Monday, April 25, 2005

Hypocrisy

The link above is to an animation put together by the Alliance for Justice. It depicts a cute and cuddly cartoon character talking about the Republicans effort to squash the filibuster. No mention is paid however to the fact that the Republicans' efforts are limited to judicial nominees. While I can understand we're all afraid of the "slippery slope of politics," I don't believe anyone in the Senate Republicans thinks they have the votes to suspend all filibusters, nor would they desire to completely abolish Senate Rule XIII. That piece of misinformation aside, I would like to point out some of my favorite tid bits from the website. If the people of America allow those maniacal Republicans to get rid of the filibuster they would essentially be rubber-stamping the following policies, which have been condoned by those "crazy right-wing" judges:

Paved the way for the U.S. government to torture people it detains, and for U.S. citizens to be imprisoned without getting a lawyer or going to court

Compared federal laws protecting the environment to the tyranny of King George III over the colonists

Suggested that Social Security is unconstitutional, and accused senior citizens who receive it of "blithely cannibaliz[ing] their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much free stuff" as they can.

Okay, so the website is ridiculous. We can all agree on that...I hope. But what gets me is the fact that for all that cute "Phil A. Buster" talks about the Right Wing's attempts to ride rough shod over 200 years of Senate precedent (well it's actually about 198 years, but who's counting?) , he never mentions that the last, and more serious, effort to abolish the filibuster came from DEMOCRATS.

On January 5, 1995 the Senate, led by Senators Harkin, Lieberman, and Pell (D-RI), considered an amendment to S. Res. 14, providing for the erosion of the ability to filibuster all bills (not just judicial nominees!). Harkin proposed a decreasing system, in which over the course of a month the requirement for cloture on bills would slowly be decreased from 60 to 51. This is similar to what Senator Trent Lott has proposed to do about judicial nominees, which coincidentally all Democrats have opposed. The opposition to the amendment was led by none other than Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), who advocated a reverence for tradition and used similar rhetoric to his current floor speeches. Needless to say, I have much more respect for Senator Byrd's attack on Republican attempts today, as he attacked Democrats with equal vigor in 1995. In the end, all Senate Republicans voted for tabling the amendment and not discussing it further, whereas 19 Democrats voted for continued consideration of the amendment. Some of those Democrats are still in the Senate today: Bingaman, Boxer, Feingold, Harkin, Kennedy, Kerry, Lautenberg, Lieberman. Below are a few choice quotes from two of these members, who have remarkably stayed quiet in recent days on their previous support for ending the filibuster:

Lieberman:
The filibuster may have made some sense at one point; it may have been a reasonable idea, but it in fact has been badly misused in our time. You can pick your favorite statistic, but the one that I saw a while ago was that there were more filibusters in the last session of the Senate than in the first 108 years combined.
Others will tell you there have been more since 1990 than the preceding 140 years combined. Whatever the years, it is pretty obvious we have come to a point in the history of this Chamber where the filibuster, the ability of one Member to stand up and stop the body from functioning effectively and to block the will of the majority, is a contributor to gridlock and to our inability to produce and, therefore, to public frustration which is in the air and we are attempting as best we can to respond to them.
...
This right of unlimited speech for Members of the Senate in the particular context of our rules, it seems to me, requires at this point, based on what we have experienced, limitations. Because the ability of an individual Senator to stop the process, the capacity of a minority to make it impossible for a majority to work its will and represent the majority of constituents back home, has come to a point where it has too often threatened the ability of this Chamber to function, to represent, to lead, to be truly deliberative in the sense that we mean it.

Harkin:
I think, Mr. President, that it is important or at least noteworthy, let me put it that way, it is noteworthy that the first vote of this new Congress in the Senate will be a vote on whether we slay this dinosaur called a filibuster. It will be our first vote. It will take place at 11:30, a little over an hour from now. Will we heed what the voters have said, that they want this place to change? That they want us to be more productive. Or is it going to be ''business as usual?'' Stick with a filibuster.
You know the very word ''filibuster'' conjures up images of the past, horses and buggies, outdoor privies, lamplighters. The very word itself conjures up the 18th and 19th century. So, the first vote of this session, are we for change? Or are we for the status quo? Did we get the message in the election? Or are we going to give the American people more of the same of what they had over the last several years?

Anyways, whatever your opinion on modifying Rule XIII, we can thank goodness Republicans are not prepared, as some Democrats were, to completely discard filibusters in all legislative business. But hey, on the bright side, had Democrats gotten their way back then we wouldn't be having these problems with judicial confirmations.

Note: To any would-be commenter (ahem, Rabbit...), I'd rather not discuss the
ads that I neither endorse or agree with from places like the Family Research Council. This is merely a commentary on the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party on this issue. While it is true the Republicans did vote against the Harkin Amendment to S. Res. 14 in 1995, this is not a blatant show of hypocrisy. To reiterate my earlier point, the current Republican tactic is not a full fledged attack on "Phil A. Buster" but rather a limited restriction on its exercise. But for the Democrats to somehow support the broader exercise of majority authority and disagree with this minor exercise seems hypocritical to me. But what do I know?

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Dems Get Beat Down in Fundraising

I'll admit the Republicans main concern shouldn't necessarily be how much cash-on-hand the DNC has, since George Soros is probably willing to finance these next elections entirely, but these last figures have got to please those at the RNC. Democrats were not just beat this last quarter but completely and utterly demolished. I'm not saying this is going to change anything (we should all remember that Bush lead all the Democrats combined by leaps and bounds about 1 year prior to Election Day) but hey as someone that's looking forward to 2006, at least it gives me some optimism about the coming election. Now, if only we could get decent opponents for Senators Maria Cantwell, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Nelson...

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Happy April 15th...

Tax reform has long been a traditional issue of contention between the Republican and Democratic parties. The 2004 presidential election was no different. Always a staple of the Republican platform, tax reform is a key component to President Bush’s second term domestic agenda. With the re-election of President Bush and the Republican domination of Congress, the possibilities for reform have taken a new turn in the form of consumption taxes, specifically a national retail sales tax.

However, the push for a sweeping transformation of the current tax system will be difficult to achieve in the near future. Despite overwhelming support by GOP Congressional candidates to abolish income taxes in favor for the increasingly popular national retail sales tax, the prevailing institutional forces of the current tax system are too deeply entrenched. Yet, significant reform—such as a switch to a consumption tax—is possible in the long term.

In fact, President Bush’s tax cuts may have prodded the country down the path of reform. Although tax cuts have reached a political glass ceiling due to a record budget deficit, this has propelled the President and Congress to advocate significant reform. Earlier last summer while on the campaign trail, the President created an uproar in his acknowledgement that the national retail sales tax was an “interesting idea.” Moreover, two days after re-election he clearly stated, “We must reform our complicated and outdated tax code.”

Currently, the consensus among the dissatisfied is that the system is burdensome, complex and full of loopholes. Considered a burden upon society, Americans are spending up to 6.1 billion hours filing tax returns, meeting with financial planners, and keeping records. True to its complexity, the Internal Revenue Service has roughly 97,000 employees and a 2005 budget of $10.7 billion. Fees for business compliance and tax preparation accounted for 29 percent of revenue for the top 100 accounting firms in the nation.

Opponents have identified a deadweight loss, as this effort could otherwise produce services and products of greater use. Indeed, the intricacies of the tax system have created a huge industry devoted to its implementation and an incentive in the exploitation of loopholes and tax shelters.

The national retail sales tax may be the long-term solution. Levied at the retail stage where the final transaction occurs, the national retail sales tax allows the retailer to collect the designated percentage markup and submit it to the proper tax authority. The most prominent of its legislation is the Fair Tax Act of 2003, which would substitute a 23 percent national retails sales tax for individual and corporate income taxes, as well as all payroll, estate, and gift taxes. This Act proposes a rebate on spending up to the federal poverty level (dependent on family size) as a means to counter the regressive nature of a consumption tax on lower-income families.

Many economists defend its efficiency over income taxes because consumption taxes eliminate the distortion between present and future consumption. Supporters view it as a tax on wages as it removes the automatic penalty incurred by the current system on savings. It also serves as a “lump-sum tax” on overall wealth by guaranteeing that all persons pay taxes upon consumption regardless of the amount earned.

According to supporters, the income tax is an inferior measure of wealth since it only taxes wages and return on capital. However, the ability to consume serves as a better measure as it is directly proportional to the amount of wealth available. A wealthy individual can escape the full payment of income taxes through clever schemes and shelters. For example, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, wife of 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry, best epitomizes the scenario: In 2003, she paid an effective income tax rate of 12.8 percent, which is much lower than the average middle-class rate of 20 percent. Under the consumption tax, Heinz-Kerry could not escape paying taxes.

The consumption tax concept is not brand new and traces its roots to the musings of one of America’s Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Revolutionary for his time (and certainly ahead of his contemporary peers), Hamilton supports consumption taxes in Federalist #21:

“…all duties upon articles of consumption, may be compared to a fluid, which will in time find its level with the means of paying them. The amount to be contributed by each citizen will be in a degree be at his own option, and can be regulated by an attention to his resources. The rich may be extravagant, the poor can be frugal, and private oppression may always be avoided by a judicious selection of objects proper for such impositions.”

The innovative Secretary of Treasury possessed incredible foresight by recognizing the merit of a consumption tax. It would leave to the individual the choice of economic decision and provide the fairest means of taxation.

Although the national retail sales tax is appealing in theory—consequently gaining momentum in its popularity—the difficulty lies in convincing the American people of its merits. Reformers must engage in an aggressive outreach campaign to overcome the entrenched nature of the current system. While a complete system overhaul is impossible, a graduate shift may be what pushes support of a consumption tax over the top. Until then, the best that reformers can hope for is the extension of tax cuts and simplification of tax code.

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Friday, March 25, 2005

The Right to Die? Or the Right to Protect One's Self

Here we have a lovely story: http://www.nynewsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-brain-damaged-woman-arrest,0,4268134,print.story?coll=sns-ap-nation-headlines

Do not get me wrong, the guy who wanted to steal a gun to "rescue" Terry Schiavo is a nut, and that certainly is not why I am citing this story. Much rather there is one important line, that I cannot help but point out: the store owner "said he then pointed his own gun at Mitchell and ordered him to lie on the ground. But Mitchell fled out the store's back door before police arrived".

Indeed, here we have a clear example of an armed citizen who defended himself and his property against the attack of a thief. In the end, the only one who will be dead is Terry Schiavo, not the store owner, and not anyone else this lunatic may have taken out. Indeed, "an armed Republic is a friendly Republic".

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

what's that? 2041 instead of 2042??

As promised, President Bush has pushed the Social Security debate to the forefront of his domestic agenda. It is difficult to avoid editorials denying or alleging its impending implosion, as there is no other topic more appropriate to discuss in the realm of disasters than Social Security.

The Social Security Sham

Social Security will bleed red in 2017. The Social Security Board of Trustees reports that the program will run short of funds in 2041 and, in the words of the director of the White House’s Strategic Initiatives Peter Wehner, “the current system is headed for an iceberg.” And while the Bush Administration and Republicans are accused of scrambling amok, frantically screaming that the sky is falling like Chicken Little, the Democrats prefer to deny the inevitable, burrowing their heads into the ground like ostriches at the first sign of danger.

Most of America is in the dark when it comes to Social Security, believing that the government deposits their payroll taxes into an actual trust fund. This is not true. Social Security is a transfer payment system where today’s workers fund today’s retirees—it is literally a pay-as-you-go system. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt imposed the socialistic New Deal as a means to a better psychological end, the ratio of workers to retirees was 16 to 1. Today, it is 3 to 1 and, once the Baby Boomer generation officially retires, it will dwindle to 2 to 1.

No one actually owns the funds contributed via payroll taxes (currently pegged at 12.4 percent of income), and can only hope to recover an equivalent amount. If Social Security continues on its downtrodden path, the current generation will have the onerous burden of paying for today’s retirees while facing the increasing likelihood of paying even more in payroll taxes to fund future retirees, inevitably collecting less than contributed by the time they retire.

A Push for Private Accounts

There are several proposed solutions to rectify this looming threat: Increase the retirement age, index inflation to prices instead of wages, raise payroll taxes or simply do nothing at all. Consistent with his plans for an ownership society, Bush has proposed personal retirement accounts, which would divert up to 4 percent of what workers currently pay in payroll taxes into private accounts.

One such model of the private account is the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan, which allows workers to save up to $12,000 in a personal account that they actually own. Most likely, these private accounts will function like IRAs, where withdrawals take place as a lump-sum or an annuity with taxes on withdrawals.

Private accounts are inherently different from Social Security. Funds from a personal account are invested in the market and create an inflow of capital, resulting in accumulated wealth from which the holder can receive benefits. In contrast, the government does not invest payroll taxes into anything and can spend the money on entitlements or general government programs. An even greater fundamental difference is that the contributor fully owns the private accounts. Instead of paying taxes to the government, expecting it back decades later, the contributor owns his or her assets from day one—you actually get what you put in.

The problem with private accounts and diverting 4 percent of taxes is the transition cost. Since Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, someone must cover the benefits promised to current and soon-to-be retirees. If Congress had its way, it would simply raise payroll taxes again or ignore the problem completely. Even a certain number of conservatives, the so-called “free lunch” group who believe that private accounts will be enough to sustain the transition, are ignoring a key structural problem: How benefits are calculated and paid.

Currently, the wage index adjusts benefits for inflation. However, the wage index grows faster than inflation, meaning that Social Security benefits grow just as fast. Bush has suggested indexing to prices (a far better measure of inflation) than to wages. Although there will be borrowing costs, conservatively estimated between $1 to $2 trillion to cover the transition period, that figure is less than the estimated $10 trillion in unfunded liabilities for benefits the government will have to foot.

Moreover, additional borrowing in lieu of budget deficits will make the case even more politically difficult to pitch, but it is unlikely that Bush or Republicans will support any tax increases to partially offset the transition. There will be costs, but there are far greater consequences in inaction than action.

The Liberal Opposition

Opponents feigning ignorance to the inevitable do so by hiding behind the liberal wall of denial. In claiming that individuals are incapable of managing their own private accounts, much less own their retirement assets, opponents realize this is an ideological life-or-death struggle. If Bush succeeds, the New Deal-era and its socialistic attitudes and programs will finally fade into the annals of history. The United States can finally move into the 21st Century.

What troubles modern liberals so much, and what they refuse to admit, is that knocking down one of their great pillars of political demagoguery will make them irrelevant. It will signal an ideological shift of what government can and cannot do, and it will have as much of an effect on our lives and on public policy as the New Deal did for the 20th Century.

Social Security reform is just the beginning of the ideological realignment. The current generation of workers, who are well aware of the inadequacies and limitations of big government, are asking to replace paternalistic social engineering programs like the New Deal with a Just Deal. As Bush said in his Second Inaugural Address:

We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance, preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Did you hear that? A.H. just turned over in his grave.

I will be the first to admit that I am no expert in constituional law. I have a great deal to learn about the Constitution and the law. And I will admit that My fellow RWCers are better versed in this area than I am. That being said, It feels wrong.

Byron, your point about Article III states that the courts have appellate jurisdiction and that Congress can pass laws that effect this. Yes. However, I interpret that to mean that the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over federal cases and Congress can pass laws effecting that, not state cases. If this is the case as you say, why do we have State Supreme Courts? Why not just have all appeals of both federal and state matters go to the Supreme Court? This is a state issue. It is only federal because Congress stepped in and made it federal. The Constitution does not specify that appeallate jurisdiction extends to non-federal cases, and I have to believe that it was not the Founders' original intention to have it do so.

Craig, you talk about marriage and its sanctity. Some people would argue that perhaps a husband and wife relationship automatically trumps a parental relationship. I happen to believe that the two exist on a lateral plane. It is too difficult to differeniate between the two. Who has more rights? I do not believe this is a Congressional question. Also, you talk about political capital. This is all this is, and you guys know it, it is strictly political, and that seriously bothers me.

Kris, the point you made about leaving it to the state until no further appeal can be made is correct. It went through the system. But, the point of having states is that they go through the process and thats it. The decision was made. It doesn't continue if the majority power disagrees with the decision of countless courts, or because of the Governor's last name.

Of course, legal loophole arguments can and will be made. But I'm calling it how I see it. Congress intervened in a personal matter to legislate with the express intention of affecting an individual. Under my Constitutional understanding, Congress cannot pass laws regarding individuals, and this is wrong. They cannot target one indivdual like they did last night. It is wrong to step in and interfere with such an important idea as Federalism simply because a group of people does not agree with the decision of the court. A.H. would be ashamed.

T

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Much Ado About Nothing

Terri Schiavo...I know the name. You know the name. Congress knows the name. Terri's case has been floating around Florida's judicial system since her husband settled the malpractice case against her doctors for 1 million dollars. After winning the settlement in 1993, he decided to pull the plug in accordance with Terri's wishes. Her parents, and siblings attempted to intervene, hoping to save her life and become the primary supporters of Terri. The husband (perhaps understandably) wished to be shed of the burden of continuing to care for his wife, and argued that he and Terri had discussed what to do in such a situation and agreed that he should pull the plug. The situation is amazingly unfortunate. In 1990, Terri suffered from heart failure that left her partially brain damaged. By no means is she fully comatose, she responds to external interaction and may have some understanding of the world around her. In a just and perfect world, a woman who displays such signs of life would never be forced to face an early death. In a just and perfect world however, no woman would ever fall upon such misfortune.

In assessing the political landscape of this situation, there are 2 main impassioned issues that are vibrantly related: 1) The sanctity of life. It has been the conservative, and religious position that all human life should uniformly be preserved, from conception to natural death, and that every effort should be made to protect a life that can be saved. 2) The sanctity of and definition of marriage. In this case, one of the fundamental tenets of the legal protections of marriage is being put to a test.

Unfortunately, this is one of the dilemmas to which there is no clear solution. On a legal basis, Congressional Republicans are correct (and correspondingly Timmy and the Democrats are just plain wrong). There is absolutely no legal argument why the Republicans cannot intervene in this and expedite the process of going to the courts. There are, however, many reasons that they may not want to:

A) The sanctity of marriage. Even if Terri's husband is a real S.O.B. he is her husband, and as such appropriately has more legal standing than her parents or her siblings. Indeed, after emancipation or age of majority, save a legal document giving them power of attorney, they have no authority over her. Her husband, on the other hand, has that right. Although the legislation sponsored by the Republicans is just to have that question decided by a higher court, the decision for the legislation is motivated by a prioritizing of Terri's life over her husband's claim, which by legal authority is the same as her own, to end it.

B) The question of entitlement. To introduce a policy that all life must necessarily be saved is a very dangerous one. To put it simply, it is impossible for us to keep all people alive all of the time. As technology advances, we will have the capacity to keep people living through debilitating ailments, and old age. Unfortunately, we will not correspondingly have the capacity of wealth to do so. Ms. Schiavo is now a ward of the state. The Republicans must ask themselves whether they want to encourage similar wards of the state.

C) Slippery slope. In our justice system there are any number of decisions made by courts in which one side or the other appeals. Sometimes the appeal is heard, sometimes it is denied, and sometimes it is caught up in black tape. Every one of these cases cannot get a special injunction from Congress, and furthermore, it is important that Congress not "choose sides" on any case.

D) Political Capital. The Republicans have indeed been successful building a pro-life conservative base. But they must not neglect that such a base is complimented by a pseudo-libertarian states right/individual right core. This decision could alienate and/or divide the Republican base.

This all having been stated. I support the Republicans decision. According to the current law in Florida, even though the husband has justifiable say over decisions of his wife, that does not extend to the right to terminate her life support. She is not "brain dead" the legally qualify-able definition for the probability of returning to livelihood. The Florida court made a decision based upon interpretive activism, not the law itself. The consequence of this decision, without Congressional intervention, would be a woman's life. Congress is preventing an inadvertent murder, a noble goal despite its many consequences.

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In support of the Schiavo Legislation

The divisive nature of the Schiavo legislation is evident by our own blog's disagreement. It is enough to bring Tim back from the blogging hibernation. And I am sure that sooner or later, Craig will weigh in. And if anything, it's proof that we don't always need Rabbit (our most loyal reader) for disagreement on the blog. But we most certainly look forward to hearing his remarks.

First off, I want to commend Kris for articulating so well his support for the legislation just passed tonight.

I too support the Schiavo legislation for two reasons:

1) As Kris has already so eloquently stated, Congress does have jurisdiction over the judicary. What they did tonight was entirely legal. I expand upon this by quoting the following from Article III, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution:


Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

2) My friend Tim argues that the Republicans have forfeited logic for emotion. This issue is all about emotion. I doubt any avid follower of politics will not admit that the Republicans had to capitalize on this issue. The ramifications of this issue are huge, as Peggy Noonan has already expounded upon. If Republicans sat idly by, they would give up a victory to the pro-euthanasia (already pushing the PC envelope here)/pro-choice side . And that's a victory they can ill-afford.

Perhaps my own fellow conservatives and friends on the other side of the aisle will call me hypocritical if I do not uphold the states' rights mantra. I vehemently disagree. As Kris pointed out, the Florida state legislature had already passed legislation the Florida judiciary struck down as unconstitutional. The principle of the issue, which I think is larger than just Terri Schiavo, is upholding life. Simple as that.

It is an issue that transcends the invocation of states' rights, like the federal marriage amendment. When I hear congressmen yelling, "get out of my life" on the House floor and others cowardly hiding the pro-'death' clause behind the veil of states' rights, it sickens me. Let us not forget that it was the South who claimed states' rights and a 'leave us alone' sentiment on their path to secession.

To clarify, I want to remind every one that Congress simply expedited the appeals process to be heard at the federal level from the state court. No one in Congress is re-inserting the tube or shutting it off. I think we need to make that clear before the rest of this debate continues. The federal judge may not even rule in favor of the pro-life/Republican crowd. We can only hope that the federal judge makes a sound ruling.

And to conclude, I believe the President can make a compelling point to the nation that he needs sensible judges on the bench. I know the contentious rulings were made at the state level, but the President can make the case that the nation needs judges who can make sound decisions. It's a point worth considering.

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House Passes Schiavo Legislation

Not often will we openly disagree on this blog but I must take exception with what my esteemed friend Tim had to say earlier today. The House tonight, or this morning (depending on what coast you find yourself on), passed legislation allowing appeal of Schiavo's case up to federal courts. Her family, who previously lost in Florida State Court, will now undoubtedly appeal to federal court and in the short-term Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube will be reinserted.

I had to weigh this issue a great deal before arriving at my opinion. On one hand there is a clear case to be made for a state's rights sort of issue. On the other, there is a clear federal interest in protecting the life of Mrs. Schiavo. I have to side with the latter.

Article III of the U.S. Constitution provides for a Supreme Court and other lower federal courts that Congress may establish at a later time. It essentially left a skeleton of a judiciary and Congress then had to fill in the pieces . These pieces were filled in by the Judiciary Act of 1789. In it, Congress created the lower Courts and clarified federal jurisdiction. The Court system is entirely a creature of Congress. They therefore have the ability to statutorily enlarge or decrease the jurisdiction of the Courts, with the exception of the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction as provided for in the Constitution (it would take an amendment to alter this). Accordingly, the Congress is empowered with the power to do what it did tonight. Their actions were constitutional.

The second issue, which is almost as important, was whether or not they should act. I do not deny, and in fact support, that certain issues must be left to the states. They are often the proper guardian of the people's rights and should act accordingly. But tonight was different. While I must say that I would have preferred a sweeping piece of legislation to be passed by Congress (similar to what the House passed earlier this week), this narrowly tailored bill was not an unreasonable exercise of federal power. The government has recognized in cases dealing with life and death, time and again, that there should be recourse in federal courts for state rulings. The issue of life is too important not to grant people that recourse. I therefore concur with the 2/3 majority in the House tonight that voted for this legislation. It's not a perfect bill but it did the appropriate thing in this case.

I agree with Tim that the arguments made on both sides of the aisle tonight were quite shoddy. But because members of Congress did not say what I wanted them to say does not make me this legislation any less constitutional.

Additionally, to those that buy on to the states' rights argument in this case I would say the following: the state of Florida did act on this matter and passed legislation accordingly. Were it not for the actions of the Florida courts, invalidating that law, the Congress may have never needed to step in and intervene. Now, do two wrongs make a right (if that's what you believe occurred in this case)? Absolutely not. I just wanted to make sure to point out that the matter was left to the state until no further point of appeal could be made.

Who knows what the federal judge who hears this case will say. I have no way of knowing. But at least this way, Mrs. Schiavo's parents and family will have one more day in court.

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Barney Frank Espousing Conservative Beliefs? Believe It.

I know I will take flac from my fellow colleagues on RWC. That being said, the Democrats are right. Congress has absolutely no place in this matter. This is a State issue. Federalism works, and we need to let it work whether you agree with the outcome or not. It demonstrates beautifully how partisan politics works. The Reps see an opportunity, so they jump in and take an unbelievably liberal position, while simply to counter the Reps the Dems have taken a very conservative position. The roles are reversed. The Dems are all about emotion and Reps logic, generally. In this case, however, it is the opposite. There is little logic behind the Congress stepping in and interfereing with State and personal matters.

T

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why we're always compared to the Nazis...

Tim brought this Victor Davis Hanson piece to our attention, and it is worth a read. Titled, Little Eichmanns” and “Digital Brownshirts": Deconstructing the Hitlerian slur", Mr. Davis Hanson tackles the Left's favorite below-the-belt line, comparing George W. Bush to Hitler and the rest of the evil Republican empire as Nazis.

I never was able to figure out why Republicans were always maligned to be like Nazis, when it's the Left that maybe should consider the origins of its erroneous semantics. Nazi stood for National Socialist Party, certainly nothing anyone on the "right-wing" would support. Go figure.

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