Posts

The Oath of Office – Does it Really Count for Anything?

Again, Walter Williams hits the nail on the head. He may just be one of the most important conservative writers of my time, and I appreciate his style. This site is a primer for those interested in supporting a conservative platform. Not the Republican party platform, but a conservative platform. When it comes to the federal government, the oath taken by the president – as well as members of congress – defines in one sentence what they should be doing while inside the beltway.

That oath, in combination with the Constitution of the United States and amendments, provide detailed instructions for those in the executive, legislative and judicial branches. But when one takes an oath while witnesses wink and nod with the full understanding that it is a phony affirmation, how can anyone respect that leader? Read more

Money and Politics – How to Buy a Vote

No matter how often supporters of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) – a.k.a McCain-Feingold – tell us that they got the money out of politics, every day more cash is being thrown around by national politicians.

During the 2000 election cycle, campaign finance reform was the issue. Soft money had to be removed from the political machine. It was “out of control.”

The BCRA was a mixed bag for those who wanted to remove the money from politics. It eliminated all soft money donations to the national party committees, but it also more than doubled the contribution limit of hard money, from $1,000 to $2,300 per election cycle, with a built-in increase for inflation.

In addition, the bill aimed to curtail ads by non-party organizations by banning the use of corporate or union money to pay for “electioneering communications,” a term defined as broadcast advertising that identifies a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or nominating convention, or 60 days of a general election.

This provision of McCain-Feingold, sponsored by Maine Republican Olympia Snowe and Vermont Independent James Jeffords, as introduced applied only to for-profit corporations, but was extended to incorporated, non-profit issue organizations, such as the Environmental Defense Fund or the National Rifle Association, as part of the “Wellstone Amendment,” sponsored by Senator Paul Wellstone.

So what we’re left with are Political Action Committees and 527s. From boston.com:

Superdelegates get campaign cash
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor February 14, 2008 03:54 PM

Many of the superdelegates who could well decide the Democratic presidential nominee have already been plied with campaign contributions by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a new study shows.

“While it would be unseemly for the candidates to hand out thousands of dollars to primary voters, or to the delegates pledged to represent the will of those voters, elected officials serving as superdelegates have received about $890,000 from Obama and Clinton in the form of campaign contributions over the last three years,” the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported today.

About half the 800 superdelegates — elected officials, party leaders, and others — have committed to either Clinton or Obama, though they can change their minds until the convention.

Obama’s political action committee has doled out more than $694,000 to superdelegates since 2005, the study found, and of the 81 who had announced their support for Obama, 34 had received donations totaling $228,000.

Clinton’s political action committee has distributed about $195,000 to superdelegates, and only 13 of the 109 who had announced for her have received money, totaling about $95,000.

Yeah, really got the money out of politics didn’t they? All of this is perfectly legal, but the money that I send to the NRA can’t be used for political advertising in support of my positions within 30 days of a primary, or 60 days before a general election. So much for the 1st Amendment.

He Said, He Said – Congress Investigates Steroid Use

I have not thought too much about steroid use in baseball, but there is one thing that I’m certain of, Congress has specific responsibilities listed in the U.S. Constitution and there is no mention of hearing on steroids in baseball.

Fox News is covering the hearings live. Here is the opening statement from Roger Clemens.

When the commissioner of baseball named former Senate majority leader George Mitchell to run baseball’s investigation into the issue, that was fine. But why are we now in front of some Senate committee?

How did the committee get access to Clemens’ medical records? Maybe Clemens provided them, I do not know, but I feel uncomfortable with a senator reading private medical documents in this hearing; and you should too.

This is a complete waist of time and dollars. What will the result of these hearing be? Must be some federal legislation – yeah, we need more of that.

Rep. Chris Murphy Doesn’t Get It

I just stumbled across Rep. Chris Murphy’s commentary in The Hartford Courant from Feb. 3. Murphy represents Connecticut’s 5th. There is no need to repeat all the self-centered comments about how hard it is to walk over to the Democrat campaign office to ask for money so he can be reelected, but part of the second paragraph really stood out for me. It should serve as a wake-up call for all conservatives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this job. Every morning, I get to pick up the paper, read about what’s wrong in America, and then walk to work to try and fix it.

What vanity. Congressman, it’s not your job to try and fix it. Conservatives want you to stay out of it. Let me remind you about your oath of office. It’s simply about one thing.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

It’s not Congress’ job to go out there and solve every problem. That is a populist view. Populists are politicians that listen to problems in personal, or town hall-type sessions and tell the audience that they are going to fix something from the following list. The list, is not all-inclusive.

  • Health care is too expensive
  • Gasoline prices are out-of-control
  • Food is too expensive
  • I can not afford my mortgage
  • School supplies are too much money
  • Teachers are not making enough
  • My landlord just raised my rent and I think it’s too much
  • There are too many guns on the street
  • Corporations make too much money
  • The bus stop is too far away from my house

If you think I’m kidding about this list, you’re wrong. What we’ve been experiencing during the past 25 years is historic. Congress is getting involved with even the smallest issues in local towns. Paying for museums, cultural centers, fire trucks, special pre-K programs and train stations is just the obvious stuff. Congress is now involved in laying bricks for crosswalks these days, and it must stop.

Let’s start looking closely at the conservatives that are running for Congress and support those who will honor their oath, and not try to solve every problem that exists.

Shut Up and Respect My Freedom of Speech

On Friday, James Taranto had a good comment concerning the situation in Berkeley. Activists want the Marines out. Here’s the post:

Shut Up and Respect My Freedom of Speech
San Jose’s KNTV reports that the City Council of Berkeley, Calif., at its Tuesday meeting will consider backing down from its resolution denouncing the U.S. Marines, which have a recruiting center in Berkeley, as “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” This comes in the face of an effort by Republican senators to cut off $2.3 million in federal money for Berkeley. On this question, Sen. Barbara Boxer is siding against the Marines.

The station reports that one left-wing activist doesn’t quite understand the concept of free speech:

Code Pink announced they would have what they called a “24-hour peace-in” leading up to Tuesday’s city council meeting. They will be camping out but will have a lot of company. A group of pro-troop protesters will also be there.

“I was under the impression that we have the right of free speech,” said Xanne Joi of Code Pink. “To me, I thought free speech meant you get to say what you want without recrimination.”

In fact, free speech is reciprocal. Xanne Joi has the right to criminate, but the rest of us have a right to recriminate. It’s remarkable how many on the left think their free speech rights are violated when they are criticized–that is, when others exercise their free speech rights.

He’s right on of course, way-left liberals often bring this argument up. Of course they have a right to free speech, but others must be shut out. Let’s not forget the Fairness Doctrine.

One other thing about free speech, if you expect to have the right to speak in public – on the street, online or in print – you best be willing to tell us who you are. That’s the beauty of true free speech, you’re less likely to say something really stupid if others know who you are.

The Cost of Education

Walter Williams posted his column yesterday that dealt with the average cost paid – per year I assume – by public secondary education schools in the U.S. compared to other countries. He also looks quickly at the academic results posted by the U.S. Department of Education1. We’re not doing all that well; ranked 33rd in industrialized countries when it comes to math and science. (No data is available on reading due to some sort of glitch.)

Of course, democrats want to throw more cash at the problem, but a 2005 study by a good friend at windsorwatch.org clearly indicated that in the town of Windsor, Connecticut – and in the state as a whole – there is absolutely no correlation between the dollars spent per kid and academic results. As a matter of fact, there is no correlation between student to teacher ratios, class size or the number of computers in the classroom either.

The only clear correlation was between test scores and median income of the family. Well isn’t that interesting?

Of course, a democrats answer might be just to give cash directly to families to increase their median income, but we all know that won’t work.

Instead, we should be looking at those outlier towns that spend less per student and get better academic results. What are they doing differently?

1Of course, we all know that there is no authority in the U.S. Constitution to create or fund this department. That responsibility, since it is not listed specifically in the Constitution, is given to the states or the people.