Picking Scabs and Parking Spaces

Meet Billy Raye. Billy is a 51-year-old bicycle courier. Billy was out of work. According to Friday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, Billy has managed to find employment. Billy, who is not a member of any labor organization, has been hired by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters (MARCC)—to walk a picket line.

The MARCC is picketing outside the MacPherson building in Washington, D.C., these days. The building is home to a satellite campus of a Chicago-based school of psychology, only slightly ironic given the schizoid nature of what’s happening outside their facility.

The MARCC is miffed because the school is using Can-Am Contractors—a non-union outfit—to put up drywall. And the union boys are outraged at the idea of Can-Am using “scabs” to do work that could have been done by MARCC members at a higher rate of pay.

Keep in mind, the union isn’t so incensed that they’re doing their own picketing. Instead, they’ve hired Billy and some other less fortunate types to do their epithet-shouting and sandwich-board wearing for them. To put it bluntly, the union has hired scabs to protest against Can-Am… using scabs.

In one of the all-time great too-many-obvious-jokes moments, Vincente Garcia, the union supervisor of picketing (and irony-proofing) at the MacPherson building, said regular MARCC members can’t handle the picketing themselves because, “For a lot of our members, it’s really difficult to have them come out, either because of parking or something else.”

Billy Raye clearly doesn’t have a problem with stowing his bike, nor, according to The Journal, does he even care why he’s there. “I’m getting paid to march around and sound off.” Such is life in the union universe.

The current national unemployment rate is hovering around 9.5 percent. Factoring in the likely 4 percent to 5 percent who are either retired, dead, not looking for work or picketing the MacPherson Building contractors, the real rate is closer to 14 percent. That’s a lot of available scab picketers.

According the article, the MARCC pays scabs to man close to 150 picket lines throughout the D.C. and Baltimore areas on a daily basis. Scab picketers get $8.25/hour to walk in circles and hurl pro-union invective at whatever non-union labor is taking place in their location.

Presuming 50 scabs per picket line (the number at the MacPherson building), working (drinking coffee and shouting in semi-unison) 20 hours a week, the MARCC is coughing up $8,250 per week, per picket line. Even if we cut the number in half, a labor union is paying non-union labor a little more than $600,000 weekly to… well… work for them.

How many of the unemployed picketers-for-hire could be turned into full-fledged MARCC members by redirecting the aforementioned sum towards job training? How many Billy Rayes could hop off their bicycles and into a job site for the kind of dough he and his fellow temporary picketers are pocketing to scream bloody murder on behalf of the union-affiliated companies which don’t hire them? Most importantly, why does someone Outside the Asylum need to point this out?

When the United Auto Workers’ massive contracts played a large part in turning General Motors into Government Motors, I couldn’t help but think that the days of unions protecting American laborers from predatory employers had faded into the swirling mists of history. When the Service Employees International Union sent its goons in to play the heavies for Democrats confronted with popular opposition to Obamacare, I realized the unions were beginning to morph into the sort of thugs against whom they were formed to defend. It’s as if the Molly Maguires bought the mine and immediately reopened the company store.

Now the unions are hiring scabs to do the work union members don’t want (or at least, can’t find convenient parking for.) Don’t get me wrong—I have no issue with what the unions call scab labor. I use “scab” not as a pejorative, but as a demonstrative. The MARCC or one of the other groups around the country who employ similar tactics could use scab-picketer money to turn scab-picketers into dues-paying workers. Dues-paying workers would boost union membership rolls, union pensions, union officials and—most importantly to union officials—union officials’ bank accounts.

Think of the major American corporations which could be turned into semi-government-controlled operations! Imagine the coordinated assaults on anti-Obamacare protestors! Visualize the Brobdingnagian brigades of union muscle, riding out like the proverbial Assyrian cohort, gleefully pounding senior citizens on behalf of their Democrat Darius.

The best part is: they already have the purple shirts.

Death, But Not Taxes

I hate the Yankees. More than any sports franchise on the planet—with the possible exception of the Dallas Cowboys—the Yankees turn me into baseball-ish English soccer hooligan (though I don’t need five pints of Guinness to throw something at the television.) Of course, my detestation of the Yankees extended to their owner: George Steinbrenner.

But as much as I despised Steinbrenner for returning my least favorite team to the top; I never begrudged him respect. He did whatever he needed to make them winners. Contracts larger than the gross national product (GNP) of most third world nations required to keep A-Rod, Jeter and the gang close to the Canyon of Heroes? Done. Steinbrenner’s detractors often pointed out that he “bought” his titles. I don’t care if he paid for them in green M&M’s.

He won. Often. Tuesday morning, Steinbrenner won one last time… by dying.

Don’t get me wrong, folks—I take no pleasure in the death of The Boss. By shuffling off this mortal coil in 2010, Steinbrenner managed to pitch one final shutout at every wingnut who ever employed class envy to pull a twisted Robin Hood act on successful Americans. Because the Prince of the Pinstripers died this year, he walled off his considerable estate from the Death Tax.

Thanks to the last gasps of the Bush-era tax laws, Steinbrenner’s considerable fortune (estimated by Forbes to be more than $1.1 billion) is protected from the pickpockets currently living the high life in Washington. By assuming room temperature in 2010, Steinbrenner has guaranteed the fruits of his years of labor will be passed on to those whom HE deems worthy—and Turbo-Tax Geithner and his big buddy Barack can go pound sand. While libs foam at the mouth over the loss of nearly $600 million (the Feds potential take had Steinbrenner shown the good sense to die next year); I have to both applaud—and wail.

I applaud the idea of Capitol Hill bagmen beating it back to D.C. with bupkus. I wail at the idea that the death tax returns for 2011 like Jason from Friday the 13th.

There’s no logical argument in favor of the death tax. Even liberals acknowledge that fact, albeit in backhanded fashion. They mutter about “unfair protection for the rich;” or “paying their fair share.”

To address the former: the way the Democrats treat financial achievement (excluding their own, of course), achievers NEED protection. Can you imagine coming home from Aunt Edna’s funeral to find a bunch of thugs in blue suits loading 55 percent of her plastic-covered furniture into the back of a U-Haul?

To the latter, I say: they’ve paid their fair share. (And yours. And mine. And Moveon.org’s.) Rich folks pay income taxes. In fact, the top 25 percent of earners pay 87 percent of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) bill. The current Federal income tax rate is just south of 40 percent—meaning Steinbrenner paid 40 cents out of every dollar he earned to the government in return for… um… the Cross Bronx Expressway. The 2010 Death Tax moratorium meant the Feds missed out on doubling up the penalty George paid for making a big pile. (*author’s aside: Steinbrenner hit the big time in the 60s and 70s, when marginal income tax rates were United Kingdom/hide your money in Montserrat like the Beatles high—so he kicked a bunch back into the kitty.)

And the wealthy can afford to buy nice stuff. When Richie Rich buys a Range Rover, he pays much higher sales taxes than you did on that ’03 Hyundai. When he heads to Morton’s for dinner, he forks over a lot more for that porterhouse than I did for my Big Mac extra value meal. And the wealthy boost the labor pool (granted, Steinbrenner hired the same guys over and over again.). From Derek Jeter to Derek the parking lot guy; Steinbrenner’s millions of dollars made dollars for millions.

Warren Buffett, who made his money the old fashioned way, says he supports the Death Tax. I can retort thusly: it’s your $47 billion—give it to whomever the hell you want, you earned it. But don’t expect the rest of us to follow suit.

George Steinbrenner had his moments. He played dirty, both in baseball and politics. And though I’m sure he would rather have lived past 2010; by dying when he did, he drove a personal stake in the heart of liberal ideology of penalizing success.

Of course, I still hate the Yankees.

If You Can't Say Something Nice…

The Clown Prince of Washington and his merry band of sideshow freaks didn’t take over the executive and legislative branches by acclaim alone.  They had help. 

Obama’s campaign was an exercise in duplicity (It’ll be a GOOD CHANGE—HONEST!), mendacity (I hardly know vicious racist Jeremiah Wright and unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers) and obfuscation (why do you care what Change really means?  Don’t you worry about ACORN.)  The corporate media was a willing participant in the sham, and MSNBC led the parade.

Normally, pointing out the talent and information black hole which is MSNBC’s primetime lineup is weather-forecast-for-the-Sahara rote.  Outside the Asylum, we’re faced with a President and a “ruling” party who combine colossal ineptitude with an almost predatory regard for personal liberty.  The promises of Hope and Change have produced Hope for Change—this fall and in 2012.  But don’t you dare let the fake media inquisitors catch you questioning their messiah (Obama, not the actual Messiah).

Putting aside the usual baseless charges of racism, hate-speech and fear-mongering from the vapid wingnuts who populate the Democrat National Committee (DNC) demographic, I thought I might give us all an opportunity to examine some recent offerings from the hypocrite huddle currently stomping the sandbox.

Last week, crackpot king of MSNBC Keith Olbermann used his nightly hate-filled rant “The Worst Person in the World’ to again excoriate Rush Limbaugh.  Olbermann employed an audio montage to demonstrate Limbaugh’s racist tendencies.  No doubt, thousands (well…it IS MSNBC… dozens…OK—a couple) of liberal drones came away from Olbermann’s latest raging screed reassured that of course, Limbaugh is pure evil.

Both the hysterical host and MSNBC’s staff neglected to mention the audio clip was heavily doctored.  In fact, one of the comments Olbermann attributed to Limbaugh was itself a quote of shrieking liberal harpy Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  Tucker, an infamously furious leftist, had claimed GOP Chairman Michael Steele “never would have been voted in as chairman of the Republican Party were he not black.” 

Just imagine Tucker’s response if someone suggested she’d be fact-checking obits from the Mayberry Mudslinger if she was more putty-complected.  For that matter, imagine where Olbermann would be if he had actual talent.  He might still be sitting next to Dan Patrick at ESPN—which fired Limbaugh for comments about Donovan McNabb which were far less offensive (although I disagreed with him—McNabb was awesome) than the crap spewed by Tucker, who remains un-fired by the AJC as of this morning. 

Most folk with IQs higher than houseflies are already aware that Olbermann is a hack who likely despises Limbaugh, Beck et al because they have something he’ll never sniff: ratings.  (Not to mention talent.)  Likewise, most of us with crania above shot-glass capacity are aware that Olbermann may be the current high priest of histrionic hypocrisy, but he’s not the only media mouth-breather in the mash.  War profiteer and multi-millionaire Michael Moore appeared on Radio Pacifica last weekend to express his feelings that Americans will be excluded from Heaven because their taxes fund the War on Terror.  Moore vomited up spiritual drivel for the far-left radio network:

“Did you pay your taxes?  …well, then you helped fund this, didn’t you…OK, well, you know, turn around. You’re not coming in the Gates.

The corpulent fake-umentarian neglected to mention what eternity held in store for the actual terrorists; he also left out the fact that Radio Pacifica is partially funded by the same taxes he believes have consigned the rest of us to the Lake of Fire, or at least “Sicko” on infinite loop. 

These are but recent exemplars of the endless march of mendacity which dominates the MSM.  Here’s my problem:  the right isn’t stepping up to the plate.  The left is far guiltier of the charges they level with such glee; but more often than not the right simply offers denials and explanations.  They should be setting the terms of the debate, not living by them.

I am not suggesting imitating the wingnut media’s “I know you are, but what am I?” tactics; nor do I believe matching their dishonesty lie-for-lie.  But maybe—just maybe—It’s time to point at some of these blathering buffoons and… call a spade a spade.

From The Pot To The Kettle

At first glance, they don’t look like much. A couple of raggedy little guys wearing uniforms borrowed from some high school theatre prop department, trying desperately to look forbidding.

They’re members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and, on election day 2008, they lost the Candid Camera Challenge; standing in front of a Philadelphia polling station, one of them brandishing a nightstick. They claim they were there to provide what they call “security” and the law (pre-2009, anyway) calls “voter intimidation.”

If you never saw Philly’s Funniest Voting Video—and more than 2 million have seen it on YouTube alone—then you might remember the New Black Panther Party from the infamous Duke Lacrosse scandal of 2006. These are the same clowns whose former ringmaster Khalid Muhammad was actually bounced out of the Nation of Islam for being too bizarre (placing him on what presumably is one of the world’s shortest lists.)

After the election of Barack Obama, the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed suit against three of the junior varsity jackbooters of the NBPP. The DoJ actually won default judgment against them after they blew off their court appearance. Sadly, our friends at the NBPP knew the deck was stacked in their favor. A couple of months later the word came down from on high: Let it go. Quit picking on Shabazz and his funhouse Cosby kids. We’ll make them promise to play nice at polling places next time around.

Evidently, the Great Uniter got his degree in harmony from the Spike Lee School of Race Relations.

Tuesday morning, erstwhile Department of Justice lawyer J. Christian Adams testified in front of the United States Commission on Civil Rights that Obama and his little buddy Eric Holder had shut down the investigation into the Philadelphia incident.

Adams, who says he found the actions of the Obama administration so repellent that he left the Justice Department, claimed that racial animus propelled the determination by Mr. Hope and Change to kill the investigation into potential wrongdoing by the NBPP. The only meaningful response from Obama is a refusal to allow the testimony of former DoJ voting section chief Christopher Coates.

It may turn out that Adams is every bit the big bad bigot he’s being called by good little liberals everywhere. He might be cutting holes in the guest room pillowcases to get a better look at tonight’s cross burnin’. But there’s not a single shred of evidence to support that assertion. Even if there was, it would by no means absolve the Justice Department from their sworn duty to uphold the laws protecting voters from intimidation—AND laughably inept attempts at intimidation by NBPP goons.

Adams told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that "…over and over again…" Obama and his pals showed "hostility" to cases involving black perpetrators and white victims—including the NBPP actions in Philadelphia and elsewhere. According to Adams: “…we abetted wrongdoing and abandoned law-abiding citizens.."

There’s no reason to assume Adams is lying. In the case of the New Black Panther’s beret brigade, we have the video. It should be noted for our Left-wingnut friends that the existence of said video advances Adams’s credibility several steps past that of say—John Lewis and the Congressional Black Caucus.

To say Obama and his pals play the race card is a “Rosie O’Donnell is a little bit chunky” understatement. The left hurls a charge of racism at virtually every opponent of their agenda; see the aforementioned CBC fracas. During the Massachusetts special Senatorial election, I even heard MSNBC talking hairdo Keith Olbermann suggest pickup trucks were a new symbol for racism—which I’ll accept only if I get to say driving a Prius is emblematic of being a pansy.

Even as I write this, Obama has filed the predicted lawsuit against Arizona and SB1070.

Wasn’t the elimination of racism one of the boxcars on the Hope and Change Express? Didn’t the Democrats promise us that voting for a “uniter” like Obama would erase the alleged divisions of/caused by the Bush years?

This boy’s America is as more divided than ever; despite the promises of the President. I’m not denying the existence of racism on the Right. I am tired of hearing denials of the same from the Left.

Can’t we all just get… forget it.

One note to New Black Panthers everywhere: some guys wear berets and look like the 101st Airborne. Others look… French.

Ça vous va bien, les gars!

The Old Dog And Pony Show

"When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public."Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, University of Chicago Law Review, 1995.

What a waste of time.”—My next door neighbor’s mother, expressing her disgust at the non-event Kagan’s confirmation hearings became, Thursday afternoon.

Kagan—at least the 1995 edition—is correct. My next door neighbor’s mother is not. But I will elaborate, if only to keep Mrs. <redacted by author>’s enormous husband from strolling over with a brick.

Nearly five years ago, a Findlaw poll stated: “The percentage of Americans who can name all nine current Supreme Court justices, statistically speaking, is zero.” Imagine my shock in learning—from a mathematical standpoint, at least—I didn’t exist.

But I do exist, much to the consternation of more than a few. And I believe—nay—DEMAND a thorough vetting of anyone who’s going to spend the next couple of decades standing this close to my fundamentally inalienable rights. To be fair—neither my next door neighbor’s mom nor her giganto-spouse are in any way derelict in their civic duty; they’re simply revolted by last week’s C-SPAN circus.

Elena Kagan v.2010 is dramatically distant from Elena Kagan v.1995. During last week’s hearings she avoided definitive statements with the kind of agility most television viewers employ to avoid watching Rachel Maddow. She exasperated lame-duck Senator Arlen Specter (R to D-Pa.) to the point that he looked even more basset-houndish than usual. She sidestepped interrogatives regarding her support for partial birth abortion, a procedure right at home in a Freddy Krueger film.

Actually, her confirmation hearings had a rather pungent “air of vacuity and farce.”

Kagan demurred when questioned by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) regarding her interpretation of congressional authority under the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3):

Coburn: If I wanted to sponsor a bill, and it said Americans have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day and I got it through Congress and that’s now the law of the land, got to do it, does that violate the Commerce Clause?

Kagan: Sounds like a dumb law… But I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from whether the question of whether it’s constitutional and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.

When Coburn noted that ObamaCare could make such a nightmarish hypothetical a hideous reality, Kagan responded—over the course of a 500 WORD ANSWER (yes, I counted)—that the responsibility to rectify Congressional and Executive breaches of constitutional protections rested with Congress and the Executive branch.

Ms. Kagan—such corrections are positively within the purview of you and your eight future colleagues.

I am troubled by delivering a 4th grade civics lesson to a woman purported to be one of the foremost legal minds of her generation. The judiciary serves as the final line of defense against encroachment upon our civil liberties; whether said encroachment requires a McDonald v Chicago or a Brown v Board of Education.

If Elena Kagan doesn’t understand the basic function of the Federal judiciary, then she is a poor choice indeed to join their ranks. Sadly, because most Americans either don’t know or don’t care—she’s already browsing Wal-Mart’s Justice-on-the-Go collection.

The purpose of senate confirmation hearings is to discover the nature of those who aspire to inhabit the halls of unelected authority. The fact that most of our senators are jacklegs does not relieve the citizenry of OUR responsibility to look over THEIR shoulders. Sometimes, we get to observe Tom Coburn pressing Elena Kagan for a definitive answer to… anything. Sometimes—as the goodly folk of Minnesota found out last week—we get to discover our junior senator ignoring the proceedings while producing an impressive pen-and-ink sketch of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

Elena Kagan is likely to be more Ruth Bader Ginsburg than Antonin Scalia. The good news: replacing Stevens with Kagan is not likely to effect a sea change on the Supreme Court. The bad news: Kagan is hardly the last salvo Obama will fire at our personal liberties. We must overcome our revulsion at Washington’s clownish antics. The agenda which produces nominees like Elena Kagan is no laughing matter.

Remember that in November, and again in 2012.

Forearmed, For Now

The vote was 5-4. It should have been 9-0, but the nation’s most powerful jurists are going to straighten themselves out the same day Rebecca DeMornay knocks on my door with a bottle of Johnny Blue and Risky Business on Blu-ray. Two years after the Court ruled in favor of the Bill of Rights in D.C. v Heller, the majority again stood up for the Republic in McDonald v Chicago.

With the nomination of Elena Kagan looming—and likely—I’m not holding my breath for a more sensible Supreme Court. Nonetheless, five of the Big Nine managed to get it right late Monday morning, wrapping up their 2009-2010 calendar with an affirmation of the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.

Justice Alito, writing for the majority, pointed out that the 2nd Amendment serves as a guarantee of individual—as opposed to community—liberty, and its authority is bolstered by the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of due process. Simply put: Chicago, Oak Brook, Ill. and Washington, D.C., may not pass laws which abrogate the Bill of Rights.

Before anyone Outside the Asylum starts shopping for two-gun rigs, be advised: the other side isn’t giving up this firefight just yet. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (victims of knife, bat and/or legislative violence—you’re on your own) President Paul Helmke said in the aftermath of the decision: “lawsuits are never bad.” Translation: “This means war!” (Although one presumes it would be a “progressive,” firearm-free kind.)

But the Dems have not kept their proverbial powder dry. When Justice Stevens, in what will thankfully be one of his final acts from the top bench, dissented thus: “..the ability of militiamen to keep muskets available..” he said: “the Founding Fathers were talking about flintlocks.” As if one of the most esteemed assemblages of intellect in human history wouldn’t have considered the possibility of technological advancement.

Don’t bother to ask Stevens about other progress unforeseen by the Founding Fellas. Try to imagine his honor explaining Constitutional protections for partial-birth abortion to Thomas Jefferson. When Stevens suggested “..(gun rights as envisioned by the Framers) have only a limited bearing on the question that confronts the homeowner in a crime-infested metropolis today..” he was intimating: “Too bad you weren’t born in the 1760s.”

Tell that to someone who just watched the Crips unload a U-Haul across the street. Better yet, mention it to the Idahoan who just watched FBI snipers gun down his wife and child.

The fundamental flaw in the liberal argument against firearm ownership rights stems from their basic mistrust of everyone who isn’t them. Their ideology stands on the concept of governmental dominance of the people.

People who deny that ideology represent a threat. Armed people who deny their ideology represent something much worse: the indomitable citizen. But the indomitable citizen isn’t a threat; someone who’s a threat is a threat. And we already have laws to protect us from such threats.

We don’t bar Microcephalic Marvin down the street from owning a .50 cal. because the weapon might be inherently dangerous. We keep Marvin from owning the aforementioned hand cannon because he has an 850 cc cranium and wears a tinfoil hat. Perhaps if all the high-priced, self-important lawyers and politicians at the Brady Campaign helped to book Marv some quality time at a state-owned bed and breakfast, they wouldn’t have to worry as much about Marv opening fire on the space aliens in the duplex next door.

Because gun-ban proponents are guided by fear and emotion, not logic and reason, they react like teenage girls in a slasher flick—”Mr. LaPierre, is that you?” That visceral fear inevitably leads to: “Why do you NEED (big scary gun of choice)?” The question is moot. One might as well ask a woman why she needs 25 pairs of black shoes, or ask the DNC why they need Joe Biden.

When The Framers offered “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” They were offering neither suggestion nor caveat. They were admonishing us all.

Tyranny is tyranny, whether it takes the form of the madness of King George or the obtuseness of President Obama. Forewarned is forearmed. Thanks to the Framers of the Constitution—and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court—we are both.

Indecent Disclosure…

At least Hank Johnson, the man who undoubtedly makes Georgia’s Fourth Congressional district proud, managed to keep pronouncements on the impending nautical doom faced by the residents of Guam out of his speech on the House floor last Thursday afternoon.

Johnson, speaking in defense of the DISCLOSE Act now headed for the Senate after passing the House, did manage to remind everyone Outside the Asylum why the average American holds Congress in only slightly lower esteem than dog fighting entrepreneurs. When Hank exalted the greatness of the abominable—and superbly monikered—Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On who’s Spending in Elections, not only did he speak out against the 1st Amendment, he did so by noting BP (which bestowed greater financial largesse on Barack Obama than anyone else in the last two decades) and Goldman Sachs (which has shoveled twice the ducats to dems, and practically has a branch office in the OEOB, if not the White House.)

To be fair to our pal Hank, he is nowhere near as desperate for a Thorazine prescription as his predecessor, Cynthia McKinney. But when a Democrat Congressman rises in support of a bill which abrogates part of the Bill of Rights, and cites his OWN PARTY’S heavyweight swag-haulers as his inspiration, I’m allowed to roll my eyes a bit.

Had his staffers been on—or even near—the ball, they might have stopped him from serving up two of the DNC’s sugar daddies. They also might have noticed who’s exempt from the tenets of the bill, and what it really means.

Proponents of the DISCLOSE ACT claim that it introduces a new measure of decency to electoral politics. What it actually does, by way of lowering the reporting requirements for certain individual donors, is toe the liberal line to a “T.” It fits all the clichéd criteria. It “levels the playing field.” It brings “fairness” back to the table. It helps Democrats spout talking points: “blah blah… little guy… blah blah.”

But America is the land of opportunity, not the land of fairness. In this boy’s America, we have the right to TRY for the brass ring, not be handed the hardware free of charge. If life in the land of the free was all about fairness with a capital “F,” either you’d be driving a V-12 Aston Martin—or Warren Buffett would be tooling around Omaha in a ’98 Corolla. OR—you’d both be carpooling in a ’64 Trabant.

Big-time political donors already have to show their ID at the electoral door. What the DISCLOSE ACT commands is the disclosure by corporations, 527’s and non-profits of each individual donor within their folds who donate more than $600 to the cause. Under DISCLOSE—not only does BP or Goldman Sachs have to pony up their CEO’s name on the donor rolls, but they have to give up the fifth floor janitor.

That’s a violation of the 1st Amendment (not to mention the 5th, if we donate to Hank Johnson.) We have a right to speak our minds in this country. We should have a right to back up that speech with our dollars, if we choose; despite the best efforts of McCain/Feingold, DISCLOSE and the rest of the ever-increasing thought police arsenal. Nowhere is it written that we must open ourselves up to retribution.

DISCLOSE actually means activists—and worse—can hassle Buffett if they don’t like his candidate choices. Buffett can staff out the ugly phone calls, and the “activists” can’t breach his security perimeter. Your spinster aunt with the bad hip ALWAYS answers the phone, and her security perimeter is Tinkerbell, the 6-pound Pomeranian.

Left-wingnuts will point to the inclusion of labor unions amidst the throng of political players covered by the tenets of DISCLOSE. But the average labor union dues in the United States are $425—well under the DISCLOSE disclosure floor, meaning Big Labor catches a Big Break.

The Libs will also note the controversial exemption granted to the National Rifle Association (NRA). However, the Sierra Club and the AARP are among a host of left-leaning gangs who get to step through loopholes. Add Big Labor’s goons to the mix, and while the right gets Hector, the left gets the whole Greek army.

The truth is, if your spinster aunt wants to donate her life savings to Zippy the Pinhead, or even Hank Johnson, that’s her money to spend; her speech to make.

Yours as well—for now.

The First Step To Solving A Problem…

With the recent announcement by the Obama Administration that a Federal lawsuit targeting Arizona’s enormously popular immigration law is nigh, the transparency of the left’s opposition to Arizona’s SB1070 has been made manifest.

During his administration, President Bush talked tough on illegal immigration, but did very little to curb it. President Obama is now going one step further… doing very little to curb illegal immigration while talking tough on those who plan to. Obama seems more interested in developing some kind of Federalized Internal Affairs Division, searching for crime while ignoring the criminals.

The President is trying to recast the debate. It’s entirely reasonable to examine his reasons.

Most of the realities regarding illegal immigration are patently obvious. Virtually untraceable labor pools operating outside the law mean unemployed taxpayers and strained social services. Virtually untraceable routes into the United States mean endangered taxpayers and… strained social and law enforcement services—the presence of abandoned prayer mats along our southern frontier doesn’t mean the coyotes are developing an interest in yoga. A President bent on obfuscating both the latter and former by accusing his opposition of everything short of a return to Jim Crow is the worst of kind of political gamesmanship.

It’s well known that Arizona’s new law—set to take effect late next month—is nothing more than a state asserting responsibility abdicated by the Feds. One would presume most LEGAL citizens would be overjoyed to see a state willing to step in where the Feds are standing down. In fact, SB 1070 is similar not only to 8 U.S. Code Sections 1304 and 1306, but shockingly—CALIFORNIA Penal Code section 834b. The fact that the Brotherhood of Undocumented Onion Pickers has yet to march on Sacramento belies the political realities. The President can hardly risk torpedoing his fellow travelers Pelosi, Feinstein and Boxer by allowing his jackbooted legal legions to extend their L.A. Law redux into the Land of La Raza.

To be fair, the broad-based support for SB 1070 doesn’t necessarily prove the quality of the legislation. I could get 70 percent approval for legislation which would constitute extraordinarily bad thinking: Free BMWs for everyone! Federally subsidized beer purchases! National Throw Something Heavy at Keith Olbermann Day!

OK—that last one has real merit.

The problem we have now is that the majority is right. But the majority lacks power. In the worst kind of twist of fate, the minority has the juice to (to paraphrase Interior Secretary Ken Salazar)—step on the neck of John Q. Public.

And the Feds are going straight to the courts to shop for the appropriate neck-breaking footwear. There’s already a class-action lawsuit in Federal court seeking to halt SB 1070. A rogue’s gallery of left-wing groups with close ties to the current administration is challenging Arizona’s endeavors: the ACLU, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Network, the NAACP, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the—I’m not making this up—Malibu Community Labor Exchange. Makes you wonder who’s delivering chalupas to the guys trimming Mel Gibson’s hedges. At the very least, it’s nice to see the NAACP doing something other than waging jihad on Hallmark greeting cards.

Now the Feds are threatening to bring in the heavy artillery. Talk about rigging the game: if Eric “the red” Holder’s goons-with-briefcases bring the heat to Arizona’s doorstep in a Federal courtroom, the supporters of SB 1070 get to pay the lawyers on both sides. Beyond the obvious Constitutional violations of Federal tinkering with Arizona’s law enforcement—hello 10th Amendment—there’s the more troublesome issue: Obama and his thugs are trying to get us mired in a spurious discussion on race in order to cow us into ignoring a blatant effort to expand his constituency.

Throwing the verbal hand grenade of racism is clever, if only because people on the left will always believe it, and are redoubtable and vital allies for an administration which seems bent on becoming a political exemplar of ham-fisted authority. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis thinks illegals have a “right to fair wages.” Actually, Madam Secretary, illegals have the right to be Mirandized (and in a language other than English, even!)

With Obama telling Senator John Kyl (R-Ariz.) that he’s going to lean into meaningful immigration reform only if amnesty is on the table, he’s drawing the proverbial line in the dust: no enforcement now, no enforcement tomorrow, no enforcement forever.

Or at least until this column is printed en espanol. Vaya con Dios!

No Light On Our Deepwater Horizon

Welcome to the Summer of Schadenfreude for Earth Firsters everywhere. And what a celebration they’ve been enjoying. Fronted by Dear Leader Obama and Rahm “never let a good crisis go to waste” Emanuel, the libs have been breaking their arms in paroxysms of self-congratulation since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig began spewing 10W30 into the Gulf.

You wouldn’t think an oil spill would bring tears of joy to anyone; but for the flat-earthers, the Deepwater Disaster means validation—if not votes. There haven’t been this many “I-told-you-so’s” since Elin Nordgren called her mother the day after Thanksgiving.

The President just gave us another glimpse of his plans, announcing an investigative commission with the petroleum-specific expertise of the pump jockey at the Gas’n’Go. The only real scientist of the group is an expert in optics. The John Hinckley jury would have been just as qualified.

The kangaroo court of a commission comes on the heels of a $20 billion shakedown of BP during which Obama acted like a loanshark chasing some schlub who’s late with the vig. Of course, when the President puts the knuckles to someone, instead of no-neck types with names like Duke and Rocco, he has the 82nd Airborne.

As for “plugging the damn hole”—Despite Dutch and Belgian expertise in dealing with precisely the situation Obama and his cronies are mishandling, Presidential obligations to Big Labor preclude any consideration of suspending the Jones Act and bringing speedy relief to Charlie the Tuna. In the Obama/Emanuel/Democrat crisis management handbook, people from other countries are fine if they’re crawling through a tunnel toward Tucson, but not so much when they’re petrochemical engineers offering to put a stop to a terrible waste of the good stuff.

Nor will there be any reconsideration of the Federal ban on offshore drilling in productive waters. In fact, there’s still a six-month moratorium on offshore drilling in water deeper than 500 feet—the equivalent of holding the Olympic diving events in the downstairs bathtub.

With the left’s petroleum pity party in full swing, let’s look at their viable alternatives. Any wingnut can decry America’s tendency to lean on Castrol. According to newly appointed Spill Panelist Frances Beinecke, this whole situation is a result of “America’s addiction to oil.” Well thank you Madam Obvious. So, what are you offering?

Wind power sounds nice. It’s clean, “Green,” and doesn’t make Flipper icky. But wind power means windmills—and windmills ruin the view from the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport.

Solar power is another Woodstock-approved energy source. You’ve never seen a Sierra Club ad featuring a baby seal flopping around helplessly in a puddle of photovoltaic cells. Unfortunately, solar power’s start-up costs are so prohibitively high, Moonbeam Mary and Patchouli Pete wouldn’t have enough left over to fix the Microbus. Plus, you’d have to pave Montana in solar panels just to power Al Gore’s mega-mansion; with maybe enough left over to run John Edwards’s hair dryer.

Ethanol gets a few column inches every time the prices at pump inch up, but that’s hype, not help. Even if every acre of corn in the country was earmarked for fuel production, it would only cover 12 percent to 15 percent of the nation’s fuel needs. And you’d have a hard time telling the kids why Tony the Tiger can’t join them for breakfast anymore.

Nuclear power is a near-perfect solution—except that Hollywood hates it. They can’t run their Priuses on plutonium. And do we really want movie stars riding around on small thermonuclear devices? Hmm..nah.

The U.S. IS the Kuwait of coal. But the eco-shriekers say it’s gross. You have to dig massive holes to get to the stuff. Fine if you’re mining diamonds for Barbra Streisand’s cleavage bling, but not cool if you’re trying to turn the lights on in a neighborhood where Babs wouldn’t be caught dead. Also, Al Gore says coal causes global warming. We should trust Al Gore—he invented the internet.

So it’s back to the deepwater drilling board for the time being. Fortunately, the world has plenty of the black stuff left. We’ll be kicking the Enterprise into warp drive long before we run out of oil. The solutions are right in front of us, if we can shoehorn some common sense into energy policy.

In the meantime, Obama was back on the golf course this weekend. Hey, Mr. President, when Malia asked “Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?” I don’t think she meant the 5th at Congressional.