Friday, December 29, 2006


This update focuses on economics. Government regulations imperil freedom and prosperity, but freedom leads to prosperity.

Walter Williams explains that the military draft misallocates resources.
William Anderson shows that the New Deal was an economic disaster.
Phyllis Schlafly explains some of the problems with globalization.
Thomas DiLorenzo explains that "sweatshops" help the poor.
Walter Williams explains the basic principles of economics.
Walter Williams argues that free trade leads to prosperity.
David Hogberg shows that business selfishly supports regulation.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006: The Year at Western

This blog was launched on February 12, 2006. Since then, we have covered a variety of events at Western Michigan University.

On February 22, Ann Coulter spoke at an event organized by the College Republicans. This upset the campus left, including columnist Ron Rikkei. I responded to his column, as did Greg. The left tried to censor our flyering. I summarize Coulter's speech, liberals' stupid questions, and the dinner afterwards.

In March, Diether Haenicke, former President of Western, and now interim President of Western, wrote an article praising our group. Liberals continued to whine about Ann Coulter's speech. Leaders of the Western Student Association discussed a tax increase, but nothing came of it. A survey of the faculty showed that they overwhelmingly disliked Judy Bailey. I criticize evolutionist Michael Ruse, who spoke on campus. Historian Paul Maier debunked The DaVinci Code. Liberals held a bizarre anti-McDonalds protest. March 31 was the one-year anniversary of Pat Buchanan's speech on campus.

In April, liberals continued their long-running living wage campaign with a dance party in the administration building. The WSA and WMU College Republicans both held elections. Graduate assistants signed enough union cards to force a vote on unionization, then overwhelmingly voted to unionize. Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued Roe v. Wade, spoke on campus.

At the end of the school year, I posted an evaluation of Judy Bailey's performance as President of Western. In May, Linda Delene, Western's Provost resigned. In June, Western changed its nondiscrimination policy to include transgendered people. Over the summer, controversy boiled over the Bailey/Delene administration's attempt to cut many graduate programs. A review was set up, and most were eventually saved. In July, Western hiked tuition by six percent.

On August 15, WMU President Judy Bailey was fired, and Diether Haenicke was appointed Interim President.

The new school year started in September. The Herald ran an article on campus politics.

The campus left kept busy. In October, I profiled the Kalamazoo Peace Center. The communist World Can't Wait hosted a speech by Scott Ritter. A column in the Herald by John Silver caused a controversy concerning foreign students. Western sold land west of campus for a million dollars below its actual value. Judy Bailey settled her lawsuit against Western.

In December, WMU's flat rate tuition policy spurred controversy. The Western Student Association achieved some positive results. Western scrapped the purchase of a downtown building.

The biggest story had to be Judy Bailey's firing. The change in leadership has been notable on campus.

Gerald Ford, RIP

He wasn't my kind of Republican, but I do like this quote:

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


This update focuses on education. Government education is costly and harmful. The liberal "diversity" movement damages education while promoting racial preferences. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is influencing American education.

Phyllis Schlafly writes that education shapes American culture.
Bob Unruh writes that Germany is persecuting homeschoolers.
Thomas Sowell writes that "diversity" doesn't improve education.
Phyllis Schlafly writes that government forces Ritalin on children.
Jonah Goldberg writes that "diversity" damages minority students.
Walter Williams shows that "diversity" means liberal racism.
Michael Chapman examines what UNESCO is teaching children.
Berit Kjos writes that UNESCO is damaging American education.
Dan Lips writes that a K-12 education costs more than $100,000 per student.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

MCRI news

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative officially becomes part of the Michigan Constitution today.

Calling liberals sore losers would be an understatement. Elitists still believe in racial discrimination, even though voters clearly rejected it.

It shouldn't be any surprise that the radical group BAMN has filed a lawsuit against the MCRI. They filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the MCRI, using the usual bogus arguments. Of course, the Gazette and other media outlets once again treat BAMN like a mainstream group, instead of the front for the communist Revolutionary Workers League that it is.

Three Michigan Universities, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University, filed suit against the MCRI and succeeded in obtaining a six-month delay before the MCRI affects them. The ruling was handed down by Federal Judge David Lawson. News Reports failed to indicate that Judge Lawson was appointed by Bill Clinton. The Universities claimed that it would be "unfair" to force them to change their policies in the middle of the admissions cycle. Evidently, they still don't think it "unfair" to discriminate based on race. Backers of the MCRI are appealing the ruling.

Meanwhile, the NAACP and ACLU have filed a separate lawsuit against the MCRI.

Civil rights organizations, including the NAACP's Detroit chapter and the American Civil Liberties Union, took their case to federal court. They argued the amendment doesn't apply because of a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case affirming universities' right to consider race in admissions. (snip)

The NAACP's Anthony said the challenge isn't meant to defy Michigan citizens who voted 58% to 42% in favor of Proposal 2, which bans race and gender-based preferences in university admissions and government hiring and contracting.

The case is meant to force an interpretation of the law, Anthony said.

He added that under the current admissions policy, U-M may consider whether an applicant is the child of an alum or from specific parts of the state, therefore race and gender should be retained, he said.
How absurd. The dubious and conflicted Supreme Court ruling that precipitated this whole mess said that racial discrimination was allowed, not required. In fact, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's opinion explicitly said that states could ban this practice if they chose to.

Legal challenges against the California measure that was the model for the MCRI didn't succeed in more liberal courts, and these likely won't either. Still, liberals will do whatever they can to preserve racial discrimination.

Western Michigan University is not challenging the MCRI. President Haenicke was a supporter of the initiative. Western is reviewing its policies to bring them into compliance with the MCRI. Western apparently won't have to change that much.

Though the review is ongoing, after studying financial-aid, admissions, and other departments and practices, Western Michigan University won't have much to change in light of a new law banning some forms of affirmative action, Interim President Diether Haenicke, said.

Meanwhile, the backers of the MCRI are planning to take the fight to other states. Jennifer Gratz has signed on with Ward Connerly's organization, and they plan to push ballot initiatives in a number of other states. If they're smart, Republicans in those states will support the initiatives, not oppose them.

Legalize Stun Guns

The Gazette reports a story of a comedian from out of state who has been charged with possessing a stun gun in Michigan. This is the latest in a long string of incidents of out-of-staters running afoul of Michigan's ban on stun guns. Many Michiganders also probably don't know that this law even exists.

Williams faces up to four years in prison and a $2,000 fine if convicted of possession of an illegal weapon. No trial date was set.
This is outrageous. This guy didn't hurt anybody, directly or indirectly. The last time I checked, real guns were still legal in Michigan. But a less-lethal alternative like a stun-gun is not.

This law needs to go. Stun guns should be legal in Michigan.

Western Scraps Building Purchase

Western has decided not to purchase a building in downtown Kalamazoo from Pfizer. From the Gazette:

Western Michigan University Foundation has nixed plans to buy Pfizer Inc.'s vacated laboratory building in downtown Kalamazoo, one year after the agreement was announced.

Pfizer's 160,000-square-foot Building 126 was set to become the WMU Downtown Science Center, home mostly to private-sector scientific companies and a portion to WMU researchers.

But, in an announcement Thursday, the university said it doesn't have the money to meet the facility's annual operating cost of $1.5 million to $2 million.
The deal drew criticism from the faculty. In this case, they were correct.

President Haenicke explained the origin of this deal.

"It was a great gesture by the previous administration to try to preserve a building,'' said Diether Haenicke, who has been Western's interim president the past four months.

The deal was announced in December 2005 when Judith I. Bailey was WMU's leader. "At the time the decision was made, we hadn't costed out carefully what the financial burden would be that arises after the building would be purchased,'' Haenicke said.
Haenicke is a gentleman, and it wouldn't be very diplomatic of him to criticize his predecessor. You can read between the lines to see what he really thought of the deal.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Real Pinochet

Augusto Pinochet, the former President of Chile, passed away December 10 at the age of 91. Typical media reports, such as this AP article, portrayed him as a dictator "who terrorized his opponents for 17 years after taking power in a bloody coup." If you heard only the standard story, you might think that Pinochet was practically another Hitler, if only on a smaller scale.

But the truth is very different.

Pinochet came to power in 1973 after leading a coup against Chilean President Salvador Allende. Liberals speak of Allende as practically a paragon of virtue and decency. The truth is that Allende was a Stalinist communist who was leading a revolution to convert Chile into a totalitarian communist country. Allende led communist forces who terrorized Chile, murdered innocents, stole land, destroyed the economy, and ended the rule of law.

Liberals never tire of praising Allende as "democratically elected." That much is true enough. Allende won all of 36% of the vote in a three-way race. That's less than the 44% that Adolph Hitler won in 1933. Just like Hitler, Allende was elected democratically, and worked to transform his country into a dictatorship. The difference is that Allende was stopped before it was too late.

The coup took place on September 11, 1973. While it was not peaceful, it was hardly the bloodbath that liberals portray. The coup was over within a few hours; about 400 combatants were killed. Allende committed suicide with a gun given to him by Fidel Castro.

Then there is the claim that Pinochet "terrorized his political opponents." This is rather like claiming that George Washington "terrorized his political opponents" without pointing out that his "political opponents" were fighting a war against him. The difference is that while the British were perhaps the best people in the world at the time, Pinochet's "opponents" were communist terrorists who were seeking to overthrow his government and impose communism on Chile.

After the coup, communists launched a terrorist campaign to overthrow Pinochet's government. The resulting conflict amounted to a small-scale civil war. During the seventeen years of Pinochet's rule, about 2300 people died on both sides of the conflict, almost half within the first few months of the coup. As late as 1986, the government intercepted an arms shipment big enough to arm 5000 terrorists and Pinochet narrowly survived an assassination attempt involving 70 terrorists.

Unlike most "dictators," Pinochet promoted liberty. Under the advice of Milton Friedman and other "Chicago school" economists, he cut taxes, cut spending, cut regulation, and privatized social security. He limited the powers of government. In almost no time, Chile's economy had recovered, and soon it experienced new levels of prosperity.

Also unlike most "dictators," Pinochet voluntarily stepped down. In 1990, after a majority of Chileans voted to restore democracy, he relinquished power. His rule provided a clean transition back to democracy. Since then, Chile has continued to prosper, and the threat of a communist takeover has faded away.

The truth about Pinochet can be found in these articles.
Patriot Enchained by William Jasper
Augusto Pinochet: A 20th Century Hero by James Whelan
Persistent Persecution of Pinochet by James Whelan
Augusto Pinochet: The Untold Story by Humberto Fontova
Pinochet's Legacy: A Free, Non-Communist Chile by Paul Weyrich

Pinochet was a consistent target of the left. While he was in power, they demanded sanctions, divestment, condemnation, and more. After he gave up power, and was no threat to anyone, liberal "human rights" kept attacking him. In 1998, he was arrested in Britain on a warrant issued by a socialist Spanish judge. This was completely illegal, but Pinochet spent the next four years under house arrest. His health deteriorating, Pinochet returned to Chile, where he spent the last four years of his life.

If Pinochet wasn't really such a bad guy after all, why is it that liberal "human rights" advocates have been so insistent that he be put on trial? Some comparisons may be illuminating.

Idi Amin was the dictator of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. During his eight year rule, he murdered 300,000 people and ate some of them. He also aided terrorists. After being ousted from power, he retired to Saudi Arabia, where he lived the final twenty-four years of his life. He never had to worry about liberal "human rights" activists putting him on trial.

Yassar Arafat was a lifelong terrorist and dictator of the Palestinian territories. He was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. He pioneered many forms of terrorism. Yet he was actually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was the most frequent visitor to the White House under President Clinton. There was never a liberal campaign to put him on trial either.

This list could go on and on. It wouldn't even be sporting to bring up how the left treats Fidel Castro.

How can it be that Pinochet is pursued while people guilty of crimes far greater than anything he was even accused of are ignored, if not praised, by the left? It becomes clear that there is a tremendous double standard for how the left judges political leaders. But why?

Pinochet's real crime was not "human rights abuses," it was being anti-communist. He saved Chile from becoming another communist dictatorship. In addition, he promoted prosperity through economic freedom, and helped to discredit socialism in the process. Liberals still hate him for it.

As Ann Coulter put it on page 323 of Treason:

Incidentally, those who would deserve a place on the Mount Rushmore of Cold War heroes include Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain and President Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Pinochet proved to the world that market economics could work in a backward Third World country on the brink of becoming the next Cuba. And the world took notice. It was a tremendous blow to the left. Pinochet did that. As with Nixon, liberals are still trying to get back at Pinochet. To this day, they are trying to put him on "trial" for "war crimes" against Communist insurgents.
Pinochet wasn't perfect; no one is. But the world was better for his actions.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


This update focuses on government. In this season of giving, government continues to take our money and freedom. Government regulations lead to many unnecessary deaths.

Lew Rockwell explains how government mismanages health care.
Walter Block explains how government regulations can kill you.
Stefan Molyneux shows that government actions are enforced by violence.
Walter Williams writes that the Founding Fathers distrusted government.
Ron Paul explains that a draft would be immoral and unwise.
James Ostrowski explains that the minimum wage hurts the poor.
Ron Paul explains that entitlement programs are heading for disaster.
James Berlau explains that the "fairness doctrine" is an attack on free speech.
Ron Paul explains that taxes take away our freedom and hurt the economy.
Ron Paul explains that spending cuts should precede tax changes.
Gary Wolfram explains why most issues cannot be decided democratically.
Ron Paul explains how government robs the Social Security system.
Phyllis Schlafly shows how government violates the Constitution.
Phyllis Schlafly explains how "domestic violence" laws damage families.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

The Death of Detroit

The city of Detroit is dying. Not only is there rampant crime, corruption, and poverty, but the city is physically decaying and being overtaken by nature.

Check out these haunting photographs of Detroit from Detroit Blog.

Liberal policies and culture have so wrecked Detroit that anyone who can leave, has. Over the past few decades, Detroit has lost half of its population.

Now Detroit is being overtaken by wild animals and vegetation. If you didn't see the picture of a tree on top of a building, go look at the pictures. Many old buildings have been torn down, fallen down, or burned down. Whole blocks have been reclaimed by nature.

One thought that comes to mind is that the environmentalist saying that "once land is developed, it is lost forever" is false. Without maintenance, land all too soon returns to the state from which it came.

Another thought is that civilization is fragile. We tend to take for granted the technology, education, and other features of modern life. Yet such things have not always existed and don't exist everywhere today. Certain specific cultural characteristics are necessary for these things to exist. Yet today, the bases of Western Civilization are under attack. The state of Detroit today is perhaps the most advanced example of what happens when liberalism goes unchecked.

Making Progress

While I'm not happy with the job that Congress is doing, I have to say that the Michigan legislature is doing a pretty decent job. Outside the limelight, they continue to pass good legislation.

The legislature passed bills to prohibit gun confiscation during emergencies, as happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The bills passed the legislature with only one dissenting vote. From the National Rifle Association:

Fairfax, VA - Michigan’s State Legislature has passed a two-bill package backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to create the state’s “Emergency Powers Protection Act” (HB 6363 and HB 6364). The new laws prevent local governments from confiscating lawfully owned firearms during a declared state of emergency, as witnessed in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

“Law-abiding Michiganders have won a significant victory in the State Legislature,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist. “The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina confirmed a fear long-held by American gun owners: the day government bureaucrats declare our Second Amendment null and void, leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless in the midst of chaos and lawlessness.

“We promised then to take measures to ensure that the Second Amendment is not another casualty during a declared emergency and we are proud to have delivered on that promise.”
Meanwhile, the legislature also passed bills restricting illegal immigration. From MIRS, via Saul:

Illegals Banned From Loans Under Bills

Illegal immigrants would be banned from taking out public housing loans or receiving financial assistance for college under a package of bills that moved to the governor's desk today.

The flagship bill, HB 5300, the House approved today says only U.S. citizens or those in the United States legally could qualify for help from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSDHA). Other bills make the same conditions apply to winning the Merit Scholarship, nursing scholarships and other higher education-based awards.

HB 5300 passed, 79-27. Support for most of the rest of the bills was in the low 80s. Opposition remained in the low 20s. Rep. Steve TOBOCMAN (D-Detroit) urged members to oppose the legislation on the basis that it needs more work.

"This would prevent people who are in the United States legally, but temporarily not citizens from buying homes and paying taxes in Michigan," Tobocman said.

Rep. Bob GOSSELIN (R-Troy), the primary sponsor of the package, told House members the legislation passed by "about 97-3" initially, but they were being asked to vote a second time because the Senate broke one of the tie bars.

Friday, December 15, 2006



Best Chapter in the country award goes to Western’s College Republicans

12/13/2006, Kalamazoo, MI — The College Republicans at Western Michigan University were awarded the “Best Chapter” award for 2006 by the College Republican National Committee. The award was presented in Lansing on Saturday to Chairman Tom Barrett.

WMU’s College Republicans have been active for many years on campus hosting speakers such as Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter, as well as influencing elections in the local community through volunteer activism. Thousands of hours were logged by College Republicans from WMU in the last election calling voters, knocking on doors, placing yard signs, and other work on various campaign activities. Many members worked on campaigns as staff members, while two members even ran for office themselves. Several College Republicans ran for precinct delegate positions and five have been selected to serve on the executive committee of the Kalamazoo County Republican Party.

“I was honored to accept such a high award on behalf of the Western Michigan University College Republicans,” said Chairman Tom Barrett. “We have put in countless hours of work on campaigns, hosting speakers, and spreading our message on campus. It is so rewarding to see this work pay off with being chosen as the best chapter in the entire country,” he added. Public Relations Vice Chairman Megan Buwalda said, “I always knew that our group was strong, but it was such a wonderful surprise to be chosen for this award.”

To be chosen groups must demonstrate activism on campus as well as involvement in electoral politics.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Michigan Constitution Under Attack

I have written in the past about the danger a constitutional convention poses to the US Constitution.

Now it appears that the same danger exists in Michigan as well. A group is plotting to hold a constitutional convention in Michigan to impose a number of terrible changes to our state's highest document.

Apparently, since the Michigan constitutional convention in 1963, voters must be asked whether they want a new constitutional convention every 16 years. Voters wisely said no in 1978 and 1994. We will be asked again in 2010.

The group that wants a constitutional convention calls itself "Citizens for Michigan." Any group that has a syrupy name like that is probably up to something. Some recent examples include "One United Michigan," which turned out to be "The 42% of Michigan that Supports Racial Discrimination" and "Citizens for Kids" (gag!) , which was really "A Giant Teachers Union for Taking Your Money." It turns out "Citizens for Michigan" should really be called "Washed-up Liberal Politicians Against Michigan."

Here's a list of some of the "citizens" behind this group:

Citizens for Michigan, headed by former bond attorney John AXE, former Attorney General Frank KELLEY, longtime Macomb County Commission Chair John HERTEL and Oakland County Executive Brooks PATTERSON are scheduled to roll out 63 recommended changes to the state's 43-year-old Constitution. (snip)

Some notable group members include U.S. Rep. Joe SCHWARZ (R-Battle Creek), former Sen. Harry GAST, Debbie DINGELL, former Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGROW and former House Speaker Paul HILLEGONDS. The group received legal input from around 25 experts in their field, include Lucille TAYLOR, Mike HODGE, Doug DRAKE and Bob LaBRANT, among others.
Kelley and Dingell are liberal Democrats. Longtime readers know that I have no love for Joe Schwarz. Harry Gast was a longtime liberal State Senator. Dan DeGrow was too moderate for Dick Posthumus to support for Attorney General in 2002. Paul Hillegonds was the spokesman for "The 42% of Michigan that Supports Racial Discrimination" aka "One United Michigan." Schwarz and Gast both voted against concealed carry, and Schwarz, Gast, and DeGrow were all "victims" of term limits.

So what does this group want? Their list of demands sounds like a parody of what the most corrupt politicians would want. They want to:

Eliminate all ballot initiatives.

-Expand term limits to 12 years for executive officeholders and 12 years each for the state House and Senate. Now, all are limited to eight years, except in the House, where the limit is six years.

-Allow governors to appoint Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals members for a single 10-year term with a partisan balance on the court, rather than having justices elected to eight-year terms.

-Allow governors to appoint members of the State Board of Education and the governing boards for the state's three top-tier universities, subject to the advice and consent of the state Senate, rather than having them elected.

-Allow the collection of a mill statewide to go into a central fund to pay for school district building programs. The tax would collect $1 for every $1,000 of taxable value in residential, commercial or industrial property.

-Allow local politicians to be recalled only for nonpolitical reasons, such as malfeasance in office.

-Lower to a majority rather than a supermajority the percentage of votes needed in the state House and Senate to raise taxes.

-Require lawmakers' salaries to go up without a vote by lawmakers unless the State Officers Compensation Committee recommends a raise that exceeds inflation.

-Give the governor the right to a "pocket veto," which would kill any bills not signed by the governor within a certain number of days if the Legislature had adjourned.
So basically, the group wants to raise taxes, make it easier to raise taxes, eliminate ballot initiatives, eliminate election of Supreme Court Justices, eliminate election of education boards, lengthen term limits, increase politicians salaries automatically, and make it harder to recall politicians.

Who do these clowns think they are? I'm surprised they have the guts to show their faces in public. Apparently the group has a total of 63 recommendations. I recommend that you leave a comment on their website: Republican Michigander has more information on the group's proposals.

This needs to be stopped, and quickly.

Sundry Politics

There's plenty going on in politics...

As if corruption scandals involving Alcee Hastings and William Jefferson weren't enough, Democratic Representative Jim McDermott has been cited for violating House ethics rules. Back in 1996, a couple of Democratic hacks illegally taped the conversation of several House GOP leaders and gave the tape to McDermott, who passed it on the New York Times. Will all the liberals concerned about illegal wiretapping demand McDermott's resignation?

A new study suggests that Dick DeVos might have won if he had endorsed the MCRI instead of opposed it. (Scroll 3/4 down.)

If Republican gubernatorial nominee Dick DeVOS had received the votes of the Republicans, ticket splitters and only 5 percent of the Democrats who voted yes on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) and for Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM, he would have won the 2006 election, a recent report concluded.
It's still a mystery why so many Republican leaders thought they had to oppose it.

The Ohio legislature has overridden Republican Governor Bob Taft's veto to pass a bill preempting local gun control and eliminating some of the absurd restrictions in the current concealed carry law. Better late than never, I guess. Still, if Republicans in Ohio had stood up to Taft a few years ago, they might not have suffered such a drubbing in November. Taft imposed several huge tax increases on Ohio, taking it from a low tax state to a high-tax state. He resisted concealed carry incessantly, opposed the state marriage amendment, and reneged on his pro-life position. He was also convicted of a crime while in office. The Taft case illustrates the danger of putting partisanship over principle.

Portage Government Schools are considering a massive $145,000,000 tax increase. Following the voter approval of tax increases for KRESA, KPS, a new juvenile home, and the local bus system, why wouldn't they? Will the voters ever say no to higher taxes? Another tax increase for a new county jail is on the horizon, by the way.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Taxpayer Heroes

Since the election, it has been disappointing to see that many elected Republicans appear not to have learned anything from the drubbing they suffered a month ago.

They elected basically the same leadership as before, rejecting conservative reformers Mike Pence and John Shadegg.

More disturbing, despite talk of reform, is that many in Congress went right back to budget-busting spending and earmarking following the election. The annual budget trainwreck has become a tradition in Congress, with Congressmen waiting until the last minute to pass major spending bills and often relying on continuing resolutions to extend the deadline.

This year, Congress only managed to pass the Defense and Homeland Security appropriation bills. This was actually a victory for conservatives, since it prevented appropriators from holding them hostage to their demands for more pork. After the election, appropriators planned to pass bills loaded full of unnecessary pork spending.

All that stood in their way: Senators Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint.

Coburn and DeMint are true conservatives and taxpayer heroes. Both previously served in the House of Representatives. Coburn was famous for fighting wasteful spending in the House. His tactics, including a "filibuster" composed of hundreds of amendments to eliminate waste earned him the ire of Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey. DeMint was the leader (along with Mike Pence) of conservative efforts to stop the disastrous Medicare Prescription Drug bill. Both beat candidates favored by the party establishment in primaries before winning their seats in 2004. Both were aided substantially by the Club for Growth in their campaigns.

Coburn and DeMint used parliamentary procedure to hold up the appropriations bills unless congressional leaders would agree to strip 10,000 earmarks from the bill. The appropriators could have shut down the government, but that would have sparked a fight they would lose. Congressional leaders eventually passed a continuing resolution to fund the government until the Democrats take over.

The question now is what the Democrats will do. They could pass a continuing resolution for the rest of the year, in which case Coburn and DeMint will have saved taxpayers billions. Or they could try to load the bills full of their own pork projects. Given that many Democrats ran as "fiscal conservatives" opposed to a "culture of corruption" it will be interesting to see what they do.

Interestingly, this incident provides additional evidence for my thesis that pork spending has nothing to do with winning reelection. Robert Novak's original report on this subject list the prime appropriators involved as Robert Byrd, Thad Cochran, Jerry Lewis, and Kent Conrad, and his later report adds Ted Stevens and Bill Young. None of these people are even the slightest bit endangered. Besides, all of this occurred after the election. If pork wins elections, why do it now?

While many in Washington are resolved to continue wasting money, there are still a few real fiscal conservatives. Coburn and DeMint are heroes who deserve our thanks and support.

What is a Republican?

While I was home for Thanksgiving this year I talked to some friends of mine who aren't too into politics (at least not like most of the people in the WMU College Republicans) and I had an interesting talk. One person I talked to declared himself as a Democrat. When I asked why, his main arguements surrounded around the idea that Bush is stupid, Ann Coulter's a stupid blonde (even though he said he never read any of her stuff), and baseless attacks like that. He couldn't even name any of the core components of conservatism (less government, personal responsibility, etc.). The other person I talked to was a Republican. But this person couldn't say more to why that's the case than that they like George Bush. Now these are all pretty weak reasons to be on either side of the fence. All of this got me thinking. How often do we share the heart of conservatism with those around us? How often do we discuss what makes someone a conservative or a liberal? I don't think we do this very often.

I know this post is kind of random and all, but I have to admit, it has been something I've been really questioning. And I also think it's something that we need to concern ourselves with. If you want non-political TV for more than 20 minutes, you will probably hear someone make a joke about Bush being stupid. And I think that's driving a lot of public opinion about the Republican party. What should be driving public opinion about the Republican party is the true ideas of conservatism. So I guess consider this a call. Next time you run into someone who hates the Republican party, ask them why. If they say things like "Bush is an idiot and Cheney shot his friend" have them put that aside and talk about the ideas behind the Republican party. I think one mistake a lot of people out there make is they think Bush, Cheney, and those in DC are the Republican party. That's not true. I'm a part of the Republican party. The WMU College Republicans are part of the Republican party. Our conservative friends over at Michigan State are part of the Republican party. Without us, the people who do the majority of the voting in the party, there is no Republican party. So point out why you are a Republican. It's not about people, it's about ideas. And when you get people talking about ideas, I think they'll have a hard time finding problems with the party. And if they're a Republican but can't say why, tell the why you're a Republican. Now that we're done with an election, I can't think of a better use of our time until the next one comes around.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


This update focuses on health care. Illegal immigration is bankrupting many American hospitals. Liberals continue to push for socialist medicine. Government regulations are causing most of America's existing health care problems. A law passed by Senator Ted Kennedy created the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) that are often criticized today.

R. Cort Kirkwood shows that illegal immigration is bankrupting hospitals.
John Stossel says we should not get health care from employers.
Ron Paul explains that government regulations created HMOs.
Greg Franke debunks liberal myths about access to health care.
Ron Paul writes that government regulations damage American health care.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

WSA gets results?

Much to my surprise, it appears that the Western Student Association, WMU' s student government, has actually achieved some positive results recently. In particular:

WSA Vice-President Drew Hooley wrote a resolution asking that the hours of operation of the Bernhard Center's Bronco Mall be extended. The resolution was passed overwhelmingly by the senate. Following this, the administration changed the Bronco Mall's hours to be open all night on weekdays.

WSA President Mandy Grove wrote a resolution asking that the limit on the number of pages printed per student per semester be increased to 500 from 250. After heated debate and several amendments, the resolution was passed. The department that runs many of the computer labs on campus made the requested change.

WSA Vice-President Drew Hooley presented concerns to the administration about library hours. WMU's library previously had the fewest hours of operation of any major university in Michigan. The administration recently increased the hours on Sunday through Friday significantly.

None of these may count as "big issues," but little issues like these affect the quality of a student's experience on campus. Besides, I wouldn't trust the WSA to decide American foreign policy anyways.

The WSA has very little power, and that's a good thing. It seems that the WSA is at its best when it stays away from issues that it can't do anything about (Iraq, the minimum wage), and focuses on issues that affect Western. The WSA can't decide these issues by itself, but it can relay students' concerns to the administration. It can't make the administration do something it doesn't want to do, but it can raise issues that the administration is not aware of.

Of course, a key to making this happen is having an administration that cares about the concerns of students. The previous administration simply didn't do this. Interim President Haenicke has turned around the university.

Don't get me wrong. The WSA still wastes time and money. I have criticized the notion of "student government" before. But at least now it has achieved some positive results.

Michigan Republican Youth Vice-Chairman

There is an interesting race shaping up for Michigan Republican Party Youth Vice Chairman. From Saul's blog:

Yesterday, I also received a call from two College Republicans who are running for the Youth Vice Chairman position. One is Trevor Pittsley, who worked this last cycle at the State Party as our Youth coordinator and the other is Matt Hall who is the Chair of the WMU College Republicans. Both of these guys are motivated, excited and dedicated to helping get more and more of our young people involved in our party. As they call around, talk to these guys about their plans, encourage their activities and I'm confident we will continue to build on the successes of the past.
One correction: Matt Hall was Chairman of the WMU College Republicans 2003-2005.

Rogers' Campaign Wastes Taxpayers' Money

Jack Hoogendyk finally officially won Friday. The recount turned out much the same as the initial count. There was never any chance that the result would be overturned, but Julie Rogers managed to waste taxpayers money on an unnecessary exercise. On Thursday, we sent out the following press release.

Western Michigan University College Republicans

For immediate release

Rogers' campaign wastes taxpayers' money

Oshtemo- The 61st house district recount in Oshtemo yielded no significant change from the previously reported totals from November 7th. As of 4:45 PM, 33 of the 49 precincts had been hand counted, and a net change of only 7 votes was recorded after Representative Hoogendyk had a 474 votes on election night.

Western Michigan University College Republican Chairman Tom Barrett said “Julie Rogers continues to further waste our tax dollars on a recount that will not change the outcome of this election. The voters have spoken and they chose Jack Hoogendyk. Rogers should have more respect for the electoral process and concede. I hope that the voters of the 61st district remember her waste of their tax dollars if she asks for their vote in the future.”

Many poll watchers came from as far as Lansing to make sure a fair recount took place. Rogers has yet to concede the election, even based on the latest totals, and the recount is scheduled to resume on Friday morning at 8:30.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Proud of Gazette election endorsement

From the Gazette:

Proud of Gazette election endorsement

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

By Tom Barrett

I am writing to respond to the two letters criticizing the Kalamazoo Gazette for having endorsed me. I am proud of my endorsement from the Gazette, and I believe that they made the best choice. In fact, my opponent did not even show up to our interview with the editorial board.

Obviously, the voters chose my opponent on election day, but I am proud of the campaign I ran and I have no regrets about the effort put forth by myself and the scores of friends, family, volunteers and contributors, and I am grateful to those voters who supported me and believed in my message.

In response to letter-writers Professor Edith M. Fisher and her student, Jennifer L. Anderson, my friend Matt Hall and I did not ``invade'' her classroom as she claims. We were unaware that she was teaching a class at the time that we approached her to recover our materials advertising an event we were hosting that evening.

Fisher, as well as several of her students, had defaced or removed hundreds of our fliers, going so far as to stab the eyes out of one and impale it with a Mexican flag. What this display taught about women's studies, the class that was supposedly being taught, is still unclear. I am proud to attend a university that is committed to diversity, freedom of thought and discussion of all points of view, not one that condones silencing of certain groups because one does not agree with their message.

I have a good conduct medal that I was awarded while serving our country overseas in the Army, and I have never been arrested or been in trouble with the law. To imply that I am unworthy to serve our community is an insult. Some even went so far as to mock my military service following this unfortunate incident.

Both Matt Hall and I offered a written apology to the students in the class and told them that we never intended to disrupt them. I am a responsible student at Western Michigan University where I have made the dean's list several semesters. Any one of the countless voters I met in my campaign observed me acting courteously, respectfully, knowledgeably and committed to my campaign. Instead of bringing forth their ideas to make our community better, Professor Fisher and her student instead decided to attack me personally. The real outrage should be reserved for the distortion of the facts that the professor and her student reported.

I will look back with pride on my experience in running for office and I will know that I did my best to take initiative for real leadership and positive change. It is unfortunate that we cannot be joined by Professor Fisher and Anderson, who would rather attack a person than offer real solutions in the political discussion.

Tom Barrett resides in Kalamazoo.

Saul, Yob, and Gizzi

Human Events' John Gizzi has a report on the recent political maneuvering in Michigan.

Chuck Yob Sees Wisdom of Saul Anuzis
by John Gizzi
Posted Dec 05, 2006

The dispute that pundits and pols in Michigan forecast would bring three months of internecine warfare over who would run the state Republican Party has ended peacefully. Four days before Thanksgiving, 3rd District Republican Chairman Dave Dishaw called off his bid for state chairmanship. Barring anything unexpected, incumbent Chairman Saul Anuzis should be re-elected at the state Republican convention in February.

The certain Anuzis triumph also signals detente between the chairman--a self-styled "Jack Kemp-Newt Gingrich Republican"--and GOP National Committeeman Chuck Yob, unofficial leader of John McCain's presidential campaign team in the Water Wonderland. (Son John Yob is the full-time head of the Arizonan's political operations in Michigan.) Ever since Anuzis first declared for the party helm last year, Yob has been at odds with him.

Yob attempted to recruit at least two candidates to run for chairman in '05, but both passed on the race and onetime Teamster-turned-Lansing businessman Anuzis was elected without opposition.

Old Michigan political hands say that Yob's feud with Anuzis has less to do with ideology, '08 presidential politics or personality differences than with the fact that Yob once coveted the chairmanship and now just cannot stomach a state chairman he can't control. In 1989, then-Kent County GOP Chairman Yob seriously plotted a challenge to then-State Chairman Spence Abraham (later U.S. senator and secretary of Energy). But when the position of national committeeman opened up before the state convention (incumbent Peter Secchia resigned to become U.S. ambassador to Italy), Yob switched to the far-more-winnable race for the RNC position and was elected.

Even before Election Day last month, there were published reports that Yob was making calls in an attempt to develop a challenge to Anuzis and that out of those calls, the Dishaw insurgency was born.

Not so, insisted Yob. As he told me days before the election, "I have conference calls all the time with other party leaders, including Saul Anuzis. No, I'm not behind any movement to oust him as chairman.

The elections will be his mid-term. Call me Wednesday morning and I'll tell you whether there will be a race for chairman." (Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra, also rumored to be part of the "Sink Saul" movement, had sounded very much like Yob when Yob told me in October: "Let's get through this election. Once we determine how we did, we'll know whether there is a race for chairman or not.") But Yob quickly added that he would support friend Dishaw "if he wants to run for chairman." As throughout the country, Republicans were hit hard in Michigan in November. Their nominees for governor and U.S. senator lost badly and Republicans also lost their majority in the state house of representatives. No sooner were the election results counted than Dishaw declared for chairman and launched a website promoting his candidacy. To no one's surprise, Yob signaled he was behind Dishaw.

But Michigan Republicans did not blame Anuzis for their state's version of the debacle experienced by their party nationally. Dick DeVos and Mike Bouchard, the losing GOP nominees for governor and U.S. senator respectively, both weighed in strongly for Anuzis. Secchia, 2002 gubernatorial nominee Dick Posthumus, and Republican leaders in both houses of the legislature also rallied to the chairman. Of the two Republicans in statewide office, State Atty. Gen. Mike Cox threw in with Anuzis and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land was neutral. (Dishaw is employed by her husband.) Even Birmingham lawyer David Trott, whom Yob unsuccessfully sought to recruit to run for chairman in '05, endorsed Anuzis.

"Saul is one of the hardest-working and most accessible state chairmen I can remember," Peter Secchia told me, in effect speaking for many of the grass-roots activists as to why Anuzis should stay on. After a campaign of less than three weeks, Dishaw telephoned Anuzis to say he was throwing in the towel.

With media attention on Michigan growing because of the state's early-bird Republican presidential primary, questions still abound about how long the calm between Anuzis and Yob will last.

"Had Dave Dishaw wanted to run, I would have supported him," Yob told me, "But he didn't want to go through the bloodshed that would result from an all-out war. Saul Anuzis and I have spoken and will continue to meet. We're going to work as a team."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Robert T. Miller on Immigration

This post showed up on the "First Things" blog this morning, I think it is well worth reading. (First Things is a Christian magazine that discusses religion, politics, and philosophy from a rather intellectual perspective. The contributors come from several different political ideologies, but are all socially conservative as far as I've seen. I highly recommend the magazine - but only to those who are willing to put some time and thought into their reading.) In any case, I hope that this prompts some interesting and thoughtful commentary from those who call the WMUGOP blog friend as well as those who do not.

"Vatican City, as most people know, is a sovereign state, albeit a very small one entirely within Italian territory in the city of Rome. Most visitors to this tiny country enter it by stepping from the Via della Conciliazione, which is in Italy, into St. Peter’s Square, which is in Vatican City. If you’re going to those parts of Vatican City that are not regularly open to the public, however, you have to show your passport at a guardhouse, as you would at other international borders. One doesn’t just walk in. In fact, except for St. Peter’s Square, almost the entire city-state is surrounded by high stone walls, including, on its southern and western borders, parts of the famous Leonine Walls, which were put up by Pope Leo IV in the ninth century. If you took it in your head to climb over these walls, the Vatican’s army, known as the Swiss Guard, would arrest you. The guards might wear those flashy uniforms designed by Michelangelo, but they carry SIG P75 9mm pistols and Heckler & Koch MP-5 submachine guns.

These strike me as very sensible arrangements, but it seems that Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council on Peace and Justice, disagrees. He said recently, “Speaking of borders, I must unfortunately say that in a world that greeted the fall of the Berlin Wall with joy, new walls are being built between neighborhood and neighborhood, city and city, nation and nation.” The building of such walls is “wrong” and part of “an inhuman project,” the cardinal says.

At least that’s what he says when other countries build walls on their borders, for he was speaking not about the wall surrounding Vatican City but about the fence the United States is going to build along our southern border with Mexico. Whether he merely forgot that his boss, Pope Benedict XVI, lives behind high stone walls on an international border, or whether he would say that the pope is guilty of inhumanity to his fellow man for so doing, is unclear.

It appears that Cardinal Martino didn’t quite think through all the implications of his remarks. He overlooks the fact that countries have borders for all kinds of important military, political, legal, and economic reasons. If these reasons hold weight and we are going to have borders at all, then countries have a right to make their borders effective. As Publius says in The Federalist No. 44, “No axiom is more clearly established in law, or in reason, than that wherever the end is required, the means are authorized; wherever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power necessary for doing it is included.” If it is morally permissible for a country to have borders (and I don’t think Cardinal Martino has yet denied this), then, everything else being equal, it follows that a fence is morally permissible if it is needed to make a border effective.

For the record, I favor greatly increased immigration into the United States, mostly for the economic benefits I think would accrue to our country generally, to the individuals from outside the United States who would become Americans, and to their home countries. In fact, I think U.S. citizenship is a valuable resource that the United States has a moral obligation to share. Since this valuable resource is limited, however, the obligation to share it includes an obligation to apportion it equitably among those who want it. Implementing equitable principles by which to share U.S. citizenship and the right to enter the United States requires that the American people, acting through their government, control who gets in and on what conditions.

In particular, it requires preventing people from unilaterally appropriating to themselves parts of the resource to be distributed by entering the country illegally. Allowing such things gives those who chance to live in close proximity to the United States, such as Mexicans, an unfair advantage over those who live half a world away, such as Vietnamese. If maintaining our ability to ration this scarce resource equitably requires passport controls at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, or a fence along several hundred miles of desert in the southwestern United States, so be it. Our moral obligation to distribute U.S. citizenship fairly requires such things.

As to Cardinal Martino, assuming he is not prepared to denounce Benedict XVI along with the United States, he needs to articulate a principled distinction between the stone walls surrounding Vatican City and other barriers on international borders. Absent such a principled distinction, his reported statements either expose the Catholic Church to the charge of hypocrisy or expose him to a charge of recklessness in a position of influence.

Robert T. Miller is an assistant professor at the Villanova University School of Law."

Friday, December 01, 2006

POLITICAL UPDATE--North American Union

This update focuses on North American Union. This plan continues to be advanced by the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. A resolution has been proposed by Congressmen Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Walter Jones, and Virgil Goode to condemn the NAU. Texas Governor Rick Perry was reelected with 39% of the vote in a four-way race.

Phyllis Schlafly summarizes recent news about North American integration.
Jerome Corsi explains that the Trans-Texas Corridor is a major issue in Texas.
Jerome Corsi responds to Rick Perry's claims about the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Ron Paul explains how a continental highway system threatens our sovereignty.
WorldNetDaily reports on the congressional resolution against the NAU.
WND reports that secret documents about the NAU have been released.
WND reports on the contents of documents about the NAU.
WND reports that students are being trained to support the NAU.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Violent Radicals Attack Campus Minority

From the State News:

Protesters crash immigration event


The State News

Criminal justice sophomore Kyle Morris, left, debates with first-year law student Charles Skinner on Thursday night outside the MSU College of Law building. A fire alarm was pulled before Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., was scheduled to speak.

A campus discussion about illegal immigration turned violent Thursday evening, when protesters clashed with the MSU College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom, who sponsored the event.

Kyle Bristow, chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom, or YAF, said he was kicked and spat upon by some of the protesters when he was outside the MSU College of Law, where the discussion was being held.

"It saddens me that my fellow Spartans would display this type of behavior," he said. "They are racist. It's sad we need police to come to control these radical leftists."

Unable to identify the people who assaulted him, Bristow said he wasn't planning to file a police report.

MSU police were dispatched to the event after an employee of the law college called the department, MSU police Sgt. Brian McDaniel said.

"About 10 to 20 protesters disrupted the event," he said. "We believe they were responsible for pulling the fire alarm."

Protesters said they came to show their opposition to controversial Republican congressman Tom Tancredo, of Colorado, who spoke at the event. Before Tancredo arrived and while the event was being set up, protesters gathered on the fourth floor of the law college with signs that read "Ignorant Racist."

Someone in the building set off a fire alarm twice throughout the evening. After the first alarm was pulled, a few hundred people were evacuated from the building. The person or persons responsible for pulling the alarm could face a misdemeanor or felony charge if caught, McDaniel said.

Randy McPherson, whose sign read "Where's the wall to keep you out?" came to protest when he heard that the congressman would be speaking.

"God works in mysterious ways," said McPherson, a food science and premedical junior, after the second fire alarm was pulled. "(Tancredo) shouldn't be here."

Some protesters weren't allowed inside the discussion room because they had signs, which aren't allowed in the law college. The people who attended to oppose the event said they came to represent themselves — not the minority campus groups with which they are affiliated.

Another student who came to protest the event said she wanted to make sure it was known that Tancredo is racist.

"We were here to protest the whole event," said Claudia Gonzalez, an interdisciplinary studies in social science and community relations senior. "It got heated and there was a lot of disagreement and argument. This is a very big issue."

While waiting for the discussion to start, accounting graduate student Matt Ledesma said he witnessed someone being pulled out of the discussion area for spitting on someone.

"They were being disruptive," he said. "Someone pulled the fire alarm, which got us all out here."

After everyone was allowed back into the law college, Tancredo addressed a crowd of more than 40 people, who clapped and booed when he began speaking.

His speech focused on illegal immigration in the United States and emphasized looking at the issue with a clear head.

"Look, you can't get emotional," Tancredo said during his speech. "Let's just talk about the policy."

He also stressed the importance of a single national language, which he believes should be English, but added he supports people who are bilingual.

"I think diversity is a great thing," he said. "But it becomes a negative thing when it's the only thing."

A 10-minute question-and-answer session was held at the end of the event. Students wrote their questions on note cards, and MSU College Republicans chairman Jeff Wiggins asked a few of the questions. Tancredo left shortly after he spoke, ignoring many of the questions.

Wiggins, who helped arrange the event, said he was surprised at the protesters' reaction.

"(Tancredo) was not in the building when this went on," he said. "We were in here setting up. We tried to tell them signs are not allowed in the law college."

Jose Villagran, a interdisciplinary studies in social science senior, asked "Why have you been cited for hiring undocumented workers for personal construction?" His question was not asked by Wiggins, who did not pose controversial questions.

Flat-rate Folly

WMU's flat-rate tuition plan has come under well-deserved criticism. The Gazette reports criticism from the head of the faculty union and a student.

Apparently, the flat-rate tuition plan is accused of damaging enrollment. While I don't know for sure that this is true, it wouldn't surprise me.

Flat-rate tuition has always been arbitrary and unfair. The more credit hours you take, the more money you should pay. It never made sense to charge the same amount for 12 and 17 credit hours. This simply hurt some students, while (possibly) benefiting others.

Flat-rate tuition was another Judy Bailey's gifts to Western. I have criticized it in the past. Let's hope it is soon repealed.