A New Can Of Worms
12 July 2003
A Good Guy Who Saves The World From A Robot

From John Fund's Political Diary on Opinionjournal.com. John cut his teeth in Sacramento, so a lot of us are listening to what he says. He has said and written some positive things about Arnold Swarzenegger, and as he points out, Rep. Dan Issa (R-CA) and Bill Simon are hardly front runners.

What I am interested however, is the reaction to the recall effort. The recall effort itself is an extreme measure. It has been tried about 30 times in California's history and this is first time it has gotten this far, so I don't believe we'll be seeing any kind of trend. The trend criticism is overblown and so is the one about this being a "mess".

The John Harwood[s] (link requires subsrciption) of the world, like most elites in this country, like their politics neat and orderly. They're more about process than liberalism -- but superficially liberal none-the-less. They prefer Justices of the Supreme Court and other lawyers to decide what is best. Afterall what is the law about if not procedure {process}?

They are fans of our democratic republic, don't get me wrong. However elites such as they believe that someone still has to be in charge when it comes to certain issues. We see this kind of thinking in Supreme Court (arbiter of local mores) decisions and as I noted yesterday state courts around the country.

It is the court system that they and their allies will continually turn as the conservative realignment continues to progress. These elites, think of the panel discussions on public television's Washington Week in Review, will continue to align themselves, ever so sublety, with the left and the trial lawyers who try to win in the courts what they can't at the ballot box. It is the same tactic, but a different goal.

The Left wishes to build their totalitarian utopianism where we can all get stoned yet not smoke cigarettes, eat fast food, or have a beer. Trial lawyers just want to get rich. These particular elites are more in fear of the inmates taking over the asylum than what what they would actually do with it. The process is it what keeps them in their six figure salaries and on TV, things such as recall and initiative votes, the Internet (ie. blogdom), and the likes of straight talking President Bush running the government are what keeps them up at night. You can't make a living parsing Bush or explaining how direct democracy works, can you?

The recall process in California is part of the state's democratic fabric. It's supposed to be a messy process. Because recalls aren't normally done it does make it unseemily or ilegal. Get over it.

Finally, I hope the Robot loses.

From Blogdom...

It's 75 degrees, Sunny and I'm sitting in front of the desktop. What's wrong with this picture???

Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil, has interesting take on the President's trip to Africa as it relates to domestic politics. It violates Occam's razor when diciphering the impact of Bush's trip and WMD in Iraq -- it's too complicated. However, he has identified some higly ironic juxtapositions.
To Find WMD...

Click here.
11 July 2003
Nevada Supreme Court Rules Rules Against Democractic Process

This is over the top.

In his zeal to raise taxes alleged Republican Governor Kenny Guinn along with the state teacher's union have successfully sued the state legislature for refusing to raise taxes. While Guinn did not sue to have the State's Tax and Expenditure Limitation Amendment (TEL) overturned, the teacher's union did -- relegating Guinn to the status of an useful idiot.

The Nevada State Constitution has both a TEL Amendment (which you can read about here) and a requirement that the public has access to public education. These are not contradictory nor conflictual articles yet, that is exactly how the NV Supreme Court saw it. I'll let the Las Vegas Review-Journal take it from here:

"... the court found an "irreconcilable conflict" exists between two constitutional provisions: one requiring that two-thirds of the legislators in each chamber must support tax increases for passage, and one requiring that the Legislature fund the public education system.

After making that finding, the court ruled that the substantive requirement for education funding should override the procedural requirement related to the approval of tax increases.

"If the procedural two-thirds revenue vote requirement in effect denies the public its expectation of access to public education, then the two-thirds requirement must yield to the specific substantive educational right," the opinion states."

In other words, the Nevada Supreme Court has set the precedent that the substantive need to fund public education trumps the democratic process. This has to be the grand daddy of judicial overreach. 6-1, the justices have ruled that spending your tax dollars -- whether you want them spent or not -- trumps democracy.

Expect to see this precedent presented in a state near you... And clearly, it's not just the US Supreme Court that needs to be leashed.

10 July 2003
More on Topinka

It is simply not Treasurer Topinka's day, today.

The Illinois Leader, rightfully, chasitises her for resisting a 7.5% cut in office's budget in their weekly editorial. Here's what the Leader says:

"On the heels of the George "Illinois FIRST" Ryan administration with its profilgate spending and given the state's financial crunch, it is nearly impossible politically to be against cuts in government spending.

We said "nearly" impossible. Topinka and [Sec. of State Jesse]White are taking turns slapping the Governor for disturbing their respective patronage armies. White alleges he may have to close as many as fifteen drivers' license facilities if the Governor's proposed cuts are implemented.

That's one way to cut down on the corruption -- eliminate the incubators in which it has historically thrived.

It's one thing for Jesse White to dig his heels in, but for Judy Baar-Topinka to successfully out-Democrat the Democrats wailing about a 7.5% cut in her agency's budget is beyond belief.

Ms. Topinka calls herself a fiscal conservative?"

This should have been an opportunity for the Treasurer. Yet, too often in Illinois responses are knee jerk, such as this, rather than thought out or anticipated.

With legislation pending in the General Assembly that would effectively end privatization programs in Illinois, Topinka may have offered to make the cuts through outsourcing. It would've protected any services she wished to save and put both the General Assembly and the Governor on the spot regarding their attempt to pass a Pacheco Law to pay off the public employee unions by making it nearly impossible to contract out for services to the private sector.

In other words, cut the budget at the Governor's expense, not your own.

To some this may seem like an idea out of left field. But I thought of it immediately after reading about the proposed cuts. From a public relations perspective it would've put the ball back in the Governor's court.

IL GOP Internecine Warfare

A respected Illinois conservative voice calls for State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka to step down as IL State GOP Chairman. This follows on the heels of US Senate candidate John Cox and conservative Illinois icon Jack Roeser (both I'm proud to say are friends) to do the same earlier this summer.

However, in multiple conversations in both Illinois and Washington I'm told Treasurer Topinka has raised, and put into the bank, $1 million. She's the only popular state wide Republican in Illinois and she has been well received at the RNC and White House. She's in a solid position.

Many of the complaints about her supporting Democrats for some offices and being open to the homosexual lobby happen all over the country every day. Complaining about it won't go anywhere because others in the Republican heirarchy are able to see the forest from the trees. Yet, Treasurer Topinka has other storms to weather, however (metaphor alert).

The cloud hanging over Topinka revolves members of both parties using state workers for political activities on state time. The Democratic Leaders of the State General Assembly and State Senate are also under investigation. Former IL GOP Chairman Lee Daniels already lost his job over this. House Speaker Madigan is Chairman of the State Democratic Party. No one is asking that any of the Democrats step down.

If Topinka resigns her post, she disqualifies herself to be the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 3 years. If she stays on as Chairman through 2004 and the President carries Illinois, she will then be able to demand the gubernatorial nomination -- that will especially be the case if she is not indicted, or cleared (there is a difference), of any wrongdoing in the federal matter.

All of that suggests to me that calling for her resignation is unlikely to get conservative activists anywhere at the moment. Until another federal shoe drops, it is probably best to hold fire.
McCain is Off is Meds

Roll Call is reporting that Sen. John McCain (allegedly R-AZ) -- among others -- is calling for the FEC to abolished and be replaced a Federal Election Administration.
The Backlash Begins in Illinois

Less than two weeks after Governor Blagojevich's Budget went into effect the backlash is beginning. The budget calls for $700 million in fee and business tax hikes. Today, it is municipal sewer fees that are highlighted as cities begin to get dinged across the state.

Yesterday, I received a call from a state representative regarding a letter signed by a coalition of grass roots, business leaders and tax payer protection groups I put together. The letter calls for a dollar for dollar swap of $422 million in federal aid to Illinois (part of the President's jobs and growth package) for $422 million of the tax and fee hikes. It seems that the business groups are turning up the heat on our proposal.

These fee and tax hikes are stealth taxes. Hiking natural gas taxes, tire fees and other motor fuel taxes on businesses are going to have an impact on every one in the state -- just as the sewer fees will (can't go without water). The Governor's promise to not raise income and sales taxes will look hollow if the cost of everything still goes up.

It could be an interesting Fall Veto Session in Springfield.

09 July 2003
Is the Supreme Court Supreme?

Robert George uses Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson to rebut the claim made in Cooper vs. Aaron.

The same court that gave Roe vs. Wade, can take it way. The same court that gave Brown vs. Board of Education can give us Dred Scott. This is excellent food for thought...
07 July 2003
The Influence of Continental Thinking and Anti-Americansism

In A Genealogy of Anti-Americansim" Prof. James W. Ceaser outlines the history of anti-americanism in Europe. It is a fascinating piece in the Summer edition of The Public Interest that is well worth reading.

Leo Strauss pointed out how while German lost WWI and WWII, German philosophy -- most notably relativism -- has come dominate western thinking. Clearly, Ceaser recognizes that anti-modernization trend as well as Martin Heidegger's role. But Ceaser takes it farther.

Many of the racist attitudes of the Nazis have a much earlier pedigree in European thought than I realized and moreover, anti-american sentiment goes much deeper into European and American history than I ever thought. Franklin and Jefferson were forced to respond, at one point, writes Ceaser.

Ceaser really puts things into perspective and if this piece is picked up on in the mainstream thought it will do much to undermine many of our local (ie. the American left) critics.
Obesity Wars

Inside every American is fat person trying to get out, argues Theodore Dalrymple in today's National Post.

The key public policy question will be, "Is the point where we stand up to the trial lawyer's." Dalrymple says that Kraft has already surrendered. He also points to the real culprit in the obesity wars -- us!

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