Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Voter Ignorance Driving “Controversy”

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

ignorance_no_excuse_ftIn most presidential primary seasons, and indeed, most presidential elections, the actual process is invisible to most voters.  Most don’t know many details, and in most years, it doesn’t really matter much. In 2016, it’s different, and the reason it’s different is because the Republican Party is deeply divided.  Most primary cycles conclude with one candidate or another attaining the crucial majority of delegates between mid-March and mid-April.  This year, that’s not the case, and because of it, the true process has become illuminated more than usual, such that many voters, either having never participated before, or having been clueless participants in cycles of the past, now see something that’s always been there, but react to it as though it’s alien to them, the country, or the party in question.  The process isn’t alien, abnormal, or otherwise different in any substantive way, but for those who’ve been drive-thru participants in the past, they’re very shocked by the existence of a process that’s been normal for nearly two centuries, though they’re just learning of it now.  I wonder how many of these people paid any attention in civics class in high school.  I wonder how many civics class teachers failed even to mention it.  Whatever the case, as the old saying goes, “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” but rephrased for this election process, it’s not just the law of which voters have claimed ignorance, but of the entire underlying process by which the Republican Party selects its nominees.  My aim here is to alleviate that ignorance, primarily because I’m tired of this phony “controversy.”

As the first order of business, let’s establish some facts, whether we like them or not, so we can work our way through from there:

  • Political parties are private organizations.  They have their own rules, bylaws, and procedures. Their internal processes are theirs and theirs alone. The candidate the party selects is the party’s choice, but not truly the choice of voters
  • Our nation IS NOT a democracy, never has been, and had never been intended to be. Neither are the political parties (a much earlier article that covers this subject in full is here)
  • The Republican Party at the national level does not have full control of the Republican Party in each state, though it exercises some control via the national convention and the rules committee.
  • Most delegates for most states’ parties are bound in some number of national convention ballots, varying by state, but this doesn’t always mean what people think it means

These concepts have been true and available to inspection for every person who is alive today in the United States for their whole lifetime, and generations before. There are rules changes periodically, but the underlying process has not changed much since at least the nomination of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. What our contemporary electorate needs to understand is that in our system of government, their votes for President are a recommendation to the Electoral College, but not a mandate.  Their votes in primaries serve as a recommendation to the parties, but these votes are not fully binding on the parties.  This may surprise a drive-thru participant in public affairs.  If one has educated him/herself, one ought to have known better all along.  This list of bullet-points may seem like a negative thing to one who is ignorant, but if one understood the intentions of our constitution’s framers, one will understand it also because one understood it all along, having bothered to inform his/herself.

Before new readers have a walleyed hissy-fit because it seems that I’m calling so many voters “ignorant,”I want you to understand that there’s a qualitative difference between “ignorance” and “stupidity.” Ignorance is simply not having the requisite information.  Stupidity is the failure to seek to alleviate one’s ignorance due to a lack of intelligence.  Foolish mischief and prideful stubbornness result in the failure to seek to alleviate one’s ignorance for the sake of maintaining one’s internally contradictory opinion.  Ignorance can be alleviated with a modicum of effort.  Before we recoil at the “discovery” of this “hidden process,” perhaps we should actually seek to know and understand it.  In any event, the level of ignorance among registered Democrats is several magnitudes worse.  Most of them haven’t bothered even to read the Constitution.

Since the beginning of the Republican Party, it has always decided who its nominee for the Presidential election would be through a series of states’ conventions with a delegate process that has always, always varied from state to state.  The truth is, as a Republican, there’s only one state about which you really need to care: Yours!  If you want to be an elections analyst, or you’re merely very curious and hold an intense interest in public affairs,  you might want to know all the others, but it requires a lot of study. Since the various states change their rules from time to time, and since new state statutes and constitutional amendments in those states affect those rules from time to time, it is always in flux.  It is always evolving.  It always has.  It always will.  That is part of the dynamic condition of the sort of constitutional, representative republic our framers had designed.  If it ever ceases to evolve, you will know that the party has failed entirely, and probably the country as well.

All the state parties, to maintain their charters as recognized constituents of the RNC, must abide by some general rules, and agree to the rules set by the national party.  Those rules can cause the state parties to adjust their own rules so they can maintain compliance.  An example of this was Colorado, which in August 2015, changed its rules in order to protect its interests in the national convention.  Let’s see if we can get this straight, shall we?  In 2012, Colorado’s GOP held a “straw poll” to seek the recommendation of the voters at large.  That state-wide straw poll had never been binding before, but because of the RNC’s rule changes, it would have to be binding if they wanted to hold a straw poll.  In other words, delegates selected by the state party would be forced by RNC rules to go to the candidates according to the results of the straw poll, effectively converting the state from a Caucus system, to a primary election system.  The Colorado Republican Party didn’t want to be constrained in that fashion, because they feared being stuck with delegates bound to a candidate no longer in the race.  Just as now, there are delegates bound to Rubio and others who are no longer in the race, and they will be obliged to vote for those candidates on the first ballot at the convention.  Colorado didn’t want its delegates constrained in that fashion, so they changed their rules, as they are entitled.  They did so last August such that every campaign had time to know the rules and adjust accordingly. Some did, but some didn’t.

Speaking of ballots at the National Republican Convention in July, I suppose I need to cover this briefly, since it seems there is a good deal of confusion.  The way the national party, the RNC, selects the candidate who will be the party’s nominee is through a system of ballots.  (Votes, if you prefer.)  There are a total of 2,472 delegates in the Republican Party.  Half of that number is 1,236.  Add one(1,) and what you have is 1,237, also known as a “majority.” For those who are confused about this, it is important to remember that a “majority” does not mean “the most.” It means “one more than half.” A “plurality” is equal to “the most.” If the rule specified a “plurality” instead of a majority, then all a candidate would need to obtain is “the most” delegates.  (The highest total.)  The rules state, and have always, always stated, that a majority is required.  This is not something new to 2016, but it has become an issue of popular concern because there now exists a better than even chance that no candidate will make the 1,237 delegate mark.

Now, in the electoral college, in the actual general election on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November, the candidate who obtains a plurality of electoral college votes is the winner, but here’s the bonus prize:  The electoral college doesn’t actually meet until December.  It is there that the new President of the United States is actually selected.  It is most often a rubber-stamp of what the electorate has recommended, because most states bind their electors to do so.  Nevertheless, it is possible, in some circumstances, for some elector or other to raise objections and to derail the rubber-stamping.  It’s not happened in American history yet, but it is possible for the Electoral College to discard the “will of the people” and select somebody else, strictly speaking.  It’s very, very unlikely. It is, however, possible. (For the record, this year’s presidential election falls on Tuesday the 8th of November, meaning this is one of those rare years in which the 1st of November falls on a Tuesday, such that the election gets bumped back to the second Tuesday of the month, because the Monday before the first Tuesday is the 31st of October.)

Returning to the national convention, let’s imagine one in which no candidate has obtained 1,237 bound delegates prior to the first ballot. It is still possible to win on that first ballot because there are usually some number of unbound delegates.  It simply depends upon how clever a negotiator one is, with respect to the unbound delegates, and how large a shortfall one has.  If nobody has obtained at least so many that with the addition of unbound delegates, they’re able to close the gap, what you now have is officially a “contested convention.”  Of course, it should also be stated again that something else is true: It is possible to have 1,237 or more bound delegates going into the convention, and still lose.  How can that happen?  Easy!  All it takes is that a candidate with 1,237 delegates has even one delegate abstain from the first ballot.  In other words, ultimately, nobody can actually be nominated with certainty until the convention. This is where the term “presumptive nominee” arises.  A presumptive nominee is a candidate who has obtained 1,237 bound delegates, but who hasn’t yet officially received the party’s nomination when the delegates cast their votes.   Even if you had all 2,472 delegates bound to you prior to the convention, if 1,236 of them abstain from the first ballot, what you have is a “contested convention.”  While highly, highly unlikely, even if a candidate somehow managed to have 2,000 or more delegates bound for the first ballot, it is strictly possible for that candidate to be defeated.  So you see, those who say that the “party chooses the nominee” are exactly, technically correct, and if the party is absolutely dead-set against a candidate, they have the ultimate ability to turn that candidate away.  That said, the party is not so likely to go this far to prevent the nomination of a candidate because it’s suicidal in an electoral sense.

One might wonder why a party would do so, or what justification there would be for denying a candidate the nomination.  One reason might be that some substantial proportion of the party finds the proposed nominee unacceptable for some reason, perhaps electability, or that the candidate’s long-term impact on the party might be substantially damaging to its ends. Whatever the case, it is possible, and has happened that the candidate who had “the most” delegates going into the convention wound up without the nomination.  This was true in 1860, when Abraham Lincoln actually went into the convention with the third highest delegate count.  If you wonder why John Kasich sticks around, here is your answer, (although Abe Lincoln, John Kasich clearly is not…) Of course, Kasich has another hurdle to clear as the rules now stand: He hasn’t won a majority of delegates in at least eight states. This is a requirement that was put in place four years ago. At present, Kasich has only won a majority of delegates in his home state, Ohio, and it’s likely the only state in which he will have won a majority of delegates by the time we get to the national convention in Cleveland, this July. Unless there is a change to rules, he won’t be eligible for nomination.

Yesterday evening, I read a story about a lawsuit against the GOP by Larry Klayman, of Freedom Watch, who you’ll probably remember/know from Judicial Watch lawsuits fame.  Klayman is an unabashed Trump supporter. His lawsuit against the GOP is over the fact that apparently, Florida delegates are bound for three(3) ballots.(In many states, it’s just one ballot, two in others, and none in states that don’t bind delegates at all.)  Freedom Watch is claiming that the delegates ought to be perpetually bound to Trump, but this is utter madness for a very obvious reason.  Let me explain Klyaman’s foolishness by way of an example:

Imagine arriving at the July convention with no candidate having obtained 1,237 bound delegates.  Further imagine that all states perpetually bound their candidates, so that no matter how many ballots they cast, they would always, always be compelled to vote for the same candidate.  How would the party ever obtain a nominee?  It couldn’t!  Think about this for a moment, and then you will realize that Freedom Watch’s foolish lawsuit is truly a nuisance lawsuit that belongs in the category of “frivolous” if ever a lawsuit belonged in that category.  His excuse, the “tort”(or “harm”) he cites in his suit, is that the people of Florida(of which he is one, thus alleging standing,) are being defrauded by the Florida and National GOP because they “held forth” that delegates will be bound.  In other words, he’s saying that because voters may not have informed themselves of the Party’s rules, they’re being defrauded.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is a toxic bit of political grand-standing, if ever there was one.  Any decent judge, of sound mind and judicial temperament, would bounce this case out of his/her courtroom faster than one can say “build a wall!” Is Klayman really alleging that he didn’t know the delegate rules for his state, and was therefore harmed?  That’s nearly the most preposterous thing I think I’ve read lately, but as I’m certain most readers will have observed, there’s no shortage of absurdity in this election cycle.

Having meandered through this whole topic a bit, I suppose I ought to conclude. My conclusion is as follows: The party selects its nominee – not the electorate – but the party tends to listen to the recommendations in various forms it has received from the electorate, where applicable.  All of this has been true for every election in my lifetime, the lifetime of my parents, and for many generations before. If a person older than, let’s be charitable and say twenty-six years of age, doesn’t know these facts and rules, it’s only possible because they have chosen never to engage themselves in discovering them.  I chose twenty-six because by then, a person should have participated in at least two presidential election cycles.  I don’t know if I knew all of this by the time I was twenty-six, but I am fairly certain I’ve known most of it since at least the age of thirty years.

It is amazing to me that people who are in their forties, fifties, and sixties now complain about this as though it’s all news to them.  The Internet has been around as a commonly accessible research tool for more than twenty years.  Most states and most state parties have had websites devoted to this information for most or all of that time.  To claim ignorance at this late date is to openly proclaim one’s complete lack of diligence.  If one can surf the web over to Ebay or Amazon, to make purchases, and so on, I don’t see how it’s possible that somebody who wanted to know this information was somehow denied access to it.  The election laws governing the states’ parties are generally available through each state’s Secretary of State website, where they may also provide links to the various parties operating in their state.  I encourage all Americans of voting age, or even younger, to learn and know at least the laws relevant in their particular states, and certainly the rules applicable to the party with which they choose to associate, if any.

The United States was established so that citizens could, through the various levels of government and attending political processes, participate fully in their own governance.  In short, being a citizen is supposed to be an active lifetime engagement for the people to determine the course of the nation.  in order to fully realize that participation, citizens should become familiar and remain up-to-date on the laws and rules applicable to their particular political interests and participation.  For most of my readers, most of this will not be news, although for perhaps some of the younger readers, it may be enlightening, but with all the, dare I say “trumped-up” controversy, I thought it critically necessary to clear the air on this issue.  Factually, this is the process.  You might not like it as is, but you have the ability to work to change it. If you think the existing parties cannot be reformed, you are also free in America to form your own and if you’re very successful, in a decade or two, you might be able to have grown it enough to have viable national candidates.  What is not true is that some giant magic “easy button” exists to  “fix things” instantaneously. Being an active citizen is something too few citizens actually do, and this is to the detriment of the country as a whole, and certainly to the parties in particular.  Ignorance of these facts leave too many Americans easy prey for demagogues, and it’s instructive to watch how, with the circumstance of the GOP nomination fight, so many Americans are easily led astray.  I dearly hope this will be a lesson for many, providing them the impetus to engage in the true blessing of self-governance in a thorough fashion they had never contemplated before.

Lastly, I would like to address the complaints of those who argue that it’s “too hard” or “too difficult” or that there is some situational constraint on one’s participation in the full political process.  I grant that at various times in our lives, it can be more and less difficult to find the time to fully participate, but I also know this: If most of us really wanted to do so, most of us could find a way.  What I’ve seen is that for many, complaining and stomping around is a good deal easier, and it satisfies the temporary emotional need.  That sort of laziness will never lead to change, however, and it’s high time that having informed oneself, each goes on to a full and unrelenting participation.

Editor’s Note: This article should not be seen as an endorsement of all aspects of the Republican Party’s rules or procedures, but instead a simple statement about the simpler fact that some form of these rules, with some variation, have been in place since the beginning of the party.  It’s also intended as a way to further that historical perspective and to alleviate some of the ignorance made plain by the reactions to this information by some people.  My intent is not to criticize the electorate at large, but to make them aware of these historical facts so that even should they fail in this election cycle to obtain their desired result, they will have no excuse for not being ready to fully participate in the next cycle, and to fight for those changes they believe are necessary. 

 

 

 

 

Four Years Later: Mitt Romney Still Despicable

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

mitt_mobile_ftIt was bad enough that this jerk managed to blow an election he should have won.  It was thoroughly embarrassing that he let Candy Crowley “punk” him in a nationally televised debate. All that should have been the end of Mitt Romney’s appearances in our national life, but I wonder if what Mitt Romney fears most about Donald Trump might be that Trump will actually fight, get down in the muddy ditch with Hillary, and knock the Hell out of her, politically speaking, of course.  Friday, he posted another anti-Trump screed on Facebook, and this time, he said that in Utah, he’s going to be voting for Ted Cruz.  He says he’s not voting for Cruz for any reason but to cause a contested convention, but how is anybody going to take this clown seriously?  If he were able to somehow rig the nomination of a candidate other than one of the two currently plausible nominees, I’m afraid many people would have radically strong reactions against the GOP.  For instance, some of us might be inclined to exercise what I’ve termed “Trump’s Nuclear Option.”  I know I would.

Nothing is more despicable than an establishment has-been leaping onto the stage as if he has some sort of credibility with the Republican rank-and-file voters. Here’s the statement this jackass made on Facebook on Friday:

This week, in the Utah nominating caucus, I will vote for Senator Ted Cruz.

Today, there is a contest between Trumpism and Republicanism. Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these.

The only path that remains to nominate a Republican rather than Mr. Trump is to have an open convention. At this stage, the only way we can reach an open convention is for Senator Cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible.

I like Governor John Kasich. I have campaigned with him. He has a solid record as governor. I would have voted for him in Ohio. But a vote for Governor Kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail.

I will vote for Senator Cruz and I encourage others to do so as well, so that we can have an open convention and nominate a Republican.

How very nice of this jerk! Why didn’t he endorse Cruz?  Why did he have to say such a thing?  All this will do is to infuriate Republican voters, causing them to react in opposition to his foolish plotting.  It’s baffling that this man thinks he has even the slightest shred of credibility remaining with the Republican base.

My message in opposition to Mitt Romney’s stupid, detestable, despicable statement is here:

In the coming weeks, the GOP will continue the process of permitting the voters to express their preference as to who should be the party’s nominee for President.

Today, a past party nominee has decided to continue and further his attacks on the current putative “front-runner” for that nomination. I have compiled, therefore,  a list of questions for the 2012 Republican nominee:

Mr. President Private Citizen Romney, what makes you believe you have the moral authority to prescribe to any Republican the disposition of his or her vote?  You’ve shown no ability whatever to obtain an electoral majority in the United States.  On what basis do you now offer your advice to Republican voters, knowing you’ve been a colossal failure in your previous attempts to attain the highest office in the land?  When Candy Crowley basically let her refusal to support your assertion stand as an accusation of lying on your part, why did you not respond? (Hint: this is likely the same reason you lost to Barack Obama.)  Would you be willing to ride in a Vari-Kennel on the roof of my car? Do you think anybody actually cares if or how you answer any of the foregoing?

Mitt Romney, you are a worthless political has-been who retains no credibility among the broadest base of the Republican Party, the conservative movement, or almost anybody anywhere.  Go away now.  Shut up.  Yes, you have free speech, but what you must learn is that because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should.

Four year later, Willard, you’ve learned nothing and you’re still despicable.

In 2012, much against my preferences, and my own political leanings, I went to the polls in November and supported Mitt Romney as the nominee of the Republican Party. I did so knowing that Mitt Romney was in no way representative of my conservative views.  I knew he had, while serving as governor of Massachusetts, implemented policies I found to be despicable in a free nation, particularly by a person elected as a Republican.  Still, I dutifully did as millions of other voters summoned the discipline to do despite many, many misgivings about Mitt. I went to the polling place and select Romney for President, and with millions of others, knew he would go down to miserable defeat.  He failed to make the arguments. He never really believed in conservatism, and still doesn’t. My last question for Mr. Romney is one I think every Republican who voted for him in 2012 despite a myriad of disagreements with his record and his campaign should have every right to ask, and have answered:

We supported a nominee in the general who we had not supported in the primary, a man who had not been our first, second, or even third choice. We supported the Party’s nominee.  Having done this on behalf of the party, and as I am again prepared to do in the election this November despite serious misgivings over all of the candidates now campaigning, I now ask you sir: Why will you not support the nominee of the Republican party despite your misgivings, just as I set aside my more sincere and severe misgivings with you in 2012? Is party loyalty only good for the base, but irrelevant for the elites?

Mr. Romney would doubtless excuse himself with some tortured, indignant statement about the various failings of Trump, but what he would not do is to answer the question.  He can’t, because he’s a despicable fraud, and it’s one of the key reasons so many of us had so many thorough doubts about him four years ago.  Go home Mitt. Go home and stay there.

GOP Says “FU”

Friday, March 18th, 2016

its-our-party-we-can-do-do-what-we-want_ftThe GOP establishment isn’t going quietly. In fact, they’re building their booby trap for those who would oust them from dominance in the upcoming elections, and those who have to date deprived them of viable candidates in the Republican primary season.  I have here stated that I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, and that I have serious misgivings about all of the Republican candidates.  What you should know is that as much as I may not like Donald Trump’s behavior and antics, I vastly prefer him to the crooked DC UniParty that includes both Democrat and Republican establishments.  What we’ve learned today is that in order to interrupt the natural, normal primary process as the GOP establishment had already rigged it, they will use the continuing candidacy of a mail carrier’s son to foist on the party a nominee like Paul Ryan, or another establishment Republican, through the contested convention process, should neither Trump nor Cruz obtain the necessary 1,237 delegates.  If that doesn’t disgust you quite enough, and it isn’t clear enough to you how, as a voter for any candidate in the GOP primary, you’re being screwed, there’s this bit of news:  Orin Hatch(R-UT) is already aboard with the Obama nomination of  leftist radical Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States.   Perpetual sell-outs Jeff Flake, Kelly Ayotte, and Susan Collins have already expressed interest in meeting with Garland.  You need to understand how you’re being betrayed by the GOP establishment.

This is their parting gift.  If they can’t win in the regular primary process, they’re going to make your votes meaningless.  If that still doesn’t permit them to maintain power, and if they’re unable to stop Trump directly, they will support Hillary.  Assuming somehow that doesn’t materialize, and Trump has such a groundswell of support in the Fall that they’re unable to sufficiently damage him in order to elect Hillary, they are setting up their parting gift: If they believe they’re about to be ousted anyway, they are going to shove a leftist Supreme Court justice down our throats to wreck the country for decades, if not forever.  One way or another, they’re going to have their revenge, like the petulant children of Bill Clinton’s administration who stole all the “W” keys from keyboards throughout the executive departments of our government, the difference being that this will be substantially more damaging, and it will be done with far more malice.  Speaking of malice for Republican voters, watch the following video (H/T Sundance @ the ConservativeTreehouse), and listen closely just beyond the three minute mark:

That’s right, it’s THEIR party, and they’ll nominate who they damned well please.  For those who don’t quite understand this, let me explain it this way: Delegates select the nominee. Voters participate in a process by which delegates are selected, but this is where the voter’s legal say in the process ends. As a practical matter, it is true that the party selects the nominee through its delegates.  If no candidate obtains 1,237 delegates(one more than half) then the delegates who are required to support the candidate to whom they were originally allocated in the first vote become unbound in any successive votes, meaning they can cross over and vote for another candidate.  This is essentially a “contested convention” by party rules, and at present, unless something shifts wildly, it’s going to be very difficult for any of the candidates to get to the 1,237 delegates required.  What Curly Haugland is explaining in this video is that which we already know: It’s THEIR party.  They make the rules, and they determine the process, which means that they alone really possess the ability to select the party’s nominee.  They can make changes to the rules almost at will.

Haugland isn’t lying. Haugland is simply stating the facts. What voters must now realize is what many people have been explaining for decades, but that nobody seems willing to acknowledge: The whole primary process is a farce.  In the Democrat party, it is dominated by “Super Delegates” who basically are able to obviate the will of the voters at their whim.  Witness how Bernie Sanders can win the popular vote in a given state, but always loses in the delegate count. In the 1970s, the Democrats created the “Super Delegates” in the wake of George McGovern’s candidacy, because they never wanted such an apparent leftist to be the nominee of their party again. It’s the Democrat establishment’s version of “Screw-the-vote,” and it’s in clear evidence in 2016 in the race between Clinton and Sanders.

On the Republican side, a different methodology is used to obtain the same kind of result.  A myriad of candidates are inserted into the campaign to split and shape the results.  As they lose their utility in shaping the race, they’re withdrawn from the process.  This is why John Kasich remains in this race today, because he’s going to effectively siphon-off just enough delegates to make sure neither of the other two can obtain 1,237 delegates.  This will put the GOP establishment in the position of being able to negotiate with the candidates at the convention, probably even throughout the period between the last primary in early June, and the convention’s start in July.  By then, the delegate counts will be firmly known, and the deal-making will begin in earnest.  We will eventually discover who had been the better deal-maker, or if a deal had been reached at all, once the voting begins at the convention.  I would not be surprised to see a Trump-Kasich ticket emerge, with Kasich being the establishment’s lever in the supposed presidency of Donald Trump.

Whatever the case, you can bet that the GOP establishment will use a “contested convention” to set their hooks deeply into Donald Trump’s backside if he is to become the nominee.  The same is true if they were to instead broker a deal with Ted Cruz.  The basic idea here is that they will obtain certain policy concessions for the DC UniParty that will undermine whomever they ultimately decide to support in this process.  You can bet that this is where some form of “amnesty” will sneak in over the threshold, and you can expect to be thoroughly betrayed on this issue.  Whether it’s some sort of “touch-back amnesty” as Trump has previously suggested, or a “legalize-in-place-without-path-to-citizenship” as Cruz has previously advocated, you can bet the hooks will be set firmly.

The party establishments are firmly in control of their parties, and I detest the misleading comments of those who will tell you now that the “GOP establishment is dead.”  Nothing could be further from the truth, and they will never yield power in their party.  At best, they’re in hiding.  Should voters become so incensed at the process that they decide to form a new party, abandoning the GOP altogether, the GOP establishment will simply switch and work to co-opt the new party.  There is a vast political class of consultants, analysts, propagandists, public-relations pushers, and pollsters who cannot live without this process.  They’d be out of a job.  They are the folks most threatened by the two remaining Republican candidates, because either is likely to wipe out a good deal of this nonsense if they are able to obtain the nomination and win the presidency.

The Republican Party’s establishment is able to say “FU” to the voters and make it stick, certainly for now, and probably for as long as the Republican Party remains in existence. They control far too much of the process to ever be truly defeated on their own home turf.  Even Ronald Reagan discovered this as he found through the course of his presidency that he was being consistently opposed and undermined not just by Democrats like Ted Kennedy, but also from within his own administration through the establishment cronies tied to his Vice President.  If either Trump or Cruz manages to make a deal to get the nomination at a “contested convention,” you should know that exactly the same sort of thing will be in the offing, because the establishment isn’t giving up their power without a serious knock-down, drag-out fight.  We should be realistic about the betrayals that will attend any deal-making, and it’s why we must never forget that when they assert that it’s THEIR party, they aren’t lying.  It’s just that in most cases, they’re just as soon not point it out.  We should be prepared to exert our influence, to the degree we have any, with the candidate who they ultimately nominate, because the deal-making of the DC establishment is never in our favor. Never.

We Need More Gridlock!

Friday, March 18th, 2016

dc_gridlock2_ftI’ve watched most of the GOP debates, and I’ve watched a fair number of the Republican candidates’ press conferences and campaign events, and one of the things I hear Donald Trump saying is that “we need to end gridlock.” His general notion is apparently that in Washington DC, they don’t “get deals done,” or “they make terrible deals,” and the result is gridlock.  Let me be clear about my position on this, Trump’s notions notwithstanding: Our government spends more than $4 Trillion per year, and without such “gridlock” as we have, we would undoubtedly spend more.  Mr. Trump would do much better with conservatives if he finally recognized this and integrated it into his views.  Our problem isn’t gridlock, but a terrible lack of it.

For the last several years, it has been a cooperation between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, working in concert with the Presidents Bush and Obama, to expand the government and to bail out the various entities, and to print money at an unsustainable rate.  It’s easy enough to look at the mess in Washington DC, see that conservative policies never make it into the resulting legislation, and conclude the problem had been “gridlock.” There are many Trump supporters, along with Trump himself, who view this as a failure of conservatism.  In one respect, they’re right, but where they are wrong is in a belief that conservative principles are the problem, or that the relief from “gridlock” will cure the issue.

One can apply this to almost any particular topic, or subject of legislation.  Let us consider the conservative view of taxation.  We’ve certainly had some gridlock on that issue, if your particular preference is to cut taxes.  On the other hand, if you prefer increased taxation, you will note that in various forms, the total taxation by the Federal Government has increased markedly in the era of Obama.  If you’re for significant tax reform, for instance, a “flat tax,” you will believe there is gridlock on this issue.  On the overall issue of taxation, however, there’s been no gridlock: We’re being taxed to death.  This is the problem with the term “gridlock,” and this is the reason it’s such a poor term. It describes a generic sense of inaction in Washington DC, but one can scarcely conclude, looking solely at the expenditures by government, that “gridlock” may exist on issues dealing with reform, but it cannot actually exist when the printing press for government checks is concerned, or where the printing(or digitizing) of new money is under review.

To show the other side of the misuse of “gridlock” in rhetorical flourishes, there are those advocates of an “amnesty” of some sort for the tens of millions of illegal aliens in this country who will insist that we have had “gridlock” on “immigration reform.” Let me state emphatically that with respect to the laws, I will fight fervently to see to it that “gridlock” prevails on this issue, because until we begin to enforce the laws that already exist, and until the “gridlock” in the executive branch is alleviated through an effort at enforcement of existing laws, I’m all for “gridlock” in the matter of “immigration reform.”  The truth is that we do not so much need “immigration reform” as we need “immigration enforcement.”  Listen, however, to the legalization and amnesty crowd, and what you learn is that when they talk about “gridlock,” they mean that they haven’t yet succeeded in legalizing that which had been formerly(and currently) illegal.

These and many more examples like them make plain that “gridlock” is not a problem.  The real problem is that in specific policy terms, our government uses the term “gridlock” to represent inaction on concrete policies that they favor, but the American people do not.  People should be skeptical when politicians talk about a generic “gridlock” without defining the specifics of the stoppage about which they’re concerned.  Too often, politicians have seized upon general sentiments against “gridlock” as the means by which to advance agenda items their voters and supporters would not support.  A great example of that would be Marco Rubio, who ran for his current seat in the Senate, opposing Charlie Crist on the issue of “amnesty,” but who talked about “gridlock” on “immigration reform.”  In his first few years in office, he spent much of his time and energies on the issue of “immigration reform,” attempting to alleviate “gridlock” on the issue, but little had his supporters expected that his proposals would ultimately be tantamount to a full reversal on the issue that had in part propelled him into office.  Of course, Rubio claimed all along that he was working to overcome “gridlock” on the issue. What becomes obvious, however, is that “gridlock” is a matter of perspective, and where one stands regarding an issue dominates whether one will view it in a positive or negative light.

The question isn’t whether we have too much gridlock, but whether it exists in the consideration of the right policies.  When the Republicans, then in the minority in both houses, fought to stop the passage of Obama-care, this was “Gridlock” writ large on the legislative stage, and I don’t know a single person now supporting Trump who wished there hadn’t been more “gridlock” on that issue.  In point of fact, more often than not, most of the people of the United States would be better served by a form of “gridlock” that causes stoppages in the legislative and regulatory processes of our government than by letting them go on in an unrestricted fashion.  Think about all of the stupid laws and regulations streaming out of Washington DC, but imagine there had been sufficient gridlock to stop them. This is the secret that most politicians don’t want you to know about “gridlock:” The constitution is itself a device of gridlock. It’s intended that way, and precisely for all of the reasons I’ve outlined.  The framers had the wisdom to know that “gridlock” impedes sudden and ill-considered change.

Knowing that, I’m in favor of “gridlock” generally, because I know that politicians promoting precipitous change have led us into a quagmire from which we will not easily emerge.  When Washington DC is gridlocked, I know my liberties are still safe, but when the gridlock breaks, my liberties are generally at risk.  The electorate at large has been conditioned to see gridlock as an ill of Washington DC, but the people should learn that gridlock often serves to protect us from the ills of excessive, bloated government, contrary to the impressions that media outlets and DC politicians often create.  If we’re going to talk about alleviating the log-jam in DC, let us be careful to use enough specificity to focus our energies, because otherwise, opportunistic politicians will run with the theme of “gridlock as the enemy” in order to foist all sorts of infamy upon us.  That’s why I rejoice when I see gridlock in Washington DC.  May we have more of it, that we may enjoy its innumerable blessings.

 

The Marginalization of American Conservatism

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

conservatism_the_real_thing_ftThis is an issue that should concern all those who are fervent conservatives, and it’s one we must now confront as we near the end of the primary season of 2016.  In this election cycle, the predictable outcome seems more inevitable than ever, but one can’t ignore how the current GOP front-runner has at times scorned conservatism.  Much like the long-established practice of the blue-blood Republicans, what has happened in this election is that conservatism has become increasingly isolated from the remainder of the Republican party, and from the electorate at large.  This isn’t a pleasant reality for conservatives, but it is nevertheless true.  So long as we permit this to occur, we will never see the sort of electoral outcomes we would prefer, never mind the the realization of  substantive policy results for which we’ve been fierce advocates.  We have some terrible choices before us, but in advance of us making them, we must come to understand how we’ve arrived in our current predicament.  If we’re ever to return this nation to a constitutional path, we must do first by adhering to it ourselves, and we must be willing to accept our own role in our political misfortunes.  The truth is somewhat difficult to accept, but there it lies, nevertheless, awaiting the summoning our courage to confront it.  Conservatism is increasingly marginalized precisely because we have permitted its dilution and diminution through the acceptance of too many compromises of principles, and too many instances in which we were willing to form an ideological “big tent.”  There’s nothing wrong with building temporary alliances with others, but if conservatism doesn’t stake out its ideological limits, and defend its ideological boundaries, it will continue to be marginalized within the broader general electorate.

When George W. Bush ran for the office of President of the United States in 2000, not a few Texans had significant concerns.  Many who had observed his performance here in Texas took the time to try to warn the party at large that he was not really a conservative.  Bush tried to ply conservatives with a new formulation, calling himself a “compassionate conservative.”  There were a few problems with this that some of us at the time recognized, and one of them was in the implicit denigration of conservatism generally:  Conservatism is compassionate.  We need no such adjectives.  We need no such descriptors.  We need no such modifiers on what conservatism offers to its adherents.  Conservatism is the most compassionate ideology in existence, but by accepting the adjective offered by George W. Bush, we made what was tantamount to an admission that conservatism wasn’t inherently compassionate.

What conservatives across the nation soon discovered was the fact that “compassionate conservatism” meant “big-government Republican.” On issue after issue, from defense, to security, to education, to Medicare, or bank bail-outs, there was no issue in which the answer of George W. Bush would be anything other than the expansion of government and the increase of our national debt at the expense of generations as yet unborn.  It is true that Obama has essentially doubled the national debt, but we must in all honesty admit that the same can be said of George W. Bush.  The Bush “compassion” came at the expense of conservatism, and at the expense of our generations of Americans as yet unborn.  Nevertheless, we permitted Bush to fly the flag of a highly adulterated “conservatism” without respect to what the long-run affects on our movement would be.  Most of the conservative media spent much of the eight years of the Bush presidency, and much time well beyond their end, defending the ludicrous policies and positions of a conservative who wasn’t.

We’re seeing some of the same thing in the current election year.  Donald Trump talks about “common-sense” conservatism. I have exactly as many problems with this adjective tacked as a prefix to conservatism as I did to the term “compassionate.”  In fact, over time, there are or have been “Tea Party conservatives,” “reform conservatives,” “constitutional conservatives,” and “moderate conservatives,” but I think all these adjectives placed in series with “conservatism” simply dilute the meaning.  These modifiers also act as a disguise for that which is not conservatism.  Herein lies the problem for we conservatives, because I believe conservatism is inherently compassionate, wholly common-sense in its construction, and entirely committed to constitutional principles.  In other words, to attach any prefix to “conservatism” is to dilute and pollute the concept, or strictly to permit the purveyor to pose as a conservative while not adhering to all or part of the broader concept of conservatism.

The other effect of these bastardized versions of “conservatism” is that when people traveling under those phony banners continue to assert their hyphenated-conservatism, the natural result is that conservatism takes the blame for all the failures of those folk who are not conservative. For an example, consider again the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush, this time in the context of the creation of the Transportation Security Administration(TSA,) and how he created a huge bureaucracy that increased the costs of government, but now, one-and-one-half decades later, we have another costly bureaucracy that fails to meet the security testing thrown at it just as badly or in many cases in worse fashion than the airlines-owned or airport-owned security that the TSA replaced. Again, another big-government solution that has failed, cost untold billions of dollars, and conservatives and conservatism are now permanently saddled with the blame, in large measure because a putative “conservative” enacted it.

This is the problem with letting others define “conservatism,” or letting non-conservatives decide who is or who isn’t a conservative.  “Conservatism” has become so generic and muddied at this point that it’s nearly impossible for us to in the first instance, exclude those who are not actual conservatives, and in the second instance, disclaim ownership of statist programs and policies enacted in the name of conservatism.  This is a gargantuan problem we face, and it helps explain why Donald Trump can make the point that “conservatives haven’t accomplished anything,” or that “conservatives are part of the problem.”  I think it’s time to heed the warning made explicit by this entire fiasco: We must make distinct our principles from the tawdry mix of self-contradictory, expediency-based lack of principle in the broader Republican party.

I don’t pretend to know the solution in this matter, but it’s one we conservatives must address. We’re being marginalized by virtue of a popular media meme, one that gains through our own passive associations with big-government Republicans, permitting them to shelter among us, gain our support, or in some cases, enjoy our defense of conservatism when they undertake less-than-conservative policies and programs.  This happens at all levels of government, but nowhere is it more damning and punishing than at the federal level.  Let us review briefly: In the aftermath of the 1998 mid-terms, the anti-Newt forces prevailed and essentially pushed him out of leadership.  Since that date, the Republican party, in various times controlling the House, the Senate, or the Presidency(and for some period, all three) have accomplished virtually nothing, but have frequently contributed to the statist cause.  The litany of issues and instances in which the Republican party has effectively aided and abetted Democrats in ruining our republic is gargantuan both in number and in consequence. We can no longer, not even once more, permit this to happen in the name of, or under the cover of another misappropriation of the title “conservatism.”

We Know Who Staged Chicago

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

lefty_thug_ftThe problem isn’t knowing who staged the “riot” at Trump’s UIC rally that was canceled.  That’s easy. The harder part would be to prove it.  What Americans need now to do is to put on their thinking caps.  It’s time to consider the real demons at work here, and what it is that they wished to accomplish with this debacle of Friday night.  Honestly, we all should have seen this coming.  Like seeing the foreshadowing in a movie or novel, but not quite recognizing it as a “tell,” we watched the whole week long as the media led us around by the nose, increasingly pushing the meme about Trump and the violence at his rallies.  We should have realized, in light of other inconvenient truths, that something big was coming.  When the GOP establishment cronies met at Sea Island last weekend to talk about how to stop Trump, we should have known it’s because they’ve become desperate.  Where did their desperation lead them?  What was the result?  Last night’s episode was a manufactured spectacle intended to push you, and you shouldn’t permit them to do this to you.  It’s your country, and you should be offended, and incensed, when the people running Washington DC try to manipulate you, your feelings, and your votes. We should ask, all of us, what Tammy Bruce asked in the wake of the events of last night, in a tweet:

Tammy has been a Cruz supporter throughout this campaign. For her to say this is not so odd, however, because she has experience as part of the leftist mobs.  She knows how these things work, because for a large part of her life, she was part of all of that. Later, she had an awakening, and it looks like she’s now recognized what so many of the rest of us have noticed: The GOP is behind this set-up, and there’s no way to un-notice it once you’ve seen it. Try this:

Re-play the last week of media coverage in your mind.  Looking back, wasn’t it obvious where this would go?  By the time we arrived at Thursday’s debate on CNN, with the moderators pushing the theme that Trump was inciting violence, shouldn’t we have known what to expect Friday evening?  The question remains: Who is behind this?  On the first level, it’s obvious as the day is long that this was a rent-a-mob cobbled together by the likes of Moveon.org and affiliated Occu-pests, Black Lives Matter, and all the other ugly little anarchistic groups of the rabid left, but that part is easy.  You don’t need to be a mystic to understand that much.  What’s more important is reading the signs of a coordinated attack that was contrived not by some organic left-wing movement, but one that was generated deep within the bowels of the DC UniParty, for a specific purpose.  What was the purpose?  I think I’ve covered that much, but if you’re not tracking just yet, think about how you were driven this week, “played” if you will, and coaxed and prodded in the direction of a singular impression: Trump incites violence.  Even if he says no word, his mere presence incites violence.  His simple existence promotes and provokes violence.  This is the seed they spent the whole week planting.  They wanted an impression created in your mind, a linkage if you prefer, that where Trump goes, trouble of the worst sort soon follows.

Who did this?  That’s easy too.  Look at the GOP establishment.  Admit what you’ve always known about the GOP establishment, when you’ve watched them coalesce with the Democrat establishment and the media organs that support one or the other, and frequently both.  They are a UniParty, and they’ve always been.  They’re the same globalist dirtbags, whether they happen to wear a “D” or an “R,” proudly displaying their Donkeys and Elephants for your deception.  Moveon.org is closely tied to George Soros and Hillary Clinton, but you already knew that.  What you may not have realized is that Hillary and those in the Democrat establishment are kissing cousins with the Republican establishment.  Yes, go find the stories on Jeb Bush and his awarding Hillary Clinton, and go find all the dirt that ties these people together.  Remember how curious it was what fast friends George HW Bush and Bill Clinton had become?  These people aren’t two distinct groups.  They’re one.  They are the DC UniParty that rules over us, and commits crimes against we, the American people.  Neither is this a “conspiracy theory.” It’s right out in the open, and if you will merely look, you can see it. You can know.

We are so thoroughly conditioned to see a “left” and a “right” and to think of them as warring parties that we assume the Democrat and Republican establishments are at war too.  Are they?  They agree on every policy. They form “GangsOf” six or eight or whatever might be needed to get their legislative agenda pushed through.  They use exactly the same tactics, and they espouse the same putrid ideas.  One wears the mask of the donkey in public, to control the grass-roots of the Democrat party, while the other wears the mask of the elephant in the open, to control the conservative base of the Republican party.  Cast aside everything you thought you knew about American politics for a moment, and re-order it all under this structure in your thinking about political machinations, past and present, and the scale of it all becomes quite clear.  With that clarity, apply it now to what you’ve seen recently, and suddenly, there isn’t a doubt in your mind about who is the establishment, or who comprises the DC UniParty.

With that new view of things in mind, and mindful of the meeting about stopping Trump in Sea Island, and the Thursday meetings between Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich, you should realize the scale of the coordination of all you’ve seen since.  That’s right, folks, they’re all in on it. Did you notice in the coverage of last night’s events, that one right after the next, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich along with the UniParty’s media organs all said exactly the same thing?  They wanted you to know: If you choose Trump, this is what it’s going to be like, permanently.  They are driving you with your fear of chaos.  They’re using the chaos of last night in Chicago to drive you like bleating sheep, if only you will let them.

Every one of the three establishment candidates, and that’s what they are, if you hadn’t known it already, were in various ways trotted out before the viewers to express their sadness at the events in Chicago, but also to blame the victim, Donald Trump and his supporters, for creating an “atmosphere” or “environment” of violence.  If you can’t see this, please, please, if you’ve never considered seriously another thing I have written, realize that their manipulation of media was designed to create a singular impression, and that they may have at least temporarily succeeded with you.  Again, step back from what you think you have known, and look at it again in light of the idea of a DC UniParty with two heads but only one body.  Then consider again the events of Friday night, and know what it is you are facing.  Apply it.  Look at the events of even the last dozen years, things that had made no sense to you in the traditional left-right, Democrat-Republican, liberal-conservative paradigm you had accepted, and look again.

Do you wonder why they’re in favor of immigration reform that permits amnesty and legalization of the millions of illegals?  The Donkey-face tells the leftists “Hey, this is new voters for us.”  The Elephant-face says to its uncertain folk: “Hey, this is cheap labor.” Both implore their followers: “We’re a nation of immigrants…”  On social issues, isn’t it curious how the Elephant-face sells out conservatism?  On almost any issue, the Donkey-face urges its followers to accept “incrementalism.” Hasn’t it bothered you that a party that claims to be on the side “of the little guy” is every bit as much in bed, and in some cases more, with the powerful interests of Wall Street and K Street?  Both are willing to use our military as a force for the good they advocate, but not for the good of our country.  Is it odd to you that the Establishment Republicans on Capitol Hill have seemed less than fully serious in getting to the bottom of Benghazi, or the IRS’ Tea Party abuses?  Does it seem strange to you that both McCain and Romney virtually handed their respective elections to Obama, both with acts of despicable self-sabotage?  The truth is that they weren’t opponents to Obama at all.  These people are all on the same team.  Once you see that, there’s no unseeing it.  You can’t ignore it.  Spend a week or a month viewing things through this adjusted lens, and you will never again look at the world in the same way.

In truth, that’s been part of my own struggle.  I fall easily into the comfortable, well-worn path of the false dichotomy between the Democrats and Republicans.  After all, for all of my life, that’s the impression they’ve built, and quite successfully.  I have to stop myself on occasion, because I find myself wishing it weren’t true.  I find myself longing for a political environment that was in some way genuine.  It’s not. You should know why.  Our Federal Government spends over $4 Trillion annually now, and that’s a motive for any sort of murder and mayhem you might wish to imagine.  If you think that the control of such spoils couldn’t possibly lead to the establishment of such a cabal, ask yourself how many thugs are only too happy to kill you for your wallet.  What happens when more “civilized” thugs are presented with the temptations of billions or trillions of dollars?  What more motivation is needed?  Do you really believe these people are involved for love of country?  Do you think Mitch McConnell gives a damn about you or your liberty?  Do you think Harry Reid is doing what he does out of an abundance of concern for the future of the country? Do you think any of that is true?

Don’t look away in terror.  Confront it.  Know it.  If ever we are going to take our country back, it is from the DC UniParty’s grip that we must wrest it.  Friday night’s events in Chicago had been their doing, and for once, we ought to recognize it and finally disclaim it.

 

A Moment of Pause Regarding Trump’s Supporters

Monday, March 7th, 2016

trump_crowd_ftOne of the things that’s become increasingly annoying to me throughout the course of this campaign, and a thing to which I may have inadvertently contributed on an occasion or two, is the meme that’s been spread like a virus through the DC Beltway echo-chamber: “Trump’s supporters are…angry…stupid…racist…thoughtless…mean…ignorant…Kool-Aid-drinkers…” After watching the race unfold on the battlegrounds of Twitter, Facebook, and in the media at large, and having watched their portrayal in the establishment media, I am prepared to state unequivocally that this is nonsense.  The vast majority of his supporters are no more than one of those things, but more, I’d urge conservatives to ignore these media portrayals for one very important reason they may not have considered: Until recently, it had been we conservatives who had been attacked with these same portrayals.  I want you to stop and think about all the election campaigns in which the media, and the GOP establishment portrayed conservatives and Tea Party folk in the very same light.  We conservatives have a responsibility first to the truth, and the truth is that whatever we may think about Donald Trump, his supporters are now being painted with the same broad brush of infamy, and in the same broad strokes, by exactly the same people.

I know a fair number of Trump supporters, both in my circle of friends and associates, and also in my extended on-line family.  None of them fit the meme described above, except in one dimension, but it is the same dimension that has aptly described conservatives for most of a generation: They, as we, are angry with Washington and the seeming one-party establishment that is comprised of an elite media, elite Democrats, and elite Republicans who all hold any opposition in complete contempt.  I think this explains another phenomenon that is genuine, though less visible due to the media’s one-sided coverage: There are a number of Bernie Sanders’ supporters whose second choice is not Hillary Clinton, but amazingly, Donald Trump.  Why would this be?  Most of us have become so jaded about the dirty tricks in campaigns these days that it would be easy to dismiss this as more Democrat trickery.  Oddly, I don’t believe that’s actually the case here.  I believe it represents something much more fundamental, and infinitely more organic: Those who support Bernie Sanders are being undercut by the same Washington DC establishment uni-party, and they see in Trump somebody who has joined the fight against a common enemy.  When I talk to the rare Sanders supporter in my broadened local circle, what I find is that Sanders’ supporter share every bit as much of the same contempt for Hillary as conservatives feel for Mitt Romney, for instance.  This common ground with Trump supporters is an interesting, but I believe wholly organic outgrowth of an overwhelming sense of disgust in the nation with Washington DC and the two parties that together rule over us.

We conservatives have been led to believe by popular media that Trump’s support is a wholly-contrived exposition of Democrat tinkering, but while I’ve seen some evidence that this has been the case in pockets, the truth is that most Trump supporters I’ve had the chance to meet are perfectly sane, rational people who have decided something more compelling than the argument that their conservative principles ought to drive their choice.  It is their general argument that Trump represents a true outsider movement, in terms of the DC Beltway uni-party establishment.  They are prepared to temporarily lay aside their deeper convictions about the particulars of various issues in order to oust the uni-party crowd.  Despite my attachment to conservative principles, I know they have a very powerful point, and in truth, we might consider it thoroughly before rejecting it outright.

Here, I think they make an argument that is difficult to contest: As long as the DC-beltway crowd remains in singular, oligopolistic control of the narrative, the law, and the whole of our national machinery of governance, we will never reverse the direction of the country, and no conservative principles will ever be adopted in the halls of power in our nation’s capital.  Their argument is that in an emergency, you might well temporarily suspend your strictest adherence to your long-held principles in order that your principles be preserved at all.  In essence, they’re applying the legal concept of the “rule of necessity” to popular politics and political philosophy. Their argument therefore rests on the plausibility of the claim that we are in some sort of national emergency.  The question we must ask is “Are we?”

Our country is now twenty trillion dollars in operating debt.  We have unfunded liabilities of two-hundred trillion dollars.  We have a monetary system that has been corrupted to fund big government and big money on Wall Street with a cheap-money bubble that cannot and will not be sustained much longer.  Our borders are porous and present no serious impediment to criminals, terrorists, or any illegal entrants.  Our national security infrastructure is in a severe state of disrepair and neglect.  Our political elites continue to enjoy fabulous wealth largely on the basis of cronyism.  Average Americans are out of work, underemployed, or simply destitute as the people who run the DC uni-party continue to enjoy record profits on the backs of the rest of the country.  The crisis is surely real, and it is clear that their position is justified.

If their position is justified, so is their inflexible support of Donald Trump.  Their basic argument is that nobody who has been a part of the Beltway Bubble ought to be trusted in this critical moment for the Republic.  You might point to Ted Cruz as an outsider, as I have done, but let’s be blunt: Ted Cruz was a part of the team that argued on behalf of George W. Bush in the 2000 election.  Ted Cruz was a clerk for Chief Justice Rehnquist. Ted Cruz may be disliked by parts or even the entire parcel of the uni-party establishment, but the case can certainly be made in earnest that he is one of them, or has long operated among them.  The argument of Trump supporters is that none who have been a part of the DC Bubble ought to be president now, and that it’s too great an emergency in terms of our national future to permit any chance that we will, at this late date, be betrayed once again.

That’s a highly patriotic position to take, among people who are quite diverse in an ideological sense, and many of them have adopted it as the basis of a movement’s justification for accepting a candidate who many of them will readily admit is an imperfect vessel for their particular views.  One of the things that Trump’s supporters fervently believe is something that is quite attractive to many voters, including this conservative: Donald Trump is the only candidate on the ballot who can explode the DC establishment. He’s the only person among all the candidates with a clear-cut motive to unmask the uni-party establishment, to expose their serial crimes, and to prosecute them.  I think this is where much of the pro-Trump fervor originates, and I also believe it is where the GOP establishment’s shrill denouncements of Trump originate.  They are terrified of him, not merely because he would wrest control from them, but that he would be in a position to unmask their deals and extensive profiteering from government operations, and then prosecute them.

That’s a powerful motivation I would concede makes a very strong argument in favor of their position.  We conservatives have known for many years that the GOP’s establishment operates in general coordination with establishment Democrats and the media, and they’ve used that coordination against us in a myriad of situations over the last three decades.  Rather than joining the DC uni-party in decrying Trump’s supporters, we might reconsider and try to see them as allies, even if we believe their chosen candidate is less than perfect as the platform for our ideas, because many of them come from among our own number, but have merely decided that defeating the DC establishment is the only way we can ever win.  On that basis, if I’ve been dismissive of Trump supporters, I’d offer an earnest apology. I had believed the general meme of the DC establishment about your character, but having come to know some of your number, or having discovered some of your number among my friends, I’ve come to understand your earnest motives.

The problem with 2016’s primary season is that it has threatened to splinter the GOP’s broadest coalition forevermore, but in truth, if I am asked whether I would prefer that conservatives keep company with Trump’s supporters or those who cleave to the GOP’s establishment in Washington DC, it’s really a no-brainer: I prefer the broad coalition of Trumpsters to the snooty, elitist Bill Kristols of the world, and I make no bones about my own enmity for the uni-party establishment in Washington DC.  The Trumpsters make a compelling argument about the importance of truly rooting out cronyism and corruption in both parties in Washington DC, long before we can ever actually implement our principled stance on any particular issue. It’s true. We conservatives should pay first respect to the truth, and we should note that the same people who have defamed conservatives in one election after the other, or masqueraded as conservatives in one election after another, are the people who are now defaming Trump’s supporters, and it should give us pause.

On the Eligibility for the Office of President of the United States

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

usconstart2_ftThis is an issue of significant consequence, one that has received a great deal of superficial attention in the last few presidential election cycles, but has not been resolved to the satisfaction of a large number of Americans who wonder if we’ve been “tricked” on the question of eligibility to that highest of offices.  Legal references have been juggled online, and there seems to have been a significant effort to obscure the original intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States, who set forth these qualifications.  I am not a lawyer or a judge, but I am able to understand the written word, follow logical legal constructs, and simply find what is and isn’t within the range of possible understandings of the law under consideration. In this sense, I am prone to following the facts to the extent they can be discovered, and to accept what evidence is before my eyes as a matter of reason.  The question at hand is the matter of Constitutional eligibility to the office of President of the United States, and it is my intention to remove all of my own doubts, in lieu of a court’s ruling, as to the actual requirements for a person to serve in the office of President.  I am not concerned with political ramifications as I conduct my research, as I am unwilling to consider the contemporary application of my findings in arriving at them. That’s what liberals do, and conservatives are right to eschew that form of bankrupt reasoning.  The recently departed Justice Antonin Scalia was a judge who did not make his decision on a case, and then go in search of some legal justification for it. Instead, he set off in search of the facts, and in search of what the law might tell him about a matter, only then forming his decision.  That is what a good judge is, and what a good judge does, so to the degree I am able, albeit as a layperson at law, I will endeavor to follow that standard, and offer my opinion, come what may.  Without prejudice or malice then, let us move to the meat of the issue:

On the qualifications for the office of President, Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States provides the following:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

To make this somewhat easier to understand, let us take the statement of eligibility and turn it into a checklist:

  • No person except a natural born citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution
  • No person who shall not have attained the age of thirty-five years
  • No person who shall not have been a Resident of the United States for fourteen years

That’s it. The framers did not define “natural born citizens,” nor “citizens,” in the text of the Constitution, nor did they make particularly clear whether the residency requirement was for years immediately contiguous with service in the office, or simply fourteen years at some point in their life.  Still, I think a few important questions are posed by their use of what seems an irregular or highly specific term, in using “Natural Born Citizen.”  From whence did this unique term arise, and how did it come to be a qualification for President? Is it a unique term at all, or was this merely the form of speaking of the day? In order to answer this last question, I think it is simply understood that the term “Natural Born Citizen” must have a separate and completely distinct specific definition when compared to the much more ordinary “citizen.” I say this for several important reasons, the most obvious of which is contained within the same sentence:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President

Clearly, within the very same sentence, one can infer without any legal, linguistic, or logical gymnastics of any sort that the framers of the Constitution considered the two terms to have distinct meanings.  In the first instance, a “natural born Citizen” is required, but as an exception, “a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.”  What is also clear by this sentence is that “natural born Citizen” is the higher standard.  We must examine this exception as well, but first, we must conclude as to the distinction between the terms.  If this alone were not enough to satisfy us on the distinction, let us then turn to such places in the Constitution where similar qualifications for office-holders are specified.  In Article I, Sections 2 and 3, respectively, where the qualifications for Representatives and Senators are set forth, we find the following:

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. (Article I, Section 2, US Constitution)

and:

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. (Article I, Section 3, US Constitution)

Notice that neither had any requirement to the higher standard of “natural born citizen.” In point of fact, if you’re not satisfied that “natural born citizen” is a higher standard than the more ordinary “citizen,” this should make it crystal clear. Those who continue to insist that there is no difference between “citizen” and “natural born citizen” are either intentionally misleading their audience(s) or simply and unambiguously mistaken. In either case, this forms the basis of my first conclusion: The framers had intended a distinct and special standard for those who would hold the office of President under their new constitution. One might ask the reason, and I think the answer to that question lies in the contextual circumstances at that time.

The United States was a new country, just a few years removed from having won its independence in a hard-fought and bloody war from the British Empire. It began as a nation operating under the Articles of Confederation, but one of the impediments to the new nation, even while in its war with England, had been the weak power of the central government, and the lack of significant or workable taxing authority, and poor military governance by a Commander-in-Chief.  It is well-known that these were among the chief ills of the Articles of Confederation that had set the framers on the journey of concieving a new system of government in the first instance.  The great fear of the Constitution’s framers was that under the Articles of Confederation, the thirteen States might fracture from one another, each pursuing their own regional interests, making all of them more vulnerable to future aggression by the powers of Europe.  This had been among the chief ills the Constitutional convention was convened to address, but at the same time, opponents of a more powerful central government, and particularly the creation of a more powerful Executive, came to express their reservations with this new constitution.  Their fears have in some degree turned out to be merited over the long term, as we now see an out-of-control executive branch that has usurped many of the powers formally reserved to Congress.  Be that as it may, this was the argument of the time, being the latter third of the 1780s, and it was an argument had in public.  Many of the limitations upon the executive defined in Article II were in direct answer to the criticisms of the day. The public debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists came to be the battleground upon which the merits of these ideas were decided.  I believe it is without question that which had established the great virtues of this undertaking, and that this was revolutionary in all human history is without doubt.

In that context, many were worried about the potential of this new executive, this “President,” for mischief, malfeasance, despotism, and most disconcerting of all, usurpation.  It was feared that so much authority vested in a single executive could and almost certainly would lead to disaster for the new republic, and that a President of ill temperament might well make grotesque mischief upon the states and the people.  Worse, given the very recent separation from England, what if a loyalist, a person who had been loyal to the King of England, by some form of intrigue and deception, came to occupy the office of President?  The new republic would perhaps be very short-lived, indeed.  This meant that the selection of those who would fill the office of President would of necessity be men loyal to the new republic, and that safeguards to the eligibility to that office must be erected to minimize this risk. In his attempts to quell such fears among his countrymen, John Jay, subsequently the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, transmitted the following in a letter to George Washington, who was at the time presiding over the Constitutional Convention, then assembled in Philadelphia:

…Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government and to declare expressly that the Command in Chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen…

Here is an image of the actual letter, dated 25 July, 1787: (Click thumbnail for full-size image)

jay_john_1787_july25_letter_to_gwashington_tn

Whatever is a natural-born citizen, however it may be defined, what is certain is that John Jay considered this among the most critical requirements of the office, so much so, that he wrote Washington a letter on this subject as the toils in Philadelphia to conceive a new constitution were being undertaken.  Still, the letter itself offers no clue as to the meaning of the term. We can presume that this term must have been a well-known concept to George Washington and probably the remainder of the framers, or even very well-known more broadly in the society, otherwise Jay would have been likely to state its definition here.

This then leads us in pursuit of what the framers were referencing as they debated the new constitution, for in any such body, some form of standardized set of definitions is a necessity. This is, after all, the reason we have dictionaries, or set down laws in writing: We must have a common source as a key to understanding what is meant. Did the framers have such a reference?  Yes, in fact they referenced many well-known philosophers, the common law, the Bible, and most particularly a volume that had been procured for such purposes by none other than Benjamin Franklin. The book is The Law of Nations, by Emerich de Vattel, published in 1758. In fact, it is reported that Washington, then presiding over the convention, died in 1799 having in his possession a number of long-overdue library books, and among them was this same The Law of Nations.

I relate this anecdote about Washington and his long-overdue library book not because Washington had borrowed that book for the purposes of the convention, because he did not check these books out until after his inauguration as President under the new constitution, but that in seeking the counsel of reference material as the country’s new chief executive, he turned immediately to that with which he was apparently familiar, and had been among the references of choice for the framers during the the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, and in the new constitutional convention.

In point of fact, in the text of The Law of Nations, we may indeed find the following definition of the terms “natural born citizen” and “citizen,” among many other useful definitions. Here is that definition:

The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.

Until now, we have encountered no other definition of this term “natural-born citizen,” and here we find it in the volume that was available to the framers at the constitutional convention by none other than Benjamin Franklin.  Could there be other sources for the term?  It is certainly possible, but here we have evidence that there had been a distinct definition, a higher standard if you will, for the definition of “natural-born” or “native” citizen, apart from the more common “citizen.”

Let us return briefly to that exception to the “Natural Born Citizen,” provided in Article II, Section 1:

…a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…

Anybody to whom this criteria would apply is long, long deceased. There are no persons alive for many years now who were “citizens of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.” They’re all dead. Knowing this, to whom did this exception to the “Natural Born Citizen” requirement apply, and why was it included?

The answer to this is plain as the nose on one’s face, and it is lunacy to suggest that there had been any other purpose than this:

The United States had not existed before the Articles of Confederation. Therefore, it would be impossible to elect a President who was a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States at the time the Constitution was adopted. There were none.  George Washington, our first President under the Constitution now in force, was not a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States because the United States did not exist at the time of his birth. This exemption from or exception to the “Natural Born Citizen” clause was entirely because at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, no person met the criteria of “natural born citizen,” who could also have obtained the other qualifications. Anybody who was, at the time, a “Natural Born Citizen,” would have been a child, born at the earliest in the years that the Articles of Confederation were in force. Depending on where one draws the line for the existence of the United States of America, the oldest(and first) natural born citizens came into existence only after that date.

Obviously then, the framers wanted the country to be able to elect a President for the first quarter-century of its existence, or their constitution would be useless.

Again, this means that the second qualifier, the exception to “natural born citizen,” is no longer active, but it is still important, because explicit in that exception’s existence, we can see that there is most certainly a distinction between “natural born citizen” and the more ordinary “citizen.”  What we can know for certain is that one can test this with the simplest logic: All red cars are cars. Not all cars are red cars. All Natural born citizens are citizens, but not all citizens are natural born citizens. This is a matter of rudimentary logic.

We might also ask: “Why didn’t they define it?”  The obvious answer to this question is the same as the answer to other instances when the framers failed to define terms, for instance, “the militia,” among many others: The terms in question had a commonly understood legal meaning at the time, and/or they shared a common reference, and they did not see the need to define what was already well understood and broadly accepted. It’s much like the meaning of the word “is.” That Bill Clinton raised the question as to the meaning of “is” merely tells you that he was trying to redefine the word to some meaning other than its well understood meaning. That’s preposterous, and it is the reason every person of discernment would(and did) dismiss Clinton as a charlatan the moment those words issued forth from his mouth.

There are other definitions of “natural-born citizen” to be found, including at least one from feudal England, that some have claimed is the definition intended by the framers, but there is no evidence that they were necessarily aware of other definitions than Vattel’s, nor that they had the means to reference them.  What is known is that they did have access to Vattel, and made extensive use of that reference. In point of fact, the US Supreme Court itself has referenced The Law of Nations in its own decisions, and the further into antiquity one moves through the court’s rulings, the more frequently one runs into Vattel.  This can scarcely be accidental. Throughout the 1800s, we find Vattel’s The Law of Nations as a common reference, most particularly when issues in controversy revolve around international law, and matters related to sovereignty.

There is also resort to US Statute, enacted by Congress in 1790, among their first legislative acts.  Here we see the following language:

…And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens: Provided that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons who have never been resident in the United States:

One CNN writer used this statement to justify the notion that only one citizen parent is required, but a plain reading of this statute strongly suggests otherwise. It says the “children of citizens” and once again, I must insist that we respect the plural form of the word. It does not say “children of at least one citizen,” as would be the case if that had been what Congress intended, but instead, “citizens.” Here is that section in statute:

statute_citizens_1790

This same claim, the need of only “a citizen parent,” appeared also in a paper on the Harvard Law Review website.  Clearly, both the 1790 Act pictured above, along with Vattel’s The Law of Nations, both specify the children of “citizens,“not “a citizen” or “at least one citizen.” Both source documents specify “citizens.” It is this very specific construction, the plural form of the word “citizens,” that basically damns both the CNN and Harvard Law Review interpretations of the law, and it is scandalous that people writing for the Harvard Law Review would so easily miss this construction.  People will derisively claim “oh, but this is just a technicality…” All the law is a technicality. It is all written with specific construction. That two people who have made a living at litigation on any level so easily dismiss the plural form of the word “citizens” is baffling to me, inasmuch as I had been willing to believe they were without agenda. In other words, it stretches the bounds of credulity insofar as I am concerned.

Another of the sources often used when trying to determine the meaning of terms used by the framers is the Federalist or even anti-Federalist papers, written contemporaneously with the debate over a new constitution. One can learn the framers’ intent, broadly, and in some instances, the accepted meaning of terms at the time. Unfortunately, in this instance, these writings are silent on the meaning of natural born citizen, which is suggestive of the following: The term must have had a broadly-accepted meaning in the period during which the Constitution was framed and adopted. What we may learn is that the entire notion of the executive, the President, was under intense scrutiny, and concerns about the ultimate power to be wielded by the office-holder were many, various, and with many rational justifications, based on the recent experience with the King of England.

We may also turn to the other source available to determine the matter: Case-law, a.k.a “precedents.” What have the courts ruled in the past? The closer in time we arrive in case-law to the adoption of the Constitution, the more closely the definition in precedents should resemble the framers’ intent. Though there seems to have been no direct rulings on the matter of presidential eligibility, there is at least one case in which the definition of that term is set down by the US Supreme Court.  The most relevant passage in case-law one can find online is in the ruling in the 1875 case Minor v. Happersett.

“The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 168.(emphasis mine) This is almost precisely the language of Vattel.

It is important here to mention that the issue in controversy in Minor v. Happersett was not the definition of “natural born citizen,” or the eligibility of any person or persons to the office of President of the United States, however, it must be here also stated that this may be the closest we have in all case-law on the question of the definition of “natural born citizen.” Likewise, it is important to note that this decision had been the unanimous decision of the court, and therefore no dissenting opinion, or contravening definition of “natural-born citizen” is to be found associated with this case. There was no differing opinion joining the majority, since it was unanimous. In other words, the most venerated instance in which the United States Supreme Court references the definition of “natural-born citizen,” it appears to have been a broadly settled matter under the accepted common law, at least as of 1875. Some insist that this decision of the Supreme Court, having nothing to do with the eligibility of a candidate for President, ought not to be considered definitive on the issue because it was not the matter under examination. Others fervently disagree, including Leo Donofrio, an attorney who has pursued the eligibility of Barack Obama.

I must therefore view the definition as cited in Minor v. Happersett, in fast agreement with the definition set forth by Vattel, as the best definition of the term I have available presently, barring the discovery of some other definition, elsewhere in common law or case-law. statute, or of course, a direct ruling on the matter of eligibility.  Since I’m aware of no such ruling, I must rely on the definition I have, and since Congress has not, to my knowledge, defined “Natural-born citizen” elsewhere, apart from the statute of 1790 cited above(which is itsel in accord with Vattel,) nor subsequently amended such a definition, I have no choice but to assume this is the legally controlling definition. It is entirely possible that I have missed something, because no man can know or discover all things under the Sun, but I do know that the definition of the common form “citizen” was amended in the fourteenth amendment, but because it did not address the qualification of “Natural born citizen,” I see no use in belaboring the discussion here with something irrelevant. Also subsequently, Congress has acted to redefine what is a “citizen,” but again, I have been unable to discover any statutory definition, never mind re-definition of the term.  For my purposes, and the purposes of my own considerations, I therefore accept Vattel’s definition as the one accepted and used by the framers of our constitution.

As to the application of this definition, rather than considering the eligibility of any current or recent candidate for the office of President, let us restrict this to the consideration of a possible future candidate for that office, where the qualification of “natural born citizen” might be in doubt. Let us consider George P. Bush, because he is a person for whom this matter might be important. A few vital facts:

  • Does meet the minimum age requirement (born 1976)
  • Does meet the residency requirement
  • The exception to Natural Born Citizen does not apply because he was born nearly two-hundred years after the adoption of the constitution, therefore he could not have been a “citizen at the time of the Adoption of this constitution.”

Let us therefore fast-forward a few years, after he’s fulfilled his current term as Texas Land Commissioner, and perhaps served as Texas Governor, or maybe as a replacement to either John Cornyn or Ted Cruz as a United States Senator, after which we might guess that he will attempt to be the third President George Bush. Let us apply Vattel’s definition of “Natural born citizen to this politician.

If we accept Vattel’s definition of Natural Born Citizen, and it’s fairly certain the framers did, parentage plays the key role in citizenship, particularly where the question of “native” or “natural born” citizen is concerned.   In short, the facts are these: George P. Bush was born in 1976 to John Ellis and Columba Bush.  At the time of his birth, Columba was not a citizen of the United States. The best date I’ve been able to discover for her eventual naturalization is in 1987, or 1988, fully a decade after George P.’s birth.  This means, using Vattel’s definition, that George P. Bush cannot be eligible to the Office of President of the United States.

One of the interesting features of a “natural born citizen” appears to be this: One is or isn’t a natural-born citizen. It is a construct entirely of heredity. Vattel’s definition requires that such a “natural-born citizen” be born to citizen parents, the plural form of the word, meaning both parents must be citizens. One cannot “become” a natural-born citizen in any manner other than by being born in accordance with the definition. It is entirely an attribute of one’s particular circumstances at birth. You either are, or are not. There is no way to gain that classification except by qualification at birth.

Given this definition, we might do well to ask: “Why then is Barack Obama eligible to that office, since his father was neither a citizen of the United States at the time of his birth, nor in any time thereafter?”

The short answer, all nonsense, political considerations, and fears of public ridicule as a “birther” notwithstanding, the short answer is: By Vattel’s definition, Barack Obama is not eligible to that office, and cannot be made eligible to that office without an act of Congress redefining “natural born citizen,” or a court ruling to some other effect. “Why then was he permitted to be seated as President?” Nobody with standing to bring a legal action has done so to date. There have been several actions filed by various parties in various courts, alleging various things about his eligibility, but to my knowledge, every one of them has been dismissed for lack of standing by the parties filing the action. “How does one obtain standing?”  This is a matter well beyond the scope of this article, and one that would certainly require an expert understanding of law, so that I shall leave it to others to determine the answer to that question. I might note, however, that as recently as this past month, Donald J. Trump asserted that he has standing in the matter since he is presently a candidate for that office, as he threatened to file such a legal action against Senator Ted Cruz, and now seems to be suggesting the same for Senator Marco Rubio, two other candidates for the office of President. Whether his claim to standing is correct and accurate, I cannot say.

Those who pay attention to events of public import might well remember the controversy in 2011 when Mr. Trump demanded that Barack Obama produce his birth certificate.  At the time, I remember the speculation being that he wanted to see if Barack Obama was born in Kenya or some other foreign place.  We might now speculate, with a bit of hindsight, that Mr. Trump had been after something else entirely. If Vattels’s definition is the correct one, and at present, I have no reason to doubt that it is, then the location of Obama’s birth is less a matter of import than the question of to whom he was born. On the birth certificate trotted-out by the Obama administration, intended to effectively silence Trump, there entered as President Obama’s father is Barack Hussein Obama, known to be a foreign national of the nation of Kenya.  In order to shut this discussion down, President Obama made the official request for a certified copy from the State of Hawaii. This document was authenticated by Hawaii Health Director Loretta Fuddy, who personally witnessed the copying on April 25, 2011. Click the thumbnail below for a larger version:

longform_bho_tn

On the surface, under the circumstances at the time, given the talking-points of the media and the Obama administration, it might well have seemed to most that Donald Trump was then vanquished on the matter: Obama was born in Hawaii. Full stop.  Yet this may not be the end of the story at all, because what Trump did accomplish, perhaps shrewdly and knowingly, was the following: President Obama did publish his long-form birth certificate, a birth certificate that was authenticated by the office in Hawaii that is the authority of record in the matter, and that birth certificate, now authenticated and validated before the whole world, shows that President Obama’s father was a foreign national. In light of Vattel’s definition of the term “natural born citizen,” it is clear what this means for Obama’s legal eligibility to that office, so long as that definition holds. What Trump indeed accomplished was to goad the President into producing his birth certificate to prove he had been born in Hawaii.  If Trump already understood the issue at hand, he may well have known that the place of one’s birth is far less important than the parentage, and now, Barack Obama’s parentage is firmly and irrevocably established.

Donald Trump has been threatening a suit against Cruz on this matter, asserting his standing to sue on Friday, the 12th of February. It’s not the first time I’ve heard Trump threaten a suit in this matter, but it is the first time I’ve seen him specifically claim standing.  Naturally, the matter of standing is the more difficult issue to get this eligibility question addressed by the courts, and again, I’m not a legal expert on the technical matter of standing, how it is established, and what all the arguments against standing might be.

This then is all the more discouraging given the terrible news on the afternoon of Saturday, the 13th of February, when it was reported that Justice Scalia was found deceased in his room at a West Texas resort. If there was a justice who I would have most enjoyed to see examining this issue, it would have been Scalia. I would have anticipated his usual textual examination of the matter, whether in the majority, or writing in the dissent. I have no guess as to how he would have ruled, but if there had been a justice who was going to seriously examine the framers’ intent, it would have been Justice Scalia, More is the misfortune of the extreme untimeliness of his death from the point of view of somebody who wishes to finally have a court decide the matter of presidential eligibility. Imagining an outcome in accord with Vattel’s definition, it’s hard to conceive how they could long avoid the question of Obama’s ineligibility in accordance with that same ruling.

There are those who will argue quite vehemently that all of this is nonsense, on behalf of one motive or another, but this then spawns another question in my mind: If Vattel’s definition is incorrect, why then have there been so many attempts in the last few decades to either amend the constitution directly in order to strike “natural born” from Article II, or to write statutes defining the term elsewhere in law. You can find an interesting discussion of that topic here.

It is here that I must pause briefly to ask the question: “Why did the framers erect a higher bar for the office of President than for other offices?” The answer is plain: They believed that the holder of that office would have at his/her discretion so many broad and thorough powers that they feared a usurper of mixed or dual national loyalties might otherwise obtain the office and wreck their newly-constituted country. In other words, brought into the modern context, one might reasonably argue that “natural born citizen” was inserted into Article II’s presidential eligibility standard precisely to protect the nation from a person like Barack Obama, who appears to adhere to cultural, ethical, legal, and political standards most essentially foreign to the American nation. If this is not the sort of person against whom this clause was intended to protect the United States, I can conceive of no clearer historical example.  Others have asked, variously: “Why didn’t the Republicans raise this issue in 2008?” Apart from the motive of cowardice in the face of prospective widespread ridicule as “birthers” at the hands of the comic class, or the cocktail party circuit in DC, the only other motive I can readily ascertain is that they may intend to submit for nomination a likewise ineligible person at some future time. I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess at who that may be.

At long last, then, let me remind you once more that I am neither an attorney nor a judge, but merely a person out to answer an important question to my own satisfaction, and for my own purposes in consideration of future elections.  I am not, nor do I here claim to be, a legal authority, and I offer no warranties that my opinions are infallible.  I could have inadvertently missed a relevant source, missed some relevant ruling of the courts, or some act of Congress unknown and persistently hidden from my eyes during the course of my research. I have encountered mocking leftists, pushing and twisting and turning the law, the references to it, previous court cases, and all manner of thing in order to arrive at a conclusion favorable to their ends.  I have encountered alleged “conservatives” who spend their time brow-beating the curious and inquisitive into submission, because “the subject has caused enough embarrassment.” I have even discovered people from as far away as Australia earnestly discussing the matter due to its global import.  There are certainly many people who would like all of this to go away.  There are also those so anxious to see only one outcome that they have taken shortcuts in their research, relying upon Internet rumor-mill answers, and so on, screeching about Kenyan birth conspiracies, and similar foolishness.  It is certainly a curious and extremely mixed bag.  Most of all, in your research, you will encounter many who are either entirely oblivious of any issue, or who upon learning of it, simply don’t care.

In short, it’s a big Internet, and the extent to which one can revel in research is not quite, but nearly limitless. I am not here advocating on behalf of any person, candidate, or in any way do I expect this article to have any bearing on anything, except my own political choices.  You are free to regard my conclusions in whatever light you wish, as will I.  You are likewise free to embark upon a campaign of ridicule, and while I believe that’s silly, it’s your right, just as it is my right to express my opinion here. I am always open to new or more accurate information if it can be provided. I am ever open to new evidence, and I most certainly encourage you to embark upon your own research in this or any matter. My research will continue.

To those among my friends who will be disappointed with my conclusions, or at least their publication here, let me merely suggest that I wished only to settle the matter for myself, and that the lengthy and difficult research went on a long while, in fact many months.  This article has been revised, edited, and so on, as much as, or perhaps more than any article I’ve here presented, and while I’ve worried about where my research would ultimately lead, I’ve never had any doubt about whether I ought do it, wherever I might arrive.

Remembering Justice Scalia, the textualist, his whole professional life, a faithful and joyful servant to the constitution:

If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.- Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in a speech to Chapman Law School, August 2005

We are each judges unto ourselves, and mindful of this, the great bard’s Polonius reminded his son Laertes:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Editor: This has been a lengthy bit of research, running down leads and links, reading hundreds of articles, and looking at a number of photocopies published in various on-line libraries. Every person is entitled to his or her opinion, but I would encourage all readers to form their own opinions based on their own diligent research. The chances are high that this issue will remain unresolved unless and until the federal judiciary makes a ruling in the matter. In lieu of that, conservatives must be careful not to be led astray by some of the over-simplified discussions of this issue.  Law is all about the “technicalities.” It’s our duty to jealously guard our constitution, all of it… I understand that I will be subjected to insult and ridicule by some who will wish to make this a matter of their desired outcome, one way or the other. I ask you to appeal to your own standard of judgment in the matter. I have no doubt but that there are powerful interests who would like this issue to remain obscured, so that until this matter, long over-ripe for definitive adjudication, is finally put to rest, we will be subject to much mischief.

Unequivocal Decision Point – No Advice Needed or Solicited from GOP Establishment

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

romney_ug_ftI recognize that for many, 2016 has been the most confusing, confounding primary season in memory.  One of the things that I’ve always and forever detested is the Republican Establishment. Long time readers will know this has been the case.  In my most recent previous post, Stupor Tuesday, I explained why this race is now down to two men.  Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are the only viable campaigns remaining in 2016.  I have often stated in various places, both here and on Facebook and Twitter, that I don’t feel entirely comfortable with either of these candidates.  Let me state this clearly, and let me make it clear to all my readers, because whatever my issue-wise sympathies, the moment either of these candidates links up with the GOP establishment, or I am able to discern that either has linked-up with the party bosses, I will immediately support the other candidate in a all-out way.  I said yesterday on Twitter, half jokingly, the following:

You know how we conservatives are always miffed at GOPe for expecting us to join them, while they never join us? How stubborn are they?

In truth, I hope they’re stubborn as Hell. I hope they stubbornly stick to their guns and completely and utterly destroy the GOP as we’ve known it.  Their decades of intransigence, selling out the country with horrible trade deals to increase their personal treasuries and to extend their political influence while simultaneously ruining the country by giving away our sovereign power and our right to national self-determination has been a process that is absolutely despicable to me, and ought to be anathema to all Americans.  I don’t hate much in this world, in the true sense of the word, but the GOP establishment is one entity on this planet that collectively deserves all the contempt I can muster.  The fact of the matter is that the GOP establishment with all its gamesmanship aimed at subverting genuine, conscientious, sincere conservative activists to their purposes is simply an abomination.  I am not willing to side with the GOP establishment for the sake of one more election, under any circumstance. I am not willing to have them join with me because I know that will simply be their key to the front door through which they will slowly smuggle their agenda.

Today, Mitt Romney presented his statement on this election.  Let me make this clear: I don’t care what Romney says. Romney was a loser, and he was no friend to conservatives, and honestly, I don’t think he was a friend to our country’s future.  Trump says “he choked,” but I think it was worse than that. I think the GOP establishment wanted Obama to stay in office for a second term, so they could blame Obama and the Democrats for all of the statism and cronyism they’ve been perpetrating against us these last four years. Truly.  I think the GOP establishment in Washington DC has been sand-bagging the last four years and doing Obama’s bidding because it is what they and their wealthy donors, like the US Chamber of [Crony]Commerce have demanded. They tried to put the GangOf8 “Screw America Amnesty Bill” over on us, and they used Democrats to anchor a voting majority, and factually did so in the Senate.  In the House, under Boehner and Ryan, the party bosses have used a voting bloc comprised of a majority of Democrats and the RINO contingent to pass continuing resolutions, and other legislation that simply perpetuates the problem, with McConnell backing that effort in the Senate with the same strategy.  It’s disgusting. The GOP establishment is reprehensible, but now they want to pervert and twist the 2016 primary season more than they’ve already done. To the degree this is now a two-man race comprised of two “outsider” candidates, it is wholly due to the mismanagement and sedition of the Republican Party bosses, and an intractable DC establishment that hates conservatives, generally governing with contempt for them.

Let me explain something to you, my loyal readers who have hung in there over the years, particularly the last couple, when you had every reason to suspect I might never return: I love my country, as do you. As a young man, I spent much of my youth manning the defense of Europe from the Soviet Bloc when the matter was still very much in doubt, and our national security was very much at risk. I returned home when George H.W. Bush was taking the reins and making massive cuts to our defense infrastructure as part of a supposed “peace dividend,” a policy continued by his successor, Bill Clinton. What I discovered upon my return was that in my half-decade absence from my country, while serving as its instrument abroad, Ronald Reagan’s hopeful, courageous America was being replaced by a shrinking, tepid, but allegedly “kinder and gentler” America, suffering in the aftermath of a recession brought about in part by a broken “read my lips” promise.

Conservatism had seemed to be on the ascendancy throughout Reagan’s time in office, and many of us assumed, wrongly, that George Bush the elder would merely continue Reagan’s programs and policies. It was not the case.  It was he who caused the loss to Clinton in 1992, and it was in the same way that his son’s mismanagement of the government early in this century led to Barack Obama. I view the era from January 1989 through present as one unbroken string of Bush governance. Neither John McCain nor Mitt Romney put up much of a fight, the difference between them being that John McCain at least had a running mate in the person of Sarah Palin who did not want to stand down, and who did not want to yield. That’s the truth.

Over the last seven years, since Obama’s first term commenced in 2009, when Republicans had the power to fight, they laid down. We sent them help in 2010. In 2011, they failed us, and if you go back to the older posts on this site, you will see detailed in those posts the budget battles of 2011, and how the Republicans in the House under the leadership of John Boehner repeatedly failed us.  In 2012, we sent more help. There were some efforts, but then there were also those we had sent who betrayed us, such as Marco Rubio, among lesser lights.  In 2014, again, we sent more help, and no longer could Boehner claim “one-half of one-third of the government” as his excuse. Instead, in vote after vote, they engineered Obama legislative victories using a few hands-full of safe Republican RINOs in combination with almost all of the Democrats to give Obama whatever in Hell’s name he demanded.

Betrayed! That’s where we’ve been, and with few exceptions, that’s where we are. Now we sit in 2016 in the middle of the primary season, and again, the GOP establishment is trying to rig things, but failing that, if they don’t get a nominee acceptable to them, they are going to spike this election. Bill Kristol of WeeklyStandard fame has said he’d consider Hillary rather than voting for Trump. He’s an establishment hack, and if he wants to support Hillary, so be it, let him, but then let him leave also the Republican party, never to return. If the Republican party establishment does anything other than to support the nominee of the party to its fullest capacity, the Republican party will be killed-off in the aftermath.  Millions upon millions of long-time Republicans, conservatives, and undoubtedly, others in the broader Republican coalition will see to it.  We’ve had it with the GOP establishment.  It’s not their party any longer, and if we need to pry it from their [politically]”cold dead hands,” we will. The time of the DC Democrat/Republican uni-party is at an end, one way or another, and if it means the GOP must die to be reborn, so be it. If we must kill the GOP to rid ourselves of the DC establishment virus that infects the body of the Republican party, I stand ready to assist. If this election is lost due to the DC establishment malingering or sabotage, woe will become their constant companion, because we now know beyond a shadow of a doubt where the lines are drawn, and who is screwing whom.

In media, FoxNews is in trouble, and they know it. Ailes is reportedly apoplectic at the disclosure of his secret meeting with Rubio and other GangOf8 shills. The network’s ratings are in full-scale collapse, because they’ve been so pro-establishment for so long that given their wholesale marketing of Rubio, their audience has had enough.  They’re turning off FoxNews.  They’re fleeing the establishment mouthpieces.  It had gotten so bad that it’s become a running joke on Twitter, Facebook, and in the blogosphere that “No matter where Rubio finishes, He won, HE WON!”  Even Hannity is being openly mocked on Twitter. It’s been brutal for the semi-conservatives who have been carrying Rubio’s water on-air on FoxNews.

Based on all we now know, let me offer some advice to the two remaining viable candidates:

To both men, run from Mitt Romney. He’s a plague. Defeat is his constant companion, because his base of support is a uni-party establishment that many of the people in the Republican party have grown to hate. Run away from entanglements with the DC establishment. Such associations label a candidate as a doomed loser and a probable sell-out.  Flee like Lott, and don’t look back, lest you turn to a pillar of salt. We, the sane and patriotic people in the Republican party wish only to burn the establishment down. Don’t get caught in the flames. Others will.

To Donald Trump: Expand on the manner in which you presented yourself on the evening of your Super Tuesday wins. You will earn more credibility in the eyes of voters if you remain calm, cool, and Presidential. Stop scaring people with your rhetoric that seems even mildly threatening, specifically with respect to Americans(criminals notwithstanding.) Don’t threaten our constitutional protections, and please do more to explain the details of your programs and proposals. You terrify conservatives in many respects, because we don’t see many signs that you’re rooted in principle. The rank-and-file conservatives in the Republican party try very hard to live by principles as the guiding lights for their mortal lives. If you want to gain our support, particularly if you win the nomination, and wish not to have us sit out this election, you’ve got to begin engaging the issues from a principled position more frequently.  The whole discussion of healthcare is a good example of how you’ve horrified conservatives, many of whom believe you are in favor of something akin to single-payer healthcare.  That’s a euphemism for socialized medicine, and it’s a terrible failure providing rationing of even diagnostic and preventative care that leads to greater mortality rates for diseases that have much higher survival rates here in the US. I use this as an example, but the point is clear: Principles move conservatives; vague banter and platitudes will not. Take the US Constitution to heart, and conservatives may listen. Your press conference Tuesday was a good start in the right direction. Expand on that.

To Ted Cruz: You must run, in fact, flee in great haste, from all things establishment, and all things globalist in intent or origin.  Many conservatives fear that your history provides evidence of a too-close coziness with the Bush family, and while we understand that nobody in Republican politics in Texas over the last four decades can go far without knowing and relating in some manner to the Bush family, your connections to them could easily serve as an albatross around your neck in this election. Jealously guard American sovereignty, and prevent its usurpation by foreign powers and interests who do not hold the interests of the American people at heart. You have taken the position of reversing yourself on the TPP, but you must extend that opposition. The truth is that their can be no such thing as “free trade” with a people who are virtually enslaved.  We did not trade with the Soviet Union. We refused them, as we were right to do because we should never give the moral sanction of the veil of “free trade” to their human rights abuses.  China is no different, as their tanks in Tiananmen Square demonstrated, and their program of compulsory abortions proves.  Mexico is a cesspool run by an oligarchy that keeps its people in destitution. The American people are quite beyond tired of having a government represent interests other than those of the whole body of the American people in these deals, and no longer have confidence in our elected officials to do right by the American people. We need your unambiguous statement that you will pursue the interests of the American people, as the American people see them, but not as the establishment in DC decides they must be.

To both men, you must be faithful to your pledge to support the nominee of the Republican Party, and you must avoid entanglements with the GOP establishment at all costs. You must be and remain your own men, subservient to no hidden interests.  This, the American people can trust.  This, the American people will appreciate and respect.  If you do these things, the American people will be able to decide between you in earnest, without excessive rancor or discontent.  Unifying the party at the conclusion of this contest will be infinitely easier if the two of you set this example for those who are your supporters.  The Republican Party establishment will undoubtedly undertake tricks. Trotting out Mitt Romney is their desperate appeal for relevance and control.  They may even line up to endorse one or the other of you.  You must avoid connection with the party establishment at all cost.  We, the broad base of conservatism, view the establishment as the source of so many of our laments, losses, and general discontent over these last three decades, starting with the amnesty deal of 1986.

May the best man win, and win without the assistance, cooperation or coordination of the GOP establishment.

 

 

Cronyism and the Wreckage of a Nation

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

cronyism_ftOne of the topics that comes up in conservative circles is the notion of “Crony Capitalism.” It’s a term that was re-introduced into the popular political vocabulary by Sarah Palin in the era of the Tea Party’s ascendancy, and with good reason: Too often, our politicians are for sale to the highest bidder. More often, the politicians actually use their influence as a sort of legalized protection racket. The powerful, very wealthy people and institutions are able to fork over large amounts of money to politicians as an obvious quid pro quo for the politician’s help, support or protection. Like anything else, however, I detest the misleading association between the two words: “Capitalism” and “Crony.” The problem is that the concept described by the term “Crony Capitalism” isn’t “capitalism” at all.  It’s just “cronyism.” Capitalism doesn’t operate this way. Cronyism does, so for my purposes, and for the purposes of discussion on this site, as a matter of justice to the concept of “Capitalism,” I’m no longer going to aggregate the two distinct words into a single term.  Capitalism is the greatest economic system ever conceived or practiced, because it requires respect for the individual rights of participants.  Cronyism knows no such boundaries, and is merely a form of graft and corruption disguised within and operating in the shadows of capitalism.  It’s time we make this distinction, but more, it’s time we consider both sides of Cronyism’s ledger.

Politicians who peddle influence and who use their position as a form of de facto protection racketeering are scoundrels of the highest order.  From the early Tammany Hall chicanery to the latest scandals in our modern era, the politicians should bear most of the blame, because upon their shoulders rests the highest moral culpability, for two basic reasons: One cannot purchase that which is not for sale, and the seller of influence/protection is the person who raised his or her hand to swear an oath to the Constitution.  The purchasers of influence/protection can only buy what is offered for sale, and they didn’t swear an oath to uphold the constitution or the laws enacted thereunder.  The fact that they are slightly less guilty does not let them off the hook, because they’re guilty of a serious moral breach: They’re cheating the system, and they’re undercutting the actual free-market process that is capitalism.

Let us consider the much-celebrated case of a theoretical businessman who offers the members constituting a controlling majority of a national government cash, kick-backs, and other material favors and/or prestige if they will support his latest venture.  There is no doubt but that every member of that controlling governmental majority who accepts such an offer should be placed behind bars, and never let loose again in elected office.  What of the businessman?  What should be done to him?  Should he be permitted to walk away Scot-free, to perpetrate the same crime over and over again?  Should he be held to account?  If so, by whom?  The same scoundrels with whom he conspired?  The truth is that in most cases, both parties, even caught and exposed, walk away mostly unscathed, which is why they continue to do so, over and again. Most often, the wrist-slapping goes to the purchaser of favors and protection while the seller abruptly retires from political office if the heat becomes too great. Most of the time, however, they get away with it.

Mark Levin has recently popularized the notion of using the Article V process to amend the constitution by action and amending conventions instigated by the states.  It’s still very early, and it will take a long time to bear fruit, but if the American people press it, it could become a movement that gains traction.  I think this is the natural process for amending the constitution to address the problem of cronyism.  The only way to stop cronyism, or even slow it substantially, will be to give the law really big, sharp fangs, and to make it more certain that the buyers and sellers of favors, influence and protection will be apprehended in a timely manner.

The mechanisms and triggers built into such an amendment would need to be very precise to limit prosecutorial abuses, and political misuse of the law. That’s always the difficult part, and it’s why such an amendment ought to be considered thoughtfully, but also at the soonest possible opportunity. In terms of the sanctions against offenders, I consider that to be the easy part:

  • Forfeiture of all property, money, of the individual and/or organization
  • Subject to the same individual, criminal sanctions as in treason, i.e., a capital offense

Who would administer such a law?  The Justice Department has proven to be wholly incapable of operating outside of political influence and chicanery. Leaving such powers under the umbrella of the Executive would be wholly unacceptable.  Leaving it under the control of the Legislative branch would be no more plausible, for the reasons already discussed. Lastly, placing it under the existing Judicial branch, that owes its continued funding to the Legislative branch and its appointments to the Executive seems no more fruitful. It might even require the establishment of a very limited fourth branch of government with the sole responsibility of investigating and prosecuting under the constructs of this single amendment. How we would get any of this accomplished in our current political system is questionable, and I make no claims to know the precise methodology for success, but something must be done in this vein.

Our entire political system is rife with corruption.  It extends from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue all the way down to Anytown, USA. Most of us turn a blind eye to it, or simply shrug in helpless acknowledgement that we’re in serious trouble. A relative few of us participate in it, and that’s more the shame.  What we are witnessing with the widespread proliferation of cronyism, on both sides of its ledger, is the absolute destruction of our republic. Do you need an advantage over your competitors? Is there somebody or something you need to bulldoze? Simply beat a path to the controlling jurisdiction’s door and buy your advantage or demolish your target under cover of the law you’ve purchased. Do you need more money for your campaign coffers? Simply threaten legislation against an industry and watch them fill your coffers as a method of self-defense.  They’ll happily pay protection money for their interests.  The little guy, without deep pockets? He’s got no prayer.  He will either be steamrolled by the politicians whose influence he cannot afford, or bull-dozed by their customers, with whom he cannot financially compete.

There are most assuredly two sides to the cronyism coin.  It exists at all levels of government, in both parties, almost end-to-end. We have effectively lost our country to it, with no end in sight but for the demise of America as we had known it. Whether you’re black or white; man or woman; rich or poor; able or infirm, this system of cronyism is going to consume us all, one by one. Every one. No matter how big you think you are, there’s always somebody bigger.

Life Without Principles: The New America

Friday, February 12th, 2016

constitution_ablaze_ft

Given the feedback I’ve gotten over a previous column, both here and on Facebook, I’m inclined to believe that the country will not be salvaged or saved. What I’ve been told by people who I had long believed to be conservatives is that ideology is “BS.” Principles are worthless. Ideas and philosophy don’t matter. It’s all pointless babble, with no power to affect change, and that it must be discounted in favor of expedience, electioneering, and the perceived political exigencies of the moment.  I understand that there are people who find themselves in a place of complete and utter political disenfranchisement (welcome to my world,) but to suggest that ideas, principles, and philosophies don’t matter is to say nothing matters, not even life itself.  I was told in a Facebook comment today that I should be willing to set aside my principles for “the good of the country.”  What in the name of John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt does that mean?  Without my principles, how am I to know what is “the good of the country?” Without my principles, I might consider “the good of the country” to be whatever I imagine on a whim. Do I surrender my principles to Donald Trump’s judgments? To Sarah Palin’s? Without principles, how do I know if any of them are right? How do I know? There are some people who I trust a good deal, but I don’t surrender my intellectual or moral sovereignty to anybody. Ever. For once, I’d like all of the proponents of life without principle to consider what it is they’re advocating, assuming they’re still able.

Get up tomorrow morning. Go to work. Why?  Why bother? Who says you should pay for your own way in life? Who needs principles?  Choose your mate. Your soul-mate. If s/he displeases you, ditch and get another. Why try to work it out? Who says children need parents and an intact family?  Why are you hung up on principles?  Need food? Go take it from your neighbor.  Sure, it’s stealing, but we don’t have time or need of principles of private property, or any of that old-fashioned nonsense about good and evil, the ten commandments, or any other idea. We don’t need that.  Just do what you want to who you want when you want!  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” Why bother with that? They’re all out to screw me anyway, and they will do unto me whatever they want, because they don’t have need of principles either.

To Hell with principle. Principles never seem to get me anywhere, anyway! If I stick to principles while others cast them aside, or never bother to consider them, I’m the sucker, and I’m the one at a disadvantage! No sir, no principles any longer.  I don’t worry about principles, or holding fast to my beliefs. I can go with the flow. I can be anything I want to be, any time I want to be whatever it is I’m considering.  I don’t have a care in the world about principles, because they simply act as a constraint upon me, but upon nobody else. That makes me the sucker, so no more principles.  In politics, I want to win, whatever principles I need to reject, discard, or otherwise eject from my thinking. As long as my candidate wins, principles don’t matter.

Ladies and gentlemen, if this line of thinking has come to dominate your thought processes, you’re on the wrong website.  LEAVE NOW, and never return, excepting as your folly becomes clearer in your mind.  I find this despicable in every possible meaning of the word. If you accept life without principle, I will have nothing to do with you, as no decent person on the face of the planet should.  Had you any principles remaining, you would be ashamed for even suggesting such a thing, never mind practicing it. It is despicable that in a nation founded upon an idea, the people of the country would devolve in character and wisdom to such an extent that in the throws of their allegedly patriotic fervor, they would reject ideas and ideals. It makes me sick – physically, demonstrably ill.

People have prevailed upon me to consider how a certain candidate will “Make America Great Again.”  I then ask: “What made America great in the first place?”  By what standard of value had American been “great?” On what principle were those standards of value based?  How can I even determine what is “great” without principles?  How can I know if it’s better or worse or just the same if I’ve cast off the ideology by which I am able to make such determinations?  How will I know?  Whose judgment shall I trust?  Upon which principle will my judgment rest once I’ve cast them off? This is something none of them can or will answer.  There can be no honest answer to this without either an immediate confession of error or a de facto admission of idiocy.

The United States, as currently constituted, was founded on a series of ideas about self-governance, limited government and natural rights.  Those principles, yes, principles, are the basis of everything we do and have and know in this country in terms of our relative prosperity, our material wealth, our technological advancement, and every other tangible exhibit of our modern culture.  None of it would have been possible without  principles, and you will neither restore or even retain your country if you now discharge those principles in favor of intellectual and political expedience.  Put another way, if you have come to believe that you can “Make America Great Again” without reference to principles, what you have done is to become part of a cult of personality, having surrendered your intellectual and political sovereignty to the perceived exigencies of the moment.  Good luck with that. In all the history of the world, such a movement has never succeeded.  Most frequently, they result in the rise of despots and the enslavement and purging of human beings in the million.  Of course, what do I know?  One of those antiquated principles to which I adhere is: “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”(George Santayana – one of those useless philosophers.)

If that’s your schtick, so be it. Go forth to whatever end your folly will have earned for you.

Donald Trump Lied About Conservatism

Friday, February 12th, 2016

trump_bsa_ftWatching the 2016 election season unfold, I’ve become a bit tired of two things in particular about the media, and Donald Trump.  In the first instance, Trump is wholly unwilling to discuss details of his plans, and the media dutifully accepts his empty rhetoric in an unquestioning manner almost as thorough as some of his supporters.  In the second instance, Mr. Trump is lying, and it’s a big lie that we conservatives must debunk.  It could be that Trump is just ignorant, so that when he spews his lie, he’s simply the parroting of talking points emanating from the rabid left and the DC establishment. Either way, a lie is a lie, whether it originated from Trump’s own mind, or he’s merely passing it along unthinkingly.  So what’s this big lie? On Thursday, Trump tweeted that conservatives are to blame and that conservatives have failed the country.  This couldn’t be further from the truth, but once again, debunking it requires the examination of a few salient details.  His throngs of supporters won’t be moved by this, just as they won’t be moved by any other rational argument. By and large, they’re proving immune to facts, reason, and details.  It should come as no surprise to conservatives that in one respect, I think there’s a nugget of truth that makes Trump’s lie seem superficially plausible, but it’s just a nugget.  It’s time to deconstruct Trump’s lie.

djt_conservatives_tweet

The first thing one must consider in answer to Trump’s assertion is: “Who are the conservatives?”  The truth in answer to this question is that actual, thinking, breathing, ideological conservatives constitute a minority of the Republican party.  The truth is that there are almost no actual conservatives in Washington DC, and to have been the party to blame for the state of the country, that is where one would have needed to be, not simply in a geographical sense, but in the sense of political efficacy.   Actual conservatives haven’t had any power to speak of in Washington DC for nearly two generations.  From the time of the middle of Reagan’s second term, there has been little one could properly label as “conservative” in our nation’s capital.  Where one can find any justification of Trump’s lie, despite the reality, is that for too long, we conservatives have let people who had no real attachment to conservatism pose as our representatives.

George H.W. Bush was no conservative.  Bob Dole was no conservative.  George W. Bush was no conservative. John McCain is no conservative.  Mitt Romney is no conservative.  I can extend this list to include current candidates like Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio to an extent, and any number of other conventional Republican politicians.  Paul Ryan is certainly no conservative, but neither were his immediate predecessors, John Boehner and Dennis Hastert.  Mitch McConnell and his caucus of establishment Republican cronies aren’t conservatives either, but the problem is that we have permitted them to claim conservatism, and we’ve allowed them to thereby define conservatism by the association with us.  Most Americans simply don’t pay much attention to politics, and in their barely-informed state of political ignorance, they’ve accepted the following basic formula: Republican = Conservative.  They may have accepted also: Democrat = Liberal.  Both of these are tragically wrong, and I will suggest to my conservative brethren that we are at least somewhat collectively guilty for letting this stick.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve permitted this to happen.  We’ve been so busy trying to expand the “big tent” of conservatism that we’ve permitted the party-crashers of the establishment to redefine what conservatism is, at least in the popular culture, by their constant association with us.  It’s been going on since Teddy Roosevelt, who was a progressive in Republican clothing.  For my part, here on this website, I’ve always endeavored to make clear the distinctions.  One cannot go through the columns of these pages and make any mistake about the fact that the form of conservatism advocated and advanced here has no relation whatsoever to the Republican party, never mind its establishment.

Of course, the truth is far removed from Trump’s nonsensical allegation.  Most actual conservatives, I’d nearly assert all, do not support the actions of the establishment, moderate, “center-right” wing of the Republican party.  Most conservatives actually detest those people, and would replace them with actual conservatives if it was in their power to do.  Every time conservatives have gone along with the GOP establishment in order to try to move things in the right direction, two things have been true almost without exception:  The GOP establishment betrays us, and we wind up moving backward.  A case in point is immigration: Those who call themselves “conservative” but are aligning themselves with Rubio in this election cycle have a very “YUGE” problem: Their guy is an amnesty-monger, having proposed the most exasperatingly un-conservative bill proposed by a Republican in quite a long time.  The so-called “Gang-of-8” bill was a nation-destroying monstrosity, and it would never have attained launch, much less threatened passage, without the efforts of people who claim to be “conservative.”

This is the problem exposed by Trump’s lie: It’s only plausible because we conservatives permit others to define what is conservatism.  We permit the misapplication of the term to people who may on occasion, for their own political expedience(and too frequently, ours) to associate with us and our body of political philosophy.  Since the greatest number of Americans don’t really pay that much attention, and use generic labels in order to short-cut thinking, we have a responsibility as conservatives to define what that means, and to take great pains to differentiate conservatives from anything else.

The facts supporting Trump’s assertion dissolve the moment one asks: “What is a conservative?” The laundry list of non-conservatives mentioned above is just a sample, but it should serve as a decent basis for understanding the problem in its proper context.  When Donald Trump talks about “the conservatives failed,” what he’s actually saying is that “Republicans have failed.”  That’s demonstrably true.  The problem is that conservatives haven’t failed, largely since they’ve never really held power in Washington, except for the briefest few years immediately after the ’94 “revolution” in the House of Representatives.  Even its leader, Newt Gingrich, isn’t really a conservative, but some of the people around him were, and a few of the people who led early efforts in those environs were, but they were short-lived as was the influence of conservatism.  To find substantial, muscular conservatism, one must return to the first term of Reagan’s presidency, which is why conservatives so thoroughly long for a Reagan-like leader.  It’s also why the fakers, the so-called moderates in the GOP, can’t wait to bury Ronald Reagan in long-forgotten history of the Republic.

We conservatives must separate ourselves from the GOP establishment in a political and cultural sense.  We must create clear separation from the party’s moderates because by failing to do so, we permit the broadest brush to be used in defining our cause, our philosophy, and our values.  It won’t be easy to do, but I believe it must be done.  The most promising of the current crop of GOP candidates, who may be able to draw this distinction, is probably Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX,) simply because on so many issues near and dear to the hearts and minds of conservatives, he bucked the political trends in Washington DC, abandoning even his own party at times, apparently on the basis of principle.  It may be that for him to fully set conservatism apart from the muck of establishment GOP politics, he will find himself required to loudly and forcefully make the distinction clear, not merely in his words, but in the clear-thinking actions of his office, so long as he may be in it.  Otherwise, Trump will succeed in painting him, and conservatism, as just more representative of the whole of the Republican party, and with such a faulty attribution of blame, conservatism label will continue to be the generic container into which the wider voting public will file all Republicans.  I suspect Trump knows all of this, but his campaign isn’t one of nuance or detail.  Quite to the contrary, his campaign is one of generic sloganeering, with thinly-veiled emotional appeals substituted in place of syllogisms.

It’s because I do believe that Trump knows the difference that I consider this attack on conservatism to be a lie on his part.  There is some small chance that he is so thoroughly ignorant that he doesn’t understand the distinction, but I suspect that’s not the problem.  I believe that Trump is gambling on and playing to the electorate in a disingenuous fashion, knowing that his prospective voters don’t understand the distinctions anyway, and won’t be motivated to discover them.  Thus far, he’s been largely correct in this assumption, although it remains to be seen whether it will hold up through the entire campaign season.

The problem for conservatives is “Yuge” because they’re stuck in the same sort of problem, in almost exactly the same fashion, as is the basic reputation of “capitalism.”  This is not coincidental.  Capitalism continues to be blamed for all the evils of statism, in its various manifestations, because few are interested in learning the distinctions between what America’s actual economic system is, and why capitalism bears no actual resemblance. In much the same fashion that we haven’t even had approximately conservative governance in more than a generation, so too is it the case that capitalism was vanquished in America by the enactment of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Sherman Act is wholly antithetical to capitalism, and whatever economic system we may have had since, it is not and cannot be labeled as “capitalism.”  Of course, once again, the propagandists for statism have managed to re-cast the meaning of the term in precisely the same way that “conservatism” has been redefined so as to include all “Republicans.” It’s nonsense, of course, but that fact does not stop them from doing it. One must be attentive to details, in a disciplined way.  It’s an article of faith among those same propagandists that our system of government be referred to as “democracy,” but that bears little resemblance to the actual form of government our Constitution’s framers designed and ratified. The United States is, by definition of its organizing document, a “constitutional representative republic,” but too often, as a matter of ease and propaganda, folks drop that longer, much narrower description, and it is to the detriment of the body politic, unless you happen to be a propagandist or advocate for statism.

The truth Trump won’t tell you is that had conservatives had their way over the last three decades, we would never have approached the state of desperate gloom under which we now suffer.  What he won’t tell you is that statism is the responsible political philosophy, in large measure because he has been among its practitioners and advocates.  When he proposes solving the “student loan problem” with another government program, he’s advancing statism. When he proposes replacing Obamacare with what seems to be a Canadian or British-styled single-payer healthcare system, he’s proposing more statism.  He’s doubling down.  When he states that eminent domain is an important tool in private initiatives, he is declaring statism in big, broad terms, while he is defiling the good name of capitalism to do it.  Donald Trump isn’t a capitalist, but instead a cronyist.  He has greased palms and bought favors with campaign contributions as much as any person who has ever sought the office of President, and maybe more.  His well-documented use of government officials and offices in the name of his private concerns is evidence neither of capitalism, nor conservatism, and that to date, he has gotten away with this mislabeling and slander is at least in part the fault of we conservatives.

After all, it’s the same thing: Jeb Bush calls himself a “conservative” and most of us won’t bother to debunk his claim.  His brother called himself a “compassionate conservative,” but too few of us challenged his claim though it was obvious in most notable respects that his presidency was rife with the growth of statism, and the advancement of anti-capitalist measures.

Yes, Donald Trump is probably going to succeed in blaming conservatism for the sins of GOP establishment, moderate actions.  His lie will stand mostly unchallenged because most of us will not even stand for our claimed political philosophy.  While I can’t do a thing about that, I can and will continue to speak out about the lies of Trump in this regard: Conservatism is not to blame for the ills of this country, any more than one can blame capitalism, and for the same exact reason: We haven’t practiced either in so long that the terms have lost their true meaning.  Trump knows this, and he’s gambling that his supporters won’t discover it either.  It’s our job, the job of actual conservatives, to educate the electorate on the differences.

Editor’s Note: The Tweet image was added again after the fact because either I didn’t save the article with that image in it, or it dropped it, or something or other. Anyway, that is what I am referencing. Conservatives didn’t HELP the GOP betray its voters.

 

 

Trump Hammers Cruz as “Maniac” But Looks The Part Himself

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Angry or Manic?

Angry or Manic?

Donald Trump had one heck of a weekend. First, he questioned Ted Cruz’s “evangelical” credentials, and went to great lengths to attack him on ethanol subsidies, pandering to Iowa voters.  As if this wasn’t enough, he actually asserted that Cruz was a maniac in the Senate, firmly ceding his own “outsider” credentials. Is this attack by Trump going to succeed, or is it, as Mark Levin said on the air Monday evening, a foolish move?  FoxNews is eating it up, because they hate both men.  To them, Trump is a maniac, but so is Ted Cruz.  They are considered “maniacs” by the FoxNews establishment crowd for different specific reasons, and I think it’s instructive to understand why this difference matters.  He even went on to join in a leftist attack on Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the few justices fighting to uphold the constitution.

When Trump goes to great lengths to say “Cuba isn’t known for its evangelicals,” he’s taking a rather bigoted view of Cuba. Many Cuban exiles resumed their faith in full fervor after successfully leaving Cuba, and in fact, it was their faith, at least in part, that caused them to flee.  More, Trump has never been a friend to evangelicals, so what’s with the petty attack on Cruz on this basis?  Score one for Trump’s religious and ethnic bigotry.  Not only did he make [faulty] assumptions about Cubans and evangelicals, but he also made an assumption that this would play to Iowans.

Trump went on to point out to Iowans that Cruz opposed the ethanol subsidy.  I have news for you: Virtually everybody outside the corn-growing states oppose the ethanol subsidies, because frankly, it’s driving up the cost of food and fuel, as well as making a wreck of gasoline-burning power equipment, from automobiles to lawn-mowers to outboard motors. Even many within corn-growing states oppose the subsidies, because they have to pour this diluted gasoline in their cars and shop at grocery stores where every item that has corn as an input, from corn chips to corn-fed beef is inflating in price due to the use of corn in the production of ethanol.  This was a purely cynical attack intended to take advantage of Iowans by pandering to something peculiarly interesting to them.

What’s most disconcerting about Trump’s little rampage this past weekend is that the attacks he launched on Cruz were launched squarely from a leftward point of view.  I even observed Brit Hume, a notorious establishment shill, going on to attack Cruz on this basis, intimating that Iowans have a short time to discover the reason so many in the Senate don’t like Ted Cruz.  I don’t need Brit Hume to tell me, because I already know. It’s the same reason I supported Cruz in his Senate run against Texas RINO David Dewhurst, and also why people like Senators Lindsey Graham(R-NC) and John McCain(R-AZ) can’t stand Cruz: He’s willing to fight. They’re not.

The odd thing is that this may well backfire on Donald Trump, because up until now, he’s been running as an “outsider.” This series of attacks plays directly into the hands of the GOP establishment. Cruz has been no friend to the GOP establishment, and Iowans know it.  I’m not sure that Trump hasn’t sabotaged himself here, because his attacks on Cruz sound suspiciously similar to the attacks launch against Cruz by the DC insiders.  In so doing, Trump is eating into one of his few distinct virtues: He’s been the quintessential outsider,  at least until now, but with the latest series of attacks on Cruz from the left, he may be unintentionally ceding that ground to Cruz.  If so, Trump may come to lament this last weekend.  His attack on Antonin Scalia is perhaps the worst outlier of the weekend, because while one might rationalize his attacks on Cruz as just part of the political fight, but the attack on Scalia by going along with Jake Tapper was pure folly.  Scalia has been a leading light for constitutional conservatives for years, and this scurrilous attack on him by Trump is perhaps a bridge too far.  This speaks more to Trump’s own maniacal nature than to anything one might say about either Antonin Scalia or Ted Cruz.

As a purely political matter, Cruz ought to avoid being drawn into a knock-down, drag-out with Trump, because that’s where Trump excels.  Cruz is best in well-reasoned, well-controlled discourses when the tempo of the exchange supports close examination.  If Trump has any inkling of the misstep he may have taken over the weekend, he’ll reverse course on some of this as quick as he can.  Discerning conservatives and independents will notice that Trump really yielded some of his claim to being an outsider this weekend, and this may well cost Trump mightily.  If one considers that among the ‘outsiders,’ (Trump, Cruz, Carson, Fiorina) constitute nearly seventy percent of the support from Republican primary voters, Trump ought to think and think hard about yielding his position as outsider so easily.   The notion that Cruz is looked upon in a negative light by most of his Senate colleagues is not a bad thing, particularly in the vast expanse of the electorate between the coasts.  From the point of view of most Americans, most of the Senate is comprised of detestable Washington DC insiders who hold the American people in contempt.

The Republican candidates are scheduled to debate Tuesday night in Las Vegas.  It will be interesting to see whether Trump squanders his lead by continuing this line of attack, or whether he thinks better of it and resorts to more rational arguments that might appeal to conservatives.  To date, his one peculiar virtue had been his take-no-prisoners style of assault on the GOP establishment, but if he isn’t careful, he may well blow it.  The GOP establishment is only too happy to see Trump going after Cruz, and this could well be his undoing with the Republican base.

 

 

 

Why I Like Donald Trump

Saturday, December 12th, 2015
Hamming it up

Hamming it up

I like the mockery Donald Trump has been making of a goodly portion of the establishment of the Republican Party.  They deserve it.  I love the fact that he’s driving the media berserk.  After ten minutes of watching almost any news network on TV, one is left with the impression that Donald Trump is somewhere between evil genius and outright loon.  Trump is a shrewd media manipulator, but I still don’t know anything concrete about what he believes.  I can’t identify a consistent ideology much beyond “what will get me the most press right now.”  Still, despite all his philosophical and ideological shortcomings, one can’t help but love to watch the way he drives the Washington DC, insider cartel absolutely crazy. Despite the gnashing of teeth from within the Beltway, the American people are eating it up, with each episode gaining him ground.  I understand it.  America is looking for a leader like George C. Scott’s portrayal of General George S. Patton: No nonsense, a bit of bravado, and an unambiguous statement of the goal, without worrying about who may be offended.  How many times have conservatives lamented the lack of bluntness?  Still, this cannot be the sole criteria by which we choose our president, any more than a sunny disposition can be the sole criteria for choosing one’s doctor.  We need much more.

Trump’s entire campaign seems to hang on the catch-phrase “making America great again.” That’s all well and good, and I very much enjoy that process, like most conservatives, but I’m not sure I understand what Donald Trump thinks made America great in the first place.  Listening to him, there’s no evidence that he’s for any reduction in the size and cost of government, yet I believe part of what made America great was economic freedom, and it has been only in the progressive, statist era that America’s true greatness reached its apogee and began again to wane.   I’m not sure Mr. Trump sees it quite that way.  The problem is that by reducing everything to a slogan about “making America great again,” I’ve not heard too many specific details, and the few I’ve heard thus far are less than inspiring.  For instance, Mr. Trump is for a single-payer healthcare system!  If there is anything that has helped America to begin losing its standing and financial stability in the world, it is the increasing socialization of our medical care and insurance schemes since the late 1960s.  More the dependency-creating welfare-state of which a single-payer system would be an integral part is part of what is destroying America’s greatness, so I don’t understand Trump’s logical [in]consistency.

In point of fact, Trump is not conservative, but then most Republicans claiming that label don’t really deserve to wear it.  Jeb Bush said famously “I used to be a conservative,” but Rubio, Christie, Kasich and a lengthy list of the others are not conservatives either.  In fact, I think the closest things to genuine conservatives we have in this race for the nomination are senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.  Huckaby and Santorum might make legitimate claims to a fair piece of social conservatism, but in terms of economics and finance, I don’t believe either of them is overwhelmingly conservative by accounting of their actual political records.  Dr. Ben Carson is a brilliant, amiable man, who I like very much, but who also probably isn’t ready to be President of the United States.  The point is that we can’t throw out Trump for his lack of conservatism unless we’re also willing to discard Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Huckaby, Santorum, Lindsey Graham(who I would not support for dog catcher in Tumbleweed, Arizona,)  or Carly Fiorina, none of whom are particularly conservative, or worse, are simply establishment hacks. For my part, I’m willing to discard them, and indeed, I’m will also to discard Trump because what I’ve discovered is that Mr. Trump simply hasn’t formulated what I would consider to be a self-consistent plan that exhibits any detailed understanding of how to “make America great again.”  Of course, that doesn’t make him any worse than the laundry-list of folks noted above, but it should give pause to those who are rushing off to support him.

I like Trump’s energy.  I wish it were more focused.  I like his general notion about “making America great again,” because I believe it’s something that could be accomplished, but I haven’t seen any evidence that he has a plan to accomplish it in any plausible manner.  I like that he comes up with short-run, topical slogans, because that’s always easy for voters to digest and understand, but I detest the fact that he seems to stop at the slogan-formulation stage, and never brings any substantive plans along by which these slogans are to be realized.  In short, he’s a lot of huff and puff, but no stuff.  There’s no there there.

On the other hand, Trump has staked out a number of positions I consider to be abominable.  The single-payer healthcare business he supported through the 90s is among them, but I’ve also noted with chagrin that Trump supports the Supreme Court decision in Kelo, in which eminent domain was used to condemn homes and property for use in commercial developments.  His general disrespect for private property rights and his use of government to take what he wants ought to serve as a cautionary note to anyone who considers supporting him for President. Remember this:

These are just two highlights among a lengthy list of deficiencies.  Still, it is entertaining to watch the Republican establishment and its slate of candidates from Jeb to Marco lose their minds over Trump.  Trump may entertain me, and I truly enjoy watching the likes of Jeb Bush lose his cool, and to watch the entire Democrat Party membership go crazy, calling him “Hitler” and so on.  Perhaps they should call him “FDR” instead. Franklin Roosevelt interred Japanese for the duration of the war, most of them US citizens!  Watching the media, especially FoxNews, obsessing over Trump makes me laugh.  Megyn Kelly’s semi-pseudo-exasperation over the media’s obsession(and eye-rolling, on-air confessions of the same at her own network) tickle me pink.  Her assault on Trump:

Megyn asks Donald about his Republican credentials:

The GOP establishment’s media harpy is hilarious when she loses her mind over Trump.  Trump apparently agrees:

Of course, FoxNews acts as a megaphone for the establishment wing of the GOP:

My point, lost in the haze of Donald Trump’s bombast, is that while he is highly entertaining to watch, and while I heartily enjoy seeing the DC beltway cartel lose their minds over his politically-incorrect remarks and comments, I don’t believe he has the philosophical consistency for which I’m looking in a President, and I also don’t believe his overall record on areas of significance are in any way in accord with conservative thought. His views on eminent domain are in accord with the Supreme Court, but in the current context, that means they’re anathema to traditional Americans principles and values.

Still, a conservative must take a certain amount of pleasure in the GOP establishment having been driven to plotting over measures to stave off a Trump nomination by setting aside any Trump electoral success through the use of a brokered convention.  That anybody drives the party “blue-bloods” to this level of terror is absolutely a fascinating occasion I wholly endorse…but I still can’t vote for him.

JEB Suggests Trump-Clinton Conspiracy; Did Trump Give Clinton a Medal?

Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Aid and Comfort, JEB?

Aid and Comfort, JEB?

On Wednesday, NewsMax reported that JEB Bush tweeted about an alleged conspiracy between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. While I’m certainly no Trump fan, and I wouldn’t doubt any conspiracy involving Hillary Clinton, I have a question for Mr. Bush: If past entanglements and relationships between Clinton and Trump are the basis for this argument, ought I not consider JEB’s own entanglements and relationship with Clinton as the basis for a possible Bush-Clinton conspiracy?  Readers might wonder what I’m talking about.  I could point to the great and fast friends George HW Bush appeared to become with the Clintons after his defeat in 1992, but no, I needn’t reach that far back in time, or even go to Bush relatives.  Instead, we need only ask the following: While serving as the Chairman of the Board of the dubiously named “National Constitution Center,” JEB stood forth on a public stage to hand out the Center’s Liberty Medal.  It just so happens that on the 10th of September, 2013, almost exactly one year after the Benghazi terror attack that killed our Ambassador, the woman who asked “…what difference does it make?” in congressional testimony on the matter stood forth on the stage with none other than JEB to receive the Center’s Liberty Medal.  Hillary received the Liberty Medal from JEB!

Per Mr. Bush:

“Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy,”

and:

“These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year’s Liberty Medal.”

Now it’s all well and good if Mr. Bush wants to assert, along with his lapdogs in the media(Bill Kristol et al) that there is a deep, dark conspiracy between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and considering the characters involved, I would not doubt it, but I wonder whether JEB understands just how foolish the facts make him look. After all, Donald Trump never stood on a stage on behalf of an organization named “The National Constitution Center,” handing out a medal to Mrs. Clinton.  Frankly, at the time, I thought it an unforgivable, disqualifying misadventure on JEB’s part, but in light of his suggestion of a Hillary-Trump cabal, it now seems all the more ludicrous.  Conspiring with the enemy, JEB? That’s what he’s implying Trump is doing. How about giving aid and comfort, JEB? Isn’t that to which hanging a medal on Mrs. Clinton amounts? (The so-called “Liberty Medal,” of all things!!!)

While I trust Donald and Hillary roughly as far as I can throw their combined weight, I don’t trust JEB either.

Note to Obama, Media: Americans Are NOT Afraid of ISIS

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Defiantly Indifferent

President Obama gave an address from the Oval Office on Sunday night in the wake of the San Bernardino terror attack. In the course of his speech, an address riddled with a wholly self-serving defense of his abysmal record on national security, and also during the media coverage thereafter, it became plain that neither the President nor the Washington beltway media “get it.” The American people aren’t cowering in fear of ISIS.  They’re not lashing out in hatred of American Muslims.  They’re not afraid of al-Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL, or any other terror group or “radicalized” elements living and operating in the United States. Instead, what the American people are is angry.  The American people are enraged.  They’re good and damned well pissed-off, and not just with the terrorists, but particularly with our political leadership and the DC beltway media.  President Obama didn’t improve things for himself on Sunday evening, indeed one could argue he worsened things.  The American people don’t trust the DC cartel to defend our nation, and it’s downright galling to average Americans.

Obama didn’t waste any time in listing a litany of actions he’s taken to fight terrorism.  What he did not do was to acknowledge the failures of his administration.  Instead, he started talking about new restrictions on gun ownership.  A ban on purchasing firearms among those who are on the terror watch-list or no-fly list will not stop such things.  The people who carried out the San Bernardino attack were not on the no-fly list.  He went on to say we need to limit the sales of so-called “assault weapons.” The fact is that no ban on such weapons would be of any value.  In France, such weapons are illegal.  In California, the laws are more restrictive than anywhere in the US. Bans don’t stop criminal from getting guns. They merely stop innocents from self-defense.

In talking about the threat we’re facing, the President couldn’t manage to link clearly, and in the same sentence, the notion of radical, militant Islamic terrorism.  He threw “radicalization” into one sentence, and “Islam” into another.  Nobody takes this seriously.  When the President can’t square-up to an enemy and name him without equivocation, there’s no way the American people will respect the President.  His tiresome, tortured excuse-making for Islamists and apologetics for Islam are no longer tolerated by the American people.

In the coverage after the speech, Senator Rubio, a lagging candidate for the GOP nomination, talked about how Americans are afraid to travel, and afraid to fly.  I’m sure there are a few hands-full of such people, but everybody I know is simply infuriated.  They don’t believe the government, either party, or the media generally. Why should they?  More, Rubio went on to insist that we needed to collect more data, but as Rand Paul pointed out, the French gather more information than the US ever has, but it did not stop the attacks in Paris.

The simple fact is that as I’ve recounted to you before, President Obama Is NOT incompetent.  He’s malevolent.  He isn’t interested in what’s good for the country or its people.  In point of fact, he’s remained steadfastly committed to punishing the American people since his first inaugural.  Obama can’t wait to tell us about how we should not push Muslims away with distrust and suspicion, but this is the same President who did everything in his power to alienate people who attended Tea Party rallies.  In the instance of Tea Party folks, or conservatives generally, he couldn’t wait to alienate, and his friends in the media couldn’t wait to paint the the Colorado theater shooter as a Tea Party guy, which of course was debunked within an hour or so of the claim first being made in the media.  No, this President has too many sympathies with the Jihadis, and more in common with them than with the bulk of his countrymen.  Barack Obama is despicable, and this address simply confirms that view of him.  Rather than supporting and defending the citizens of the United States, defending their liberties while simultaneously defending the country, Obama is more interested in protecting the feelings of Muslims while simultaneously preying upon the First and Second amendment liberties of citizens.  He’s not interested in defeating ISIS or al-Qaeda, but in defeating conservatives by any means necessary.

Punishing the Victim: Obama to Create Nationwide “Gun Free Zone”

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

cbs_obama_gun_Control_tweet_sm

 

 

This morning, in promoting the day’s broadcasting schedule, CBS News tweeted out the following:

cbs_obama_gun_Control_tweet

 

 

 

If you had any doubts about the diabolical nature of Barack Obama’s ideology, it should now be clear.  Here we have the man entrusted with safeguarding the nation, and upon the circumstance of a terrorist attack within our own borders, an attack possible only due to the faulty vetting of his immigration enforcement policies that have created a virtual open border, Obama does not seek to close the door, or go after the terrorists, those who inspired, funded, and/or trained them, or any logical course of action at all.  Instead, Barack Obama seems poised to turn the entire country into a “Gun Free Zone” wherein only the bad guys have guns.

We know conclusively that gun violence is down almost everywhere in America, except for one class of location: Gun Free Zones.  Therefore, President Obama is going to do the most destructive thing possible in response: He’s going to broaden Gun Free Zones to encompass the entire nation.  That way, we’re ALL TARGETS, EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME.  (Unless we’re surrounded by men and women with guns because we’re under Secret Service protection.)

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the White House is not a “Gun Free Zone.” President Obama doesn’t live in a “Gun Free Zone.” In fact, wherever he goes, he’s in a bubble of protection that is filled with guns aimed at protecting him.  Oh, sure, he’s not wielding any himself, but the men and women of the Secret Service who surround him are armed to the teeth. Yes, the President exists in a “Gun-Enhanced Zone.”

Once again, what’s good for Emperor Obama is not good enough for Americans.  It’s good to be king.

I suspect that before this evening’s address is over, as he goes on to announce new Executive Orders clamping down on your right to protect yourself, your family, and your home and property, from the length and breadth of America, minus the statist havens on both shores, we will hear a loud refrain of these most famous words:

*** Caution: Strong Language ***

It’s time to say what needs to be said: Barack Obama, stop blaming and punishing the victims of your intransigent maladministration of our immigration laws, and your senseless policies on defense of the nation.   It’s time for you to understand that you don’t run anything that the American people don’t want you to run.

 

 

The New Communists at FoxNews

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

cargile_fnc_smSaturday afternoon, I took a little bit of time to watch some news. I flipped over to FoxNews, and there I witnessed Mickey Cargile explaining to openly supportive host Eric Shawn and his audience that drug prices are a moral issue, and a quality of life issue, more than economic issue. I couldn’t agree more.  His conclusion, however, was based on the moral system of collectivism. I realize that the anchors and stories on FoxNews on weekends tend to be the “B-Team” or even the “C-Team,” but this is despicable. Watch for yourself:

Apparently, Cargile believes this is a moral issue, but unfortunately, his moral standard is collectivism. He ignores entirely the morality of a civilized country inasmuch as he openly attacks private property rights, private wealth, and the freedom to choose. Reading between the lines, he’s advocating some sort of government-enforced price control at the very least, and perhaps even complete expropriation at the worst. This implies violence. In order to enforce such a thing, what one is saying is that one is ready to kill people in order to take their things if they do not otherwise consent.

The host, for his part, is no better. He smears the owners of the rights to the Hepatitis C treatment under discussion as people who are merely out to profit, first, as if profit is somehow an evil, and second in that they might use that profit to “buy a new Ferrari.” This shameful broadcast merely confirms my contention that FoxNews is all about co-opting conservatism. There’s nothing remotely conservative in this, Cargile’s protests about his continuing devotion to the free market notwithstanding.

For those who don’t understand the principles involved, let us be clear: If you invent a thing, and I purchase the rights to that thing from you, my moral claim to the thing in question is every bit as legitimate as yours when you had invented the thing. More, since it’s now my thing, I have the absolute right to buy it and sell it as I see fit, and the only moral method by which to obtain it is to pay the price at which we arrive by mutual consent. Any government interference in that exchange, either to my benefit or to a purchaser’s, is tyranny.

What Cargile advocates in this clip is tyranny. What the hapless Mr. Shawn approvingly supports is no different from what Hugo Chavez had imposed in that poor, enslaved, collapsing communist state that is Venezuela: Communism. The closer we get to complete collapse, and the more people begin to shrug their shoulders over the concepts and moral standing of individual rights, the more rapidly our collapse will accelerate.

One might argue, as the communists at FoxNews seem to insist, that there is some maximum amount that ought to be charged for some life-saving, or quality-of-life-preserving drug or treatment. My question for you is: Had I Hepatitis C, how much of my earnings would I forego for how long a period to finance a cure? Is there any amount of money I would not pay? One might argue, as the dolts on FoxNews have done here, that such a burden is unaffordable, and use this as a justification to steal. Theft via government action is still theft, even though done under color of law. The fact that the government was placed in office by vote does not reduce the significance of the crime, but merely multiplies the number of criminals and broadens the expanse of the guilt(though its concentration is not diluted.)

With this sort of thing becoming the norm on FoxNews, as further evidence of the spread of collectivist ethics throughout the culture, we cannot and will not last.

It’s Islamic Terrorism, Stupid

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

Over the last two days, I’ve watched in utter amazement as our media and government go out of their collective way to avoid talking about the nature of the incident in San Bernadino, CA, on Wednesday.  To listen to most public officials in the Obama administration, including the Jihadi-in-Chief himself, one might draw the conclusion that there is something wrong with mentioning Islam and Terrorism in the same sentence.  In fact, one might just as well never use the word “Terrorism” ever again.  We’ll call it “work-place violence,” or we’ll call it “street violence,” and we’ll pretend it had all been just a random occurrence with no ideological or religious linkage of any kind.  Our culture is breaking down, in part because so few seem interested in identifying plainly, and without apology, the nature(s) of our affliction(s.)  You cannot beat an enemy you will not name.  You cannot vanquish and evil you refuse to admit exists.   One cannot overcome a social ill when one will not name it, never mind naming its cause.  We rational folk must lead the way.  We mustn’t let some contrivance of political correctness impede our statement of the absolute, unvarnished truth.  Our President, most of our political leaders (appointed and elected,)  and average citizens refuse to state the plainly obvious, but I will not: The shooting in San Bernadino was an act of terrorism motivated in part or in whole by adherence to political Islam.

I have heard it at least ten-thousand times: “Islam is a religion of peace.” If that’s all Islam is, we’d have no problem with Islam, but Islam is much, much more.  Islam is also a cultural and political doctrine.  It is a legal doctrine.  It is a system of beliefs that countenances no breach among the facets of adherents’ lives.  Even non-adherents are liable for their conduct according to Islam.  Even those who are ignorant of Islam’s existence are required to give their fealty to it.  Practiced consistently, every Muslim would a Jihadi become.  Islam does not accept or tolerate substitution.  It does not permit free will.  Like pro-abortionists in our political sphere, it loves choice, so long as the choice made is in concert with their beliefs.  In other words, no actual choice is to be permitted.   In fact, this is why I argue that the rabid left in our own political sphere are the “Jihadis” in our midst.  Political Islam is statism, as thoroughly and as fundamentally as any other flavor.  It favors the interests of the state over the rights of the individual, and it relies upon anointed guardians to determine what are those interests. If you wonder how it could be that the left is as fundamentally fanatical as militant political Islam, this is the answer.

In San Bernadino, what we have seen is another expression of the extension of political Islam into American culture.  Just as American culture is fundamentally at odds with secular flavors of statism, so also is it incompatible with religious flavors.  Rand liked to describe these two seemingly opposing brands of statism as the mystics of muscle and spirit.  The left’s dogmatic mysticism is based entirely on the secular humanistic concerns of the body.  The religiously motivated mysticism of militant Islam is concerned only with one’s spirit in the great beyond.  The first seeks to own and dominate all on Earth, while the latter seeks to dominate on Earth for the alleged sake of the hereafter.  Both are frauds, and both are intrinsically evil.  Our American system had been founded to be effectively Laissez Faire both in terms of the body (economics and ethics) and the spirit (religion and ethics) since it was understood by our founders and the framers of our constitution that no collectivized version of either could be countenanced in freedom.

The terrorist attack in San Bernadino was the act of a conspiracy by radicalized adherents of political Islam.  Any other notion is mere foolishness propagated by those who would just as soon see you unarmed in a battle they will deny exists.  The French poet Charles Baudelaire observed that “the finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” Whether this is so, it is certainly true that the radical militants of political Islam would just as soon have you doubt their existence, and the full evil of their intentions.  The same can be said of the rabid-dog left, and it is this that should clue us in to their fundamental similarity.   As the terrorist act in San Bernadino was underway, female shooter Tashfeen Malik posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook. (CNN)   CNN’s site goes on to say that it seems the shooting may have been inspired by ISIS.  This weak wording is exemplary of our cultural collapse.  “Seems?”  “Inspired by?”  This rhetorical disarming merely accentuates the actual disarming, when one discovers that deaths by guns is on the decrease all over the country except in one narrow class of locations: Gun free zones.

If that’s not bad enough, we have a US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, vowing to prosecute those who use “anti-Muslim” speech that “edges toward violence.”(DailyWire)  This sort of absurdity is precisely what’s destroying our nation, and it’s an excellent parallel to so-called “moderate Republicans” (a.k.a. “liberal Republicans”) who will not fight the left. Do you know why Donald Trump is leading?  It’s because he’ll say what many are thinking but are too damned frightened to say.   Of course, Trump is a stalking-horse who will eventually self-destruct conveniently ceding the lead at some future date, or perhaps even after the nomination is his, but either way, his current popularity signifies something important:  America is crowded with the cowed, silent majority who have been collectively beaten into submissive silence by the popular media culture.   None will speak it plainly until it’s staring them in the face, and lopping their head off for their trouble. It’s time to speak up, Loretta Lynch be damned, and we need to name this evil, denounce it, and commence the fight against it.  Until then, you can expect the collapse to continue apace.  Americans are dying because we will not name it, never mind fight it.  Its name is political Islam, and while our leaders fiddle us into the ashes, it’s advancing, it’s gaining ground, and we don’t dare speak its name.

 

 

Liberty’s Last Gasps

Monday, May 25th, 2015

We live in the time of a desperate struggle no politician seems willing to name.  Our nation is sinking back into the swamp from which it emerged, in a world still dominated by primitive, tribalism from which we seem unable or unwilling to escape.    We do not examine our philosophy any longer, and we do not consider the meaning of our abandonment of principles, much less the result of such evasions.  A culture is only as good as its underlying philosophy, but ours is damaged seemingly beyond repair.  America had always suffered from contradictions, but now they are not exceptional “one-offs” but the the norm.  Those of us who have bothered to understand these dire problems have grown weary, and I am among those who no longer wish to repeat the same things, because the intended audience seems unmoved.  We are giving away our liberty, and for all of the missteps of the last two-hundred years, America survived despite them, but this situation will not persist indefinitely.  If the America our founders had envisioned is to be reborn, rejuvenated, and revived, we must do the work.  We must explain it.  We must be its advocates.  We must be willing to have the arguments.  Whether America will survive or perish, it is up to us to make its case, but to do so, we must first understand what had made America.

To understand what had been unique about America, let us consider that feature, the underlying notion, which had been at the heart of its founding, its growth, and its success.  Let us be careful to carve out only that which had made this country substantially different from all the others, lest we fall into the trap of misidentifying its greatest virtues.  Among all the things one might say about America, it’s most fundamental principle had been that “man is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights.”  Whether you took that endowment to be a product of “Nature or Nature’s God,” the simplicity of this idea is that which had set America apart.  For the first time in all of human history, a government was formed that declared that it was not the ultimate arbiter and owner of all men under the sphere of its control.  In all other systems before it, and all the systems arising since, men were chattel of the state in some form or fashion. In short, they were still property of the tribe.   This was true whether you were subject to the “Divine Right of Kings,” or property of the collective as in the Soviet Union.  This has remained true in all the welfare states of Europe, and with a sickening degree of rapidity, has been increasingly adopted here in the United States over the last century.  These are the definitions of statism.  America had been the first system to reject statism.

There are those who will immediately critique the American experiment because it permitted slavery for most of its first one-hundred years.  Despicable though that institution had been, what they hope you will not notice about the former American institution of slavery, now dead more than one-and-one-half centuries, is that which it had not been: Ownership of men by the state.  This distinction, while superficial and meaningless to the objects of slavery, was the only reason the practice could be ended.  Once ended, America was a country without men as chattel.  In fact, it was the only period in all of human history in which such a society ever existed.  It was the period of the greatest unrivaled growth and economic prosperity generated by man.  All the prosperity that has followed was born of this era.  We linger as a modern society now, our vestiges of civilization now only a facade, because of the achievements of that industrial age, the age of capitalism.  It is only recently that the bequeath of that generation is finally running out of steam, because we have destroyed its underpinnings in degrees and steps ever since.  We have permitted the destruction of liberty, and slowly, in bits and pieces, returned mankind to the ownership of the state.  What we face today is only the last act of a play set in motion more than a century ago, by men whose motives were short-run and political.  It was the birth of national “pragmatism.”

The principle that man is an end in and of himself, without reference to another soul, had been the bedrock of America.  That principle has been polluted, deprecated, denounced, and demolished.  Now we see the abysmal spectacle of man the slave to man via the commands of the state.  We have escaped only to permit ourselves to again become captive to the same old treachery.  In what other manner can you explain the idea that a person subject to the laws of the United States must now be held to pay support for every artifact of modern convenience for every other soul?  How else can one explain Obamacare, SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, AFDC, WIC, Section 8 Housing, “Obama-phones,” “Free” Internet, and all the myriad other “benefits” or “entitlements” of our allegedly civilized age?  We have no need to complain of a military-industrial complex, or of foreign aid, for all the evils they may impose, because these represent a pittance of the national expenditure when compared with all the rest.   No, what we have permitted, at first in small pieces and by small enumerations, is the enslavement of all men to all men via the artifices of the state.

We love to speak of our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion and the press, and our right to keep and bear arms, but these too are now taking a beating under the enslavement of all to all.  You have the right to free speech lest you offend somebody.  You have the right of free exercise of religion lest it offend somebody.  You have the right of a free press, but no press anywhere, except perhaps in small ways in the blogosphere is free any longer.  You have the right to bear arms in your own defense, but only in such fashion as it doesn’t offend or frighten anybody, or permit you the ability to actually repel somebody who might attack you.  You have the right to pursue happiness, but no right to hold onto the material implementations of happiness that your own exertions may have afforded to you otherwise.  These liberties were all born of the notion that no man is owned by the state, and yet slowly and seemingly irretrievably, these “rights” have been yielded back to the state.  Still, these are mere symptoms of the greater disease that is rotting away the core and health of the American political environment.  The root of this disease is philosophical, but it will not be cured by political slogans.

Men must not be owned, either directly by other men, or through a surrogate called “the state” or “society.”  So long as we permit this idea to fester and grow, it is a cancer slowly metastasizing to all parts of the body of American culture and politics.  It has destroyed our philosophy.  It has permitted egregious inconsistencies and contradictions in our laws.  It has enabled the would-be slave-masters to re-establish a foothold in a wider fashion than nineteenth century slavery ever could.  What we have permitted to be lost is the philosophical core of our argument, and every retreat or defeat in politics of the last century has been merely a symptom of the surrender of this principle: Man is endowed with unalienable rights, and it is governments’ sole legitimate purpose to defend them.  Instead, we now see that government has become the worst offender, and we wonder why we can make no ground on subsidiary concretes.

If you wish to salvage America, if it is to be done at all, the only answer is to restore in law and in fact the philosophy that holds man as his own rightful property, and his life and his liberties as the material implementation of that fact.  Please do not bother about statist notions of “obligations” or “responsibilities” of free men.  The only actual, logical “obligation” of a free man is to respect those same rights among other men, and his only collectivized “responsibility” is to pay for the upholding of those rights among all men.  This is the sole justification of governments, and it is the sole reason that any form of taxation is logically (and morally) permissible.  This means a court system, to resolve disputes among men; a policing mechanism, to apprehend those who violate the rights of men; a national defense to protect against massive attacks on the rights of men.  Deprived of the ability to use the power of the state as a gun aimed at the heads of other men in the name of their own peculiar interests, with the threat of a watchful state waiting to punish such aggressors, men must deal with one another by volitional means, i.e., “free trade” or “commerce.”

This had been our founders’ vision.  To the degree they failed to “perfect” it, they nevertheless left us the means by which to do so.  Instead, we have tarnished their ideals, and rejected their core philosophy in favor of the “pragmatic” expediencies of the moment.  We have failed to educate our young, and we have failed to remind ourselves why it is that America had been different, and why there was so much to be gained here for all men, everywhere.  It was not the material wealth of America’s resources that permitted her growth, but the idea at the heart of its laws and traditions that each person is an end in themselves, and that no person or collection of persons had the authority to disparage those rights.  Today, rights are being disparaged and deprecated at a mind-numbing pace, and we have none to blame but ourselves.  If we are to resurrect liberty from its dying gasps, we must know and publicly identify the cause of its impending death, and we must not shrink from standing in the breech in liberty’s waning moments.  Stand there, and others will accompany you, bolstered by your courage.  If not, we’ve already lost.

Obamacare Profiteer Seeks Republican Nomination – And You May Give It to Him

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Just a Little Profit?

It should come as no surprise to readers of this site that there are Republicans who sought to use Obama-care as a personal profit center. It’s fair to say that some of them, in and out of office, were only too happy to see the new business opportunity the scandalous program represents, and now at least one of them seems poised to run for President. Jeb Bush, son of former President George HW Bush, and brother to former President George W. Bush, just divested himself of Tenet Healthcare in order to conceal this fact or at least make it “old news.”  I’ve cautioned readers in the past that the reason Obama-care would be difficult to repeal is that too many Republicans are making too much money from it.  Here, a darling son of the DC Republican establishment demonstrates the point: Why on Earth would they repeal a profit center? All that is important to this sort is power, but neither liberty nor any virtue associated with it moves them. What Republicans like Bush should get from us is only our contempt, but given the recent history of Republican primary politics, there’s a fair chance that we’ll instead reward him with our support. If we wonder why it’s so hard to elect a conservative, we needn’t look beyond our collective conservative mirror.

Friday, I received a phone call from the RNCC soliciting a donation. In simplest terms, I told the man “Not no, but Hell no!” I took a moment to explain to him that this was because the Republicans had abandoned us on Obama-care and immigration immediately after their victory in November. He offered that it hadn’t been the time to expend the “political capital.”  That’s a sorry excuse, and I told him it was because both issues were causes of personal profits for too many inside-the-beltway Republicans who were bought and paid-for by lobbyists on these issues.  I asked him why it was that Republicans were saving all this “political capital,” suggesting that this was an excuse to cover their profiteering on Obama-care and immigration.  He scoffed, so I abruptly told him to tell the RNCC to get bent, and hung up.  The last thing I like to do is be rude to somebody the day after Christmas, but this guy earned it.

That it would be less than a few hours later when I would learn that, predictably, Jeb Bush had been among the Obama-care profiteers is perfectly fitting for our current political environment.  Frankly, I’m waiting for Karl Rove to affix a crown of thorns to this guy and nail him to a cross if that’s what will be needed to sell him to unwitting conservatives. The Bush family is at full tilt, and I knew when Jeb’s son ran(and won) office in Texas, 2015 was going to be the year Jeb chose to further pollute the American body-politic and try to resurrect the Bush name among conservatives.

The Bush family has spent most of the last eight years trying to figure out how to weasel Jeb into office.  Even before his second term had expired, George Bush’s mastermind Karl Rove went to work on the problem: How to recover the Bush name?  In order to do so, they needed a patsy, one so dismal that before it was done, people would be begging to have the Bush clan retake power.  They found one in Barack Hussein Obama.  I have known, and I suspect you have known conservatives who have declared they would vote for the devil if it meant wresting control of the White House from Democrats after two terms of Obama.  What do you think had been the point of the “Miss me yet?” campaign designed to compare George W. Bush favorably with Barack Obama? It’s all about rehabilitating the Bush family name.

Conservatives had ought to wise up. The Republican establishment is about to pull its usual divide-and-conquer maneuver so that it can saddle the party and America with another “lesser-of-two-evils” choice. The Bush family is gambling that you’ve become so desperate that you won’t care about Jeb’s profiteering on Obama-care. They hope you won’t notice, or even having noticed, won’t care about his continual drumbeat for open borders, or his insane “Common Core” education plans. No, the Bush family is hoping you will let them continue to re-invent America in their communitarian, Utopian vision. Welcome to the New World Order, a regime in which Americans are poorer, and less educated, while uniformly chanting “Bush! Bush! Bush!”

It’s already begun, of course, as CNN reports that Bush is now the early front-runner among GOP hopefuls. All of this leads me to a question: When did Americans decide that a monarchy was fine? On the left, we have the Clinton clan, and also on the left we have the Bush clan, both parading as “moderates” with respect to their chosen parties, and both being much more statist than their respective marketing would have you believe. Jeb Bush once [in]famously stated that he “used to be a conservative,” while responding to critics of his moderate-to-left policy preferences, but the fact is that nobody named Bush has ever been a conservative, instead having been at war with the conservative grass-roots of the party since the 1970s.  If Jeb evinces any confusion by that statement, it is that he hasn’t known what conservatism looks like, and had been permitted to wear that label as though it had ever actually applied to him. It doesn’t.

If conservatives don’t pull their heads out of the sand, and fast, deciding to skip over the pointless candidates who are entirely media creations at this point, settling instead on an actual conservative, get ready for another miserable primary year in which Republicans feed conservatives to the wolves. I’d ask you to consider how many of the currently polling individuals are really just creations of FoxNews, but who are neither conservatives nor crowd-drawing candidates with any hope of victory in 2016. Dr. Ben Carson?  Former Gov. Mike Huckabee? The New Jersey Blowhard? Can any of these defeat Jeb Bush? Plainly, no. Are any of these anything much beyond stalking-horse creations of FoxNews? No. There are a number of conservatives who still pine for Rick Santorum.  Can he beat Jeb Bush? Not a chance.  In all the Republican Party, there exists only a handful of people who have the kind of muscle it will take to derail the Bush train, but if they don’t step up to bat, we’ll never know for sure. Instead, we’ll be shafted with another 4-8 years of diminishing liberties and declining culture under yet another center-left Bush.

I understand that when conservatives get desperate, they will gladly accept another Bush over the leftist bogey-man of the moment, and left with no other choice, they’ll board that train, but for Heaven’s sake, it is time for conservatives to outsmart these people for a change.  If conservatives begging queuing-up behind the litany of second-tier candidates now under consideration, they will be divided-and-conquered just as in 2012.  Mitt Romney was effectively a test run for the Jeb Bush strategy, and Karl Rove knows it. If you will recall, Romney stayed around 25% support for the entirety of the 2011 silly season, knocking off conservative after conservative as they rose and fell.  Michelle Bachman. Rick Perry. Herman Cain. Newt Gingrich. Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney bested them all because conservatives were so desperate that they hopped from bandwagon to bandwagon at the first sign of weakness.  This strategy kept conservatives chasing their tails, while Romney basically survived with his base of support sticking with him through the process.  In the entirety of 2011, Romney never rose above 25-30$ support, and never fell below 20%.  More conservative candidates, along with relative unknowns, rose and fell like sine waves on an oscilloscope as conservatives rushed from one to the next in order to find a conservative champion who would not falter.  By design, I think, there were none.

If conservatives are to have a chance in 2016, they must identify a candidate soon, and must stick with that candidate until victory.  At present, I can only think of two or three conservatives with the chops to beat Bush, and as yet, none of them have made any firm indication that they might run.  Rather than pursue pipe-dreams, however, settling for the laundry-list of unknowns and also-rans FoxNews is serving-up, conservatives ought to spend some time talking about the kind of presidency they want to see in January 2017, and how to go about getting it. If you’re willing to settle for another Bush, or have one thrust upon you, fear not because Karl Rove is busy working on that, and has been since 2007.  Even if Jeb fails in 2016, you know they’ll try to derail any other Republican candidate who gets the nomination, because they’ve got another George[P. Bush] warming-up in the bullpen right now in Texas, who they will trot-out in 2024 or 2028.

If electing an Obama-care profiteer is an idea that seems to you too ghastly to consider, understand that if the Bush family has its way, you will soon endorse that action out of desperation.  The Bush family doesn’t mind providing the presidents America just barely elects, so long as they’re in charge.  Their continual quest to drag conservatives to the left in abandonment of our principles, one at a time, should be all the reason you need to oppose them and put an end to this seemingly unending American decline under their leadership.  It’s time for something different.  It’s time for a conservative. Obama-care profiteers need not apply.

 

 

2016: What’s the Point?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I hear and read endless speculation about this one and that one, and who’s in and who’s out, always superseded by the next day’s news, and always bereft of any measurable facts.  All of this can be both entertaining and frustrating.  All of it may be altogether pointless.  You see, the country is dying now.  By the time a new president is inaugurated in January of 2017, on our present course, it may not make any difference.  The country may be closing in on that tipping point, if we haven’t passed it already, at which nothing will be done to save us, irrespective of party, principles, or propaganda.  Our nation is deathly ill, if not terminal, and yet the politicians continue to chatter on as though there’s no end in sight.  Ignoring the stock market, which is many thousands of points over-valued due to cheap money practices at the Federal Reserve, this economy is a wreck.  As always, I urge my readers exercise care in what they believe or are willing to consider plausible.  In this post, I intend to revisit a topic I haven’t covered in a long while, because I think you ought to consider it.  The subject is the very real possibility of a hyperinflationary great depression that will make the 1930s look like a day at the beach.

As a reference to what hyperinflation looks like, here’s a graph of the infamous hyperinflation in the German Weimar Republic:

German Hyperinflation 1918-1924 (Wikipedia)

Long-time readers will remember I have used John Williams’ ShadowStats website as a reference in the past.  The nature of Mr. Williams’ warning hasn’t change, except to become substantially more strident inasmuch as such a calamity now seems to be possible at any moment.  For those of you who don’t remember, here was his Hyperinflation forecast of 2012:

2012 Hyperinflation Special Report(pdf format)

In 2014, Mr. Williams has updated his report, once in January, with a second installment in April. Here are links to these two in PDF format as well:

Hyperinflation 2014 – The End Game Begins

2014 Hyperinflation Special Report, Second Installment

 In these reports, Mr. Williams goes to extraordinary lengths to describe to you what I’ve told you right along, since the birth of this website:  Any alleged “economic recovery” was a fraud, and the nation is in deepening financial and economic trouble. Naturally, it’s not as though you hadn’t suspected it on your own, the obvious signs being what they are, but with the drumbeat of media, many people are soothed into complacency over a long enough time such that they begin to doubt what their own eyes and wallets are telling them.  In these most recent installments, Williams goes into great detail, putting numbers to the assumptions, providing actual data to support his conclusions.  In this sense, it is time for another reality check, because while the bulk of the people you know may well be ignoring hard reporting, in favor of popular media garbage, somebody ought to be warning them.   Chances are that being the good citizens most readers here tend to be, and being the sort of people who are trying to save their nation from disaster, you’ve been warning them right along.  Now, when they dismiss your warnings, you can dare them to read these reports.

If you’re among that number of people who are desirous of dismissing all of this as “Chicken Little” talk, I’d dare you directly.  Read these reports and if you aren’t at least a bit concerned, concerned enough to learn more, there’s no reaching you anyway.  In 2011, Sarah Palin and others were sounding the alarm.  She was ridiculed and mocked,  but the hard data supported her warnings.  All along, I’ve been warning you of the dangers of the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve, and the grotesque expenditures of the Federal Government.  In the years since 2008, when this latest crisis began, the Fed has borrowed into existence a sum approaching(if not exceeding) fifty trillion dollars.

All of this money-printing or “digitizing” will necessarily lead to a calamity of unprecedented scale.  There can be no escape from the laws of economics, any more than there can be an escape from the law of gravity.  The only question is: When? As Mr. Williams points out in his report, the conditions are already in place.  It’s simply a matter of triggers.  With that in mind, I’d ask my readers to prepare to the extent they are able.

Some will argue that all of this is tantamount to alarmist fear-mongering.  but Williams does offer this, in his second installment for 2014:

“Conceivably, immediate massive and fiscally painful action by the federal government to restore and maintain long-range U.S. government solvency still could avoid the looming dollar collapse, but the related political issues appear now to have been pushed off until after the 2014 midterm election, again, as those controlling the government continue to push politically-difficult choices and actions as far into the future as possible. That has been explicitly demonstrated in actions by both the White House and Congress in the last several years. Nonetheless, despite political efforts to dodge the issues, the U.S. dollar and the deficit do matter, and the looming financial storm likely will break before the election.”

In other words, getting our financial and fiscal house in order could still serve to avoid this calamity, but as he notes, and as we are all too aware, the probability of that being done is low. The question isn’t “Will there be pain?” The real question is whether it will be pain we choose while we maintain the ability to moderate it, or an uncontrolled and apocalyptic pain from which there will be no recovery.  We’re very much like a stage four cancer patient in that only the most radical treatments have any chance of saving us, and the chemotherapy and radiation will be so severe and thorough as to inflict more pain than we might want to endure, but failing to choose this, the results are known and unavoidable.

I have significant doubts as to whether there exists the political will to induce pain via the radical treatments necessary.  The politicians in Washington DC are hoping to stave-off this calamity through the current election cycle.  I believe this is folly, but I also know they’re banking on the notion that they will be able to deal with this after the election, but you and I know the truth: There’s always another election.  The dust will still be settling from the 2014 election when the first real moves for 2016 begin.  They will already begin to make the political calculi about how to survive through the next election, or how to save the next election for their respective parties, but none of them will be thinking about any of this. The truth is that saving the nation will be furthest from their minds.

We have a president who is a functional economic illiterate, driven by dogma of a failed ideology.  We have a Congress driven by short-run notions of self-preservation of their power.  We have a people who possess a low tolerance for bad news in good times, and a complete intolerance for self-imposed discipline particularly where it implies any sort of pain.  It’s time to consider what all of this will combine to create in the coming years, if you haven’t done the math already. People are talking about 2016 like that represents some sort of panacea, but ladies and gentlemen, our nation may not make it until 2016.

 Editor’s note: I realize that the linked reports from John Williams’ site constitute a fair bit of reading, but like most issues, the devils lie in the details. Understanding the roots of our impending calamity, and the historical precedents as well as the actual manipulations of statistics by the current regime are critical in understanding what is afoot. While it’s a lot of reading, it’s entirely worthwhile.

Note 2: There was an error in the links to the two 2014 reports. These have been fixed.

President Ebola: The Pandemic Administration?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


News is now spreading faster than the disease: A patient has been diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, Texas.  In a recent speech on the Ebola crisis in Africa, President Obama urged Americans not to panic.  If we should have learned anything from nearly six years of presidential malfeasance, it is that whatever he says, the opposite is likely true.  Where was our Commander-in-Chief when people were flying from Ebola-stricken African nations either directly or more often indirectly into ours?  How does that open border look now?  It’s not only Ebola, but also Tuberculosis, among others, about which Americans must now begin to worry.  President Ebola is an irresponsible political hack, pursuing his political agenda at the expense of live of the American people.  Where is the opposition party?  Seemingly, they are in hiding, trying to run out the clock hoping to take over in the US Senate.  They have responsibility in this matter, too.  Where are the committee hearings to place a spotlight on the ineptitude or malfeasance of President Ebola?  If Americans begin to die due to an outbreak of Ebola on this continent, to which this virus is a stranger, the blood will be on Obama’s hands, but also on the hands of all the open-borders advocates in both parties who carry his water on this issue. This is despicable.

The United States has the capability to shut down its borders, its airports, and its seaports at will.  All of this nonsense about not being able to control our borders is insufferable bilge.  With this sort of threat brewing in Africa, the President could have instituted a virtual quarantine preventing persons traveling from those countries to this, and if US citizens and legal residents, quarantined them at any of our numerous offshore bases and facilities, to be sure they weren’t bringing home anything more lethal than a sun-tan. Instead, this farce of an “administration” took no substantial steps, although the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) today issued guidelines to mortuaries and funeral homes on the handling of the remains of those who die of Ebola. Yes, we just had our first domestic diagnosis, but the CDC is getting out in front on this issue.

If Barack Obama had wanted a legacy to call his own, it appears he will have it.  Not only is the US economy in shambles, but it may be that we have a brewing pandemic on our hands.  At the time of this story, it is unknown how many others may already be infected, or how many people with whom the infected individual in Dallas may have had contact, but it is certain that the infected individual arrived state-side less than one week ago.  Had people arriving from Africa been quarantined pending a negative diagnosis, none of this would be an issue, except for the fact that our Southern border remains wide open and we’re reliant on the Mexican government to close down traffic from Africa.

This may seem a bit shrill in tone, but frankly, it bears consideration: The United States really only sees the worst communicable diseases these days by importation.  Tuberculosis was all but eradicated in this nation until successive Presidents and Congresses failed to do anything substantive to secure our borders.  National security is more than guns and bombers.  It’s about protecting the nation at large from a wide variety of threats.  It’s the rational basis for the existence of the Centers for Disease Control.   This president is a walking calamity, and his presidency has been a slow-motion train-wreck from which it seems only the well-connected can escape.  President Ebola and the Ebola Administration: The true plague upon America.

Governor Palin: “Stop Electing Republicans who Act Like Democrats”

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

We must break up the GOP establishment

Governor Palin is right, and I’m inclined to act on the principle that there is nothing to be gained by compromise with the GOP establishment.  I am to the point where I’d rather have an open leftist elected to office than to see one more of these despicable, snake-in-the-grass RINOs who act like Democrats when they get to Washington DC anyway.  Here’s Governor Palin from Hannity on FNC last night: