A New Can Of Worms
01 August 2003
How Are Democrats Like Muslim Extremists?
Bernard Lewis, Foud Ajami and others often note that one of the causes of muslim extremism is that muslims blame their failures on not being muslim enough. In other words, their duty as muslims are to emulate the prophet Muhammed. Muhammad was successful because he followed Allah's will. Obviously, then, if muslims are failing, which Islamic world has been for centuries, it is because they are not emulating Muhammed enough. This has become a cycle where many (not even all, or most) in the Islamic world continue to look backward in time, as opposed to looking to the future, for solutions to their predicaments.
This has led a dangerous minority (the mullahs in Iran, Hezbollah, etc.) to develop ever more extreme versions of Islam in the hopes that being more like Muhammed than Muhammed actually was is necessary in order defeat their hated enemies.
The Wall Street Journal today picks up on similar theme among the Democratic contenders for their Party's Presidential nomination. It seems Governor Dean is beginning a bidding war to raise your taxes. This says the Journal, must have Karl Rove and the Republicans smiling. Here's the key passage:
"The tax issue is only one of the many signs that the Democratic Party is veering back to the left. Mr. Dean's rise is another, but the trend also shows up in the relentless partisan opposition to the Bush agenda in Congress. Democrats seem to have concluded from their 2002 defeat that their mistake was that they weren't obstructionist enough. "
It is as if one of our political parties has taken a holiday from reality. If we add the Clinton years, where much of the country joined them, it is an extended holiday from reality. The world, not just the U.S., continues its push for freedom and decentralization. In this country Republicans continue to become the majority party in the US and conservatives dominate that party. They control more state houses and will control Congress for at least this decade -- and probably longer if Texas is allowed to shape its congressional delegation in a more representative fashion.
The fear, and I think it is a justifiable one (albeit a long way off), is that the Democrat party will go off the deep end and cease to be an alternative party. Lacking that competition the Republicans, much like they did in Illinois these past 30 years will become fat, happy, corrupt and statist. We need that competition.
31 July 2003
Illinois Supremes Break the Code
From Rich Miller's Capitol Fax:
"In a stunning reversal, the Illinois Supreme Court has backed down from a constitutional crisis of its own making.
Just minutes ago, the Supremes agreed to vacate their order from last Friday that would have forced Comptroller Dan Hynes to pay their cost of living increases....
This is nothing short of a public relations disaster for the Court, and one more media bonanza for Blagojevich (he's been featured or favorably mentioned six times in the NYT in just the past week). Here's the beginning of the Times' second graf from Monday: "But others in this deficit-ridden state disagree, including the governor."
On July 27th I predicted this. Not that this was a great insight or anything, but apparently some are catching on faster than others... Says Miller, "But [the Supreme Court justices] have fallen into the same trap that countless legislators, Secretary of State Jesse White and Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka found themselves in this year. The Supremes have allowed their understandable anger at the governor to get the better of them on a politically indefensible issue. . . . "
I'm just curious to know why the Supremes have so much "understandle anger" at the Governor? One only has himself to blame for being politically stupid.
The Latest Institute Missive
The Institute joined a coalition of activists to inform US Senator Peter Fitzgerald on attempts by Congress to wage 'war on obesity.' The letter itself was drafted by Lee Newcom of the United Republican Fund, but for some reason we (I think it was we) decided to put it out on Institute letterhead.
The letter is about the "Better School Children Act of 2003." The proposed law would give the Secretary of Agriculture wide discretion over who, what, when, why and how children eat. We think there are unintended consequences flowing from that. Here's is part of what we say:
"The letter argues that this legislation, ostensibly fueled by the 'war on obesity,' would sacrifice parents' local control over public schools, thus hindering local school districts' access to revenues. This loss in revenue would no doubt lead to efforts to increase the tax burden on Illinois citizens. Moreover, this legislation is a first step toward banning certain foods in schools that, in turn, would lead to a decreased market for food ingredients produced by Illinois farmers and food processors. As a result, Illinois' agricultural economy would be severely threatened. "
Am I against better nutrition for school children? No. Am I against the Federal Government stepping in to tell us what is good and what is bad for our students? Yes, and undoubtably so.
30 July 2003
A Gay Marriage Backlash?
Anti-gay backlash detected in recent survey is the headline in today's Chicago Suntimes.
"Public opinion has been gradually shifting toward more acceptance of gay rights, but a new poll suggests a backlash after the Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law banning gay sex."
In July I predicted as much. Commenting on a Mark Steyn column I said:
"I understand the gay community's desire to be accepted by mainstream society. I sympathize with it, in fact. It really isn't an important issue to me, but I do realize it is a very important issue to many. I believe, however, that ramming it down people's throats will lead to a backlash and further divide elites in our society from the masses."
We should've learned after Roe v. Wade that it is bad public policy for the Court's to decide issues best left up to the society. While sodomy laws and gay marriages were abstract issues, not many paid attention to the potential ramifications. No harm, no foul. It is contradistinct to gun control. Gun control has 60 percent support until it becomes a specific proposal, then support drops off once the measure is explained. In this instance the Supreme Court steps in and whammo! The door has been opened to gay marriage. The issue is explained, the ramifications become apparent, and thus the battle lines are now re-drawn with larger mobilized force against the issue.
American liberal elites are all for consensus and democratic values in this country as long as it agrees with them. Lacking that agreement, they need to have someone in charge. That has become the Supreme Court -- an institution that we have allowed to become the supreme arbiter of the Constitution against the intentions of the founders. In the end, by exploiting the courts liberals have done more harm to their causes than good.
My First Critic!
If I had t-shirts, maybe I'd send him one. A very good Blogger, ArchPundit, picked up on my post regarding Hot Rod vs. the Insiders:
"What do I like about the Illinois Policy Institute? Not much and the next post will show one reason. Essentially it is another 'think tank' that is really cover for a political party.
That being said, Blackenship makes an astute observation about Rich Miller's comparisons of Blagojevich to Dan Walker..."
In the next post he aims the baseless charge of hypocrisy against the Institute -- well, I guess me -- regarding free trade with Mexico on the high fructose corn syrup issue. For some reason ArchPundit believes my support for holding Mexico to its treaty obligations as somehow being in support of this country's terrible record on free trade when it comes to sugar -- and I might add textiles, and President Bush's steel policy:
"Greg Blankship also promotes a recent policy paper on ILLINOIS' CORN SYRUP CRISIS.
Hypocrisy knows no bounds,
"In 1997, Mexico imposed illegal antidumping duties on U.S. exports of HFCS. This has been part of a concerted effort on the part of Mexico to unilaterally renegotiate NAFTA. The HFCS dispute is just the most egregious example of illegal antidumping duties but, by far, not the only example. Rice producers, pork producers, poultry and beef producers have all faced similar measures. And, if Mexico is rewarded for its behavior on HFCS, we can be assured that these other producers will also eventually be blocked from the Mexican market."
Kinda like having big sugar quotas to keep out cheap sugar that allows the high fructose corn syrup to actually be competitive economically? Uh-huh. The only reason HFCS is big business is because we limit cheap sugar imports. If you want free markets be consistent and be for free markets for all instead of picking and choosing on your outrage."
Here's the link to that post.
If my reader (someday I hope for more!) could alert me to where I may have given ArchPundit the impression of hypocrisy, please do. As to selected outrage...When Illinois begins producing sugar and steel, I'll start writing about sugar and steel....
In ArchPundit's post above regarding the Institute above he also alleges the Institute is a front for the GOP. I find this odd considering that the Institute has actually been rather generous and optimistic about the Governor here, here, and here. And please do take note that I actually had Grover Norquist sign a letter that commended Hot Rod for not hiking income and sales taxes.
On Monday I was asked by guest host Bill Hogan on "John Cox's Progressive Republican" (WJJG 1530 AM) why I disagreed with Institute advisory board members John Cox (he's also a director) and fmr. State Sen. Pat O'Malley on the selling of the Thompson Center, advisory board member State Sen. Chris Lauzen on prescription drugs re-importation and friend of the Institute State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger on the Streamlined Sales Tax Project.
Now, let's see any national democrat dare to disagree with NARAL or ATLA (American Trial Lawyer Association), or how about just Ralph Matire disagree with AFSCME???
The Institute's position is that we support free markets and limited government and the adults listed above (who are all conservatives and because of that they happen to be Republicans) recognize and respect that. In fact we engage in good natured ribbing when we do disagree. It's fun, we learn from our disagreements.
Again, I appreciate ArchPundit's comments on the Walker-Blagojevich comparison. As to the others... well...He still has great, albeit misguided, blog.
I also want to thank Illinigirl -- another great newly discovered Illinois read -- for picking up on that post.
I know Illinigirl, I may be bit too optimistic about the public debate thing. But I am confident that by going public, we'll win in Illinois just as we are doing everywhere else.
29 July 2003
This Post was supposed to be about a piece that ran in yesterday's business section in the NY Times, entitled, Red Ink in States Beginning to Hurt Economic Recovery. I can't bring myself to write about it, nor do I wish to link to it. Sometimes you read something so distorted, so biased and ridiculous that it's best just to walk away. It's just not worth the aggravation.
Hot Rod and the Insiders, Part Deux
The New York Times today picked up on the Illinois Supreme Court ordering it's own raise despite the Governor's veto. I will not deny the existence of legal issues revolving around the case, but I think this will be another public relations victory for the Governor against the insiders no matter the outcome.
Here's the story. What is interesting is that State Comptroller Dan Hynes is right there with Governor Blagojevich basking in the glow of "fiscal responsibility." This can't hurt Danny Hynes in his primary fight for US Senate.
The Supreme Court in Illinois is 7-2 Democrat, I hope someone on the conservative side points that out.
28 July 2003
Baboo Makes The Economist
A short profile today of Illinois US Senate candidate Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria. The Economist probably won't matter to Illinois political reporters much, but it does bring the good doctor some prestige as well as some fund raising collateral (i.e. marketing materials).
Political reporters and local analysts, who believe in the Tip O'Neil axiom that all politics are local, have rather parochial lenses through which they discriminate the important from the unimportant. It will be interesting to see how Kathuria's national and international coverage influences our local reporters and analysts as we move into the primary season.
If Kathuria creates a national or international buzz, will it influence local commentators and reporters? If they say nice things about him, will they get to be on Hardball, or be quoted in the New York Times? If they dismiss Chirinjeev in these venues, are our commentators and reporters then racists and rednecks? How will all of that affect voters in Illinois -- especially Illinois Republican Primary voters? More to follow...I'm sure.