Posts Tagged ‘news’

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.

Donald Trump’s “Nuclear Option”

Friday, March 4th, 2016

trump_nuke_gop_ftI would warn the stupid, vile Republican Party establishment to be careful about fooling around with the convention in Cleveland this Summer as the means by which to substitute one of their own for Donald Trump, should he remain the front-runner, and should he fail to obtain 1237 delegates or the eight-state majority-delegate needed to win the nomination.  I cannot deny that whatever else I may think about this race or Mr. Trump’s candidacy, I am enjoying the fact that the Republican establishment is now trotting-out, in full-on panic mode, failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the desperate hope that they can derail Mr. Trump.  The GOP establishment ought to take care in trying to rig a “contested convention” that includes tricks and deceit that will not only wreck the GOP’s presidential aspirations, but also will leave Donald Trump in the motivated position to deploy his nuclear option.

What could Trump do?  I urge Republicans on Capitol Hill to be wary of playing games with the nomination process. All four-hundred-thirty-five House seats are up for re-election in November, as are one-third of the one-hundred Senate seats.  While Trump certainly couldn’t possibly deploy a field of opponents for all the Republicans, particularly at that late date, there is something he could easily accomplishment that would rapidly wreck the GOP establishment’s day.

Mr. Trump’s supporters are very loyal, and while they may not be quite large enough to gain him all 1237 delegates needed to secure the nomination outright, they are more than large enough to swing Congressional elections by fifteen or twenty percent.  His supporters are angry, and they are right to be, as are all who have become disgusted by the feckless GOP.  If the GOP establishment tampers or tinkers with this nomination process, his coalition of independents, conservative blue-collar Democrats, and not a few fed-up conservative-to-moderate Republicans may make a complete wreckage of the Fall’s Congressional elections, and will easily help defeat the Republican’s Presidential nominee.

The Republican Party would deserve  it.  Trump is playing by the rules, at least to date, and those elected/former officials in the GOP who have said they won’t support Trump if he’s nominated have already provoked that response.  If they try to manipulate the nomination process in Cleveland, dismissing a Trump nomination if he obtains more delegates than any other candidate, but not the whole 1237 needed, his supporters may rage against the GOP machine, but if Trump joined the campaign trail against the GOP in September, October, and November, the GOP stands a strong chance of losing both Houses of Congress along with the White House and the Supreme Court.

This is Trump’s “nuclear option.” If the party tries to cheat him, I think he might rightly attempt to blow the party to tiny pieces, and at that point, I must admit that my sense of justice would convince me to help him.  One way or another, the GOP establishment needs to die.  If they arm Trump with the righteous sword of a vengeful  justice, they will have earned it.

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.

 

 

Stupor Tuesday

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

cruz_v_trump_ftHere we are on another Super Tuesday election, and once again, there’s no clear answer to our troubles. Some things, however, do seem clear and unambiguous to me. Marco Rubio is unacceptable by any measure. His support of amnesty with the “GangOf8” immigration reform bill disqualifies in my view. There is no circumstance under which I could support Rubio.  Dr. Carson is finished, no matter how long he remains in the race. From here to the convention, I don’t think there’s any chance for his numbers to improve, and I don’t believe he’s a serious candidate.  Governor Kasich is running a pointless candidacy also, perhaps in some ways worse than Carson’s. Kasich should run for the exit, but he’s stubbornly remaining in the race so that he can be beaten in his home state of Ohio, perhaps slightly less thoroughly than Rubio will be flogged in his home state of Florida.  This leaves us with two remaining, plausible candidates.  At this point, considering any of the others is an exercise in futility.  I guess it comes down to what you believe, who you believe, and what it is that you think the election of 2016 will actually mean for the country.  This is where conservatives must wear their thinking caps and consider the whole of the race, and not just the immediate gratification of the primary vote.  It’s enough to make one consider intoxication as a potential antidote.  Myself, I’m in a bit of a stupor over it all.

Ted Cruz appears to be the most solidly conservative in the field.  He is not, however, without problems.  His support for increasing H1-B visas is very troubling to me, as is his support for fast-track authority(TPA) for the TPP for whomever may be sitting in the Oval Office.  There is no doubt that the TPP is a terrible deal for the American people, transferring wealth and sovereignty out of the country and essentially locking the US into a perpetual disadvantageous trade contract that imposes severe restrictions on our own economic independence.  I oppose the TPP for this and many more reasons, and I don’t understand why Senator Cruz, a self-professed “constitutional conservative,” would go along with such a deal.   I also don’t believe he’s been entirely honest with us about his role on the spiking of the “GangOf8” legislation.  It’s clear from video available that he wanted to do something (other than deportation) with the eleven or twelve million illegals(and I suspect many more) who “live in the shadows.”  All of these things are bothersome and worrisome to me.

Donald Trump has ever been a liberal, and in many respects, this makes him worse.  He’s also made a career of marketing himself like a carnival barker.  His failures over the course of his whole career are legion, but that in and of itself isn’t necessarily damning: At least he was willing to take risks.  The problem is that in so many of these cases, he took risks with other peoples’ money, and squandered it.  One might argue that this is the nature of business, just as one might argue that paying off politicians is just a part of doing business, but I don’t see how we’re any better off having the briber rather than the bribed running the country.  His position on social and moral issues certainly seems less than solid too.  His continued support for Planned Parenthood is quite troubling to me.  I also find his mouth to be a volcano of bilge, with cursing o’plenty, although it seems in the last week or so that he’s cleaned some of this up, perhaps in recognition that it hurts him. That makes me wonder if a victorious Trump would return to form soon after.  He has a long history of saying things that are despicable in any context in which I’d care to be included.  His talk about his sex-life and his descriptions of women, and all the rest of his endless, lifelong debauchery seems to me a disqualifying problem.  The New York Times, certainly not the most reliable source, implies that it has in its possession “off-the-record” taped conversations with Trump that may indicate that he’s a good deal more flexible on immigration than his campaign rhetoric indicates. As he explained to Hannity on Monday night, “everything is negotiable.” Many of his larger problems won’t be revealed, conveniently, until the Republican Party is saddled with him as their nominee, by which time he may be embroiled in court over a lawsuit against him and “Trump University.” Mostly, the problem with Donald Trump is that he hasn’t done or said anything to relieve me of the fear that he’s completely untrustworthy, not just on social issues, but primarily with respect to his signature issues on which he has provided little specific detail.

Let us conservatives accept from the outset that there are no perfect candidates.  Still, we should be able to discern who is more perfect.  We should be able to rely on their records. Others rely to some extent on the character of those who have endorsed these candidates, although I think in many cases, this has led to a wholly unsatisfactory outcome in many instances.  I can think of a dozen or more candidates the Tea Partys have been urged to support who upon election, turned out to be more of the same, and often pro-amnesty jerks.  Marco Rubio is a grand example of the type, but he is hardly the only one.  The truth is that conservatives have been betrayed in one form or fashion in election after election, to the extent that many of us feel shell-shocked by it.  On the one hand, we have a Republican establishment that is clearly a syndicate of global elitists, who will side with their cohorts in the Democrat Party to ruin and wreck conservatives any time we can manage to get a leg up, but on the other hand, we have a situation in which it seems that the mathematics give us just two plausible outcomes.

If Rubio, Kasich, and Carson remain in this race, it helps Trump. If they get out, it helps Cruz.  Rubio cannot and will not be the nominee. The math in no way supports him.  This leads one to question: “Why are these guys staying in, when none of the three have won a state, or even seriously threatened to win a state?” Now we get to the nub of the issue.  We have had it told to us all through this primary season debacle that Cruz and Trump(along with Carson) are the outsiders.  Is this really the case?  We’re told that Rubio is an establishment stooge, and it makes plenty of sense, right until you ask: “Why is Rubio still in this race?” No Republican who hasn’t won Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina(first three contests) has ever gone on to win the nomination. History isn’t lying, so why is Rubio staying in?  It must be for another purpose, and I think we can take a reasonable guess at it.  Who is hurt by Rubio enduring in this race, and who is helped?  Based on the available polling data, there is a strong dislike of Trump in the Rubio camp. Cruz would likely capture something on the order of ninety percent or more of Rubio’s support, depending upon whose numbers you believe. In the Cruz camp, Rubio enjoys no such advantage. If Cruz were to exit, roughly half of his support would go to Trump and half to Rubio, with a few here and there for Kasich or Carson. What this means, in fact, is that the only two people presently having any chance at the Republican nomination are Trump, and Cruz.  This means that with every passing day in which Rubio, Kasich and Carson stay in this race, Trump becomes all the more inevitable.

With all of this in mind, we must ask reasonably once more: “Why is Rubio staying in?” It is the presumption of many that he is the “establishment track” candidate, but the GOP establishment isn’t going to back a guy they know has no chance of winning unless they’re using him to split the vote on behalf of a candidate they believe can win. Who would that be?  Cruz? Kasich? Carson? Or Trump?  Even if his financial backing flees, I suspect Rubio will stay around in order to secure a VP slot on somebody’s ticket.  I wonder who that might be.

Let’s look at that again: Trump has a long and storied history of supporting liberal Republicans and a whole host of Democrats.  If Rubio’s candidacy was genuinely anti-Trump, as he now pretends is the case, why would he stay in? In a head-to-head in Florida, Rubio loses to Trump, and Trump walks away with all ninety-nine delegates because it’s a winner-take-all state. Cruz, by contrast, could actually beat Trump in a head-to-head absent Rubio. That would give Cruz all the Florida delegates, and place him on the fast-track to the nomination.  What you can learn from all of this is that the people who are still bank-rolling Rubio via the SuperPACs aren’t doing so because they think Marco can win, but because they actually want Trump, and will use Rubio’s continuing presence to split up the vote that would otherwise go almost entirely to Cruz.

Do you see the point here? Given the nature of Donald Trump’s support from the endorser-class, one might have concluded he was the only genuine outsider, but the question we must now ask, as Rubio is being used as a lever to depress Cruz is: “Who is spoofing whom?”  I believe the real establishment candidate is he who benefits from the continued presence of somebody other than himself in the race. Who is that? Does Cruz benefit from Rubio, Kasich, or Carson remaining?  No.  Does Rubio benefit from Cruz, Carson, or Kasich remaining? No. Does Trump benefit from Cruz remaining in? No.  Does Trump benefit from Rubio, Kasich and Carson’s remaining in, so long as Cruz is an active candidate? YES!

There are only two viable candidates remaining in this race. I will not tell you how you ought to vote.  You’re all grown folk, and you hardly need me to offer you advice.  What I will tell you is that what I see implicit in the numbers is that Rubio, Kasich, and Carson are remaining solely to be spoilers.  The question must be only: “For whom?” Only Trump and Cruz have a shot at winning this race.  The question before you is whether you will a.)support Cruz, b.)support Trump, or c.)support one of the spoilers who gives/helps give it to Trump. Of course, you can also sit home. As I said, this has been a disturbing primary season, and any conservative would probably be somewhat justified if they wanted to just drink their frustrations away, but escape into an inebriated stupor won’t solve the problem.  Conservatives must now think, and think carefully, in order to choose.  Wait until the day after the general election in November to imbibe. By then, we may all need a drink.

 

Editor: This column was supposed to auto-post at 7am this morning, but for some reason failed. My apologies to readers. I usually vote on the way in to work, didn’t this morning, after work, my precinct ran out of ballots while in line, still waited 20 minutes after polls closed, fairly certain my precinct was strongly pro-Cruz.

Justice Scalia, 79, Dead – Nation’s Loss, Conservatism’s Crisis

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

scalia_ftThis was just posted on Drudgereport. Please go read the details, to the degree we have any, here. When you have read the facts of Justice Scalia’s death to the extent they have been reported, I need you to come right back here and finish reading. It’s urgent.

We are at a constitutional breaking point. Without Scalia, the most reliable conservative on the court, we’re in desperate trouble.  More than that, I want you to look around at how conservatism is under assault on all fronts. In the Primary campaign for the presidency, conservatives are madly running off in this direction and that, hurling insults back and forth in a manner that will make it nearly impossible to come together for any purpose any time in the near-term future. More, it’s not just that conservatives are running off on their own, but that they’re being driven in a predictable pattern.  Look around. How many people you once trusted as conservatives are now mad at you, or you at them?  How many? How much of this is natural, and how much of it is being driven by something else?  Ladies and gentlemen, please consider this before you send out another tweet; Facebook or blog posting. We’re being divided and conquered, and it’s happening from the top to the bottom of the conservative movement. It will now be the method by which we are prevented from saving our nation.  It’s how the death of Antonin Scalia, the most consistently faithful constitutional jurist in my lifetime will come to spell the end of the Republic, and how conservatism will be neutered and helpless to stop it.  Listen to me: Elections come and elections go, and the upcoming election will be frightfully important to the future of our country, but we MUST NOT LET OURSELVES BE DIVIDED over transient political campaigns.  Candidates will come, and candidates will go, but if you’re really concerned about the country, and if you’re reading this, I know you are, we must stop the pointless, hurtful bickering and understand that we’re being driven toward an inevitable result, and it doesn’t matter who you’re supporting at this moment.  What will matter is that at the end of this process, we are going to be ripe for domination because we have permitted ourselves to be torn asunder. STOP! Who benefits when conservatives are at war with one another? Who? No, not just Obama and the Democrats… It’s worse than that.  Stop yelling at one another.  Think about what’s happening and how our vaunted conservative “spokespersons” are being neutered, one right after the next. It’s happening now. It’s hard to see because we’re in the midst of it all.

Think, people. We’re being played. All of us. We’re being divided and set up for conquer at the moment we can least afford it. More on all of this later.

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.

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:

GOP Mafia Produces Cochran Win in Mississippi

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Haley’s Helot

There really is something deeply wrong with the GOP establishment, and as nearly all conservatives have always suspected, it’s this: Despite all of the GOP establishment’s haughty talk about moderation, they are willing to do anything, no matter how repulsive, to achieve their political ends in order to maintain power.  In Mississippi, Thad Cochran held onto his seat by the slimmest of margins over conservative Chris McDaniels.  Had there not been a laundry list of out-of-state, center-left interests pouring money in on Cochran’s behalf, this race would have come out differently, but what I want dispirited conservatives to know is that despite the loss, you won.  It might be hard to see at the moment, but there’s really something to be said for your accomplishments in this race.  The truth is now plain to see, and for those who doubted it before, the veil should now be thoroughly lifted:  The GOP establishment is comprised of a mafia-like element that will use any tactic necessary to keep its scumbags in office, and in this election, it was revealed in full, but this was only possible because conservatives pushed them to the brink.

Thad Cochran has been in political office nearly all of my life.  Now he faces an election for a seventh term, and if he succeeds, he will have served in the US Senate for forty-two years by the time the new term expires.  This is despicable.  What makes it all the more disgusting is the manner of his primary victory.  He did not win on the strength of his record, which is sorely lacking.  He did not win on the merits of his legislative proposals.  He did not win because Republicans in his state favor him.  He did not win even because Republican voters though McDaniels was an inferior candidate.  No, he won on the strength of contributions from his center-left connections, shady endorsements, and because his campaign’s proxies illegally urged Democrats to cross over and vote for him in the Republican primary.  They gave “walking-around money” to would-be Democrat voters, and they basically called McDaniels and the TEA Party “racists” who were out to get Barack Obama. Take a look at this flier, circulated prior to the primary run-off(H/T John Fund at NRO):

Despicable Cochran flier that circulated days before the run-off

Let me say this clearly.  Thad Cochran is a scumbag, and that he would employ such an outrageous tactic merely speaks to his unfitness for office.  Were I a Mississippi conservative, there is no way I would vote to re-elect this dirtball.  Instead, I would vote for the Democrat.  You might ask: “But Mark, if the Democrat is elected, we might not retake the Senate,” to which I must respond with a question: “We?”  Who comprises any “we” in any of this?  It is not Republicans and conservatives.  It is not TEA Party and constitutionalists.  The only “we” who will run the Senate, even if the Republicans win a majority in 2014 is the GOP establishment mafia.  I’d like Mississippi conservatives to think about that.

Haley Barbour and his extended gang, including Michael Bloomberg, Karl Rove, the Chamber of Commerce, a Facebook executive, and a legion of GOP establishment thugs were willing to use ginned-up Democrat support to steal this seat away from Mississippi conservatives.  Mississippi conservatives and TEA Party activists should know that there can be no restoration of the constitutional government they hope to promote so long as a gang of criminal cronies own their Senator.  The worst of it may have been the last-minute use of a sickening tactic of soliciting Democrats to support Cochran even if they would not vote for him in the Fall.

Listen to the following recording for a sample of what establishment Republicans(!) did to secure victory:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpp6cYZrrcs]

This call went out to black Democrats to get them to vote in the Republican primary.

This is the establishment of the Republican Party.  They’re every bit the statist, mafia-like dirtbags the Democrats are, and as you can see, they will work with Democrats whenever necessary to maintain their grip on power.   What is my suggestion to the conservatives and TEA Party folk in Mississippi?  Either run McDaniels as an independent in November, or simply go out to support the Democrat.  Yes, I actually suggest supporting the Democrat, because since Cochran is willing to invite Democrats into the primary campaign, Mississippi conservatives should turn the table on him and give him a dose of his own medicine.  Yes, this means the Democrat will sit in office for six years, but to quote Hillary Clinton, “what difference does it make?”  You now have a six-term RINO running for a seventh term who is firmly in Haley Barbour’s and Karl Rove’s pocket.  This November, for much the same reasons, I am voting for anybody but the RINO liar John Cornyn(R-TX.)  If we’re going to take our country back, we’ll first need to surrender a few things, and in this case, it means giving up the illusion of a Republican-led Senate that wouldn’t be the least bit conservative anyway.

IRS Scandal Follow-up: The Show Must Go On

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

…But nobody actually asked Koskinen about the Sonasoft contract. Wonder why?

On Saturday, it was revealed that the IRS has been contracting with Sonasoft for the back-up of emails since 2005, and indeed, looking at Sonasoft’s clients list, listed there is the Internal Revenue Service.  Adding to my list of things about which the Republicans should seek testimony (if they’re serious,) the specific details of the performance requirements of this contract must now be considered.  Undoubtedly, in soliciting bids for back-ups, there must have been a policy for back-ups the bidder must have been prepared to fulfill.  These details would have been dominated by a records retention schedule that would have been designed to comply with statutory minimums. In any event, such a contract would have been carefully vetted for specific performance requirements, the methodology by which performance could be verified, and the chain of responsibility for those on the government side of the contract to make sure performance was fulfilled, or to seek remediation if the requirements were not met.  There would be a schedule of audits of the performance, and there should be no excuse for pretending somebody hadn’t known their specific duties, on either side of the contract. Here’s the point: We very likely have an organized criminal conspiracy, and if the Republicans don’t begin to immediately turn over rocks to find the culprits, the evidence will be destroyed, but that may be precisely what the GOP leadership wants.

People continue to question whether I’ve entered the realm of “tinfoil-hat-wearing” conspiracy kooks, because I doubt the seriousness of the intent of the House Republican leadership in pursuing this scandal.  After all, they ask, why would the Republicans seek to cover the scandal?  Let’s be blunt, shall we?  As long as this scandal has been going on without serious investigation, how much evidence has been destroyed in the interim?  It is true that if there is a cover-up, there will always be some evidence of that, because it’s impossible to completely cover the tracks of what has been done.  Permitting a delay of the investigation would allow the culprits to destroy the evidence so that any crimes perpetrated in the original scandal would be hard to substantiate to the satisfaction of a jury, or an impeachment proceeding, even if the evidence of a cover-up would be harder to conceal.  In the end, however, let us imagine that there had been a few Republicans who had wanted to hammer the TEA Party, like John Boehner, or Mitch McConnell.  They’ve said as much in open contempt for the TEA Party.  By permitting the administration and its lackeys to destroy evidence, the evidence of their own complicity would be hidden too, and all that would remain are the allegations and evidence of a cover-up of something, in which the Republican leadership would not be implicated.  After all, they’ve been conducting an investigation, right?

If this sounds too conspiratorial to you, consider that these are the same people who invented voting for a thing before voting against it.  John Cornyn had no problem voting for cloture on the Senate Amnesty bill last year before coming home to Texas to tell voters he had voted against the final bill, which he had.  He repeated the procedure at the time of the government shutdown last October, again voting to bring the bill for a vote, so that he could vote against it thereby claiming “conservative credentials” all the while have enabled the bill to see the light of day in the first place.  They bank on we voters remaining largely ignorant of their scandalous manipulations, so that a less-than-vigorous investigation wouldn’t provide much of a surprise. By the way, and by way of evidence of the establishment’s thesis in operation, John Cornyn won his primary by pretending to be a conservative while relying on the longterm detachment and ignorance of voters.  Still, roughly forty percent of the Republican electorate in Texas was able to see through his nonsense, but not enough to replace him as our Senator.

My point to you is this: It may be too late to salvage the data, because this has been left withering on the vine for much too long.  The list of particulars I provided yesterday should have been exercised more than two years ago, and it should have been done with vigor.  If there is no active complicity by Republican leadership, there is at least gross incompetence verging on the criminally negligent.  Are we to believe that none of the people in leadership had any idea, and that none of their staff had any idea how to approach such a scandal?  Are we to believe they had no access to any person with sufficient technical understanding who would have apprised them of the sort of things that would need to have been done to “disappear” such data?  Are we to believe that those who were conducting the preliminary investigations on behalf of House committees could not imagine to immediately contact people specializing in data recovery?  Why has it taken until yesterday to discover that the IRS had contracted with Sonasoft?  What were these investigators investigating?  Didn’t they look at the IT expenditures and contracts of the IRS for clues?  You see, once you consider all of this, it’s easier to understand how an observer could reasonably conclude that the Republicans didn’t want to investigate, and having been forced into it by public pressure, have done a half-hearted job of it.

How can we be nearly three years into this investigation, and we’re only now finding there had been a back-up company contracted?  I will not be surprised to learn that the IRS contract with Sonasoft required them to hold emails for a period of only three years, so that by now, Lois Lerner’s emails have fallen off the archive due to age.  A serious investigation would have immediately discovered the existence of a contract with Sonasoft, and those records could have been pulled three years ago.  What will we get as a result?  At best, some underlings who were a part of the cover-up will be burned, but the chain of command to the top will be obfuscated, and then we will get some dog-and-pony IRS Reform bill that will require the agency from this date forward to maintain all emails for ten years, or some such thing.  Then it will all go away, and the original participants in the scandal of targeting TEA Party groups and their members will be forgotten, and life will go on in Washington DC, with we being the only victims, now poorer and less free, and deprived of justice.

The questions I’ve posed over the last thirty-six hours are the sort I would expect of a serious investigation.  To date, we’ve had a lot of finger-waggling by Republicans asking questions of witnesses, but we’ve gotten no meat from these bones.  Certainly, it does not help that we have a Department of Justice that is led by a crook and crony, and it does not help that the media covers everything up on behalf of this administration, but if the Republicans had been serious about getting to the bottom of this scandal, they would have taken significantly more exhaustive steps by now, but to date, all they’ve done is generate ominous soundbites that tend to feed the red-meat aspects of politics, yet have resulted in no arrests, no indictments, and no justice.  In three years?  This scandal is well on its way to becoming a cold case, and that’s just how Washington DC likes it.

Update: The Daily Caller reports that the IRS cancelled its Sonasoft contract only weeks after Lois Lerner’s hard-drive “crash.”

John Boehner’s Dog and Pony Show

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

On Friday, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives continued its wholly political, and ultimately theatrical investigation of the IRS Tea Party-targeting scandal.  Chairman Dave Camp’s(R-MI) committee brought current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen before the committee to testify as to the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails, among other misdeeds.  You may argue that Paul Ryan(R-WI) was very aggressive in his examination of the witness, but that entire exchange was mere political theater that will evince nothing at the end of the investigation.  Had the Republicans in Congress the first inclination to get to the bottom of this scandal, they would begin by taking the following series of steps:

  1.  Bring before the committee the entire IT staff that supports the IRS, particularly its executives.
  2. Audit the purchase records and replacement schedule of equipment used to support Lois Lerner’s computer usage. Congress should want to know how old her computer had been when the hard disk “died.”
  3. Require IT staff managers to testify as to the method of email archiving, email storage, email backups, and the entire email system used by the IRS.
  4. Seek a federal court order requiring the production of all existing equipment that is currently, or has ever been in use by the IRS in storing email,over the period of the last six years, including particularly SAN devices and servers.
  5. Seek a federal court order requiring the immediate production of all backup media on which IRS files and email may have been copied.
  6. Form a select committee with broad investigatory powers to pursue the entirety of this affair, particularly with an eye toward fraud, destruction of government records and data, as well as political influences brought to bear on the IRS from any branch of government or outside interest groups.
  7. Bring in experts to audit access records for servers and storage devices to discover when anybody interacted with the equipment in question. These devices and servers maintain extensive logs of the commands issued from administrators. Knowing who did what will be a key to cracking this case. The government may well have logging servers to which all events are reported.

For those of you who are less than technically inclined, I will be glad to explain to you why this whole “lost hard drive” claim is a dodge, and for those who may have less than a strong understanding of the politics, I’ll be glad to explain to you how I know the Republicans are playing a game for show, but do not want the truth to come out.

As an information systems professional, who works with storage systems, backup systems, networks, servers, and workstations every day, and who works with the applications and databases which is the purpose of all of that lovely, grotesquely expensive equipment, let me tell you a few things you won’t read in the media.  You might even take a moment to learn a bit more about your own computer.

First, the email system the IRS uses is almost certainly an IMAP or MAPI variant.  This means that on the most basic level, emails are not stored on the client, except as a temporarily cached copy.  Deleting it may cause the email to appear deleted for that user, but the mail archiving functionality will maintain a copy for a period as prescribed by policy, usually determined in applicable statutes and regulations. Most corporate and government environments will not even permit users to store mail in local folders(email folders solely on your local computer) unless they are first archived in the email archiving system, which is generally part of the same overall system. Nevertheless, examining the event viewer in Windows will offer some insight into what may or may not have been done on a given workstation or server. Linux and other operating systems have similar logging facilities.  (If you have Windows, you can get an idea by going to your Control Panel, then to Administrative Tools, and Event Viewer. You will be surprised what you can learn about your computer’s routine operations.)

In the second place, the number of servers used for an email system to support an organization the size of the IRS must be quite large.  It undoubtedly consists of multiple servers, at multiple server farms, in a redundant scheme of some sort intended to prevent the loss of data.  You, the taxpayer, has spent billions upon billions since the advent of email to provide these facilities for our federal bureaucracy.

Third, since email storage in such an environment is bound to be monumental in scale, there are undoubtedly many storage blades of some form, probably Storage Area Networks(SANs) to handle the storage needs of the mail system servers.  These are also geographically dispersed for reasons of data security, and what you should know about these technologies is that if your Storage Administrators are doing their jobs, there is virtually no credible fashion in which data of this sort could be lost simply because somebody’s office computer’s hard disk died.

To put it in context, consider one of the leading manufacturer’s systems.  Called an ISE2, it’s made by X-IO and it can contain two datapacs that contain what are essentially a stack of hard disks that are effectively “self-healing,” and in common usage, contain more than fourteen terabytes of data in each datapac.  By design, such a device already creates a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks(RAID) by virtue of its design, permitting the administrator to choose either RAID 1(mirroring) or RAID 5(a form of quasi-mirroring).  The way these devices are used is to create storage volumes in the datapacs and attach those volumes to servers.  They can be swapped in and out, and they can be mirrored as individual entities across other devices.  The servers in question see these volumes as hard-drives, and in effect, they function in precisely that manner.    I would be stunned to find that the US Federal government is not using such an arrangement, whomever the vendor, and there are many.  Chances are high that wherever the server farm is that operates the IRS email system, there are likely to be many SAN units, or other storage containers that have similar functionality.

Putting of all of this into simplest terms, the series of failures that would be required to disappear Lois Lerner’s emails, along with those of six other IRS executives, is an astonishing string of virtual impossibilities and displays of incompetence and malfeasance that should result in the ouster of every IT manager supporting the IRS.  It’s not that I don’t believe there are incompetents working in government, or that I don’t believe there are some slothful folk administering systems for the IRS, but that the totality of this loss of data represents a complete failure at virtually every level and every step of the organization.  Even in a clunky, bureaucratic, top-heavy organization like the IRS, there are still some competent people who keep it working despite all the obstacles placed in their way. The manner in which their storage systems and server farms are designed tends to preclude the chance that something so seemingly innocuous as the loss of one person’s email(or seven) is even a remote possibility.

Knowing how such systems work, and knowing that the government spends more money on the core computing technology than any entity on the planet, their claim to have lost the email due to a hard drive failure on a client machine is an absolute farce.  To claim even that no data was recoverable on that hard drive is pretty hard to believe too, since I’ve seen data recovered from hard disks that have been in computers essentially destroyed by fires.  In fact, given the nature of the data I have handled over the course of my computing career, it is common that when a computer reaches the end of its service life, organizations resell the computers but strip the hard drives out of them for mechanical destruction so that no data may be recovered from them. (In many cases, this involves drilling holes through the platters, using a cutting torch, or other methodology designed to destroy the actual storage media in the drive, which is generally very hard metal platters.)

All of that doesn’t matter in the least, however, as the servers and archive servers and storage devices in the systems are apt to have contained one or more(probably many more) copies of the target emails. Then there are backup tapes or other backup devices. No, ladies and gentlemen, if the administration’s hacks like Mr. Koskinen come forward to tell you in smug tones that the data was irretrievably lost, they are lying.  It may have been irretrievably destroyed, but that would require a conspiracy because no one computer technician could possibly have access to all the relevant systems in an organization so large.

The technician who was responsible for maintaining and repairing Lois Lerner’s computer is not the same technician who administers the email system.  That administrator is not the same person who operates and maintains the bulk data storage containers, nor is that the same person who operates all backups and certainly not the same person who maintains and administers the network on which all of this computing takes place.  It’s not plausible in an organization the size of the IRS.  In many cases, data is duplicated and moved off-site for disaster recovery purposes.  No, if this data is unrecoverable, it is because it was ordered to be placed in that state.  Knowing this, and knowing what would be entailed in literally destroying any trace of these emails, I can only conclude that this administration is lying, and is an active participant in a criminal conspiracy and cover-up of crimes that would tend to place Lerner and her superiors in jeopardy of long jail terms, and this president in the direct path of impeachment proceedings.

At the beginning of this article, I explained to you that I believed that the claim about the emails being “lost” is nonsense, and a lie.  I hope I’ve managed to illuminate a few of the reasons why you should not believe such claims, but I also contended that you should not believe that the Republicans are very serious about uncovering the truth, despite their harrumphing to the contrary.   You see, if the Republicans in Congress were serious about all of this, they would issue subpoenas to the entire IT staff.  They would drag them in, one at a time, starting at the top, and working their way down to the lowest technician.  They would have questions, specific technical questions, prepared for them by people like me, or actually those rare birds who designed such systems, and they would begin the grilling.  Under oath.  Somebody would crack.  A lie of this sort cannot be hidden if there is a consistent and tireless effort to uncover it.

The problem may be that to uncover Lois Lerner’s email would reveal something no Representative in that committee hearing room wants you to know:  Lerner may have been receiving emails from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill urging audits and investigations into Tea Party groups.  The IRS was used in this instance to quell a peaceful, political uprising by making the formation of a group so painful and problematic as to frustrate into capitulation all but the most insistent and persistent persons.  The Republicans tried first to co-opt the Tea Party phenomenon, making it their own, but when they found they were unable to control the myriad of organizations springing to life around the country, their next motive was to destroy it because they posed a serious challenge to the orthodoxy of establishment power in Washington DC.  Most Republicans in Washington DC want the Tea Party buried, some of them more fervently even than the Democrats.

If the Republicans in the House cannot muster a select committee to look into this and other matters of extreme government corruption, it is only because they do no want the truth discovered.  If they will not bring an endless string of witnesses to testify as to their role in the email “losses” and the system design of the email and data facilities of the IRS, then they don’t want an answer.  Paul Ryan and others can put on one Hell of a show in the committee room, but the truth is that saying “I don’t believe you” in an exchange with an IRS commissioner isn’t going to turn over many stones.  If you want the truth, you bring in the subject matter experts and responsible parties, and you grill them and continue to remind them of their oaths.  At some point, some junior flunky intern who was told to ditch a hard disk in the Potomac is going to squeal, because he doesn’t want to go to prison.  Then you bring back the person who gave him that order, and then the person who issued that order from higher on the food chain.   Work your way down to get them on the record, until somebody cracks, and then work your way back up, exposing lies until the scheme is revealed in full.

If the Congress won’t do this, they’re not serious about the matter.  It suggests strongly that they don’t want the truth revealed any more than the administration.  There are plenty of smart people on Capitol Hill, and they have plenty of contacts who understand such systems and could provide technical advice both in the formation of questions and in the manner by which to challenge the credibility of the answers.  Those behind this atrocious abuse of government power must be held accountable and jailed for their crimes.  Make no mistake about it: Grievous crimes were committed both as a part of the targeting, as well as during this extended cover-up.  If the Republicans now fail to uncover those crimes and see this investigatory process through to a just ending, you can be sure that they hadn’t wanted the truth to be discovered, because their fingerprints are all over this too.

 

 

 

Fathers’ Day Forever Changed

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

For the past quarter century, waking up on the third Sunday in June has been a reminder of my status as a father.  From the moment my daughter was born, I knew she would change my life in every conceivable way. Along the way, these twenty-five Fathers’ Days, there have been moments of joy and celebration, times of consternation, and occasional periods of relative calm, but for the first time in quite a while, my darling daughter has succeeded in taking my breath away. Fishing outings, horseback riding, Halloween in a little tiger suit at three-years-old, and any number of other occasions are some of the decorations in my mind on Fathers’ Day.  This year, I think we’ve attained a new pinnacle.

Friday, in the hottest part of the Texas afternoon, she delivered a beautiful baby girl, my granddaughter.  Now residing on the timeless rolls of grandfathers, with the prospects good that the day will climax with a discharge from the hospital for glowing mother and radiant child. Having shared the news with my own father, our family’s living members now span four generations again for the first time in a decade.  One thing that has changed for me, probably for all times, is the realization that some part of me will go on, long after I’m gone, and that at least one more chance exists for me to help shape the future.  Children are and have ever been the real stars of Fathers’ Day, and it is on Fathers’ Day that we who are blessed with children, now grown and building families of their own, hope longingly for their frequent return.

Happy Fathers’ Day to all, and Grandfathers too. And congratulations to new fathers, especially!

Editor’s Note: It’s been a rough Spring here, with a heavy workload and unrelenting problems of varying sorts, but today, I might just take part of the day off after all.  Mother, daughter, and father are tired but doing well.