Monday, June 30, 2008

NRA to expose gun grabber Obama

The NRA has a fairly lenient policy when it comes to guns. You can screw up a couple of times and still get a good rating. Even multiple times if you vote right on a couple of major bills, like Joe Schwarz did. The Cult of Obama's record is horrific however, and the NRA needs to kick Jim Jones' ass. He's a con man, but it's for this con job to be exposed.

From Politico

“Our members understand that if Barack Obama is elected president, and he has support in the Senate to confirm anti-gun Supreme Court nominees, [the District of Columbia v. Heller decision] could be taken away from us in the future,” Chris Cox, head of the NRA’s political arm, told Politico.

That is the number one key. Obama voted against John Roberts. Obama voted against Samuel Alito. Those two made the difference in that decision. Now what did Obama say about SCOTUS nominees?

From MSNBC, hardly a conservative site.

Obama hinted that the court's recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart -- which upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion -- was part of "a concerted effort to steadily roll back" access to abortions. And he ridiculed Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote that case's majority opinion. "Justice Kennedy knows many things," he declared, "but my understanding is that he does not know how to be a doctor."

Obama also won a laugh at the expense of Chief Justice John Roberts, saying that judgments of Roberts' character during his confirmation hearings were largely superficial. "He loves his wife. He's good to his dog," he joked, adding that judicial philosophy should be weighted more seriously than such evaluations. "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."

The Supreme Court justice's job is simple. It is to read the Constitution, read the law, and interpret it. Justice is supposed to be blind. It is not supposed to be legislative, or to even care what the criteria is. The other criteria is more important at Circuit Court level when it is time to dole out sentencing.

Back to the Politico article:
Since 2000, Democrats have made a conscious decision to avoid alienating gun owners and Second Amendment enthusiasts, as many in the party believe a NRA-stoked backlash cost Al Gore his home state of Tennessee , as well as West Virginia and Arkansas, in the 2000 presidential election. In the days leading up to Election Day four years ago, Democratic nominee Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) even went so far as to symbolically court gun owners, donning camouflage and hoisting a 12-gauge in what turned out to be a goose hunt in more ways than one.

The democrats haven't changed. While you have a few friendlies in rural and some social conservative and economic populist areas, along with a few schitzo types like Harry Reid and Pat Leahy who can go either way, most in congress and leadership are staunchly anti. Pelosi, Schumer, Conyers, Kennedy, Kerry, Obama, Clinton, Lautenberg, Boxer, and Feinstein for starters. They still run the show. What has changed is that these same people know that gun grabbing is a loser and will give politispeak in an attempt not to scare gun owners while they continue to vote anti-rights.

“Sen. Obama has always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms and will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners, hunters and sportsmen as president,” said spokesman Tommy Vietor. “Sen. Obama also believes that we can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals.”

That's a pile of crap. I'm not drinking your flavor-aid, Jim, I mean Barack. First off son, Obama voted against Roberts and Alito. Secondly, he never signed the amicus brief supporting the end of the DC ban (McCain who isn't perfect, did). Jim Jones voted in 2005 or 2006 (ban on firearms lawsuits amendment) to give the attorney general power to ban all rifle centerfire ammunition that may possibly penetrate a vest (That's all of them except a .22 as vests protect against pistol rounds, not rifle rounds. Obama also supported junk lawsuits against firearms manufacturers. As a state senator he voted against supporting immunity for those who defended themselves in their homes with a firearm. Lastly, as a candidate for state senator he supported a total ban - like the one challenged in court right now in Chicago.

As far as the DC gun ban goes, Obama has had more positions on this issue than the guests on the Maury Povich or Jerry Springer shows. Besides that questionaire he filled out supporting a handgun ban, there's these statements.

February 15th in Milwaukee:
There's been a longstanding argument among constitutional scholars about whether the Second Amendment referred simply to militias or whether it spoke to an individual right to possess arms. I think the latter is the better argument. There is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common-sense regulation, just like most of our rights are subject to common-sense regulation....I think that local jurisdictions have the capacity to institute their own gun laws...The City of Chicago has gun laws, as does Washington, D.C. I think the notion that somehow local jurisdictions can't initiate gun safety laws to deal with gang-bangers and random shootings on the street isn't borne out by our Constitution.

Bans are not common sense regulations, and unless you are real stupid for a constitutional law professor, you know what "Right of the people" means. I don't think he's stupid, and is instead trying to deceive us. Is this a new kind of politics? No, Obama the con man gives us the same ole song and dance, straight from the Mark Mellman (dem strategist) playbook on gun issues.

If Obama replaces any of the five justices who backed Heller, you can kiss the 2nd Amendment goodbye in a legal sense, and we'll just have to become outlaws instead.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chicago gun ban challenged in court! Right in Obama's home town!

No rest for the weary. The gun ban supported by Obama is now being challenged in court on 2nd Amendment. McDonald et al v City of Chicago is probably how the case is going to be filed. Mayor Richard Daley was named individually as well. This was filed in US District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. is the website. Everyone reading this should take a look. Like the DC case, public documents will be posted there. DC case is now binding, so it will be interesting to see how it is adapted to a local ordinance in a state with the federalism provisions.

The legal team here is Illinois attorney David Sigale and the DC v Heller attorney Alan Gura. It's certainly a competent team.

The plaintiffs are Otis McDonald, Adam Orlov, Colleen and David Lawson, Second Amendment Foundation, and the Illinois State Rifle Association.

If this case wins, it is bigger than the DC win. This is pushing for "incorporation" of the 2nd Amendment. Incorporation is through the 14th amendment. Many amendments(through case law) are incorporated and now binding on the states. Will the 2nd Amendment join them? It should, but that remains to be seen.

What is challenged?

1. The Handgun ban.

2. Annual re-registration of firearms.

3. Pre-acquisition registration of firearms.

4. Unregisterable status of some firearms.

5. Unregisterable status penalty under equal protection violations.

The Press Release is here

And there is the story from the Extremely anti-rights Chicago Tribune.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

After reading DC v Heller

I wish I could find the text that I can cut and paste, but I can't. I'll refer to pages as we go here. Before I go on, I have to say that any decision with the word "hooligan" in it isn't all bad....

I'm not celebrating this decision. I am flatly amazed that four justices on this court did not respect the constitution. I shouldn't be, but how can those four who claim that abortion is a "fundamental right"(not in the constitution, but a major expansion of substansive due process born from the infamous Lochner case in the early 1900's) and turn around and say that the DC ban on functional firearms in the home is constitutional. We are one justice away from losing the 2nd Amendment. I hope every single gun owner realizes that, looks at which justices went our way and also look at the justices that went against us, and look at the appointers of them, and the votes for and against them. We are still playing defense. This was an aggressive defense here, but it was still defense.

Now as for this case, Scalia hit a home run. He first mentioned that the Constitution was intended to be understood by ordinary Americans, much as the Federalist Papers were back around 1787. This excludeds the technicalities as meanings that us present and future lawyers love to use so much in our arguments.

One of the most important things mentioned (page 3) was that the militia was the purpose - not the limiting clause. The operating clause is the "Right of the people" to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. What is central to Heller's argument is that the Right of the People have the same meaning in the 2nd Amendment as it does in the rest of our constitutional rights. They are not individual rights in one spot and so called "collective rights" here.

The second part is a discussion about the meaning of the terms keep arms and bear arms with Justice Stevens, the main dissenter.

The third part is the operative clause. Page 19. It started with mentioning the English Common Law origin of the right, similar (but using different sources) so what I did in my five part preview of this case. He used the Stuart Kings in Britain as an example, and later mentioned the obvious - what King George III tried to do to the Colonists.

He then on page 25 goes to the "Well regulated militia". and "security of a free state." The militia is us, as the law plainly shows. I'm not referring to "Michigan Militia" either, but the constitutional militia. He goes on and mentions more of the history behind the amendment and its application. One of the more interesting references is "Bleeding Kansas." Bleeding Kansas was the "Civil War" before the Civil War. One compromise gone bad was the admission of Kansas into the union. There was a precarious balance between slave states and free states. The 36'30 latitute was the line between slave states and free states in the Louisiana purchase with the exception of Missouri. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, signed by Franklin Pierce who is usually considered the worst president in history, let the people themselves decide if they wanted a free or slave state. It sounded great on paper, but it became a partisan war between the two camps. Anti-slavery Jayhawks (where the name Kansas Jayhawks comes from) fought the pro-slavery forces mostly from Missouri. It was the Civil War before the Civil War. Massachusetts abolitionist and senator Charles Sumner mentioned the right to keep and bear arms in his speech and ripped South Carolina representatives for trying to disarm the abolitionists in Kansas. Two days later he was infamously whacked over the head with a cane and injured severely.

Scalia later (page 40) cites case law before and after the Civil War, and mentioned constitutional scholars such as Thomas Cooley and others. It then addresses the Miller case and Stevens "interpretation" of the Miller case. Page 49. Keep in mind that Miller was not overturned today. Scalia correctly mentions that in the Miller case, the problem is that the Jack Miller (who did not show up to court) did not convince the court that a sawed off shotgun was a MILITIA related weapon. It was the weapon that was important.

Scalia briefly mentions the weapons themselves, only to say that the weapons protected are ordinary equipment militia members would keep in common use and mentions about the 1933 Class III law. I'm not sure about that part however. I think Scalia here is trying to avoid getting the 1986 ban on new machine guns tossed out on this precident. Page 52-55. I wonder if that was left in there to keep Kennedy as part of the five, but that's speculation.

On page 56, he mentions the case itself with Heller. It mentions that total handgun bans are wrong and violate the right to self-defense. Licensing (to own and carry in the home) was allowed as constitutional (I may not like it on a personal level, but the precident for licensing and registration as unconstitutional is a very tough sell as a LEGAL issue since opposition is based on speculation of government nefariousness or costs through fees).

The most important part of the decision outside of the ruling itself is on page 63. I was looking mostly for the standard of review. In the simplist terms without studying my old con law notes - Strict Scrutiny is for "fundamental rights" (burden on government), then there is the rare intermediate (balancing mostly), and the common rational basis review (burden on petitioner). Scalia equated it to the censorship of unpopular speech. It's wrong. Period. No balancing test needed.

Lastly Scalia mentions the concerns about violence and says that many measures are constitutional, but blanket bans are not - and it is not the role of the judiciary to declare the 2nd Amendment extinct.

Overall, I think it was a great opinion. I would have gone with the strict scrutiny standard on its review, but that's probably my only difference. I encourage everyone to read the opinion itself, and also read the dissents by Stevens and Breyer. I do not agree with them at all, especially Breyer's living constitution claim, it is still something we all should read.

One last thing.

This does not address any other federal or state gun laws. The Chicago and New York gun bans are not thrown out. They are state laws and non-federal local ordinances which have their own systems. DC was a federal law. In order for the 2nd Amendment to be applied to the states, it has to be "incorporated" under the 14th Amendment. That is a separate matter, so be extremely careful if you think you can carry there. Don't be a test case and get yourself arrested.

On that note for the non-lawyers - don't get angry with Scalia and the Court for not addressing those other laws. They could not rule on them because those laws were not challenged. Only the DC federal law was challenged and ruled on appeals. Licensing was not challenged either. Courts do not rule on what is not challenged. Keep in mind than Alan Gura's client was not us - we the peope - it was Dick Heller, and his fidiciary duty was to restore Heller's rights - which he did.

Overall this was a good decision and the best we could have gotten. I can't complain outside of four justices who turned their back on the constitution and freedom.

Why I am flip-flopping from my 2006 view and am voting for McCain

Look at the DC v Heller 2nd Amendment decision.

For - Scalia (Reagan appointee), Kennedy (Reagan), Thomas (GHWBush), Alito (GWBush), and Roberts (GWBush)

Against - Stevens (Ford), Souter (GHWBush), Ginsburg (Clinton), Breyer (Clinton)

McCain voted for Thomas, Alito, Kennedy (who isn't always right, but I think is better than conservatives give him credit for), and Roberts.

Obama voted against Roberts and Alito. Considering we were one vote away from the 2nd Amendment going completely down the crapper, this reinforces my current decision to hold my nose and vote for McCain.

DC Heller Case: Circuit Court Decision is AFFIRMED - DC gun ban overturned

I'm getting my information from SCOTUSblog

The decision is in. According to SCOTUS and the Supreme Court, the overturning of the DC gun ban has been AFFIRMED in a 5-4 decision. Justice Scalia wrote the opinion and was joined by Kennedy, Alito, Roberts, and Thomas. Justice Breyer wrote the dissent. Ginsburg, Souter, and Stevens also dissented.

I was wrong in my predicition that it would have multiple opinions, concurrances, and dissents. There was only one opinion for the majority, and two different dissenting opinions.

I have to read the decision closely to see how much of a win or loss for freedom this decision is. I'm cautiously optimistic right now, but I want to see the standard of review and the rest of this before I can call this a victory.

Also in other news - the Millionaire Amendment of the Campaign Finance Laws (BCRA) is ruled unconstitutional. That's one I need to read as well in my spare time - Davis v FEC. I forgot about that decision with the hype on Heller.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SCOTUS Watch (Death Penalty)

Nothing so far on the Heller case.

One interesting case out is a death penalty case. First off, I'd to state that I am against the death penalty, but at the same time do not consider it cruel and unusual punishment. I'm against it on different grounds. I do not want to see an innocent person executed, and I have concerns about some DA's being in the mold of Mike Nifong and use the always high profile death penalty cases for political purposes and push for convictions despite the evidence not being there. Keep in mind that the Duke LaCrosse players had access to one thing that not everybody has access to - top level attorneys. That is my opposition to the death penalty.

SCOTUS overturned the death penalty in matters of child rape on 8th Amendment grounds. I do disagree with the decision and do not consider it cruel and unusual punishment for child molestors as it is historically one of the major felonies that brought the death penalty as a punishment. In the old days, almost all felonies were death penalty cases, and that went too far the other way. 1800's Britain had a death penalty case for stealing a loaf of bread. The punishment didn't fit the crime.

Much of the anti death penalty push on the courts comes from the legacies of Justices Brennan and Marshall who thought the death penalty was unconstitutional in all cases. Literally. Now there a major precident by the Burger Court (although Burger himself backed it) SCOTUS for considering the death penalty unconstitutional completely (which is why Charles Manson is still alive), and then overturning it - but only in cases of murder (death penalty for rape was renedered unconstitutional by the Burger Court). Rehnquist and Roberts courts are for it in limited cases, and this continues down that road with the upholding of the lethal injection in Kentucky, and now this decision the other way.

I need to read the decision fully, and I can see an argument made for it, but what bothers me is the judicial code changing of cruel and unusual punishment to refer to the penalty itself (unless it really is an unusual punishment - such as the death penalty for "honor" crimes like in Middle East) and not the method of the penalty. Cruel and Unusual punishment would be the burning at the stake, hung, drawn, and quartered, other torture like the rack, necklacing, lynch mobs, etc etc. Mostly Cut and dry cases with heavy suffering. A good case can be made for the still used gas chamber being disallowed on those grounds as it takes a long time for the convicted to die, and most states eliminated it.

Does the punishment fit the crime? It is "cruel and unusual" for a child molester (victim under 12) to get executed? I don't believe so, and it was not uncommon for rapists in general to be executed up until the 1960s. It was considered a capital crime along with murder, treason, and things like that. Certainly not "cruel and unusual" in the sense that the average person then or now would think of as cruel and unusual." In these cases, I'm more concerned about innocents being executed than the punishment itself.

I'll read this decision later. I'm still waiting for the DC gun case.

Monday, June 23, 2008

DC v Heller Second Amendment Decision - Upcoming this week?

That's the buzz I'm hearing. The Heller case (sometimes referred to as Parker case) is up Wednesday. There's lots of speculation, but I'll refrain comment until I read the decision.

Until then, I'll link back to my five part SCOTUS and the 2nd Amendment series from last year.

Part 1 - SCOTUS and the 2nd Amendment

Part 2 - SCOTUS and the 2nd Amendment

Part 3 - SCOTUS and the 2nd Amendment

Part 4 - SCOTUS and the 2nd Amendment

Part 5 - SCOTUS and the 2nd Amendment

Sunday, June 22, 2008

City Jerk moves to town and pushes for censorship in that town

There's an old saying used at some old time taverns. Be good or be gone. It's a good saying for many communities. As someone who grew up in Livingston County back when it was country, I am quite sensitive to this type of story. I also hate censorship in general. Both are prominent in this story.

From the Detroit News:

FRANKENMUTH -- If this popular tourist mecca 80 miles north of Detroit wears Germany on one of its sleeves, the other contains Martin Luther.

Founded by Lutheran missionaries who vowed to retain their old ways, the community of 4,800 has one of the highest concentrations of Lutherans in the Midwest. The city seal contains a Luther rose, the symbol for Lutheranism.

So when local atheist Lloyd Clarke wanted to remove a cross from the seal, along with ones in a city park and on a state bridge, residents rose nearly as one against him.

Children taunted the 66-year-old Clarke. A letter writer accused him of trying to reduce Frankenmuth to "Satan's pit." Another said crosses were as much a part of the town as its renowned chicken dinners.

"People who like to cite the Constitution to justify their hatred and bigotry should take the time to read it," resident Judi King wrote to the local paper.

I think most people have been to Frankenmuth at some point. For those that haven't, I'll just say that the culture there is as German as South Boston is Irish. It's fairly obvious from the name of the town which was settled by Lutheran missionaries from Franconia. It is still largely German to this day. It's also most well known for Bronner's Christmas store that draws customers from all over the country. It's still a heavily religious and conservative area. It markets that. It markets its culture. You see it in the stores, building, street names, and last names of the people there. I can't explain this in a website. You have to see it to understand it. It's a great town to visit, and I don't have to be German or Lutheran to appreciate it.

Clarke said he moved from Bay City to be closer to family in Frankenmuth and a neighboring town.

He didn't notice the foot-long crosses on the bridge until he drove past them a few months ago, he said. He felt they made Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians feel unwelcome.

I've never seen a religious symbol on a bridge in all my life," he said.

Clarke has a long history of activism. A retired UAW organizer, he has belonged to anti-war groups and ran for the state Senate in 2006 as a Green Party candidate, receiving 2.5 percent of the vote.

After he objected to the bridge crosses, the city promptly removed them.

Boy, that was easy, Clarke thought. He then tried his luck with removing the cross from the city seal.

But the city balked, the churches got involved, the residents turned on Clarke, and Frankenmuth hasn't been the same since.

U.S. courts have given conflicting rulings about religious symbols on public property. But judges seem to support such emblems if they represent the history of a community, said legal scholars.

So you feel unwelcome after pushing the city around. Tough crap. Go home. Go back to Bay City, Clarke. You have only been in Frankenmuth for four years. You have not EARNED the right to push this crap around. You may have the power, but not the right. There's a German word that describe people like you who move into a town and force your views upon it. The word is Arschloch. Flatlander is another good term for people like that as well, but that's more applicable to areas like New Hampshire and Vermont which has problems with invaders of their own.

Ann Arbor is not my type of town. It's a leftist paradise with heavy regulations on its citizens. If I move there, I wouldn't push for the courts and others to change the things there, especially the core things there. It's there city, not mine. If I moved there, I'd know what to expect, and accept that it is how things are done. If I didn't accept it, US-23 is right there. I respect that.

If this was a case opression or force by government or things like that, that is one thing. This isn't it. This is just Johnny come lately imposing his one man culture war on the established community and its culture. I can't stand people like that, whether from the left (California natives are notorious for that - which came the term Californicators) or even when it is from people on the right. Be good or be gone. That doesn't mean you have to agree with all the views of the community, but respect the community to which you move. Don't bring your crap here, leave it at your old place.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tired of political calls - call 202-652-4583 - Strategic Fundraising

This may end up being my best post and my most popular post in the history of the Republican Michigander blog.

I am not happy with the organization contracted out by the RNC, Strategic Fundraising. These jerks got my cell number. If there is one thing I don't like, it is political orgs calling me and asking for money. I only donate on my terms, not others. If there is one thing I despise, is being asked for money on my cell phone. I NEVER donate over the phone. If I do it, it is always in person or in a rare case, online. NEVER over the phone.

The first call I got was from a guy claiming to be the RNC. This guy was a very aggressive fundraiser. 202-652-4583 Some free advise for this guy. Do not lie to me if you want my support. I'm Irish by blood and remember those types of slights for a long, long time. This guy said he was the RNC, and I asked immediately if this was a financial related call. He said it wasn't, went into talking points and called it a "pledge" instead....of $75. Thanks for lying to me prick. That's a real good way to get a dime from me, genius. I get a call from this same phone number a couple of days later after hanging up on the guy. You didn't get the message? 202-652-4583. Today, I missed a call on my sell. Caller ID - 202-652-4583. Guys, the answer is no. That is spelled n-o. What part of no don't you jagoffs understand? Four calls in two weeks. Do you really want me to stay home this election? If not, don't piss me off with this crap.

Now the one good thing about the 202-652-4583 company. There IS a "Good neighbor policy" on do not call lists. While political organizations (of course) are exempt by the federal Do Not Call lists, at least they allow us to take our names off that list. I just did so, and took my dad's number off the list as well for them since they hate the calls as much as I do.

You can also go to their website and be placed on a DNC list there. If Strategic Fundraising calls me after 48 hours, I'll be putting up another blog post because then they will be liars.

We'll see what happens. In the meantime, there's the number to call, and there's the website as well.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The one who adapts survive. The one who doesn't is knocked out or taps out.

It's going to be an interesting election. Obama declines public funding citing some malarkey about a 527 GOP attack machine. That's not happening, since the 527 groups and McCain are not the best of friends. McCain is also taking public funding. The dems held the money advantage last election thanks to anti-freedom leader George Soros and insurance man Peter Lewis. They are going to have that again this year, plus K-Street is on their side. This can be spun around against them, if the GOP is going to adapt. If they play by these rules, as they did in 06, and as they continue to do today, then they are going to be in big trouble.

Politics is somewhat like mixed martial arts. There are several weaknesses that can be exploited. One dimensional styles lose. Pure stand-up fighters and wrestlers are in trouble on their back. Pure Brazilian Ji-Jitsu fighters are great on their back, but are weaker on standup. The best fighters are prepared for anything and can react quickly to move on offense. They protect their chin. If I'm in the Octagon and up against someone like Chuck Lidell, I better protect my chin or I'd be seeing stars quickly. If I'm up against Royce Gracie, I better not leave an arm open or it gets broken.

Unfortunately in DC, the GOP fights one dimensionally. It's always about mo money to drown out the dems. That's just not coming in this year. K Street and Corporate America donates to who they think is going to win. The unions and plaintiff tort injury lawyers give heavily to the dems. Union leadership loves their cocktail parties regardless of the benefits to members, and easier chances to win favor the plaintiff attorneys. That does not even get into the uber rich left wing ideologues like George Soros, Peter Lewis, Stephen Bing, most of Hollywood, Andrew McKelvey, and the like who spent hundreds of millions of dollars in 2004, and probably will again. Big money favors the democrats. It's time for the GOP to realize that, adapts, and attack the OWNERS of the democrats on that. The democrats have not been the party of the working man since McGovern. They are the party of the very rich (as taxes keep them there and hurt those trying to be there), special interests, and those that take handouts. That is their base.

But in order to do that, they need to give the middle finger to K-Street and the DC punditocracy and go back to being the party of Main Street. Stop this pork barrell spending. Balance the budget without tax increases.

The GOP also needs to communicate plans easy to understand to the people. By that I mean can these stupid talking points that say absolutely nothing, and be straight forward. Somebody sees a talking point and the first thing that comes into a swing voter's mind is "just another damn politician." What goes through my mind is "Not this #@%@ again." People are more intelligent than DC thinks. Just don't be hyper technical (which is my mistake at times) or mealy mouthed. Less money means less mistakes, and being afraid to make a mistake is a mistake in itself.

If I was the GOP, this would be my strategy for 08, both for McCain and Congress.

* Apologize to the voters for the 02-08 sessions for forgetting the Main Street roots. Big spending, pork, poor judgment. That brought this mess to begin with. Own up to it and go back to being the less government party.

* Highlite the change in gas prices over and over from when the democrats took Congress to what it is today. Then v Now.

* Push hard on energy reform. This is what is killing us right now. The perception is "oil man Bush" and his buddies are causing this. Forget whether it is true or not. Right or wrong, perception is reality. Fix it. Everyone understands at least the basics of supply and demand. Go from there. Let's take care of our own energy, and stop letting only Castro's Commies drill outside of OUR coasts. Open up ANWR. Build nuclear facilities, and use Europe as an example of this being done right. Democrats LIKE high gas prices. They want us all to be living in their fifedoms and socialist city paradises only riding bikes to work - except they can have their Lear jets on the coast.

* The War (McCain)- I don't comment much on the war on this blog as I'm a believer in politics stopping at the borders. While America isn't a pacifist country, the people have a bit of an isolationist streak and despises nationbuilding. Iraq has to end soon, and has to end the right way so we are not back there again in 10 years. McCain needs to sell that more than the surge is working. Trust, but verify as Reagan would say.

* McCain gets things done. Take a page out of the old Chris Ward book. That was his slogan for years. "Chris Ward gets things done." Run on competence. Some of what he's done I don't care for, but it may work with some of the indepndents looking for competence in their voting. I'm not his biggest fan, but he is a competent individual, there is no doubt about that. How many are able to get their pet projects passed and signed (by a rival) into law? Not that many.

* Judges - This issue can get the conservative base back home. I'd be keeping an eye on the upcoming decision regarding DC v Heller on the 2nd Amendment.

Having a good plan does not take a lot of money, but it is more valuable than a lot of what comes out of DC.

While the right plan is formulated, the last two years of Congress needs to be hit extremely hard - the big spending of the democrats. The pork. The bridges to nowhere. The corruption. The lack of real change in Washington. Obama is talking about change, but hasn't done a damn thing in his time in Washington - or in the state senate for that matter. Anytime we hear "Yes we can", it needs to be responded with "You haven't yet." You had your chance, Barack. You failed. I'd also go hard at destroying once and for all the old saying about "Democrats being for the working man" since that has been making a big comeback lately. Soros still runs the show.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Snake oil masquerading as reform

Nick over at Right Michigan broke this story.

The leftists are pushing a one sided snake oil package as reform. Their proposal is this.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment:

Two (2) seats on the Supreme Court would be eliminated. It targets those with the least seniority, Justices Young and Markman, both Republicans re-elected in recent years by overwhelming margins. They'd lose their jobs as of December 20, 2008.

That is a dealbreaker right there. We have the best Supreme Court in the Country.

All seven (7) Court of Appeals seats up for grabs in 2010 would also be eliminated as of this December, cutting short by two years the terms of previously elected judges. Six of the Court of Appeals judges being targeted are generally considered to be "GOP." The seventh, Helene White, has been nominated by President Bush to take a seat on the federal bench and will be moving on anyways.

That is another dealbreaker.

All judges would be subject to a pay cut beginning in 2009 that would reduce compensation to what the position garnered in the year 2000. Judges who took the bench before 1997 have their pensions calculated on their final salary. The paycut, in essence, would force these judges to chose between early retirement and significant long-term financial penalties. One judicial insider who spoke on condition of anonymity claims that in theory up to half the judgeships in the state could suddenly go vacant. While that could create major delays and case back logs it would also provide Jennifer Granholm with the ability, in one sweeping set of action, to appoint half the bench in the State of Michigan.

I'm not opposed to this offhand, but a lot of qualified judges would not take that job if they can make twice as much money in private practice. We can not lowball judges completely, even if I'm quite sympathetic.

The Judicial Tenure Commission would be rebuilt including an affirmative action provision mandating the makeup of reflect the population of the State of Michigan.

WTF do we need that for?

The House of Representatives would be reduced to eighty-two (82) members. The Senate to twenty-eight (28). New district lines would be drawn according to strange provisions requiring "competitive" apportionment. Half would be drawn with a majority Dem base, half with a majority GOP base while four (4) Senate seats and nine (9) House seats would be restricted to a maximum 53% base from either political party.

I can actually support this aspect if it was stand alone.

A new redistricting commission would be created with four (4) Democrats and four (4) Republicans and a ninth "non-partisan" member serving as chair. The ninth member would be selected by no fewer than six of the other eight members. If an agreement on the ninth cannot be reached each Party would submit a name and then toss a coin.

I do not support commissions. Computers should determine redistricting and take the bias and human element away from it.

The redistricting plans also require six of nine votes for passage. Without the requisite number each Party submits its own redistricting plan for approval of the "non-partisan" chair. The "non-partisan" chair who may actually be a Democrat selected by the flip of a coin. Once this "non-partisan" chair approves plans from each side another coin is tossed deciding district boundaries statewide.

See why I don't like the commissions. Be prepared for a lot of incumbent protection maps.

I'm not supporting this. Only one provision of this would possibly have my support, but giving judicial activist supporters like that nut Jon Stryker and Mark Brewer control of the courts by a back door method is beyond unacceptable.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The long struggle for fiscal reform

There's the old staying about taking care of our own house first. Fiscal reform is a must on our side as the last six years (2002-2008) destroyed our party's reputation there. Our party in Washington acted like democrats and it got our asses kicked in 2006. Our party's leadership did not get the message in 06. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 08 doesn't look good either right now.

Some people have the right message. Some always had it and are fighting. These are the people who need our support right now.

From Politico - titled Republicans push party to the right

Hensarling, the chairman of the RSC, has gathered more than the 50 signatures he needs to force an internal caucus vote on the unilateral earmark moratorium. The Texan could call for a vote anytime, thereby forcing members to choose between banning earmarks and supporting House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who opposes earmarks himself but doesn’t want to get ahead of a majority of his caucus.

In the longer term, Hensarling’s conservative colleagues say they’re prepared to run a full slate of candidates to challenge Boehner and others in the GOP House leadership when the 111th Congress convenes in January

Go for it. It has been past time to start pushing around the yesmen in the party and time to start standing for something. What happened to the 1994 reforms that put the party in power in the first place?

Boehner and Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam of Florida met with Hensarling last week to discuss the RSC’s concerns. The trio is slated to meet again Tuesday with a handful of fellow conservatives, including Reps. John Campbell of California, Mike Pence of Indiana, Tom Price of Georgia, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and John B. Shadegg of Arizona.

The leaders are incorporating some of the group’s demands into an economic recovery package they are scheduled to unveil this week. But the two sides remain deadlocked over the earmark question, and some Republicans have begun to grumble about the hardball tactics of their more conservative colleagues.

A current Republican leader says that Hensarling and the conservatives “are doing Rahm’s work for him” — a reference to Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman who helped orchestrate the Democrats’ takeover of the House two years ago

That part I bold is an absolute croc of bullshit, and one of the biggest crocs I've ever seen. The democrats took over because guys like this "current Republican leader" did such a poor job in leadership. I remember when the republicans were known for less government and more freedom, not the democrat lite of more government and less freedom, just smaller than the democrats. Republicans should not have given us bipartisan crap (both parties are guilty here) like No Child Left Behind, mass coverage of perscription drugs including viagara, bridges to nowhere like those Carl Levin voted for, and this latest farm bill boondoggle. This massive spending and increased debt is killing us.

We got a long ways to go.

On DeMint’s website for the Senate Conservative Action fund, one of the first blog posts bemoans the fact that only 15 Republicans voted against the Farm Bill — a sign, DeMint believes, that the GOP still has a long way to go if it wants to make a statement on government spending.

DeMint says he’s not out to undermine his party’s Senate election efforts, but rather to promote conservative alternatives who can right the party’s listing ship.

Moderate Republicans say it’s the wrong way to go.

“If this is their strategy to win back the majority, it’s guaranteed to fail,” said former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), who now serves as chairman of the Main Street Republican Partnership, a group of moderates. “When we have failures in elections, conservatives tend to think that only conservatives can save the party.”

We had six years of LIBERALISM from our party on spending. This isn't even moderateism. Back when Newt ran the show, we were talking about balanced budgets. Now we are happen if the spending and massive defecit doesn't rise faster than inflation? That'll get anyone fired outside of government.

What needs to happen in the next six months is massive push to the airwaves on fiscal reform, energy reform, and meat and potatoes issues our party has moved away from. Our party needs to quit being like the democrats and be republicans for a change, and by republicans, I mean the 1994 style, not the George W Bush style. Wait, I take that back. Even Bush vetoed the farm bill. This is even worse.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hillary for VP? Two words. Vince Foster.

It looks like it's going to be Obama v McCain now unless superdelegates switch their votes. Some are pushing that Obama takes Hillary as VP. That's dumb and I can explain why in two words. Vince Foster. Obama, who isn't the toughest in the world, will need to watch his back 24/7 if Hillary and Bill are around the White House.....

Obama buddy convicted of corruption

Now I'm not even sure this is news as corruption seems to be a requirement in order to be involved in Chicago politics. From the Washington Post

CHICAGO, June 5 -- Antoin Rezko, a Chicago businessman and longtime fundraiser for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), was convicted of 16 felony corruption charges Wednesday in a case that alleged influence peddling in the upper reaches of the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).

After two months of vivid testimony about political profiteering in Illinois state government, the 12-member jury found Rezko guilty of using his clout as a Blagojevich insider to shake down companies hoping to do business with the state. The 16 counts included fraud, money laundering and abetting bribery. Rezko was acquitted of eight counts, including extortion.

Is this more of Obama's "new kind of politics?" Same as it ever was.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fieger found not guilty of campaign finance donations

I don't like Fieger at all, but it's not illegal to be a jackass. Do I agree with the verdict? I don't know since I wasn't there, but I predicted . These cases are very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. I first commented on this case when charges were brought. Here

I wish I had the time to courtwatch this case. Fieger did a real smart thing when he was charged. He hired probably the best defense attorney in the entire country in Gerry Spence. Spence earned my respect for the way he handled the Randy Weaver case and railroading at Ruby Ridge. He did the impossible and got an aquittal there. If you are going to go up against Gerry Spence, your case needs to be perfect.

I have two biases here that compete against one another. I have anti-Fieger, but pro-defense leanings.

From the Free Press

Attorney Geoffrey Fieger won a dramatic acquittal Monday on federal charges of violating campaign-finance laws, saving his lucrative career and sending federal prosecutors in Detroit to yet another crushing defeat in a high-profile case.

and this

Helland disputed repeated claims by Fieger’s lawyers that bigwigs at the Justice Department in Washington targeted Fieger, a Democrat who rose to fame defending assisted-suicide physician Jack Kevorkian and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1998.

Ordinarily, such cases are handled by the Federal Election Commission as a civil matter with fines.

Fieger and Johnson were accused of recruiting 64 employees, family members, friends and vendors to contribute $127,000 to the campaign of Edwards — who, like Fieger, made his fortune as a trial lawyer — and reimbursing the donors with law firm funds.
Ordinarily, such cases are handled by the Federal Election Commission as a civil matter with fines.

Fieger is no campaign finance saint and actually admitted to breaking the law with anyonomous donations in a PAC he formed under the name "Herb Charboneau" in a State Supreme Court race. His history there is not good. That would have been much easier to prove than this federal case. This is very, very difficult to prove.

What Fieger did was one of the oldest tricks in the book. He got his friends, workers, and others to donate to a candidate, since he could not go above the max. That's legal. If he reimbursed them specificaly for that donation, it wasn't. In a criminal case, it has to be proven as well that he knew it was not legal, and they need to prove that the reimbursement was specificaly for the transaction to the John Edwards campaign. That is not an easy thing to do beyond a reasonable doubt. The Detroit News has this gem of a quote

West Bloomfield labor attorney Lester Owczarski, a former state administrative law judge who sat through most of the trial, said prosecutors failed to present a case jurors could care about. "It was too much inside baseball ... this thing was just too technical," he said of the Fieger case.

Campaign finance law is extremely technical. It is technical to the point where most people break the law, and not even know it. Go to the Michigan Campaign Finance site and look up a random committee. If it doesn't have the $1000 waiver box checked, more than likely, you'll find something illegal there. The State is reasonable on that stuff and usually sends back "Errors/Omissions" notices, which is roughly equal to a "fix-it" ticket. Fix the problem and do it right, with no penalty outside of more work. Look how common those notices are. Look how common late filings are. Some forget to file. The federal laws are even more technical than the state laws.

I understand most of the campaign finance jargon because I've treasured campaigns for eight years, but unless you are an experienced treasurer or a hands on candidate who studies this, you will be overwhelmed. Even a lot of attorneys are overwhelmed by some of this stuff. If Spence got the jury to understand how technical and easy it is to break the law, that juror is going to be quite sympathetic to a defendant. Paint the prosecutors as bad guys like he did as well, and the juror can visualize that possibility in the back of their mind for a doubt. I don't think there were any campaign treasurers on that jury, as they would be disqualified immediately. The prosecution created a real tough draw for themselves with this because it such a difficult case to prove.

I wasn't there, but I don't think this was an open and shut case. Based on what I know on this, I can see a case made for a reasonable doubt. I'm not convinced Fieger is not guilty, but I'm not convinced that he was either beyond a reasonable doubt. I hate sending someone to prison on a technicality, even if I don't like him.

On a related matter, I'd like to see a revamp of the campaign finance laws. Full immediate disclosure, and unlimited donations by individuals. Everything then is out on the table and these games will not be played.