April 29, 2011

Birthers of a Nation

If there is any redeeming value to the wall-to-wall coverage of the royal wedding, it is that it supplanted the endless stories about The One's birth certificate. I guess royalty is good for something after all.

I have always thought the birthers were bunch of idiots, and the fact that Donald Trump became their mainstream champion did absolutely nothing to change that opinion. They did raise one question that should be asked, but with the exception of recently vetoed legislation in Arizona, has gone unaddressed.

Why isn't proof of Constitutional eligibility required for a person to get their name on the ballot for President? Why isn't it required that a president elect prove their Constitutional eligibility to hold the office to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court before being allowed to take the Oath of Office?

I understand that the nature of our republic is that the states have a certain amount of authority in determining who gets on the ballot. The Arizona legislature passed a bill requiring presidential candidates to provide proof of eligibility in order to qualify for the ballot in that state. The governor vetoed that legislation because it was to divisive. I wonder if she would have made the same decision if the bill had reached her desk after The One released his birth records.

Now that the issue of The One's birthplace is off the table and the effort can no longer be painted as partisan or racist, there needs to be a campaign to require proof of Constitutional eligibility. It doesn't need to be a big nationwide effort. We don't need to amend the Constitution. We need to pick one swing state and convince them to make it a requirement to be on the ballot.

To me, the obvious choice is Florida. Florida has 27 Electoral College votes and can't seem to decide form one election to the next if its going to be a red state or a blue state. It's probably safe to say that any serious candidate for the presidency is going to want to be on the ballot in Florida.

It has been argued that requiring citizens to prove their identity and eligibility to vote would create an unconstitutional financial barrier to voting for some people. I doubt it could be argued that requiring a candidate to provide evidence that they meet the Constitutional requirement for office violates the Constitution.

One small election law enacted by the Florida legislature and signed by the governor could accomplish a lot. For starters it would insure that every election future election does not spawn a fresh swarm of birthers. It would also be a powerful reassertion of the legal supremacy of the Constitution. Something a lot of Washington politicians seem to have forgotten.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:25 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 26, 2011

The Survey Says...

One of my favorite parts of the pre-election season is the various pleas for cash disguised as surveys. We're supposed to expect they actually give a damn what we think when in truth if you send back the survey with a check they throw away the survey because they got what they really want, and if you send back the survey without a check they throw away the survey because they don't care about the content of your envelope if there's no check in it.

The first one to hit my mailbox is titled "2011 Speaker's Survey: A project of FRIENDS OF JOHN BOEHNER." My first instinct is to wonder why the Democrats are sending out a fundraiser for Boehner, but I figured it was probably some other friends.

Since I'm definitely not sending any money and it seems like a waste of time to fill out a survey that is going to be tossed unread into some political hack's recycle bin, I thought I'd answer the questions here so at least one or two other people might actually read it.

PART 1. Setting Our Priorties
Please rank in order of importance (1-10) the issues you would like the Speaker of the House John Beonher to focus on: (note: growing a pair and developing a spine weren't even on the list)

Removing government barriers to job creation
1. You had me at "removing government." Just edit it down to those two words and do it whenever possible.

Cutting spending and stopping tax hikes
1. I know I have two things marked as the number one priority but once you edit the first one down to "Removing Government" this really becomes part of that one.

Repealing Obamacare and starting over
1. Again if by starting over you mean removing government and allowing a truly free market in healthcare then it's really still just the same thing.

Oversight of the Obama Administration
2. (they can't all be number one can they?) This would be great but you might want to refer to the earlier note regarding growing a pair and developing a spine.

Keeping our nation secure
1-10. This is one of the things the constitution says you are supposed to do. If you focused on this instead of all the other stuff you're not supposed to be doing that would be fine with me.

Improving education (K-12)
1 or 0. If by improving education you mean getting rid of  the department of education, go for it. If you mean further federal entanglement in what should be a state, local and parental issue then just don't do anything.

Lowering energy costs to help create new jobs
Again go back to the first response. Don't try to fix anything just reduce government and let real people take care of the rest.

Securing our borders and opposing amnesty.
Do you even have to ask. Securing our borders is part of that whole Keeping Our nation Secure question you asked earlier. As for the mass forgiveness of illegal activity, it's bad enough when you clowns do it for yourselves don't do it for a few million others.

Defending American Values
What exactly are you talking about This is so vague as to be utterly meaningless. I'm kind of hoping you mean that limited government value but I suspect this is a code for the religious right and you just don't want to mention the Defense of Marriage Act and abortion because you haven't grown a pair or developed a spine.

Making Congress more open and accountable
Tell you what I think; if you did a good enough job at the whole "removing government" thing you could make congress mostly irrelevant. But I'd settle for making EVERY law you pass applicable to members of Congress.

You made a big show of reading the Constitution at the start of the legislative session. Go back and do it again because you're still not doing it right.

PART 2 Creating New Jobs
(This section offers a choice of "yes." "no" or "no opinion." It's a safe bet I'm not going to answer "no opinion. I could answer this entire section just by saying the only jobs the government can create are jobs eorking for the government. We've already established that I'd rather remove government than add government. But I'll answer the questions any way.)

2. Do you believe massive government spending is the best way to improve the nation's economy and create good jobs?
I don't believe massive government spending is the answer to anything with the possible exception of National Defense.

3.Should Republicans work to remove barriers to job creation and stop job-killing bills like "card check?"
Republicans should work to remove barriers to individual liberty and individual responsibility. Work toward limiting government to its Constitutional authority and we'll take care of the rest.

4. Should Republicans require Congressional approval for all new major regulations written by federal bureaucrats?
NO. Republicans should reform government so that unelected federal bureaucrats are not writing major regulations. Making laws is a legislative responsibility. If it's a major regulation it should be an act of Congress. Stop abdicating Congressional authority and responsibility and do you damned jobs.

5. Should small businesses be given a tax deduction of 20 percent to help spur investment and new hiring?
NO. The tax code should be a means for funding the necessary operations of the government it should be a tool for social and economic engineering experiments. Stop dicking around with the economy and people's lives.

6. Do you believe higher taxes are good for the economy?
See the answer above use the tax code to fund the necessary functions of the government. Then leave us alone.

7. Do you support cutting federal spending back to "pre-stimulus," pre bailout levels, and imposing a hard cap on spending to save hundreds of billions of dollars?
Absolutely not. Pre-stimulus and pre-bailout federal spending was already way too high. You're not trying hard enough.

8. Should Congress create a "sunset" process to review and eliminated outdates, duplicative and wasteful federal programs?
NO. To hell with your "sunset process." Just eliminate them. No sunset. No process. Just end them now. Again - you're not trying hard enough.

9. Should we increase federal taxes to balance the budget?
It wont work. Giving a crack addict more crack is never the solution to the problem. Cut government to the point where you actually pay for it with the mountain of money you already collect.

10. Do you support ending taxpayer support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government mortgage giants that triggered our financial crisis?
Absolutely. And while you're at it, end government support for General Motors, Chrysler, Wall Street, corn farmers, General Electric. End it for everyone.

11. Do you support imposing a hiring freeze on federal employees (with an exception for combat troops and necessary security personnel)?
I'm getting a little tired of saying this but, "You're. Not. Trying. Hard. Enough." A freeze does nothing. Cut, Eliminate. Terminate. Whatever you want to call it. REDUCE the size of government. Freezing the size of government just preserves the problem. All those non-essential personnel who were going to be effected if there had been a government shut-down, get rid of the. They're non essential. The government can function without them.

PART 4. Keeping America Secure

12. Do you support the Obama Administration's decision to cut funding for intercontinental ballistic missile defense?
Well I suppose we could always wish that ICBMs didn't exist and that there were no people who had them who didn't like us. And we could wish for a pony too while we're at it. If there are ballistic missiles out there we should defend ourselves against them by any means possible.

13. Should captured foreign terrorists be given the same Constitutional rights as American citizens?
Yes, of course. Just as soon as they become American citizens.

14. Should Congress cut defense spending?
Congress should fully fund a complete and effective defense of the nation. If they can do with less money, great.

15. Should the Administration enforce tough sanctions against Iran to prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon?
Sure. Try it. The government had damned well better be prepared to do what is necessary when the sanctions fail.

16. Should the federal government work closely with state and local officials to tighten border security and enforce federal immigration laws?
It can't hurt. Just the idea of actually enforcing federal immigration laws is so unique it's refreshing.

PART 5 Reforming Congress

17. Do you support the Republican proposal to post all legislation online at least three days before a vote?
It's at least slightly better that "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it," but if Congress continues to put out two thousand page bills three days isn't enough. Maybe start with three days as a minimum with an automatic extension for the time for longer more complex legislation.

18. Do you support the Republican proposal to require all legislation to cite its authority in the Constitution?
Given how you people tend to distort and ignore the Constitution I don't see this as anything other than a political Potemkin Village designed to fool people into thinking anyone in Congress actually cares about Constitutional limits to federal authority. 

PART 6 Lowering Energy Costs
(note: I don't think this is a problem that government should be addressing. They should focus on not making them higher through their idiotic "energy policies" and that would be enough.)

19. Do you favor opening federal land for environmentally friendly energy exploration to help create jobs, lower energy costs and reduce our dependence of foreign energy?
What I would favor is ending the ludicrous oil lease system and start auctioning off federal land. Then get the government out of the way and let companies develop the resources they own. I bet the proceeds from selling off chunks of ANWAR would take a nice chunk out of our national debt. 

20. Should the federal government make it easier to expand nuclear energy production by reducing red tape?
Anything that involves reducing government I will support.

21. Do you support Democrat's "cap and trade" national energy tax that will drive up utility rates, and threaten family farms, small businesses and manufacturers?
No. this is just another attempt by government to use the tax code to control people's lives.

PART 7 Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare

22. Do you feel that quality affordable health care is readily available in your community?
Yes. and it would so much better and more affordable with less government involvement.

23. Do you believe the government should require every individual and family to purchase health insurance?
No. i believe the "mandate" is unconstitutional.

24. Do you support a full repeal of President Obama's health care law (Obamacare)?
If you think you can do it before the Supreme Court chucks it out, go for it.

25. Do you support medical liability reform to help curb junk lawsuits that drive up health care costs?
Yes. Anything to minimize the impact of government on individual lives.

26. Should Americans be permitted to shop for health care coverage across state lines - from coast to cost - regardless of which state they live in?
Permitted? Permitted. Up yours Mr. Speaker. Americans should be free to make their own health care decisions. We should be free to not buy health insurance if we choose not to. We should be free to buy the coverage we want from wherever we want.

PART 8. Defending American Values
(note: I believe values are a mater of individual choice. Members of Congress take an oath to defend the Constitution. Do that instead.)

27. Should taxpayers be forced to pay for abortion procedures as allowed under President Obama's health care law (ObamaCare)?
No. Just as I don't think taxpayers should be forced to pay for people's tonsillectomies, or angioplasty either.

28. Do you support President Obama's decision to create federal incentives for the destruction of living human embryos for research?
I don't support government incentives for anything.  If embryonic research is truly offensive to "American Values" there will be no market for the results and it will not happen.

29. Do you support school choice programs that give parents the ability to send their children to the school of their choice, public, private or parochial?
I support anything that allows for increased individual liberty and individual responsibility.

PART 9 The 2012 Campaign

30. Do you believe that the Republican Party needs to work harder to reach out to grassroots voters to ensure the policies of our leaders reflect the concerns of our citizens?
I would rather that you simply stood by the principles you campaign on and not fold and the first sign that the Democrats and their media allies might say something bad about you. Like I said at the beginning, grow a pair and develop a spine.

31. Do you believe that the Democrats' liberal agenda of tax increases, massive spending on social welfare programs and a policy of retreat and standing down our troops in the war against Islamic extremism is the WRONG direction for our nation?
The real question Mr. Speaker is do you believe they are wrong? If you do, stand up and fight for what you believe is right. I would rather see you take on the Democrats and lose than try to spin a failure like your 2011 budget deal as a success.

And by the way, I'm not sending you any money.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:26 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 23, 2011

Dearborn, Michigan Minority Report

Let me get this out of the way at the top: I think Terry Jones, the Koran burning pastor, is a moron and and a low rent attention whore.

That said, Tom Cruise fans will be delighted to know that Jones has been successfully convicted of pre-crime in the city of Detroit. The ironic part of it is he was convicted not because of anything he was expected to do, but because of what others were expected to do in response to his actions.

Jones went to Dearborn, Michigan and tried to hold a protest outside of the Islamic Center of America which happens to be the largest mosque in the United States.

Provocative? Absolutely. Deliberately provocative? Absolutely. Constitutionally protected free speech and freedom of religion and right to assemble? Apparently not. Jones was tried and convicted on the premise that his planned demonstration would likely cause a breach of the peace and incite violence. He was convicted because the likely response to his speech, religion and assembly would be violence committed by other people.

Compare the expected reaction to this demonstration to the actual response to protestors angrily demonstrating outside the homes of legislators in Wisconsin. Did those demonstrators fear for their safety? Were they attacked? Did their presence and exercise of their rights incite violence?

No. The expectation is that Muslims in Dearborn would react to Terry Jones' demonstration with violence. Not there was a chance that maybe things might get a little heated and something might happen. The expectation was that if Jones went forward with his demonstration, there would be violence. Who does that expectation say more about, Jones or Muslims at the Islamic Center of America?

The best possible thing that could have happened would have been to allow Jones to demonstrate and the Muslims in Dearborn to just ignore him. But "Turn The Other Cheek" isn't really principle of Islam.

Instead the government intervened to restrain Jones from exercising his right to be an ass in the name of protecting the frail sensibilities of the Religion of the Perpetually Insulted and Outraged.

A nice case of government prior restraint of one citizen's rights in the name of assuaging and favoring a religion.

I don't recall a formal repeal of the First Amendment, but this looks a lot like a de facto repeal to me.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:54 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 21, 2011

Fits and Starts

In the last couple of days I have started and abandoned easily half a dozen posts.

I started one about The One's "deficit reduction" speech. The difficulty I had there was narrowing it down to one or two key pieces of bullshit. But the speech was so vacuous and disingenuous that I didn't know where to stop and start. The result was an increasingly scattered and confused rant. Eventually I came to the conclusion that entire speech can be encapsulated in the phrase "spending reductions in the tax code." I don't think I have ever heard a more blatantly Orwellian statement from any politician. To me that line of bullshit encapsulates not only the entire bullshit speech, but The One's entire bullshit presidency.

I started a post about the 2011 budget deal. These assholes cut about a day's worth of deficit spending. Not even a whole day's worth of spending. And they all strutted around claiming it was a great victory for the Republicans. Bull. Shit. It seems to me the focus of the "negotiations"  was how small a cut they could make to get all sides to spin it as the GOP kicking ass. They didn't cut shit.

There were a couple of others that I just didn't have time to develop the way I wanted or I got interrupted and lost the flow or it was just a case of … "Ooh, Shiny"

Then today there was the story that came out today about the National Labor Relations Board telling Boeing that they are not allowed to open their new factory in South Carolina because it offends their union employees in Puget Sound. Boeing wants to open it's new facility in South Carolina BECAUSE of its union employees in Puget Sound. They want to avoid the headache and the lost millions caused by "labor actions." Apparently according to the NRLB it is not legal for a company to want to avoid the costs of organized labor extortion.

I am less than the enthused about anyone who is being seriously considered as a candidate for the GOP nomination. Donald F'n Trump? Are you kidding me? Is there anyone who is really taking this clown seriously? Mitt Romney? Please, no. The man lost to John McCain. That alone should immediately disqualify him, even if he hadn't started state run healthcare in Massachusetts.

Not that it really matters. The modern GOP has shown itself to be by and large a feckless bunch of spineless saps who will abandon a principal at the drop of hat in the name of going along to get along.

Maybe I'll be in a better mood tomorrow.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:16 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 05, 2011

The Buck Passes Here

If the Democrats had passed a budget last year when they should have and when they controlled all of congress with large majorities it wouldn't be an issue now.

Instead they avoided the responsibility and are now trying to blame others for the consequences of their failure to act.

If there is a shut down it will because the Democrats are fundamentally incapable of accepting reduced government spending because they understand it means reduced government power.

The Republicans won a sweeping victory in the mid-term election largely on a platform of reducing the size of the federal government. They are doing what they were elected to do. If Harry Reid and The One want to stand in the way and try to stop it, they certainly can. What they can't do is shift the responsibility for their actions and failures onto others.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:49 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

ObamaCare Court Update

I covered Judge Roger Vinson's ruling in the 25 state suit against Obama Care. 

The Administration was trying pull some lawyer stunt to delay the process and no doubt hopefully prevent the case from reaching the Supreme Court before the 2012 election. They filed a request for the judge to clarify his ruling that the law was unconstitutional.

The judge responded that yes I meant it but that he would stay the ruling for seven days pending the government filing its appeal.

I guess the Justice department got the message as they filed their appeal before the deadline

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Paul Ryan's Bus Load of Lawyers

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is set to release a proposed GOP budget that will reportedly cut SIX TRILLION DOLLARS ($6,000,000,000,000) in spending over the next decade.

Lots of people and pundits are wondering how this is going to play with the American people since this proposal tackles entitlement reform. Their expectation seems to be that most people will say "Yes. Cut spending. Just don't cut what you're spending one me." This is why entitlement reform never happens.

The left of course will howl with outrage approaching the level of offended muslims.

Me. It kind of reminds me of an old joke:

What do you call a bus load of lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

A good start.

UPDATE: Added video.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:36 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 02, 2011

My Two Front War

I have made mention several times of an operation I named "GET A JOB." (I know my operation names aren't as cool as the ones coming out of the White House. What can I say? I prefer the truth served plain.) Operation "GET A JOB" has been in effect since July 1, 2009 when my previous employer decided after ten years they no longer needed my services, and the services of 50 or so other folks in the building as well.

Operation "GET A JOB" has been in effect for so long that some of the back-bench voices inside my head are starting to whisper the words, "quagmire" and "exit strategy."

There are a lot of reasons "GET A JOB" has dragged on for so long. Among them is the fact that this has been a major two front war, and the second front consumes a lot of a very valuable resource that if it were available would be very helpful in "GET A JOB." Time.

The second front is called Operation "PAY THE BILLS." The vicious circle part of this is, if I didn't have to spend so much time on "PAY THE BILLS" I could probably win the war of "GET A JOB" and by default that would bring an end to "PAY THE BILLS."

As it is, "PAY THE BILLS" has been more successful than "GET A JOB." Which is a good thing because we are fast closing in on two years without full-time employment. Or in my best Washingtonian euphemism being "involuntarily self employed." 

I had a nice thing going through a temp agency that had me working three days a week for major corporation best known for getting favors from Washington and paying no taxes on billions in income. The money wasn't great, and the work was dreadfully dull and lacking opportunities to be creative, but it was a good foundation and I qualified for benefits. If you read those last two sentences again you will note I used words like "had" and "was." The part-time temporary freelance thing for the major crony capitalist corporation came to an end yesterday.

The back bench voices are getting louder.

So I am going to do the only thing I can do. I'm going to have to have a surge on both fronts. The previous success of "PAY THE BILLS" took some of the pressure and urgency off of "GET A JOB," because it eliminated the primary casus belli. No more. I'm reaching out to all my contacts again, hitting the networking meeting circuit again, and as you can see here diving into shameless self-promotion.

If you haven's clicked on any of the previous 14 links in this post, they go to the web sites dedicated to these kinetic employment actions. I invite to to visit them and look around. Pass them on to friends and colleagues who may find their contents useful.

Operation "GET A JOB" is here.

Operation "PAY THE BILLS" is here. And here.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:05 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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