Monday, November 9, 2009

Thank You, Veterans

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." – President Ronald Reagan

Thank You, Veterans
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 9, 2009

While the tragedy of the Fort Hood terror-murders are still fresh wounds emblazoned in our collective minds and consciousness, the men and women in uniform there as well as those wearing the Stars and Stripes the world over past and present are to be honored this November 11 – Veterans’ Day.

From the Revolutionary War, solidifying our freedoms as outlined by the Founding Fathers in separation from Great Britain, through to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, men and women have fought for freedom at home and overseas. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Reserves have served under the most extreme conditions and must be thanked for their service.

Although this is not a political tome, we the people of the United States owe a debt to the brave men and women who have answered their nation’s call. It is imperative that our servicemen and women be paid more than a simple living wage, be covered with medical and health care that does not leave them in rat and roach-infested sub-standard hospitals, or on the streets with no care at all, and provides for them an education to afford them the opportunity at second careers.

Veterans with a well-deserved G.I. Bill will pay it forward multi-fold by getting good jobs and not becoming a drain on the American economy. Such jobs can lead to veterans having the opportunity to strike out on their own, hire other job seekers, and keep them off the government dole.

My fellow Americans, say “thank you” to veterans you encounter, not just on Veterans’ Day, but every day. They will not only appreciate it, they have earned it.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Remember the Fallen, Forget the Politics

Remember the Fallen, Forget the Politics
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 7, 2009

For my grandparents it was December 7, 1941. For my parents it was November 22, 1963 and July 20, 1969. For us it will always be September 11, 2001.

Dates that define a generation.

Whether it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as the impetus to the United States’ full scale involvement in World War II, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and landing a man on the moon punctuating the turbulence that was the ‘60s, or the most horrific and worst attacks perpetrated against this nation by a foreign enemy on our soil, ask Americans where they were on those pivotal dates and there will be no hesitation in an answer.

Working on a deadline, I wrote from home that day finalizing my news articles when the attacks on the World Trade Center came across the Fox News Channel playing in the background. Then the Pentagon was struck; and finally the plane crash in Pennsylvania. From that moment, everything changed. We were at war and the signs were visible. Immediately reporters from the newspaper for which I worked were dispatched throughout the various communities we covered. All other stories were back-burnered.

For me, that community was Herndon, and upon first notice, the streets around downtown were abandoned, save for a sight I had not seen there before. Members of the Herndon Police Department patrolled the streets with large firearms. The friendly-faced uniformed officers, never looked more serious in their diligence to ensure the public safety on that day and the days to follow.

We came together as a nation to mourn the loss of nearly 3,000 human beings – mostly Americans, but all living in America, some from the countries that spawned the evil that had been perpetrated upon this nation. I don’t know anyone who does not have a personal connection to September 11, 2001 – whether they lost a loved one, survived the attacks themselves or currently serves in the armed forces as a result of the attacks.

There was a call to arms that day and the nation responded without asking political parties. Just as the day after Franklin Roosevelt declared that December 7 was a “date which will live in infamy,” Congress declared war on Japan by a unanimous vote, save for one member of the House.

(That member was Jeannette Rankin (R-MT), the first woman elected to Congress, who said after her “nay” vote, that “as a woman I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.”)

The vote to enter WWII involved no party jockeying; it was a unified decision to protect and defend the nation.

When JFK was assassinated, the nation mourned as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans. The citizens, the regular folks, are not behaving in a political manner as we embark upon the eighth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

September 11 has since been appropriately labeled Patriot’s Day. It is a day that should be reserved for remembering the fallen – those who lost their lives that day, and those who continue to lose their lives fighting in the global war on terror. September 11, 2009 should not be a day for rallying people to support a political agenda or demonizing a news network as the Obama administration is doing.

“Organizing for America,” an organization linked to the Obama administration via its website, has called for using September 11 as a day to call senators in support of the Obama-care and also get out a message to “fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped into a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders.”

While this administration sullies the memories of the victims of the enemy attacks on American soil with its politicization of Patriot Day-irrelevant issues and denigration a media outlet whose job it is to keep the American people informed, it is also on a quest to reduce this nation’s military capabilities in a manner detrimental to our safety.

I offer this non-political notion from Ronald Reagan, who called for “peace through strength.” On this September 11, remember the fallen, forget the politics.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moran's Town Hall Almost Town Brawl

Moran’s Town Hall Almost Town Brawl
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 26, 2009

Much akin to throwing the Christians to the Lions, and by Lions I mean the winless 2008 Detroit Lions, so anemic they haven’t the will to devour their potential prey, US Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia’s eighth Congressional District faced a mostly convivial if not staged audience Tuesday night at South Lakes High School in Reston.

People began arriving before on Tuesday for an event that was slated for a kickoff with doors opening at According to Moran’s official website, the event would be limited to residents of the eighth district and they would be asked for identification in an effort to ensure seating for the Congressman’s constituents. That turned out to part of the smoke and mirrors that was this town hall meeting as several Moran staffers handed out slips of paper for folks to write their addresses and IDs were not checked, except for one gentleman, whose ID was examined specifically by Moran himself, later in the evening.

Then there were the Obama minions handing out a couple thousand pre-printed signs supporting his health care program sponsored by Organizing for America, an Obama political action group. They also had several tables set up near the school’s entrance to sign people up for something or another. Plus, there was a large group of Obama supporters attempting to circumvent the line by going to the locked doors, asking security to allow them entrance because they were “with the group.” When denied entrance, they simply stood at the doors in front of the folks who had stood in line for nearly three hours.

Somehow, although I was close enough to the front of the line to touch the door, upon entering the building and then the gymnasium, the first five rows were already filled with Obama/Moran/health care supporters and their signs to put on a good show for the cameras, of which there were plenty.

For those who have been accusing the people who are opposed to Obama-care of behaving like a mob and acting un-American for daring to demonstrate dissent, let the record show that the pro-Obama-care forces, who outnumbered the opposition about eight to one of the crowd of nearly 3,000, were behaving in a mob-like fashion. They shouted “yes we can,” drowning out the room in what some may have described as a pep rally atmosphere. Quite frankly, with the cacophony of angry shouts and chants the atmosphere mirrored that of a union meeting full of recently laid off auto workers – and no offense to auto workers.

This is not to say that the people opposed to Obama-care behaved like perfect angels, but theirs was more reactionary than antagonistic as some of the pro-Obama-care forces demonstrated. Quite frankly, it is because of such ill-conceived legislation that people have attended these meetings en masse to demonstrate their outrage and ask questions of their legislators and actually expect answers.

At one point a crowd gathered near the front of the room during one of the chanting battles and without any instigation or provocation, a woman in her late 50s to early 60s with a hideous red dye job poked a man with her cane. Later in the evening the same woman used profanity toward several anti-Obama-care forces. Later still, she used her professionally made sign to block the gentleman sitting behind her from using his video camera. When he moved, she moved, and so on.

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, also a doctor, was on hand to assist Moran with details about Obama-care. When he was introduced at about , nearly an hour into the scheduled two-hour event, that began 10 minutes late in the first place, the polarizing figure drew more boos than applause, and this was a favorable Obama-care crowd. A group sitting two rows behind me stood up and began chanting “we won’t pay for murder,” in reference to Dean’s apparent support of federally funded abortions as part of Obama-care. This went on for more than five minutes until Fairfax County police “escorted” the chanters out of the room.

During the chanting, a swarm of media converged around them with cameras and microphones, but not all the photographers were members of the media. One woman in particular, working for no media outlet, stood about a foot from me – I was seated during this near-mêlée, observing and taking notes – readying to take my picture. While I am not camera averse, I saw no reason to be photographed by some random woman. I put my hand up between my face and her camera – touching neither her or her camera. She in turn put her hand up to my face, swore at me and then gave me the one-fingered salute as she retreated.

So unpopular was Dean, that when Moran passed one constituent’s question to Dean, the constituent objected saying he did not want to hear from Dean, but from Moran, his elected representative. Dean did admit that the drug industry does better as a for profit entity. But then reverted back to form when he said he does not think insurance companies should be for profit, much to the delight of the Obama-care supporters.

Another battle that ensued also came from people sitting one row in front of me and one row behind me. Yes, in the sixth row, I had a delightful ring side seat. My new friend Tito, a Colombian native who also lived in Venezuela prior to becoming a US citizen and now owns a construction business, shouted “liar,” with each explanation offered by Moran for what he called “myths” about HR 3200, the health care bill. The folks sitting a row in front of me, supporters of Obama-care, detecting Tito’s obvious Hispanic accent, shouted at him to shut up and go home. In fact, any time opposition was expressed, Obama-care supporters simply yelled shut up and more often than not, had no facts on which to base their support of Obama-care.

The problem is that an overwhelming number of Obama-care supporters are young people living in the generation of government support from womb to tomb and cradle to grave – nothing at all like the intentions of the Founding Fathers. That a public option could even be considered when it has the potential to eradicate private insurance and become a government monopoly is unconstitutional, yet there is nary a challenge to this notion.

In addition to the professionally made signs supporting Obama-care, the most creative came from the anti-Obama-care people who brought their handmade signs with them. Some of the signs read: “Obamacare will destroy my business,” “Dissent IS American,” “Doctor’s oath: do no harm – Congress’ oath: spend, spend, spend,” “Obamanomics – trickle-up poverty,” “My health, not your power,” “Euthanize socialist health care,” and one held by a young man on crutches: “Cripples Against Obamacare.” He said being handicapped, it was his prerogative to use the word crippled.

Overall, this was a pro-Obama-care crowd and that was evident from the outset and the words offered by Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk of the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation. Crossing the line of church-state with his prayer calling for health care reform, saying “health care needs help,” the rabbi’s words drew jeers from some of the crowd, demonstrative of the evening that followed. And quite frankly, the rabbi wasn’t all that pleasant after the event when I approached him to verify the correct spelling of his name – something any responsible writer would do. He wanted my name, who I was with and then guided me to the congregation’s website to garner such information. Only when I asked him about someone connected to his congregation, did he acquiesce.

Early on, Moran said “dissent is as American as apple pie,” to which came the shouted response, “tell Pelosi.” Moran followed with “the voices of the American people should not be silenced,” and again the response of “tell Pelosi” could be heard loud and clear.

Yet is was Moran himself who attempted to squelch the voice of one of his own constituents during the all too brief question and answer period during the last half hour of the two-hour event. My new friend Roland Tulino sitting next to me, had his name drawn from the box to ask his question. He had also been rather vocal during the event leading up to the Q and A session. Upon arriving to the dais to take the microphone, Moran accused Tulino of being an imposter and asked him for identification. Having showing it to Moran, Tulino then asked Moran for his ID, but was rebuffed. Several minutes after asking his question Tulino received a public apology from Moran for the previous exchange, which Tulino accepted.

This is just demonstrative of elected officials who so rarely descend from their ivory towers to mix and mingle with the folks. The less than friendly banter between the pro-Obama-care and the anti-Obama-care contingents battled throughout the meeting, save for when the subject of tort reform was finally raised near the end of the evening. On this singular issue it was obvious that both forces could agree on one thing – all have a common enemy – lawyers. All in all, however, what the event lacked in civility and potential progress, it certainly made up for with grandstanding and political theater of the absurd.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Alexandria, VA and an 8th District resident.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gov't Reaction to Protesters - Un-American

Gov’t Reaction to Protesters – Un-American
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 10, 2009

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demonstrates how her permanent residence in her ivory tower sneering down upon the minions beneath her has affected her perspective, when she liberally accuses American citizens of having mob mentality for simply exercising their rights to free speech and expression as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Remember the Constitution? It’s that pesky little document that has stood the test of time since 1787, but has slowly been torn asunder and ignored since January 20, 2009.

Perhaps the Shrieker of the House needs a refresher course in the Constitution of the United States. Perhaps she needs to actually mingle amongst the people who send her to Washington every two years and find out what’s really on their minds. Perhaps she needs to have Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) join her on a listening tour to see that the “well dressed” protesters are not Nazis wielding swastikas, torches and pitchforks traipsing through the villages scaring the women and children.

Where were Pelosi, Boxer, et al during the George W. Bush administration when their supporters liberally paraded around following Bush from appearance to appearance carrying swastika-laden signs, pictures depicting Bush with Hitleresque mustaches and Bush side by side with Hitler? There was no condemnation, just the defense of the protesters’ freedom of speech and expression.

Well, many of the people currently protesting, in an appropriate and legal fashion, are women – businesswomen, women who are doctors, mothers, students and children who are old enough to know better than the average member of Congress that Obama-care is a farce and will bankrupt this nation. These are real people with genuine concerns.

The Organizer in Chief seems only to support the notion of citizens taking to the streets and town hall meetings to protest issues that he deems appropriate for objection. It seems to many of us who are literate that Obama-care is a form of eugenics, a life and death controlling system run by government and a litany of bureaucrats who have little to no connection to the medical field.

Obama, Pelosi and Boxer need to read some American history – they’ve got time since they are clearly not reading the legislation they advocate, write and support. They need to read the part about protesters being the epitome of Americana. They need to read the part about how the United States would not be the United States were it not for the John Adamses, Sam Adamses, Thomas Jeffersons, James Madisons, Thomas Paines and George Washingtons taking up the call for freedom and liberty – all starting with protests, pamphlets and passion. They need to remember that were it not for protests, the battle for independence would never have taken place and they would still be driving on the left side of the road speaking British-English.

There is nothing un-American about the peaceful gathering of American citizens at their Congressman’s town hall meeting and demanding answers. They work for us! We hired them in November 2008 and we can fire them in November 2010. They are answerable to the people, not the other way around. If your member of Congress is not holding a town hall meeting, call his or her office and DEMAND one – it’s your right to get answers. When people like Pelosi, Boxer, Harry Reid (D-NV) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) say they don’t understand the so-called anger and vitriol of their constituents, and dismiss it as manufactured, it’s because they are out of touch with what is on the minds of the voters. Hoyer actually called a group of protesters “rabid” adding that “normal citizens do not behave this way.”

If their behavior was untoward it was provoked and manifested by an administration ignoring the people. Yet, in reality this was simply a group of American citizens attending a town hall meeting demanding answers from the elected representatives who have been dodging their responsibilities, and must be held accountable.

For the majority of you reading this, you live in the 8th Congressional District of Virginia. Representative Jim Moran is holding a town hall meeting on Tuesday, August 25 from , at South Lakes High School located at
11400 South Lakes Drive
, Reston. Moran will be joined by the screamer, Howard Dean, who is by trade, a doctor. As the great radio host Bob Grant says, “your influence counts – use it!”

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama-Care Makes America Sick

“The American people are understandably queasy.” – Barack Hussein Obama, July 22, 2009

Obama-Care Makes America Sick
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 23, 2009

What is making the American people queasy is a Congress that does not pay attention to those who hired them in the first place. What is making the American people queasy is a Congress that does not do the job for which it was hired. What is making the American people queasy is the possibility of a healthcare program run by the Federal Government – after all, we all know how well the government has run the postal service, the department of motor vehicles and the public school system.

In a press conference that revealed nothing except Obama’s serious lack of a grasp on reality and a mostly sycophantic, fawning press, the state of capitalism, free choice and a first class medical system are on the critical list with doctors and nurses fleeing from the patient.

Actually the possibility of doctors and nurses leaving their chosen professions is approaching reality as their incomes will drop, and they will lose many of the freedoms they and their patients currently enjoy. Yet, Obama claimed his plan is supported by the American Medical Association and the American Nursing Association. However, the reality is that  only 20 to 30 percent of AMA doctors support the plan and seven other medical societies have weighed in against the plan. Medical and nursing school will still cost an arm and a leg, but the days of top salaries will be a thing of the past. Obama all but admitted as much during his press lecture when he said that “we will cut medical costs.”

How will that happen? Via a drop in salaries? Cutting the cost of medical care? Cutting the cost of drugs? Obama mentioned having the support of the traditionally left of center AARP, which would make one think they could help cut the cost of medical care and drugs. However, those companies use profits to support candidates like Obama, so no chance of cutting the cost of medical care or drugs. Drug companies should not be begrudged their profits as they are the ones who conduct the research and development of the new drugs that are needed to fight diseases as well as the irresponsible behavior of Americans who live haphazard lives and expect government to take car of them womb to tomb and cradle to grave. Consider the amount of trial and error involved in R and D, thus the profit margin. This is a capitalist society and companies are entitled to reap the rewards produced by their risks and investments and make a profit.

Medical care in and of itself will wane simply because Obama is seeking to level the playing field to ensure that we all have worse care. He claims Americans pay $6,000 more per person than any other developed country – that is disingenuous as one cannot compare the United States to other countries with dissimilar populations and economies. Do we want health care a la Cuba, Sweden or even Great Britain, for example? Americans are not fleeing this country for health care overseas; just the opposite as thousands of foreigners are literally dying to get into the United States for medical treatment.

However, remember this is not really about health care, but instead health insurance. Obama noted there are allegedly 47 million people in the United States living sans health insurance, saying, “I want to cover everybody,” all but guaranteeing a rise in the cost of premiums to cover the uninsured. And it begs the questions, how many of the 47 million are in the United States illegally and how many simply choose not to be insured. Before Obama officially becomes the clone of Fidel Castro, he needs to be reminded that not having insurance is also a choice people in this country can make.

Obama asserted that people should be able to get affordable health care. Agreed; but it should not be thrust upon the American people; after all this is still a country of individual choice and personal responsibility.  Additionally, demonstrating that this is about health insurance and not health care, Obama said he has a goal to “take [the] profit motive out” of the insurance companies adding that they are “making record-breaking profits.” That’s the American way – capitalism in action. The Obama desire to curtail that process is him tipping his own hand showing his cards leading this country down a path toward socialism.

Obama also demonstrated his “don’t do as I say, do as I do” attitude when he condemned the politics of health care, saying it should not be a political volleyball. Yet, in the very next sentence, he blamed two Republicans, not by name, for attempting to stymie his plan without mentioning the Blue Dog Democrats who may (hopefully) sink this dastardly bill – a bill he himself has yet to read. Fortunately, Obama does not get to vote on it. Unfortunately, the people for whom it is the responsibility to read such legislation prior to voting yea or nay have yet to do so either. This is their job. This is what they were sent to Washington to do and they are neglecting their sworn duties. If they are not willing to do their jobs the voters must do theirs and replace these indolent weasels.

Not only are the members of Congress not reading the legislation they are writing, but they are being implored by Obama to pass the bill into law prior to taking their August recess. This is one time I am endorsing the Congressional recess, and for two reasons – when they are idle, they can do no harm and when they return to their home districts they will get earfuls from their constituents to hopefully get them to see the light and crush this feeble legislation into dust.

After all, why the rush to passage before the recess? Oh, because of the fear of the people threatening to vote against their representatives en masse in 2010 and denying Obama a perpetual Democratic majority in Congress to do his bidding. So much for the Obama promise of transparency.

And if Obama-care is so great, why has not every member of Congress signed on for it as their own family plan? Perhaps because there is a provision on page 16 of the 1,018-page monstrosity making individual private medical insurance illegal. If Ted Kennedy needs medical attention, every effort will be made to keep him alive, while simultaneously, grandma will be subjected to being cast upon an ice float in the Arctic. Conversely, Obama bragged about the great policies he and Congress have. Why are the American people not entitled to that plan? Perhaps the stars were not as fully aligned as Obama claimed they were during his press conference.

Another ridiculous part of the plan requires all employers to cover all employees. This will only lead to increased unemployment as employers who can not afford such a stringent coverage policy will simply cut their work force. And to what extent will employees actually be covered? When did employer provided health insurance become a right and not a privilege? Instead of the government dictating the policy, there should be more competition amongst health care providers and everybody will benefit.

Contact your representatives, or the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to find your representative, demand that they first read the “health care for all Americans” bill, then vote against it, thus preserving what is currently the best health care in the world.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sotomayor Compelling but not Court-Worthy

Sotomayor Compelling but not Court-Worthy
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 12, 2009

Let’s get the buzzwords out of the way so we can discuss what’s really important here. This is not about gender, as the Democrats blocked the Bush appointment of a qualified Janice Rogers Brown via filibuster. This is not about race – see the previous sentence about Ms. Brown who also happens to be black, not that that should matter. This is not about ethnicity, as the Democrats blocked the Bush appointment of a qualified Miguel Estrada, a native Honduran, via filibuster.

Both Brown and Estrada were nominated to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. And let the record show that Ms. Brown is the daughter of black sharecroppers who grew up in segregated Alabama, yet little was heard about her background from the so-called mainstream media. And even less has been heard about Justice Benjamin Cardozo (1870-1938), nominated by Republican President Herbert Hoover in 1932. Cardozo fits two minority molds having been both Jewish and of Spanish and Portuguese heritage.

This is not about how sympathetic one is based upon how hard one’s upbringing was. If that were the case, Clarence Thomas would not have been harangued by the hypocritical Democrats on the Judiciary Committee two decades ago. Anyone who has read or spoken about her past will admit to being impressed about how Judge Sonia Sotomayor has risen up from the Bronx projects of her youth to Cardinal Spellman to Princeton as an undergraduate and to Yale Law School. Not to take away from her accomplishments, but Sotomayor herself has admitted benefiting from a system of affirmative action. So too for Justice Thomas, but it does not rule his life or his decision-making process on the bench.

Compelling is the oft-used word to describe Sotomayor’s life story, and it is, but that does not give her automatic entrance onto the highest court in the nation. The 12 Democrats sitting on the Judiciary Committee can praise Sotomayor from here to San Juan and back, but all the platitudes in the world are merely a façade for the bigger issues that plague this nominee. Issues that the seven Republicans on the same Judiciary Committee will bring up to legitimately question the validity of this nominee’s fitness to serve an unchecked lifetime appointment.

This is about whether or not Sonia Sotomayor should serve a life term on the Supreme Court – the highest court in these United States. She should not. Using the Senator Obama method, sure Sotomayor is qualified, but that doesn’t mean she will get the votes from those who oppose her politically. Obama, when Senator of Illinois, practically said the same thing of current Chief Justice John Roberts, an eminently qualified jurist who somehow came up short in Obama’s mind.

Make no mistake, the Obama appointment of Sotomayor is both shrewd and overtly political. Shrewd as it puts the GOP senators’ collective backs to the wall already having enough problems securing Hispanic votes, and political, as it all but locks in Hispanic loyalty to Obama and the Democrats for the selection. Unfortunately, too many elected Republicans are afraid of their own shadows and will not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and vote against this nominee who will earn confirmation with well more than the necessary votes required. There are too few Tom Coburns (OK), Lindsey Grahams (SC) and Jeff Sessions (AL) in the GOP and too many Susan Collinses (ME), Olympia Snowes (ME) and George Voinoviches (OH).

Those who question whether or not the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee should use a full court press in their questioning of a nominee who will almost surely garner confirmation do not understand the process. This is not about the votes, but instead an opportunity for the members of the Senate who must vote yea or nay on Sotomayor to understand her judicial philosophy and the direction in which she sees the Supreme Court moving during her life tenure. The questioning will not entail hammering of a nominee, but a tempered, yet detailed probing to unearth the information required to make a cogent decision. This is also an opportunity for the American people to hear from Sotomayor first hand in an effort to gage what kind of justice she might become.

The Democrats will remind us that Judge Sotomayor is a mainstream candidate for the Supreme Court, after all she was initially nominated to the bench by President George Herbert Walker Bush upon the recommendation of the late Senator Pat Moynihan (D-NY). That the first President Bush appointed her is meaningless – see also retiring Justice David Souter, a disastrous appointment whose departure can’t come soon enough.

The bottom line of Sotomayor’s nomination ought to be about her words, her beliefs, her biases and her record. Having sat on the bench now for 17 years, Sotomayor has enough of a record that neither she nor her supporters can claim her words are being taken out of context. Sotomayor has tremendous experience, which clearly can be viewed as a double-edged sword.

Perhaps most damning are the 32 words she has uttered on more than one occasion. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] that a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” The word “better” is most troubling as Sotomayor is deigning to say outright that her background makes her decision-making process superior to any white male.

Juan Williams, author and commentator on National Public Radio as well as on Fox News, is certainly no conservative. He called Sotomayor’s statement racial on July 12. Rush Limbaugh said the same thing, but was excoriated for the comment simply because he is a conservative lightening rod. Sotomayor has since said she wished she had said those words in a better way. She meant what she said and has no regrets about it; and that’s fine – it gives us greater insight into how she will behave on the bench.

Our system of jurisprudence in the United States is supposed to be colorblind. Now, I am realistic enough to comprehend that clearly it has not been, is not now, and probably will never be in the future, but we do tend to inch ever so closer to that desire. Judge Sotomayor would set that notion back in its paces considerably. Perhaps the notion of a fair and balanced judicial system is anachronistic to both Obama and Sotomayor in this era of touchy-feely and empathy first in the courtroom, but that is not what the Founding Fathers laid out more than 200 years ago in a system that has admittedly been imperfect, but is still the best on record.

Most people don’t care if the nine jurists on the High Court’s bench are Latina, Latino, black, white or Asian, so long as they are not just qualified, but understand their purpose. The purpose is for the justices to interpret, not rewrite, the laws of the land. To interpret the Constitution and not write policy. Already, Sotomayor has that strike against her as she has said on more than occasion, that the Court of Appeals, where she has served, is where policy is made. That is a dangerous idea. The making of policy and creating legislation is, according to the Constitution, the purpose of the United States Congress – even as incompetent as it is.

Sotomayor has also suggested that gun ownership is not a fundamental right and that the states are not held to the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Last I checked, it is the 10th Amendment to the Constitution that tells us that that which is not defined by the previous nine amendments is left to the states. The second amendment does provide for “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” She has also come down on the side against people’s personal property rights on a number  of cases.

Then there’s the Ricci case, whose decision was just handed down by the Supreme Court less than three weeks ago. Twenty men, 19 white and one Hispanic sued the New Haven, CT Fire Department over a promotions exam that they passed but was thrown out denying the firefighters their just promotions simply because no black firefighters who took the same test earned a score qualifying them for the same promotion. The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, on which Sotomayor sits, upheld the lower court decision to deny the passing firefighters their promotions.

The Supreme Court overturned the ruling made by Sotomayor’s panel in a 5-4 decision on June 29. Sotomayor opined that in essence it is permissible to discriminate against one group in favor of another group. That the firefighters who passed the same test all others took should not be given the promotions they earned fairly is unconscionable. That the white and Hispanic firefighters should be penalized because the black firefighters were among those who did not pass the exam is absolutely discriminatory and it is a discrimination supported by Judge Sotomayor. And this was not the first time Sotomayor has been overturned by the Supremes – in fact four times out of six her decisions have been upended by the High Court.

Judge Sotomayor’s actions, judgments, rulings and writings are demonstrative of what is called judicial activism – the creation of rights not explicitly stated in the Constitution. This is not what being a Supreme Court justice is about, and although Sotomayor will almost surely be donning a High Court robe the first Monday in October, she must be watched carefully. The Senate must do its job – that’s what the system of checks and balances is about.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Monday, June 29, 2009

No Dark Path Here

No Dark Path Here
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 29, 2009

Cutting through Nancy Parker’s flowery language and bloviation (Who’s Out of Touch, June 18-24), this nation has most certainly not traversed down a dark path. In fact, this nation has risen above the dark and disturbing behavior of our enemies.

Those imprisoned at Guantanamo are captured enemy combatants. They have been afforded greater human rights than the allegedly free women in their home cultures. They are provided with religious materials, have their dietary laws adhered to and actually live.

The flipside of this dark path to which Ms. Parker refers is the numerous beheadings at the hands of those professing to be people of an allegedly peaceful faith.

It is not, as Ms. Parker asserts, a known fact that those held at Gitmo are neither criminals nor terrorists. Unless she has inside information to which the rest of the public is not privy, the detainees are enemy combatants, thus earning their one-way ticket to a cell. And, as they are not being held on American soil, they are not entitled to that which prisoners on American soil are entitled. Nor do they have a right of due process in American courts.

Ms. Parker would do well to take any BBC production with more than just a grain of salt. This propaganda machine of the left is both anti-American and anti-Semitic. And where are those so-called lawsuits being won against the US government? In an American court? The
World Court
– which has no jurisdiction here?

One needs not be singularly linked to 9/11 in order to be held as an enemy combatant. And I must question Ms. Parker’s sense of logic and reasoning regarding any alleged war crimes supposedly committed by the US where she claims this country has a responsibility to right so-called wrongs. Even if that assertion is true, and I believe it to be based upon faulty logic, righting wrongs does not entitle enemy combatants to the rights granted American citizens and certainly not a free pass.

I will agree with one cogent point put forth by Ms. Parker: “If our government’s priority is the safety and financial well being of the American citizens, we would be much more discreet about who is allowed in and who is not.” That’s true, because clearly, based upon no real immigration policy, our government has not been discreet regarding who is allowed entry upon our shores, nor has it done anything of any valid attempt to curtail the overrunning of our borders by those with no right to be here. That was a major failing of the previous administration only to be compounded by the blind eye of this administration.

(By the way, “their own country has failed them… and they want to make money,” that’s two reasons people are coming to this country, not “one reason, and one reason only,” as stated by Ms. Parker.)

Ms. Parker suggests the detainees “have none of the technical know how to try to escape.” I’m curious how she knows the intimate details of the detainees skill sets. Ms. Parker also said Rep. Moran is asking us, the inconvenienced citizens, “to allow those prisoners… to be housed under maximum security.” Hello, Ms. Parker? Are you not paying attention? Have any of the Gitmo prisoners escaped? Are they not under maximum security? We the people of these United States are safer and more secure with the prisoners at Gitmo where water and 90 miles separates them from us instead of on our mainland – in what most prison guards who have visited Gitmo attest to, better conditions there, than here.

Ms. Parker wants to know why such trials should take place here instead of in New York where the event of 9/11 took place. Here’s a history and geography lesson for you, Ms. Parker – 9/11 events also occurred at the Pentagon – ensconced within Jim Moran’s congressional district as well as in a field in Shanksville, PA. One more piece of historical context – take a look at some photos of Auschwitz before calling your backyard an American Auschwitz – that does nothing but demean the memory of all those who were murdered there.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Keep Local Elections In May

Keep Local Elections In May
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 7, 2009

Run, don’t walk to City Hall this Saturday, June 13 for the City Council Public Hearing. The most important docket item is a resolution requesting a referendum to appear on the November ballot moving City Council and School Board elections from May to November.

As a former candidate for the School Board, I strongly support the retention of May local elections, for although I was on record disparaging the pathetically paltry – 19 percent – turnout, at least the candidates found themselves center stage.

Let’s dispel the notion that moving local elections to November would increase turnout. Sure, more citizens may cast votes in November, but by adding the City Council and School Board races to a ballot that may include presidential, senate, congressional candidates one year, and governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state senate and house of delegate candidates another year, local candidates will simply receive less attention than they deserve.

Most voters are already under the misguided impression that the higher ranking office the more influential it is in our lives. Quite the contrary. The president represents over 300 million Americans before the global community. Members of the House of Representatives represent approximately 650,000 citizens. When someone’s Social Security check has been inexplicably delayed, they don’t call the White House, they call their Congressman.

On the state level, the governor in Richmond is not called to report a pothole, instead City Hall is contacted. Retaining May for local elections is vital for voters to become familiar with the candidates and the candidates to spend time hearing the concerns of their potential constituents.

Governance at the most local level is the most effective. Elected leaders are closer to their constituents, live in the same neighborhoods and are affected by the same issues. Moving local elections to November where the candidates and the issues can be lost within the shuffle of the seemingly more “important” offices will allow the majority party to become complacent, and responsibility and accountability to the voters would, in essence, disappear.

This is not a Democrat versus Republican issue. Instead this is a non-partisan issue that should give the voters a serious level of consternation. Even the League of Women Voters and local NAACP have expressed concern with the potential date amendment.

Those unable to attend the June 13 hearing due to religious observance, contact the City Council at 703-746-4500 or via the City website at As the great radio talk show host Bob Grant says, ending his program, “your influence counts – use it!”

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hughes' Struggle Not Uncommon

Hughes’ Struggle Not Uncommon
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 26, 2009

That Alexandria City Councilwoman-elect Alicia Hughes (I) is struggling to make ends meet may be a concern to her and those who care about her well-being, it certainly should not be grist for the mill of public opinion.

Defeated Councilman Tim Lovain (D), who commented on the eve of his defeat that in a city like Alexandria, no Democrat should lose, or words to that effect. Playing on his sour grapes mindset, he has set out to attempt to reverse a decision made by an electorate who obviously had enough of one-party rule in Alexandria.

In an unfriendly economic climate such as the one experienced by most Americans, Hughes fell behind in her rent payments, but at the same time did not shirk her financial responsibilities and has made good – according to both Hughes and her property manager. This same climate has dictated that a home owned by Hughes has yet to be put on the market – a smart financial decision made by someone entrusted with raising and spending the taxpayers’ money.

Lovain’s assertion also lends credence to the notion that only people of financial means should run for and serve in public office. That is just the elitist and arrogant attitude that cost him his seat.

It is also a might suspicious that eviction notices given Hughes allowed her a less than reasonable amount of time in which to respond. “Sheriff’s officials said they notified Hughes on April 24 that she would be evicted May 12.” (TWP, B1) An overly paranoid person might wonder if forces beyond her control were at work just two weeks prior to Election Day in Alexandria.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Moran Out Of Touch On Many Levels

Moran Out Of Touch On Many Levels
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 26, 2009

Congressman Jim Moran is out of touch – with both his constituents, and quite frankly, as well as with reality. Several weeks ago, Moran opined in another publication that the United States should not only close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, but that the detainees would be accepted by the good people of Alexandria – a major city within his Congressional District.

“By and large, Alexandrians are civic-minded people and are ready to do their duty if it serves the greater good,” wrote Moran.

It is not our duty to take prisoners of war, at best, and blood-thirsty terrorists hell-bent on destroying the United States and Western Civilization as we know it, at worst, out of a secure detention center for the purposes of giving them trials for which they are not entitled, on American soil where potential danger is an unnecessary possibility. When did it become the duty of non-uniformed citizens to be purposely put into harms way, Mr. Moran? This is not the kind of sacrifice civilians make during wartime. Cutting back on energy, raw materials, buying war bonds – these are the sacrifices civilians make in support of a war effort as our history has demonstrated.

Alexandrians “have shown this public spirit time and again. The ‘20th hijacker,’ Zacarias Moussaoui, who participated in planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon, was held and prosecuted in the Alexandria courthouse,” wrote Moran.

As a former resident of the Carlyle Towers condominiums located directly across the street from the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse and Detention Center in Alexandria, I can attest to the media circus that gathered day after day, not to mention the inconvenience of the simple exiting and entering our homes on a daily basis while the hearings and trials occurred. I can also attest to the fact that the overwhelming majority of residents opposed those activities, many of whom spoke their minds at a town hall-type meeting hosted by Moran in an effort to assuage people’s concerns.

Several years later, and with the advent of the Patent-Trademark Office and its population, such trials will be a bigger nightmare than Moran can imagine. And he demonstrated his lack of imagination when he wrote “taking the easy route and joining the chorus of those crying ‘not in my back yard’ is appealing. But that’s not the Alexandria I know and have represented in Congress for nearly 20 years.” This, clearly, is not 1989.

Perhaps that’s because you, Mr. Moran, are out of touch with your constituents and no longer know what is on their minds. You win reelection every two years like clockwork without breaking a sweat and often times taking voters for granted. In an unscientific survey of liberals, conservatives and neutrals alike, 84 percent of the people I communicated with are opposed to the shut down of Gitmo in the first place. Then, to top it off, 93 percent of the folks I communicated with oppose holding trials for terrorists in American courts such as here in Alexandria. Granted this is admittedly a non-scientific poll, but the honest, patriotic, generous people of Alexandria running the spectrum from right to left are speaking out, and you, sir are not listening.

Mr. Moran noted JFK’s call to accept challenges for a higher purpose, but this is not such a purpose, nor did he envision al Qaeda or the Taliban. The Soviet Union was tame by comparison.

When people have a mission to take innocent life, they cease to be part of the community of man and surrender the right to be treated as men. The home countries of these miscreants don’t want them back. That Obama wants Gitmo closed my mid-January 2010 is purely an arbitrary decision and deadline, which as more and more members of his own party have come to realize, makes less and less sense as there is no legitimate place to put these terrorists.

Guantanamo has been working out nicely, and to a person, those who have inspected it have commented that it appears in better condition that mainland prisons. The prisoner’s religious observances are being adhered to along with their dietary needs and they even have more exercise and prayer time with their fellow prisoners than if they were in a supermax prison in the US. Gitmo is a far cry from Auschwitz.

Mr. Moran uses as a reason to close Gitmo that both Obama and GOP presidential candidate Senator John McCain (AZ) pledged to shut it down. Fine, so they were both wrong. Using McCain as part of the defense is disingenuous at best, especially since he did not really represent the heart of the Republican Party during the 2008 election.

Further, the Congressman makes the mistake of writing that the enemy combatants are entitled to habeas corpus. Enemy combatants are not entitled to habeas corpus. As for the rules regarding the Geneva Convention, enemy combatants may be held until the cessation of hostilities.

Representative Moran referred to Guantanamo as a “stain” on the reputation of the United States and “on our national character,” when in fact, it is his and this administration’s appeasement to Islamo-terrorism that is the stain on this nation. Closing Gitmo will not endear the United States to the fanatics whose goal is to kill us. Appeasement failed miserably for Chamberlain and it certainly won’t work today.

Priority one is the safety of American citizens, not worrying about what other countries think of us. If our reputation is so tarnished, why then are millions of people trying to enter this country, not flee – and by any means necessary (another topic for another day). This is still the greatest and freest country on G-d’s earth.

We are at war against a flagless, borderless, nationless enemy – a war, by the way, Mr. Moran publicly blamed on the Jews just a few years ago. September 11, 2001 is not just a passing historical fact – the Pentagon is in Mr. Moran’s district, as is Arlington National Cemetery – the memories of those who rest there are being sullied by Congressman Moran’s callousness.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Two Strikes Enough for DC Gov't

Two Strikes Enough for DC Gov’t
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 4, 2009

Like petulant three-year-olds arguing over their favorite toy, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and the City Council should be ejected from their cushy-tushy box at Nationals Park and made to sit with the constituents they claim to represent. In this case, two strikes should be enough for the out.

For the second year in a row, 86 season tickets are the bones of contention. Several members of the City Council assert that Fenty is ostensibly holding the council’s tickets hostage – tickets that neither the mayor nor the council paid for. These are tickets to stadium suites and parking passes valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars; at 81 home games, that’s a total of 6,966 tickets. The notion of a government body accepting such gifts smacks of nothing short of graft. If the mayor or members of the council want to take in a Nationals game, and they are encouraged to do so, they can pay for their tickets like the rest of the grit-eating community.

Councilman Kwame Brown had the smart idea of auctioning off the tickets – 67 of which are allotted to the mayor and the remaining 19 to the council. Let’s face it, most of those seats remain empty throughout the season. Quite frankly, most seats around Nationals Park are empty with the product that’s being put on the field. Perhaps instead of auctioning the tickets, they should be given to honor role students for setting a good academic example. Perhaps they could be used for Make-a-Wish style give-aways. People are not clamoring for seats to Nationals games. John Lennon and George Harrison could rise from the dead and the Beatles couldn’t fill that stadium. The only prayer of filling Nationals Park was when Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit last year.

Make no mistake, it’s great that the nation’s capital finally has a team after 31 years of dormancy, but this was not an expansion team, but instead the move of an existing team – the team formerly known as the Montreal Expos. And as nice a stadium as Nationals Park is, public/government funding of stadiums is a big no-no. Teams should be footing the bill for their own ballpark; after all, who reaps the rewards? The team owners. If taxpayer dollars are utilized, then the taxpayers ought to be shareholders entitled to dividends, or in this case, tickets.

For as nice as the ballpark experience is, and it is, it’s just too much of a hassle to wait for Metro before and after the game in crowded stations, or afford the parking lot fees, plus the cost of food not to mention the outrageous notion of charging $29.95 for a book of 100 blank scorecards, as advertised while watching a Nationals game on television one night last week. One announcer shamelessly endorsed the blank-paged book by saying there are helpful hints on how to keep a proper scorecard. Folks – here’s a nickel’s worth of free advise: go online, print out a scorecard, bring it with you to the stadium. If you want some helpful hints as to how to fill it out, I’ll post them to my website for free. There you go; 30 bucks saved; buy your friend Sanford a kosher dog next time you see him at the ballpark.

Another Nationals-related travesty is the recent decision that the city will pay the costs to keep Metro running overtime when the Nationals play into the wee hours. This should have been a no-brainer. That should be an E-DC. The Nationals organization should without a doubt be coughing up the dough here. Could the city be kissing the team’s tuchus any more?

Ultimately, when Metro raises it rates to cover the overtime to the tune of $27,000 an hour, all Metro riders will pay the price. Two hours of overtime could pay an experienced teacher’s salary for a year. Apparently the city has been paying the freight on overtime since the return of baseball to DC in 2005 as the Nationals have refused to pay for the service. Nationals fans already pay enough to attend a game as it is. The team is the one entity raking in the bucks during rain delays, extra-inning affairs and double-headers, not that a real double-header exists any more.

The District ought to reverse its call, demand the team fork over the dinero for the overtime or see its fans stranded. Angry fans do not revisit ballparks when the team is the cause of their ire. The team cannot afford to alienate any more fans as it is. It’s high time the Washington Nationals remember their first name is Washington and become a homer.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA. He is a lifelong New York Mets fan.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Obama, et al, Need Sensitivity Training

Obama, et al, Need Sensitivity Training
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
April 28, 2009

In plain English, what the hell is the matter with this pinhead masquerading as a leader? An unannounced fly-over Ground Zero in Manhattan for the purpose of a photo op near the Statue of Liberty by a plane serving as a backup to Air Force One not to mention the accompaniment of the fighter jet escorts. As Chandler Bing on Friends would say, could that BE more insensitive?

Thousands of people working Monday, April 27, in New York City, on a calm, clear spring day, when unnecessary panic ensued thanks to an overzealous administration simply trying to provide a media photo. Apparently the flight was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, but the FAA ordered an information blackout. The needless scare sent multitudes running for cover in what could have turned into an injury-laden panic.

Hey, while you’re at it Mr. Obama, why not send some brown-shirted goose-steppers into the local synagogue and a few guys in white hoods traipsing through a Selma church.

Therapists all around the New York metropolitan area are working overtime to begin with, now this idiotic decision, which White House spokesman Robert Gibbs claimed no knowledge. This is actually believable considering the man couldn’t find his own tuchus with both hands.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani called this “a terrible mistake,” rightfully chiding the Obama administration. “If it had to be done, all kinds of public announcements should have been made. Why are we spending money on this?” After all the self-righteous talk criticizing the use of private planes, added “America’s Mayor.”

The price tag for this moronic stunt has been estimated to be $325,835, said Tom Schatz with Citizens Against Government Waste. And even I, your humble scribe and avowed technotard, have heard of Adobe Photo Shop.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called this event “appalling… knowing full well that New Yorkers would still have the memory of 9/11 sketched in their minds.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) said he was “furious” that he had not been given an advance heads up and that if he had, he would have fought such an insensitive act.

There is no doubt a public announcement should have been made days in advance via multi-media sources to quell a potential panic, but this is typical of the thoughtlessness coming out of the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, while the apologist in chief is gallivanting around the world criticizing his own country and making nice with despotic dictators, back at home he has a Secretary of Homeland Security who should no longer hold her post.

Janet Napolitano, the former Arizona governor, had the audacity to call honored military veterans right wing extremists and potential domestic terrorists on the heels of a successful peaceful tax day protest. A government document, for which Napolitano offered a disingenuous apology, all but accused veterans of greater criminal activity than non-veterans and that conservative activists in general are the cause of national security problems. Additionally, this alleged intelligence assessment targeted conservatives in general, but more specifically any American opposing Obama’s social engineering, as well as those who oppose abortion, same sex marriage, and supporters of the Second Amendment. Additionally, Napolitano has called on local and state law enforcement to investigate such “miscreants.”

Napolitano has also said that strict border monitoring is not yet necessary. So it really should not be a surprise that she said “crossing the border illegally is not a crime.” Napolitano is referred to Section B, Title 1325 of the U.S. Code that states otherwise. As the former governor of a border state with Mexico, she of all people should be painfully aware of the trials and tribulations Arizonans, Californians, New Mexicans and Texans have endured. The Phoenix-metropolitan area is now the ranked as the worst and most likely place to be kidnapped in the United States, and Napolitano isn’t rankled by this horrifying piece of information?

Meanwhile, as Napolitano is ineffective as Homeland Security chief, she is now trying her hand as Secretary of Health and Human Services speaking out about the swine flu situation. Perhaps she can insult that away. She should not be holding either of those jobs.

Yet, sadly, the new HHS secretary is no more fit for that position than Napolitano. Former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, is a strong supporter of abortion rights to the point of siding with, and receiving, campaign contributions to the tune of thousands of dollars from late-term abortionist George Tiller, a.k.a. Tiller the Baby Killer. Her appointment will put a radical stamp on HHS.

Sebelius won Senate approval on Tuesday by a 65-31 margin with three senators not voting. Shame on the eight Republican senators who voted for Sebelius. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both Maine RINOs did not surprise anyone with their support of Sebelius. Neither did George Voinovich (OH), Judd Gregg (NH) or Richard Lugar (IN). However, yea votes from Kit Bond (MO) and both Kansas senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts were surprising and disappointing, especially from ardent pro-lifer Brownback who hopes to succeed Sebelius in Topeka. Had the eight Republicans stood together as the Democrats did, Sebelius could, and should, have been sent packing.

With continued administration insults and insensitivities toward more and more Americans, the GOP had better be in the trenches laying the groundwork for a strong offensive in 2010.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.