Monthly Archives: April 2009

It’s time to replace Janet Napolitano with Andrew Napolitano

Over at the Examiner, I’ve written an article which calls for DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to be fired and replaced by Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.  Here’s why Janet should pack her bags:

Considering the timing of the actual release of the report, it seems that law enforcement was being provided a message from the White House to be on lookout for hundreds of thousands of Americans participating in Tea Parties across the nation on April 15th.  While national political journalist Robert Stacy McCain may have been the first to the note the connection between Tea Parties and the Homeland Security Document, other local bloggers have recognized the coincidence as well.

Here’s why Andrew is more than qualifed for the new job:

If I had to make a pick about which Napolitano serves as Attorney General, I’d choose the one who is equally critical of both political parties, the one who chooses constitutionality over partisanship, and the one who favors civil liberties over politics as normal in DC.

Read the whole article here.

There Is No Stopping Obama

Nine days ago, there was a special election in upstate New York’s 20th Congressional District. This election was billed as the first test for the Obamessiah’s agenda of radically remaking the United States. Unfortunately, his backed candidate appears to have won.

There are still about 600 absentee votes left to be counted and Republican Jim Tedisco hasn’t officially conceded. But the reality is that the special election in New York’s 20th District is essentially over and Democrat Scott Murphy is the victor.

Tedisco only trails Murphy by 401 votes but it’s hard to find many Republicans who think he has any chance of winning. Several leading GOP officials and operatives have already publicly thrown in the towel. Privately, Republican operatives tracking the race admit there aren’t enough GOP votes left for Tedisco to overcome his triple-digit deficit.

The Republican radio silence on the race is revealing. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, who made the special election a national priority for the party, hasn’t commented on the race in nine days. Tedisco’s campaign has also gone dark, with no press releases issued about the election since April 14. All of his campaign staff has returned to work in the state Assembly, and all that’s left is a press secretary on loan from the NRCC and the legal team that’s assisting him during the post-election phase.

Thursday night, Capital News 9 reported that sources tell them Tedisco could concede as early as Friday afternoon.

If there was any serious opposition to Obama and his policies, the GOP would’ve won this seat. Furthermore, Jim Tedisco was a popular state Assemblyman and the man who defeated him, Scott Murphy, was an unknown before this election.

Furthermore, a USA Today/Gallup Poll came out that is nothing but good news for the President.

President Obama’s opening months in the Oval Office have fortified his standing with the American public, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, giving him political capital for battles ahead.

As his 100th day as president approaches next Wednesday, the survey shows Obama has not only maintained robust approval ratings but also bolstered the sense that he is a strong and decisive leader who can manage the government effectively during a time of economic crisis.

“A lot of things were ignored over the last eight years, and I think it’s all coming home to roost,” says Benjamin Bleadon, 51, an insurance broker from Skokie, Ill., who was among those surveyed. “He has given the perception that he understands the issues and that he has taken control … and we’ll just have to wait and see if it works.”

………………………………………………….

Now, 56% say he has done an “excellent” or “good” job as president versus 20% who rate him as “poor” or “terrible.” An additional 23% say he has done “just OK.”

His excellent/good rating on national security is 53%. On the economy, it is 48%.

“He is seen as someone who was handed a large array of challenges and is dealing with them in a sensible way,” adviser David Axelrod says.

The first thing we libertarians and small government conservatives need to admit is we cannot stop Obama’s radical agenda politically. Obama has the support of the American people first of all. Secondly, we are politically discredited from the Bush years.

All we can do is try to educate enough people to realize the dangerous path we are on before it is too late in the time we have left and hope we have enough support to do something.

How we can do that….I leave that to you the commentors for frankly, I don’t have the first idea where to start.

I want to leave with one final thought:

America is at that awkward stage; it’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. –Claire Wolfe

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Is It Time For A Federalism Amendment ?

Law Professor Randy Barnett thinks so:

In response to an unprecedented expansion of federal power, citizens have held hundreds of “tea party” rallies around the country, and various states are considering “sovereignty resolutions” invoking the Constitution’s Ninth and Tenth Amendments. For example, Michigan’s proposal urges “the federal government to halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the Constitution of the United States.”

While well-intentioned, such symbolic resolutions are not likely to have the slightest impact on the federal courts, which long ago adopted a virtually unlimited construction of Congressional power. But state legislatures have a real power under the Constitution by which to resist the growth of federal power: They can petition Congress for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.

Article V provides that, “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states,” Congress “shall call a convention for proposing amendments.” Before becoming law, any amendments produced by such a convention would then need to be ratified by three-quarters of the states.

An amendments convention is feared because its scope cannot be limited in advance. The convention convened by Congress to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation produced instead the entirely different Constitution under which we now live. Yet it is precisely the fear of a runaway convention that states can exploit to bring Congress to heel.

In essence, Barnett argues that states can use the threat of a Constitutional Convention to force Congress to propose an Amendment to the states for ratification. This method worked to some effect in the early part of the 20th Century when Congress finally acted on what became the 17th Amendment after thirty-one states had passed resolutions calling for a Constitutional Convention to consider such an Amendment. Barnett contends that it could work again.

While the specific text of Barnett’s proposed Amendments, which you can find in the article linked above, is interesting and worthy of further discussion, I think there are several problems with his proposal.

First, his suggestion that the states play a game of Constitutional “chicken” with Congress by issuing a call for a Constitutional Convention raises all of the objections to that route that Brad and I noted nearly three years ago. Namely, this:

America was fortunate in 1787 in that we had men like Madison, and Hamilton, and Washington, and Franklin who produced a document that, to this day stands as the blueprint for the best system of government yet devised. I shudder to think what would happen if a Convention were called and populated by the likes of Schumer, Pelosi, Frist, Reid, Specter, and Kennedy.

And that’s precisely what could happen under Barnett’s proposal. What if, instead of caving in to the states on a Federalism Amendment, Congress decides to call their bluff and let a Convention go forward ? Does anyone really think that the end result of such a convention would come even close to what Barnett is suggesting ? I don’t, and I don’t want to take that risk.

The other problem with Barnett’s proposal is pointed out by his Volokh Conspiracy co-blogger Ilya Somin:

I am far less optimistic than he is about the likelihood that state governments will support such a massive reduction in federal power. Randy writes that “States have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making this Federalism Amendment the focus of their resistance to the shrinking of their reserved powers and infringements upon the rights retained by the people.” In reality, however, many state governments have a great deal to lose because they receive massive quantities of federal subsidies (equivalent to some 20-30% of their total budgets; see Table B-86 here) that would mostly be cut off by Section 3 of Randy’s proposed amendment. The states got some $450 billion in federal funding in 2008, and are likely to get even more this year. Right now, most states are very happy to take federal stimulus money, and many would like to get even more. State governments also often support federal regulation of private activity. John McGinnis and I discuss the reasons why state governments often favor broad federal authority in greater detail in this article. If the states really did have “nothing to lose” from imposing tight constraints on federal power, they probably would not have allowed the latter to grow to its current bloated size in the first place.

You need to look no further for evidence in support of Somin’s argument than the news coverage of Governors, Mayors, and other local officials who paraded to Washington in the weeks after Obama’s Inauguration to ensure that they got their piece of the stimulus pie. For the most part, these local and state leaders want federal money because, without it, their citizens would have to bear to full cost of all those state programs they’ve implemented — and that would lead to fiscal, and political, disaster for the powers that be.

As Somin notes, Barnett may have a point that a Federalism Amendment may have the salutary effect of giving the tea party movement something to rally around that is more productive than just “hate Obama” and “vote for Republicans,” but as a practical suggestion it seems to be sorely lacking.

Stupid Celebrity Quote Of The Day

Martial arts movie star Jackie Chan doesn’t like freedom all that much:

“I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not,” he told an audience at a regional economic forum in southern China Saturday. “If you’re too free, you’re like the way Hong Kong is now. It’s very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic.” He continued: “I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”

Chan says this while he spends most of his time in Los Angeles shooting movies. Apparently, he admires the totalitarian restraint of Chinese society, but only from a distance.

H/T: Radley Balko

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