Is the House GOP leadership being blackmailed into voting for amnesty?

SpyingPeople are asking why, with a potentially successful midterm election coming, the GOP has decided to go forward with amnesty, even though (a) only 3% of Americans care about the issue and (b) the base is strongly opposed to the GOP’s plan.  On its face, this seems like an insane thing to do, since it can destroy the Republican party in two ways, first, by denying it success in the 2014 midterm and, second, by creating a permanent Democrat constituency.

I think that Glenn Reynolds might inadvertently have provided the answer by juxtaposing two posts:

GOP and amnesty

(Links to the two posts referenced are here and here.)

Has the GOP House leadership been threatened into sabotaging the 2014 midterms?  To answer that, consider that the NSA trolls indiscriminately for all cell phone and internet content.  The sheer volume of information means that it’s unlikely that the NSA can review it in real-time so as to prevent an imminent attack.  The best way to use that information is to pick a target and then, having isolated the target, to go back into the saved data and to fined content that damages the target.

Once the NSA has completed its targeting data troll, GOP politicians who have had affairs, used drugs, engaged in illegal transactions, etc., might find themselves facing a government official who says something along the lines of “Nice life ya’ got here.  Shame if something happened to it.  Kinda like the something that happened to Dinesh d’Souza, if you know what I mean.”

Yes, I know that sounds like paranoid wacko stuff.  But consider that just five years ago, we would have dismissed as paranoid wacko stuff all of the following:  IRS persecution of conservative political organizations; NSA spying indiscriminately on email and cell phone, as well as on the House of Representatives and media members; the Department of Justice engaged in gun-running; video makers getting imprisoned as Free Speech martyrs to hide an administration’s failure to prevent a terrorist attack; nuns being forced to pay for birth control and abortifacient pills; deals with Iran that effectively allow it to become a nuclear nation; and a president who uses executive orders, not to effectuate executive duties, but instead to nullify existing law or to create non-existent law out of whole cloth.

Given an administration that views the Constitution as a hindrance, why shouldn’t we believe that it’s engaging in the tried and true communist tactic of spying on opponents, getting dirt on them, and then using that dirt to force them to act against their interests?

I am losing patience with idio . . . er, progressives on my Facebook page

Normally, when I see the usual liberal talking points on my Facebook page, I try to ignore them lest I damage my blood pressure.  Today, though, I got a wall of stupid.  I’ve already written here about the profound ignorance that lies behind the progressive masses’ repeated claim that Obamacare is the “law of the land” and that the Republicans can do nothing.  Aside from being grossly hypocritical coming from a party that refuses to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, it’s also ignorant.  The House has the power of the purse precisely because, as a representative body with a two-year turnover, it is the best reflection of the will of the people at any given moment.

I probably could have tolerated that stupidity if I hadn’t also gotten a boatload of dumb about the gun shots fired in Washington, D.C. today.  Early reports indicated that a driver who tried to slam into the White House was the shooter.  Instantly, people went on their anti-gun tirades.  Of course, when the dust settled, it turned out that the only shooters were the cops and that the person driving the car had a long history of mental illness.   (Warning:  site has autoplay video.)  When I passed this information on to the Lefties claiming that guns were at the root of this, at least two of them made the identical risible argument:  Even though the gal didn’t have a gun, she’s still a poster child for gun control, because she could have had a gun.

Honestly!  How in the world can you counter that kind of monomania?  It transcends reason and fact, and is an article of faith as profound as the Democrats’ historic belief that blacks are an inferior race who need either slavery or government welfare to function.

Given this type of irrational anti-gun lunacy, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that a Phoenix-area police officer was asked not to wear his uniform when he picked his child up from elementary school, because parents were frightened by his gun.

I love Ace’s take on this story.  The article that originally reported the story presented the school’s point of view:

A district spokeswoman told the station that “some parents” voiced concern about seeing a fully armed police officer on the school’s campus. The spokeswoman apologized that Urkov perhaps took the discussion the wrong way.

“It was not the intent of the principal to offend him,” the spokeswoman said.

To which Ace provided the only response possible:

Yes yes yes yes yes. He took it the wrong way. It’s on him. He didn’t understand your intent. He’s got the problem; not you.

Of course you don’t have a problem. Hysteria is not only natural, it’s preferable.

Shall we ban Cowboy Hats next? I mean: Cowboys. They carry six-shooters.

The House’s refusal to fund Obamacare is entirely constitutional — and James Madison personally approves this message

lincoln-memorial

My stock response to all those liberal Facebook friends who have insisted that the House is “unconstitutionally” holding Obamacare hostage, is that the Founders named it the “House of Representatives” and gave it the power of the purse for a reason.

The House’s members serve for much shorter terms than Supreme Court justices (life terms), executives (minimum 4 year terms) and Senators (minimum 6 year terms).  This means that, if people are not pleased with the decisions made by those more entrenched bodies, they can make their displeasure known through the House, where new representatives can be rotated in every two years.

Making their displeasure known is precisely what the People did in 2010 and again in 2012, when they “shellacked” the House Democrats, which was a clear rebuff to Obama and his “care.”  (It’s also entirely possible that Obama would also have been shellacked right out of office but for the IRS’s unconstitutional, illegal, unconscionable interference with free speech.)

In addition to the short term of office, which means the people can quickly punish or reward legislative conduct, the House of Representatives mirrors population dynamics.  The Senate is fixed at two representatives per state, there’s only one president, and there are nine Supreme Court justices.  The House, by contrast, is reconfigured every ten years to represent accurately the number of people in various population centers and deserts throughout the U.S.

The Founders deliberately gave the power of the purse to the federal branch most closely tied to American citizens, both in numbers and responsiveness:  The House is meant to use that power to put the brakes on schemes cooked up by members of the other branches of government who are elected or appointed in numbers unrelated to the American population, and who have job security unrelated, or less related, to their immediate conduct.  If the Founders were alive today, they’d say the roadblock inherent in the power of the purse is a feature, not a bug — and a pretty damned important feature too.

The above response came off the top of my head.  If I had studied the Federalist papers recently, however, I could simply have quoted James Madison. one of the Constitution’s primary architects, writing in Federalist No. 58 (and a groveling h/t to Tom Elias, of The New Editor, for this brilliant find):

The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.  (Emphasis added.)

What the House is doing is entirely constitutional, and we conservatives should be doing our best to trumpet that fact.  Moreover, given the federal takeover of the Lincoln Memorial, we should remind everyone that we live in a nation guaranteed “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”  Unlike a monarchy, the federal government doesn’t own the properties it is denying us.  Instead, we own the federal government.  The government is merely a caretaker, and a pretty damn surly, ineffectual, greedy, and tyrannical one at that.

Some more things to chew on about Obamacare and governmental lawlessness

Still working my way through a backlog of legal and other writing work, so the best I can do is to give you a heads up about a few other articles I found interesting.  All of these came courtesy of Earl, and all address Obamacare.

First, Earl sent me a Reason article saying that, when Obamacare implodes, Republicans should stand ready to give the free market a chance.  I couldn’t agree more.  And the important thing to remember in that regard is that the free market hasn’t functioned in the world of medical care since the mid-1960s, when Johnson introduced Medicaid and Medicare.  Both of those entitlements swiftly perverted the market and created America’s e enormous debt burden.  Indeed, Avik Roy puts a little perspective on things by showing that Obamacare, rather than being an entirely new socialist burden, is simply the icing on the government entitlement cake.  The system was collapsing anyway and Obamacare, rather than “bending the curve,” will only hasten the system’s wholesale collapse.  This means that Leftists are on to something when they say conservatives are being unduly hysterical.  They understand that Obamacare is simply more of the same, rather than a whole new system.

My sense is that Republicans, with their usual knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory will be caught utterly flat-footed when the system does break under its own weight.  Rather than having a free-market plan at the ready, they will out-shriek Democrats when it comes to creating yet another government monstrosity to repair the disaster.  Rahm Emanuel may have said that one should never let a crisis go to waste, but it’s the Republicans that have put a spin on it:  never let a crisis be used to advance liberty and the free market.

Speaking of the free market, have you ever heard of Samaritan Health-Care Ministries?  It’s an absolutely fascinating group whereby its members help each other.  It’s predicated on faith, honesty, and generosity, all of which are alien to a government program, and antithetical to a society that causes Disneyland to shut down its line-skipping benefits for handicapped people,  because so many fully-abled people were cheating.  The question is whether Samaritan Health-Care Ministries can survive Obamacare?  This is because Obamacare does nothing to incentivize price cuts in the free market, and does everything to make more people dependent on having others pay their way — without any reciprocating obligations.  It’s those reciprocating obligations that are so important to gratitude, moral fiber, and honesty . . . and that are so at odds with the impersonality of government largesse and the sense that people can demand their “rights” rather than count their blessings.

I have to comment upon all of the liberals I know on Facebook who are complaining that what the House is doing is unconstitutional because “Obamacare is the law.”  They all seem terribly surprised when I point out to them gently that it’s entirely constitutional for the House to have the power of the purse.  Moreover, they are slumguzzled when I note that the Founders probably gave the House this power because it is called the “House of Representatives” for a reason.  It’s members serve for much shorter terms than Supreme Court justices (life terms), executives (minimum 4 year terms) and Senators (minimum 6 year terms).  This means that, if people are not pleased with the decisions made by those bodies that cannot easily be booted, they can make their displeasure known through the House, where new representatives can be rotated in every two years.  Additionally, unlike the other branches of government, the House of Representatives mirrors population.  This is why it’s got the power to put the brakes on schemes cooked up by members of the other branches of government who are elected or appointed in numbers unrelated to the American population, and who have job security unrelated, or less related, to their immediate conduct.

Summed up, the Founders made it very clear that, no matter the laws passed, the ultimate power lay with the body most close to the people.  After all, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

And, on a completely different topic, Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio is out of prison.  He was sent there for engaging in unethical practices, but he said all along that he was set-up by the government.  His crime?  Refusing to allow the NSA to spy on his customers.  With Edward Snowden’s revelations about the scope of government spying, Nacchio is feeling pretty darn vindicated.  Glenn Reynolds has the perfect coda to this news blurb:  “There was a time I would have doubted that sort of claim, but not so much now.”

The California Open Primary has the practical effect of stifling Republican political speech in November, when it matters most

This election will be the first election since California voters decided, in 2010, to turn ours into an Open Primary state.  The practical effect of having done so is that the November election, rather than being head-to-head combat between the two parties, will be a run-off between the winners from the June election.

The road to this limited November ballot has already started, with candidates from all parties reaching out to voters.  The problem, of course, is that the candidates’ have only just begun their fund-raising, and only die-hard political junkies are really paying attention. Then, in June, the Open Primaries mean that voters can vote for anyone they want, across party lines.

Once the votes are counted, the two candidates who got the most votes go on to the November ballot.  Everyone else vanishes from the scene.  In states that have a heavy party majority in one direction or the other (as is the case with Bright Blue California), the practical effect is to banish minority party candidates from the November ballot.

Those who support Open Primaries contend that it is an efficient way to ensure that, when people are really paying attention, the majority of voters get to pick from the two most favored candidates, without having the airwaves — and their brains — cluttered with advertisements and speeches from candidates who don’t have a realistic change of winning.  Those who oppose the Open Primary process — and I am one who does — contend that it effectively shuts the minority parties out of the political debate.

The point of the primary system is to give citizens who are members of a specific political party the opportunity to pick that candidate who best represents their views.  Then, in the Fall season, those cherry-picked party candidates get to go head-to-head, giving voters a genuine ideological choice.  This is important even in states that tilt heavily in one direction or the other, because it means that, when voters are actually paying attention, they are exposed to more than just the majority party’s viewpoint.

In other words, if an Open Primary state tilts heavily in favor of one party or the other, the minority party isn’t just precluded from winning (and this holds true even if the majority party has some major scandal over the summer that causes its total collapse).  In addition to being banned from the ballot, the minority party is also entirely denied a voice in the marketplace of political ideas.  Without a candidate on the ballot, the minority party has no commercials, no debates, no opinion pieces, and no candidate interviews.

In True Blue California, seeing Republicans banished from the ballot entirely has been the Democrat dream — although supporters are careful to frame this one-party outcome in terms of “moderation”:

Carl Luna, a professor at San Diego Mesa College [and, judging by this post, one who leans Progressive, rather than conservative], said the hope is that the new way of voting will increase voter turnout and will lead to election of more moderate candidates.

“Since anybody can vote for anybody, you might have to appeal more toward moderate candidates, toward independents,” he said. “So you get two Democrats who win in one district, they go to the general election and the Democrat that can get Independents and even moderate Republicans to vote for them has a better chance to win.”

Here in Marin, because the ultra-Progressive Lynn Woolsey is finally gone for good (yay!), a multitude of Democrats have lined up to try for her seat. The same cannot be said for the Republican side of the ballot.  As is often the case in Marin, it’s been hard to find a Republican candidate willing to do the hard work of campaigning, knowing that the campaign won’t go anywhere.  We’ve had good people in the past (for example, Todd Hooper or Bob Stephens), but both men ran knowing full well that victory was unlikely.  Ultimately, they didn’t run to win; they ran to be heard.

This year, Dan Roberts is fronting the Republican party’s primary ticket for Woolsey’s former seat in the House of Representatives.  (Since he’s the only Republican in the primary, I guess he’s back the ticket too.)  I wish him well, I really do, but honesty compels me to say that Roberts doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning.

Two years ago, Roberts’ low melting point wouldn’t have stopped him from having a voice in the November campaign.   His presence on the ballot would have brought conservatives to the polling places.  He would have run an Op-Ed in the local paper, and his supporters would have sent letters to the editor. Indeed, if the summer bought more bad news for Democrats (skyrocketing oil prices, war in the Middle East, massive Obama administration malfeasance and scandal), he might even have benefited from a Democrat collapse, and pulled out a Republican victory.  None of those things, however — whether the opportunity to have conservative ideas heard or the possibility, albeit small, of a turn for Republicans in Marin — will happen.

In November, in keeping with the Democrat dream, California conservatives will be silenced.  The ballot will have only the names of the two top Democrat candidates for Marin’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The newspaper editorials and letters to the editor will say nary a word about conservative approaches to the serious problems vexing this nation.  There will be no commercials and no speeches.  The Free Speech that is a fundamental part of our democratic process (that’s small “d” democratic) will have been smothered and buried in June.  And, should the Democrat party suffer a national collapse over the summer, it will still wipe the board in California.

To give more dimension to the anti-democratic tilt of the Open Primary, and of the ethical dilemma conservatives face, I spoke the other day with Stacy Lawson, who is one of the Democrat candidates seeking Woolsey’s old seat.  Stacy seems like a very nice gal, whose selling point is that, with her business background, she is the moderate Democrat in the race, one who supports small businesses and true economic growth.  She’s pro-Israel, which she correctly identifies as the only true democracy in the Middle East.  Stacy specifically disavows ties to the Progressive branch of the Democrat party.

This is all for the good.  Except that when you talk to Stacy, it’s clear that, while she doesn’t have the anger that characterizes Progressives (which is why I think she’s a nice gal), her world view is antithetical to a conservative voter’s beliefs.  Why?  Because she believes government is the answer.  Rather than supporting small business by having government back off in terms of taxes and regulations, she believes government should be in the front line of fomenting growth, especially by subsidizing and promoting green energy.

Stacy was kind and polite when I suggested that green energy was iffy and expensive, and that we might do better to promote America’s huge fossil fuel reserves, while focusing on ways to refine and use those reserves in the cleanest way.  Nevertheless, it was clear that Stacy thought that my suggestion was a direct road to the old-fashioned, 1970s’ type of river, one that was filled with dead fish and caught on fire periodically.  In other words, even thought Stacy is indeed a moderate Democrat, she’s also an AGW, Big Government, vaguely anti-military (that’s where she’d cut the deficit) politician — or, as I already said, antithetical to a conservative voter’s beliefs.

In a perfect world, I would not vote for Ms. Lawson, even though I like her and appreciate that she is, by current Democrat standards, a moderate.  In a perfect world, with all due respect to the courageous Dan Roberts, I would also have some real choices in June on the Republican side of the ballot.

But this is not a perfect world.  In this, the real world, because Marin is an almost impossible venue for Republicans, and because we now have an Open Primary that allows for only two spots on the November ballot, when November comes, it is a dead certainty that, with the exception of the presidential ticket, my only choices for the House of Representatives (and for any other political office) will be Democrat versus Democrat.

I don’t like being forced to deny my political self (that is, I don’t like being forced to vote against my own party’s candidate), but pragmatism says that there’s an advantage in using the Open Primary to temper the other party so that there is at least one person who is relatively sane on the ballot.  This, of course, is precisely what Carl Luna (the professor I quoted above) hoped would happen — Republicans will vanish, but they’ll serve the vestigial function of protecting Democrats from their worst excesses.

So I have a question for you:  In June, should I cast a symbolic vote for the Republican Dan Roberts, thereby making a principled stand for my party, or should I vote for Stacy Lawson to help ensure that, when the November election takes place, the top two contenders for U.S. House of Representatives include a Moderate Democrat, rather than two Progressives?

(Incidentally, when it comes to the judges running for Marin County Superior Court this year, I’m not being forced to make the choice between a good Republican who can’t win, and some Democrats, one of whom might be better than the others.  There are only two men running for judge:  Judge James Chou, a moderate Democrat whom Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed to the bench, and Russell Marne, a self-professed Progressive.   As between them, the choice is clear:  It’s the moderate, experienced James Chou all the way.)

In case you were wondering, it can always get worse

Some of us thought, “Yay, Barney Fwank is leaving.”  Sure, we know that his constituents will elect someone equally liberal to fill his old seat, but that person will lack Barney Fwank’s seniority.

Sadly, others with Fwank’s seniority remain behind in the House of Representatives.  So it very much looks as if, to fill the Fwankian vacuum on the House Financial Services Committee, the next senior-most member is already in line:  Maxine Waters.  Oh, yeah.  It can always get worse.

If this doesn’t scare the living daylights out of voters, and lead them to turn both Congress and the White House over to the Republicans by very large margins, voters are either dumber or more addicted to risky behavior than I ever expected them to be.

If he was a conservative, he would have resigned

Weiner was tap-dancing so fast for the last few days he made Fred Astaire look like a piker.  We all knew he was lying.  Today finally saw the denouement:  more photos (some x-rated), more texts, more women, and a full confession.  The only thing missing was the one thing the American people deserved:  a resignation.

The House of Representatives is a symbol for America.  It should have a certain dignity.  We know that it is staffed by imperfect human beings, but they have an obligation to their office and to the American people to hold themselves up to a certain standard.  When they so obviously fail to do so, they shouldn’t continue sully America’s representative body.  But of course, being a Democrat means never having to say “I resign.”  (I would assume, of course, that Weiner had a quick confab with Frank to find out the protocol for riding out an embarrassing sexual scandal.)

Aside from the appearance of propriety that should characterize service in this august public office. Andrew Breitbart has made the valid point that these kind of shenanigans expose government officials to the risk of blackmail.  With that kind of salacious garbage floating around, it would be only too easy for venal people, or even treasonous ones, to take advantage of Weiner’s desire to keep his peccadilloes out of the public eye.

The whole thing is tawdry, disgusting, demeaning, and it reflects badly on the Democrats that they are not doing what Republicans would have done, and demanding that Weiner leave office immediately.

Lt. Col. Allen West — a real choice in Florida

Every two years, like clockwork, Marinites return the execrable Lynn Woolsey to Congress.  She’s so bad — by which I mean such a loopy Leftist — that I didn’t vote for her even when I was a Democrat.  I was a moderate; she was, and is, a nut case.  But still she wins, regularly sweeping in about 70% of the vote.

Voters here don’t care what Woolsey is, what she believes or what she offers; they just like that “D” after her name.  I have no doubt but that she’ll win again this year, for precisely the same reason.

If you’re in Florida’s 22nd District, however, you have the opportunity to vote for someone special.  I don’t know what the Republican/Democratic balance is in the 22nd District but, if it’s close, maybe he can win, and maybe there’ll be a true counterweight in Congress to Woolsey and her ilk.  If anyone has the cojones, as a freshman Congressman, to make waves, it’s West.

Pelosi did it. Now, will Senate save us? *UPDATED*

Maybe she got those Dems to vote yes because she assured them that, at the end of the day, the Senate will vote no.  Or, maybe, we’re screwed:

The US House of Representatives has approved the broadest US health care overhaul in a half-century, handing President Barack Obama a major victory on his top domestic priority.

After hours of bitter debate and an appeal from Obama to “answer the call of history,” lawmakers voted late Saturday 220-215 for a 10-year, trillion-dollar plan to extend health coverage to some 36 million Americans who lack it now.

The chamber’s Democrats erupted in loud cheers and triumphant applause the moment the bill had the 218 votes needed for passage, about 11:07 pm (0407 GMT), a happy din that grew deafening when a gavel made it official.

The president had paid a rare visit to Congress to lobby for unity among his Democratic allies and reinforced it with a public speech, but 39 still joined 176 of the chamber’s Republicans in opposition to the proposal.

One Republican broke ranks, nominally fulfilling, in the barest terms, Obama’s vow to secure bipartisan support.

That Republican, by the way, would be Representative Timothy Johnson of Illinois. Either the rules for Republicans are different in Illinois, or Johnson was getting ready to retire anyway. I don’t see him riding the train again to Washington.

UPDATED:  Last night’s news story seems to be in error.  The renegade Republican was Joseph Cao from Louisiana.  As for me, I’ve written a very nasty letter to my anything but renegade, tied-in-the-wool wacko liberal representative Lynn Woolsey, much good that will do me.  She got returned by a 75% margin last time around.

Charles Rangel, Survivor; House Members, Stupid — by guestblogger Sadie

After House Vote, Rangel Still Ways and Means Chairman

The 6 Republicans who voted in favor of keeping the tax cheat I bet are not  running for office any time soon.
The two Dems should be rewarded with a medal.
The 246 who thought that keeping him was a good idea are in need of a dictionary and a moral compass.
300 million Americans just got ‘w’rangled.

Lie and cheat and you still get to keep your job.
No wonder Charlie hasn’t been in rush to pay his debts – it enhanced his resume.