Monday, October 27, 2008

A Phoenix Timeline

March 28 – Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon calls the immigration enforcement efforts of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office “made-for-TV stunts.”

April 4 – Mayor Gordon sends a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Gordon asked the Justice Department's civil-rights division and the FBI to probe what Gordon calls a "pattern and practice of conduct that includes discriminatory harassment, improper stops, searches and arrests."

"Over the past few weeks, Sheriff Arpaio's actions have infringed on the civil rights of our residents," Gordon wrote in his letter.

April 11 – Eight Phoenix area church leaders call on the County Sheriff to stop immigration enforcement. "We call on the sheriff to cease this excessive, wasteful and divisive campaign," reads the letter, signed by a coalition of Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, and Jewish leaders.

August 21 – Mayor Gordon goes to Washington DC and calls on Congress to push for amnesty, saying, “We can't allow this unconscionable neglect to continue on, to allow racism and hate to continue to grow.”

October 25 – Phoenix Police Officer Shane Figueroa was killed by an illegal alien driving drunk while responding to a "shots fired" call. The illegal, Salvador Vivas-Diaz was wanted on FOUR OUTSTANDING WARRANTS, which means he was in custody before and known to police. And what does Mayor Gordon have to say now?

What will the mayor tell his widow? Will he plant a politician’s kiss on the forehead of their 3-month-old child?

Probably not. But the police union in Phoenix is speaking out. Maybe someone is finally listening.

Friday, October 24, 2008

First time voters

They say this election has a record number of first time voters.

They say such news bodes well for Obama.

Ergo, first time voters don't know any better. They think they can vote themselves entitlements.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lame duckling

What do you do in the final days as a Bush appointee? Well, you travel.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is leaving the chill of DC and heading for Mexico.

She’ll be visiting our $400 MILLION in tax money given to the Mexican government to fight drug battles, the first of three installments.

But she won’t be in Tijuana where the action is. No sir. Rice will be holding her meetings in Puerto Vallarta.

Gee, I wonder if she’ll announce her Obama endorsement while she’s there? Wouldn’t that shake up the new and improved, progressive, GOP?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The founding of our nation

What if we were just getting started as a nation now? Imagine our Bill of Rights in the present environment.

I’ve been reading about the history of the European Union and came across a summary of the fundamental rights as spelled out in the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) and confirmed in Nice in 2000.

It includes:
The right to strike.
The right of workers to be informed and consulted.
The right to reconcile family life and professional life.
The right to health care.
The right to social security.
The right to social assistance.
Equality between men and women.
Data protection.
A ban on cloning.
The integrity of the person.
The right to environmental protection.
And my personal favorite…
…The right to good administration.

Now, I know all sorts of people who would fancy such “rights.” I suggest that they move to the EU and see how things work out for them.

Or stick around a few years. If BO wins we might just give all these ideas a whirl.

Vice President Hagrid

Get ready for four long years of, "I shouldn't have said that. I really should NOT have said that."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Off limits

We have two presidential candidates who are in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens. Some people play fantasy football; I’m going to play fantasy election for a moment.

What would the debate last night have been like if we had a candidate who understood immigration? Well, here’s a sample.

On the energy crisis…
America is often accused of using 25% of the world’s energy. But all the growth in this country in the past generation has been from immigration. All of it. Without immigration, both legal and illegal, we would have enjoyed a stable population level. Excessive immigration levels coupled with illegal aliens is on pace to add 100 MILLION people to our nation within the next 20 years.

We all scratch our heads with the fact we are driving cleaner, more fuel efficient cars and yet the problem continues to get worse. Imagine an America with a population of 220 MILLION instead of 305 million. What would the impact be on oil consumption? It can’t be our factories; they are all shutting down.

Ditto for the pollution problem and urban congestion.

On trade…
Senator Obama talks about building more cars rather than buying them from Japan and South Korea. Is he ready to create a tariff system that protects our jobs? I am. Today. And to make the point I won’t be writing as many foreign-aid checks either.

On health care…
According to the Census Bureau over 12 MILLION foreign-born individuals do not have health insurance. 45% (over 9 MILLION) of non-citizens are uninsured. They are clogging the emergency rooms with backaches and sniffles. In some cases the level of charity care has caused hospitals to close altogether.

Clearly our immigration system is broken. We are supposed to screen immigrants to make sure they are self-supporting and will not be a burden on the taxpayers. Obviously, we have failed to do that.

On schools…
Our worst-performing schools are also our bilingual schools. They are in enclaves in major cities throughout the country. And the need for bilingual classrooms is ever-expanding to other communities. Bilingual education requires two of everything. Two teachers, two classrooms, two sets of textbooks, even two sets of bus routes in some areas.

Imagine what we could do if those resources were channeled to teach our own children rather than the children from the third world.

While I’m on the subject of education, the federal government has NEVER helped public education. We would be far better off if Washington were to simply disappear from their lives. It is true we provide perhaps 5% of the funding to local schools. But we also provide hundreds of rules and regulations that tie the hands of local educators.

Here’s a sample: ADA compliance. Special Education. School Lunch. Anti-discrimination. Bilingual ed requirements.

Now, I’m not opposed to Special Ed. Don’t get me wrong. But it is federal law that requires a small school district to write checks for $100,000 a year to special ed programs for just one student simply because it says you must. Imagine a small suburban district spending $5,000 a year per student with a mandate to pay for special ed services 20 times the average amount for regular students. Such arrangements are not unusual.

On the subprime mortgage crisis…
I am calling for an investigation to determine how much of this mortgage mess is attributable to fraudulent Social Security numbers and ITIN holders. Some claim it to be as many as five million mortgages. We need to know the truth and prosecute all those involved, from realtors to mortgage companies to lawyers who presided over the paperwork. This is unacceptable and those responsible will serve time.

If necessary we will enact legislation requiring buyers to prove lawful presence before purchasing a private residence.

On crime…
Just last month in Lake County Illinois an audit of prisoners showed that 21% of them were illegal aliens. Phoenix Arizona has a similar problem. If we were honest with ourselves similar data would come from California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and New York.

And the foreign-born among us are key contributors to our problems with gangs and drugs. Why on earth do we continue to tolerate this and sweep it under the rug of “multiculturalism”?

…well, that’s my fantasy candidate. And we didn’t even get to comprehensive immigration reform. That one’s simple. A cap of 200,000 immigrants per year based on self-support and skills rather than the family tree.

Alas, there are no votes in ideas like that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bill Ayers

The way I see it there is only one fair question to ask Obama regarding Bill Ayers.
"As President, would you be able to direct the FBI and/or Attorney General to investigate someone like Bill Ayers, knowing that such an investigation could lead to the death penalty for someone who kills a law enforcement agent?"

Of course, if his true feelings were that anarchy is acceptable for certain causes, Obama would never tell us that. He's too smart to be trapped.

So, we are stuck on that one.

Except...that we know McCain and Palin would both have straight-up answers to that question. No questionable past relationships.

The whole character question about Obama is that he could just as easily be working the streets for the other side of law and order. In fact, he (and all sorts of other politicians) have marched with illegal aliens in defiance of the rule of law.

Obama's upbringing, his education, his career as a community organizer all lend themselves nicely to civil disobedience. Does anyone doubt that he would have been a Vietnam War protester?

McCain was "over there" taking a beating (literally) while Ayers was spitting on the cops and making pipe bombs. And Obama's thinking runs more along the lines of Bill Ayers than...say...General Petraeus. Do we need more apologists for "those with differing views" or more people willing to defend America?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Survivor, the November 4th Episode

Gerald Ford ran as a gentleman and emphasized his record. George HW Bush did the same. Both lost.

McCain seems to be doing the same.

What America wants is conflict. We want to see punches and bloody noses. We want verbal jabs. And we want promises. “Let’s see what you’ve got for me,” says the voter.

We run political campaigns like we would a reality TV series. The parallels between American Idol and the Obama and Palin PR packages are astounding. We want candidates to be “Rock Stars.”

My daughter has received targeted post cards and peer phone calls, all screaming out to the 18-25 year olds that Ruth Munson is their candidate. (State Rep – Elgin Illinois)

“Hi, I’m Melissa.” (Her voice was obviously that of a college student.) “Is your daughter home?” (Nope.) “I’m calling to encourage her to vote for Ruth Munson. Would it be OK if I call back?” (Sure.)

Ruth is constantly in campaign mode. Her favorite constituents are…well…everybody. Ruth is for seniors, seƱores, veterans, women, children, and now college students.

Tough sell, that college student one. Ruth is the champion of illegal aliens in the district, those same folks who compete with college students for summer jobs and other entry-level jobs commonly sought for by teen-agers.

And who’s getting the scholarships? Well, minorities without regard for immigration status. I’ll bet Ruth doesn’t talk much about that to her college audiences.

And Ruth has the guts to campaign as a champion of identity theft victims when she has voted to ban Social Security Card verifications for new hires.

I keep looking for “Ruth, the conservative” and I can’t find her.

Political campaigns are less about substance and more about promises and entertainment. Today’s voters are more likely to be attracted to government entitlements than ever before. And today’s successful candidates must promise those entitlements in order to get elected.

Ironically, those same people who took out a bad mortgage because it freed up the cash they wanted for an SUV and a home theater are going to be attracted to the candidate who is offering the freebies they desire…like free health care for everyone…an economic stimulus check…a ban on foreclosures.

Loan sharks who sign people up to bad loans they don’t understand are called crooks.

They have a name for politicians who promise bad policy the voters don’t understand. They call them “incumbents.”

Beyond Communism

Chicago is abuzz these days with the declaration of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart (Democrat, not on the ballot this year) that he would not carry out eviction notices on renters of foreclosed properties.

What a hero! What a great guy! A modern-day Robin Hood! His announcement was met with such enthusiastic support that Obama jumped up and declared a 90 day moratorium on foreclosures.

Hey Barack! Do you think anyone remembers Hillary proposing the same thing back in January? I guess not.

But what does a moratorium on foreclosures really mean? It means an unlawful seizure of property, an infringement on private property rights.

You see, someone owns all those parcels of property. After going through the established processes the law requires, the inhabitant of that property no longer has a right to be there. In most cases the bank owns the property.

So, this moratorium on foreclosures flies in the face of all the existing laws that were followed and adjudicated properly. In essence it overrides the laws of the land. (Interestingly, such practices have become customary when it comes to immigration law. Oh, how the rule of law gets disrespected around here these days when votes are at stake!)

Some folks are saying that such practices are just like communism. Well, not exactly. Under communism private property was seized if it had commercial value for production of the goods of the state. Personal property on the other hand was not controlled by the state.

This free-for-all goes beyond communism.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Liberal Dose of Reality

Damn-the-torpedoes Blagojevich has once again led the nation in health care for all. Bless his heart. He went against his own party (and the law itself as it turns out) to provide prescriptions for the poor under his FamilyCare program.

But the courts have ruled that the Gov can’t just start up a prescription program. He needs the authority to do that, something about this checks-and-balances nonsense. And he needs some sort of accounting process.

So, who gets left holding the bag? The pharmacists of course!

In this story the governor of Illinois unilaterally began a program in December of last year that would give health care benefits to families making less than $83K a year. A court issued an order to halt the program less than five months later because state government "cannot identify program participants" or say "where the premiums they have collected are kept and how much remains."

So far the pharmacists have been the only ones getting letters saying, “Tough luck, the court told us we can’t pay you.”

But I’m guessing that other providers will also get notices. In the genius of Illinois government, vendors don’t even expect to be paid for about a year after they send the invoice. You must be very patient to do business with Springfield.

It seems that we are missing something in our practice of socialism. We are really good at giving stuff away but are a bit sloppy in the execution.

Another case in point was Blago’s effort to open Welcome Centers for illegal aliens. They opened up one with fanfare and the promise that Illinois would pay $25 MILLION to teach people English. Well, that $25 MILLION turned out to be $300K. Such is life when you govern by Executive Orders rather than through the Legislature.

On another note, Tony Rezko was due for sentencing this month. Instead he's singing. And the feds are listening. The man who can change a vote with a cough and a nod is now telling the feds who his customers were.

Poor Blago. First the GOP dislikes him, then his father-in-law, then his own party leaders, and now the U S Attorney. The poor man can't buy a break.

All the clout he has left is the power to appoint an Obama replacement.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another Federal Fiasco

We are hearing all sorts of complaints now about ACORN, a left-wing group accused of voter registration fraud.

Once again, it is a typical federal mess. Foremost among the rights of citizens is the right to vote. In 2000 Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) because they wanted to avoid disenfranchising anyone.

The mandate
It is a typical unfunded mandate, placing the onus upon county clerks to register and verify and control and audit…but without the funds to do the job properly.

The lawyers and judges
But the feds DID supply plenty of funds to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to sue county clerks and force them to supply Spanish-speaking election judges, materials, etc.

The warning
In 2005 federal auditors (GAO) reported to Congress that the United States was having trouble with HAVA. They studied seven states and found all sorts of problems with dead people on the rolls, non-citizens voting, convicted felons voting, duplicate registrations…

Government Inaction
And here we are less than a month before the election with allegations of voter registration fraud at the hands of a group of community organizers.

Can an illegal alien vote? Here’s the official answer from a county clerk in Illinois:
"It's a very difficult thing to handle," said Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham, who is in charge of elections and overseeing voter registration. "We never single out any group. There has to be a presumption that they are citizens unless it's proven otherwise. We, at this level, don't have much control over the issue."

And a state senator from the same county: "It's absolutely possible, and it's a problem," said Illinois Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin. "I'm not sure how to combat that. I'm open to suggestions." (from the Courier News, 1/24/2008)

This sounds like a typical case of federal failure, compounded by local paralysis. The same pattern of bad law, bad policy, the judicial system siding with the liberals, unheeded warnings, and local government being left to deal with the mess.

Does this sound anything like the immigration mess? Or health care? Or roads? Or the subprime loan mess?

The man in Waukesha was right about Americans being mad. But McCain paid lip service to him. He can’t fix the voter registration problem in four weeks. His turn was back in 2005 when he got the copy of the GAO report.

All McCain’s doing now is setting the stage for a challenge if he loses by a slim margin.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The WPA and today

We heard the candidates talking about getting Americans back to work with public projects like roads and bridges. And various politicians have been pushing for more of them in an effort to stimulate the economy.

Such talk makes no sense to me. First, we already have a huge deficit.

Furthermore, this isn’t like Hoover Dam. Back in 1935 they fought hard to keep the unions out of that project.

I fear that a Hoover Dam today would collapse under the weight of prevailing wage regulations, not to mention lawsuits over everything imaginable from environmental impact to handicap access to racial discrimination to OSHA.

It would be full employment for union labor and lawyers, all at the expense of the rest of us.

I can’t imagine us gathering together a group of unemployed family men, paying them a modest wage, and putting them to work building a community center somewhere. That ship has sailed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pat Quinn for President

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Qiunn is my guy for President.

Seems odd that someone conservative like me would endorse a Democrat who isn't even on the ticket.

But he is the one politician who has been a pleasant surprise this year. TWICE!

His first act of integrity was to alert the public about the automatic pay raise the Illinois House and Senate were planning for themselves, a pay raise Quinn would have also received. He went around the TV, radio, and print media warning people about the raise. And he set up a website where we could forward an on-line message of protest to Springfield.

His fellow Democrats weren't too happy about it, but it got the job done. The Senate voted NOT to give themselves a raise.

The second act was to blow the whistle on the ballot question about a new constitutional convention. Once again Quinn was very vocal about the wording of the question and lent his name to the effort to clarify the question before November 4th.

Such integrity is rare among politicians these days.

He beats Obama and McCain.

Silver Lining

Friday, October 3, 2008

Four More Years! Four More Years!

I don't think I can take another four years of someone in the White House using the word "nucular."

And I think some GOP handlers should be shot for allowing it to happen.

Besides, it links Palin to GWB, which is not a good thing.

How'd she do last night?

Sarah Palin did remarkably well in terms of the performance. She was poised and well-spoken. She pulled off the “folksy” part rather well. And she came back strong on defending McCain.

And therein is the problem. I felt like I was watching one McCain political ad after another for 90 minutes. The substance of her remarks amounted to nothing more than the record of John McCain and why we should trust him.

In fact, the whole night was about McCain. Biden was cutting him down and Palin was pumping him up. McCain’s name was used 105 times vs. Obama’s 60 times.

Some women in leadership positions deserve the title, “tiger lady.” Maybe I’m old-fashioned but women who act extra tough seem to be trying too hard. They don’t appeal to me. (I know; it’s the sexist coming out in me.) Palin got close to the edge a couple of times but generally managed her tone.

I like this quote from Margaret Nadauld: "The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity" ("The Joy of Womanhood," Ensign, Nov. 2000, 15).

All in all I was disappointed that she was so scripted. I wanted to get inside her head and find out how she would react as a world leader. Instead I got the party line in every answer. The only time she parted company with McCain was drilling in ANWR (complete with a wink.)

Of course, I would have liked to hear her personal view on immigration and the illegal alien crisis. But that topic is obviously off-limits, except to Hispanic-only audiences.

The Wall Street Boogeyman

Sarah Palin repeated the phrase “greed and corruption on Wall Street” at least three times last night during the debate.

Joseph Biden said we let Wall Street “run wild” with deregulation a couple of times.

“Wall Street” makes a great political target but “they” are just a small part of the puzzle.

What neither candidate dared talk about last night was the problem of Government Subsidized Enterprises or GSEs. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack are the real source of the economic meltdown. And the real regulation problem is with those GSEs, not the market in general.

Ask any accountant or auditor and you will get an earful about the strict accounting rules imposed on private enterprise after Enron. But in the infinite wisdom of Washington GSEs played by a different set of rules.

It is the accumulated exposure the GSEs racked up that created this mess. But if a politician goes after GSEs he/she is labeled a heartless racist for taking homes and dreams away from the poor and minorities who benefit from them.

The vague "Wall Street greed" gets blamed for DC dumb.

So, why am I so hard on GSEs? Here’s how it works. Fannie and Freddie go wild with loan terms that are unrealistic in an effort to allow poor people to buy houses. The loans are unsecured…EXCEPT they are guaranteed by the government.

That’s good enough for investors and these bad loans get bundled and sold because they are “secured by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.” That’s the only reason these folks assumed the risk, because Uncle Sam was behind them.

The terms to describe these GSEs are quasi-public corporations or public/private partnerships or community partnerships. And they are sacred darlings as we found out in the 2004 hearings on Fannie Mae. In fact, failure gets you promoted. When you look at the past leadership of Fannie and Freddie, they land on their feet with the bonuses and new positions.

So, I think the private sector is taking some punches they don’t deserve, and both parties are doing the slugging. That’s OK, except it does nothing to fix the real problem.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Spicing up the pork

They just can’t help themselves. They are addicted to being politicians.

Even as the most-watched bill in modern history is being rewritten, those slugs in Washington are acting like it was a backroom deal no one would ever find out about.

The computers is DC are smoking right now because they can’t keep up with the e-mails and faxes, the overwhelming majority of them telling congress to vote NO on the bailout.

And GWB is playing the old game of semantics: Don’t call it a “bailout” or I’ll have to persecute you, maybe with nucular weapons.

The pundits are calling it the most important financial bill since 1929. Maybe even the most important one in 100 years.

And yet our congress is throwing in all sorts of tax credits and special pork so it will appeal to the GOP. They aren’t revising the concept at all; just adding pork for this district or that.

They really don’t get it that “we the people” are sick and tired of all the amendments and attachments added to bills to get them passed. They have nothing to do with the subject matter but someone needs it in the bill so they’ll vote for it.

Did it ever occur to any of them that this is the essence of unethical behavior that separates them from the people? Have they been doing it for so long that they don’t even realize why it is repulsive?

All this talk of earmarks during this election and they are unable to stop.

Not to mention that giving tax breaks is contrary to the crux of this bill. If it passes we will need every penny of revenue we can get to start paying down the deficit.

This rewrite just reinforces the fact that they are out of touch.

If we can’t have line-item veto perhaps we can get their attention by tossing out the entire bill.

Possession is 9/10 of the law

Not only is the statement without legal merit, you can override it with a good repo man, or heavy firepower.

From Mexico comes the news report that the Mexican government had seized five airplanes used by drug dealers. But the drug dealers weren’t going to put up with that.

I’m sure they tried bribes first but that obviously didn’t work. Barney Fife was guarding the planes. And I’ll let Reuters tell the story from here: “The group of around 20 men stormed the small airstrip at dawn, seized the officer's gun, tied him up, filled the planes with fuel and flew off.”

Hijacking is so much easier when you start with an empty plane.

You’d better chain up those submarines. These bandidos have cojones.

Update: The Mexican Government found the airplanes. (Hey, they were faster than the Fosset search.)