A blog that I post on whenever I see something that makes me want to go off on a Republican (Libertarian every once in a while) rant. I will cover stories from all over the nation and world, but I will try to cover as many stories about my home state of Michigan as I can (I'll also talk a lot about Texas, because Texas is awesome!).
Yesterday, Michigan’s RNC National Committeeman Dave Agema posted a copy of Dr. Frank Joseph’s online article “Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals”. The article uses studies done decades ago, most of which have been debunked by more recent studies; some of the other claims are just simply false. This article does a good job of going through and detailing the false claims from the article. At least 2 of the claims are easily debunked (and at that point, it doesn’t matter how many are false – if there’s at least one, then Agema should’ve put a disclaimer): (1) the APA still lists pedophilia in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; (2) the claim that homosexuals are much more promiscuous than heterosexuals was debunked by a survey done by a dating web site.
After posting the article, media outlets began picking up the fact that Agema had posted it and began blasting him for posting a “Homophobic Facebook Post”; some Michigan GOP activists and precinct delegates have begun calling for Agema to resign.
Agema has said he will not resign and defended his post, saying, “Some publications, and even a few liberal Republicans, have chosen to take the words of someone else and cast them as my own…. I think the piece was worth sharing given the debate over gay marriage that is happening in the Supreme Court.”
He later sent out an email saying, “First, I didn’t write these words, I simply posted them. More importantly, I will not back down. I will dig in and fight even harder to defend our conservative values from these attacks by liberals in the media, and even in our own party.”
MI GOP Party Chairman Bobby Schostak has responded by saying, “Our party remains in support of traditional marriage, but that should never be allowed nor confused with any form of hate or discrimination toward anyone. Any statement or message in contrast undermines our party’s platform and our common sense conservative message.”
And I wholeheartedly agree with Chairman Schostak who has responded perfectly to this; ultimately Agema has a right to say what he wants to say, but he needs to keep in mind that when he speaks, many people will see it as speaking for the MI GOP as a whole, rather than just himself.
I have sent the following email to Committeeman Agema, and I would encourage fellow precinct delegates and party members to contact him with your thoughts:
I have seen news reports regarding your Facebook post about homosexuality, and they concern me. I am not going to immediately join the groups calling for your resignation. I think that such calls are premature. Everyone makes mistakes, and I believe that you should be given time to correct yours.
That being said, what you did was grossly irresponsible as a RNC National Committeeman. You have to realize that when you post things on social media sites, you do more than express your own views; you speak for the MI GOP. You have defended your actions saying that you did not write the post; you merely posted something that someone else had written as part of a dialogue on the issue of homosexuality. That excuse just does not cut it for me. I disagree with those who have said those words were your own; they clearly were not; however, when you posted the article, you should have put such a disclaimer along with it.
The problem with what you posted is that that article is full of factually inaccurate statements (such as that pedophilia has been removed from the APA’s list of mental illnesses) and outdated studies. Conservatives and the GOP will lose the public debate on such issues when the left can easily debunk the premises that our conclusions are founded upon. How can our conclusions be taken seriously when the “facts” used to defend them are shown to be lies or outdated by decades? They cannot.
Please do the right thing and come out and fully apologize for posting this article. You are a party leader; it is unacceptable to pass along something as true when you could have so easily fact checked it to determine that these claims are not true. To not do so not only does a disservice to your good name, but to the party’s image.
As I said, everybody makes mistakes, and while this was a big mistake, the party can move past it if you apologize. But to react by simply making excuses is unacceptable.
I truly hope that you will take my words to heart and consider issuing an apology instead of excuses. That is the best action for both you, and more importantly, for the party that you represent.
I’ll close by saying again, that I think calls for his resignation are premature. If Agema says that he merely posted this as part of the debate on gay marriage, then I will take him at his word and believe that he does not agree with everything in the article; however, he needs to directly come out and say this. This post was more than insensitive; it was objectively inaccurate, and inaccuracies such as this will only hurt the GOP image and message.
Last Thursday, the Senate passed the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, which gives the District of Columbia a voting member in the House of Representatives and eliminates the position of D.C. Delegate, who represents the District now. Currently, that delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, can only vote when her vote does not affect the outcome; however, she is allowed to introduce bills, and this bill was introduced by Norton. The bill would also give an additional seat to Utah, so that the partisan makeup of the House stayed the same.
S. 160 (formal title: “A bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives”) was introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT). The bill passed the Senate in by a vote of 61-37, falling mostly along party lines; however, five Republicans voted for it (Susan Collins [R-ME], Orrin Hatch [R-UT], Dick Lugar [R-IN], Olympia Snowe [R-ME], and Arlen Specter [R-PA]), and two Democrats voted against it (Max Baucus [D-MT] and Robert Byrd [D-WV]).
The bill that passed the Senate had been amended by Senator John Ensign (R-NV). His amendment (S.AMDT. 575) restored several gun rights to the District by repealing the ban on semiautomatic weapons, the registration requirement, the ban on handgun ammunition, and several other laws. That amendment passed 62-36.
Personally, I am ashamed of the Senate for passing this bill (although I’m glad that gun rights have been restored to the District). Apparently 61 of our Senators need to go back to eighth grade civics class!
This act is clearly unconstitutional! Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution says, “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States.” Washington, D.C. is not a state-it’s just that simple.
Furthermore, Norton never should have been allowed to introduce this bill. She is unconstitutionally in the House of Representatives. Section 2 of Article I also says, “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not … be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.” Norton is not an inhabitant of a STATE, and thus should not be able to introduce legislation in the House!
I am all for the representation of D.C. in Congress; however, this bill is not the way to do that. If D.C. really was Constitutionally allowed to have a representative, they wouldn’t need a law to get their representation – all they’d need to do is file a court case. Furthermore, if they deserve representation, why don’t they deserved 2 Senators as well?
If the House passes this bill and President Obama signs it, this bill would probably be the most blatantly unconstitutional law ever written. At least when President Bush violated the Constitution, he did so in ways that were debatable as to whether or not he actually violated the Constitution, but this bill takes Article I, Section 1 and says, “That’s not an important part of the Constitution.” Find me any time that President Bush DIRECTLY violated the Constitution – he didn’t. The violations of the 4th Amendment were debatable. I personally think that he violated the 4th Amendment, but there are ways that you could argue that he did not; however, with this bill, nobody with an ounce of sanity can argue that this is Constitutional!
Does anybody else find it ironic that the same Senators who complained about President Bush’s debatably unconstitutional laws just voted in favor of a law that directly and clearly goes against the very wording of the Constitution? Come on!
Proponents of the bill claim that the “District Clause” (Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution) allows for the Congress to give D.C. a Representative. The text of that clause reads, “[The Congress shall have Power] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District … as may … become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”
“Exclusive Legislation” only gives Congress the right to govern the District, not magically ignore Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution when it comes to the District.
This bill is blatantly unconstitutional, and those who voted for it and criticized the Bush administration ought to be ashamed of themselves. Fortunately the Supreme Court still respects the Constitution, and I am willing to bet that they will declare this unconstitutional in a heartbeat – in fact, I really don’t see any of the 9 Justices siding with the Senate. If they do, they are shaming the Constitution and the office of Justice of the Supreme Court!
Even my liberal roommate agrees – this bill is CLEARLY unconstitutional!
The Michigan State of the State address is about to begin. I will be live blogging the event, giving my analysis (so my apologies for any spelling errors – I’ll fix them eventually).
Alright, she’s entering the chamber (I’m not sure if this is the House or Senate – probably House since it’s bigger).
Oh – my roommate (Democrat) just about made me die of laughter – he said, “Where is she?” I said, “Right there.” And he goes, “Oh, I thought that was a dude.”
Alright – she’s making her way up to the podium – about half the room is still clapping – probably the Democrats. There’s Lt. Governor John Cherry up in his chair.
There’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R) and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon (D).
She’s saying welcome and thank you. She’s welcoming and congratulating the new representatives.
She’s now welcoming Supreme Court Justice Dianne Hathaway, elected this year. And she’s congratulating the longest serving president of the State Board of Education.
Now thanking the servicemen and women from Michigan as well as the first responders.
We just gave a moment of silence for those who lost their lives defending this country and state overseas.
“I will not sugar-coat the crisis facing this state. … Our auto companies fought for their very existence, and as the bottom fell out of the national economy” Michigan “went from bad to worse.” She’s absolutely right about that. “Any honest assessment of our state’s economy must recognize that things are likely to get worse before they get better. … Things will get better … because Michigan citizens are resilient … because our battle plan is focused on the three things that matter most: fighting for more good paying jobs in Michigan, educating and training people to fill those good paying jobs, and protecting out people.”
“This is not time for pet projects or special interests.”
Now talking about Michigan now having “a friend in the White House who now shares our agenda. I say this based on pragmatism, not upon partisanship.” BULL CRAP!
She’s talking about him being focused on energy jobs, education, and protecting people. COME ON Madame Governor, the Republicans are interested in all of those things too!
“We’ve made many tough choices in our budget.” True, but you could have done a lot more to fix the state, but you didn’t, and that’s why we’re as bad as we are now.
“I have a veto pen, and I will use it. … The President’s economic plan is a one-time opportunity.” Really? Because so far, I count THREE bailout bills. What’s to stop three more?
She’s saying that our problems will be here after the economic stimulus money is gone. Lt. Governor Cherry will be in charge of downsizing government, reducing number of departments from 18 to 8.
Something about we can’t have “9-5 government in a 24/7 world.” Good point there – I’ll give her that one.
Her and Cherry are reducing salaries of all elected state officials in Michigan by 10%. That’s a good move – I COMMEND HER on that, but I don’t really see how she can directly do that.
“Already, I’ve cut more than any other Governor in Michigan.”
She’s saying that a national survey showed that MI has done more to cut spending than other state in the country. I’d like to see the details of the survey, but if it’s all true, I commend her on that.
She’s cutting funding for the state fair – because it’s not essential to government. GOOD CALL!
Talking about preserving our wetlands.
Talking about reducing corrections spending. We’re going to close 3 more facilities in the coming months. Reinvest in more law enforcement on the street. More law enforcement is good, but I’m not too keen on closing 3 facilities – that means more criminals on the streets, since our prisons are already TOO FULL!
Funding for roads, bridges, and transit systems – um, we’ve needed that for the past FEW years!
We can focus on jobs when we spend within our means.
We need to diversify, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing our number one industry, the auto industry. When pundits and ill-informed politicians take cheap shots at the auto industry and its workers, we (she’s saying this) will defend the auto industry.
Talking about the green auto industry being great.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost since 2000. “These losses have fueled our determination to bring new industry to Michigan.” Good – we can’t JUST depend on the auto industry anymore.
Talking about film and TV project coming to Michigan after the tax breaks to film companies.
Three major announcements:
Wonderstruck Animation Studios – $86 million in Detroit.
Stardock Systems (digital gaming) – build in Plymouth
Motown Motion Pictures – $54 million in Pontiac (former GM plant)
Motown MP alone will create 3,600 jobs. That’s great news – especially for the Pontiac area.
“But our success with the film industry is not an isolated example.” Talking about renewable energy industry – solar panel production companies are building here in Michigan.
Just like the auto industry “it creates all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people.” And that’s a good thing – I am VERY enthusiastic about renewable energy, as long as it’s not expensively forced on the people.
She’s talking about wind turbines (and wind power is something I have always been really excited about – that and nuclear power).
Jobs for manufacturers and engineers – for solar panels and electric car batteries.
She’s getting really intense about this. “The fact that these jobs are in Michigan is no accident.”
We bring them here by beating out other states and countries.
We passed incentives to make sure those batteries are made in Michigan. Within weeks of passage, GM said that they’d make batteries for the Volt automobile will be made here in Michigan. 5 million electric car batteries to be made a year, creating 14,000 jobs.
She’s saying that we want electric cars researched and designed here as well as all kinds of renewable energy companies.
She set a goal for becoming more dependent on renewable energy.
3 wind turbine manufactures to expand in Michigan.
Unisolar to build solar panel factory in Battle Creek.
HSC – $1 billion for solar panel expansion
Dow-Corning – more solar panels.
Great Lakes Turbine to build in Monroe (where my roommate’s from!)
“We all know that we need more jobs – a lot more.” I agree with you there.
President Obama has demanded more use of renewable energy. This will increase jobs in Michigan.
“By 2020, Michigan will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45%. … We’ll do it through increased renewable energy and gains in energy efficiency.” Sounds like a good idea to me, but I think 45% is high. I have no problem with it as long as it doesn’t jack up prices. But if it makes energy unaffordable, don’t do it.
Instead of importing coal, we’ll spend energy money on Michigan wind turbines and solar panels and energy efficiency devices, all installed by Michigan workers.
Ask Legislatures to allow for Michigan homeowners to become entrepreneurs by installing solar panels on roofs and selling money back to power company. Sounds good to me – it’s giving people the choice to do this, and enables people to eventually make that money back.
Asking utility companies to invest in energy efficient products. Good.
Unlike the coal we buy right now, the money that we will spend on energy efficiency will create jobs in Michigan.
Create Michigan Energy Corps - creating jobs and turning natural resources into renewable fuels and weatherizing houses.
Saying that we’ll need less coal power plants here in Michigan.
I’m kinda mad that she hasn’t said anything about more nuclear here in Michigan.
Talking about how she’ll bring new jobs to Michigan – that she’s gone all over the world to get jobs. Yeah, well you haven’t been too successful so far. You can go places to bring jobs here, but that doesn’t matter until you bring some here.
Saying she’ll require (I think it was universities) to buy Michigan. I have a problem with that though, because she wants a tuition freeze in order for universities to get stimulus money. How can they do that if you FORCE them to buy Michigan-made (more expensive at times).
Saying people should buy Michigan products. Buy everything from Ford to Faygo.
Talking about the Michigan $4,000 putting college in the reach of all students. Um, $4,000 really doesn’t do that much.
Michigan will be the first state to replicate the Kalamazoo promise on a large scale. Something about free education, and I missed the rest.
#2 in the country for well qualified teachers in the classroom. How are we #2 with the Detroit Public School system?
No Worker Left Behind: Talking about free college tuition – $5,000 per year for 2 years. Training people for jobs, such as nurses, electricians, computer technicians. 52,000 people. Helping us to remake Michigan.
Added more resources to the unemployment system – THAT’s what we need – to allow more people to rely on welfare!
Asking universities and colleges to freeze tuition for the next year. The problem with that is, what if THEY can’t afford it?
Give people 90 days without the fear of foreclosure. That’s absolutely insane. If people buy a house that they can’t afford, then they should lose it.
Talking about asking auto insurance companies to freeze rates on auto insurance. Sure, if they want to, but don’t make it mandatory.
She’s saying we’ll use every administrative tool to ensure that affordable rates are given to consumers. That should be up to the companies, not the government.
Saying that we shouldn’t strip people of health coverage in order to reduce spending. We shouldn’t HAVE state sponsored health care! She’s saying we should protect those whom people of faith often call “the least of these.” Well, people of faith need to step up and help the poor. That’s their duty as good Christians (as it is my duty), NOT the governments. When did Jesus ever say that the government should help the poor? He didn’t! He said his followers should – that’s why it makes me angry when people give that as a reason that Jesus would be a Democrat!
And wouldn’t “the least of these” refer to the unborn babies as well? I don’t see you protecting them, Madame Governor!
“Is it harder to balance the state budget or the budget of a family who went from 2 paychecks to 1?” Talking about the harships of family being much greater than the hardships of politicians as leaders.
She’s now giving an example of a guy on unemployment who used No Worker Left Behind to go to a university and now he’s working for Dow Corning.
Sorry – my news station just stopped covering it – ABC needed to go back to “regular scheduled programming.”
OK – I’m back.
Talking about hope and strength. “We together will build a better Michigan. God bless you all, and God bless the great state of Michigan.”
Tim Skubik is on now – saying that “Doom and Gloom” only got 2 paragraphs. He’s right – I think she could’ve shown that things are bad more than she did instead of just saying, “This is what we WILL do,” since she’s been saying that for YEARS now.
She never really said exactly how much she wanted to cut out of the government. I will commend her for some of her pro-energy efficient plans, but I think she may wind up driving up costs at a time that we can’t afford it. Allowing people to sell back energy from solar panels is a GOOD thing, because it gives individuals the choice to do it, instead of mandating it.
And now Mike Bishop’s response:
He’s saying that “we all want what’s best for our state.”
“Each one of us has felt the effects of this economy.”
Saying that the Governor wants to use federal funds to fix the state, but a quick infusion of money “will never be the antidote. … You can’t increase spending and debt and somehow hope to resolve a serious budget crisis.” The Republicans will submit a plan in the next 45 days for instant stimulus – it incentives job providers instead of increasing spending.
The House must pass Senate Bill 1. Get rid of the 22% business surcharge.
Talking about manufacturing complexes and other companies coming in due to tax cuts, proving that business tax cuts DO work.
The second part of the plan would bring property taxes in line with home values. Third, a tax credit for purchases of new homes will be created. This would spur the housing market. And he’s absolutely right – that was one of the things my parents looked into was the huge jump in taxes we would’ve payed if we moved this past summer.
Review each item in the state budget and find savings – good!
We must “be certain that state resources are used efficiently.” Absolutely!
Talking about opportunities coming with adversity – leaders need to rise up and “take the reins that will lead us back to prosperity. … Time for us to fix Michigan. … Thank you … God bless you, our families, and our great state of Michigan.”
Alright – I’m off to a meeting – I’ll spell check this and finish my analysis when I get back.
Yesterday the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously ruled in a lawsuit brought by Brittany Noffke, a varsity basketball cheerleader at Holmen High School in western Wisconsin. While practicing a stunt for the first time before a basketball game in 2004, she fell backwards off the shoulders of another cheerleader and suffered a head injury. She then filed a lawsuit against the 16-year-old male cheerleader who was supposed to be her spotter but failed to catch her, as well as the school district and its insurer. Noffke claimed that the coach was negligent for failing to supervise the stunt and not making sure that mats were being used. (The court ruling can be found here.)
Justice Annette Ziegler rejected Noffke’s argument that contact sports were limited to aggressive sports. In her opinion, she wrote that lawmakers meant to limit liability for “any recreational activity that includes physical contact between persons in a sport involving amateur teams.” Zeigler said that cheerleading involves “a significant amount of physical contact between the cheerleaders that at times results in a forceful interaction between the participants.”
This decision means that cheerleaders can only be sued for acting recklessly in causing injuries, and that Noffke’s teammate’s actions were only a mistake.
Ziegler also said that the district cannot be sued for the coach’s behavior under Wisconsin law that shields government agencies from lawsuits for the actions of employees. The coach had no duty to make sure a spotter was in place or to provide mats and the stunt was not a “known and compelling danger,” the court said.
I have to say, when I saw the headline on the bottom of the TV: “Court rules cheerleading is contact sport,” I thought, “Come on, what’s this about!” But as I read over the case and thought about it, the court is right. Nowhere in the law does it state that the contact has to be between members of different teams. It’s a law meant to protect students from accidents (not negligence), and that’s what happened here.
If you fail to catch somebody, that’s not on purpose (normally). It is possible to let somebody fall when you’re there to catch them, and that should be protected under the law. Cheerleading isn’t a simple and easy sport, so I think the dangers do need to be carefully looked at, and if you take the risk of participating, you have to live with the fact that you might get injured.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama retook the oath of office, due to the fact that a he said a word out of order on inauguration day. Here’s a video, courtesy of the BBC, of the oath of office:
And here’s a transcript of what happened, the bolded parts are areas where something went wrong:
ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama… OBAMA: I, Barack…
ROBERTS: … do solemnly swear…
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear… ROBERTS [faithfully is out of order]: … that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully…
OBAMA: … that I will execute…
ROBERTS [faithfully is in the right spot]: … faithfully the office of president of the United States… OBAMA: … the office of president of the United States faithfully…
ROBERTS: … and will to the best of my ability…
OBAMA: … and will to the best of my ability…
ROBERTS: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
OBAMA: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.
While a lot of people have made fun of Robertsfor slipping up, it should be noted that Obama interrupted him first, and that’s what probably threw Robert’s off, leading him to mess up the “faithfully” part.
Some Constitutional experts said that it was OK because he still said all of the words with their meanings still in tact, but the President wanted to make sure that everything was all right, so he had the oath re-administered. I agree with him – if he hadn’t have done that, we’d have conspiracy nuts talking about him not being our rightful President for the next 4 years.
When Roberts asked President Obama, “Are you ready to take the oath?” Obama replied, “I am, and we’re going to do it very slowly.”
Again, it was the right move, even if unecessary, to avoid conflict down the road.
A couple days ago on the Colbert Report, Steven Colbert interviewed American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Director Anthony Romero. In the interview, Romero said that Bush was the “very worst President for civil liberties,” and later that he was ”the worst President in 8 long years.” Perhaps he meant “for 8 long years,” since he was the only President in the past 8 years, so Romero’s statement really didn’t make sense. (Sorry this is up a few days late – I lost me entire draft that I wrote the 1st time, and that took a few hours to do.) Anyway, watch the video, and I’ll discuss his statements below.
So, what do I think about Romero’s statements? I think his high school American history teacher would be ashamed of him.
Now, I’m not arguing that President Bush has been a champion of civil liberties. I think he overstepped his powers, and I think the Republican Party (and some of the Democratic Party) stood by and let him. And now, the Republican Party is paying for it, and this country will be paying for it for years to come. Still, I don’t think that Bush did it just for fun. He had legitimate reasons, but I think he went too far at times. Anyway, let’s look at 4 Presidents who I think did much worse for civil liberties than Bush has:
First, we have the Alien Friends Act (officially titled “An Act Concerning Aliens”) (we’re going to leave the Naturalization Act out of this discussion since it isn’t relevant, but technically was the first one to be passed). Let’s take a look at the first 2 sections of the bill:
An Act concerning Aliens.
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States at any time during the continnuance of this act, to order all such aliens as he shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, or shall have reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the government thereof, to depart out of the territory of the United States, within such time as shall be expressed in such order, which order shall be served on such alien by delivering him a copy thereof, or leaving the same at his usual abode, and returned to the office of the Secretary of State, by the marshal or other person to whom the same shall be directed. And in case any alien, so ordered to depart, shall be found at large within the United States after the time limited in such order for his departure, and not having obtained a license from the President to reside therein, or having obtained such license shall not have conformed thereto, every such alien shall, on conviction thereof, be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years, and shall never after be admitted to become a citizen of the United States. Provided always, and be it further enacted, that if any alien so ordered to depart shall prove to the satisfaction of the President, by evidence to be taken before such person or persons as the President shall direct, who are for that purpose hereby authorized to administer oaths, that no injury or danger to the United States will arise from suffering such alien to reside therein, the President may grant a license to such alien to remain within the United States for such time as he shall judge proper, and at such place as he may designate. And the president may also require of such alien to enter into a bond to the United States, in such penal sum as he may direct, with one or more sufficient sureties to the satisfaction of the person authorized by the President to take the same, conditioned for the good behavior of such alien during his residence in the United States, and not violating his license, which license the President may revoke, whenever he shall think proper.
SEC 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, whenever he may deem it necessary for the public safety, to order to be removed out of the territory thereof, any alien who may or shall be in prison in pursuance of this act; and to cause to be arrested and sent out of the United States such of those aliens as shall have been ordered to depart therefrom and shall not have obtained a license as aforesaid, in all cases where, in the opinion of the President, the public safety requires a speedy removal. And if any alien so removed or sent out of the United States by the President shall voluntarily return thereto, unless by permission of the President of the United States, such alien on conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned so long as, in the opinion of the President, the public safety may require.
APPROVED, June 25, 1798.
Alright, now we have the Alien Enemies Act (officially titled “An Act Respecting Alien Enemies”):
An Act Respecting Alien Enemies
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever there shall be a declared war between the United States and any foreign nation or government, or any invasion or predatory incursion shall be perpetrated, attempted, or threatened against the territory of the United States, by any foreign nation or government, and the President of the United States shall make public proclamation of the event, all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being males of the age of fourteen years and upwards, who shall be within the United States, and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured and removed, as alien enemies. And the President of the United States shall be, and he is hereby authorized, in any event, as aforesaid, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed, on the part of the United States, towards the aliens who shall become liable, as aforesaid; the manner and degree of the restraint to which they shall be subject, and in what cases, and upon what security their residence shall be permitted, and to provide for the removal of those, who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, shall refuse or neglect to depart therefrom; and to establish any other regulations which shall be found necessary in the premises and for the public safety: Provided, that aliens resident within the United States, who shall become liable as enemies, in the manner aforesaid, and who shall not be chargeable with actual hostility, or other crime against the public safety, shall be allowed, for the recovery, disposal, and removal of their goods and effects, and for their departure, the full time which is, or shall be stipulated by any treaty, where any shall have been between the United States, and the hostile nation or government, of which they shall be natives, citizens, denizens or subjects: and where no such treaty shall have existed, the President of the United States may ascertain and declare such reasonable time as may be consistent with the public safety, and according to the dictates of humanity and national hospitality.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That after any proclamation shall be made as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the several courts of the United States, and of each state, having criminal jurisdiction, and of the several judges and justices of the courts of the United States, and they shall be, and are hereby respectively, authorized upon complaint, against any alien or alien enemies, as aforesaid, who shall be resident and at large within such jurisdiction or district, to the danger of the public peace or safety, and contrary to the tenor or intent of such proclamation, or other regulations which the President of the United States shall and may establish in the premises, to cause such alien or aliens to be duly apprehended and convened before such court, judge or justice; and after a full examination and hearing on such complaint. and sufficient cause therefor appearing, shall and may order such alien or aliens to be removed out of the territory of the United States, or to give sureties of their good behaviour, or to be otherwise restrained, conformably to the proclamation or regulations which shall and may be established as aforesaid, and may imprison, or otherwise secure such alien or aliens, until the order which shall and may be made, as aforesaid, shall be performed.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the marshal of the district in which any alien enemy shall be apprehended, who by the President of the United States, or by order of any court, judge or justice, as aforesaid, shall be required to depart, and to be removed, as aforesaid, to provide therefor, and to execute such order, by himself or his deputy, or other discreet person or persons to be employed by him, by causing a removal of such alien out of the territory of the United States; and for such removal the marshal shall have the warrant of the President of the United States, or of the court, judge or justice ordering the same, as the case may be.
APPROVED, July 6, 1798.
And lastly we have the Sedition Act (officially entitled “An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States”):
An Act in addition to the act, entitled “An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States.”
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty, and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and on conviction, before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term not less than six months nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court may be ho]den to find sureties for his good behaviour in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.
SEC. 2. And be it farther enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted and declared, That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act, for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in Republication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause, shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, and no longer: Provided, that the expiration of the act shall not prevent or defeat a prosecution and punishment of any offence against the law, during the time it shall be in force.
APPROVED, July 14, 1798.
Alright, CLEARLY the things that Bush has done against civil rights (as outlined in the interview above – things like Guantanamo, wiretapping, etc…) weren’t as bad as what Adams did. If Bush were to follow what Adams had done, we’d be deporting Iraqis and Afghans left and right. We’d probably be deporting the French and Germans who are speaking out against the war too. And I’m guessing that CBS and Dan Rather would be in jail for around 2 years and would be paying around $2,000 for that false report that CBS did a few years ago.
Now, on to our next civil rights violating President:
President Lincoln had 18,000 rebel leaders arrested and held in military prisons without trials. Let’s look at the specific case of Maryland cavalry Lieutenant John Merryman (he assisted in kicking Union troops out of the area after a riot broke out as the Union forces were changing trains at a station) in the case Ex parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (1861):
Lincoln wrote a letter to General Winfield Scott on April 27, 1861, allowing Scott to suspend the writ of habeas corpus within the vicinity of the “military line”. Originally, this was kept a secret, but by May of 1861, several members of the Maryland legislature had been arrested without grounds or stated charges.
Merryman said that this was illegal and took his case to the U.S. Circuit Court, and the judge at the time was Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney. Taney sided against Lincoln, but Lincoln decided that he would just ignore the ruling. It is then rumored that Lincoln may have quickly issued and then retracted an arrest warrant for Taney, but the historical accurateness of this claim is disputed. Anyway, several other cases similar to the Merryman case went before federal judges, but Lincoln ignored all of them. Eventually Congress suspended the writ of habeas corpus.
Now, compare this to Bush. Bush hasn’t arrested 18,000 American citizens, and he hasn’t ignored nearly as many court rulings as Lincoln had either.
On to the next President:
President Wilson signed into law the following 2 bills: the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Let’s take a look at those real quick. First, we have an excerpt from the Espionage Act of 1917:
Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies and whoever when the United States is at war, shall wilfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall wilfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or of the United States, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.
If two or more persons conspire to violate the provisions of section two or three of this title, and one or more of such persons does any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as in said sections provided in the case of the doing of the act the accomplishment of which is the object of such conspiracy. Except as above provided conspiracies to commit offences under this title shall be punished as provided by section thirty-seven of the Act to codify, revise, and amend the penal laws of the United States approved March fourth, nineteen hundred and nine.
And here’s an excerpt from the Sedition Act of 1918:
Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements, or say or do anything except by way of bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor or investors, with intent to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds or other securities of the United States or the making of loans by or to the United States, and whoever when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause, or incite or attempt to incite, insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct or attempt to obstruct the recruiting or enlistment services of the United States, and whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute, or shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any language intended to incite, provoke, or encourage resistance to the United States, or to promote the cause of its enemies, or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall willfully by utterance, writing, printing, publication, or language spoken, urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of any thing or things, product or products, necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war in which the United States may be engaged, with intent by such curtailment to cripple or hinder the United States in the prosecution of war, and whoever shall willfully advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated, and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or the imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both: Provided, That any employee or official of the United States Government who commits any disloyal act or utters any unpatriotic or disloyal language, or who, in an abusive and violent manner criticizes the Army or Navy or the flag of the United States shall be at once dismissed from the service..
When the United States is at war, the Postmaster General may, upon evidence satisfactory to him that any person or concern is using the mails in violation of any of the provisions of this Act, instruct the postmaster at any post office at which mail is received addressed to such person or concern to return to the postmaster at the office at which they were originally mailed all letters or other matter so addressed, with the words “Mail to this address undeliverable under Espionage Act” plainly written or stamped upon the outside thereof, and all such letters or other matter so returned to such postmasters shall be by them returned to the senders thereof under such regulations as the Postmaster General may prescribe.
Under these acts, a man was put on trial over his statements about not wanting to buy Liberty Bonds. In addition to that, over 50 American newspapers had their mailing privileges stripped, and all German-language or German-American newspapers had their mailing privileges removed.
In addition to these 2 acts, Wilson also allowed the American Protective League to assist law enforcement agencies. The APL was formed by Chicago businessman A.M. Briggs, under the permission of U.S. Attorney General Thomas Gregory. The group was given government-issued badges and they officially “organized with the Approval and operating under the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation.” The APL was a group of 250,000 people spread across 600 cities who helped crack down on those who were believed to be helping the Germans or opposing the U.S. government. The group illegally detained U.S. citizens who were members of labor and pacifist movements.
Again, this is nothing close to what George Bush has done. If Bush were following the epionage and sedition acts, CBS executives and Dan Rather would have been fined and put in jail for running that false story about President Bush’s Air National Guard service. Instead, Rather kept his job (for a while) without any criminal charges being filed. Clearly Wilson was worse than Bush when it comes to civil liberties.
And that leads us to our last liberty looter:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Perhaps the most infamous (probably because it’s the most recent) violation of civil liberties was FDR’s Executive Order 9066, which was the executive order for the internment of Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals. Here’s a copy of Executive Order 9066:
Executive Order No. 9066
Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.
I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.
This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The White House,
February 19, 1942.
Under that order, somewhere around 120,000 people were held in internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 62% of which were American citizens. Compare this to Bush, who has held around 800 people in Guantanamo. And those people weren’t even American citizens!
The point that I’m trying to make in all of this is NOT that I justify Bush’s actions. I think he has overstepped his Constitutional bounds, with the wiretapping and his signing statements. But to say that he’s the WORST President for civil liberties is just insulting to American history. I would be ashamed to be Romero’s American history teacher right now, because clearly, he has forgotten some very important parts. Looking back 20 or so years from now, the history books will be kinder to Bush. I don’t think he’s anywhere near perfect, but he’s certainly hasn’t violated civil liberties as much as the 4 Presidents that I’ve just listed.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) showed, again, that they were legal cowards again today. Take a look at the following press conference held by the 2 Senators and I’ll discuss what they said below:
Now, why did I call them cowards? Because they are ignoring what they must know to be right. I explained yesterdaythat this case is similar to the Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court case.
Instead of waiting for the Illinois Supreme Court to rule on whether or not the Secretary of State must co-sign the certificate (which, if they rule in favor of the SoS, they just significantly reduced the power of the Governor to an insanely low level), the Senate should take the precedent of Marbury v. Madison. They should understand that the co-signing by the Secretary of State is a ministerial duty required by law, not a fundamental part of the nomination process, and they should allow Roland Burris to fill the vacancy created by President-Elect Barack Obama. End of story. Instead, they’re going about this in some asinine politically correct way because the Democrats in the Senate are too scared to ever stand up for something.
After all the talk Democrats said about, “We should’ve stood up to Bush about the War in Iraq instead of just signing on with it,” I’d think that the Democrats would have the decency to uphold a precedent set down by the United States Supreme Court over 200 years ago! The fact that they fail to see (or at least admit) that Roland Burris must be provided with a remedy to his rights being violated shows that the current state of this Senate and the American process as a whole is a very sad state.
I disagree with Roland Burris’s politics, but his right has been violated here, and “the laws of his country afford him a remedy.” If the Majority Leader of the United States Senate fails to see that, then Harry Reid is NOT fit to remain Majority Leader!
Today, Roland Burris (D-IL), the guy that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) appointed to fill President-Elect Obama’s vacant seat, went to Washington, D.C., proclaiming himself the junior Senator from Illinois. Before trying to enter the Senate, he told reporters, “My name is Roland Burris. I am the junior senator from the state of Illinois.”
The Secretary of the Senate disagreed. She refused to seat Burris because his credentials were not in order, since the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (D) had refused to co-sign his certification.
White had earlier released this statement:
As I have previously stated publicly, I cannot co-sign a document that certifies any appointment by Rod Blagojevich for the vacant United State Senate seat from Illinois.
Although I have respect for former Attorney General Roland Burris, because of the current cloud of controversy surrounding the Governor, I cannot accept the document.
Well, in my opinion, White really doesn’t have a choice, and Rod Blagojevich didn’t have a choice as to appointing or not appointing somebody. Here’s an excerpt from the Illinois Compiled Statutes:
(10 ILCS 5/25‑8)(from Ch. 46, par. 25‑8) Sec. 25‑8. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from this state, the Governor shall make temporary appointment to fill such vacancy until the next election of representatives in Congress, at which time such vacancy shall be filled by election, and the senator so elected shall take office as soon thereafter as he shall receive his certificate of election. (Source: Laws 1943, vol. 2, p. 1.)
(15 ILCS 305/5)(from Ch. 124, par. 5) Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State: 1. To countersign and affix the seal of state to all commissions required by law to be issued by the Governor. 2. To make a register of all appointments by the Governor, specifying the person appointed, the office conferred, the date of the appointment, the date when bond or oath is taken and the date filed. If Senate confirmation is required, the date of the confirmation shall be included in the register.
The Secretary of State legally CANNOT refuse to sign the certificate.
So, Burris left the Senate saying he was “not seeking to have any type of confrontation.”
In the order in which the court has viewed this subject, the following questions have been considered and decided.
1.Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?
2.If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?
3.If they do afford him a remedy, is it a mandamus issuing from this court?
The answer to numbers 1 and 2 (number 3 isn’t relevant here) are similar to the answers from Marbury v. Madison. Let’s take a look at the opinion again:
The first object of inquiry is,
1.Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?
His right originates in an act of congress passed in February 1801, concerning the district of Columbia.
This brings us to the second inquiry; which is,
2. If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?
The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.
Is it in the nature of the transaction? Is the act of delivering or withholding a commission to be considered as a mere political act belonging to the executive department alone, for the performance of which entire confidence is placed by our constitution in the supreme executive; and for any misconduct respecting which, the injured individual has no remedy.
That there may be such cases is not to be questioned; but that every act of duty to be performed in any of the great departments of government constitutes such a case, is not to be admitted.
By the constitution of the United States, the president is invested with certain important political powers, in the [5 U.S. 137, 166] exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character, and to his own conscience. To aid him in the performance of these duties, he is authorized to appoint certain officers, who act by his authority and in conformity with his orders.
In such cases, their acts are his acts; and whatever opinion may be entertained of the manner in which executive discretion may be used, still there exists, and can exist, no power to control that discretion. The subjects are political. They respect the nation, not individual rights, and being entrusted to the executive, the decision of the executive is conclusive. The application of this remark will be perceived by adverting to the act of congress for establishing the department of foreign affairs. This officer, as his duties were prescribed by that act, is to conform precisely to the will of the president. He is the mere organ by whom that will is communicated. The acts of such an officer, as an officer, can never be examinable by the courts.
But when the legislature proceeds to impose on that officer other duties; when he is directed peremptorily to perform certain acts; when the rights of individuals are dependent on the performance of those acts; he is so far the officer of the law; is amenable to the laws for his conduct; and cannot at his discretion sport away the vested rights of others.
The conclusion from this reasoning is, that where the heads of departments are the political or confidential agents of the executive, merely to execute the will of the president, or rather to act in cases in which the executive possesses a constitutional or legal discretion, nothing can be more perfectly clear than that their acts are only politically examinable. But where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, it seems equally clear that the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the laws of his country for a remedy.
So, if he conceives that by virtue of his appointment he has a legal right either to the commission which has been made out for him or to a copy of that commission, it is equally a question examinable in a court, and the decision of the court upon it must depend on the opinion entertained of his appointment.
That question has been discussed, and the opinion is, that the latest point of time which can be taken as that at which the appointment was complete, and evidenced, was when, after the signature of the president, the seal of the United States was affixed to the commission.
It is then the opinion of the court,
1.That by signing the commission of Mr. Marbury, the president of the United States appointed him a justice [5 U.S. 137, 168] of peace for the county of Washington in the district of Columbia; and that the seal of the United States, affixed thereto by the secretary of state, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the completion of the appointment; and that the appointment conferred on him a legal right to the office for the space of five years.
2. That, having this legal title to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission; a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right, for which the laws of his country afford him a remedy.
Similarly, 10 ILCS 5/25‑8 gives Burris this same right. But there’s a slight variation: the secretary of state never completed that appointment; however, not doing so is an illegal act.
It is my belief that Burris has been denied his right and that the act of co-signing the the certificate is merely a ministerial function required by ILCS. Therefore, Burris, through the laws of this country is afforded a remedy.
Burris should be seated in the United States Senate, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White should be removed from office for violating 15 ILCS 305/5.
Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so take the following poll, and feel free to leave a comment below:
Alright, we’re moments away from the beginning of the debate. As always, I’ll be watching CNN, who will have a focus group (undecided voters in Ohio) with a tracking rating of how people like what they’re hearing (broken up by men and women). WordPress just added an option to add polls, so I’ll see if I can get that working after the debate is over and post a poll about who won.
Tonight’s debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer (CBS’s Face the Nation).
We’re about 2 minutes away.
Schieffer: Why is your plan better than your opponents?
McCain: Thanks to everybody, my prayers go out to Nancy Reagan. “Americans are hurting and angry.” They’re innocent victims of greed. “They have every reason to be angry.” We have to have a short term fix and long term fixes. Short term fix: Fannie and Freddie cause the sub-prime lending situation, that caused the housing market to collapse. We need to reverse the decline in home ownership. People need to know that they can stay in there homes. Let’s take $300 billion of the $750 billion and buy mortgages so that people can stay in their homes. What about people who could already afford to stay in their homes? It’ll drive home value down if there are abandoned houses. I didn’t like the answer (because I’m staunchly against any of the bailout), but it’ll go over well with voters, and the focus group liked it.
Obama: I think this’ll take some time to work itself out. We need an economic package for the middle class. The fundamentals of the economy were weak before this crisis (it depends what you’re defining fundamentals of the economy as). Tax cut for people making less than $200,000. Buying mortgages could be a bailout to banks, so I disagree with McCain there, but we do need to help homeowners. Need to fix energy and health care.
McCain: Obama had an encounter with a plumber, Joe (somebody)Wurzelbacher. Joe wants to buy the business that he’s worked in, and he looked at Obama’s plan, and he saw that he’d be put in a higher tax bracket, and that’d cause him to not be able to employ people. Joe, I’ll not only help you buy that business and keep your taxes low, and provide a way for you to provide health care to your employees. You want to increase people’s taxes, like Joe the plumber’s. And he’s right there – he’ll kill small businesses if he raises taxes. The focus group liked that.
Obama: McCain wants to give tax breaks to some of the wealthiest companies, including oil companies. I want to give tax cuts to 95% of Americans. Income tax, capital gains tax. THAT’S A LIE ABOUT CAPITAL GAINS!!! He wants to take capital gains taxes back to levels before Clinton lowered them! I want to give small businesses tax breaks. He lies here – 11.5% of Americans don’t even PAY income taxes, because they don’t make enough money!
McCain: Obama says, “We need to spread the wealth around.” “I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around.” Why would you want to raise taxes?
Obama: I want to cut taxes for 95% of Americans. Not true! I want to cut taxes for Joe the plumber before he was able to make $250,000. I want to give families with kids going to college a break. I’d prefer that nobody pay taxes, but we have to pay for the core of the economy to remain strong.
McCain: Companies will go overseas if we raise our business tax rates. “Of all times in America, we need to cut taxes and encourage business, not spread the wealth around.” Great answer – McCain actually did better with the focus group there than McCain, and that surprised me.
Schieffer: Talking about reducing the budget deficit. Won’t some of the programs you’re proposing have to be trimmed or eliminated?
Obama: If the $750 billion works as it’s supposed to, taxpayers will get their money back. I have been a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go. Some of the cuts we’ll need are subsidies to insurance companies. “It’s just a giveaway.” I’ll go through the federal budget line-by-line, and eliminate what’s unnecessary. We need to invest in the American people. We need to prevent diseases when they’re young, so they won’t spend as much Medicare money. The same with college – they’ll drive up the economy. He’s getting very high ratings right now – he’s appealing to the average American people.
McCain: Back to home-ownership. During the depression, we bought homes and home values went back up. This was a plan that Senator Clinton proposed. We need to become energy independent. I need an across-the-board spending freeze. I oppose subsidies for ethanol. Sorry – got interrupted there. I will veto earmarks. Senator Obama put in an earmark for a projector in a planetarium in his hometown.
Obama: An across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet, and we need a scalpel. Senator McCain talks about earmarks, but they account for 0.5% of the federal budget. Eliminating them will help, but it won’t solve the problem. When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus, and now we have a deficit. Pursuing Bush-esque budgets will worsen the situation, and McCain voted for Bush’s budgets, 4 out of 5 times.
McCain: I will give a new direction to this economy. I’m not President Bush. If he wanted to oppose him, he should’ve run 4 years ago. Mayor Bloomberg just put in a spending freeze in New York, so it can be done. I’ll eliminate spending. Obama voted for the last 2 budgets that Bush proposed (the only 2 that came up since he’s been in office!). I have fought against spending and special interest. When have you stood up to your party? He’s getting good ratings, and I really think that he’s appealing to American people.
Obama: The first major bill I voted on was against tort reform. I support charter schools. I support clean coal technology. I have a history of reaching across the aisle. If I mistaken your policies for President Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues, taxes, spending, etc…, you’ve been a supporter of President Bush. You’re been against him on stuff like torture, and I commend that, but for the majority, you want 8 more years of the same thing.
McCain: It’s been clear that I’ve disagreed with Bush and my party: climate change, opposition to earmarks, torture, conduct of the War in Iraq, Medicare prescription drugs, HMO patients’ bill of rights. I have stood up to my party’s leadership.
Schieffer: Both of you promised to take the high road, but both campaigns have turned nasty.
McCain: This has been a very tough campaign. If Obama had responded to my request to do town hall meetings, like he originally said, the tone of this campaign could’ve been better. The tone of this campaign has taken a nasty turn. I apologize for some of the negativity that has come out of my campaign. I hope OBama will repudiate the remarks made by Congressman John Lewis. Obama didn’t keep his word about taking public financing. He’s getting high ratings from men here, but average ratings from women.
Obama: 2/3 of the American people think McCain’s running a negative campaign, versus 1/3 of the American people thinking that of mine. 100% of your ads have been negative (BULL CRAP!). There’s nothing wrong with having a vigorous debate like we’re having now, but not having town hall meetings doesn’t justify the ads that have come out from your campaign and 527s. I don’t mind being attacked for 3 weeks, but we can’t afford 4 more years of failed economic policies. He’s actually getting negative ratings from women, and average from men here. He’s really attacking McCain during a question about negativity in campaigns, and I think he’s really making himself look bad here.
McCain: If you turn on the television, every other ad was an attack ad on my health care policy, saying that I oppose federal funding for stem cells. I don’t. Obama is spending unprecedented amounts of money in negative attack ads on me. Of course we’re talking about Joe the plumber and restoring jobs to America. That’s what my campaign is all about. Again, I didn’t hear a repudiation of Congressman Lewis.
Obama: Lewis, made a statement with what he was troubled with hearing some of the rallies that your running mate was holding. People were yelling “terrorist” and “kill him,” and your running mate didn’t stop them. I do think that he gave a good comparison between what’s happening now and the civil right’s movement. What the Americans want is for us to focus on the challenges that we have now. We have serious differences on health care. When people bring up me being with terrorists, that’s not the issues.
McCain: Whenever you have big rallies, you’ll have fringe people, and that’s not appropriate. But for the majority of people, they’re not saying anything negative. These people are the most patriotic people in this nation (veterans and wives of veterans). There’ve been thingsat your rallies that I’m not happy with either. I have always repudiated out of line statements, and I will continue to do that, but we cannot stand for the things that have been going on. I haven’t.
Schieffer: Do you take issue with that?
Obama: What I think is most important is that we recognize that in order to solve 2 wars, a financial crisis, creating jobs, then we all need to be able to work together. “We need to disagree without being disagreeable. What we can’t do is try to characterize each other as bad people.”
McCain: We need to know the full extent of Obama’s relationships with Ayers and ACORN. If there’s nothing there, I don’t care about it, but we need to know what all went on there.
Obama: Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of McCain’s campaign. Bill Ayers is a professor in Chicago. 40 years ago, he engaged in despicable acts. “I have … condemned those acts.” I served on a school board with him 10 years ago. “Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign … and he will not advise me in the White House.” ACORN: Apparently, they were paying people to get people registered to vote. The only thing I did with them was represent them with some thing in Illinois – I didn’t catch it all. I associate with Warren Buffet on economics. On foreign policy, it’s Joe Biden or Dick Lugar, or General Jim Jones. “Those are the people who have shaped my ideas and will be surrounding me in the White House.”
McCain: While you and Ayers were on that board, you gave money to ACORN, and you launched your campaign from Ayers living room. In 2001, he said he’d wished he’d have bombed more. We need to know all the details here. And my (not McCain) view is that with Ayers – it’s no big deal if Obama’s honest. With ACORN, there are some serious problems there – ACORN has supported Obama, and Obama has supported ACORN, and ACORN has shown to have some serious legal problems.
Schieffer: Why is your running mate better than his?
Obama: He’s been there a while – he knows what he’s doing, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Biden has never forgotten where he came from. He fights for the little guy. He has always been fighting for working families. “After 8 years of failed policies [we] will have to reprioritize … give tax cuts to small businesses … and individuals who are struggling.” We need to become energy independent, and make sure that our kids afford can go to college. Biden has always been on the right side of the issues.
McCain: Palin is a reformer. She took on the old governor, who was part of her party. She’s given money back to taxpayers and cut the size of the government. “She is a reformer through and through, and it’s time that we have that breath of fresh air and sweep out” the old politics of Washington. “She understand special needs families, and understands that autism is on the rise.” She has united people all over America, and I’m proud of her.
Schieffer: Is she qualified to be President?
Obama: That’ll be up to the American people to decide. Her work on special needs kids has been commendable. He didn’t answer the question! If we have an across-the-board spending freeze, special needs kids will suffer.
McCain (on Biden): Biden is experienced, but he’s had some bad foreign policy ideas, such as dividing Iraq into different countries, and we’ve seen Iraq become united as one country. Every time Obama says we need to spend more. Why can’t we have transparency of these government organizations.
Schieffer: Energy and climate control. Presidents have said that we need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Give us a number of how much you believe we can reduce foreign oil during your first term.
McCain: We can eliminate our dependence on Middle East countries and Venezuela. Canadian oil is fine. We need nuclear power plants, and that’ll be how we eliminate those 2 sources of foreign oil. We need wind, tide, solar, gas, clean coal. He’s getting huge ratings, and for good reason – it’s a good energy plan. Especially the nuclear part!!!!
Obama: In 10 years, we can reduce our dependence so we don’t have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. “Nothing is more important than us borrowing … money from China and sending it to Venezuela.” We need to expand domestic production, by telling oil companies, “Use them or lose them” in terms of oil fields being leased here in the U.S. We need to drill offshore, but that won’t solve the problem. We need wind, solar, biofuel. We need efficient cars built here in America, not in Japan. And he’s got good ideas too, but I WISH he would’ve said he wants nuclear power - nuclear power is safe (we use it on subs) and VERY efficient. NAFTA didn’t have enforceable environmental agreements, and we should’ve included those. When it comes to South Korea, we have an agreement with them, and they’re sending more cars here than we are to them. That’s not free trade.
McCain: “Obama said, ‘We will look at offshore drilling.’ Did you catch that? ‘Look at.’” We need to do more than look at it, we need to do it. AGREED! Our businesses are paying money into Columbia, but because of previous agreements, they’re getting their goods into here for free. We need a free trade agreement with Columbia, which Obama has opposed. Obama hasn’t even travelled down there, and he doesn’t understand Columbia.
Obama: I understand it. Labor leaders have been persecuted, and we need to stand for human rights. Workers who are trying to organize for rights shouldn’t be persecuted, and that’s why I supported a free trade agreement with Peru. When I talked about automakers, they’re getting hammered right now, not only because of gas prices, but with the financial crisis. People can’t get car loans, so we need to get loan guarantees. We need more efficient cars and cars of the future. That’ll help create new jobs. He’s getting VERY high ratings – he’s maxed out with women, and men are rating him high too.
McCain: Obama doesn’t want a free trade agreement with our best ally in the region, but wants to sit down with Hugo Chavez without preconditions. Jobs and businesses will be created if we open up those markets. Obama wants to restrict trade and raise taxes, and the last President who did that was Hoover. We went from a deep recession to a depression. I won’t let that happen.
Schieffer: Would you first lower health care costs, instead of providing more health care?
Obama: We need to do both. My plan will allow you to keep your plan if you have health insurance. We will lower costs so that cost savings are brought back to you. If you don’t have insurance, you can buy into the same kind of federal pool that federal employees enjoy. Insurance companies won’t be able to discriminate against people with preconditions. Drugs will be lower, and we need to look at preventative care. This will require more money up front, but will lower costs in the long run. VERY high ratings at the end there.
McCain: Premiums and copays are going up, and health care costs are going up and inflicting pain on Americans. We need walk in clinics and community health care centers. We need nutrition and physical fitness programs in schools to keep kids healthy. I want to give all American families a $5,000 tax credit. Under Obama’s plan, if you have employees and they have kids, if you don’t have a health care plan, Obama will fine you. I still haven’t heard what that fine will be.
Obama: Your fine will be $0. I exempt small businesses for the requirement that large businesses have to provide health care. Well, Senator Obama, what do you consider a small business??? The average family is paying higher premiums because of the uninsured. I’ll give small businesses a 50% credit so they can afford it. If not, you can buy into the plan I have. McCain will give you the tax credit, but what will happen to older folks who can’t afford the health care plan? McCain will tax the health care benefits you have from your employer, the first time in history this has ever happened. Insurers right now are restricted statewide. Those rules would be stripped away, and you’d see companies excluding people.
McCain: People like Joe are rich, because Obama said about him that we need to “spread the wealth,” so he’s rich enough that he would be fined. Under my plan, people will be able to go across the country, giving them the chance to choose their futures. “Senator Government–Senator Obama wants government to do the job.” Senator Obama and the Democrats have been in charge the last 2 years, and things have gotten worse.
Obama: Under McCain’s plan, there’s a strong risk that you will lose your health care from your employer. All I want to do is lower costs.
Schieffer: Could either of you nominate a Supreme Court Justice who disagrees with your view on Roe v. Wade.
McCain: I have never had a litmus test. I think the Court decided incorrectly there, but I’m a Federalist – it should be left up to the states. We need to nominate people based on qualifications, not if I agree with their ideology. There should be no litmus test. These nominees should be picked based on qualifications, who adhere to the Constitution, not people who legislate from the bench. (But people who stick to the Constitution would oppose Roe v. Wade). I’ll have no litmus test.
Obama: I’d agree that we shouldn’t have a litmus test. Fairness and justice should be given to the American people. It’s very likely that one of us will be making 1 or more appointments, and Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance. I support the decision in Roe v. Wade. I believe that women are in the best position to make this decision. The Constitution has privacy built into it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum or popular vote. “I will look for those judges who have an outstanding record … intellect.” McCain and I disagreed when the S.C. made it harder for some woman to bring suit for equal pay for women. The Court said that she waited too long. If a woman is being treated unfairly, the Court needs to stand up if nobody will.
McCain: You can’t waive the statute of limitation 20 to 30 years. Senator Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide medical attention to babies who were not successfully aborted (essentially passive infanticide). Then he voted present on the floor. He did the same with partial birth abortion. Men are liking this, but women not so much.
Obama: That’s not true. There was a bill put forward that said that you need life saving treatment that would undermine Roe v. Wade, but there was a law alreay on the books. On partial birth abortion: I’m supportive of a ban on late term abortions as long as there’s an exception for the safety of the woman’s life. Both men and women are rating him a bit above average now. Surely there is some common ground, when both sides can come together and prevent unintended pregnancies. Communicate that sex shouldn’t be engaged in carelessly. Adoption choices should be out there. Those things are now in the Democratic platform, for the first time ever.
McCain: “Health of the mother” has been stretched to mean almost anything (such as mental health in some cases). Cindy and I are adoptive parents. We need to promote adoption and protect the rights of the unborn.
Schieffer: A question about education and national security - I missed what all it was.
Obama: No nation has had a bad economy and a good military. Education is a huge part of this. We need better pay for teachers. We need college to be more affordable. We’ll offer an exchange of community/military service with money for college. We can’t do this just in schools. Parents need to show responsibility too – encourage thirst for knowledge. And he’s absolutely right here. It starts at home. People rated him as high as they could.
McCain: Choice and competition among schools are some of the key elements – New York and New Orleans – where we find bad teachers another line of work. We need to give parents a choice in sending kids to good schools. Charter schools are one option.
Schieffer: Should the federal government play a larger role?
Obama: The states need to be in control, but the federal government needs to step in and help struggling local school districts. Bush did this with No Child Left Behind, “but unfortunately, he left the money behind.” That was a good line. McCain and I agree on charter schools. I think we need to encourage competition between schools. Bad teachers need to be replaced. “Our kids need to have the best future.” We disagree on vouchers, and we disagree on college accessibility. McCain doesn’t have programs that help college groups. (That’s because he’ll simplify the tax code to make finding tax credits for college easier to find).
McCain: Vouchers need to be provided, because parents WANT vouchers. They wanted to chose the schools where their children go (this was in Washington, D.C.). As far as NCLB, it had its flaws and problems, but it’s the first time we looked at this from the national perspective. Head Start is a great program. It’s not doing what it should do, so we need to reform it and fund it. We can’t just give more money, we need to reform it too. We need transparency, rewards, and funding. We’ll find and spend money to find the cause of autism, but to have a situation that the most expensive education is in America means that we also need reform. We can’t throw money at a problem without reform. Vouchers work.
Obama: On vouchers in D.C. The D.C. school system is in terrible shape. The superintendent there is doing a great job (McCain interjected that she supports vouchers). There’s not proof that vouchers solve the problem. We need a President who will tackle this head on.
McCain: Obama said that because there’s not enough vouchers, we shouldn’t have any. That’s wrong.
Schieffer: Closing statements.
McCain: Thank you. We need a new direction. “We cannot be satisfied with what we’ve been doing for the last 8 years.” I’ve been a reformer. I’ve opposed my party. I’ve been a good steward of your tax dollars. We need to make health care and education affordable to all. We need to stop this wild spending. All of these promises made tonight will be made based on whether you trust us or not. I ask you to examine both my record as well as my proposals for this country. I’ve put my country first. “It’s been a great honor of my life, and I’ve been proud to serve, and I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to serve again. I’ll be honored, and humbled.”
Obama: Washington has been unwilling to address the problems. We cannot adopt the policies of the last 8 years. We need change. You’ve invited me into your homes. “Our brighter days are still ahead, but we have to invest in the American people.” College needs to be more affordable. Wages need to be higher, and we need to grow the middle class. “It’s not gonna be easy. It’s not gonna be quick.” Republicans and Democrats will have to come together. “If you give me the … honor of being President, I will work tireously and honorably to ensure the future of our children.”
Bob Schieffer: As my mother would say: “Go vote now. It’ll make you feel big and strong.”
McCain/Obama: Thank you (to each other).
Alright, overall, I think this was BY FAR the best debate we had. I commend Bob Schieffer. He was by far the best moderator we had.
Overall, I think McCain won this won. This is the first time I’ve called a debate (other than the VP debate, where I called Biden the winner), and I think McCain won. He was VERY strong toward the beginning. I think Obama was weak at the beginning, but picked it up toward the end, but overall, I think that McCain was the winner.
Again, I think McCain was definitely stronger here. I think Obama was too weak. This was definitely the debate McCain needed, but I’m not sure that it’ll be enough for him to recover.