Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2008 Election Preview

Note: This preview was for the primary. An updated election preview will soon be available.

While most of political coverage has focused on the 2008 presidential primary races, there will be many other races on the ballot. Here is an overview of the races relevant to Kalamazoo readers. More detailed profiles of some of the races will follow soon.
[List of all Michigan candidates.][List of local candidates] [List of all Kalamazoo County candidates here.]

Senator John McCain will be the Republican nominee. He will face many challenges in his bid for the White House. See his political profile and articles about him. The Democrat nominee will be Senator Barack Obama. Several third party candidates are running, including pastor Chuck Baldwin for the Constitution Party, former Congressman Bob Barr for the Libertarian Party, and the eventual nominee of the Green Party.

Republicans face many challenges in the battle for Congress. They face higher rates of retirements and more competitive seats in both the House and Senate. If Democrats win larger margins in Congress, they will be more able to pass their legislation.

President (Michigan)
Michigan leans slightly to the left in Presidential elections. This means that democrats need to win Michigan to win the White House, but Republicans don't. Michigan continues going through a recession during the sixth year of democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm. Will this help Republicans in the presidential race? Perhaps.

US Senate
Senator Carl Levin will seek yet another term in 2008. Levin has an extremely liberal record which the media has largely refused to report. Hence he is favored for reelection. Levin will face conservative State Representative Jack Hoogendyk.

US House of Representatives
All fifteen Michigan congressmen are seeking reelection. Most will be pretty safe, but a few will have hotly contested races.

1st District
Veteran democrat Congressman Bart Stupak will face conservative Republican State Representative Tom Casperson, who will try to make this a competitive race. Two other Republicans, Don Hooper and Linda Goldthorpe, are seeking the Republican nomination.

6th District
Longtime Congressman Fred Upton will face very liberal Kalamazoo City Commissioner Don Cooney. Upton is strongly favored to win.

7th District
Freshman Republican Congressman Tim Walberg will face Democrat state senate minority leader Mark Schauer. The democratic establishment succeeded in pushing Schauer's significant primary competitors out of the race, thought Sharon Renier is also running. Walberg barely won against a weak democrat opponent in 2006, yet he still managed to win an open seat in a bad year for Republicans after a bitter primary with former Rep. Joe Schwarz. The Club for Growth will again provide support to Walberg.

9th District
Veteran Republican Congressman Joe Knollenberg will face democrat former state senator Gary Peters. Peters has been a subject of controversy due to the very cushy position that he received at Central Michigan University, which is 122 miles away from the 9th district.

13th District
Democrats Martha Scott and Mary Waters have filed to challenge liberal Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the mother of embattled Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Michigan Supreme Court
Conservative Republican Michigan Supreme Court Justice Cliff Taylor will seek reelection. It has been widely expected that the democrats will field a well-funded candidate. The state supreme court races for the last three cycles have been quiet, with incumbents winning easy victories. The last heavily contested races were in 2000, when the democrat campaign against Republican justices "Markman and Taylor and Young" failed to defeat them.

Education Boards
Seats on the Michigan Board of Education and University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University boards of trustees will be up for election. Several Republican candidates have declared interest in these races. Susan Brown, a Republican who lost a race for U of M board in 2006, will run again this election.

Ballot Proposals
A proposal to legalize medical marijuana will be on the ballot as proposal 1. Proposals on embryonic stem cell research and rewriting the state constitution have turned in signiatures and may be on the ballot.

Michigan House of Representatives
All 110 seats in the Michigan state house will be up for election. Forty percent (44) of state reps will be term-limited, and all but one of the rest will seek reelection. The democrats currently have a four-seat majority. Republicans will target many of the democrats who won Republican seats in 2006, while democrats will target some of the Republicans who survived close races in 2006. The incompetence of the democrat leadership may hurt them in November.

In the greater Kalamazoo area...

59th District (St. Jospeh, Cass County)
Incumbent Republican Rick Shaffer will leave this safe district due to term limits. Monte Bordner, Matt Lori, and Rob Sisson are seeking the Republican nomination. Carol Higgins and Richard Homan are seeking the democrat nomination.

60th District (Kalamazoo)
Incumbent democrat Robert Jones will likely be safe against his Republican challenger, libertarian conservative Charles Ybema.

61st District (Portage, Oshtemo)
Conservative Republican Jack Hoogendyk will leave office due to term limits. Democrat Julie Rogers, who narrowly lost to Jack in 2006, will be the democrat nominee. Portage City Council members Margaret O'Brien and Larry DeShazor will run for the Republican nomination along with David Yardley. O'Brien is a conservative and DeShazor is a moderate.

62nd District (Battle Creek, Albion)
Republican Mife Nofs will leave this competitive district due to term limits. Calhoun County Commissioner Gregory Moore and Battle Creek City Commissioner Susan Baldwin are seeking the Republican nomination. County Commissioner Kate Segal and college graduate Tim Nendorf are seeking the democrat nomination.

63rd District (Comstock, Marshall)
Maverick Republican Lorence Wenke will leave this fairly safe district due to term limits. Calhoun County Commissioner Jase Bolger is unopposed for the Republican nomination. Former State Rep. Jerry VanderRoest withdrew from the race. Phyllis Smith, who lost the race for this seat in 2006 will again be the democrat nominee.

88th District (Allegan County)
Conservative Republican Fulton Sheen will leave office due to term limits. Eight Republicans are seeking this seat. They are Todd Boorsma, Randal Brink, Shelly Edgerton, Jeff Farnsworth, William Galligan, Bob Genetski, Joshua Leatherman, and Spencer Moore. Farnsworth has the support of much of the county Republican establishment. Farnsworth and Boorsma both claim Sheen's endorsement. Tom Clark will be the democrat nominee for this safe Republican seat.

Republican incumbents will run for reelection in districts districts 80 (VanBuren County), 87 (Barry County), and 79 (northern Berrien County). Republicans will vacate seats in districts 78 (southern Berrien County) and 58 (Hillsdale/Branch Counties).

Kalamazoo Countywide Offices

All six countywide offices are up for election. Republicans hold all six offices.

Sherriff: Republican Michael Anderson will seek reelection. He is being challenged by Ricky Coombs in the Republican primary. Richard Fuller and Ray Roberts will compete for the democrat nomination. Anderson should be safe for reelection.

Prosecutor: Republican Jeff Fink will seek reelection. He will be challenged by democrat Robert Champion. Fink should be pretty safe for reelection.

Clerk: Republican Tim Snow will seek reelection. He will be challenged by democrat David Kinsey. Snow should be safe for reelection.

Treasurer: Republican Mary Balkema will seek election after being appointed to replace Sharon Cubitt in 2007. Democrat Julie Kaufman will challenge Mary.

Drain Commissioner: Republican Pat Crouse will seek election after being appointed in 2008 to replace Bill French, who was convicted of a crime. He will be challenged by democrat Patricia Crowley.

Surveyor: Republican Bill Hahn is unopposed for this office. He will replace Republican Bob Snell, who is retiring. The position is unpaid, and its holder must be a licenced surveyor.

8th District Judge
There is one open judicial race in Kalamazoo County, and hence one contested race. Four candidates are running for the nonpartisan position. They are Jeffrey Gagie, Bill Murphy, Sondra Nowak, and Julie Phillips. Phillips is a Republican and Murphy is an independent. Nowak is endorsed by liberal democrat former State Rep. Alexander Lipsey.

Kalamazoo County Commission

Democrats currently have a 9-8 majority on the commission. Republicans will target the districts they lost in 2006, while democrats could target districts that they narrowly failed to win in 2006 in Portage and the southeastern part of the county. Republicans did not file candidates for four county commission seats, and democrats did not file for one seat.

District 6: Democrat Larry Stieglitz will again challenge commissioner Franklin Thompson in the primary, after losing in 2006.

District 10: Thomas Drabik is retiring. Former Portage Mayor James Graham is unopposed for the Republican nomination. Democrat Michael Quinn, who narrowly lost to Drabik in 2006, will again be the democrat nominee.

District 12: Democrat John Nieuwenhuis won this seat from Republican Bob Brink in 2006. Republicans Chris Haenicke and Scott Zondervan are seeking the Republican nomination. Haenicke is the son-in-law of former WMU President Diether Haenicke. Zondervan is a conservative who challenged Jack Hoogendyk for renomination in 2006 before dropping out and endorsing him.

District 15: Democrat Leroy Crabtree won this seat from Republican Joe VanBruggen in 2006. Republicans Ann Nieuwenhius and Derek Robinson are seeking the Republican nomination.

Township Elections
There are plenty of contested township elections. A few are noteworthy.

Comstock Township: The controversy over Trustee Bill Shields spurred a bumper crop of filings. Fifteen candidates are running for trustee, including Shields. Four candidates are running for Supervisor. Incumbent democrat Tim Hudson will be challenged by democrats Gary Gillette and Roger Poe. The Republican nominee will be Sue Fritz.

Kalamazoo Township: There are five candidates for Supervisor. Justin VanderArk, Patrick Butler, Kathleen Doornbos, and Jospeh Thomas will compete for the Republican nomination. VanderArk is a conservative who works for the area homebuilders association. The democrat nominee will be Terri Mellinger. Six democrats and three Republicans are seeking four trustee positions.

Oshtemo Township: Incumbent Republican Supervisor John VanDyke is not running for reelection. Former County Commissioner Bob Brink, who lost his seat in 2006, will compete with Charles Hill for the Republican nomination. The democrat nominee will be Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell. Six Republicans and two democrats are seeking four trustee positions.

Texas Township: Conservative Republican Dave Healy will challenge incumbent supervisor Ron Commissaris. Erin Hoogendyk is among the five candidates for four trustee positions.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stimulus Stupidity

With economic troubles unfolding, politicians in Washington are scrambling to "do something". They sense a compelling need for economic "stimulus". Just like the last time the economy had a downturn eight years ago, Keynesian nonsense is being promoted.

Democrats want increased unemployment compensation. Whatever the merits of such a policy, it won't stimulate the economy. Paying people not to work will tend to cause them to not work.

Then there are targeted tax rebates, where government sends checks to folks to spend, spend, spend. That'll stimulate the economy for sure!

This myth was covered in an article on economic growth last year. It is excerpted below. The best thing that government can do to stimulate the economy is to cut spending, regulation, and taxes, in that order.


One of the myths of Keynesian economics is that spending is what improves the economy. One version of this argument promotes government spending. It states that government spending pumps more money into the economy. This creates jobs, and people have more money to spend and improve their lives. They spend their money and the cycle repeats, improving the whole economy.

This argument is a variation of the classic economic fallacy called the "broken window fallacy." In brief, the broken window fallacy states that breaking a window improves the economy because money must be spent to fix it and this benefits the window-maker and others. The problem with this argument is that it ignores the cost of fixing the window. That is, the money used to fix the window could have spent on something else that would have created the same overall benefit for the economy. Breaking the window does not make the economy better off than not breaking the window, and it destroys a window in the process.

The problem with the argument that government spending improves the economy is that it also has a cost. Government can only get money by taking it away from other people. Those people would have spent the money in other ways. Thus government spending provides no net economic benefit.

Another version of the argument that spending improves the economy is that private spending improves the economy. Sometimes this argument comes with appeals to spend more. Other times, this argument is used to support "targeted tax cuts" or "tax rebates," which are one-time cuts in tax rates, sometimes retroactively.

Private spending is certainly better for satisfying people's desires than government spending, since people know their own situations better. But it will not provide a net economic benefit since government is just as capable of spending money.

Increasing spending may improve the economy in the short run, but it must correspondingly depress the economy in the long run, since money that is spent now cannot be spent later.

The real alternative is between spending and saving. Money that is saved can be invested. People can buy stocks directly or through mutual funds. Money that is saved in a bank is invested by the bank, which is how they can afford to pay interest on savings. Individual retirement accounts and pension plans both invest money that has been saved. Insurance companies do the same with money that is paid by policyholders.

Investment is the only real way to increase production and grow the economy. Increasing spending must decrease saving, and hence damage economic growth in the long run.

What about government investments? Government investments do not perform well because government does not face the same incentives as private individuals and companies. Government can fund itself by taking money by force. It does not have the same incentive to use money wisely as do private investors, who will suffer losses from making bad choices. Government has a tendency to continue to pump money into obviously insolvent investments rather than admit that it made a mistake and suffer embarrassment. Investment decisions are often made for political reasons rather than to maximize profit.

These days, it has become fashionable for politicians to talk about "investment," when what they are advocating is simply spending.

Government policies damage economic growth. Taxation necessarily reduces the incentive to make money, which reduces efforts to produce more goods and services. Penalizing profit reduces the value of investments that increase production and improve people's lives. Capital gains taxes are particularly destructive since they specifically penalize investment. Government policies that threaten property rights increase the risk associated with investments and hence discourage them.

The best thing that government can do to improve the economy is to stop hurting it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--North American Union

This update focuses on North American Union. There are further developments regarding the NAU, NAFTA Superhighway, Mexican trucks, patent reform, and more.

Phyllis Schlafly: The Outrageous WTO
Jerome Corsi: 7-year plan aligns U.S. with Europe's economy
Jerome Corsi: North-of-border link finishes NAFTA superhighway grid
Michael Howe: Mexican trucks roll on despite opposition
Jerome Corsi: Canada openly proclaims NAFTA Superhighway
Jerome Corsi: SPP 'dead,' says insider
Phyllis Schlafly: The Patent Act Is A Cheat On Americans

More information:
North American Union: Eagle Forum Stop the NAU Stop SPP
Trans-Texas Corridor: Corridor Watch

Mexico Hates Mexicans!

From the Tuscon Citizen (haptip to Mickey Kaus):

A delegation of nine state legislators from Sonora was in Tucson on Tuesday to say Arizona's new employer sanctions law will have a devastating effect on the Mexican state.

At a news conference, the legislators said Sonora - Arizona's southern neighbor, made up of mostly small towns - cannot handle the demand for housing, jobs and schools it will face as illegal Mexican workers here return to their hometowns without jobs or money.
Immigration causes problems? How can that be?

Iraq War Debate

Member of the WMU College Republicans and WMU College Democrats will debate the Iraq War. The debate will take place on Tuesday, January 29 at 8PM in the West Ballroom of the Bernhard Center. Here is the Herald article on the debate.

Are the College Democrats ever going to have any activities that don't involve us?

John McCain Update

Here is some recent news on Senator John McCain.

Ann Coulter: 'Straight Talk' Express Takes Scenic Route to Truth
David Limbaugh: 'Maverick' and 'Conservative' Aren't Synonyms
Pat Buchanan: What McCain Means
Thomas Sowell: McCain's Age
Michelle Malkin: John McCain: The Geraldo Rivera Republican
Deroy Murdock: McCain: Not Right for the Right
Michelle Malkin: John McCain’s open-borders outreach director

From Time Magazine:

Q: How much support do you think he has among the base of the Republican Party?

Roberta McCain: “I don’t think he has any. I don’t know what the base of the Repub–maybe I don’t know enough about it, but I’ve not seen any help whatsoever.”

Primary Update

Fred Thompson has dropped out of the presidential race. His campaign inspired enthusiasm for a time, but lack of organization hurt him. His failure isn't good news for conservatives, who may soon need to rethink their efforts.

Louisiana held caucuses, but its process was so confused that it still isn't clear who won.

The Republican presidential race is increasingly looking like a McCain versus Romney contest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Iraq War Questions

The questions for the Iraq war debate have been released. Here are some thoughts. The questions are in italics.


The United States is increasingly reliant on private contractors for a host of services previously provided by the military. In what ways is this privatization beneficial or detrimental to US interests?

Privatization saves money. The free market works better than government.

A great deal of debate has been undertaken regarding the “surge” of US forces in Iraq. To what extent has the “surge” been successful, or to what extent has the “surge” failed?

Violence in Iraq has declined steeply since the implementation of the "surge".

A tremendous amount of money has been spent in Iraq. Are these costs justified?

This is hard to say. Answering this question would require knowing what would have happened in the long run if we had not invaded Iraq, including whether Iraq, Iran, or Libya would have obtained nuclear weapons. Without such information, we can make educated guesses, but we can't know for sure.

Some argue that America must “stay the course” in Iraq. What are the benefits of remaining in Iraq, or what are the potential costs?

Nobody says "stay the course" anymore. The potential benefits are defeating jihadists and denying them a base of operations. The costs, of course, are American casualties and financial expenditures.

What has the Bush administration done well in regards to the War on Terror? In what regards has it failed?

The Bush administration has done well at arresting terrorists, both in America and foreign countries. It has failed to secure the border or reform the legal immigration system that sent a visa to Mohammed Atta months after 9/11. See this article.

Is the Middle East ready, willing, or able to accept Western-styles of government?

No on all counts. Democracy is not just about having particular institutions; it has cultural prerequisites. It took the West many hundreds of years to develop them. Democracy requires tolerance of opponents and willingness to lose without resorting to violence. When middle eastern nations have had elections, Islamists have often won. See this article and this article.

Is Iraq better off following the collapse of the Saddam regime?

In some ways yes, in some ways no.

Is the US military capable of continuing the fight in Iraq as a strictly volunteer army? What about a draft?

Yes. A draft would be a disaster. It would diminish freedom, weaken the military, divide America, and damage our prospects of victory. See this article.

Iraq gets the majority of attention regarding the War on Terror, while Afghanistan has been called by some “the forgotten war.” Is the US able to fulfill its military obligations to both?


The rhetoric between the US and Iran has grown increasingly aggressive. What are the implications for Iraq, and the Middle East in general?

Actions matter, not rhetoric. Iran's support of terrorists in Lebanon and elsewhere hurts the prospects of peace and freedom. The same is true of its (past or current) nuclear program. There are credible allegations that Iran has supported the terrorists in Iraq. America's actions toward Iran will affect these issues as well.

See the following articles for more valuable information.
Don Devine: Middle Way Iraq Victory
Thomas Sowell: Mugged By Reality
Thomas Sowell: Mugged By Reality: Part II
Thomas Sowell: Mugged By Reality: Part III
Jed Babbin: Fire the Neocons, Fight the War
Pat Buchanan: The Democracy Worshiper

Monday, January 21, 2008

Michigan's Number One!

This time, Michigan is number one in something good.

Americans United for Life has named Michigan the number one most pro-life state.

Congratulations to Michigan Right to Life and many others.

Of course, much work remains to be done.

Primary News

The South Carolina primary and Nevada caucus were held on Saturday.

McCain won the South Carolina primary with 33%. Several more conservative candidates split the rest of the vote. McCain did not win amongst Republicans; independents and democrats once again provided his edge. He got a smaller percentage of the vote than he got four years ago.

Romney easily won the Nevada caucuses. Ron Paul was second with 14%. Nevada had more delegates than South Carolina.

Romney maintains a significant lead in the delegate count.

Duncan Hunter dropped out of the race. Hunter is a good guy who never got traction. He wasn't able to raise the early money that he needed to be seen as electable. He and Tom Tancredo were running for the same voters, which prevented either from taking off.

Florida is up next.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


This update focuses on the culture war. Liberals continue to subvert traditional culture. The Roe v. Wade decision is 35 years old. Battles continue over courts, race, IQ, Christianity, and more.

Gary Bauer: Roe at 35
Doug Patton: The Embryonic Stem Cell Research Agenda
John Eidsmoe: What Congress Can Do for This American
Robert Knight: Cleverly Firing Back at Atheism
Steve Sailer: The Race FAQ
Steve Sailer: Why Do We Keep Writing About Intelligence? An IQ FAQ
Pat Buchanan: Diversity Is Strength. It’s Also…America’s End
Gary Bauer: 'What's So Great About Christianity?' Ask D'Souza

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Partial Birth Again

The issue of partial birth abortion is once again before the Michigan legislature.

The previous ban was struck down by a federal appeals court. The Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal of the case. The legislature had passed a ban which was vetoed by Governor Granholm. A citizens petition drive then allowed the legislature to pass a ban that Granholm could not veto.

A state Senate committee has passed a new ban sponsored by Senator Cameron Brown of Sturgis. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It should pass easily.

Beyond that, the bill's future is less clear. It would easily pass the state House of Representatives if it is allowed to come to a vote. That decision rests with Democrat Speaker Andy Dillon. Dillon identifies as pro-life and has been endorsed by Right to Life. It remains to be seen whether he will follow his professed convictions on the wishes of the democrat party establishment.

If the bill passes both houses of the legislature, it will go to Governor Granholm. Granholm has opposed the ban and vetoed earlier versions of it. It isn't completely clear what she will do now that the Supreme Court has taken away the "it's unconstitutional" argument by upholding the Nebraska partial birth abortion ban in the case Gonzales v. Carhart.

If Granholm vetoes the bill, it also isn't clear whether there would be enough support for an override. The ban will have 100% support from Republicans, and significant minority of democrats.

We'll find out before too long.

No One Need Apply

The Herald has announced word of a terrible tragedy.

Although the official day of celebration is Monday, the Division of Multicultural Affairs at WMU support Dr. Martin Luther King remembrance throughout the year by awarding the Cultural Diversity Scholarship, originally the Martin Luther King Scholarship, to certain students who meet the requirements, according to Sherrie Fuller, an assistant director of multicultural affairs at WMU.

"The scholarship creates opportunity for students who might not have that same opportunity otherwise," Fuller said.

Although Fuller said the requirements to receive this scholarship are simple, the Division of Multicultural Affairs is no longer allowed to issue the Cultural Diversity Scholarship at this time.
What are the requirements for this scholarship?

One requirement of students who applied for the scholarship was to identify as Native American, Latino or African American
No whites need apply!

Sadly, this cultural diversity has come to an end thanks to a constitutional amendment (not "a law") called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

Apparently, white people can't have cultural diversity.

Now, no one need apply.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

Tax increases are on the horizon again in Kalamazoo County. This time, the subject is the KRESA enhancement millage. This is not to be confused with the KRESA Croyden School tax increase, which passed on the second try last November.

The enhancement millage was originally passed in 2005, after 52% of voters were convinced that schools were in dire need of a one-time tax increase. This was despite the fact that even several local school districts opposed the tax increase.

Of course, the folks who swore that this would be a one-time fix now swear that it really, really needs to be renewed. They have commissioned a survey claiming that voters would support this. If this is true, the only explanation that I have is that the taxpayers have moved out of the county.

Make no mistake. This is a tax increase. If the millage was supposed to expire, and the rate is increased from where it would have been, this is a tax increase, not a renewal. If your car payments are supposed to end when your car is paid off, but the dealer demands that they continue, what would you call this?


On a related note, check out the exchange between Ray Wilson of the Kalamazoo County Taxpayers Association and a semi-literate government school employee on the KCTA blog.

Another Giveaway

Western Michigan University has announced a plan to give free tuition and more to students coming out of the foster care system.

We can all sympathize with foster kids. But where is the money for this plan going to come from? The article doesn't say.

This plan will likely be vulnerable to the usual problems with welfare programs. It is worth pointing out that being in college and succeeding in college are two different things.

The article does point out the importance of traditional families in children's success.

In addition to their financial and housing problems, a number of other issues come into play with former foster youth who enroll in college. They frequently lack adult encouragement and role models and often are unfamiliar with college and career options, project organizers said.

"What we've learned, when you come from being raised in a system where you really don't have a mom and dad, somebody looking out for you, you really are in'' survival mode, Unrau said.

"Sometimes it's trying to take care of one problem before the next one comes up, and not necessarily being equipped with some of the basic (knowledge you otherwise might have) if you were allowed the benefit of being in a traditional family,'' Unrau added.
This doesn't bode well for this program.

Interestingly, the subjects of this program would be required to live in university dorms. The dorms are significantly underoccupied due to the usual mismanagement that occurs outside the free market.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Siljander Indicted

Former Congressman Mark Siljander, who represented Southwest Michigan 1980-1986, has been indicted in connection with a group that supports terrorism.

Michelle Malkin gives some details on the case.

Readers should not assume guilt before a trial. Siljander was a staunch conservative Christian when he was in office. He deserves his day in court.

No Summits for Me

The Herald reports on our first meeting of the semester. The article is fine except for the word summit, which makes it sound like we're meeting with foreign diplomats.


CR plans speakers, summits for 2nd semester
Kamry Bowman

The Western Michigan University College Republicans reconvened to prepare for the upcoming semester Jan. 9.

While laughing about the music rehearsal overheard next door, Vice-Chairman Matt Moss previewed the group's planned events in Chairman Megan Buwalda's absence. These events included speaking events from the Chair of the Michigan Taxpayer's Alliance, Leon Drolet, and musician-turned-activist Ted Nugent.

The group had two political summits on their schedule. The first, Defending the American Dream, was put on by the Americans for Prosperity organization, and took place this Saturday in Livonia, Mich. The free-market oriented Americans for Prosperity procured major conservative speakers, including Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain, and ABC's John Stossel, "a long-time friend of ours," joked Moss. The group sponsored a speech by Stossel last semester.

The second summit the College Republicans are attending will be put on by the Michigan Federation of College Republicans, and draws College Republican chapters from all over the state.

"All the big schools will be there," Moss said, "and we want to make sure Western is represented."

Then the College Republicans got down to business. First on the agenda was the Michigan Presidential Primaries and members were alerted to chances for viewing or volunteering for candidates, including John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. Some members made their support for specific candidates known.

The College Republican's faculty advisor, Arthur White, then addressed the meeting. He mentioned a recent controversy at the University of Delaware, describing a situation in which "white students were told that they were all racist, because they were white, which seems racist to me." He asked for the help of the College Republicans in avoiding similar situations at WMU.

Before the meeting ended, the College Republicans discussed debate strategy for their upcoming debate with the College Democrats over the Iraq War, which will take place Jan. 29.

Michigan Primany Results

Romney wins big.

Romney 39, McCain 30, Huckabee 16, Paul 6.

Paul's performance was disappointing, but he still beat Fred and Rudy. He got 17% in Hillsdale County.

McCain won all the counties in southwest Michigan. Congressman Upton's endorsement probably helped.

Here are the results from CNN. Their exit poll has some interesting results.

South Carolina and Nevada are up next.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Election Day

You can see election results here.

WKZO radio is being flooded with callers who say that they are democrats who voted for McCain.

We shall see...

McCain in Kalamazoo

Senator John McCain visited Kalamazoo Monday morning. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports on his speech.

It is striking that his speech, at least the part reported in the Gazette, could easily have been given by a democrat.

McCain endorsed the myth of global warming.

"I believe there's scientific evidence that drastic things are happening to our planet," McCain said. "If I'm wrong and we move ahead with green technology, the only downside is leaving a cleaner world for our children."

A much worse option is doing nothing and hoping that climate change is a myth, McCain said.

He said lessening dependency on foreign oil is another reason to expand alternative energy sources.
Carbon Dioxide is a natural substance, not a pollutant. Reducing it won't make the world any cleaner. Can McCain seriously believe that there's no downside to what he's proposing? There are no costs, no trade-offs, only benefits? The Club for Growth reports that the McCain-Lieberman global warming bill would cost America $76 billion per year. This would cost America many jobs and accelerate outsourcing to China and India. Alternative energy is basically a myth, in that it is not a significant source of energy.

Then there's this line.

"I'm convinced the best, most productive workers this world are in Michigan," McCain said.
How will McCain break the news to the other 49 states?

Michigan's workers don't seem as thrilled with McCain. He was booed by union members when he spoke to the AFL-CIO. McCain said that America should import millions of foreigners to do jobs that Americans won't do, because they aren't tough enough.

So McCain would increase regulation, import foreign workers, and encourage outsourcing. Just what Michigan needs!

McCain's Legislative Record

When considering who to vote for, it is necessary to consider not only a candidate's positions, but his record. While believing something in theory is fine, just as important is what a candidate would actually do about it. The best indication that we have of this is what he has done in the past.

Senator John McCain has been a legislator for many years, and has a long record. He has sponsored a number of bills that deserve close examination. McCain's bills are always cosponsored with a liberal Democrat such as Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, Russ Feingold, and Joe Lieberman. Also, McCain's name is always listed first.

There is McCain-Feingold, the campaign finance reform act. This bill significantly restricted political speech, specifically the ability of people to lobby their government. Advertisements that ask people to contact their representatives near an election were banned.

There was McCain-Kennedy, the massive amnesty proposal that was defeated in 2006 and 2007. This bill would have given amnesty to almost all illegal aliens, massively increased government welfare spending, increased national disunity, increased the threat of terrorism, increased crime, and more.

There was McCain-Kennedy-Edwards, the so-called Patients Bill of Rights, which would increase government regulation of health care and make lawsuits against hospitals and doctors much easier (not surprising given the involvement of trial lawyer John Edwards).

There was McCain-Lieberman, a bill that would have imposed so many regulations on gun shows that it would have effectively banned them, according to the NRA.

There was the other McCain-Lieberman, which would have imposed global warming regulations that would have cost America $76 billion annually.

In addition, there is the recent revelation from Senator Rick Santorum that McCain actively opposed allowing social conservative measures to have votes in the Senate.

"And then on the issue of, on social conservative issues, you point to me one time John McCain every took the floor of the United States Senate to talk about a social conservative issue. It never happened. I mean, this is a guy who says he believes in these things, but I can tell you, inside the room, when we were in these meetings, there was nobody who fought harder not to have these votes before the United States Senate on some of the most important social conservative issues, whether it’s marriage or abortion or the like. He always fought against us to even bring them up, because he was uncomfortable voting for them. So I mean, this is just not a guy I think in the end that washes with the mainstream of the Republican Party."
While McCain is one of a hundred senators, as President he would have a lot of power to thwart such legislation behind the scenes provided that Republicans ever retake Congress.

There's nothing wrong with working with Democrats if the legislation is beneficial. But McCain's legislative efforts have consistently aided liberalism.

McCain News

Human Events: John McCain's Top 10 Class-Warfare Arguments Against Tax Cuts
Chris Horner: John McCain is a "Gore-publican".
Ann Coulter offers some information on McCain on the sidebar of her site.

Monday, January 14, 2008

McCain Tried to Eliminate Gun Shows

The National Rifle Association reports on the gun control bill that Senator John McCain introduced with liberal Democrats Joe Lieberman and Jack Reed.


Introduced, appropriately enough, on Halloween, the McCain-Reed-DeWine-Lieberman gun show bill masquerades as reform but imposes bureaucratic restrictions aimed at eliminating gun shows. The legislation is based on the McCain-Lieberman bill (S. 890) from the 107th Congress, and, similarly, not only fails to address gun owners` most significant concerns, but also fails to address any issues within the National Instant Check System (NICS).

McCain-Reed is not about closing a "gun show loophole"—there is no "gun show loophole." Existing laws apply at gun shows just the same as any other place guns are sold. McCain-Reed is, in fact, about eliminating gun shows. [emphasis added] It would give any future Second Amendment-hating Attorney General the power to effectively shut down gun shows, invade the privacy rights of American citizens, and impose many other restrictions that have nothing to do with conducting background checks on firearms purchases.

The legislation also seeks to impose a whole host of additional restrictions and unnecessary requirements, including gun owner registration and limitless regulations! Perhaps most importantly, the legislation ignores the fact that multiple federal government studies prove gun shows are not a source of "crime guns." No matter how creative the packaging, this bill isn`t about controlling crime. The attack on gun shows makes no sense as a crime control measure. It is strictly driven by an anti-gun political agenda. Closing gun shows means shutting down one of the most important venues for Second Amendment activists to communicate with other gun owners. That`s their real goal. View NRA-ILA`s Fact Sheet on the McCain-Reed Gun Show Bill here

Club for Growth on McCain

The Club for Growth, a leader in the fight for free markets, evaluates the record of Senator John McCain on economic issues.


While John McCain can easily point to a handful of pro-growth votes over his twenty-four years in Congress, a deeper look at Senator McCain's record and rhetoric, especially in recent years, ought to give American taxpayers a long and hard pause.

To give credit where it's due, John McCain's record on spending, school choice, and free trade is extremely positive. His go-it-alone moralism sometimes results in pro-growth policies, as is the case in his anti-pork crusades. However, this moralism often manifests itself in the form of more government, less freedom, and a distrust of the individual and the free market system. This is dramatically the case in his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, his class-warfare rhetoric, his occasional support for large-scale increased government regulation, his willingness to raise Social Security taxes, and of course, his abysmal record on political free speech.

Senator McCain's outspoken pursuit of anti-growth and anti-free-market policies in the realms of taxes, regulation, and campaign finance reveals a philosophical ambivalence, if not hostility, about limited government and personal freedom. This ambivalence, combined with a rebellious nature, often leaves taxpayers the victims of his latest cause célèbre. Despite his positive votes-and there are several-his negative positions have tainted, perhaps beyond repair, the positive ones over his twenty-four years in Congress. The evidence of his record and the virulence of his rhetoric suggest that American taxpayers cannot expect consistently strong economic policies from a McCain administration.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Amnesty by Any Other Name

While the vast majority of conservatives have correctly characterized the 2006 and 2007 McCain-Kennedy immigration bill as amnesty, a few die-hard defenders of the bill, including Senator McCain, insist that it is not. In a recent debate, McCain accused anyone who says that the bill was an amnesty of being a liar. McCain presumably believes that the vast majority of conservatives are liars. Bizarrely, McCain appealed to the authority of liberal Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman to suggest that the bill was not amnesty.

McCain voted for a bill that everyone agrees was an amnesty in 1986, and doesn't seem to have any particular regret about that vote. Back in 2003, he endorsed another amnesty for illegals:

McCain publicly embraced amnesty for years before it caused him to get his political head handed to him. “Amnesty has to be an important part because there are people who have lived in this country for 20, 30 or 40 years, who have raised children here and pay taxes here and are not citizens. That has to be a component of it,” he told a Tucson newspaper in 2003. “I think we can set up a program where amnesty is extended to a certain number of people who are eligible and at the same time make sure that we have some control over people who come in and out of this country...”
Since then, supporters of amnesty apparently decided that amnesty was too unpopular, so they would redefine the term so that what they advocated didn't meet the new definition.

So what is amnesty? The dictionary defines it as "a general pardon". That is, amnesty is not taking the appropriate steps to rectify a crime or other offense. If aliens enter this country, the appropriate action to rectify their crime is to deport them, or create such conditions that they leave on their own. Thus any plan that allows illegal aliens to stay is amnesty.

Supporters of amnesty counter that amnesty is not really amnesty because they would require illegals to pay a fine, or jump through various other hoops. There are several things wrong with this argument. It ignores the fact that the illegals should not be here in the first place. Paying a fine doesn't make up for that. Second, it has been estimated that the market value of American citizenship would be something like $100,000. Third, becoming legal entitles immigrants to many government benefits, which makes the fine even more of a joke. Fourth, what are supporters of amnesty going to do with illegals who don't pay the fine? Deport them? Then why can't they do that now?

Actually, the 2007 McCain-Kennedy bill was even worse. It offered not only amnesty but citizenship to illegals. Amnesty means allowing them to stay legally, but citizenship actually rewards their illegal behavior. The fine would only have applied to those seeking citizenship. McCain-Kennedy would have allowed most illegals to get a "temporary Z-visa" which could be renewed indefinitely, making it about as temporary as most government programs. This amnesty would have come without any of the strings that supposedly would make it not amnesty.

The evidence shows that the claim that the McCain-Kennedy bill is an amnesty, and that claiming otherwise is deliberately misleading. Conservatives should beware of those making such claims.

McCain Is the Amnesty Candidate

This article offers a worthy reminder for anyone considering voting for Senator John McCain.


McCain Is the Amnesty Candidate

It’s amazing how soon people forgot that John McCain is as bad as Teddy Kennedy on immigration.

Sen. McCain took 37 percent of the New Hampshire Republican primary votes Tuesday, winning that state's contest. Mitt Romney finished six points back, at 31 percent, in second place. McCain had shown poorly in Iowa. He tied for third place with Fred Thompson, each with just 13 percent. Romney finished second in Iowa, with 25 percent, while Mike Huckabee won 34 percent.

Take a quick trip down memory lane. Less than a year ago, Sen. McCain was one of the leaders crafting a “comprehensive” mass amnesty bill behind closed doors. He, along with Kennedy, Obama and Clinton, blocked every attempt to amend the bill with any measures to decrease the damage it would have done.

His pro-amnesty stance nearly tanked his presidential candidacy last summer and dried up his fundraising. And despite his denials, Sen. McCain has spoken openly in favor of amnesty repeatedly. And his position -- even after last summer -- still favors mass amnesty for virtually every illegal alien who is already in this country, as many as a 12 -- 15 million of them.

McCain publicly embraced amnesty for years before it caused him to get his political head handed to him. “Amnesty has to be an important part because there are people who have lived in this country for 20, 30 or 40 years, who have raised children here and pay taxes here and are not citizens. That has to be a component of it,” he told a Tucson newspaper in 2003. “I think we can set up a program where amnesty is extended to a certain number of people who are eligible and at the same time make sure that we have some control over people who come in and out of this country...”

At the time of the 2006 debate of the Senate amnesty bill, McCain told a rally that illegal aliens have “grasped the lowest rung of our ladder. They want to rise, and we should let them. Let them come out of the shadows, pay a fine, stay employed, pay taxes, and earn their citizenship.”

Now, he says he’ll go along with some undefined border security measures, attempting to redefine words. But ultimately, he insists on radical legalization of most illegals.

He tried his “spin” at the YouTube debate: “ . . . [W]e never proposed amnesty.” He dissembled again in New Hampshire at Sunday’s debate: “I have never, ever supported amnesty and never will.”

McCain sets up a straw-man argument about either deport them all or legalize them all as the only two alternatives.

On May 30, McCain told FOX’s Bill O’Reilly, "You've got two choices here, Bill. You either round up and deport 12 million people and I know of no one who thinks that's a good idea or practicable. Or you make sure that you do everything possible to make sure that they pay a very heavy price for having acted illegally and breaking our laws."

In June, he told a Miami audience, “The most difficult problem is what to do about the twelve million or more undocumented workers who live and work here now. No critic of our bill has offered a serious proposal to round up all these millions, many of whom have children born in this country, and ship them back to their countries of origin. There is simply no practical way to do that, and most Americans understand that ...”

Now, scrambling back, McCain says, "There are about 2 million people here illegally who have committed crimes; those people should be deported immediately. We can't round up the other 10 million people and deport them all at once, so you are going to have to go step by step.” By “step by step,” he means legalize the vast majority of illegals, but start with some lame “enforcement” and kick out criminal aliens.

McCain remains coy on what enforcement measures he’d support. Judging by his bill, a few more border guards, some border fencing and a “virtual fence,” but little else. He told Vanity Fair, “I’ll build the goddamned fence if they want it.” Reuters quoted him at a recent New Hampshire meeting that he means by border security “walls in urban areas, through vehicle barriers, with cameras and sensors.”

All this is merely process -- stuff and personnel -- not results. Instead of building some fencing and hiring some agents, why not set goals of reducing illegal entry to a trickle? Or reducing the illegal population in four years by 75 percent through both removals and enforcement-driven attrition?

By any reasonable definition, McCain’s recipe constitutes amnesty. It allows nearly all illegal aliens to remain permanently in America. It lets them obtain a permanent resident visa and naturalize five years later. It rewards them with the job they came and stole, taxpayer-funded benefits and programs, tax credits, welfare and Social Security. It allows them to sponsor distant relatives and start their own migration chains.

The Senate bill, S. 1348, by McCain, Kennedy and Harry Reid included many loopholes and perpetually renewable Z visas for illegal aliens. The “background check” on an illegal had to be done in one business day, or else the government had to issue the amnesty visa. Flimsy “evidence” like a buddy’s “affidavit” would satisfy McCain in order to qualify someone for a Z visa. His bill gave illegals in-state tuition.

McCain’s bill allowed amnestees to renew a 4-year Z visa if they merely “attempt to gain an understanding of the English language.” That means “taking” (not passing) the naturalization test (whose standards of English acquisition are woefully inadequate). It also accepted getting “on a waiting list for English classes” (not taking or passing the course). Bottom line, amnestied aliens would remain deficient in English.

What about paying a “very heavy price?” McCain’s bill imposed just $1,000 as the penalty. There were up to $2,000 in various fees, but hardly enough to be regarded as much of a fine. Plus, the $1,000 didn’t have to be paid until after the meaningless “triggers” took effect. S. 1348 didn’t require payment of any back taxes; its last-ditch revision, S. 1639, added a tax requirement for getting a green card.

McCain rejects an attrition-through-enforcement strategy. He ultimately wants both mass legalization of illegal aliens and increases in legal immigration. He’d agree to deporting a couple million criminal aliens, but insists on letting the rest of the illegal population stay on.

In short, McCain has one of the worst grades of any Republican Senator concerning immigration. His overall career and recent Americans for Better Immigration grades are both Ds. On amnesty, he earns F. His congressional record on immigration ABI calls “abysmal.”

To build an immigration record that’s worse than Huckabee’s and even Giuliani’s takes some doing, but that’s what McCain has done. McCain’s record is more in line with Democrat candidates.

By contrast, Fred Thompson flat-out promises to veto any amnesty bill. At the YouTube debate, he said, “Yes. I will pledge that.” He then got specific on what enforcement means to him: "We've go to strengthen the border, we've got to enforce the border, we've got to punish the employers who will not obey the law, and we've go to eliminate sanctuary cities and say to sanctuary cities, 'If you continue this, we're going to cut off federal funding for you. You're not going to do it with federal money.'”

The Atlanta newspaper quoted Thompson’s reasonable enforcement approach: “They set up a false choice -- either we get giant busloads of people tomorrow, and round them all up, or we have to grant amnesty. Attrition by enforcement is what makes the most sense.”

Mitt Romney rejects amnesty, as well. His platform states, “Governor Romney opposes amnesty or any special path to citizenship for those here illegally. He opposed each version of the McCain-Kennedy legislation as the wrong approach and a form of amnesty. Amnesty did not work 20 years ago, and it will not work today.”

The Washington Post, as the Senate debated McCain’s amnesty bill last summer, reported: "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney advocated a policy of attrition to deal with the more than 12 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally, insisting that they can be slowly repatriated simply by enforcing current law or changing provisions of a controversial bipartisan plan pending in the Senate.”

Any American who cares about immigration issues, who opposes amnesty, who favors common sense over appeasement of foreign lawbreakers should not consider McCain an ally.

McCain Tried to Silence Right to Life

It is well worth remembering that Senator John McCain's signature legislative achievement is the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act. This bill imposed a maze of regulations that restrict the right of free speech. A large majority of Republicans in Congress voted against this bill. The Supreme Court eventually upheld most of it, but the conservative judges (Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist) all wrote that it is unconstitutional.

Perhaps the worst feature of this bill is that it bans advertisements to lobby Congress within 30 or 60 days of an election. This article reveals that McCain supported the suppression of the speech of Wisconsin Right to Life.


Yet it is the most well-known legislative achievement of U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who is, after all a legislator and not Secretary of State or Secretary of the Defense. People may like his approach to foreign policy or national defense, but his primary job over the past quarter century has been to make laws for the United States. And if "McCain-Feingold" is his legislative showpiece, you may wonder what the losers were like.

For those who may have forgotten the import of McCain-Feingold, it imposed restrictions on political spending that were supposed to reduce the corrupting influence of money on political campaigns. It placed limits on "soft" money that parties could contribute to individual candidates, along with restrictions on spending by unions and corporations, though "corporations" is a very broad term.

A political action committee is a corporation, usually registered as such with the state in which it operates. The Wisconsin Right to Life Committee, Inc. is such a corporation. In the fall of 2006, Wisconsin Right to Life sought to run political advertisements calling on the state’s two U.S. senators, Herb Kohl and Russell Feingold, to oppose filibusters and other procedural delays of votes on President Bush’s judicial nominees. The ads were ruled a violation of the McCain-Feingold law by the Federal Elections Commission because it mentioned both senators by name within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election in which one of them (Feingold) was a candidate for election.


But when Wisconsin Right to Life challenged the FEC ruling all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sen. John McCain did not say, "Wait a minute! This kind of prohibition is not at all what we meant when we wrote and passed McCain-Feingold." On the contrary, he filed an amicus curiae argument in support of the FEC position.


Yet McCain apparently believes that in campaign finance reform there is a higher law than the Constitution – there is the McCain standard of purity.

"Obviously, from what we've been seeing lately, we didn't complete the job," McCain said about campaign financing when interviewed on radio by Don Imus in the spring of 2006. "But I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."

McCain is entitled to his own personal "rathers," but as a United States Senator his oath of office requires him to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not his righteous concept of cleanliness. His attitude toward the First Amendment is nothing if not arrogant. And more arrogance in disregard of the requirements written into the Bill of Rights is not what we need in the White House at any time, but especially after eight years of the Bush-Cheney regime. We don’t need John McCain in the Oval Office, attempting to "complete the job" of emasculating the First Amendment.

McCain Supports the ICC

This report from Accuracy in Media reveals that Senator John McCain supports America joining the United Nations' International Criminal Court.


The media, which adore the U.N. and believe it is the last best hope of mankind, do not recognize the appeal of Ron Paul's no-global-government message. Most reporters probably think it is rather silly. But it is becoming a major issue among the conservative Republican grassroots. It is so big that it could sink Senator John McCain, who is on record in support of U.S. participation in the U.N.'s notorious International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC could become a major issue, regardless of what happens in the presidential campaign, as the $6.4 billion left-wing MacArthur Foundation has indicated that it will spend tens or perhaps even hundreds of millions of dollars in a campaign to force U.S. acceptance of the ICC and "raise the profile of international justice issues during 2008."

In a speech entitled, "The Case for an International System of Justice," MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton declared that the ICC has jurisdiction over "hate speech," a comment suggesting that this U.N.-backed tribunal could even be given the go-ahead to prosecute talk-radio hosts like Michael Savage for being critical of radical Islam. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been trying to force Savage off the air by threatening his advertisers.

It just so happens that the main author of the ICC is a Muslim associated with CAIR by the name of M. Cherif Bassiouni, a Professor of Law at DePaul University.


"Unlike the rest of the Republican field," reporter Bob Egelko said, "Sen. John McCain has said he would like to see the United States join the international court, although he would first require more protections for U.S. personnel." The ICC would strip Americans of Bill of Rights protections if they were apprehended and put on trial for alleged international crimes. The article did not explain how McCain would change the institution, which is now in existence, in order to require those protections. Most of the rest of the world, led by the European Union, rejected any safeguards for U.S. citizens.

One of the most critical constitutional protections rejected by the ICC is trial by jury. Foreign judges preside over ICC cases. So it really cannot be "fixed" to accommodate American concerns.

The fact of McCain's support for the anti-American ICC could prove fatal to his campaign, if it is widely publicized. It has gotten very little attention until now. However, I discovered a press release from the Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS) back in January of 2005 hailing McCain for his support of the ICC. While McCain was quoted as saying about the ICC, "I'm not satisfied that there are enough safeguards" for U.S. citizens, the CGS said that "his declaration at the World Economic Forum was the strongest indication to date that he would be in favor of the United States joining the ICC in the near future."

One can understand why McCain wouldn't want these comments publicized, as he seems to be gathering momentum in the presidential race, and why he wouldn't want the CGS "endorsement" of his views given any publicity. The CGS is the new name of the World Federalist Association, a group that openly favors world government financed by global taxes. Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed the group's activities when she was First Lady.


If Senator McCain supports allowing our soldiers to be tried before liberal foreign courts that do not respect the Bill of Rights, how can he be considered strong on defense?

Human Events on McCain

Human Events, the oldest conservative magazine in America, evaluates Senator John McCain.


Sen. John McCain of Arizona is a war hero whose personal courage sustained many of the men imprisoned with him in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” We honor him, but he does not honor many conservative principles. His co-authorship of the Bush-McCain-Kennedy “comprehensive immigration reform” legislation last summer ran directly against our principles of American sovereignty and national security. His position has not been ameliorated by his more recent explanations of border-security measures he might support. His opposition to the Bush tax cuts, his support for economy-strangling measures to control “global warming” and his anti-torture legislation (which didn’t make torture illegal, it already was: McCain’s law only made a clear law vague to the point of unenforceability) all cut against the conservative grain. And so did his McCain-Feingold campaign finance law with its stifling of political free speech.

Santorum on McCain

Former Senator Rick Santorum, a favorite of social conservatives, evaluates Senator John McCain's record on social issues.


"And then on the issue of, on social conservative issues, you point to me one time John McCain every took the floor of the United States Senate to talk about a social conservative issue. It never happened. I mean, this is a guy who says he believes in these things, but I can tell you, inside the room, when we were in these meetings, there was nobody who fought harder not to have these votes before the United States Senate on some of the most important social conservative issues, whether it’s marriage or abortion or the like. He always fought against us to even bring them up, because he was uncomfortable voting for them. So I mean, this is just not a guy I think in the end that washes with the mainstream of the Republican Party."


This update focuses on law. The rule of law protects freedom, but it is under assault from liberals and judicial activists.

Phyllis Schlafly: Atheism Back in Court Again
Phyllis Schalfly: Feminist Abuse of Domestic Violence Laws
Phyllis Schlafly: Bad New Plans to Rewrite the Constitution
Stephen Baskerville: Feminist 'Justice' at Duke
Don Devine: Coulter's Law

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Edwards uses deceased girl for political gain

From the Wall St Journal:

Edwards and Organ Transplants
January 11, 2008; Page A11

Campaigning in the primaries, former Sen. John Edwards is leveraging the tragic story of Nataline Sarkisyan -- the 17-year-old California woman who recently died awaiting a liver transplant -- to press his political attack on insurance companies and argue for European-style, single-payer health care. But the former trial lawyer, accustomed to using anecdotes of human suffering to frame his rhetoric, is twisting the facts. Organ transplantation, like many areas of medicine, provides a poor basis for his political thesis that single-payer health care offers a more equitable allocation of scarce resources, or better clinical outcomes.

Late last year, Ms. Sarkisyan developed liver failure, apparently a result of blood clotting that stemmed from the high doses of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant she had received to treat relapsed leukemia. She was put on life support as her doctors at the University of California-Los Angeles tried to get her a new liver, and asked CIGNA, the insurer that was acting as administrator to her father's employer-provided, self-insured health plan, to pay for the transplant. CIGNA deemed the transplant unproven in its medical benefit and ineffective as a treatment. It recommended that her father's employer not cover the procedure.

After an appeal, CIGNA hired an oncologist and transplant surgeon to review the case. According to CIGNA, these experts agreed that the transplant exceeded appropriate risk-taking, with little support from existing medical literature.

CIGNA never reversed its administrative decision. But after significant pressure from the California Nurses Association, a powerful union lobby -- and legal threats -- it made a clumsily-announced concession, a one time "exception" to pay for the transplant itself, despite sticking to its judgment that the procedure constituted an experimental use of a scarce organ. But CIGNA's concession came too late. The same day it was made Ms. Sarkisyan was taken off life support and died.

From here, facts are in dispute. Her family says a liver became available while CIGNA wrung its hands over the matter. Some news accounts question this turn, since institutions like UCLA would typically proceed with transplants, even before insurance plans are settled, once an organ becomes available.

Mr. Edwards seized on the case. "We're gonna take their power away and we're not gonna have this kind of problem again," he said on Dec. 21. "These are living and breathing examples of what I'm talking about and there are millions more just like them," Mr. Edwards told reporters on Jan. 6. An edited video of his attacks on CIGNA has posted on YouTube.

Research provides little support to Mr. Edward's underlying premise that single-payer health-care systems would do better. On balance, data suggests that in the U.S. transplant patients do quite well compared to their European counterparts, with significantly more opportunities to undergo transplant procedures, survive the surgery, and benefit from new organs.

Some of the best data pits the U.S. against the U.K. and its National Health Service. A study published in 2004 in the journal Liver Transplantation compared the relative severity of liver disease in transplant recipients in the U.S. and U.K. The results were striking. No patient in the U.K. was in intensive care before transplantation, one marker for how sick patients are, compared with 19.3% of recipients in the U.S. Additionally, the median for a score used to assess how advanced someone's liver disease is, the "MELD" score, was 10.9 in the U.K. compared with 16.1 in the U.S. -- a marked gap, with higher scores for more severe conditions. Both facts suggest even the sickest patients are getting access to new organs in the U.S.

On the whole, the U.S. also performs more transplants per capita, giving patients better odds of getting new organs. Doctors here do far more partial liver transplants from living, related donors, but also more cadaveric transplants (where the organ comes from a deceased donor). In 2002 -- a year comparative data is available -- U.S. doctors performed 18.5 liver transplants per one million Americans. This is significantly more than in the U.K. or in single-payer France, which performed 4.6 per million citizens, or in Canada, which performed 10 per million.

What about the differences in outcomes between ours and single-payer systems, an issue Mr. Edwards hasn't directly addressed? One recent study found that patients' five-year mortality after transplants for acute liver failure, the type from which Ms. Sarkisyan presumably suffered, was about 5% higher in the U.K. and Irleand than the U.S. The same study also found that in the period right after surgery, death rates were as much as 27% higher in the U.K. and Ireland than in the U.S., although differences in longer-term outcomes equilibrated once patients survived the first year of their transplant.

These findings aren't confined to transplanted livers. A study in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation compared statistics on heart transplants over the mid 1990s. It found patients were more likely to receive hearts in the U.S., even when they were older and sicker. The rate was 8.8 transplants per one million people, compared to 5.4 in the U.K. Over the same period, about 15% of patients died while waiting for new hearts in the U.K. compared to 12% in the U.S. In 2006, there were 28,931 transplants of all organ types in the U.S., 96.8 transplants for every one million Americans. There were 2,999 total organ transplants in the U.K., 49.5 transplants for every one million British citizens.

What about Mr. Edwards's implicit thesis, that U.S. organ allocation is dictated by someone's ability to pay? When it comes to livers, the majority of U.S. transplants are for chronic liver disease, usually resulting from hepatitis C or alcoholism. These are diseases disproportionately affecting lower-income Americans who predictably comprise a comparatively higher number of people getting new organs.

Ideally, everyone who can benefit from an organ transplant would receive one, especially a young patient like Ms. Sarkisyan. But with more patients than available organs, some form of allocation procedure involving administrative judgments is inevitable. In Ms. Sarkisyan's case, that judgment was made by CIGNA, in an advisory capacity to her father's employer, interpreting the terms of the employer's health-insurance contract. In the U.K. and other European systems -- and in the U.S. single-payer system favored by Mr. Edwards -- those judgments are made solely by a government agency. The available data suggests that the government allocation procedures do a somewhat worse job, as far as health outcomes are concerned, than private allocation procedures in the U.S.

As in all events, the inevitable trade-offs and ethical dilemmas cannot be wished away. Our system in the U.S. for allocating scarce resources remains imperfect. But taken as a whole, statistics show that organ access, our willingness to transplant the sickest patients, and our medical outcomes are among the best in the world. Probably superior to the single-payer systems that Mr. Edwards would have Americans emulate -- and certainly better than the facts that Mr. Edwards wants us to believe.

Dr. Gottlieb is a practicing physician and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Sowell on McCain

Thomas Sowell, highly respected conservative economist, analyzes the candidacy of Senator John McCain.


Temperament is far more important for a President than for a candidate. A President has to be on an even keel 24/7, for four long years, despite crises that can break out anywhere in the world at any time.

John McCain trails the pack in the temperament department, with his volatile, arrogant, and abrasive know-it-all attitude. His track record in the Senate is full of the betrayals of Republican supporters that have been the party's biggest failing over the years and its Achilles heel politically.

The elder President Bush's betrayal of his "no new taxes" pledge was the classic example, but the current President Bush's attempt to get amnesty for illegal aliens, with Senator McCain's help, was more of the same.

President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon probably cost him the 1976 election and cost the country the disastrous Carter years.

McCain's betrayals include not only the amnesty bill but also the McCain-Feingold bill that violated the First Amendment for the illusion of "taking money out of politics." His back-door deal with Democrats on judicial nominations also pulled the rug out from under his party leaders in the Senate.

The White House is not the place for a loose cannon.

Licence to Kill

The Gazette has an editorial on the issue of driver's licences for illegal aliens. They manage to almost correctly understand the problem. But then things go wrong.

But how will this ruling, in practice, actually end up enhancing anyone's safety in Michigan?

"If you deny driver's licenses, then we'll have no information'' about undocumented immigrants, said Andres Abreu, editor of El Vocero Hispano, a Spanish-edition newspaper in Grand Rapids. "That's no good for security. ...

"We need secure borders. That is the first step.''

We agree.

We just don't see how having more unlicensed drivers on Michigan roads will make Americans safer or how denying driver's licenses will make it easier to detect illegal aliens.
Not issuing licences to illegals won't make them stop driving, but giving them licences won't make them better drivers. If they don't have licences, when they are stopped by the police, they can be arrested and deported. Of course, this would require the federal government to get serious about immigration. Mohammed Atta was stopped by police, but not arrested.

Bu the issue of driver's licences is not even mainly about driving. Driver's licences are the main form of identification that people use. Giving them to illegals allows them get jobs, bank accounts, and more easily function in society.

Ending licences for illegals isn't the whole solution, but it is an essential part of the answer.

Moore Trouble

Kalamazoo City Commissioner Stephanie Moore is in trouble with the law again. The Gazette reports on the incident. Now, if the incident happened the way Moore described it, she should not have been charged. That's a big if.

More on Moore's criminal record.

Moore, who is serving her first term as a city commissioner, pleaded guilty in 2005 to misdemeanor embezzlement from the Fannie Lou Hamer Project, a national nonprofit voting education foundation she headed. Michigan State Police records also show that in 1983 Moore, then 17, was found guilty of misdemeanor retail fraud and in 1998 she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor nonsufficient funds charge.
How did she get elected again?

Hopewell Hates Guns

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell hates guns. From the Herald:


During the question and answer session, one attendee asked Hopewell how the city plans to deal with violence.

First, Hopewell listed all the problems he said contribute to violence and crime: poverty, a general lack of hope, the availability of guns, racism, classism, lack of jobs and lack of family support.

"Guns are rampant," he said. Many of these issues are impacting minorities more than non-minorities, he said."I'm often told by folks it's all about employment," he said.

"Jobs are a piece of the solution; they are not the only solution - and we can never think that."

As far as solutions, he said he wanted to strengthen guns laws, try to make people feel important, and do more to provide strong role models for young males.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tom Barrett Deployed

Sergeant Tom Barrett, the immediate past Chairman of the WMU College Republicans is being deployed overseas. His Army National Guard unit is being called up. They will go to Texas for several months of training before being deployed to the Middle East.

Tom Barrett previously served our country overseas in South Korea and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Tom is an outstanding American and conservative. Please pray for his safe return and success for his mission.

New Hampshire

McCain wins. Eight years ago, McCain won thanks to independents and democrats voting in the Republican primary. Obama's losing after having a significant lead in the polls suggests that something similar happened here.

Romney continues to lead in the number of delegates won. McCain is a distant third.

The Democrat race could go for a while.

On to Michigan!

Michigan News

Some interesting items around Michigan...

The state of Michigan has a surplus?

Michigan sees fewer gun deaths -- with more permits. This is reminiscent of the headline "prison population increases despite drop in crime."

GM says driverless cars may be on market in 10 years. This could solve a lot of problems, from drunk driving to driving the blind or disabled.

The University of Michigan has a class called "How to be Gay". Aren't they "born that way?"

Kucinich fans endorse McCain.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Issue of 2008: Immigration

If terrorism isn't the most important issue in the 2008 election, what is? A strong case can be made that the most important issue is immigration.

Of course, the issues of terrorism and immigration are interrelated. Most terrorists are foreigners. They can't attack America if they can't get here.

It is truly bizarre to hear the argument against pulling out of Iraq that "they will follow us home". How? They certainly can't follow us home if we don't let them in. The neoconservative invade the world/invite the world strategy is nonsensical.

Several of the 9/11 hijackers were known terrorists, but they were let in anyways. Several were stopped by the police, but their immigration status was not checked. The immigration bureaucrats sent them visas months after the 9/11 attacks.

The problem is similar for many other actual and potential terrorists in America.

Why would anyone who is serious about fighting the war on terrorism support a candidate who defended sanctuary city policies, or who led the fight for amnesty, or defends in-state tuition for illegal aliens?

The problems caused by immigration extend far beyond terrorism. One estimate shows that illegal aliens murder 4000 Americans every year. This is far higher than the average annual death toll from terrorism. There are further costs from gangs, drug smuggling, and increased rates of drunk driving.

There is essentially no economic benefit to immigration, at least as it currently exists in America. However, it has significant economic consequences. Importing millions of low-skilled workers increases the labor supply and hence reduces wages. The same is true for higher-skilled workers like engineers and programmers thanks to H1B visas. Immigration may economically benefit a few business owners, but it hurts the rest of America.

There are also huge fiscal costs to immigration. Both legal and illegal immigrants cost taxpayers money by taking more government services. These include public schools, emergency medical care, social security, medicare, police services, and more. Many hospitals near the border have been shut down by such mandates.

Immigration also has political effects. Legal immigrants can vote, and hence help to decide all the other issues. Illegal immigrants may commit voter fraud, and the longer they stay, the more likely they are to receive amnesty, along with the power to vote.

Thus immigration affects all the other issues. The culture of a nation is the sum of the actions of its people. The government of a nation is generally a product of what the people support or will put up with. Thus we can see roughly how immigrants will vote by examining their home countries.

Given America's current sources of immigration, we can expect immigration to lead to bigger, more corrupt, more socialistic government. Gun rights will be endangered. Family values will be threatened as well.

There are 12-20 million illegal aliens in this country. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, and Fred Thompson are on the right side of this issue. John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee are on the wrong side. Mitt Romney has a mixed record.

America can ill afford to make the wrong choice.


This update focuses on "gay rights". The "gay rights" movement attempts to restrict religious freedom and property rights, and weaken America's military.

Elaine Donnelly: Presidential Candidates Change Answers on Homosexual Issues
Jessica Corry: Media Reports on Hate Crimes Fuel Misconceptions of Bias
Roy Blunt: The Majority’s ENDA Problem: Freedom of Religion, Meet Free Flow of Litigation
Star Parker: ENDA, Obama and the cultural war
Robert Maginnis: Gays in the Military Debate -- Deja Vu 1993?

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.


Mitt Romney wins.

On to New Hampshire.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Is Terrorism the Most Important Issue?

Some people argue that the war on terrorism is the most important issue facing the country. Thus they believe that un-conservative positions on other issues should be overlooked as long as a candidate has the "right" position on this issue.

Certainly, terrorism is a serious threat. But there are many threats. Knowing what policies to enact, how to expend resources, and what candidates to select requires evaluating how big the threats are.

How big a threat is terrorism? Since 9/11, there haven't been any major terrorist attacks in America. There have been a few isolated shootings. Including 9/11, the average number of deaths in domestic terrorist attacks per year during the Bush administration is about 420.

If we wish to examine foreign terrorist attacks on Americans, we must include the casualties in Iraq, which raises the average to 970 deaths per year. These deaths could have been avoided by not invading Iraq. (Of course, the costs of not invading are unknown.)

Is the lack of domestic terrorist attacks since 9/11 because of Bush administration success in counter-terrorism? To some extent. In this insightful article, Don Devine of the American Conservative Union lists thwarted terrorist plots since 9/11. While some were serious, others were little more than fantasies in the minds of foolish jihadists. As Devine puts it,
What is most obvious, however, is that these mostly are the “fools.” The report itself identifies only two convictions it considers “significant” and even Moussaoui and Reid almost asked to be caught and, of course, the former was recognized too late to prevent 9/11. A few others mentioned were serious threats but most were amateur sympathizers who were easily entrapped by FBI agents, were publicly obvious in collecting information or only gave material support to others. None of these “others” were in the midst of a real terror operation. The most serious case—not yet settled--consisted of American ex-convicts converted to Islam in prison aiming to kill “infidels” by blowing up synagogues and incidentally military bases that was more domestic and racial than Islamic. The more recent example of the six mostly Albanian American Muslims who were accused of plotting terrorism at Ft. Dix, New Jersey actually makes the point. Not only did they not have any firm plans but Dix is not a critical military target and they delivered a “jihadist video” to be developed by their local Circuit City, without which stupidity they would not have been apprehended! These guys were clowns, not terrorists.

The obvious conclusion why the U.S. has not had another 9/11 is that either the FBI cannot find the serious terrorists after five years—but then why have they not committed mayhem?—or, more likely, there are none to be found. Surely Al Qaeda itself is destroyed as an international logistics or even training operation. All it can do is produce videos and distribute them, mostly through public media, which could be harassed into being less cooperative. It only survives in remote mountains protected by the locals or where there is existing opposition and turmoil as in Iraq and Afghanistan. As FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters recently, “We have seen an increase in the number of self-radicalized groups that…are nor organized by overseas groups.” Few of these have the means or will to carry out serious operations. Several of the plots taken to court actually were developed under the supervision of an undercover FBI agent and it is not clear they would have gone so far by themselves. There is no James Bond, 007-like evil Specter terrorist organization masterminding American terror operations.
The question can be further studied by examining deaths by terrorism during the Clinton administration, which did practically nothing to fight terrorists. During the years 1993-2000, approximately 200 Americans died in terrorist attacks, or 430 if you include the crash of TWA 800. This implies an yearly average of 25, or 54 with TWA 800.

This may not be a fair estimate, since most of the planning for 9/11 occurred during the Clinton administration. For the years 1993-2001, the yearly average is about 380.

In any case, terrorism simply isn't a major cause of death in America. It's not even close. Perhaps one in ten thousand American deaths are from terrorism.

Now, the number of deaths isn't a perfect measure of the level of risk, but it's the best we've got.

There are bigger threats. Big government kills far more people. Several studies have shown that fuel economy regulations kill 1000-2000 people per year by forcing people into smaller, less safe cars. The Food and Drug Administration holding up approval of a prescription drug can kill thousands. Gun control laws can lead to hundreds of avoidable murders. One estimate shows that illegal aliens kill 4000 Americans every year.

These are just a few examples. The cumulative effect of three trillion dollars of government spending and one trillion dollars of government regulations is bound to be huge. Government wastes money, making people poorer, and hence less safe. There's a reason why equally powerful earthquakes kills thousands in the third world and a handful in America.

While we certainly need to fight terrorists, we shouldn't do so by surrendering to big government. As Devine puts it,
What we must not do is to be fooled that there is some enormous peril to U.S. survival that overwhelms every other American value. That is why Rudy Giuliani is leading for the Republican nomination—rampant fear. Since when did conservatives become so frightened over a threat that is so manageable with a bit of common sense? American good sense will prevail in the end but that could inadvertently lead to a President Hillary first (by Giuliani provoking a social conservative third party, for example). In the meantime, as President Bush said immediately after 9/11 if we let the terrorists change our ways, they will have won. The White House’s own report shows the means to defeat the terrorists and to preserve our freedoms at the same time by winning the real not the trivial terrorism wars.


A few thoughts...

Iowa Republicans voted for the candidate most similar to George Bush--a southern governor who is socially conservative and fiscally liberal. Social issues matter. Unfortunately, fiscal issues matter less, at least in Iowa.

All the money and media attention, and what did it get Rudy and McCain? The media insisted on covering national polls, fundraising, and stupid controversies like the "floating cross" rather than substance.

Ron Paul did pretty well considering what he went up against.

I have no idea who's most electable on the Democrat side, but it's fun to see Hillary lose.

Who will win Wyoming?