Jon Dougherty's The Commoner

Daily rants on the illogic of the political Left.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Stealing Washington

© 2004 By Jon E. Dougherty
December 31, 2004

After the 2000 presidential election fracas, when Democrat Al Gore tried to sue his way into the White House, I suppose it was a little too optimistic to believe we would emerge from the 2004 election cycle unscathed.

Sure enough, a Democrat and Republican have been locked in political combat in Washington state since the Nov. 2 election results triggered an automatic recount, in what has become the closest gubernatorial race in state history.

The GOP's candidate, Dino Rossi—a real estate developer and former state Senate leader—won the initial race over Democrat Christine Gregoire by 261 votes. After the automatic recount, Rossi won again, but by only 42 votes.

If you remember what happened in 2000, each time Democrat-leaning Florida election officials "recounted" ballots, George W. Bush's lead over Gore diminished. So it should come as no surprise that Democrat-leaning election officials in Washington state would eventually find more ballots for Gregroire than for Rossi, if given enough recount opportunities. Call it the new Democrat election modus operandi.

Almost on cue, after the intial count and recount, some 700 ballots "mysteriously" appeared from Democrat-heavy King County, which encompasses the liberal bastion of Seattle. So of course, there was another recount and, as "fate" would have it, Gregoire finally won one—by just 129 votes (so why wouldn't Gregoire's margin trigger another automatic recount, since her victory was smaller than Rossi's initially victory?)

Now that she has won, Gregoire has rejected any pleas by Rossi to hold a new election, despite the obvious appearance of fraud and chicanery, and despite the fact that she lost the first two counts.

"This ain't golf. No mulligans allowed here, folks," Gregoire's spokesman, Morton Brilliant, said this week. "It's irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don't like losing this one."

His comments, of course, could be applied to his boss; after losing two recounts, why should she get a "mulligan?"

I guess Democrats are finally getting even, in some small way, for what they have always viewed as the theft of the 2000 election by Bush—even though scores of tainted liberal news organizations conducted their own ballot counts and found, to an outlet, that Bush indeed did win, and that the Supreme Court decision declaring him the winner was as much an afterthought as ultimately irrelevant.

But how did this happen? How could Gregoire have legitimately won after two counts showed her opponent ahead? Those a good questions that few mainstream media outlets are answering.

Most of the balloting controversy centers around King County. For their part, state GOP leaders are asking election officials why the county's list of registered voters who cast valid ballots in the election shows about 3,500 fewer people than the total number of votes certified in the race, according to The Seattle Times.

Also, Republicans say a number of military voters said their ballots either never arrived in time for them to cast votes or weren't counted when the votes were returned home. Think of military voters as anti-King County; they generally vote Republican.

And while the disposition of those ballots remain a mystery, more than 700 ballots inexplicably appeared from King County after the first two recounts. It was the latter group of ballots that tipped the scales to Gregoire.

King County elections officials say they'd be less concerned if the ballot discrepancy were in the range of 1,000 or so, but more than 3,500 makes them uncomfortable. And while they say some of the discrepancy can be attributed to domestic-violence victims whose addresses are confidential and military or overseas voters who cast ballots under special rules, those are small figures that leave most of the 3,500-vote discrepancy unexplained.

It isn't surprising that Gov. Gary Locke, a "lock"-step Democrat, agrees with Gregoire that a new vote is unnecessary.

But given the blatant incongruity of King County's voter figures, the mysterious appearance of pro-Democrat ballots and the mysterious disappearance of more than 3,500 other ballots screams for a new election.

Democrats, who have long controlled the state, are balking, though. Now that they've stolen Washington they don't appear willing to give it back, though the reasons why they should are the same ones they used in 2000 to try to justify a new presidential tally.

Only then, the numbers didn't lie. In Washington today, however, they do.

Jon E. Dougherty is author of "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," and a correspondent for NewsMax.com.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

OK Guest Worker Program, With Conditions

© 2004 Jon E. Dougherty
December 29, 2004

Well, it's the end of another year—time to take account of what our country has gained, what it has lost, and what's in store for its future.

In 2004 the United States continued to battle oppression, aggression and evil around the world by spreading democracy and the ideals of freedom, despite being fought tooth and nail nearly every step in the way by the Appeasement Party, otherwise known as the Democrats.

Our economy has continued to grow, most Americans are paying less taxes, and the "dream" is still alive for most of us.

As long as America continues to battle evil and oppression and spread freedom around the globe, not only will our own interests be served, but so too will the interests of billions of our fellow human beings.

Yes, it's great to be an American, no question about it.

But a lingering problem has only gotten worse in the past year and that's the problem of illegal immigration. Part of that is Mexico's fault; part of it is ours.

For its part, the Mexican government under President Vicente Fox continues to do all it can to export its poverty northward. Rather than take serious steps to battle drug-related corruption, unemployment and crumbling infrastructure at home, Fox and Co. have done what most previous Mexican leaders have done: They have taken the low, easy road. They have continued to encourage their impoverished citizens to make dangerous, costly journeys north to the U.S.—then blame Washington and the American people when Mexican citizens die penniless in our deserts trying to find a lousy-paying job here.

For Fox it's much better to let the American political, economic and welfare systems take care of his people. For him it's much easier to blame President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress for not disassembling our international borders than it is to find honest, qualified people to help him bring his nation into the 20th century (no, that's not a typo).

But the U.S. is to blame for the problem as well.

For one thing, our leaders – Democrats and Republicans – have never been serious about immigration reform. We provide more money overseas than we do to our own border enforcement and immigration services. We have the popular, but not political, will to seal off our borders, a necessary step in this age of terrorism. And we don't seem willing to require Mexico to do anything substantial in terms of curbing the desire of its citizens to seek a better life elsewhere.

Now, President Bush has proposed yet another program that rewards Mexico and Mexicans while penalizing U.S. citizens, the U.S. labor market, and the U.S. standard of living. Under the auspices of his "guest worker" proposal, illegal immigrants will be able to remain in the United States legally to find jobs "Americans don't want" (and for the record, I agree with talk radio legend George Putnam: It'd be awful nice if someone would identify which jobs specifically Americans "don't want").

Trouble is, Mr. Bush's plan is not that bad. It just needs some fine-tuning. Here goes.

First of all, for any Mexican citizen or citizen of any other nation to take any job in the U.S., under this guest-worker program, they must be proficient in basic English.

Businesses, corporations and companies participating in the program must pay standard rates and wages, and not be permitted to artificially lower those wages just to save money and attract cheaper immigrant labor.

Guest-worker participants must submit to documentation and tracking by our government.

Companies hiring them must insure them so they don't overload local health facilities.

They cannot bring their families with them, thus alleviating a major burden on taxpayers who must now pay to provide them with health care, education and other benefits.

They can get driver's licenses, but only after proving they are proficient in English and provide proof of automobile insurance.

Migrant workers must still pay taxes on their wages—consider it the cost of doing business in the U.S.—and cannot be eligible for Social Security and other retirement benefits unless they become American citizens.

Liberals will hate these mandates because even though they don't want illegal migrants camped out on their land and raiding their homes and property, they will use them to claim conservatives are mean, racist s.o.b's who don't care about anyone but themselves.

Truth is, conservatives who back these requirements are actually doing the migrant workers a favor, even though they're doing the right thing by caring more about how this program will (and more importantly, will not) affect Americans.

By demanding companies pay prevailing wages for any work they hire out—regardless who does it—yes, it serves American workers' interests first, but it also ensures migrants aren't being taken advantage of by U.S. employers who will exploit them to save labor costs.

By providing them with health insurance, yes, they are making certain American taxpayers aren't picking up the tab for their care. But they are also making sure migrant workers are being taken care of.

By requiring migrants to speak some English, yes, it helps Americans communicate better with them. But it also helps the migrants get around and adapt to life in a foreign country must faster.

In short, these provisions essentially require migrant workers to put forth the same effort, meet the same requirements, and possess the same qualifications as their American counterparts. And so far this is what has been lacking in President Bush's guest worker program, as well as every other so-called "immigration reform" effort Washington has made in the past three decades.

It is not harsh or unfair to require foreign workers to meet American standards set by American lawmakers elected by the American people. By comparison, it is harsh and unfair to allow legal and illegal aliens into the U.S. to take American jobs and live off the American taxpayer without being required to earn their keep.

The president's guest worker program isn't all a bad idea. But it needs some improvement before it is implemented. These steps are long-overdue steps in the right direction.

Jon E. Dougherty is author of "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," and a correspondent for NewsMax.com.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Dems Prove Frist's 'Nuclear Option' is Necessary

© 2004 Jon E. Dougherty
December 28, 2004

President Bush and congressional Republicans owe Senate Democratic minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada a big thank-you. And to ensure it gets the attention of the American people, that "thank you" should be engraved and delivered on national television.

That's because he and fellow Democrats have proved, once again, why they are no longer the majority party. And as long as they continue to follow the strategy of "whine, stall, and block," they'll remain in the political abyss for years to come—not that that's such a bad thing.

The most recent proof comes in the form of continued threats by Senate Democrats to filibuster Bush's judicial nominees. Remember, of course, that obstinate Democrats successfully filibustered several of the president's judicial nominees during his first term.

Because of that threat, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has himself issued a threat: He says he'll change Senate rules to prevent Democrats from repeating those filibusters during Bush's second term.

About time.

Though they have accused the Bush administration of applying a conservative litmus test to potential jurists, Democrats won't allow any judges on the federal bench who don't fit a stereotypically liberal bent. That's what this all of this filibuster business is really about.

The reason Frist will have to change the Senate's rules is because though the GOP is returning in January with a larger majority than it had before Nov. 2 election, Republicans still don't have the 60 votes required to break filibusters.

Under the Senate's current rules, the Democrats can therefore continue to impose their will over the will of the president and the GOP, even though they don't own the White House and are the minority party in both Houses of Congress.

No less than Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. has threatened to "tie the Senate into procedural knots if Frist tries to change the filibuster rule," USA Today reported Monday.

Adds Reid spokesman Jim Manley, "It will be very difficult to get even the most routine work done in the Senate."

This is today's Democratic Party. Whine about Frist's threatened rule change while forcing his hand and leaving him no other options. Can I get a "duh?"

There's more hypocrisy. While Democrats are claiming Frist's rule changes—dubbed the "nuclear option"—would be unprecedented, they are failing to mention that Robert Byrd of West Virginia, as their Senate majority leader for six years, used the nuclear option four times.

In an article for the January issue of the Harvard Journal on Law and Public Policy, Martin Gold and Dimple Gupta write Byrd "developed four precedents that allowed a simple majority to change Senate procedures governing debate without altering the text of any standing rule." In each case Byrd was able to overcome stalling tactics by a Republican minority.

And there is this fact: Republicans have never used filibusters to stop liberal judges. As noted by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak, "the failure to confirm Lyndon Johnson's nomination of Abe Fortas as chief justice was caused not by a Republican filibuster (as is now claimed), but by inability to get a majority of votes in a heavily Democratic Senate." He goes on to say "using the filibuster to block judges is something new, and the Frist scenario looks like the only way to end it."

Democrats hate the fact they're not in control of the nation's destiny any longer, but they seem incapable of understanding why. Americans are sick and tired of their whining, "my way or no way" attitude, as evidenced by the large gains the GOP made in November.

And each time they open their mouths, they prove once again just how out of touch they are with the American people.

Jon E. Dougherty is author of "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," and a correspondent for NewsMax.com.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Jesse Jackson, Jesus and Housing

© 2004 Jon E. Dougherty
December 24, 2004

Leave it to the Rev. Jesse Jackson to lecture the Bush administration about Jesus, poverty and homelessness. Only a liberal, multi-million dollar, philandering shake-down artist like Jackson could not see his own hypocrisy when railing on these issues.

On Thursday Jackson, in an interview with MSNBC's Campbell Brown, accused the Bush White House of following economic policies akin the former Roman Empire – policies which left Jesus homeless.

Now remember, this interview was broadcast on MSNBC, so chances are good only a handful of people even saw the interview. But nevertheless, Jackson's hypocrisy should be countered whenever and wherever it's necessary to do so.

"In the last [Bush] budget, we cut housing again, and that was Jesus' dilemma. In Bethlehem, his family ended up homeless," Jackson ranted. "Rome was a wealthy country that left Jesus and Mary and Joseph, in a sense, homeless. He was born an at-risk baby."

Definition of "at-risk:" Anyone who takes this "reverend" seriously.

Then came the hypocrisy coup de grace. Jackson then suggested Bush should follow the anti-poverty policies of Lyndon Johnson.

Wha-a-a?

First of all, the administration is following those policies. Bush and Republicans have funded—and continued to fund—each and every big-government socialist program to "fight poverty" begun under LBJ and still in existence today.

In fact, the administration, much to the chagrin of conservatives, has added funding to many of these line items. Guess Jackson hasn't been watching the news, though—otherwise he'd have known that.

Secondly, the truth of the matter is LBJ's so-called "war on poverty" has produced about as much success as the past two Democratic presidential candidacies. In the mid-1960s when he and his Democratic congressional cohorts sold the nation this bill of goods, poverty was about 10 percent.

Today it's still about 10 percent.

That has led most analysts to conclude that regardless of what kind of government anti—poverty programs taxpayers wind up funding, about 10 percent of the population is beyond help. They will always be poor, either because they're not capable of doing anything about it or don't want to do anything about it. The government will never wipe out ignorance, incompetence and laziness.

The poverty rate, which has remained relatively constant for more than 40 years, proves government is not the answer. Individuals ultimately must be responsible for their own destinies. Conversely, they should be lauded for their own successes as well as be held accountable for missteps along the way.

In lieu of that philosophy, however, I think a better solution—especially in this season of giving—is for liberals like Jackson to simply take more poor and homeless people into their own homes. After all, that's where charity begins—in the home—not in the halls of Congress or the cubicles of some bloated federal bureaucracy.

In the meantime, the mainstream media would do well to follow the lead of most Americans in ignoring Jackson's rantings as so much hypocritical hyperbole. It's hard to listen to someone lecture us about poor housing from the top balcony of a mansion.

Jon E. Dougherty is author of "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," and a correspondent for NewsMax.com.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

It's the guns, stupid

© 2004 By Jon E. Dougherty
December 23, 2004

Earlier this week CNSNews.com became just about the only news agency to reveal that the Bush administration's Justice Department, way back in August, reaffirmed the fact that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to own and carry firearms.

My always courageous employer, NewsMax.com, syndicated the story on our Web site, which added to its exposure. When you add in all of the sites that linked to the story, all of the readers who e-mailed the link around, and all of the discussion boards and blogs that picked up and ran with the story, 24 hours later millions of Americans knew of the government's report.

Ah, you're thinking – that's what that collective "Duh!" was that you heard. Still, when you consider the restrictions successive left-wing courts, state and federal governments have placed on firearms ownership over the past several decades, it was never a sure bet Uncle Sam would "conclude" the obvious.

In a "Memorandum Opinion for the Attorney General" titled, "Whether the Second Amendment Secures an Individual Right," the report's authors wrote that the provision " secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may only be invoked by a State or a quasi-collective right restricted to those persons who serve in organized militia units."

The authors of the 103-page report, with 437 footnotes, went on to note they reached their conclusion based "on the Amendment's text, as commonly understood at the time of its adoption and interpreted in light of other provisions of the Constitution and the Amendment's historical antecedents."

Left-wingers, most recently those in the Clinton administration, had attempted to argue that the plain language of the Second Amendment did not apply to you and I, but only to states.

By "plain language," I mean simply this: the entire Second Amendment reads, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Our founders followed the "K-I-S-S" formula when writing our first laws: "Keep It Simple, Stupid."

But wait, say the left-wing anti-gunners… What's that? Did I see the term "militia!" Ah-ha!

Yes, you did. But let's do something liberal activist judges rarely do when it comes to constitutional questions. Let's look at the Second Amendment in its proper context.

You have to consider that in 1791, when the Second Amendment was written and adopted, the United States had no regular armed forces—no standing professional army and a very small navy. So in order to be able to defend itself, the government had to be able to call up men from the citizenry. And they had to be armed, since the government had little in the way of arsenals to provide arms for men in inducted into military service.

It was the ultimate in bad manners. To have a government ask you to fight on its behalf and bring your own weapons while you're at it must sound positively Stone Age to the liberal anti-gunner elite basking in the freedom provided them by other armed American fighting men and women.

But there was also another reason why the amendment was written. If you're a liberal, this one will scare the bejesus out of you.

It was because our founders distrusted a powerful central government – Go figure! – so they sought to prevent future dictatorships and monarchies by allowing everyone to own weapons. Did you commie-loving left-wingers know that one of the first acts of Adolph Hitler to consolidate his grip on power was to ban the personal ownership of firearms? Oh, yes. Same for communist Russia; ditto for communist China.

In fact, throughout history, some of our most notorious and murderous dictators were able to brutalize their own people simply because the people had no means of resistance.

Well, you say, no need for that kind of protection nowadays. After all, our government doesn't threaten its citizens like those militant wackos of the past.

You're right, it doesn't.

But now you know why.

The Bush administration may only have reaffirmed the definition and intention of an amendment whose meaning was obvious to most Americans anyway.

But by making this affirmation "official," the administration has put the anti-gunners on notice: Firearms ownership is enshrined in the law of the land, just as is your right to complain about it.

So gripe if you will but since I've given you the history and meaning behind the amendment, try not to, uh, shoot yourself in the foot. It's the guns, stupid. Always has been.

Jon E. Dougherty is author of "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," and a correspondent for NewsMax.com.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

U.S. industry all lawyered up

© 2004 By Jon E. Dougherty
December 22, 2004

Most Americans find lawyers despicably predatory, ethically challenged and full of ill-gotten gains, according to nationwide surveys.

In one 2002 survey commissioned by Columbia Law School, lawyers did fare better than politicians in terms of honesty. But that's not saying much, considering the high number of lawmakers who are, well, lawyers.

How did the legal industry lose its respectability?

Some people say the beginning of the end came when lawyers were allowed to start advertising. After years of watching them pitch clients on television like used car salesmen, I can agree this wasn't a particularly good idea.

Some people say the beginning of the end came with the proliferation of all of those TV "judge shows," which encourage everyone to flood the courts with asinine, meaningless complaints.

Whatever the cause, what is less mysterious is the fact that lawsuits of all kinds are on the rise. They have been for years, and the increase is having a disastrous effect on corporations, the medical industry, and the personal finances of working men and women:

* Fast food chains like McDonalds are under legal assault by lawyers who seem to be preying on obese clients, portraying them as helpless victims who were driven to overeating by gun-toting restaurant owners who subsequently forced them to supersize everything;
Auto insurance rates are climbing because of injury lawsuits filed by people who obviously don't know the word "accident" implies an act that occurred because it couldn't be detected beforehand and, hence, stopped;

* Pharmaceutical companies are simultaneously ripped by consumers for being slow to develop new drugs and treatments for existing illnesses, and sued by many of those same consumers if 1 out of 500,000 of them happens to have a bad medicine-related experience;

* Hospital and medical exam costs, as well as treatments, procedures and doctor's visits, are all spiraling out of control because it costs some doctors half their annual salary just to buy malpractice insurance;

* Even biotech firms are also being sued more frequently because, say some analysts, big class-action law firms who scored big with other high-profile suits are seeing their profits wane – so in other words, increasing suits is a "business decision."

I agree paying $10 for a Tylenol is obscene, but so is suing a doctor because you don't like the way your stitches healed.

I agree in holding irresponsible corporations to account, but if you're too clumsy to hold onto your own hot coffee that's your problem—not Ronald McDonald's.

The legal industry, through its "by hook or crook" marketing mentality, has managed to convince a sizeable segment of our population and judicial system that life is supposed to be a no-risk venture, and that as Americans we are entitled – entitled, mind you – to not be inconvenienced, injured, bothered, hurried, uncoordinated, or stupid.

In the end, the legal leeches have convinced us it is proper to blame others for our faults, missteps and mistakes, and that we have a right to be paid for our misfortune.

Our corporations, small businesses and professionals—the foundations of our free-market society—are under assault as never before. They're being made to pay for our overindulgences, poor decisions, wrong choices and accidents, and frankly, the well's running dry.

Fact is American consumers and workers are really the ones paying the bills. Every new lawsuit-imposed cost wrongly foisted upon our corporations and businesses is eventually passed on to those of us at the bottom of the rung. I know of a case where a worker pays out half his bi-weekly paycheck for health insurance, and I'm sure he's not alone.

Like it or not, it's time this Republican Congress and administration impose some sort of tort reform on a legal system unable to reform itself—before that system ruins the last vestige of our economic productivity. Otherwise the legal industry will continue to bilk tobacco companies, automobile makers, and fast food chains for our poor lifestyle choices and for failing to make flawless machines.

No legitimate court of law or judge should find it is the fault of the manufacturer if a mechanically challenged doofus who is free to buy a chain saw cuts off his appendages. If companies are made to pay for our ignorance, where is their incentive to find new medicines, develop new surgical procedures, or make a better widget?

Jon E. Dougherty is author of "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," and a correspondent for NewsMax.com.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Today's Memo [12.10.04]

To the reality-challenged person who parked next to me at the Mall:

I caught on very quickly that you and I weren't going to be politically compatible, just judging by the number of bumper stickers you had plastered to your car's bumper, trunk and rear glass exalting every possible left-wing Democratic loser you could exalt. My first concern was for your safety—how in the world could you even see out the back?—but upon reading that one sticker bashing pro-lifers, any concerns I had for your well-being quickly vanished.

I'm sure you thought it was too clever by half—"Guns don't kill people, Radical pro-lifers kill people." But alas, surely even you can see the irony of that statement.

While admittedly there have been two, possibly three "radical pro-lifers" who have killed people over the years, abortion has led to the death and destruction of tens of millions of potential human beings since this barbaric practice was implemented by judicial fiat in 1973. This death toll, no doubt, has been bolstered by shallow thinkers like you who, with your auto-bound seals of approval and vocal support, have added legitimacy to scores of physicians that once swore to heal and protect life, not rip, tear and stab it from a woman's womb.

It's not that your bumper sticker message is sophomoric and insulting (it is, but so are other bumper stickers). It's that it conveys such a message of abject selfishness and arrogance it boggles the mind of anyone who is able to rub more than two brain cells together.

Yes, I know the pro-abortion mantra is based on selfishness and arrogance (a woman's right to choose...death) and all that. But that mantra is a false idol because it presumes that snuffing out an innocent life should be a guilt-free experience. Do you really believe that, and if so, what should we do with your killer if somebody snuffs you out someday? Percentage-wise, it's unlikely to be a "radical pro-lifer," but you never know.

The pro-abortion lobby also suggests baby-making should be a risk-free endeavor, and that less-than-perfect human beings don't deserve a chance at life and, therefore, should be snuffed out.

But when did those principles pass the smell test? Oh yes, now I remember. I believe it was 1930s Nazi Germany. For reference, see "Adolph Hitler."

I don't know what is more of a shame - the fact that someone would make a bumper sticker that would say what yours says, or the fact that someone would put one on their car and think, for the life of them, it's the most clever thing they could find to display.

I suppose you are upset that I hold you and your message of death in such low esteem. I suppose you think I'm some radical lunatic who, if given half the chance, would find you, stick a pair of scissors in your skull and suck out your brains. I suppose you think that then, I would throw your limp, lifeless body in some nearby trash recepticle, just in time to wash up and make my tee time.

I suppose you have a right to think all of these things.

Ah, but then again, that's life, isn't it my friend?

At least you can live with it. Millions you hate for no reason will never have the chance you've been given.

You selfish so-and-so.