterilization, contraceptions and the Morning After abortion pill has even liberal Catholics outraged.  Non-Catholics, too, recognize that this is an assault against freedom to worship, not just an assault on Catholocism. Republicans need to hit this issue hard. Indeed, this is so bad for the administration that we can expect a faster reversal than one can say "Susan G. Komen."

Here are responses from Kentucky's U.S. Senators.  In order of seniority, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had this to say in The Hill:

"Make no mistake, the Obama' administration's decision to force religious hospitals, charities and schools to comply with a mandate that violates their religions views is abhorrent to the foundational principles of our nation," said McConnell, making an unusual afternoon appearance on the Senate floor on Tuesday. "No one in the United States should ever be compelled by the government to choose between violating their religions beliefs and being penalized for refusing, yet that is precisely what this mandate would do.

"This ruling should send a chill up the spine of people of all faiths and even those with no faith at all," continued the minority leader. "If the state is allowed to violate the religious rights of one religion it can violate those of others."

Sen. Rand Paul has an op-ed on NRO today, below.  Both of Kentucky's senators stand ready to repeal this terrible regulation. The interesting twist on Sen. Paul's piece is that he puts the Obama administration's regulation in the broader historical context of socialism:

In his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II delivered a scathing critique of socialism, declaring that “the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated. . . . Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil.”

Pope John Paul II’s indictment of socialism is illustrated in the Obama administration’s recent edict requiring nearly all employers — including Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities — to cover sterilizations and contraception in their employees’ health-care plans. Because “contraception” includes abortifacients, this decision — made under the powers granted to the executive branch under Obamacare — also threatens many Protestant employers.
The decision is the latest and most outrageous example of why Obamacare — socialized medicine — must be repealed in its entirety. It is also a shocking example of the administration’s choosing to ignore the opinions and beliefs of millions of Americans.

And while the Obama administration has never been a protector of pro-life Americans’ conscience rights — for example, it supports the federal funding that Planned Parenthood receives — this latest decision attempts to crush the freedom of the Catholic Church in this country. The president has declared a “war on religion,” as Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post last week.

Considering Obama’s comments about rural Pennsylvanians who “cling” to their religion, however, this is perhaps not entirely surprising.

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, correctly described the administration’s actions as “simply un-American,” and declared:

What other constitutionally protected freedoms might an increasingly powerful federal government revoke? What other [government]-mandated violations of conscience lie ahead for other groups of American citizens, in pursuit of what their government declares is in the common interest?

Archbishop Dolan also points out that the administration’s decision threatens the religious freedoms of all Americans. It must not stand.

The president’s contempt for the freedoms of Catholic Americans was also demonstrated in the way he personally betrayed Archbishop Dolan. Last November, the president met with the archbishop at the White House. During that meeting, President Obama reassured Archbishop Dolan that he respected the Church’s beliefs. Archbishop Dolan left that meeting convinced that the president would keep his word.

But on January 20, the president called the archbishop and instructed him that the only “concession” he would give to the Catholic Church’s beliefs was one extra year — until August 2013 — to comply with the contraception mandate. As Archbishop Dolan puts it, the president is “saying [the Catholic Church] has a year to figure out how to violate [its] conscience.”