Author Archives: Jason Pye

Feds pushing back time table on REAL ID

The Washington Post reports that the Bush Administration is pushing back the deadline for states to implement the REAL ID Act by almost two years:

The retreat came as the White House and the Democratic Congress headed for a showdown over a broad counterterrorism bill to implement many of the remaining recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, which called for ways to make it more difficult to obtain fraudulent identification. President Bush threatened to veto the overall bill if the Senate joined the House in extending union protection to 45,000 federal airport screeners.

[…]

As the Senate began debate on the bill yesterday, eight senators supported a push by Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) to postpone the driver’s license program by two years. They blamed the administration for failing until a scheduled announcement today to spell out what states must do to comply with the law, which was passed nearly two years ago.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the program, known as Real ID, was an unfunded federal mandate that would force governors and legislatures into unpopular choices such as raising taxes or tuition, or diverting money from education or health initiatives.

“We are for the first time in history creating a national ID card, with all the ramifications of that,” Alexander said. “Let’s make sure we know what we’re doing.”

The cost to implement the REAL ID Act was $11 billion, as the article states that figure. However, Cato @ Liberty notes that the cost is actually $17 billion and cites the Department of Homeland Security as the source.

Oh, the price of “security.”

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Jim DeMint speaks at CPAC

Here is an excerpt of Senator Jim DeMint’s speech from CPAC:

Our mission is to preserve and promote those things that have proven to work for the betterment of individuals and our nation. Conservatism is supported by many core values, but there are three values in particular that we should constantly be working towards: individualism, capitalism, and volunteerism.

The first is the preeminence of the individual: for freedom to work, people must have the capabilities to succeed in a free society. And more than just being capable, individuals need to have good character. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”

This is the kind of individual that will flourish in a society with free markets. Capitalism is the purest form of democracy because consumers can make their own decisions. As the late Milton Friedman said, “The free market is the only mechanism that has been discovered for achieving participatory democracy.” But individualism and capitalism alone are not enough.

The third core value of conservatism is the important role of good citizenship and volunteerism. At this moment, all across America, millions of citizens are meeting on volunteer boards, United Way committees, church groups, Boy Scout troops, arts councils, community groups, business associations, and countless other groups that work to make America a better place. Volunteers and voluntary associations are the strength of America. They care about others and their communities, not because of government coercion; they work for the good of others because they are capable, responsible individuals who want to serve their God and their fellow citizens, as well as themselves.

We believe in individualism, capitalism and volunteerism because these are the things that have made America great. These are also the prisms through which we must evaluate all of our policy decisions. Do our policies encourage, or discourage these ideals?

Our government is not the source of our greatness. Our mission as conservatives is to fight for these things that have proven to make life better for Americans. Liberal solutions are theoretical. They sound good, but they have never worked! Conservative values work, but they don’t sound as good … until we translate them into a compelling vision that inspires and gives people hope.

My only issues with what he said is the use of the word “conservative.” Conservatives do not stand for the individual, capitalism or volunteerism.

The new brand of conservatism has been hijacked by the religious right and who have molded it to mean altruism (“compassionate conservatives”), who raid the public treasury to exchange handouts for votes, while they continue to run up obscene deficits and forcefully take one-third of what we earn…all this rapes the individual sense of liberty, pride and property.

Admittedly, I am a fan of DeMint, but “conservatism” is just as bad as it’s counterpart.

He’s a rebel…

Let’s say you are a candidate for President in 2008 and you’ve been criticized by a leading pro-growth organization. I would think that you’d attempt to make some in-roads with a very disenfranchised group of voters.

But not Mike Huckabee, who is looking to Congressman Don Young to rally support in Congress:

At a time when congressional support is hard to come by, including support for candidates like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, Huckabee is surely eager to count on any support he can get within the halls of Congress. Is Young’s support worth it?

While Young praised Huckabee as a “hell of a speaker” and one who could lead a “reawakening of the conservative values that make our country a land of opportunity,” the House’s resident Alaskan has had trouble keeping his own conservative credentials intact.

Young, known for his handiwork as the former House Transportation Committee chairman, tried to stick U.S. taxpayers with a bill of almost $500 million back in 2005 to fund bridge projects in Alaska.

The project, known as the “bridge to nowhere,” would have connected Ketchikan, a town of 8,000, to the airport at Gravina Island, which had a population of 50. The other project was to link Point MacKenzie, which at the time had a population just over 100, with Anchorage.

(The Ketchikan/Gravina Island route has ferry service and Alaskan officials announced two weeks ago that within two years ferry service between Point MacKenzie and Anchorage will begin.)

Conservatives in Congress removed the earmarks for these tax-wasting projects, but they weren’t the only pork projects Young tried to steer to his state.

Stephen Spruiell, writing for the National Review, pointed out that Young, with help from other Alaskans in Congress, has “steered” numerous special projects to the northernmost state, which include: “$1.8 million for berry research; $1.8 million for sea-otter recovery; $10 million for a psychiatric-treatment facility; $48 million in subsidies for the timber industry; and $500,000 to paint a giant salmon on an Alaska Airlines jetliner.”

Young does not try to hide his love for pork; in fact, he openly brags about directing millions of taxpayers’ dollars to his state. He is neither the poster boy for fiscal restraint nor conservatism, yet Huckabee doesn’t appear to be worried about his newly established link to one of Congress’ big spenders.

Straight out of “Atlas Shrugged”

Hugo Chavez is seizing oil projects run by foreign entities:

President Hugo Chavez ordered by decree on Monday the takeover of oil projects run by foreign oil companies in Venezuela’s Orinoco River region.

Chavez had previously announced the government’s intention to take a majority stake by May 1 in four heavy oil-upgrading projects run by British Petroleum PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX), ConocoPhillips (COP) Co., Total SA (TOT) and Statoil ASA. (STO)

He said Monday that has decreed a law to proceed with the nationalizations that will see state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, taking at least a 60 percent stake in the projects.

“The privatization of oil in Venezuela has come to an end,” he said on his weekday radio show, “Hello, President.””This marks the true nationalization of oil in Venezuela.”

By May 1, “we will occupy these fields” and have the national flag flying on them, he said.

GOP Georgia legislators v. Genarlow Wilson

The Genarlow Wilson case has been the talk of the blogosphere here in Georgia this week. Wilson is currently serving a ten prison sentence for participating in an oral sex act with a 15 year old, which is a felony. Wilson was 17 at the time of the act. Had Wilson had intercourse, it would have only been a misdemeanor. Wilson’s case caused the legislature to close the loophole on oral sex. However, Wilson still sits in prison. » Read more

The State of Liberty

I got bored today and wrote this, it’s kind of elaborating on things I’ve written here and on my site.

The United States of America…We are the bastion of liberty and the world’s object of admiration, as Reagan said, we are that “shining city on a hill,” right?

Many of us would like to believe these things. But what is a country where property rights mean little when compared to the will of the common good or a country where a third of one’s earnings are forcefully confiscated from the government and shifted through bureaucracy to corrupt and bankrupt government programs.

In the United States we have seen a constant assault on our liberties from both the right and the left. In the so-called “Progressive era,” the nation witnessed an assault on the spirit of Constitution, if not the Constitution it’s self. Progressives passed amendments to the Constitution that allowed for a direct tax on income and the direct election of Senators, virtually eliminating representation of the States in Congress.

» Read more

Oh…the hypocrisy

Who said the following?:

I wholeheartedly support withholding funds… Although it is a drastic step and ties the President’s hands, I do not feel like we have any other choice. The President has tied our hands, gone against the wishes of the American people, and this is the last best way I know how to show my respect for our American servicemen and women. They are helpless, following orders.

Thirty years ago when I was sent to Vietnam in a similar situation, Vietnam started out as a peace type mission, no defined goal, no exit strategy, no idea whose side we were on, and a created incident to gain support of the Congress. A peacekeeping mission? Come on. Does this not sound just like a carbon copy? I think it is.

You are probably thinking that it’s some ultra-leftist liberal douche bag, right? Nope. These are the words of Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX), a staunch supporter of the Iraq war. These words come a 1995 speech when Johnson was speaking out against Clinton sending troops to Bosnia.

Our Libertarian President

In honor of Presidents Day, I’m posting Thomas DiLorenzo’s piece on Grover Cleveland, which he calls The Last Good Democrat:

In the post-war years the Democratic Party possessed most of what was left of the states’ rights, strict constructionist Jeffersonians in American politics. The party had its share of scoundrels, politics being what it is, but it still generally championed free trade over the legal plunder of protectionism, and laissez faire over Lincolnian mercantilism. Its greatest spokesman in this regard was President Grover Cleveland, who served two terms as president: 1885–1889 and 1893–1897. His political philosophy was perhaps best expressed in his second inaugural address, where he said, “The lessons of paternalism ought to be unlearned and the better lesson taught that while the people should patriotically and cheerfully support their Government its functions do not include the support of the people.” He was a nineteenth century James Ostrowski.

Cleveland began his political career as sheriff of Erie County, New York in 1871, where he earned a reputation for fearlessness and incorruptibility. He was then elected mayor of Buffalo in 1882 where he became known as “the veto mayor.” He earned this noble designation for repeatedly vetoing inflated government contracts with politically-connected firms doing business with the city. He also insisted on competitive bidding on all city contracts, a practice almost unheard of in New York.

Ascending to the governor’s mansion, Cleveland became known as “the veto governor” for vetoing numerous Tammany Hall patronage bills put before the state legislature. Inevitably, this reputation would follow him into the White House where he would veto hundreds of bills, including forty-nine that he pocket vetoed on his very last day in office, March 4, 1897 (see Alyn Brodsky, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2000, p. 57).

Cleveland also campaigned vigorously for a reduction in the tariff rate, calling the current rates, an economic legacy of the Lincoln administration, “indefensible extortion” and “a vicious, inequitable, and illogical source of unnecessary taxation.” Republicans fiercely defended tariff extortion, as they always had, and prevailed politically during Cleveland’s first term.

Grover Cleveland was also a crusader for the Gold Standard and sound money. Naturally, the Republican Party opposed him on this issue with all its powers. In a message to Congress he announced, “The people of the United States are entitled to a sound and stable currency and to money recognized as such on every exchange and in every market of the world.” And only a gold standard, Cleveland believed, could guarantee such a stable currency.

During his first term as president Cleveland vetoed hundreds of pension expansion bills as unwarranted raids on the U.S. Treasury. He became Public Enemy Number One in the eyes of the “Grand Army of the Republic,” the Union army veterans lobbying organization that consistently agitated to plunder the taxpayers. Despite the dwindling number of veterans, expenditures on veterans’ pensions had increased by some 500 percent in the previous twenty years (Brodsky, p. 182), purely because of the political clout of Union army veterans. (Southerners paid taxes to finance the pensions, but did not qualify for them).

[…]

Grover Cleveland considered this imperialistic fantasy to be “every bit as odious as imperialism and misguided nationalism” (p. 228). He was determined that “we never get caught up in conflict with any foreign state unless attacked or otherwise provoked,” in the spirit of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. If he were alive today, Grover Cleveland would be the chief nemesis of the neocons.

Grover Cleveland was a principled classical liberal. But even while serving as president, his own Democratic Party was deserting him as the forces of statism and unlimited democracy, unleashed by the death of states’ rights in 1865, were beginning to dominate American politics. He was the last American president in the Jefferson/Andrew Jackson/John Tyler tradition, and the last good Democrat to serve in that office. For the most part, his successors (in both parties) have ranged from pathetic panderers to dangerous, megalomaniacal warmongers, or both.

Venezuela continues to suffer under Chavez

Chavez is threatening to take over more privately controlled markets:

President Hugo Chavez threatened Wednesday to nationalize any privately owned supermarkets and food storage facilities caught hoarding inventories or violating price controls imposed on basic goods.

Accusing private companies of hoarding beef and other foods, Chavez warned supermarket owners and distributors that he would nationalize their facilities as soon as they gave him “an excuse.”

“If they remain committed to violating the interests of the people, the constitution, the laws, I’m going to take the food storage units, corner stores, supermarkets and nationalize them,” Chavez said during a televised broadcast. “So prepare yourselves!”

[…]

Earlier this week the government signed deals to buy stakes in local companies owned by two U.S. corporations — Verizon Communications Inc and CMS Energy Corp. There are no major U.S. interests, however, involved in the supermarket or food storage business in Venezuela.

Chavez said his decree permitting takeovers of food stores and warehouses will take effect upon publication in the official gazette this week.

“The large storage installations, distribution chains, if we have to take them over and nationalize them, wait a few hours for the law to be approved,” he said.

In memory of Charlie Norwood (R-GA)

I’ve been a fan of Charlie Norwood since I’ve been paying attention to Congressional politics. He had been a member of Ron Paul’s Liberty Committee, a group of libertarian leaning members of Congress. He was the only Republican member of the Georgia delegation to vote against the 2003 expansion of Medicare. He also voted for 17 of the 19 Flake Amendments last year. Norwood did do things that I disagree with…that is to be expected though.

Norwood’s death put a damper on my day. He was a good guy. He cared for his constituents and had integrity, which is rare in a city that is so corrupt.

Keep the Norwood family in your thoughts and prayers.

Utah gets school choice

Utah has passed a near universal school voucher bill.

Volokh Conspiracy has some of the details of the new program.

Children can receive a voucher if…
1) they are in public school
2) they are entering kindergarten
3) they have moved into the state in the previous year
4) they have family incomes at or below the eligibility level for free and reduced lunch programs

The vouchers are also indexed to family income, the values range from $500 (higher income families) to $3,000 (lower income families).

Cato @ Liberty has more on the voucher bill, though their post was written after it passed the House, so it’s a week old, but it still has some good information.

A Kathryn Johnston Update

One of the officers involved in the Kathryn Johnston shooting will be charged with murder and more:

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard will seek felony murder charges against at least one of the Atlanta police officers involved in a botched drug raid that resulted in the shooting death of an elderly woman, the officer’s attorney said.

Defense attorney Rand Csehy, who is representing Gregg Junnier, said he had received an e-mail from Howard’s office Wednesday saying the prosecutor would go before a grand jury on Feb. 26 to seek charges against his client.

It was unclear Wednesday evening whether charges were being sought against other police officers. Eight Atlanta officers were put on administrative leave after the shooting. The November incident prompted a multi-jurisdictional investigation that included state and federal authorities.

Csehy responded angrily to the threat of an indictment against his client. “It’s an overbroad indictment,” he said.

I think a felony murder charge is a bit over the top, manslaughter and trespassing sound more levelheaded. Murder implies an intent to kill. I don’t believe they had a premeditated intent to kill Kathryn Johnston.

Paul Howard is a terrible district attorney and I have no doubt in my mind that he will drop the ball on this no matter how he chooses to pursue it.

Is it time for impeachment?

Bob Barr has written a scathing editorial on the continued ignorance of the Bush Administration when it comes to securing our most basic liberties:

[M]any provisions in the Magna Carta dealt with parochial interests of barons that have little relevance today, such is not the case with paragraph 39: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.” The eloquence, relevance and importance of these words ring as loudly today as they did nearly 800 years ago.

This paragraph, reciting the inherent right of each person in a free society to be protected against incarceration or deprivation except by rule of law, was well-known and clearly understood by our Founding Fathers as an underpinning of civilized society. The “Great Writ” of habeas corpus — whereby a person has a fundamental right to be brought before a court to determine the lawfulness of his or her detention or deprivation — is a vital element of liberty growing out of this paragraph in the Magna Carta. Its importance to the fledgling republic occupied many pages of debate and court decisions in those early years that defined our nation to the world as the “beacon of liberty.” The Great Writ was considered a core element in the foundation of our republic.

So important was the writ of habeas corpus deemed by the Constitution’s drafters that Article I expressly forbids the “Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus” from being even temporarily suspended. Only if our country is invaded or faced with overt “Rebellion” could the Congress move to suspend — not eliminate — the right of every person to be brought before a court if the government seeks to detain or otherwise imperil his or her freedom. The president is not granted that power at all. President Lincoln attempted to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, a move later determined by the Supreme Court to have been unconstitutional.

Yet, so little regard has the Bush administration for the rights of the people as opposed to the power of the government, that its attorney general recently told the American people, through testimony before the United States Senate, in effect, “don’t worry so much about habeas corpus because you don’t really have that right under our Constitution anyway.” For many Americans, the shock of such words being spoken by an attorney general of the United States has not yet worn off, though uttered nearly three weeks ago.

The position thus staked out by the attorney general is troubling also in light of the fact that the administration has repeatedly taken another phrase in the Constitution and elevated it to the level of a sacred and all-encompassing “right” of presidents. Article II provides that the president, rather than the Congress, shall occupy the position atop the military chain of command. The president serves as the “Commander in Chief” of the armed forces.

The paragraph in which this provision appears gives to the president no additional powers when serving as commander in chief. It is a reflection simply of the administrative need to have one person, rather than the entire Congress, issuing commands to the military. Moreover, the very next section reminds the president that at all times he has a responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” with no hint of an exception for whenever he decides he is acting as commander in chief.

Yet, post-Sept. 11, this president has let not a single opportunity slip by without reminding us, almost in the fashion of a character in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, that he is the “commander in chief” and a “wartime president.” He then proceeds to employ the title to justify whatever it is he wishes to do in the “Global War on Terror.”

Admittedly, I’ve voted for Bush. My drift towards libertarianism and classical liberalism began back in 2002 and for a while, I bought into the rhetoric on the war on terror.

The Constitution of the United States is the most basic of contracts, the sole purpose of the document is constrain government and protect the rights of “We the people.” I don’t use that phrase in a collective sense. It is clear by reading the Bill of Rights that the Constitution protect individual liberties. Liberties cannot and should not be taken away in the name of the common good or for any other rhetorical purpose like a “war on terror” or to fight a “Great Depression” or to combat the “Red Scare” (even though I despise collectivism).

Our government has a fiduciary responsibility to guarantee our rights protected under the Constitution, if they fail to secure those liberties at what point do we start exercising and recreating the actions of our Founding Fathers to restore the concepts of the Individual and Natural Rights, on which this country was founded.

On the 2008 budget…

Stephen Slivinski has taken a look at the FY 2008 budget numbers. He notes a 4.1% increase in spending in non-defense level agencies since 2006 (adjusted for inflation). He notes budget cuts in education, agriculture, HUD, DOJ and the EPA.

However, Slivinski notes, “Yet even by the White House’s own numbers, all of these programs combined will still grow beyond the 2006 levels by 4 percentage points above inflation.”

One red flag, pointed out by Slivinski, to the fiscal conservatives among us is the comparison between the 2001 and the new budget. You’ll see that the growth in these same non-defense level cabinet level agencies is 22.4%. Slivinski calls the new budget, “the fiscal equivalent of a recovering alcoholic patting himself on the back for merely drinking six beers a day instead of eight.”

You can view the FY2008 Budget online here.

A global warming tax on imports

Well, we won’t sign Kyoto, so the EU may add a tariff on imports to the United States as penalty for non-compliance:

He said that he welcomed last week’s State of the Union address in which President Bush described climate change as a “serious challenge” and acknowledged that a growing number of American politicians now favor emissions cuts.

But he warned that if the United States did not sign the agreements, a carbon tax across Europe on imports from nations that have not signed the Kyoto treaty could be imposed to try to force compliance. The European Union is the largest export market for American goods.

“A carbon tax is inevitable,” Mr. Chirac said. “If it is European, and I believe it will be European, then it will all the same have a certain influence because it means that all the countries that do not accept the minimum obligations will be obliged to pay.”

Hat tip to Cato @ Liberty.

Risking economic liberty…

This by far one of the best arguments against the minimum wage I’ve seen. Please note that when you see the word “liberal” in this article, it’s referring to classical liberalism:

Passage by the House of Representatives of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, as part of the Democrats’ first 100-hour agenda for “A New Direction for America,” was a step in the wrong direction. It leads our nation further astray from the limited government, market-liberal order envisioned by the Founding Fathers. It appears the Senate is about to make the same mistake.

Many in Congress seem to have forgotten that their powers are enumerated and thus limited by Article 1, Section 8 of what George Washington in his first inaugural address in 1789 called “the great constitutional charter” designed to preserve “the sacred fire of liberty” and the “republican model of government.”

[…]

In a free society, employers should have the right to hire and fire workers and to pay them wages that are mutually agreed upon, and workers should have the right to freely compete for jobs and, thus, to accept employment at mutually beneficial wage rates. A worker’s minimum acceptable hourly wage, of course, will depend on his or her next best alternative employment opportunity and, hence, on the value of his or her productivity in the marketplace.

Arbitrarily increasing the legal minimum wage simply increases the price of labor without changing a worker’s skill level or other conditions that lead to low wages. Congress cannot repeal the law of demand by a stroke of the legislative pen. When the real (inflation-adjusted) minimum wage rises above the prevailing market wage for unskilled workers, employers will cut back on hours, reduce benefits, and introduce labor-saving methods of production. This is common sense.

[…]

Big businesses such as Wal-Mart can weather a 20 percent increase in the federal minimum wage, but small businesses, especially in low-wage states, will suffer. In a recent study in the Cato Journal, Thomas Garrett and Howard Wall, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, find that “in the relatively poor states the federal minimum wage results in fewer entrepreneurs and fewer of the benefits that entrepreneurship can bring.”

Government interventions such as the minimum wage destroy opportunities for the least skilled members of society. The government promises low-skilled workers higher wage rates, but their incomes will be zero if they lose their jobs. Contrary to popular opinion, a minimum wage law is not “progressive” legislation. Rather, it prevents progress by limiting the options of poor people.

[..]

If Congress passes and President Bush signs a new federal minimum wage law there will be a further drift away from the liberal principles that have made America the land of opportunity. Alternatively, doing nothing or abolishing the federal minimum wage would create new job opportunities for low-skilled workers, spur development in poorer states, and, ironically, help lift people out of poverty as they gain experience.

A new direction for America should not be a false progressivism but a swing back toward true liberalism, or what Thomas Jefferson called “a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another” and “shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.”

Today the Senate invoked cloture on the minimum wage legislation, only ten Senators voted against it. A tip of the hat to my Senators, Isakson and Chambliss for voting against it, even thought it includes the tax cuts that the Bush Administration wanted.

Last week, Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) filed an amendment that would have allowed the States the ability to determine their own minimum wage, free from federal interference…you know, how the Constitution says these types of issues should be handled per the Tenth Amendment. But it was rejected. Admittedly, I was surprised with how many Senators voted for the amendment, Isakson and Chambliss voted in the affirmative.

An op-ed in the Gainesville Times drives it home:

Mandating an increase in the minimum wage means one of three options for employers: they accept a smaller profit margin, they cut expenses to maintain existing profit margins or they increase the cost of their product or services.

For many small businesses, reducing profit margins is not a realistic option. Small-business owners frequently walk a tightrope between being viable and being out of business, where one unexpected expense of any magnitude can mean closing the doors for good.

If businesses opt to maintain profits by reducing expenses, they most likely will do so by cutting employee costs, which may well mean the elimination of the very jobs most likely to be affected by a minimum wage increase. A dramatic rise in the mandatory minimum wage may mean the local ice cream shop employs two minimum wage employs at $7.25 an hour rather than three at $5.15 an hour, which is a boon for the two who remain employed, but means job loss for the third.

I’ve seen polls that support an increase in the minimum wage, I’ve seen people say that these people “deserve” a raise, that’s fine that you feel that way, but an economic cost will be paid and that is reality. And let’s not forget that 53% of the people that make minimum wage are 24 years old and younger [Source: BLS – Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2005].

Why risk economic liberty for 2.5% of the workforce, a quarter of these workers are under 19, another quarter are between the age of 20 and 24, all to increase their “purchasing power” by $80 a week. I don’t think it’s worth it.

What does this have to do with fighting terrorism?

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is using a provision of the PATRIOT Act to fire US Attorneys and appoint replacements. The new appointees are more politically friendly to the Bush Administration.

“It appears that the administration has chosen to use this provision, which was intended to help protect our nation, to circumvent the transparent constitutional Senate confirmation process to reward political allies,” Pryor said in the joint Democratic statement.

Not true, Gonzales told The Associated Press.

“We are fully committed to ensuring that with respect to every position we have a Senate-confirmed, presidentially appointed U.S. attorney,” Gonzales told editors and reporters during an interview Tuesday.

“We in no way politicize these decisions,” he added.

[…]

In the year since the reauthorization took effect, 11 federal prosecutors have resigned or announced their resignations – some at the urging of the Bush administration, Gonzales said. He described a range of reasons for ousting sitting U.S. attorneys, from their job performance to their standing in their communities, and noted that federal prosecutors serve at the pleasure of the president.

Gonzales repeatedly cited the Patriot Act when discussing the replacements, but twice refused to say when asked whether any of the personnel changes at issue pertained to national security.

But he stressed that anyone named to replace the departing prosecutors have their jobs only temporarily, pending Senate confirmation.

Gonzales scares the hell of out me, as well as the rest of the Bush Administration.

Recently, Andrew Napolitano (a Fox News contributor) had this to say about Bush and his cronies:

George W. Bush, with a rubber-stamp Congress, has shown less fidelity to the Constitution than any president since Abraham Lincoln. At the very least, with divided government in the next two years, we should expect more constitutional government.

The Bush administration, which has treated the Congress—on the rare occasions when it failed to act as a rubber stamp—as if it were merely a constitutional nuisance, will be forced to read the supreme law of the land, and to recognize and accept the equality of the Congress with the executive branch. With the Democrats in control of both houses, we can now expect congressional interaction with the executive branch to be more in line with what the Founders contemplated.

We can also expect to learn what kind of intelligence the administration relied on and used to persuade the United Nations, the Congress, and the American people that Iraq should be invaded. We can hope to learn what kinds of activities were included in the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program and in the CIA interrogation, detention, torture, and rendition program. And perhaps we’ll discover what poor souls have unknowingly suffered the rape of their constitutional liberties silently administered through the PATRIOT Act.

I’d say that FDR was more abusive to the Constitution than Lincoln, but other than that, Napolitano nails it.

[UPDATE] Instapundit reports that it’s no different from what Clinton did when he came into to office.

Another big government Republican files for ’08

It’s official, Mike Huckabee is running, well he at least is taking the step of form an exploratory committee.

Here is what Erick over at Red State had to say about Huckabee:

ATTENTION REPUBLICANS.

You too can support a guy who has no problem raising taxes, hiking the minimum wage, spends his time doing rice commercials, called No Child Left Behind the greatest education reform in his lifetime, wants to ban trans fats, thinks the government needs to up the funding of Phys. Ed. classes, and has a host of other nanny-statist ideas.

This “favorite of conservatives,” as the Associated Press calls him, also rated ‘dead last’ second to last among Republican governors in CATO’s 2006 rankings of the nation’s governors (and sixth from the bottom overall).

That’s right. Mike Huckabee is running. Welcome to the mediocrity Governor.

There were only two possible candidates from either major party that I could bring myself to vote for, one being Ron Paul (at this point I’m backing him)…the other is Mark Sanford from South Carolina, who is not running.

God help us.

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