Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can the Tea Party Deliver?

Pat Buchanan is not so sure.

NM ran up $97.8 million in unemployment overpayments in 2009; third-highest rate in the US and sixth-highest in fraud

The crummy economy has sent a lot of New Mexicans to the unemployment office in the past year but after analyzing the numbers from the US Department of Labor, some state residents are getting more benefits than they should — a lot more. Last month, the Labor Department released national figures estimating that the country overpaid by $7.1 billion in unemployment benefits for the calendar year 2009. That caused me to wonder how New Mexico fared in relation to other states. The Labor Department needed a couple weeks to complete its state-by-state breakdown and now the numbers have been released. The results? New Mexico ranks third in the country in the percentage of unemployment overpayments, with some 28.68 percent ($97.8 million) of the total benefits sent to New Mexico unemployment recipients should not have been delivered. Only Louisiana and Indiana had a worse percentage. And New Mexico sixth in the nation in the rate of fraud for unemployment payments, with $16.8 — or 4.93 percent — stripped from the state unemployment insurance fund in 2009. Why are the numbers so bad?...more

Monday, August 30, 2010

Obama, Dems got 88 percent of contributions by TV network execs, writers, reporters

Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880. By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744...more

Spreading Hayek, Spurning Keynes

Peter J. Boettke, shuffling around in a maroon velour track suit or faux-leather rubber shoes he calls "dress Crocs," hardly seems like the type to lead a revolution. But the 50-year-old professor of economics at George Mason University in Virginia is emerging as the intellectual standard-bearer for the Austrian school of economics that opposes government intervention in markets and decries federal spending to prop up demand during times of crisis. Mr. Boettke, whose latest research explores people's ability to self-regulate, also is minting a new generation of disciples who are spreading the Austrian approach throughout academia, where it had long been left for dead. To these free-market economists, government intrusion ultimately sows the seeds of the next crisis. It hampers what one famous Austrian, Joseph Schumpeter, called the process of "creative destruction." Governments that spend money they don't have to cushion downturns, they say, lead nations down the path of large debts and runaway inflation...more

Tea Party raids McConnell's kitchen cabinet

Sen. Lisa Murkowski's apparent defeat in Alaska's Republican primary isn't just a defeat for the Republican establishment and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which -- in keeping with standard practice -- backed her renomination. The Alaska result is above all a blow to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. As with the primary defeat of Utah's Bob Bennett in the spring, challenger Joe Miller's likely win replaces a close McConnell confidant with an unaccommodating conservative. McConnell, since becoming minority leader in 2007, has built his own "kitchen Cabinet," consisting of two or three official "counsels" -- senators, handpicked by him, who attend GOP leadership meetings along with the elected party leadership. Both Bennett and Murkowski are in this inner circle. And both lost their primaries this year to conservatives running against Washington. Miller is not merely conservative, he's unyielding, supremely self-confident, and self-reliant. He will come to Washington seeing the whole town and its customs -- quite possibly including collegiality and tradition of the Senate -- as the enemy. Bennett's replacement -- former gubernatorial aide Mike Lee -- promises to be something beyond just a "balky Republican senator." Lee's stump speech sounds like a lecture on the Constitution, and how nearly everything Washington does is outside of its legitimate authority...more

Saturday, August 28, 2010


A homeschooling mom made this t-shirt for her kids.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Establishment Beware: Heads are Rolling

A definitive trend has emerged with Tuesday’s primary election results of Republican Party contests: 2010 is an anti-establishment year. Career politician Bill McCollum was defeated in the Florida gubernatorial contest by outsider Rick Scott, and incumbent Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is losing to tea party-favorite Joe Miller, who was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Couple that with incumbent Republican Senator John McCain spending $21 million to defeat former Representative J.D. Hayworth. Despite claims by U.S. News & World Report that the Arizona race sent a “mixed message,” in order to win, McCain had to run decidedly more conservative than in previous runs. He tested the political winds and got out in front of a tough challenge by running to the right, and did so convincingly to Arizona voters, winning over 60 percent of the vote. Then there’s the ascendency of another tea party candidate, Rand Paul, to the Republican nomination for Kentucky’s open Senate seat, and Marco Rubio taking the Republican nod for Senate in Florida. And the defeat of incumbent Republican Senator Bob Bennett in Utah to tea party-backed Mike Lee, plus conservatives Ken Buck and Pat Toomey in Colorado and Pennsylvania, respectively. Not to mention the victory of Sharron Angle as Republican Senate nominee in Nevada, yet another tea party favorite. See a pattern? In consequential contest after contest, heads are rolling, and the establishment is losing...more

Incumbents down, Tea Party up

The Tea Party has made itself known. This week’s Republican primaries in three states were one of the first practical applications of the movement’s growing power – three Tea Party-backed candidates appear to have snatched the Republican nomination from established candidates. But the Tea Party is still fostered under the Republican aegis, prompting some observers to ask, is the GOP about to devour itself? But that the Tea Party has increased in profile and perceived power is concerning to some: “The battle for the soul of the Republican party goes on,” the Financial Times, in one of its leading editorials, claimed. “So far, on the whole, moderation and intelligence are on the losing side.” The New York Times, in one of its leading editorials, complained, “Republican insurgents from the far right did well in Tuesday’s primaries. What their campaigns lack in logic, compassion and sensible policy seems to be counterbalanced by a fiercely committed voter base that is nowhere to be seen on the Democratic side.” And The Wall Street Journal saw the primary results as a wake-up call for the Republican Party: “GOP Members of Congress who think they can return to business as usual if they regain the majority should pay attention.” Others, however, see the wave of change coming this November as a positive sign, even if that wave is pushed along by the Tea Party. USA Today, in one of its leading editorials, noted, “We also hope that many of the anti-establishment candidates who are winning in Republican primaries this year are sincere about renouncing pork and controlling government spending.”...more

In Alaska primary, Tea Party eyes GOP lawyers warily

With the camps of two Republican primary candidates in Alaska scrambling to fly in operatives and consultants in the aftermath of a still contested vote held on Tuesday night, Tea Party leaders who backed lawyer Joe Miller are warily eying the GOP establishment legal and political teams who just arrived at Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s request. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which sent the GOP operatives to Alaska in the aftermath of the vote, is taking pains to show it is impartial to the two candidates. But several GOP sources told The Daily Caller they presumed the NRSC agents would be working to help Murkowski. “If the NRSC were to have an ulterior motive in these efforts I think that would be a mistake, as Republican leaders in Washington have to know by now that they need to earn the confidence and trust of tea party supporters,” said a top official of the Tea Party Express, Joe Wierzbicki...more

A Reason for Conservatives to Cheer

The main bright spot, for conservatives at least, has been the extraordinary rise of Rubio, a 39-year-old who briefly served as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. After Gov. Crist announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate, most observers believed he was a shoo-in. And then Rubio launched his quixotic bid, winning the tacit backing of revered former Gov. Jeb Bush and the enthusiastic support of South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, a Tea Party kingmaker second only to Sarah Palin. By forcing Crist to abandon the GOP, Rubio teed up what is likely to be the country’s most interesting and volatile Senate race...more

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shaping Tea Party passion into a campaign force

In the final days before Alaska’s Republican Senate primary, longtime Republicans were bombarded with direct mail and automated phone calls urging them to oust yet another member of their party’s jilted establishment, Senator Lisa Murkowski. Yesterday, Murkowski’s Senate career was hanging by a thread, thanks to a last-minute push by her upstart opponent, Joe Miller, a former Fairbanks judge and a Tea Party movement favorite whose candidacy had been all but written off a few weeks ago. Miller benefited from Tea Party activists, Mike Huckabee, and several other prominent conservatives who cast Murkowski as a Democratic sympathizer. In particular, Sarah Palin’s support proved to be influential. Unlike Senator John McCain, a Republican who aggressively beat back attacks from his opponent, J.D. Hayworth, in Arizona, Murkowski chose to ignore her conservative opponent — until it was too late. Inside the Beltway, a loss by Murkowski, a member of the Republican leadership, would be a staggering blow to the party’s Washington establishment, which has already seen candidates backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee tumble in Utah, Kentucky, Colorado, and Florida...more

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grand Old Tea Party Rising

Democrats are ashamed to be Democrats while establishment Republicans masquerade as Tea Partyers. These may be the ingredients of a history-making GOP comeback. A Sunday New York Times headline charges that Marco Rubio, Florida's GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, "Veers From Tea Party's Script." But the story's documentation amounted to little more than the hard-hitting Cuban-American former state speaker of the House providing more specifics regarding policy proposals. The presumption in operation here: The populist Tea Party movement is driven by little more than mindless hysteria, so when a GOP candidate's campaign unveils a substantive program, he must no longer be in the Tea Party camp. "The solution isn't just to paralyze government," Rubio told the Times. But since when has the Tea Party's opposition to the Democrats' massive federal expansion meant governmental paralysis?...more

The Republican divide: K Street vs. Tea Partiers

Bob Dole, once the standard-bearer of the Republican Party, parlayed his political clout into personal wealth, and now he’s putting that wealth to work against a conservative Republican Senate candidate in a general election. Dole, now a lobbyist at Alston Bird, contributed $1,000 on Aug. 11 to the independent Senate campaign of Charlie Crist, who left the GOP in April. Dole’s may be an extreme case — because he’s actually backing a non-Republican — but it epitomizes the fundamental split within the Republican Party. The current GOP fault line is not exactly conservatives vs. moderates or new guard vs. old guard. For 2010, the rivalry is the Tea Party wing against the K Street wing. To tell which kind of Republican a candidate is, see how the Democrats attack him: If he’s branded a shill for Wall Street, he’s from the K Street wing. If he’s labeled an extremist outside the mainstream, he’s a Tea Partier. More tellingly, study their campaign contributions. K Street Republicans’ coffers are filled by the political action committees of defense contractors, drug companies, lobbying firms, and Wall Street banks. A Tea Party Republican is funded by the Club for Growth or the Senate Conservatives Fund, which is run by the Republican leadership’s least-favorite colleague, Jim DeMint...more

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tea Party’s “Hostile Takeover”

We won’t delve too deeply into former U.S. Majority Leader Dick Armey’s role in the aborted “Republican Revolution” of 1994, but it’s safe to say that the Texan wasn’t on the right side of the demarcation line between true fiscal conservatism and political expediency. In fact, only a handful of the “Revolutionaries” were on the right side of that line, which is why their movement died a quick death. Now, with establishment Republicans like U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham predicting a quick death for the Tea Party movement, Armey is back in the mix – promoting the longevity of the movement in a Wall Street Journal column that also promotes his new book on the subject. We’re frankly not convinced – and have never been convinced – that the Republican Party is the proper political vehicle for advancing the ideals of the Tea Party movement. We’re also increasingly concerned that the same big spending establishment politicians who previously infected the GOP ranks are now infecting the Tea Party as well. Armey is correct, however, when he concludes that the Tea Party “community” will indeed sustain itself after November, and that Republicans who betray the principles he articulates in his column will not last long in public office...more

'Crash the Tea Party' teacher resigns as his dismissal loomed

Beaverton middle school teacher Jason Levin, who founded the now notorious "Crash the Tea Party" website, is no longer a teacher. Levin resigned Wednesday in lieu of termination, said Beaverton School District Legal Counsel Camellia Osterink. District officials would not say why Levin was facing dismissal, but that it followed an internal investigation into his use of public resources and time spent at school. "There was some question whether that conduct occurred during the work day," Osterink said of Levin's work on the website. Reached today, Levin said, "My attorney has advised me not to comment." His attorney, Adam Arms of Portland, could not be immediately reached. Levin, a media lab technology teacher at Conestoga Middle School, drew international attention last spring after creating crashtheteaparty.org. The now defunct site had said it was part of a national movement to "dismantle and demolish the tea party by any nonviolent means necessary." The site encouraged people to infiltrate the tea party, then misspell protest signs, make wild claims during interviews and perform other public actions that would damage the public's opinion of the tea party...more

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tea Party coalition forming to push for balanced budget amendment

A new Tea Party coalition is in the works, The Daily Caller has learned, to begin an organized push for an amendment to the constitution requiring that the federal budget be balanced every year. One activist describes the effort as the logical next step for the movement that burst onto the scene early last year in response to government bailouts and stimulus packages. The coalition, named BBA Now, as in Balance Budget Amendment Now, plans to officially unveil its three-year plan in September, director of coalitions Kellen Giuda said in an interview. Part of the campaign includes petitioning 2010 congressional candidates, as well as presidential candidates in 2012, to sign a pledge in support of the effort. A balanced budget amendment restricts the government from spending more than its projected revenue every year, except for in times of war or a national emergency. BBA Now was formed out of the Renewing American Leadership organization, whose honorary chairman is Newt Gingrich and whose mission is to “preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.” More than 80 groups have signed up to be part of the Common Sense Balanced Budget Amendment Campaign coalition...more

Tea Party-Style 'Shadow A Senator' Initiatives Planned By Green Groups To Push Climate Legislation

Remember those chaotic town hall meetings last summer with irate Tea Partiers confronting Congress members about death panels and socialized medicine? A coalition of activist-oriented green groups are drawing inspiration from those town-hall scenes in a new push to force senators to answer for their failure to pass clean-energy legislation. 350.org, 1Sky, Clean Energy Works, the Blue Green Alliance, and other groups are urging volunteers to track down swing-vote senators during the August congressional recess. 350.org says it's already signed up more than 2,500 volunteers to track down senators (both Republican and Democrat) at recess events. "[L]et senators know it's not okay to quit working to stop climate change," says 350.org. "The basic idea is to attend an event where your senator is speaking. Have a few friends stand outside with signs, and then have one or two people inside the event and ask the senator when they plan to actually pass a climate bill."...more

Clever Leaders Are Plundering Our Freedoms

How did we get to the point where many people feel that the America they have known is being replaced by a very different kind of country, with not only different kinds of policies but very different values and ways of governing? Something of this magnitude does not happen all at once or in just one administration in Washington. What we are seeing is the culmination of many trends in many aspects of American life that go back for years. Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the institutions set up by that Constitution are enough to ensure the continuance of a free, self-governing nation. When Benjamin Franklin was asked what members of the Constitutional Convention were creating, he replied: "A republic, madam, if you can keep it." In other words, a constitutional government does not depend on the Constitution but on us. To the extent that we allow clever people to circumvent the Constitution, while dazzling us with rhetoric, the Constitution will become just a meaningless piece of paper, as our freedoms are stolen from us, much as a pickpocket would steal our wallet while we are distracted by other things...more

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tea Party book says McCain missed opportunity in 2008 to come out against TARP

Arizona Sen. John McCain missed an opportunity during the 2008 presidential election to save his “sinking Republican ticket” when he supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) legislation, according to a new book on the Tea Party movement co-authored by former GOP leader Dick Armey that hits bookshelves today. “It was, we believe, a unique opportunity for the sinking Republican ticket to revive its standing with the American people and distinguish itself from a discredited Republican establishment,” write Armey and co-author Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, in “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.” TARP called for the government in 2008 to purchase $700 billion in assets from troubled financial institutions — legislation that is often referred to as the impetus for the modern day Tea Party movement. “But that didn’t happen,” they write of the Republican presidential candidate, “and the McCain campaign never recovered. Republicans were tarred with TARP, even though the entire Democratic leadership had carried the legislation, on their terms, to President Bush’s desk.”...more

A Tea Party Manifesto

The tea party movement has blossomed into a powerful social phenomenon because it is leaderless—not directed by any one mind, political party or parochial agenda. The criteria for membership are straightforward: Stay true to principle even when it proves inconvenient, be assertive but respectful, add value and don't taking credit for other people's work. Our community is built on the Trader Principle: We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. These were the principles that enabled the Sept. 12, 2009 taxpayer march on Washington to be one of the largest political protests in the history of our nation's capital. The many branches of the tea party movement have created a virtual marketplace for new ideas, effective innovations and creative tactics. Best practices come from the ground up, around kitchen tables, from Facebook friends, at weekly book clubs, or on Twitter feeds. This is beautiful chaos—or, as the Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek put it, "spontaneous order." Decentralization, not top-down hierarchy, is the best way to maximize the contributions of people and their personal knowledge. Let the leaders be the activists who have the best knowledge of local personalities and issues. In the real world, this is common sense. In Washington, D.C., this is considered radical...more

Main Street is reasserting its power over the ruling class

Its inception was not a reaction to President Obama taking office, and it certainly has nothing to do with the politics of race. If Sen. John McCain had won the election, the Tea Party movement would have arrived on the scene just as quickly. The movement has nothing to do with Democrat versus Republican politics and power. It has everything to do with the American people versus the hubris of politics as usual in Washington. The existence of the Tea Party movement is Main Street America's indictment against the ruling class. The movement was in gestation for years, in the hearts and minds of a multitude of citizens concerned about the path down which progressive policies have been taking us. The pent-up reaction to our progressive government is enormous, with only a small portion now revealed, just as warm earth and a trickle of lava may presage a volcanic eruption. We are seeing the early stages of the eruption - not of violence and harsh words, but an eruption of sanity and reason, of stewardship and goodwill. We witness the dawn of the Tea Party movement not because someone has directed its members to participate in it through the machinations or stratagems of any political party, lobbying group or activist organization. Participants have emerged for one reason only:They know in their hearts and they feel in their souls the unalienable rights endowed by their Creator - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At the same time, Tea Partiers sense that our present government seems increasingly antithetical toward these natural rights, and a threatening enmity exists...more

James J. Kilpatrick, Conservative Voice in Print and on TV, Dies at 89

James J. Kilpatrick's in-your-face, conservative bickering with liberal commentator Shana Alexander three decades ago was famously parodied — and then copied for years to come on broadcast and cable channels. Even more lasting: his contributions as the nation's most widely syndicated political columnist and a dozen books on everything from politics and the U.S. Supreme Court to the use and abuse of the English language...more

I got to meet Kilpatrick once, briefly, when he was covering a Senate hearing. I'm not completely sure, but believe it was a hearing where Joseph Coors was nominated to be on the FCC, and during which Senator Lowell Weicker (a liberal Republican) famously asked Coors, "Are you now, or have you ever, been a member of the John Birch Society."

I remember Kilpatrick most because of his writing style, and his later columns titled "Covering Courts" where he wrote about the Supreme Court and other important court decisions.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Armed rally held near Capitan

It wasn't the largest armed rally in U.S. history, as organizers had hoped, but an estimated 350 people attended the"Restore the Constitution Western Rally," held Saturday near Capitan. The event, held on private land owned by Billy Weddige eight miles north of Capitan on Highway 246, coincided with an Eastern rally staged in Greensboro, N.C. It was broadcast live on at least 12 radio stations, with a feed by Ruidoso's KEDU-FM. Supporters of various political candidates set up booths and passed out pamphlets while prominent members of both major political parties were in attendance. A Nogal-based band, the Longhorn Dance Band, entertained the crowd with county music. At least half the attendees carried weapons, from M-16 rifles to pistols as an affirmation of the Second Amendment that gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms. But the rally reached beyond the Second Amendment in support of states' rights, enforcement of immigration laws, the Bill of Rights and other articles and amendments of the Constitution. Among the speakers was Steve Pearce, a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. Another speaker was Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, author of the controversial SB 1070 immigration bill...more

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rose Garden Thorn

When the president urged Congress last week to pass $26 billion in emergency aid to help save the jobs of laid-off teachers, one of his human props was out of place. It was a mistake he may regret. Flanked in the Rose Garden by teachers, President Obama said last Tuesday: "We can't stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe." The scene didn't look unusual. Next to Obama during his morning plea from the Rose Garden were two teachers, one of them Shannon Lewis, who had been laid off at Hampshire High School in West Virginia. Everything looked so normal that we even included in our I&I pages a photo of her at the evening bill signing. But Lewis wasn't laid off because the government could no longer afford to pay her. She was laid off "because of an enrollment decline in Hampshire County," the Charleston Daily Mail reports. "Even if the state were in boom times, the current school aid formula would not support her salary." Which brings up a question the White House is going to wish hadn't been asked: How many other teachers are there who, like Lewis, lost their jobs not because of low tax revenues but simply because they were not needed, and will now be paid ... for what? There might not be many. But this question leads to another place the White House doesn't want to go: Public school employment, the Cato Institute reported in its @ Liberty blog, has increased 10 times faster than public school enrollment since 1970 — and the result has been stagnant test scores...more

The Tea Party's Image Problem

Democratic and progressive leaders have worked hard to paint the Tea Party as the dangerous radical right-wing conservative contingency of the Republican Party -- despite the fact that many Tea Party activists are disgusted with the GOP as well. In 2010, controversial incidents (such as the alleged spitting incident during the large Tea Party protest this spring in Washington, D.C.) and obvious blunders from noteworthy Tea Party leaders (like the Rand Paul statement about the Civil Rights Act, and Mark Williams' blog post about slavery) hit the Tea Party brand hard. Now the negatives are outweighing the positives. In a recent North Carolina Civitas poll, 33 percent of respondents currently have an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party movement; 31 percent have a favorable view. That prompts some questions: Between the select gaffes and bouts of inappropriateness -- coupled with efforts from the left -- has the image of the Tea Party movement been permanently marred? Has the best conservative grass-roots movement in decades been derailed because of a growing image problem over charges of racism and extremism? The only question for conservatives, however, is whether they have learned from the past or are doomed to repeat it...more

Libertarianism v Conservatism Debate

Libertarianism v Conservatism Debate from Students For Liberty on Vimeo.

Friday, August 13, 2010

NV Senate Hopeful Cancels AZ Tea Party Appearance

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle has canceled her scheduled appearance at a weekend tea party rally near the Mexican border in Arizona. Angle spokesman Jarrod Agen says the logistics of getting Angle to the United We Stand for Americans border coalition event in Hereford, Ariz., on Sunday couldn't be worked out. He says Angle will appear Saturday at a Republican picnic in Elko, Nev., and Sunday at fundraisers in Las Vegas. Event organizer Tim Selaty Sr. calls Angle's decision to withdraw "kind of a shocker." Angle had been listed as a headliner, along with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others. AP

How to Stop the Tyrannical Judiciary

Quick quiz: What do we call a system of government in which an unelected cadre of self-professed wise men make decisions for a nation of millions, all the while insulting those millions as ignoramuses? We used to call it tyranny. Now, apparently, we call it an “independent judiciary.” It’s time for the legislature to trump the judiciary. A simple, two-step process would do it. First, Congress need only invoke its power over appellate jurisdiction and remove it for all federal cases involving issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and immigration—in fact, Congress has already limited federal judicial jurisdiction in certain immigration cases. When the courts declare such legislation unconstitutional, Congress can simply ignore them or defund the courts accordingly. This is hardly a radical suggestion. It is well within the constitutional scheme, which foresaw gridlock and friction as a central goal to checking the growth of government. The true defenders of the Constitution must be the people. The courts pretend to care about the Constitution, but in truth, they care only about their own political preferences. Our elected officials aren’t much better—but at least we elect them. Our only hope for a true republic of limited government and popular sovereignty lies in ourselves. Any delegation of that ultimate constitutional power to an oligarchy of unelected lifetime tenure politicians means that we no longer live under a system that retains the consent of the governed...more

Some Job-Screening Tactics Challenged as Illegal

Companies using criminal records or bad credit reports to screen out job applicants might land afoul of anti-discrimination laws as the government steps up scrutiny of hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics. A blanket refusal to hire workers based on criminal records or credit problems can be illegal if it has a disparate impact on racial minorities, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency enforces the nation's employment discrimination laws...more

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Like conservatives, independent voters are turning on Big Government

Just three months away from the midterm elections, in a cycle marred by anemic economic growth and high unemployment, any political party holding the White House and 59 percent majorities in the House and Senate would have plenty to worry about. But beyond the fragile state of the economy, the expected 1 million foreclosures this year, and dispiriting job numbers, something more basic is striking at the heart of President Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress who have pursued a boldly activist agenda. Many Americans, particularly independent voters, seem to be changing their minds and seeing the role of government in a somewhat different light. By a few points, independent voters had generally sided with Democrats in favor of the government doing more, but they significantly changed their tune beginning last September. More than half, 56 percent, said then that government was doing too many things, and only 35 percent said that government should do more. In the five polls that began that month, the "less government" opinion won out by 10-to-21 points among independents, most recently in June 2010 by 15 points, 55 percent to 40 percent. That survey obviously came after the House voted for cap-and-trade legislation and after the health care reform battle was fully engaged. Such a decisive shift in swing voters' attitudes about government's proper role will inevitably have electoral and policy implications...more

'Tea party' groups plan Arizona rally against illegal immigration

"Tea party" groups are planning a large rally on Sunday in Arizona, near the Mexican border, to support both the state's hard-line stance on illegal immigration and the political campaign of the local talk show host who is challenging Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Candidate J.D. Hayworth, a former congressman turned conservative radio commentator, is one of dozens of scheduled speakers for the morning rally on a remote ranch about 100 miles south of Tucson. Others include Sharron Angle, the Republican challenging Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D) in Nevada, and Sue Krentz, the wife of a rancher killed near the rally site. Although tea party groups have long argued for harsher penalties against illegal border crossers, this will be the first large-scale rally on the U.S.-Mexican border, Selaty said. Some participants say it could be as large as the one held in March in Reid's home town of Searchlight, Nev., when thousands joined former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to oppose Reid and protest the health-care overhaul...more

Tea Party sees national role for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann

What’s in Michele Bachmann’s future? The Republican congresswoman from Minnesota formed the Tea Party Caucus in the House last month, increasing her visibility as a leader among the Tea Party faithful. Then she filed papers last week to start her own political action committee, MichelePAC, something befitting a person with a national following. She’s now signaled to Tea Party leaders that she’ll sign the Contract from America, a list of legislative priorities from Tea Party activists that’ll endear her even more to the movement that sees her as a rock star. Ask Tea Party activists about what this means for her, and there’s no surprise: they could envision her stepping into several sorts of higher profile jobs...more

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tea Party Favorite Ken Buck Wins CO-SEN GOP Primary

In the end, voters overlooked the gaffes. Ken Buck has beaten Republican Party establishment favorite Jane Norton in the Colorado Senate primary, having survived a number of caught-on-tape gaffes that plagued his campaign's closing days. Buck leads Norton 52%-48%, with 76% of precincts reporting. The Associated Press has called the race for Buck. Buck, the Weld County District Attorney, has positioned himself as a Tea Party candidate, in contrast with Norton, a former Lt. Governor and a favorite of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Buck led in the polls since June, despite a number of high profile miscues. At a campaign event, in apparent response to a Norton ad calling on him to "be man enough," Buck said voters should pick him because he "does not wear high heels."...more

Federal workers earning double their private counterparts

At a time when workers' pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees' average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY analysis finds. Federal workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row. The compensation gap between federal and private workers has doubled in the past decade. Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available. The federal compensation advantage has grown from $30,415 in 2000 to $61,998 last year...more

Doctors Hold Tea Party

Our colleagues at Missouri Watchdog report on a new kind of Tea Party, one held by physicians. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons organized five regional National Doctors Tea Party events to protest the Obama health care legislation. Missouri Watchdog reports on the Kansas City event. Other events tooks place in Austin, Texas; Valparaiso, Indiana; New Brunswick, New Jersey; and San Diego, California. In our reporting on the Albuquerque Tea Party we have encountered many physicians, nurses, dentists and others in the health care field who are part of that movement. Rick Morlen, a member of the ATP’s Board of Directors, is a surgeon. A former member of the ATP Board runs an optician’s office...more

Doctors Are Government Employees

But there’s one thing doctors never talk about, even though it easily explains the problems patients have in getting good treatment and doctors have in providing it: Doctors are government employees. I’m not talking about only the doctors that work in the Veterans’ Administration or the hospitals run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I’m not talking about the training centers known as county hospitals, where students learning the practice get to make mistakes on poor people prior to actually going out in the real world. I’m talking about all doctors — because the government contributes about 50 percent of all health care dollars to physician pay. And another 40 percent is contributed by third-party payers that are themselves highly regulated by government and routinely follow the government’s lead in pricing...more

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Washington Wire Q & A: Gary Johnson

Libertarianism is enjoying a recent renaissance in the Republican Party. Texas GOP Rep. Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll earlier this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference, then his son Rand, running on a largely libertarian platform, ousted a more traditional Republican to become the GOP’s Senate nominee in Kentucky. Now, it appears that former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, known mostly as a vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana, is positioning himself to test that momentum in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. Johnson, 57-years-old, has formed a political committee, the Our America Initiative, to pay for his travels across the country, including to key political hot spots such as New Hampshire and, last week, Florida. Is the GOP ready for a pro-legalized pot, anti-war candidate? Washington Wire spoke with Johnson about drugs, spending, gay marriage, war, and some new self-reflection on how pure his libertarianism really is. Here’s an excerpt...more:

Gary Johnson ‘flattered’ that Ron Paul mentions him for 2012

Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul told The Daily Caller in June that if he doesn’t run again for president in 2012, there’s someone else with similar libertarian-leaning views he could see himself supporting: former Republican New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. “I thought that was terrific,” Johnson said in a phone interview with The Daily Caller. “You know, I’m a Ron Paul fan. I endorsed Ron Paul in his run for president, so I did see that, and I was flattered by it.” But that’s all the former governorwould say about any sort of presidential ambitions, invoking hisoften-repeated reason that because he’s chairman of a 501(c)(4)organization — whose primary focus by law cannot be politicalcampaigning — he can’t discuss his political future. “I can’t betalking about political office,” he said. Yet 2012 is obviously at least somewhat on his mind as Johnsonmentions that former Republican Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who ranfor the GOP nomination in 2008, operated under an independent expenditure organization — and not a PAC — before announcing his run...more

It's a Tea Party at the Newsstand as Conservative and Gun Magazines Grow

The citizens of Red State America are hopping mad, and they're doing something about it: buying magazines. Among the fastest-growing publications in the first half of 2010 were a slew of titles for gun lovers, hunters, conservatives and NASCAR fans, according to figures just released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. They include Newsmax, the right-wing title whose publisher recently made an unsuccessful bid to buy Newsweek, which was up 92.6% in circulation, with an average of 181,985 readers; NASCAR Illustrated, up 33.7% to 123,603; and America's 1st Freedom, a publication of the National Rifle Association, which was up 22.6% to 606,669. American Rifleman, American Hunter and North American Hunter all also made the list of the 25 fastest-growing titles, as did All You, the Time Inc. (TWX) women's magazine that's only sold at Walmart (WMT) stores...more

Does the Tea Party have a money problem?

How far can a grassroots movement go in changing the direction of American politics without becoming a cash-generating machine? Politico asks the question about the Tea Party movement, which thus far has not focused on fundraising as much as it has on organizing and protest events. Could their success become a flash in the pan without building a financial infrastructure? For a political movement with such a broad impact, the future seems somewhat murky. Will the Tea Party movement be satisfied with turning out Democrats in the upcoming midterms? Will it continue to gather energy long enough to help make Barack Obama a one-term President and put Republicans back in charge? If so, activists will have to start planning for long-term funding and embrace some of the parts of politics that has until now been distasteful for these grassroots...more

Government-Sponsored Mortgage Giant Seeks $1.8 Billion More in Bailouts

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac is seeking $1.8 billion more in bailouts from the federal government. This mortgage giant, and its sister company, Fannie Mae, are expected to ultimately receive over $400 billion in bailouts. Fannie and Freddie helped spawn the mortgage crisis by buying up risky sub-prime mortgages and repackaging them as prime mortgages, thus creating an artificial market for junk. Meanwhile, they paid their CEOs millions, and engaged in massive accounting fraud–$6.3 billion at Fannie Mae alone–to increase the size of their managers’ bonuses. As Government-Sponsored Enterprises, they were exempt from the capital requirements that apply to private banks, so they did not have enough reserves to cover their losses when their mortgages started defaulting. Even administration officials admit they were a “core part of what went wrong” in our financial system. But the recent financial “reform” law signed by Obama does nothing to reform these mortgage giants. Instead, it’s 2,315 pages of payoffs for special interests. (Obama received $125,000 in contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives.)...more

Monday, August 9, 2010

America Is at Risk of Boiling Over

The biggest political change in my lifetime is that Americans no longer assume that their children will have it better than they did. This is a huge break with the past, with assumptions and traditions that shaped us. The country I was born into was a country that had existed steadily, for almost two centuries, as a nation in which everyone thought—wherever they were from, whatever their circumstances—that their children would have better lives than they did. That was what kept people pulling their boots on in the morning after the first weary pause: My kids will have it better. They'll be richer or more educated, they'll have a better job or a better house, they'll take a step up in terms of rank, class or status. Parents now fear something has stopped. They think they lived through the great abundance, a time of historic growth in wealth and material enjoyment. But they look around, follow the political stories and debates, and deep down they think their children will live in a more limited country, that jobs won't be made at a great enough pace, that taxes—too many people in the cart, not enough pulling it—will dishearten them, that the effects of 30 years of a low, sad culture will leave the whole country messed up. But do our political leaders have any sense of what people are feeling deep down? They don't act as if they do. I think their detachment from how normal people think is more dangerous and disturbing than it has been in the past. But I've never seen the gap wider than it is now. I think it is a chasm...more

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tea Party Imposters

In New Jersey, a "Tea Party" candidate surfaces but local activists haven't heard of him. In Michigan, a Democratic operative appears closely tied to a slate of candidates running under the Tea Party banner. In Florida, conservative activists are locked in court over the right to use the Tea Party name. The list of peculiar Tea Party happenings goes on and on. As the midterm election nears, allegations are surfacing across the country that Democrats are exploiting conservatives' faith in the Tea Party name by putting up bogus candidates in November -- the claim is that those "Tea Party" candidates will split the GOP vote and clear the way for Democratic victories...more

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Republicans may be weak, but conservatives are strong

There's hope for the Democrats if you look hard enough, and some people are looking quite hard. To Jonathan Alter and Jonathan Cohn, President Obama is FDR redux, with a noble array of historical feats that have marked him for greatness. The problem is that these feats have unsettled the public, which slapped him hard in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, and can't seem to wait till November to do it again. To Jonathan Chait (if you still love Obama, you may be a "Jonathan"), this is all right, as while the president's ratings have dropped like a rock the Republicans' ratings have dropped even further, and people hate them even more. The problem is that the poll that he cites measures Obama against only Republican members of Congress, and the approval ratings of Congress, according to Gallup, stand at 11 percent. Republican members, he says, oppose Obama's agenda, and since the public dislikes them, it means they support him. By some measures, this might stand to reason. By the ones that prevail, it does not. Chait should read more of his own magazine, where William Galston, the Brookings Institution scholar who is the adult voice at the magazine's Web site, explains why this isn't the case...more

Five myths about the 'tea party'

The grass-roots conservative activists who march under the "Don't tread on me" Gadsden flag and the "tea party" label have put a new twist on Gandhi's maxim: First they were ignored; then they were ridiculed; then they began to fight. They battled health-care reform and then the Republican establishment, which became angry about the less-than-seasoned candidates it was suddenly saddled with. In short order, a movement that few people took seriously has become the most obsessed-over and overanalyzed political backlash since the 1960s. And as long as both parties are grappling with it and publishers are putting out tea party books every month, it's worth busting a few myths about the movement...more

The Rogues' Gallery Of Government

Social Security is deep in the red, the post office is losing billions, and Fannie Mae's back for another handout. These and other examples speak volumes about government fecklessness and negligence. Social Security checks mailed in 2010 will total $41 billion more than the program will collect in payroll-tax revenues, trustees reported last Thursday. The program will also run a deficit next year, before briefly returning to surpluses for a few years. Then the red ink will be back — for good — starting in 2015, a year earlier than previously projected. Some analysts believe that while deficits begin this year, 2015 is key because that's when Social Security will need permanent injections of cash from general revenues. The billions the program will require, says David C. John of the Heritage Foundation, "will make it harder to find money for other government programs or require large and growing tax increases." While digesting that grim news, don't forget Thursday's report that the U.S. Postal Service lost $3.5 billion for the quarter that ended June 30. Over the same quarter last year, the post office lost only $2.4 billion. Three-fourths of the way through its current fiscal year, losses at the Postal Service have totaled $5.4 billion. The post office's future is as dim, if not dimmer, than its past...more

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Arizona Has A Case For Billions In Damages From Uncle Sam

In federal lawsuits, defendants may answer litigation filed against them with a counterclaim against the plaintiff for damages or other relief. The Constitution of the United States mandates at Article 4: "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government ... that the United States shall protect each of them (the states) against invasion and ... against domestic violence." (Emphasis added) "Republican form of government" is defined as a republic that is a system of government in which the people hold sovereign power and elect representatives to exercise that power. To "guarantee" means to warrant or undertake that something has happened or will happen. The term "invasion" is (regarding a country or territory ) a hostile incursion. The term "shall" used in the third person singular denotes an imperative, without discretion or choice. Thus, the phrase "shall guarantee" leaves no wiggle room. Remedies for breach of guarantee are damages (expenses incurred in repairing guaranteed product) or rescission (return of product for refund of purchase price — i.e., "money back" guarantee). Recently, the federal government — the present regime in particular — has not only violated the guarantee of republican form of government and the pledge to protect Arizona from invasion and domestic violence, but has actively worked to achieve the exact opposite result...more

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

McCain, J.D. Hayworth both claim Tea Party backing

Both Arizona Republican primary challenger J.D. Hayworth and moderate incumbent John McCain claimed the support of Tea Party activists on Monday in their knock-down, drag-out fight for to be their party’s pick to run for the U.S. Senate in the state. Hayworth, a former U.S. Congressman who has campaigned as the “Consistent Conservative,” claimed the backing of a statewide coalition of Tea Party activists and “like minded” conservatives in his flagging challenge to unseat four-term incumbent McCain in the August 24 primary. On Monday, the McCain campaign shot back with a ringing endorsement of its own from Tea Party chapters in the state, praising McCain as a champion in the battle to curb wasteful pork barrel spending, and for combating Obama’s healthcare reforms and stimulus spending — all acid tests of ideological purity among conservatives...more

Have the Republicans Learned Their Lesson?

Is the Republican party ready to regain power? Probably not -- we have seen that how Republicans behave in the minority, especially under a Democratic president, is no predictor of how they will act in the majority. As steadfast as they have been against President Obama, relatively few Republicans who voted for the TARP bailout, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, or our exercise in Mesopotamian nation-building have repented. Yet it is a risk conservatives have no choice but to take. Hamstrung Democrats can paradoxically be better at stifling government growth than liberated Republicans, but ineffectual Democratic majorities are like dams: the odds of anything getting through are small, but the result of any breach is catastrophic. The Blue Dogs' sense of self-preservation failed them on the stimulus and health care, both of which cry out for repeal, with cap and trade lurking not far behind. The Democrats have now done things only Republicans can undo. The question is whether the GOP will be up to the task...more

Tea Party Movement Has Had a Positive Impact on American Politics

In the last few decades there has been no political movement comparable to the Tea Parties. The Tea Party Movement is unique because it is entirely grassroots and desires to change American politics from the bottom-up. The mainstream media and the Democratic leadership all misunderstand and grossly underestimate the movement. They have labeled it a movement of extreme right-wing nuts that are angry at having a black President, or don't want to pay taxes, or "cling to guns and religion". They are wrong. In fact, the Tea Party Movement is a mainstream "awakening" that has been long overdue and will not whither and die within a couple years as some predict. The Tea Party groups are a loose and decentralized coalition of libertarians, conservatives, disenchanted independents and moderate democrats. Tea Partiers are not a concentrated group of ideologues but a diverse collection of regular groups that are alarmed at the direction of the country...more

Monday, August 2, 2010

Judge Gives Virginia OK to Press On With Health Care Lawsuit Against Feds

The state of Virginia can continue its lawsuit to stop the nation's new health care law from taking effect, a federal judge ruled Monday. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson said he is allowing the suit against the U.S. government to proceed, saying no court has ever ruled on whether it's constitutional to require Americans to purchase a product. "While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate -- and tax -- a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce," Hudson wrote in a 32-page decision. The Commerce Clause allows the U.S. government to regulate economic activity. But Virginia argued that it's not economic activity when someone chooses to refrain from participating in commerce...more

If you are interested at all in federalism, this case seems to have it all. While about standing, the decision provides a nice summary of the issues involved. Read it here.

Conservatives rally around the Tenth Amendment

It’s only 28 words long: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” But the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution is having a powerful effect on conservative ideology these days. Libertarian activists are citing the amendment with renewed fervor and many politicians have been heard reciting it recently as well. “The reality is the Tenth Amendment really defines what the Constitution was supposed to mean,” Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, told The Daily Caller. On Capitol Hill, a group of Republican congressmen recently founded the Tenth Amendment Task Force, with the goal of “Dispers[ing] power from Washington and restor[ing] the constitutional balance of power through liberty-enhancing federalism,” according to their website. Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, one of the founders of the Task Force, told TheDC that the issue of the Tenth Amendment really resonates right now because of the ideological battle going on in Washington...more

Will Washington's Failures Lead To Second American Revolution?

The Internet is a large-scale version of the "Committees of Correspondence" that led to the first American Revolution — and with Washington's failings now so obvious and awful, it may lead to another. People are asking, "Is the government doing us more harm than good? Should we change what it does and the way it does it?" Pruning the power of government begins with the imperial presidency. Too many overreaching laws give the president too much discretion to make too many open-ended rules controlling too many aspects of our lives. There's no end to the harm an out-of-control president can do...more

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The new tea party bible

“The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations,” has a thesis with understandable attraction for tea partiers — that poorly funded groups and companies loosely organized around basic shared ideas can change society, often by outmaneuvering governments or mega-corporations. The title is based on the contrasting biology of spiders, which die when their heads are chopped off, and starfish, which can multiply when any given part is severed — a trait the book’s authors posit is shared by decentralized entities ranging from Alcoholics Anonymous to Al Qaeda to Wikipedia. The book was first published in 2006 — three years before the tea party movement burst onto the scene with mass protests against what it regarded as President Barack Obama’s unchecked expansion of government. But the idea that scrappy starfish groups can beat imposing spider institutions resonates deeply with tea partiers, who have vigilantly enforced their occasionally chaotic structure against would-be leaders, an eager GOP, and conventional Washington wisdom questioning whether an infrastructureless group can succeed in Big Money electoral politics. “This book is about what happens when there’s no one in charge,” write the book's authors, Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom. “It’s about what happens when there’s no hierarchy. You’d think there would be disorder, even chaos. But in many arenas, a lack of traditional leadership is giving rise to powerful groups that are turning industry and society upside down.”...more