Friday, January 30, 2009

Steele Will Have the Mettle to Lead the RNC

Steele Will Have the Mettle to Lead the RNC
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 30, 2009

After five ballots, I am pleased to announce that my friend and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael Steele won election to become chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Not that Michael would make an issue of this, but he becomes the first black chairman of the RNC and brings enthusiasm and a popularity that will help grow the party as well as help lead the GOP back to victory starting with support of gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey this year, followed by retaking the House of Representatives in 2010. The GOP can retake the House when it nominates real Republican candidates who stand for fiscal conservatism and responsibility instead of handouts, bailouts and surrendering to the whims and slothful behavior of a Democratic Party who believe in womb to tomb Socialistic policies tethering a soon to be once free people to the puppet strings of government.

It is my hope as a Jewish Republican to see the tent of the GOP expand to include the fiscally and socially conservative Jews, blacks and Hispanics. These are constituencies that should have a natural affinity toward the Republican Party because of the desire to educate their children, believe in the family values of attending synagogue or church, working hard to provide for their families, support a strong military to defend this great nation, and a belief in personal responsibility, freedom and liberty.

I congratulate Michael Steele on becoming the new chairman of the RNC – to lead the party of Abraham Lincoln, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Little More Hoover, A Lot Less FDR

“The stimulus package being discussed is politically smart and economically stupid.” – Economist, Walter E. Williams

A Little More Hoover, A Lot Less FDR
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 28, 2009

Don’t fix the stimulus package, as some are clamoring for. Instead flush the damn thing down the crapper, because if it is passed, the nation will surely follow. While the House of Representatives voted “aye” on January 28 by a margin of 244-188, the Senate still has to take its turn at bat. Kudos to the entire roster of Republicans and the 11 Democrats smart enough to comprehend what a boondoggle this $825 billion piece of detritus is.

I seem to recall Proverbs reminding us that “haste maketh waste.” This latest rush to judgment has a typical government mantra of hurry up and wait as roughly seven percent of the so-called stimulus package will actually see the light of day before 2009 crosses the finish line. The hardcore spending on alleged economic stimulus won’t see the light of day until 2010 or even 2011.

Under Section 1 of H.R. 1 the Short Title is the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” This 647-page document is more pork-laden than a county fair in Iowa. The oversight costs alone are egregious. The “Government Accountability Office – Salaries and expenses $25,000,000 for oversight activities relating to this Act.” (P. 11) That’s the tip of a massive iceberg, demonstrating that Al Gore hasn’t clue one about global warming, by the way. Every category and every department involved has a similar price tag for salaries and expenses – just another boondoggle to pad the cost of government paying itself to oversee itself handing out money.

The first question anyone with a pulse must ask regarding the billions in salaries is, aren’t all the people working on these projects and programs already drawing a salary being gainfully employed by the government in the fist place? If not, then the unemployment crisis is single-handedly solved with this one stimulus package. Since that clearly is not the case, why does this so-called stimulus package list salaries as part of the expenditures to the tune of billions of dollars? If you are scratching your dome wondering the same things, pick up the telephone and call the House switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your member of Congress.

Here’s just a slice of the myriad ridiculous spending orgy:

Under the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Operations, Research and Facilities: “$400,000,000, for habitat restoration and mitigation activities.” (P. 52) Whose habitat? Certainly not people, as housing concerns are in another section.

Same administration: Procurement, Acquisition and Construction: “$600,000,000, for accelerating satellite development and acquisition, acquiring climate sensors and climate modeling capacity, and establishing climate data records.” (P. 52) If we don’t already have this, why do we suddenly need it? And how exactly is this stimulating the economy?

Under the category of Energy and Water: “For an additional amount for ‘Regulatory Program’, [sic] $25,000,00.” (P. 61) First of all, the comma belongs inside the quotation mark a consistent error throughout the document, and more importantly, there is no explanation as to what this “Regulatory Program” is or for what the money is to be used. Again, how does this stimulate the economy?

The Department of Energy: Fossil Energy: calls for $2.4 BILLION “for necessary expenses to demonstrate carbon capture and sequestration technologies.” That’s a hell of a lot of money for a “demonstration.” This will no doubt turn into an indictment against the automobile industry, which we are already bailing out to the tune of billions of dollars. Another fine example of robbing Peter to pay Paul. But since this is government related, I shouldn’t use such a phrase because the ever-so-touchy separation of church and state people might get offended.

Here’s a dandy from “Title VI – Financial Services and General Government: Subtitle A – General Services: Energy Efficient Federal Motor Vehicle Fleet Procurement,” the government will spend $600 million for the “acquisition of motor vehicles, including plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles.” (P. 76) Let’s try and wrap our brains around this one. The government, after bailing out the automobile industry for billions of dollars, is now going to spend another $600 million of taxpayer dollars on vehicles for, um, itself? We, the taxpayers are shelling out so the government can replace government vehicles.

Billions of dollars are listed as expenditures where no explanation is provided. The powers that be, and in this case, the Congressional Democrats, are counting on the American people either not reading this document or not caring about what is in it because we are beginning to trundle down the path of the nanny state. Once the American people have fallen hook, line and sinker for alleged stimulus packages it will be too late to turn back. The cat is crawling out of the bag and she is a socialist.

Explain how giving the Smithsonian Institution $150 million for “facilities capital” will stimulate the economy. (P. 121) Taxpayers already pay for the care and feeding of the Smithsonian via tax dollars and the benefit derived there is the free of charge admissions to visit these great museums. I suggest that any non-citizen be required to pay an admissions fee. Want to see Archie Bunker’s chair? Pony up a few bucks. I’m sure whatever country you come from owes the United States a war debt or two.

Then there’s another $50 million granted to the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts for the purpose of funding “art projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit art sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn.” (P. 122)

In other words the government will fund the arts because the private sector can’t any longer? Well, if the SEC could manage to do its job and prevent Bernie Madoff from his $50 billion Ponzi scheme, the arts wouldn’t have to suffer. So, because of government incompetence in the first place – the inability of the SEC to catch a thief, (hmm, a clever name for a TV show) the government is bailing out the arts community. Wow, government logic is like no other – thank goodness for that.

Keep the government out of the arts. If an artist is successful, then he or she can make a living at it. If an artist is unsuccessful, either keep trying or find another career, but don’t ask me to shell out for your lifestyle. Find a sponsor the way artists did in Europe. Musicians did the same thing – they found sponsors or patrons to pay for them to do their creative works. If nobody visits a particular museum why should the government use tax dollars to keep it afloat.

Sadly, I am not being paid to write this column. I send it to various places in hopes of having it published and having enough readers want to read my work that someone will pay me to provide the kind of written works that will draw an increasing number of readers to a publication for it to be cost effective. Based upon the logic of the government giving grants to the NEA, they should be showing some love to SDH as well.

If the Obama administration is hell-bent on stimulating the economy of the United States, stop sending money overseas. Not letting the Bush tax cuts expire will help stimulate the economy. Permanently eliminating the death tax would stimulate the economy. Cutting taxes across the board will stimulate the economy because when people have more money in their pockets, they spend it. We, unfortunately, have proven as a nation that we are spenders and not savers.

When people are out of work, they spend less. Cutting taxes puts money in people’s hands. That money is spent on products and services – products and services that require employees to produce. These are employees that are hired by businesses small and large who in turn pay taxes – tax dollars that feed the kitty of the giant porker in Washington, DC.

Having cherry-picked some of the more egregious items and having only reached page 122 for the purposes of this column, just under 19 percent of the 647 page monstrosity, I will say more about other parts of this bill sooner rather than later. Some of the other highlights, or in this case, lowlights, include $160 billion of federal money going directly to the states – call it a bailout of states who can’t seem to manage their own fiscal houses.

Another lowlight is the unconscionable amount of $5.2 billion, yes, billion with a “b” going to ACORN – the allegedly non-profit organization currently under federal investigation for massive voter fraud. Yes, ACORN, the same organization due to receive about $100 million from the first bailout worth about $700 billion last September to which House GOP members objected. And there is also the more $300 billion in interest alone this heinous bill will cost not just us, and not just my five and eight-year-old nieces, but their grandchildren’s generation. If that is not daunting enough o make people sit up and take notice, little else will.

Sadly, economist Walter Williams was correct when he declared this so-called stimulus package “politically smart and economically stupid.” It is politically smart because all the lemmings and sheeple that put Obama into office are thrilled that their guy is taking care of them, as a review of more of the document will demonstrate. However, it is economically stupid and perhaps suicidal, as this womb to tomb mentality will plunge the economy into an irrevocable disaster from which we will not be able to emerge intact. The rich will be taxed so deeply they will cease to be rich and there will be fewer rich people from whom to fleece. When the redistribution of wealth fund well runs dry everyone will suffer from the same parched state with no water in sight.

With tax cuts and prudent, responsible economic policies the nation will recover. It seems government like to do its tweaking with a sledgehammer when one is not needed, thus doing more damage. FDR did not pull the nation out the Great Depression via his New Deal. Sure FDIC was a good idea, but it took World War II to cure this nation’s economic ills. May G-d have mercy on the United States of America. Nero is rosining up his bow.

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

Monday, January 26, 2009

More Morantics, and Mrs. Morantics, Too

More Morantics, and Mrs. Morantics, Too
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 26, 2009

Usually we can count on the irascible Democratic Congressman Jim Moran (VA-8) for entertainment whenever he decides to open his mouth, but this time the irascibility was a tag-team effort with his wife LuAnn Bennett who both caused a scene on Inauguration Day at the Capitol.

Shortly after Obama uttered the words “the time has come to set aside childish things,” during his inaugural dicta, Moran’s wife demanded entry into the Capitol Building during the time when the Obamas were escorting the Bushes to their departing helicopter. Capitol police put up a barricade during President and Mrs. Bush’s departure, allowing entry to members only, which apparently ruffled the feathers of Bennett who after loudly arguing with the officers phoned her husband.

Moran, who upon hitting the scene was full of his usual bluster, shouted at the officer who refused Bennett entry – correctly doing his job, until he relented and allowed Bennett entry. By the way, the officers did not allow Mrs. Larry Summers entry. John Lawrence, Nancy Pelosi’s Chief of Staff, understood the rules and waited patiently.

Cleary this is not an attack on Democrats as two of them had no issues with the policy. As usual Moran and apparently his wife believe the rules are not for them. This may seem like a non-issue, but it is a prime example of what is wrong with our alleged leaders. Moran’s behavior has been chronicled since his days before being elected mayor of Alexandria. Between his litany of physical assaults and foot in mouth disease the voters, ignorant that they are, continue to return this buffoon to Congress every other year like clockwork.

Since 2002 I have seen GOP candidates come and go in the revolving door attempting to take down this Brahman bully, who for some reason has always been nice to me – really. (Probably until now, that is.) Quite frankly, if I could raise $3 million, I would challenge him in 2010. Any fund raisers out there?

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

GOP Waves White Flag on Hillary

GOP Waves White Flag on Hillary
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 21, 2009

With a vote of 94-2, the GOP has surrendered and capitulated, thus becoming the party of superfluousness. Two Democratic parties are not necessary, as the original is bad enough. In addition to the elected Democrats, there are now the RINOs behaving like fawning sycophants. Not only should Clinton not have been approved, neither should Geithner (Treasury), Holder (AG), Solis (Labor), Daschle (HHS), Duncan (Education) and La Hood (Transportation) be confirmed - EVER. For reasons why, please read my column: "The Time is Now for GOP to Grow a Set" at

Kudos go to Senators Jim De Mint (R-SC) and David Vitter (R-LA) for having the stones to stand up, do what is right and cast the two lone "nay" votes against Hillary.

Even the reliable Republican Kansas Senator Pat Roberts told Geithner during his continuing confirmation hearing that he would be confirmed. How can the Senate vote to confirm a tax evader and one who harbored an employee whose legal status expired under his watch. Do we really want a person in charge of the IRS who flagrantly snubbed his nose at that institution?

RINOs who continue down their current path should be prepared to face tough primary fights from real Republicans in 2010.

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

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Time is Now for GOP to Grow a Set

“I will make mistakes.” – Barack Obama, January 17, 2009

“All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” – 4th President James Madison

The Time is Now for GOP to Grow a Set
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 17, 2009

Truer words could not have been spoken on the day the rhetoric express train pulled out of
30th Street
Station in Philadelphia with stops in Wilmington, DE to pick up the Bidens before stopping in Baltimore prior to the ultimate destination of Washington, DC.

Simply examine the choices Barack Obama has made for his cabinet. “We need to build up this government,” Obama said in the City of Brotherly Love, which demonstrated its nickname with an outpouring for Obama, his wife Michelle, who was celebrating her 45th birthday, and their two daughters.

Well, to paraphrase the greatest president of the 20th Century, Ronald Reagan, message to Obama: “Tear down this government!” Make no mistake, this is not a plea for anarchy, but instead for smaller, sensible, reasonable government.

Consider the words of the third president, Thomas Jefferson, who in a letter to Thomas Cooper in November 1802 wrote “I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” No doubt the patriarch of the modern Democratic Party is spinning six feet under at the notion of how large this government is 207 years later. During Jefferson’s administration there were but five cabinet departments: State, Treasury, War, Navy and Attorney General.

Today there are three times as many cabinet departments and numerous cabinet-level positions to be filled by people who, so far, have proven Obama’s words, “I will make mistakes,” all too true. Even if the Obama cabinet were of Jeffersonian proportions, objections should be cast on three of the five departments: State, Treasury and Attorney General.

This is where the Republicans in the Senate, regarding confirmation hearings, must heed the words of another Reagan – Nancy, and “just say no.” It is not the least bit obstructionist for the minority party to vote against a cabinet nomination who, for one reason or another, should not be approved. For some reason too many Republicans feel the need to rubber stamp Obama’s nominees, either out of fear or a go along to get along philosophy, which is not why those people were sent to Washington in the first place.

“Spineless,” is the word former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee used on January 17 to describe members of his own party. “We used to stand for something,” he said.

The Republicans would do well to remember the words of Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States. “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

For starters, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) should not be confirmed as Secretary of State.  She carries with her too much baggage. Former President Bill Clinton has a multi-billion dollar conflict of interest with the money donated to his foundation by foreign governments, some of which are suspect at best. The now former Senator Clinton said she couldn’t understand why she was questioned about her husband’s dealings making an obtuse statement about how a cabinet nominee’s spouse has never been an issue before. How many cabinet nominee’s spouses have been president of the United States? Not a trick question, Hillary.

It’s probably a fair assumption that Elaine Chao fielded a question or two pertaining to her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), prior to signing on as Labor Secretary. Aside from a minor dust-up over Bill, the remainder of the Hillary hearing featured the committee sycophantically fawning over the one-time presidential hopeful. Hillary Clinton no doubt will become the next Secretary of State, but it should not be handed to her on a silver platter.

For this next nominee of Treasury Secretary designate Timothy Geithner, readers will assume hell has frozen over as I assert conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer is wrong and the New York Times was right – there it is in print boys and girls. Krauthammer calls Geithner’s unpaid taxes a “triviality,” while the Times calls his nomination “tainted.” It is far from trivial when the person nominated to oversee, among other things, the IRS, has tax issues. In this case, Geithner failed to fork over about $43,000 in back Social Security and self-employment taxes, including interest, but no penalties, from his days working for the IMF. If everyone else is subjected to paying their taxes, so should the person picked to be top dog at Treasury.

Additionally, Geithner continued to have a housekeeper whose legal status lapsed in his employ claiming he was unaware of the situation. Ignorance is no excuse. This person worked for Geithner, he should have been on top of things. Too many Republicans want to give Geithner a free pass because he was a Wall Street guy and would probably be a better pick from the GOP perspective than someone else Obama could nominate. But there is a principle at stake here – first the tax issue and then the lapsed legal status of the housekeeper. Do the names Zoe Baird, Linda Chavez and Kimba Wood ring any bells? Geithner will also win confirmation, but shouldn’t.

Attorney General nominee Eric Holder conjures up thoughts of the Peter Principle. He was a disaster as Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton, now he’s up for a promotion, in a way. Staring with Holder the private practice attorney, he represented banana producer Chiquita, who paid boatloads of “protection” money to AUC and FARC terror organizations in Colombia. These organizations were responsible for exports of cocaine and massacres of thousands of people.

As Deputy AG, Holder recommended pardons for tax-evader-fugitive Marc Rich as well as members of FALN, a Puerto Rican terror organization – only one of which Holder claims he regrets. He said he made mistakes as Deputy AG, but mistakes that will help him on the job at the nation’s top lawyer. This from the guy who wrote that there is no definition of terrorists or terrorism. It should be a cold day in Guam before Holder is made Attorney General, but he will be confirmed by the Senate lemmings – Elephant and Jackass alike. With little exception, it’s becoming harder to tell them apart.

Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) should not be confirmed as Labor Secretary for the simple reason that she has stated publicly on more than one occasion that she is opposed to secret ballots for union workers. In this republic of the United States secret ballots have been used for a couple hundred years with much success, but Solis does not think union workers should be afforded such a “luxury.” She is wrong and her nomination ought to be rejected.

Arne Duncan, the now former head of schools in Chicago, should go back to the Windy City instead of standing to be the next Education Secretary. Only 17 percent of eighth graders are able to read at grade level in Chicago. In addition to being mired in academic hell, as test scores demonstrate, Duncan supported a “gay high school.” This is not 1896 and Plessy v. Ferguson is no longer law of the land. The notion of a gay high school, or any other segregated school, for that matter will not be good for its students who will be sheltered from the real world that they inevitably will have to face. Duncan should get a permanent time-out.

And to be fair, not all nominees to be rejected are Democrats. Former Representative Ray La Hood (R-IL) should be denied the opportunity to be the next Transportation Secretary. In 2008 alone La Hood sent up legislation calling for $60 million in earmarks, ranking him in the top 10 percent of all Congressional porkers. This was partly made possible by sitting on the highly coveted Appropriations Committee and allowed La Hood to funnel larded-up legislation toward some of his more generous political donors.

One specific example is the $330,000 earmarked for the Lakeview Museum in Peoria, IL as part of a project financed by Caterpillar – La Hood’s biggest donor. The project is a museum of the history of the company. Do not misunderstand, museums are good learning experiences. I am a founding member and contributor to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as the National Museum of the American Indian. But if corporate America wants museums to honor themselves, they can also pay for it themselves. Give La Hood a bus ticket back to Illinois.

In addition to the earmarks, wrong in their own right, there are the bailouts – of anyone and any institution that wants one apparently. Bailouts were wrong under George W. Bush and will be just as wrong under Obama. Not just wrong, but unconstitutional to boot. Republicans who voted for the bailout prior to November should have been turned out of office. Those who do so after January 20 should be dismissed in November 2010. Bailouts are not part of core GOP values. Real Republicans ought to be lining up to challenge the RINOs who support bailouts in primaries. Two sets of Democrats in Congress are not necessary.

Republicans should not be afraid to do the right thing. It is not obstructionist to tell potential homeowners to only buy a home they can actually afford. It is not obstructionist to tell businesses to sell what consumers will actually want to buy. If the auto industry is not willing to change itself in order to succeed, the government should not throw good money after a stubborn, insolent group of CEOs who feel entitled simply because their companies have been around for a century or more.

“The power to tax is the power to destroy,” said Chief Justice John Marshall.

The federal government should not be taxing the so-called rich more simply because they earn more money than their less fortunate peers. They key word is “earn.” The federal government should not be giving people who did not pay taxes a tax “rebate.” That is called state-sponsored welfare. This is not France, not yet, anyway; this is still the United States of America.

Couple Ike’s words with those of Mr. Conservative himself, Barry M. Goldwater, who said “We shall return to proven ways – not because they are old, but because they are true.” When the GOP can do that, they will stop wandering the desert in obscurity and irrelevance and return to their former greatness when they were leaders, not followers, this nation will also return to its status as leaders of the free world instead of cow-towing to an allegedly mainstream media that is socialist at best, a Europe that is an economic and moral wasteland and radical left-wing extremists seeking to turn the United States into a government-run, cradle to grave caretaker.

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kaine's Prison Plan Should Be Handcuffed

Kaine’s Prison Plan Should Be Handcuffed
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 13, 2009

So Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is interested in letting a few “good” prisoners out of the gray bar hotel 90 days early as a cost-cutting measure claiming they are “non-violent offenders who have been model inmates” and were due for a 30 day early dismissal, according to an article written by Anthony Barkow of New York.

Barkow, who authored “In Kaine’s Budget Plan, a Reality Check for Prisons,” is executive director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of Law. He penned this biased editorial to sing the praises of this early release plan of the non-violent, noting that “prominent Republicans” with backgrounds in criminal justice policy support this plan, but only names one Republican. Barkow then criticizes the current Virginia Attorney General, Bob McDonnell, the presumptive GOP nominee for governor later this year for not marching in lock-step with this less than savory idea.

Meanwhile, in Barkow’s Empire State, the king of the Ponzi Scheme, Bernie Madoff – pronounced Made-off, as in what he did with $50 billion – yes, billion with a “b” in people’s retirements and charitable organizations’ funds, rests easy in his $7 million home, instead of in a prison cell. People nationwide are outraged, and rightfully so, that a lowlife like Madoff is allowed to breathe the air of a free person while countless numbers of people have been bilked out of their life savings and charitable organizations are unable to do the good works they have done for years.

Just because a criminal is non-violent doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t be incarcerated. In the case of Madoff, the death penalty is not unreasonable, after all, his misdeeds have inalterably affected the lives of people too old to return to work and certainly could not recoup their losses. Some people have even committed suicide because of the actions of this miscreant.

But back to the Commonwealth of Virginia and down the slippery slope the prison system is about to slide. Barkow claims more than $1 billion is spent annually on incarceration in Virginia and labels tough-on-crime positions “irrational,” suggesting that the non-violent offender who pose no danger to society not be imprisoned. As is typical of liberals, Barkow offers no suggestion as to his appropriate method of punishment, for although they may be non-violent, they are still convicts.

Barkow also suggests that to continue to incarcerate the non-violent offenders, schools and additional police on the streets will lose funding. Of course those scare tactics are exactly what he has in mind. Instead of calling for an to pork-barrel spending and a diminution of special-interest funding, which would make the most sense, Barkow wants to instill fear in the hearts and minds of the citizenry in order to garner support for a lame-brained idea.

There’s a reason Republicans like former governor and senator George Allen pushed hard for no parole in Virginia. When a criminal is sentenced to a term of 10 years for example, he or she serves that amount of time. There should not be early release for good behavior. Instead, there should be extended sentences for bad behavior. Stricter sentences should be the order of the day, not more lenient sentences.

Barkow went so far as to praise Kaine as a governor with “guts” for telling “people that the criminal justice system has gone too far.” Well, to be fair, Barkow is right – the criminal justice system has gone too far, just not in the way he thinks or in the right direction.

Prison should not be a pleasant experience for any inmate – white collar, blue collar or ministerial collar. Since when do prisoners have a constitutional right to cable or any television, for that matter. Weight rooms? Athletic equipment? Gone. If prisoners don’t want their muscles to atrophy, don’t commit crimes and end up in the clink. There’s some money saved as well. Strip these prisons down to their bare bones minimum. Prisoners ought to live like minimalists – smaller cells allow for more prisoners to be housed. If a prisoner wants books, newspapers or other reading material, let them procure it from the outside when family or friends visit. No more computers, radios or other electronic luxuries – after all prison is just that, and not summer camp.

Busy prisoners ought to be productive prisoners learning trades such as carpentry, plumbing, cooking, even first aid skills, all of which are marketable on the outside upon release having served their entire sentences. Any prisoner with a skill or a talent can teach other inmates.

Governor Kaine would be wise to procure a page out Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s playbook. Known around the country as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” he runs the force in Maricopa County Arizona where there are both male and female chain gangs, prisoners painting over graffiti, cleaning the streets and even burying the indigent. Inside the prison Arpaio is known to have the cheapest meals in the United States – averaging roughly 15 cents and the inmates are only fed twice a day.

Now before all the ACLUeless attorneys get their briefs in a twist, once again, for those prisoners who object, don’t become a criminal. They make their choices and those choices come with consequences. There’s a boatload of money to be saved and trimmed from the budget without violating anyone’s rights or giving free passes to non-violent offenders.

While on the budget-trimming subject, any non-indigent sentenced must pay a fine and the money goes in the education and/or transportation coffers. Illegals should not be put in American prisons, but instead, deported to their country of origin. Notice, I do not say illegals who have committed a crime, because once they have taken that first illegal step on American soil, they have broken the law. And for those white collar criminals who have stolen from investors, raided pension funds, bilked charities, all their assets should be liquidated in order to make some form of remuneration to the victims. They may be non-violent, but their crimes certainly are not victimless and they do deserve to fulfill their reservations at the gray bar hotel – sans room service.

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

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Israel v. Hamas - No Moral Equivalent

Israel v. Hamas – No Moral Equivalent
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 3, 2009

“We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” – Golda Meir (1898-1978), former Israeli Prime Minister

For Israel, the axis of evil is Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran with the latter supporting the two terror groups. With all three entities hell-bent on the destruction and eradication of the Jewish state, aside from ignorance and jealousy, one must wonder why.

In the current conflagration pitting democracy against terrorist organization, as usual, Israel is criticized globally for, first, defending itself, then deigning to retaliate in an effort to defeat its enemy. This is an enemy that places martyrdom and the elimination of Israel above the betterment of its own people.

When given Gaza by Israel in 2005, a colossal mistake supported by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, a candidate for Prime Minister, the Palestinian Authority allowed its rule to be usurped by Hamas who did nothing to create a livable infrastructure, economy, educational system or employment prospects for its own Palestinian people. Instead, Hamas focused its energies on smuggling in weaponry and armament, digging tunnels from which to attack Israel and continuing to blame Israel for its further failures and shortcomings as an alleged society.

Israel, for all its initial restraint, not only has the right to defend itself, but must destroy an enemy emphasizing the extermination of Israel as priority one. If Israel loses a war, it ceases to exist. If Hamas is only defeated militarily, yet remains in existence, eventually they will reload and continue down their destructive path of terror and teaching their children to hate and kill Jews, Israelis, Americans and the United States.

President George W. Bush issued strong condemnation of Hamas for provoking Israel as well as Hamas’s willingness to violate the ceasefire that Egypt helped to arrange. “Another one-way ceasefire that leads to rocket attacks on Israel is not acceptable,” said Bush as part of his radio address on January 3, 2009.

That Israel should be criticized and condemned by so many for alleged disproportionate retaliation against Hamas demonstrates pure ignorance. This is especially true of American Jewish liberals who are so quick to call for land for peace agreements. Should the Nazis have been allowed to continue to exist in a diminished capacity? Of course not, and neither should any other entity whose primary goal is the elimination of any democratic nation. By the way, critics of Israel, what would the appropriate proportional response by Israel be to terrorist attacks? Join hands and sing Kumbaya?

The late, great Rabbi Meir Kahane (1932-90) was absolutely correct when he said that one does not cede land for peace nor does one return captured land in victory. When you lose, you lose, Kahane would frequently remind people. After all, was Panama returned to Colombia? Was the former Czechoslovakia returned to Germany? Is there a free and independent South Vietnam? Did the United States return the portions of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah won after defeating Mexico in 1848?

Former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who hopefully will ascend to that office again this year, correctly opposed the ceding of Gaza, as land for peace is mere lip service. Once the land is gone, it is lost, while peace is fleeting or even mythical at best.

Don’t make the mistaken assumption that there is any moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. Not only does Hamas have no qualms targeting civilians – including, and especially, women and children, they enlist their own women and children as homicide bombers. Hamas also hides and stores their munitions in civilian-sensitive locales such as schools and mosques knowing that Israel would be faced with a Sophie’s Choice of either not striking those sites, or doing so as the risk of global political and media condemnation. And don’t forget that Hamas leaders also hide within the civilian population for the same reasons. Shrewd, maniacal cowards.

The questions to be asked are why should Israel give a rat’s tuchus about criticism in the pages of the London Times and the New York Times, on the airwaves of NPR and the hardly-viewed MSNBC or in the halls of the useless United Nations? They should not, especially as Israel warns civilians via fliers and leaflets, at their own peril, of pending retaliation. Israel fights a battle or a war first from a defensive tack, then from a position of attempting to limit civilian casualties.

“We don’t thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank G-d we are efficient.” – Golda Meir

Israel is not seeking to reestablish control of Gaza, but instead end Hamas control over the land that could be a Palestinian homeland. (I object to this strategy and believe Israel should never have ceded Gaza in the first place, but instead push out all of Israel’s enemies toward Jordan, which should be the Palestinian homeland.)

Palestinians should have a homeland in Jordan, but not as a reward for inciting violence and continued terrorist attacks against Israel. Israel has the right to exist and defend itself by whatever means necessary. Peace will occur when terrorists cease and desist and Palestinians begin to care more about their own people than do Israelis. Until that time Israel should forge ahead vigorously to ensure its survival for its own sake as well as for the moral betterment of civilized society.

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

Friday, January 2, 2009

Blago's Senate Pick - Taint Right

Blago’s Senate Pick – Taint Right
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 2, 2009

Circus Maximus plays the palace – the palace being the governor’s mansion in Springfield, IL. For a man who doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut, embattled Illinois Governor “Lightening” Rod Blagojevich (D) is a shrewd genius for his selection of Roland W. Burris to become the Land of Lincoln’s junior senator. Yes, genius, as the choice of Burris, 71, deflects Blagojevich’s legal and political troubles while turning the selection into a commentary on race.

Simply enough, Blagojevich’s infusion of race into the appointment of Burris now forces the Democratic majority of the US Senate into a veritable Sophie’s Choice – accept the pick by a tainted appointer – Blagojevich, or reject the potentially only black member of that body. And that’s what makes an otherwise imbecilic Blagojevich a shrewd genius. Sure, he’s on his way out of the governor’s house and into the big house for, among other alleged misdeeds, attempting to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat. Auctioning it to the highest bidder seems more accurate. But before leaving the governor’s mansion, seemingly by force rather than choice, Blagojevich apparently wants to make his last work memorable.

Yet, Democrats nationwide, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, called upon Blagojevich to not fill the vacancy left by Obama. They, along with a number of key Illinois Democrats, have called for Blagojevich’s resignation in order to avoid the inevitable impeachment battle that will only further solidify Illinois as one of the most politically corrupt states in the nation – in any era of American history. Should Blagojevich find himself behind bars, he could share a cell with his predecessor George Ryan (R), currently serving six and one half years for corruption.

Additionally, Dan Walker (D), governor from 1973 to 1977 served a year and a half of a seven year sentence in the fun house on charges of bank fraud, misapplication of funds and perjury. Before Walker, Otto Kerner (D), governor from 1961 to 1968 spent less than a year of a three year sentence in the gray-bar hotel having been convicted of bribery and tax evasion as well as arranging favorable horse racing dates in return for getting horse racing association stock at reduced prices. And just for kicks, throw in William Stratton (R), governor from 1953 to 1961, indicted on charges of income tax evasion, but acquitted.

Blagojevich said he would not make this appointment and now there’s a “shadow cast over him,” said Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn (D) of the governor’s pick. He’s contradicting himself, has “unclean hands…, should be replaced and convicted with speed and removed from office by the Illinois Senate. He’s not fit to serve,” continued Quinn, who as governor would have the constitutional authority to select Obama’s successor.

With the selection of Burris, however, Senate Democrats find themselves in the untenable situation of actually not seating him and suffering the wrath of the ignorant. So, let’s deal with the 800 pound elephant – or in this case – jackass in the room. Yes, this is about race. No, this is not about race. Either way, this is not about Roland Burris – a man who on any other day would more than likely sail right through the Senate doors and take what could be his rightful place in Obama’s former seat.

Politics aside, Burris has been a solid, long-time public servant in Illinois becoming the first black candidate elected to statewide office serving as comptroller from 1979 to 1991, then garnering the post as attorney general, serving in that capacity from 1991 to 1995. However, Burris suffered several electoral setbacks, thus as a perennial runner-up, when offered the Senate seat, he could hardly turn it down. Or could he?

Burris was not the first person Blagojevich attempted to appoint. US Representative Danny Davis (D) rejected Blagojevich’s offer saying “I thought the environment had been poisoned.” Additionally, rumors swirled around US Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D) as to his being asked to serve.

On the one hand, this is not about race because there is no such thing as a “black Senate seat,” despite the injection of such an idea from US Representative Bobby Rush (D), the former Black Panther and current hypocritical member of Congress. Hypocritical because on December 9 Rush said that in no way should Blagojevich be charged with the responsibility of appointing the next Illinois Senator, as “any appointment would be tainted.” Yet, on December 30,  Rush applauded the choice of Burris and turned the already circus-like atmosphere into one of a full blown racial carnival.

“This is a matter of national importance. There are no African-Americans in the Senate, and I don’t think that anyone, any US Senator who’s sitting in the Senate right now, wants to go on record to deny one African-American for [sic] being seated in the US Senate. I don’t think they want to go on record doing that,” Rush said. To further intensify his already overheated racial speech, Rush implored “the public not to hang or lynch Burris because of the charges against Blagojevich.” If Rush were really that concerned about ensuring the seat be filled without controversy, he would have strongly encouraged Blagojevich to make no selection, and suggest several potential choices to Quinn for a clean appointment upon the governor’s resignation or impeachment.

Further demonstrating that there is no hyphenated-American Senate seat, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (D) is prepared to announce the appointment of Michael Bennet, superintendent of Denver’s schools, to replace Senator Ken Salazar upon Salazar’s confirmation as Obama’s choice for Interior Secretary. Salazar’s seat is no more a “Hispanic seat” than Obama’s is a “black seat.”  With Salazar’s probable departure, two Hispanics remain in the Senate – Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Martinez announced last year that he will not seek reelection upon the expiration of his term.

In spite of Rush’s guilt trip, and clearly he played the guilt card hand-in-hand with the race card, even the liberal Washington Post would not fall for such shenanigans. The Post called the Burris pick a “tainted choice in Illinois,” in the headline of its December 31 editorial. “…No one selected by Mr. Blagojevich can take the office with any legitimacy,” said the editorial with pleas for the governor’s resignation.
Even Obama, who supported Burris over Blagojevich in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary, and has no problem with Burris as an eventual US Senator, has called upon Blagojevich to resign and allow for his successor to make the appointment.

Despite Rush’s best or worst efforts, clear thinking people will realize this is not about race, nor is this about Burris or any other potential appointee – black, white or brown. This is about honesty, integrity and clean hands making an appointment that passes the smell test. The US Senate would be right to deny any Blagojevich appointee a seat amongst their ranks. Such denial would be the first since 1947 when Theodore Bilbo (D-MS) was refused his seat due to corruption. Once Illinois cleans its own house, then they can add to the nation’s upper house. Until then, taint right.

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