Calling a Spade a Spade

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 3:02 pm by Neal

Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, exposes the new organization, No Labels, founded by David Frum and William Galston.

Here’s an excerpt from Kurtz’s article in National Review Online, David Frum, Speech Policeman:

All Galston and Frum have done is to make explicit — and reinforce — the mainstream press’s existing determination to ignore and silence critics of Obama’s radicalism. Once No Labels gets going, public resentment at these silencing techniques is bound to increase. Contrary to Galston and Frum, the way to reduce polarization is not to suppress disagreement but to invite reasoned debate on the issues that actually divide us. Since a substantial portion of the public views the president as a covert radical, let the topic be debated in the widest and most respectable forums. If the president’s accusers offer mere bluster, or his defenders are living in denial, we shall see it all then.

Abused as they may often be, we can’t even think without labels — which is to say, without categories. Galston and Frum label their own opponents when they decry them for “brain-dead partisanship.” Apparently, Frum consigned my book to that category without even reading it. Who was the brain-dead partisan there? Galston and Frum don’t actually mean “no labels.” What they really mean is, “no labels of which we disapprove.” Their new group might more aptly be named “Shut Up.”

As to the numerous critics who understood even before the 2008 election that Obama was a Socialist, Kurtz pays this complement:

Two and a half years of research into Obama’s past has left me with a healthy respect for the many Americans who concluded long ago that Obama was a socialist. No doubt some of these folks are intemperate and open to criticism. But I’m struck by how the critics were largely right — and for the right reasons, too. They looked at Obama’s questionable political partnerships, the not-so-hidden hints of radicalism in his memoirs, his own unguarded remarks during the campaign, the general tenor of Alinskyite community organizing, and the upshot of his political program. This yielded a rough-and-ready judgment that was harsh, but by no means unsupported. Two years of painstaking research in archives scattered across the country confirms that, on the whole and in the round, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Joe the Plumber, a host of bloggers, and even John McCain were correct: Obama really is a socialist. These critics are the folks Galston and Frum want to delegitimize and silence, but they had Obama correctly pegged from the start. My book irks Frum because it proves that his favorite targets have been right all along.

No Labels? No thanks.

I Remember Kenneth Kumpel

Friday, September 10th, 2010 10:53 am by Neal
Kenneth Kumpel — loving husband, father, firefighter, cook and all-around Renaissance man.

Kenneth Kumpel — A Passion for Living

What makes a beautiful life? I’ve always believed the surest sign is a person who loves to live and loves his life. Kenneth Kumpel was such a man.

Spend any time reading about Kenneth Kumpel, and one thing becomes crystal clear: he had a passion for living. At its essence, a firefighter takes great risk in order to save the lives of others. Such sacrifice can only come from a person whose love of living is so great that he will risk it to preserve life for others. His wife of 18 years, Nancy, said that “he was always a firefighter at heart. … He loved the camaraderie of it. He lived firefighting every moment of the day. … The Fire Department definitely helped complete him.” That kind of dedication comes from a man who is passionate about his work. A passion for work is a passion for living.

Kenneth was also the chef in the family. I know from personal experience that anyone who loves to cook is an artist. Chefs thrive on making a necessity of life — eating — a beautiful, delicious, entertaining experience: taking a requirement of life and making it a pleasure of life. Kenneth shared this gift with his family and friends. “‘There was never a woman in the kitchen at holidays,” said Mr. Kumpel’s mother-in-law, Barbara Gorman. She and her husband, James, enjoyed the feasts the firefighters in the family prepared: ”their son, Jim, also a firefighter, was Mr. Kumpel’s friend as well as his brother-in-law.” Cooking is almost a lost art in modern America, but not to Kenneth Kumpel. He took the firefighters practice of cooking in the firehouse and brought it home to share with family and friends. A passion for cooking is a passion for living.

Kenneth also loved the water. He and his family lived in the town Cornwall-on-Hudson, drawn there to be next to the river he so enjoyed. “A sleek black boat, named Batboat in honor of their son’s favorite superhero, was the family’s vehicle for enjoying the peace and beauty of the river.” He and his wife also enjoyed the ultimate water sport, scuba diving, and they would periodically travel to Aruba or the Cayman Islands — classic, diving destinations.

Kenneth Kumpel also enjoyed woodworking, making stained glass, and constructing a beautiful home for his family. “A craftsman with the skill and attention to detail of a pro, Mr. Kumpel renovated his family’s former home in West Brighton, and he built their home in Cornwall. A perfectionist, he took satisfaction in the ‘extra details and finishing touches,’ said his wife.”

Because firefighters can have a few days off between shifts, Firefighter Kumpel, a steady, warm presence, had time for his sons. He cooked, cleaned, coached, volunteered and endlessly fixed up their house in Cornwall, N.Y., perfecting his stained-glass windows, tiling and floors.

Food, clothing and shelter are commonly referred to as “the necessities of life.” Kenneth Kumpel took at least two of these three and turned them into “a passion of life.” This is a passion for living.

Kenneth was a family man. He and his wife Nancy, whom he married in 1982, have two sons, Gregory and Carl. Kenneth would take them boating, play sports, and was a coach in their recreational soccer and baseball leagues. “The family enjoyed vacations together at Lake George, N.Y., and recently vacationed in Florida, where they alternated between the excitement of a theme park and the calm of hanging out, swimming, and barbecuing at the condo.”

Kenneth never lost the youthful qualities of play and humor. Firefighting is a deadly serious business, and Kenneth Kumpel was a professional. However, he didn’t let that fact change his lighthearted, happy outlook on life. In the firehouse, “he also developed quite a reputation as a practical joker, once switching the hinges and handles on a refrigerator so it opened from the opposite side, and placing beds on soda cans, for a surprising effect when someone sat down.” He was also known to smear peanut butter on the phone receiver. Not any man can handle the risk and pressure of being a firefighter, but a man who loves his life and enjoys it every minute can handle it. Kenneth Kumpel was that man.

Kenneth loved his work as a firefighter, the art of cooking, the craftsman art of woodworking and stained glass, enjoying recreation such as boating and scuba diving, coaching (and playing with) his two sons at soccer and baseball, making music, playing practical jokes, and much more. This is living at its best. These are the active creations of an artist who loves his craft, and no amount of money can instill this in a person who doesn’t possess it. If you want to know the secret to happiness in this world, look at the life of Kenneth Kumpel and the passion he had for living.

Personal Note

On a personal note, I’d like to thank Dale Challener Roe for organizing “the 2,996 project” because it has given me the opportunity to discover and honor this great man and American hero, Kenneth Kumpel. “Kenny” feels like a brother to me, and I think there is some higher power that destined me to learn about this man and honor him with my tribute.

From cooking to diving, to playing sports with his kids, to playing musical instruments, this is a man after my own heart.

To his wife Nancy, sons Gregory and Carl, and mother Lois: your husband, father and son is a great man. My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family, and I’m so sorry for your terrible loss. Kenneth, you are a hero of the finest kind. You willingly gave your life so that others may live, but it comforts me to know that you didn’t waste the time given to you on this earth. You, sir, truly have a passion for living.

I think a fitting way to close this tribute is with a poem by Jacob Katz, a fourth grader (at the time of writing) in the Yavneh Day School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kenneth Kumpel, “fix-it” man
Husband & father of two sons
Was first a policeman,then a fireman
He only thought of others lives
To lose this hero is unberable.

Sincerely, Jacob Katz
4th grade, Yavneh Day School

Research and Notes entry on Kenneth Kumpel

A quiet person who was happier doing things than talking about them, Firefighter Kenneth Kumpel’s presence was manifested in his beautiful craftsmanship — and the pranks he played.

The 42-year-old family man lived in Cornwall-on-Hudson, an upstate town to which he and his wife were drawn because of its location on the river. A sleek black boat, named “Batboat” in honor of their sons’ favorite superhero, was the family’s vehicle for enjoying the peace and beauty of the river.

He always had time for his sons, Gregory and Carl, whether it was boating, a game of kickball or coaching organized sports of soccer or baseball. The family enjoyed vacations together at Lake George, N.Y., and recently vacationed in Florida, where they alternated between the excitement of a theme park and the calm of hanging out, swimming, and barbecuing at the condo.

Mr. and Mrs. Kumpel periodically took off as a couple to Aruba or the Cayman Islands, where they enjoyed scuba diving.

Mr. Kumpel also indulged in the firefighter’s vocation of cooking. He was the chef in the family, according to his wife, with a finely developed palate that told him just the right ingredients to add. She might bake a chicken, but he would prepare shrimp scampi.

Newsday article on Kenneth Kumpel:

Kenneth Kumpel was a New York City police officer for four years before changing careers. He was assigned to a precinct that covered Chinatown and, later, Manhattan’s infamous “Alphabet City,” said his wife, Nancy Kumpel.

But “he was always a firefighter at heart,” she said.

Bill Kaufman (Newsday)

Kenneth Kumpel, a firefighter with the New York Fire Department, was a prankster and a craftsman. He built the family’s home in Cornwall after renovating their former home in West Brighton. As a practical joke, he once switched the handles and hinges on a firehouse refrigerator so it opened from the opposite side. At a memorial Mass, an FDNY marine unit fireboat sprayed plumes of water, making rainbows in the air. The display honored Kumpel’s love of the Hudson River and the family’s boat, which was christened the Batboat.

–The Associated Press

New York Times

Raised by his mother and grandmother, Kenneth Kumpel, 42, spent much of his adulthood filling in the gaps left by an absentee father. He was a self- taught handyman and craftsman around the house; an endlessly patient, delighted father of Gregory, 11, and Carl, 9; a buddy who sought, through work, the camaraderie of other guys, first as a New York City police officer and then, more happily, as a firefighter.

Because firefighters can have a few days off between shifts, Firefighter Kumpel, a steady, warm presence, had time for his sons. He cooked, cleaned, coached, volunteered and endlessly fixed up their house in Cornwall, N.Y., perfecting his stained-glass windows, tiling and floors.

That was his castle, his home. But the firehouse ”Ladder Company 25 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side was Firefighter Kumpel’s home away from home. He would fix up the firehouse, too. Oh boy, would he.

Why is that bed slowly sinking to the floor when a firefighter flops on it? Someone propped it on empty soda cans! Who switched the handles and hinges on the refrigerator door? Smeared peanut butter on the phone receiver? The Fire Department definitely helped complete him, said Nancy Kumpel, his wife of 18 years.

Firefighter Kenneth Kumpel, Ladder 25 ( tribute):

Kenneth Kumpel returned to the river he loved so dearly earlier this month. The Hudson River meant so much to the Schenectady-born firefighter who lived along its mighty shores with his wife, Nancy, and two sons, Gregory and Carl. Ashes collected from Ground Zero were tossed over the side of the family’s boat not too long ago as a symbol of his sacrifice. Kumpel was a volunteer with the Highland Engine Company and the New Hyde Park Fire Department in Long Island. He was a giver and loved firefighting. He was 42. (62 Days Article)

Guest Book for Kenneth Kumpel ( tribute):

I remember your husband and children’s father as such a great down to earth guy who was always making your sons laugh and always brought a smile to the community. My family is good friends with yours and I used to baby sit the boys when they were little and I just wanted to let you know your family is always in my prayers and tonight at my school Oneonta State College we are holding a memorial service where his name will be put on a banner so that we will never forget
— Kristin Kukkonen (Cornwall, NY)

My name is Jim Gorman and I am the Brother-in-Law of Kenny. I am also a NYC Fireman. I would like to take this time to thank all of you who have done something for Kenny and all of our brothers (NYC Firemen), as well as all of the people who were lost in the attacks on America. There’s not a day that my sister and her sons, my parents or anyone in my family doesn’t think of Kenny. We all miss and will never forget him. He was a GREAT man! God bless you and America.
— James Gorman (Staten Island, NY)

*** UPDATES: Post-tribute information ***

September 11, 2001 Victims — a memorial site dedicated to the victims of September 11, 2001. Here are the posts for Kenneth Kumpel.

Post from Charla M. Billings:

I was so excited to see that a memorial quilt is being made for the 9-11 victims. I searched the list for a firefighter who did not yet have someone working on a quilt square……there was one left: Mr. Kumpel. I feel his name was left for me for several reasons. I have a son his age and my youngest son is a firefighter/paramedic here in Texas. The similarities in Mr. Kumpel and my firefighter son are amazing: the love of working with wood and being a perfectionist at it, the love of being “the” cook; the volunteering at local firestations during “off” time; the love of diving (my son is a certified swift water rescuer. My son is also on the state rescue team and would have loved to have been called to New York to help in the rescue. It would be wonderful to correspond with Mr. Kumpel’s family. My heart goes out to them and I will now be able to focus on a real person in my prayers for 9-11 victims. Thank you.

Post from Gary Biggerstaff LBFD:

In the months that followed 9-11-2001 I visited ground zero and was overcome with the site of the wreckage and all the personal notes left for the missing. Among them I found hand written notes from Ken Kumpel’s young boys attached to a dozen photos of them together. The photos showed happier times with his wife and son’s on vacation. One note from Kens 9 year old son read as follows. ” Dad- you will always be my hero, I love you and miss you very much. I hope I get to see you in heaven some day. I hope you don’t forget me. I will never forget you.” Being a fireman in California myself and a father of two young boys I was deeply touched by this 9 year olds sentiments. I returned home and created 343 personalized white crosses that I display at my home each September 11th to honor those who gave so much. Ken is not only a hero to his son’s, he is a hero to me. These crosses can be seen by visiting

The Obama Icon

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 9:42 am by Neal

Here’s a well-done video on the power and danger of iconography and how the Democrats are so entrenched in the O-brand that it now is used in place of the Presidential Seal of the United States.

Of course, this kind of propaganda is only possible when facilitated by a State-run media complex.

Tempted by the Fruit of Another

Monday, July 26th, 2010 12:22 pm by Neal

My 9th Grade Class

Friday, May 28th, 2010 2:59 pm by Tyler Butler

My 9th Grade Class

When I was in the 9th grade, we had a course called Government.
Among other things we learned the following:

1. Salaries for jobs in government are paid 100% through the collection of taxes.
2. The lower class does not provide jobs.
3. The middle class provides very few jobs.
4. The upper class, through investments, supports current jobs and provides new one’s.
5. Without incentives to encourage investment the upper class has no reason to do so, therefore, less jobs are created.
6. Without a job people don’t pay income taxes.
7. Without income taxes there is no money to run our government.

Our teacher, Mr. Perry, didn’t explain why some of the above factors don’t lead to job growth.
Maybe he didn’t think he needed to.


Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 6:01 am by Tyler Butler


Respect, so important, going hand in hand with freedom of speech. A basic recognition and acknowledgement for the appreciation of another’s journey. Without it comes the denial of underlying interpersonal connection. The us vs. them concept is comforting in some ways. We can reassure ourselves that perceived unpleasant qualities are not us, but the other. Falling victim to the left brain’s insatiable desire to categorize, we put everything into neat little cubbyholes. The left brain is uncomfortable unless taking refuge in its order. The breeze of open, free flowing perception moving through the right brain is unwelcome. This way the left brain can safely hold fast to the individual personalities it has become.

Recently, an experience struck a chord in me as a small business person. It was the kind of statement that cuts through to one’s core. In my younger life, it was so much easier to live in a world of beliefs and theories. Life, economic systems could be just as theoretical as I wished. Gradually though my world changed, survival and the need for prosperity moved to the forefront becoming my daily reality.

I chose this path in life purposefully. I knew it would not be the easy way, but it entailed the kind of challenges I thought would develop the qualities in myself where I was weakest. Along with this choice came the weight of 100% responsibility. No longer could I pretend my actions and the effects of them were not my own. In this reality of life, actions and their reactions stand in stark relief. Success or failure, it was all up to me. I knew deep inside that this had always been the case, but it was so much easier to deny under other circumstances. As my reality developed, I knew that even if I could, I would have it no other way. On this path I had to be honest with myself.

The many people I’ve met and worked with, have had just as many different beliefs and philosophies. They can be so helpful, providing the opportunities I need to learn and grow.

Sometimes though, the simplest statement and the timing of it, intentional or not, can say more about how a person regards your lifestyle than an entire book. My feelings on this are nothing unique. They are shared by many small business people and certainly the successful ones.

One statement can say all these things.

It tells people they are basically fools to work 100 hour weeks for below minimum wage, seeking to improve upon and deliver the best product they possibly can. If only they had followed a different philosophy, they could have received equal pay whether they made a strong effort or not.

It says they believe that innovation and initiative resulting from extra effort and one’s dreams are of little value.

It says they see no problem in forcibly taking what one works for and earns and giving it to someone else regardless of effort.

It says that out there somewhere groups of men, who are unlikely to have worked a day in their lives in small business, know better than they how their earnings should be spent rather than providing for their own families.

It says that if we were left to rely upon what is deep inside us, that link called conscience, we would care little or nothing about helping others in need.

It says that in ways they may not even be aware of, that addiction is more important to sustain than providing job training, education and developing feelings of self-worth.

It says that making opportunities for others to work in their business just isn’t that important.

It says that prosperity through effort should be allowed to grow only to a certain point, much like telling an artist to do their best work and be “sort of creative,” and anything above this point should be punished.

It says that working “for the greater good” will somehow move our country forward by putting less emphasis on individual achievement.

It says they believe in a system of government while they cannot point to a single example of long term success that comes even close to the growth the free enterprise system has fostered in this country.

Ultimately, it says to the small business person that their life could have been lived better, if only they had coasted and looked to mediocrity over growth.

All these things can be said in one simple statement.

“I believe we should have a country, where all income earned is collected into one central source and divided equally among everyone.”

“Only Free Enterprise Brings Earned Success.”

Monday, May 24th, 2010 11:48 pm by Neal

If unearned money does not bring happiness, redistributing money by force won’t make for a happier America — and the redistributionists’ theory of a better society through income equality falls apart.

The goal of our system should be to give all Americans the greatest opportunities possible to succeed based on their work and merit. And that’s exactly what the free enterprise system does: It makes earned success possible for the most people. This is the liberty that enables the true pursuit of happiness. …

To win, the 70 percent majority must come together around core principles: that the purpose of free enterprise is human flourishing, not materialism; that we stand for equality of opportunity, not equality of income; that we seek to stimulate true prosperity rather than simply treat poverty; and that we believe in principle over power.

In the battle of Free Enterprise v. Statism, AEI’s Arthur C. Brooks reminds us what’s at stake.

Seriously, read the whole thing.

Thoughts – Part II

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 10:15 am by Tyler Butler

“Why do so many people have such a problem understanding the concept of increased tax revenue through volume? That way everybody wins.”

“I just can’t understand why anyone thinks they are entitled to what someone else worked for and earned. I learned about taking away other kids toys in the sandbox at three.”

“How can jobs be created without offering any incentive to the only people capable of creating jobs? Instead, they offer punishment for success.”

“If a person’s response to something you say is to question your vocabulary down to the simplest of words, they just didn’t want to listen in the first place.”

“I’m suspicious of people who won’t give me a straight answer to anything I ask, always jumping to a different topic. What it says to me is that most likely, the basis of their thoughts and beliefs is emotion.”

“As a small business person, I wouldn’t hire someone whose work record shows them to be terribly inefficient. Much less give them an opportunity to expand on their inefficiency.”

“Why would I possibly want to convince anyone to think like I do? I mean I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”

“How can one possibly think that new jobs are being created to any significant degree. All one has to do is look at how the statistics are structured to know that only a fool would believe this is job creation.”

“The only people who think that government can do a good job handling their healthcare, have never dealt with the Medicare program ‘helping’ people they love.”

“I never want to be defined as belonging to any political party so that people can automatically think they know what and how I think. The only party I care to belong to is the one where I arrive with a six-pack.”


Friday, May 21st, 2010 6:33 pm by Tyler Butler

“There may be no greater threat to the idealist than facts.”

“It seems that as the relationship between what one does and what one earns becomes more loosely defined, the empathy for the small business person becomes less and less.”

“I looked up liberal and conservative in the dictionary. Neither one sounds like the people I know.”

“How can a person vote for change without asking the question ‘change to what?’ Even the Wolf Man changes.”

“One thing I am absolutely certain of – whoever someone thinks I am and I think they are – is wrong.”

“As a small business person, I wouldn’t hire someone whose work record shows them to be inefficient, much less expand an existing position with the thought they could handle it.”

“As a creative person, I’ve made a life out of dreams in la-la land. The one place I’ve found it not at all appropriate though is economics.”

“Fiscal matters are one of the few things I have ‘conservative’ opinions about. I took a survey though, and most people said putting food on the table was important.”

“I can trace every screw-up in my life to something I said or did based upon emotion, which is exactly why I don’t let my life philosophy be inspired by them.”

“I called every poor person I know today and not a single one of them had a job for me.”

“The Small Business Man”

Friday, May 21st, 2010 5:51 pm by Tyler Butler

“The small business person. Endless unpaid hours spent striving to improve one’s product. The satisfaction knowing you provided opportunities for others. Under it all, always the carrot, a tangible reward in proportion to effort. Without this, would I have followed the same path? No way, too many easier, less risky… ways to make a living. Photography stays a hobby. I bet there are others who feel the same way.”

The Man at the Back Door

Friday, May 21st, 2010 5:35 pm by Tyler Butler

The Man at the Back Door

One Friday night, when I was a child, a man appeared at our back door asking to see my father. I recognized him as a member of the crew that worked in my father’s small business. I heard the man say, “Can I borrow five or ten dollars until next week?” My father looked him in the eye, stepped outside, opened his wallet and handed him the money. My father was not a wealthy man. He could account for every dollar he earned. “The man at the back door” happened pretty often so one day I asked my father, “Do these men ever pay you back?” He answered, “Almost never.” So then I asked, “Why do you keep giving it to them?” He replied, “Oh, I know they’re not going to pay it back.”

Later in life, when my dad could no longer take care of himself, the families of these same men would step forward and offer their services in living with and caring for him and my mom. When I met them, I could see in their faces a family resemblance to the men at our back door. When my father passed, no one grieved harder than they did.

How crazy it sounds to many that within us we have an inborn need to take care of each other. When there is an earthquake or tsunami, it is then we see that millions share this quality.

The problem is – there is a catch to true generosity. It only comes within the framework of having the freedom to choose. Otherwise, it’s just an idea getting entangled in thought patterns. Things like – who is deserving and who is not, who has too much and who does not have enough? Thoughts that mask the recognition and true feelings of sharing.

When I think that so many people today see sharing as something that must be forced, it makes me very sad. Here, the giver does not strengthen contact with his/her inner self through the act and the receiver has little or no appreciation of it. How can one ever develop feelings of self-worth under such a system?”

Right out of college, I spent three years working with “juvenile delinquents” and their families. A common question I asked them was the equivalent of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Over half the time their answer was, “I want to get on disability and get a check from the government.” This pattern had been going on for several generations. The concept of developing a feeling of self-worth was foreign to them. At the time, I thought that giving people a monthly check was a kind of generosity. What I realized, from my direct involvement, was that in the guise of being a generous and caring person, what I really was doing was reinforcing and perpetuating the non-achievement mindset. No wonder these kids got into trouble.

When given the opportunity, they did what any human does, they began developing a sense of accomplishment and pride in themselves. These were the success stories, the kids that changed their world.

For many, the appearance of being generous and sharing seems to be enough. If it’s not real however, how can it help beyond being a temporary material fix. As a little kid, I believed people in general had more confidence in each other. I also believed that they had more confidence in themselves.

Welcome Tyler Butler

Friday, May 21st, 2010 12:46 pm by Neal

Today is a great day, and we here at hope all of our dear collaborators in liberty are well.

Today we are extremely pleased to introduce our newest contributer, Tyler Butler.

Tyler is a master photographer, philosopher, poet, motorcyclist, and inquisitive thinker. We look forward to his musings and know that you will enjoy his unique take on our changing scene. Tyler, take it away!

Obama and the Seven Dorks

Monday, April 19th, 2010 7:07 pm by Neal

Great sign from one of the Tea Parties last week,

“Obama and the Seven Dorks”

A Sleeping Giant

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 2:01 pm by Neal

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

At the dramatic conclusion of Tora! Tora! Tora!, a reflective Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto delivers this summation of the successful attack on Pearl Harbor. As it turns out, it’s likely not an actual quotation of Yamamoto’s.

It is, however, the perfect quote to describe what will occur should the Democrats ram through ObamaCare by cheating with the “Slaughter rule.” Charles Krauthammer puts it this way:

If this were a single isolated procedural oddity, it could be washed away. But it’s coming on top of a whole lot of others.

– We have never in our history passed a piece of legislation this sweeping and important, first of all, without a single member in either house of the opposition party supporting it. Never done that.

– We will never have passed anything on this scale — if it does pass the House — by squeaking through by one or two single votes. It didn’t happen with Social Security. It didn’t happen with Medicare.

– We will never have passed anything on this scale through the loophole of reconciliation in the Senate.

– And now adding insult onto all of this, we will never have passed anything of this scale using the Slaughter rule, the deeming rule, which is in and of itself absurd.

Now, you add all of that together — again, it’s not illegal. It can be done. It will be done. It will be rammed. But it’s outside of our practice, outside of our tradition and the spirit of the law.

When you add on to it the fact that it’s all about a bill that largely has a huge majorities over time consistently against it, and after an election in Massachusetts in which it was the major issue and the opposition candidate ran on that as his number one issue, and he won on that — all of that together makes it extremely, extremely unusual and makes the process look as if … there is no other way that you could do something this unpopular and wrong without it.

Krauthammer may be correct that this isn’t technically “illegal,” but it is clearly unconstitutional. Please spare me the cries of, “Well, the Republicans did it!” That is comparing apples and oranges, and you know it. Read Krauthammer again: the “Slaughter rule” is just the tip of the ram-it-through iceberg. Everything about this process is wrong, desperate, and insulting to our Constitutional Republic.

If the Democrats carry out this cowardly attack on our Constitution — and I for one am convinced they will — they will awaken a sleeping giant.


Daniel Foster on those apples and oranges.

Slaughtering the Constitution

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 2:05 pm by Neal

If you’re closely following Nancy Pelosi’s attempts to plunge us into a Constitutional Crisis, here are some great links:

An Unconstitutional Solution

Andy McCarthy

Wall Street Journal

Michelle Malkin

Tony Blankley

Frankenstein Rx

Shannen Coffin

Rich Lowry


John Hood — “I Will Not Comply”

Is Obama Selling Judgeships for Healthcare Votes?

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 5:36 pm by Neal

It’s now clear that this whole Obamacare charade comes down to getting the House to approve the Senate’s bill. It’s all in the House now.

Do not underestimate the tactics that the Chicago thugs in the Obama administration will employ to get the votes. If you thought Mary Landrieu’s “Louisiana Purchase” or Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback” were brazen, well check out this post, Obama Now Selling Judgeships for Health Care Votes?

Tonight, Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he’s obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson’s brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Michelle Malkin sums it up best:

Incorrigibly corrupt or incorrigibly stupid. Take your pick. …

Whatever it takes: Borrow, bully, bribe.

It’s the Chicago Way. It’s the Demcare way. And it stinks to high heaven.

Here’s your “change”: a centrally-planned economy

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 1:18 pm by Neal

Andy Stern — the head thug at the SEIU — has been appointed to Obama’s Deficit Reduction Panel.

So, what does Andy Stern have to say about the role of the Obama administration in “changing” America? Check out this video.

Some nice quotes:

“and clearly government has a major opportunity to distribute wealth.”

“So all of a sudden we are witnessing the first new American economic plan led by the government not necessarily led by the private sector.”

The most important link that nobody is discussing

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 2:19 am by Neal

Transformation by Andy McCarthy.

Andy McCarthy is a damn smart man who explains a secret truth. So few understand it, least of all the Republicans.

* * *

UPDATE: Well, it appears that Andy’s post is getting the attention it deserves after all. Writing at the Corner, Jonah Goldberg (a hero of this blog, by the way, for his incredibly important book) has this note:

Andy McCarthy had a much cited post here the other day about how the Democrats are pressing ahead with healthcare out of deep-seated desire to fundamentally transform the relationship between citizens and government. This is a longstanding theme around here (and of LF). The aim of progressivism since at least FDR has been to turn citizens into clients. Under the conservative vision, governments depend on citizens to maintain their legitimacy, not to mention their revenue. Under the progressive vision, clients depend on the state for legitimacy and, increasingly, revenue.

Jonah also passes along this depressing tidbit:

Without record levels of welfare, unemployment and other government benefits as well as tax cuts last year, the income of U.S. households would have plunged by an astonishing $723 billion — more than four times the record $167 billion drop reported last month by the Commerce Department.

Moreover, for the first time since the Great Depression, Americans took more aid from the government than they paid in taxes.

By all means, let’s copy the NHS.

Monday, March 1st, 2010 3:09 pm by Neal

Coming soon to an American hospital near you — Misery, Thy Name Is Bureaucracy:

Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire, England is an example. A retired government risk assessor had been asked by a patients’ group to examine the feasibility of installing bedside telephones for the patients. Once you get past the fact that there exists a hospital in a major industrialized nation such as Great Britain that does not already have bedside telephones for patient use, it is instructive to note the conditions the risk assessor found as he moved about the building. In the emergency room waiting area were chairs with “congealed blood smeared on torn cushions.” A general filth could be seen, from the grimy floors to the sinks encrusted with God-knows-what. These are the same sinks used by doctors and nurses to wash up before procedures. Restroom floors were covered in urine-and-feces-soaked bathroom tissue.

A more comprehensive listing of the squalid conditions may be found here.

More compelling is the brusque behavior that passed for medical care at this facility. Patients went for hours without pain medications, screaming and crying to no avail. Food service consisted of placing a tray in the general vicinity of the patient’s room, whether the patient was able to feed himself or not. Family members of patients frequently took the bedsheets home to launder — because the hospital would go weeks, sometimes months, without providing fresh linens, even after a soiling accident by the patient. Those patients not fortunate enough to have regular visits from loved ones often lay in their own waste for weeks at a time, resulting in infections and secondary diseases.

Why Even Bother?

Monday, March 1st, 2010 1:46 pm by Neal

Mark Steyn has a post from this weekend that is a must-read.

In When Responsibility Doesn’t Pay, Steyn compares the crisis in Greece (and the EU in general) with California. Will the US wake up and paddle to shore before we plunge over the falls, or will we paddle even harder to catch up with Greece and the upside-down-family-tree known as Europe?

We hard-hearted small-government guys are often damned as selfish types who care nothing for the general welfare. But, as the Greek protests make plain, nothing makes an individual more selfish than the socially equitable communitarianism of big government: Once a chap’s enjoying the fruits of government health care, government-paid vacation, government-funded early retirement, and all the rest, he couldn’t give a hoot about the general societal interest; he’s got his, and to hell with everyone else. People’s sense of entitlement endures long after the entitlement has ceased to make sense.