Monday, August 30, 2010

Interview with Senator Jim DeMint

From The Wall Street Journal
AUGUST 28, 2010

A Senator and His 'Disciples'

The Senate's stalwart opponent of big government is intent on electing some allies this year. His new PAC and growing anti-Obama sentiment mean he just might succeed.

'I'd rather lose with Pat Toomey than win with Arlen Specter any day." That's South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint defending his Senate Conservatives Fund, a new PAC that has taken Washington by storm.

The fund-raising group has already helped eight underdog Reaganite candidates win Republican Senate primaries this year. In two years, the fund has raised and spent nearly $2 million from nearly 50,000 individual contributors.

Mr. DeMint's mission is to bring more Jim DeMints to the Senate-that is, people with an unfailing antagonism to big government. But his string of victories, often against establishment candidates, has many of his Republican colleagues grumbling. They say Mr. DeMint is pushing candidates through the primaries who are too far to the right to take back vulnerable seats from Democrats in November. Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott recently spoke for many in the party when he said it didn't need anymore "Jim DeMint disciples."

Over the past five years, Mr. DeMint has established himself as the pre-eminent conservative in Congress-he has a near perfect National Taxpayer Union rating-with Tom Coburn of Oklahoma a close second. As we eat lunch at Mr. DeMint's favorite restaurant in his hometown of Greenville, our conversation is often interrupted by well-wishers thrilled to see their senator in person and all with pretty much the same message: "Keep fighting those big spenders."

Mary O'Grady and Stephen Moore give President Obama the roadmap for moving to the center, analyze today's economic report, and respond to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech this morning in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Mr. DeMint savors his PAC's most recent victory in Colorado, where $141,000 in radio ads and direct contributions helped Ken Buck defeat Jane Norton, the choice of Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn. Mr. DeMint grouses that Mr. Buck was never even presented to his colleagues as a "viable alternative, which seemed unfair." He adds, only half-kiddingly, that what did in Ms. Norton was that she was "endorsed by 25 Republican senators, which made her the establishment candidate." These days, that's the kiss of death.

Other victors helped by Mr. DeMint include Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mr. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Mike Lee of Utah (but only after incumbent Sen. Robert Bennett was knocked out at the Utah GOP convention). He says his goal is to raise $5 million this cycle. That's a pittance in big-money politics, but Mr. DeMint's strategic, targeted spending has flipped more races than even he thought possible.

"I'm not a kingmaker," he insists, even though that's precisely what many political pros call him. "And these guys don't want to be kings. We've got too many kings in Washington already."

A year ago, Mr. DeMint was demoralized and considered not running for re-election. "Why do I want to beat my head against the wall for another six years?" he recalls thinking. "I called my wife in December and said I'm ready to give it up. I'm not making any headway and most of my own colleagues are against me up here. I don't even like playing a contentious role. I like to be a strategic policy guy."

How many Republicans can be counted on to follow him into these budget battles? "Well, there's Coburn, who has got the courage to go out and make a scene on the floor or to stand up in a conference meeting and stand up to the appropriators. We don't have anyone else." Hence the PAC, which he says is the culmination of years of frustration from working within the system to fix Washington.

"When I got to Congress in 1999, instead of working on the reforms that I ran on-wealth-creating personal accounts and individually owned health insurance and some simple tax, the things that I thought all of us believed in-instead we worked on redistricting and getting the vulnerables on the right committees and getting earmarks to the people who needed them. Everything was about numbers and electing more Republicans. We'd always promise to get to the principles later." He shakes his head: "I just thought maybe there's something I don't understand."

He even admits: "I played along for a while. I asked for earmarks. I thought that following [longtime South Carolina Sens.] Fritz Hollings and Strom Thurmond, part of my job was getting a fair share for South Carolina. But we spent most of each year directing appropriations for parochial projects and it undermined our brand as Republicans and our entire anti-big government agenda."

In 2006 and 2007, he tried to fund raise for the GOP and the official Senate campaign committee. "I discovered that people were just so frustrated with the Republicans. I was over there at the Senate committee making fund-raising calls and so many people were saying, 'I'm not giving you guys another dime until you start acting like Republicans.' That's when I got the idea of starting a committee to just help conservative candidates."

His frustration boiled over in 2009 when the Republican Senatorial Committee endorsed Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist, neither of whom is a Republican one year later. Mr. DeMint was the first major political figure to endorse Marco Rubio against Mr. Crist in Florida. Although Mr. Rubio is embraced now as a rising star of the Republican Party, at the time people laughed. "Yeah, many of my Senate colleagues weren't too happy. I think in the beginning they thought what I was doing was such a small thing that it would not threaten them." How wrong they were.

As the midterms approach, Mr. DeMint is also up for re-election, but his hapless Democratic opponent, Alvin Greene, is fighting a felony pornography charge. So most of his focus is on the five to eight stalwart conservatives who might be joining him in the Senate next year, and in the fight for limited government.

He tells me the story of a meeting that Republican senators had with Ron Johnson, the businessman and GOP senatorial candidate in Wisconsin. "He was asked why he's running for Senate and he stood up, and I hadn't met him yet, he looked straight at me and he said, 'I just want to quote DeMint here. I'm coming here to join the fight, not the club.' And I laughed and said, 'Well, this is the club.'"

That club got disrupted further last week when incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski apparently lost to firebrand challenger Joe Miller in Alaska's Republican primary. (Absentee votes are still being counted.) "It's encouraging to me what happened in Alaska with Miller," Mr. DeMint told me yesterday. "It should be a wake-up call to Republicans that politicians who go to Washington to bring home the bacon aren't wanted-even in a state like Alaska that has gotten so much pork under senators like Ted Stevens. Voters are saying 'We're not willing to bankrupt the country to benefit ourselves.'"

The Alaska race highlights the tensions that are taking hold within the Republican Party. Can moderates and conservatives co-exist? At the moment, it seems that such unity would be necessary for taking back majorities from the Democrats. Mr. DeMint believes that "sure, numbers matter, I understand that, but not if we have to cave in our principles."

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Sen. Tom Coburn 'The Conscience' of the US Senate

This is from his speech in the Senate. "We are going in exactly the wrong direction. We ought to be standing on the principles that made this country great." There ought to be a review of every program in the Federal Government that is not effective, that is not efficient, that is wasteful or fraudulent, and we ought to get rid of it right now. We ought to say, you're gone, to be able to pay for a real stimulus plan that might, in fact, have some impact.

I would be remiss if I didn't remind everybody that next week we are going to hear from the Obama administration wanting another $500 billion. Outside of this, they are going to want another $500 billion to handle the banking system. Still not fixing the real disease-the pneumonia-we are going to treat the fever or treat the cough, but we are not going to treat the real disease.

Until we treat the real disease, this is pure waste. It is worse than pure waste. It is morally reprehensible, because it steals the future of the next two generations.

I am going to wind up here and finish, but I wanted to spend some time to make sure the American people know what is in this bill. I think once they know what is in this bill, they would reject it out of hand.

Let me read for my colleagues some of the things that are in this bill..

The biggest earmark in history is in this bill. There is $2 billion in this bill to build a coal plant with zero emissions. That would be great, maybe, if we had the technology, but the greatest brains in the world sitting at MIT say we don't have the technology yet to do that. Why would we build a $2 billion power plant we don't have the technology for that we know will come back and ask for another $2 billion and another $2 billion and another $2 billion when we could build a demonstration project that might cost $150 million or $200 million? There is nothing wrong with having coal-fired plants that don't produce pollution; I am not against that. Even the Washington Post said the technology isn't there. It is a boondoggle. Why would we do that?

We eliminated tonight a $246 million payback for the large movie studios in Hollywood .

We are going to spend 88 Million to study whether we ought to buy a new ice breaker for the Coast Guard. You know what. The Coast Guard needs a new ice breaker. Why do we need to spend $88 million? They have two ice breakers now that they could retrofit and fix and come up with equivalent to what they needed to and not spend the $1 billion they are going to come back and ask for, for another ice breaker, so why would we spend $88 million doing that?

We are going to spend $448 million to build the Department of Homeland Security a new building. We have $1.3 trillion worth of empty buildings right now, and because it has been blocked in Congress we can't sell them, we can't raze them, we can't do anything, but we are going to spend money on a new building here in Washington .

We are going to spend another $248 million for new furniture for that building; a quarter of a billion dollars for new furniture. What about the furniture the Department of Homeland Security has now? These are tough times. Should we be buying new furniture? How about using what we have? That is what a family would do. They would use what they have. They wouldn't go out and spend $248 million on furniture.

How about buying $600 million worth of hybrid vehicles? Do you know what I would say? Right now times are tough; I would rather Americans have new cars than Federal employees have new cars. What is wrong with the cars we have? Dumping $600 million worth of used vehicles on the used vehicle market right now is one of the worst things we could do. Instead, we are going to spend $600 million buying new cars for Federal employees..

There is $400 million in here to prevent STDs .. I have a lot of experience on that. I have delivered 4,000 babies. We don't need to spend $400 million on STDs. What we need to do is properly educate about the infection rates and the effectiveness of methods of prevention. That doesn't take a penny more. You can write that on one piece of paper and teach every kid in this country, but we don't need to spend $400 million on it. It is not a priority.

How about $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs? That might even be somewhat stimulative. New sewers. That might create jobs.

How about $150 million for a Smithsonian museum? Tell me how that helps get us out of a recession. Tell me how that is a priority. Would the average American think that is a priority that we ought to be mortgaging our kids' future to spend another $150 million at the Smithsonian?

How about $1 billion for the 2010 census? So everybody knows, the census is so poorly managed that the census this year is going to cost twice-in 2010 is going to cost twice what it cost
10 years ago, and we wasted $800 million on a contract because it was no-bid that didn't perform. Nobody got fired, no competitive bidding, and we blew $800 million.

We have $75 million for smoking cessation activities, which probably is a great idea, but we just passed a bill-the SCHIP bill-that we need to get 21 million more Americans smoking to be able to pay for that bill. That doesn't make sense.

How about $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges? Since when is a community college in my State a recipient of Federal largesse? Is that our responsibility? I mean, did we talk with Dell and Hewlett-Packard and say, How do we make you all do better? Is there not a market force that could make that better?

Will we actually buy on a true competitive bid? No, because there is nothing that requires competitive bidding in anything in this bill. There is nothing that requires it. It is one of the things President Obama said he wasgoing to mandate the Federal Government, but there is no competitive bidding in this bill at all.

We have $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas. Well, that will put 10 or 15 people to work. Is that a priority for us right now?

There is $6 billion to turn Federal buildings into green buildings. That is a priority, versus somebody getting a job outside of Washington , a job that actually produces something, that actually increases wealth?

How about $500 million for State and local fire stations? Where do you find in the Constitution us paying for local fire stations within our realm of prerogatives? None of it is competitively bid - not a grant program.

Next is $1.2 billion for youth activities. Who does that employ? What does that mean?

How about $88 million for renovating the public health service building? You know, if we could sell half of the $1.3 trillion worth of properties we have, we could take care of every Federal building requirement and backlog we have.

Then there's $412 million for CDC buildings and property. We spent billions on a new center and headquarters for CDC. Is that a priority? Building another Government building instead of - if we are going to spend $412 million on building buildings, let's build one that will produce something, one that will give us something.

How about $850 million for that most "efficient'' Amtrak that hasn't made any money since 1976 and continues to have $2 billion or $3 billion a year in subsidies?

Here is one of my favorites: $75 million to construct a new "security training'' facility for State Department security officers, and we have four other facilities already available to train them. But it is not theirs. They want theirs. By the way, it is going to be in West Virginia ... I wonder how that got there? So we are going to build a new training facility that duplicates four others that we already have that could easily do what we need to do. But because we have a stimulus package, we are going to add in oink pork.

How about $200 million in funding for a lease-not buying, but a lease of alternative energy vehicles on military installations?

We are going to bail out the States on Medicaid. Total all of the health programs in this, and we are going to transfer $150 billion out of the private sector and we are going to move it to the Federal Government. You talk about back dooring national health care. Henry Waxman has to be smiling big today. He wants a single-payer Government-run health care system. We are going to move another $150 billion to the Federal Government from the private sector.

We are going to eliminate fees on loans from the Small Business Administration. You know what that does? That pushes productive capital to unproductive projects. It is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Then there is $160 million to the Job Corps Program-but not for
20 jobs and not to put more people in the Job Corps but to construct or repair buildings.

We are going to spend $524 million for information technology upgrades that the Appropriations Committee claims will create
388 jobs. If you do the math on that, that is $1.5 million a job. Don't you love the efficiency of Washington thinking?

We are going to create $79 billion in additional money for the States, a "slush fund,'' to bail out States and provide millions of dollars for education costs. How many of you think that will ever go away? Once the State education programs get $79 billion over 2 years, do you think that will ever go away? The cry and hue of taking our money away - even though it was a stimulus and supposed to be limited, it will never go away. So we will continue putting that forward until our kids have grand kids of their own.

There is about $47 billion for a variety of energy programs that are primarily focused on renewable energy. I am fine with spending that. But we ought to get something for it. There ought to be metrics. There are no metrics. I t is pie in the sky, saying we will throw some money at it..

Let me conclude by saying we are at a seminal moment in our country. We will either start living within the confines of realism and responsibility or we will blow it and we will create the downfall of the greatest Nation that ever lived. This bill is the start of that downfall. To abandon a market-oriented society and transfer it to a Soviet-style, government-centered, bureaucratic-run and mandated program, that is the thing that will put the stake in the heart of freedom in this country.

I hope the American people know what is in this bill. I am doing everything I can to make sure they know. But more important, I hope somebody is listening who will treat the pneumonia we are faced with today, which is the housing and mortgage markets. It doesn't matter how much money we spend in this bill. It is doomed to failure unless we fix that problem first. Failing that, we will go down in history as the Congress that undermined the future and vitality of this country. Let it not be so."

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cavuto: Would You Pay More For A Lousy Government?

Neil Cavuto is right on with his Common Sense. Think about what Neil is saying after you go to his Common Sense Video. Read more!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Reporters vs. Conservative Black Leaders at Press Conference 8 4 2010

Check out these conservatives. They are true Patriots.
Hopefully more blacks will see the light and come around to their way of thinking. This is a video worth watching.
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Manhattan Declaration

There is hope that the judge who ruled that the ban against same sex marriage in California is unconstitutional will be overturned. There are very good reasons and links on the Manhattan Declaration web site Read more!


So, what is the difference in those of us who have already been born compared to those that are in the womb?

Four things: S – L – E – D

1) Size. Is a smaller person less human than a larger person? If so, where do we draw the line between small and large? Because I am over 6’ tall does that make me more human than my wife who is less than 5’ tall?

2) Level of Development. The unborn are not as developed as the rest of us. Their livers don’t function as well as ours, they don’t have the reasoning capacity that we do, and they can’t see very well. Because I have a doctorate am I more human than someone with a high school diploma? Doesn’t my degree make me more developed?

3) Environment. Does a person become more or less human as they change their environment? If you are in a swimming pool are you less human than when you are in your home? The unborn is covered in fluid.

4) Degree of Dependency. The unborn is completely dependent upon his/her mother. The ‘just-born’ baby is as well. Throughout our lives we are dependent upon others to varying degrees. We begin completely dependent, progress to less dependence (at least hopefully) then go back to being more dependent as we age.

In order to justify abortion I must make a decision about how small or large a person must be before they can be killed. I must determine what level of development is acceptable and not acceptable. I must also determine which environment is conducive to living and in which it is permissible to kill someone. And finally I must determine what degree of dependency is too much dependency.

As you can see, we have more similarities with the unborn than we do differences. The bottom line is this; if the unborn child can be killed, anyone can be killed. It’s just a matter of definition.

(The SLED acronym is not mine and I do not remember the original author. I heard it several years ago and it made such an impact I’ve never forgotten it.)

Charles Thompson, DVM

U.S. Congress, 2010

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Coming Constitutional Debate: A Citizen’s Guide

You really must read the Executive Summary. If you are interested in the whole article and want to know details that you can argue about click on the Title.

Stephen J. Markman
Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law,
Hillsdale College

Executive Summary

The coming debate over the future of the American Constitution hinges upon one critical question: Who will decide questions of public policy—citizens acting through their elected and accountable representatives, or unelected and unaccountable judges? This paper argues that unless citizens, those to whom this paper is addressed, engage the constitutional debate, it will be settled—without their participation—by judges. To be decided, whether through debate or by judicial imposition, is whether “we the people” will live under the Constitution of James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln, or under what is called here the “twenty-first century constitution.” Under the twenty-first century constitution, the forms of the Founders’ Constitution would remain—a bicameral legislature, periodic elections, state governments—but important decisions, those determining the nature and direction of the American experiment, would increasingly be undertaken by federal courts. Rather than merely defining broad “rules of the game” for the three branches of government, the twenty-first century constitution would compel specific policy outcomes. In 1988, Justice Stephen J. Markman, then Assistant Attorney General in the administration of Ronald Reagan, prepared a report for Attorney General Edwin Meese titled “The Constitution in the Year 2000: Choices Ahead.” Identifying major areas of coming constitutional controversy, the report charted an understanding of the proper role of the judiciary. In 2009, The Constitution in 2020 was published. Featuring essays from a large group of progressive-minded legal academics, the book sought what it calls “redemptive constitutionalism”—a twenty-first century constitutionalism. Engaging the proponents of the twenty-first century constitution, this paper focuses on eight of the most salient issues in the debate: privileges or immunities, positive rights, state action, political questions, the Ninth Amendment, full faith and credit, transnationalism, and judicial restraint. The paper also outlines other important issues pertaining broadly to federalism, separation of powers, and limited government and rights. It concludes with a consideration of the federal judicial selection process, with special focus on how the United States Senate might attune its “advice and consent” role in the process to a careful consideration of the Constitution’s future. If successful, twenty-first century constitutionalism will entail the diminishment of deliberative and representative government. The twenty-first century constitutional debate has already been engaged; the only question is whether ordinary citizens, and their representatives, will be participants in this debate, or whether it will take place within the exclusive province of judges and lawyers.
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