Thompson to the Rescue?

All over the news today is the "unofficial" confirmation--Former Senator Fred Thompson will jump into the Presidential race on the Republican side. July 4th is the possible date for becoming "official"--but that's just a tactic to assure continuing media attention.

To conservatives who have been asking, "Is there anybody else?", Thompson has had the advantage of being viewed from a distance. Don't most of us look better at a distance than up-close? One media outlet, Congressional Quarterly, has already posted a summary of Thompson's U.S. Senate voting record. Another has posted his history as a lobbyist. Now that he's evidently made a decision, there'll be a rush to examine his record and history.

Meantime, another conservative icon, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, will be watching Thompson's campaign rollout, looking for useful lessons in case Gingrich joins the fray, possibly in September.

Pundits love this, because it provides a multitude of new angles for making news by voicing their speculations (which many prefer to actual hard news), such as:

  • Will this help Giulani by further splitting the conservative vote? Or hurt him by countering one celebrity with another?
  • Surely it can't help McCain by putting one of his good buddies up against him!
  • Romney has banked on conservatives who cannot stand Giulani or McCain flocking to him, but now those voters have another option. On the other hand, Romney looks more like a Hollywood star than the real-thing Thompson!
  • Will social conservatives truly rally around him? After all, Dr. James Dobson already questioned Thompson's faith!

And get this--A former girlfriend of the former Senator, country singer Lorrie Morgan, has already announced her support for Thompson. (No, I'm not making this up!)

Be prepared for lots of spin talk about Thompson's being in the mold of Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger, thanks to his TV and movie work. But which is it? Reagan or the Governator? Those two have very different politics!

The only sure thing is that the Thompson move creates a new job opening: Who wants to play the D.A. now on NBC's "Law and Order"? Maybe one of the many who have recently departed the U.S. Justice Department?

Is It Really That Bad? Yes!

Thanks to bloggers, the immigration "compromise" proposal is available online in a version upon which you can post your comments. It disastrous consequences have conservatives up in arms.

The power of the blogosphere over the weekend has collectively dissected the draft bill--a task the "mainstream media" couldn't do in two weeks!

The Heritage Foundation has also posted the full text of the draft bill online.

As Mark Steyn writes:

"Great news! Being illegal is now perfectly legal! Just for being one of the circa 12 million people who shouldn't be here, you can now be here indefinitely! If you were living and working in America illegally before Jan. 1, 2007, you're now entitled to one of the new Z-1 "probationary" visas. And your parents and spouses are entitled to one of the new Z-2 visas, and your children to the new Z-3 visas."
That's the travesty of the "non-amnesty" Z visas! As Brian Darling of The Heritage Foundation writes about the "GOP Sellout":

"These "Z Visa" holders can stay in the "Z" status indefinitely, which means they never have to pursue "a pathway to citizenship." They also would be able to get Social Security numbers and benefit from some welfare programs. Shockingly, there is no cap on the numbers of amnesty recipients in the draft language. "
Denying that this bill is amnesty is the worst distortion of the English language since ebonics and Bill Clinton's inability to understand what "is" is!

Interestingly, most public wrath is falling upon Republican sponsors, even though they are outnumbered by Democrat supporters. That's because many outraged Americans at least had higher expectations that Republicans would resist rather than cave-in.

Many Democrats in Congress, are holding back because--incredibly--they think the bill isn't liberal enough!

Even if this bill never becomes law, it could be the final nail in the coffin for GOP prospects of reclaiming Congress in 2008.

Ironically, a stronger Democrat majority and a Democrat President would almost certainly guarantee that an even worse version would then be enacted. But so long as the GOP's high-profile leaders in Congress fail to show fighting spirit on this issue (including taking the White House directly to task), much of the Republican base feels they must choose between rebellion and disillusioned apathy--and too many will choose apathy.

The Beginning of The End?

The American people's faith in Washington will now plummet from its already low level. Regardless of how the "imigration compromise" may be revised, or whether it passes the Congress, the announcement of the amnesty deal clinches the argument that political leaders "just don't get it."

The biggest question now is whether grassroots Americans will turn more to angry activism or to disengaged hopeless cynicism.

Some businesses may like the proposed deal, but few everyday Americans will. Any plan that creates a "Z Visa" or anything else that lets millions of illegals stay is amnesty. Period.

As bad as the announcement was, it can get worse. Democrat leaders are already harping that it needs to be liberalized more.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will require 70 House Republicans to promise support before she would bring the bill to a vote in the House. Will 70 GOP members do so??

Key components of the immigration plan, as described by Senator Ted Kennedy:
  • All illegal immigrants who arrived before Jan. 1, 2007, could stay and work after paying a $1,500 fee, passing a criminal background check, and showing a strong work record.
  • They would also have to pay a fine of $5,000.
  • After eight years, they could apply for a green card.
  • A new visa category would be created for parents of U.S. citizens, allowing them to visit for up to 100 days per year.
  • A temporary-worker program would allow 400,000 immigrant workers to enter on two-year visas, after which they would have to return home for a year before reapplying. The visas could be renewed up to three times.
  • A new point system would add factors for green-card eligibility to lessen the "chain migration" of family members.
  • The Border Patrol and interior enforcement would be expanded, and a new security perimeter would be created. Such border enforcement provisions would have to be implemented before immigrant-rights measures take effect.

Do As I Say, Not As I . . .

Is Democratic majority doing what they condemned Republicans for?

Politico reports that "Democrats are wielding a heavy hand on the House Rules Committee, committing many of the procedural sins for which they condemned Republicans during their 12 years in power. "So far this year, Democrats have frequently prevented Republicans from offering amendments, limited debate in the committee and, just last week, maneuvered around chamber rules to protect a $23 million project for Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.).

"On Wednesday, Democrats suggested changing the House rules to limit the minority's right to offer motions to recommit bills back to committee -- violating a protection that has been in place since 1822."

Silencing the Minority

UPDATE: Roll Call has a detailed look at what happened, why, how Republicans delayed the plan by going nuclear, and what might occur next.

Drudge Reports a new liberal effort to muzzle dissent has prompted Republicans on the floor of the U.S. House to launch parliamentary delaying tactics in protest.

Since 1822, a cherished right of any minority party has been the ability to offer a "Motion to Recommit" before a bill can be presented for final passage in the House. Both parties have used it as a tool to propose amendments that totally change a bill, often in ways that are very embarrassing to the majority party.

Reports say Speaker Pelosi plans to end that minority right or to restrict severely the content of any Motion to Recommit. Crying foul, Republicans are using parliamentary tactics to slow things to a crawl on the floor of the House. They also are reminding the world that Democrats (including Pelosi), claimed the GOP had abused them as a minority, but vowed they would be "different" by protecting minority rights.

Being in the majority isn't enough for liberals. Rather than just defeating the opposition they want to silence them, too:

xThey muzzle pro-life speakers at the Democratic National Convention
xThey limit free speech with suppressive campaign finance laws
xThey stifle criticism of their global warming claims
xThey want to shut up the voices of talk radio
xAnd now they want to muffle every idea in Congress except their own.

Big Billions Boost Bloomberg?

NYC Mayor Considers Spending $1-Billion of Own Money!

He says he's not "planning" to run for President, but evidently he's preparing just the same.

With a personal wealth estimated at $5.5-billion, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is rounding up those who pieced-together Ross Perot's third-party run for President, reports the Washington Times, outlining how behind-the scenes arrangements are underway so all will be ready if Bloomberg decides to go for it--with plans to use $1-billion of his own money.

That means major advantages for Bloomberg:

=No time spent raising money,
=So he can wait months before declaring.
=He can brag he's not beholden to any donors or special interests (a major appeal to disenchanted voters).
=His wealth lets him massively outspend all of the other candidates combined, and
=Without having to compete for a party nomination.

The wealthiest of the other candidates, Mitt Romney, may have personal wealth of around $250-million--less than 5% of Bloomberg's $5.5-billion+ fortune. Depending on when he starts, a $1-billion Bloomberg commitment would let him spend $2-to-3-million each day between now and November 2008.

Bloomberg's well-paid advisers obviously are stressing how the other GOP contenders haven't caught fire. But Bloomberg isn't the hero that conservative voters are looking for: he's very much a social liberal, regardless of what he might promise on fiscal issues. Because he would bypass the primaries by running as an independent/third-party, he will disregard the GOP's social conservatives, threatening to split the GOP base.

What a New York City soap opera! Hillary vs. Rudy vs. Bloomberg!?

aWall Street Journal analyze's Bloomberg's potential.

aWashington Times reports Bloomberg is laying the groundwork to run.

aForbes ranks Bloomberg as the 34th richest person in America. (Ross Perot is #40.)

aA look at what's behind Bloomberg's fortune (with an estimate that it may be $13-billion, not "only" $5.5-billion.

aThe company website behind his wealth:

Bush on Roller-Coaster with GOP?

The trickle of veto threats by the White House is becoming a steady stream, even as the GOP's willingness to uphold such vetoes becomes more uncertain.

Friday's letter from OMB Director Rob Portman is a shot-across-the-bow to Congressional big spenders. The letter warns that if appropriations bills exceed Bush's budget (which is tens of billions lower than Congress' proposed budget), then the spending bills will be vetoed.

Even as Democrats predictably scoffed at the veto threat, there was a silence from Republican leaders about whether they would uphold vetoes based on the amount of spending. So far, his party has hung with Bush to keep troop-pullout deadlines out of bills, but 80 Republicans just last week voted to spend $7-billion extra for "emergency" assistance to agriculture, despite an explicit veto threat on that bill. Their desertions helped the bill to pass by a veto-proof margin.

When you couple this with last week's contentious White House visit by moderate Republicans, it's clear that everyone's resolve is being tested. One of the clear messages from voters in the 2006 election was that Congress needs more spending discipline. Even if most GOP Senators and Congressmen agree with Bush, it doesn't take very many Republican Members deserting on spending discipline to reinforce the disillusionment of the GOP base. That would be a major barrier to GOP efforts to recapture Congress.

Bush Veto Threats Are Mounting

Pro-Life Letter Is Latest Challenge To Congress

This week's new pro-active and pro-life letter from President Bush is the latest of several accumulating veto challenges he is laying down to the Congress. It's a marked contrast from the first six years of his Presidency, when he vetoed only one bill (an expansion of federal funding for using human embryos in stem-cell research).

Most veto threats are in response to a specific bill, but the new letter is different. Even before any abortion-related measures are considered, Bush pre-empted them by stating he will veto any effort to expand taxpayer funding of abortions or to undo protection of human embryos.

In the first four months of the new Congress, Bush has vetoed one bill, pledged to veto four others, and issued this week's pro-life letter promising to veto any inconsistent bill. The veto was of the Iraq funding bill (with troop withdrawal deadlines). The other veto promises:

r A re-veto of a second Iraq bill that would only fund America's troops for a few months

r To veto so-called "hate crimes" legislation that recently passed the House and is seen as an effort to silence ministers and others who criticize homosexuality

r To veto a House-passed bill that would give an official seat in Congress to the District of Columbia

r To veto a House-passed bill if it maintains language that would grant collective bargaining rights to the 170,000 employees of the Homeland Security Department

Talk on Capitol Hill is that the White House is developing a strategy to promise additional vetoes, mostly related to spending. The goal is to highlight the budget discipline differences between the Democrats in Congress and the Administration and the Republicans in Congress. Meantime, the Democrat majority hopes to maneuver Bush and Republicans into opposing spending measures which are popular with many voters.

ADD TWO MORE: Since this post, the Bush Administration has issued additional veto warnings--announcing that he would veto a "pure withdrawal" proposal being voted on today (with no money for American troops) and that he would veto a separate proposal to provide several billion extra dollars to America's farmers--who as a group are enjoying record levels of revenue.

Lobbyists Start "Grassroots" Push for More Gambling

The push to expand gambling in America via the Internet continues!

Working to help you lose money from home in your spare time, British vendors have hired lobbyists to generate a "grassroots" campaign to pass Congressman Barney Franks' bill. Their promotional website is in its start-up phase.

Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley has just introduced a bill promoting a National Science Foundation "study" that she hopes will decide that last year's Congress erred when it acted to ban Internet-based gambling (by making it illegal to collect the payments). Berkley filed HR 2140 and she's attracted 60 co-sponsors.

As part of their effort, the group claims it has developed Internet software that will pinpoint the age and location of bettors--to prevent betting by minors, they say, and also claims "technology to detect compulsive gambling and money laundering."

Not only do they want to help Americans lose money from home in their spare time, but also to help Big Brother watch you as it happens!

No Time for Bush!

Here's hard evidence of what the people at TIME magazine want you to think, and how they're trying to shape your thinking to conform to theirs.

How can they publish a list of the "100 most influential people in the world" and leave off the President of the United States?

The President of Venezuela made their list, as did Osama bin Laden and even Fidel Castro's brother, Raul (though not Fidel). Rosie O'Donnell is there with Leonardo diCaprio, and of course Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Al Gore is an automatic--and they've promoted him from 'politician' to 'thinker'.

But no President of the United States! Like him or hate him, you cannot deny the influence wielded by President George W. Bush--unless you have an agenda of trying to persuade people to shun, ignore and marginalize him. Only the most radical of leftists have such an agenda--and of course TIME magazine.

TIME's is not a list of who IS the most influential, but rather a list of who they want you to follow. It forecasts who TIME will quote with approval, just to bring you around to their East Coast elite view of the world. So the only real surprise is that they also left off Barbra Streisand!

Click here to view TIME's list, which they divided into categories rather than numbering 1 to 100:

Oklahoma Tackles Immigration But Governor Wavers

UPDATE: Governor Henry signed this bill on Tuesday, May 8th. Both sides conceded that the bill would have become law even if he vetoed it, because it passed the Legislature by strong veto-proof margins, giving the Governor little political choice except to sign the bill.
It's described as "the nation's most sweeping attempt to deny jobs and public benefits to illegal immigrants". After overwhelming bipartisan approval in the Legislature, the bill is now on the desk of Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, who is taking his time on signing or vetoing.

During last year's re-election campaign, Henry successfully dodged efforts to pin him down on what states can do to combat the problem, despite my efforts (as the Republican nominee) to elevate the issue. His general response was to say that immigration is a "federal problem", that the state would "cooperate" in vague ways, and then to blame me for the fact that Congress has not taken decisive action. His huge fund-raising advantage as the incumbent enabled him to saturate the airwaves with advertising that led to his decisive win.

Now the Legislature is forcing him to take stands, even as he continues trying to dodge. For example, he passed the buck to his buddy, Attorney General Drew Edmondson, as the supposed reason for vetoing a major lawsuit reform bill. He said the medical community was the reason he vetoed a bill that would have blocked most taxpayer-funded abortions. Now if he vetoes the immigration bill, where will he try to shift the blame?

This immigration reform bill was approved 84-14 by the House and 41-6 by the Senate, which indicates the votes are there for a potential override of a potential veto.

The measure contains the toughest state guidelines on dealing with illegal immigration in the nation, said Mike Hethmon, general counsel of the Immigration Reform Law Institute in Washington.The Oklahoma bill builds on measures passed by other states but has a stronger focus on deterring unauthorized employment, he said, noting that it addresses the root cause of illegal immigration — exploitation of illegal immigrant labor. Among other things, the bill contains employment, labor law and civil rights provisions to protect citizens and legal immigrants who lose their jobs at companies that employ illegal immigrants to perform the same or similar work.

The measure targets employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens in order to gain a competitive advantage. Key elements of the bill focus on determining worker eligibility, including technology called the Basic Pilot program, which screens Social Security numbers to make sure they are real and that they match up with the person’s name. That federal program is used by the federal government and made available to private companies to verify the eligibility of their workers.

Employers would be permitted to avoid sanctions for hiring undocumented immigrants if they use the Basic Pilot program and other methods to verify worker eligibility.

The bill also would change the state's program that permits in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, requiring them to present documented proof that they have a pending application to become legal residents.

The bill's principal author, State Rep. Randy Terrill, said the Federation of American Immigration Reform estimates that illegal immigrants costs state taxpayers up to $200 million a year in public benefits and other resources. © 2008. Blogger Template by Blogger Tutorial