Wes Vernon
Gitmo: let's not play the "stupid" card -- likewise alleged ACORN crimes
Souter exits High Court (going from bad to worse?); socialized medicine--Part 4 (the grass is greener?)
By Wes Vernon
May 7, 2009

In a classic case of poetic justice, President Obama is getting some flak from his own Democrats in Congress on the issue of shutting down the Guantanamo Bay prison that holds the world's worst terrorists. The Democrats may love having the man in the White House — but — hey! You're going to send them where?

Blocking terrorists from your neighborhood

Lawmakers of both parties are pushing efforts to see to it that the terrorists at Gitmo don't end up terrorizing their constituents — the voters back home. It was OK to talk about shutting down the place during the campaign when the ACLU was looking over your shoulder — but now — duh! This is the real world.

Lawmakers of both parties are loathe to provide funding for the Gitmo shut-down operations. That sends a message, but the president has wide latitude to shift funds around as he sees fit. Block a line item appropriation and if he wants it badly enough, he'll find the money elsewhere.

So here's the next step

Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kans.) is going at this another way. (Remember, detainees at Gitmo are hardened terrorists who have killed and plotted to kill Americans and our allies.)

Tiahrt's proposed House resolution the No Welfare for Terrorists Act of 2009 gives his colleagues a chance to put their sincerity on this issue on the line. No backdoor escape hatch.

His measure provides that "an alien detained at the Department of Defense detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on the date of enactment of this Act and subsequently is brought into the United States, is permanently ineligible for any Federal public benefit...and any State or local public benefit."

There is legal jargon included in the Tiahrt resolution, but what it comes down to is there will be no taxpayer dollars spent on any benefit for these terrorists whatever if — God forbid! — they are set free and allowed to roam America's streets. No food stamps. No health care. Nothing.

This alone won't solve the whole problem. But it's the metaphoric equivalent of fleeing a gangster and tossing nails and major iron and wooden barriers in the path of his car. And trust me: if the president actually does shut down the facility and these animals get lawyered up and even come close to being allowed to "walk," there will be more legislative ammunition in the Capitol Hill arsenal. Urge your congressman to support Tiahrt's resolution.

Now about ACORN crimes

But we also have our thugs here at home — though they haven't been plotting to kill people (as far as we know).

This week, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) caught Chairman Barney Frank asleep at the switch when his House Financial Services Committee on a voice vote passed her amendment that aims to prevent organizations, or employees of organizations, that have been indicted for voter fraud from being eligible for the housing counseling grants and legal assistance grants authorized under the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Racketeering Lending Act.

This is aimed squarely at the alleged criminal activities of the radical Soros-funded ACORN, which — not incidentally — is in hot legal water (again) — this time with Nevada authorities. They have filed charges against ACORN and two former employees for voter fraud.

Remember ACORN is the "housing" activist group that has agitated for years to promote the kind of nonsense that played a huge role in the housing collapse, complete with the current financial mess. Their modus operandi was to agitate to have people shoved into homes they couldn't afford, and if any banker or other lender raised questions about the fictional math involved, call him a racist who hates poor people and wants to toss them out into the snow.

Chairman Frank — obviously after someone got to him — came back to Congresswoman Bachmann and said — er — uh — he had some reservations about her amendment and wanted it watered down — with such changes as limiting the time the ban is in effect and covering only "senior" employees of the group.

Rep. Bachmann — a petite woman who doesn't back down when strong-armed — even by a committee chairman — is asking, "Who's side are we on? Chairman Frank still has opportunity to side with the taxpayers by upholding the decision of [his own committee]."

Yes, she said "the taxpayers." Their hard-earned dollars help to fund ACORN. Didn't know you were kicking in money to the kitty that bankrolls the registration of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, did you? But this is not fun and games. Fraudulent voter registration is a criminal act. Your congressman should be asked whose side he is on — ACORN and Barney Frank? — or the taxpayers?

Souter leaving — what next?

Justice David Souter — who got to the Supreme Court in 1990 by fooling President Bush 41 and hiding his true colors — now says he wants to retire. Some conservatives shrug their shoulders and say something on the order of oh, well, so he's a liberal and Obama will nominate another liberal to replace him. So what?

Not so. We're talking here about a left-liberal likely to be replaced by a far left liberal. There's a difference. Bad as Souter was, his nominated replacement is likely to be worse.

This is no time for Republicans or conservatives to relax on this one. They need to put up the same kind of back-alley fight the Democrats and liberals have done against GOP nominees. Think Robert Bork in reverse.

Some specifics

Some names of both genders are bandied about. And if it later develops that the president is moving toward appointing a man to the bench, we will go down that list and assess them. But as of this writing, the best indication we have is that he might add a woman to the bench. So let's review three possibilities (for which we are indebted to Judicial Confirmation Network).

Elena Kagan. (See this column 2/5/09.) Currently Obama's Solicitor General. Zero judicial experience. Kicked military recruiters off the Harvard campus. Favors taxpayer-funded abortions.

Sonia Sotomayor. Currently on Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit) Liberal commentator Jeffrey Rosen says lawyers and clerks who have worked with her question her competence. They say she's "not that smart," and a "bully on the bench." Denied 18 firefighters earned promotions based on their skin color. (Shades of Jim Crow?) Says race and gender can be factors in legal rulings.

Diane Wood. Currently Court of Appeals (7th Circuit). Used a statute meant for mob cases to block peaceful pro-life protests. Tried to block "informed consent" laws on abortion. Twisted the Constitution to deny rights of religious people.

What we should look for in a Supreme Court justice is a jurist with a proven fidelity to the original meaning of the Constitution — not what he or she would like it to mean; an umpire who won't bend the rules to suit his preferred outcome — showing no favoritism; one who does not split hairs or search for excuses to depart from the Constitution or the laws as originally intended. If the law leads to an unjust result, it is up to the legislatures to remedy it. We do not need another judge who legislates from the bench.

The odds are Obama will get whoever he wants. His party has the votes. That is no excuse for conservatives on the Hill to throw up their hands. If the nominee does not meet the highest standards, the battle should be fought inch by inch in the trenches. It can be a good teaching moment as to what is and what is not the legitimate role of the judiciary.

Socialized medicine — Part 4

We have our own horror stories about people who are denied needed medical care in this country. You usually hear about them because they make news. But in the fully socialized systems, you hear less — in part because they are more common. One reason they happen so frequently there is that the bedrock of those systems is to ration care for the elderly — the culture of Die old man or old woman. Not their wording, of course — just their message — something to keep in mind before we plunge into a similar system here as desired by Obama

Some examples:

Bruce Hardy (London)...Suffers kidney and lung cancer. Unable to get medication prescribed by his physician. Bureaucrat verdict: His life is not worth saving. His wife: "What price is life?"

Bill Murray (Alberta)...Denied hip resurfacing surgery that generates better results than a hip replacement. The Canadian government decreed the 57-year-old Murray was "too old" to benefit from the state of the art procedure.

A study released last August found that about 25% of the cancer specialists in Britain are deliberately keeping their patients "in the dark" about available treatment options. Why? They don't want to upset the patients when they find out the National Health Service won't pay for the treatments.

In Canada, Lindsey McCreith sued Ontario's government-run health care system, claiming Canada's ban on patients using their own money for private care violates their fundamental freedoms. He had to travel to the U.S. for an MRI to diagnose a tumor in his brain.

When President Obama keeps telling us it is imperative to lower the cost of health care in this country, someone should ask him if the cost will be lowered simply by denying any care at all to those bureaucratically deemed "not worth it." Who is government to play God?

The old saying "the grass is always greener" elsewhere begs another old saying of "be careful what you ask for."

Michael Savage a threat?

Radio talkshow host Michael Savage has been barred from entering Britain after being listed as a "promoter of hate." He was listed along with Islamist extremists, anti-gay preachers, and Russian gang members. The U.S. talker says he's turned the case over to his lawyers.

Personally, as conservative talk show hosts go, Michael Savage is not my cup of tea. But banning him from entry into a Western democracy sets a scary precedent. It causes one to wonder how long it will be before conservative thought will be considered a crime if openly expressed.

And to think this comes from Britain — the place that gave us the Magna Carta of 1215 — which was an influence in the writing of the U.S. Constitution.

Things are not changing for the better these days...not at all.

© Wes Vernon


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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