Posts Tagged ‘politics’

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.

Cronyism and the Wreckage of a Nation

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life Without Principles: The New America

Friday, February 12th, 2016

constitution_ablaze_ft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump Lied About Conservatism

Friday, February 12th, 2016

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

djt_conservatives_tweet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Angry or Manic?

Angry or Manic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Why I Like Donald Trump

Saturday, December 12th, 2015
Hamming it up

Hamming it up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Megyn asks Donald about his Republican credentials:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aid and Comfort, JEB?

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

Per Mr. Bush:

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

and:

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Defiantly Indifferent

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

cbs_obama_gun_Control_tweet_sm

 

 

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

cbs_obama_gun_Control_tweet

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

*** Caution: Strong Language ***

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

 

 

The New Communists at FoxNews

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Islamic Terrorism, Stupid

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Confronting Our Worst Fears About the GOP

Friday, August 2nd, 2013
sweet sixteen dress

Peas in a Pod

It should come as no surprise to conservatives that we’re being shafted on virtually every issue by some gang-of-eight or other assembly of Republicans who simply will not stand up to the Democrats.  Normally, I don’t spend much time guessing at their motives, instead tending to examine the results of their positions. I don’t necessarily assume that our GOP establishment opponents are evil, but merely misguided.  This view has been changing, because the more closely I examine their positions, the more baffled I become by any logical standard of measurement.  The problem is that discovering their motive has become increasingly important to the prospect of defeating them.  If we understood what it is that they’re after, we might find it somewhat easier to beat them or make them irrelevant. Sadly, I have begun to conclude that my worst fears may be true.  The GOP’s establishment wing clearly runs the show, leading us to perpetual defeat. It is time to ask ourselves why by considering the issues on which they’ve abandoned conservatism.

My first question must go to folks like Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan(R-WI) on the issue of immigration reform: “Are you stupid?” I know this will seem a bit blunt to some people, but it’s a sincere question.  The Senate Gang-of-Tr8ors bill offers to create between twelve and thirty million new citizens over the coming decade.  We already know that the overwhelming majority of them will be Latinos of Mexican origin, and that their tendency is to vote for the Democrats by a seven-to-two ratio or worse, once they become eligible.  What sort of complete and utter moron must one be to believe this could in any way redound to the benefit of the Republican party, conservatism, or even our nation’s future?  Given the stance of Ryan and his cohorts, we are left to conclude that there can be only two things driving their position.  Either they are among the most pathetically irrational and moronic persons, or they must know what will happen and wish to gain that result.  There are no alternatives.

On the issue of the budget, the establishment Republicans insist that we must support Paul Ryan’s pathetic, tinkering attempt at reform, even though it establishes no concrete foundation of reform, instead promising to reduce the rate of growth of the deficit, but not arresting it entirely, never mind addressing the mounting debt.  More, when you call members of the House or Senate to demand an explanation as to how the official National Debt count has been stuck for two months running, despite the fact that the government is taking on more debt, none of the Republican members seem all too interested in finding an explanation.  Once again, we are confronted with the question: Are these people simply oblivious?  Why aren’t they screaming at the top of their lungs? Here you have an administration that is exceeding the statutory debt limit by billions of dollars, and in order to disguise it, they’ve stopped the debt clock. Other than the frozen clock, they’ve continued business as usual.  What good is a sequestration of funds?  What good is a debt limit fight if the guys who must engage have already surrendered?  Do you believe for one moment that Paul Ryan or the rest of the RINO phalanx in Washington DC is unaware?  Do you believe they are so incompetent as to miss the significance of these Treasury Department actions?  It is either true that they are so incompetent that we must for the good of the nation replace them, or they are willing to let Obama do what he’s doing, in which case we must be rid of them for the same reason.

I have said many times that it doesn’t really matter whether they’re simply foolish or guilty of collusion, but I’ve come to change my view on this.  One can’t forgive negligence born of incompetence, but one must punish willful misdeeds more harshly as a warning to other would-be scoff-laws.  It’s a matter of intent.  Are the establishment Republicans in Washington DC, under the “leadership” of John Boehner(R-OH,) Mitch McConnell(R-OH,) and all the other big-government Republicans simply guilty of foolishness and incompetence, or is their behavior evidence of malice?  This is the ugly question we must ask ourselves, because we may choose one or the other alternative postulate, but never both.

It’s now clear to me that the Republican party as expressed by its “leaders” in Washington DC is in open collusion with the Democrats and President Obama.  There is no other way to explain their willingness to go along, knowing what the results will be.  On Benghazi, they help the Democrats obfuscate, and on the IRS scandal, they gum up the works, but on legislative matters of significance, they are lending an assist to Democrats: On immigration, the budget and debt ceiling, the funding of Obama-care, and a range of somewhat less significant issues at the moment, they are not merely capitulating, but assisting the Democrats.  They must be either the largest collection of stupid people in any government on the planet, or they intend the results their efforts are obtaining.  It cannot be both.

A conservative must now ask with pointed clarity: Does it matter if John Boehner or some lunatic Democrat wins his seat in 2014?  Does it matter in the least if Lamar Alexander or some Tennessee Democrat wins that Senate seat in 2014?  The answer is yes:  The prospective Democrat in either case is at least being honest about his or her  intentions, in the main, at least to the degree that by running as Democrats, we voters may make an accurate guess about what sort of legislation will result.  This cannot be said of the RINOs in the GOP.  By running as Republicans, there has been at least the implicit idea that such candidates will oppose statism, but that simply hasn’t been the case. If ever there had been a time in American history when the willingness of voters to be true to themselves was the most critical aspect of their political activism and engagement, now must be that time.  We must admit in the open what we have long suspected: The establishment wing of the GOP consists of traitors to every value and ideal we hold sacred, because they are in open collusion with those who are actively seeking the destruction of our country.

Make no mistake about it: They want the destruction too.

 

 

Small “r” republicanism v. Big “R” Republicans

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Which are You?

I’m a conservative, and I’m also a “republican,” but I am the latter only in the sense of a lower-case “r.”  I believe in the republican form of government promised in Article IV, section 4, of the US Constitution.  Many Republicans (members of the political party) seem to be confused about what this means, and I suppose it is only fair to make them aware of the distinctions between the things many current Republicans now advocate that violate the platform and the principles of republicanism that their party claims to uphold.  Those who become confused about what it means to be a RINO (“Republican In Name Only”) need only consider the small “r” form of the word.  It’s easy to fill out a voter registration card and check the box beside the word “Republican,” but it’s another matter entirely to know what is republicanism.  As we debate issues of critical import to the future of the nation, it’s more important than ever that conservatives know what it is they are fighting, and what form it takes.  The outcome of 2014 and 2016 will set the course of the nation for generations, and we must win it.  This is the heart of the battle between the so-called RINOs and we constitutional conservatives, and it will determine our nation’s future.

One of the concepts that has long been associated with republicanism is that we hold in disdain the notion of a “ruling class,” a presumptively superior elite who by virtue of some unknown mechanism somehow know better than the rest of us with respect to how we ought to be governed.  Indeed, when our republic was established, it was with the experience of a people who had freed themselves from the bonds of a King, who claimed his right to rule over us by virtue of his station of birth.  I do not doubt that some people are superior to others in some particular way, but nearly everybody can claim some attribute in which they are superior to most others.  Some of that is a result of education, experience and training, while some of it results from pure genetic gifts.  There is no gene, however, that entitles one man to rule over others.  There exists no family lineage in America that can rightly claim to exercise a disproportionate power over the affairs of nations and men.  We do not have kings, and while there were a few in early America who advocated for a monarchy, the broad body of the American people rejected the idea as an apostasy aimed at thwarting the very revolution in which they had only so recently succeeded.

The only thing I hold in greater contempt than the man (or woman) who would claim the right to rule over me by virtue of family lineage or family station(a.k.a. “nobility”) is the  poor, twisted soul who would consent to such a proposition.  I am no person’s chattel, and I abhor any human being who claims membership in this species who would surrender themselves as having been of no greater significance than a possession of “better” men.  Those lacking the essential self-esteem to realize that they are by right the sovereigns over their own affairs, equal to any other on the planet, ought to immediately depart these shores to seek refuge in some Kingdom as a serf.  In this sense, it is fair to say that I not only reject a supposed “ruling class,” but also that I likewise hold in contempt the corollary premise of a “ruled class.”  Part of the republican ideal is that classes are a subjectively-defined fraud perpetrated against a people who ought not to be willing to accept it.  Why is it that so many Republicans prefer to think of Americans in a class system little different from their alleged ideological opponents, the statists?  The answer is that too many Republicans are statists themselves, having rejected the fundamentals of republicanism.

By what strange and mystical knowledge do the brothers Bush claim to have the better answer on the subject of immigration, both now pushing the Gang-ofTr8ors Bill?  Why do so many Republicans accept their claim in the unthinking form of a command received from on high?  It  is because too many Republicans have either surrendered or rejected the republican principles under whose banner they march.   If you listen closely enough, you can hear in their intentionally vague language the lost concepts that they will not name, never having believed in them from the outset.  Although a few are now catching themselves in pursuit of the betterment of their propagandists’ art, you will invariably hear them speak of democracy as the goal and the object of their advocacy.  This is not merely loose wording, but a true reflection of the form of government they seek, a form so terrible that our founders placed a stricture against it in the US constitution in the form of an endorsement of republican government.

A democracy is not a form of government most rational people would want, except that they have been taught that it is the desired form.  To hear a President say that he wishes to spread democracy to the Middle East is an arrow through the heart of republicanism.  We have seen what democracy creates in the Middle East and throughout the Arab-speaking world.  Pakistan is a democracy.  Egypt is now a democracy.  Libya is now a putative democracy. Iraq now is a sort of hybrid democracy, but in each of them, what you will observe is how the whole course of the nation is changed by political instabilities, and that the rule of law acts as no restraint upon political leaders in working their will.  Barack Obama is intent on turning the US into a democracy, because democracy is always the precursor to despotism.  Most of the worst thugs of the twentieth century came to power on a wave of popular support that defines the democratic model:  He(or she) with the biggest mob wins.  Even now, in Cairo, when the military perceived that President Morsi (the Muslim Brotherhood’s stooge,) no longer held sway over the largest mob, they placed him under house arrest and offered an interim president who will enjoy for at least a time some popular support.  Throughout the third world, it is fair to say that most countries have adopted some form of governance that lurches repeatedly and often from some sort of feigned democracy to absolute despotism.

A republican form of government is much more stable, and it has been the underlying root of our general prosperity for some two-hundred-twenty years, with a few notable exceptions, in largest measure because nearly all of the occupants of the land had accepted the orderly rule of law and the specific, constitutional methodology by which laws are to be adopted, modified, or repealed.  Having a set of rules that is inflexible, particularly with respect to changing those rules, and obtaining the consent of those who must live under them for a span of two centuries is an extraordinary feat in human history.  The dire flaw in all of this is that from the moment of its adoption, people begin to conspire to overthrow it in one fashion or another, by finding loopholes, imagining a “flexibility” that does not exist, inciting rebellion against it, or seizing power over it with which to subsequently ignore the mandates of the law.

In American history, we have seen all of these methods employed, indeed, some of them are being employed even now, as our President conspires with his cabinet to ignore the rule of law, ignoring the plain language of the law as often and as thoroughly as they believe they can manage in a particular political context.  What good is a law that those who are charged with enforcing it refuse to rise to carry it into execution?  When the public officials whose job it is to see to it that subordinate officials execute the law refuse to discipline those who will not obey, always claiming as an excuse some alleged greater “public good,” what you are witnessing is the reduction of a republic to the state of a pre-despotic democracy.

Many Americans who are demonstrably ignorant of the world’s history of governance believe that our Electoral College is anti-democratic, and on this basis, advocate its repeal, demanding instead to rely upon a majority (or plurality) of the popular vote.  While they are correct that the Electoral College is undemocratic, their ignorance is born of an educational system that has misled them to expect majoritarian rule in all cases as the preferred model.  Naturally, that same system has failed to teach them about federalism, the ninth and tenth amendments, and the whole construct that is a constitutional, representative republic, being the precise form of government the framers of the US constitution did adopt and ratify .

Informing them of this distinction, many are still suspicious of it, because it sounds strange and foreign to them, most under the age of forty having never been taught a syllable about it in the government schools.  Even in the school from which I graduated a long, long time ago, the senior-year civics class was entitled “Problems of Democracy.” Had I been a more thoroughly-engaged student, I might have questioned it then, but like virtually all of my peers, I did as I was told, never considering a word of it.  It would take years of study to unlock the knowledge of which I had been cheated, and at first, I resisted it.  How could all of this be true?  How could America not be a “democracy?”  How could democracy be a bad thing?  This is where many Americans get hopelessly stuck, because we’ve adopted the flexible language of lunatics, where we interchange words with the imprecise vulgarity of schoolyard bullies.  “The difference between a democracy and a republic won’t matter to you so much after I beat your face.”

The truth about democracy is what has always been its fatal flaw, perhaps best described by a phrase often mistakenly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but possessed of perfectly sanguine execution, irrespective of its source:

“Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what will be for lunch.”

Indeed, in a true democracy, there can be no protections of any minority but by violence.  This was the great object the framers of our constitution had hoped to impede.  They knew that majoritarian rule is no form of government for a peaceable, civil society, and that such governments are always ripe for manipulation by unscrupulous and demagogic usurpers.  The whole purpose of all their checks and balances had been to obstruct to the degree humanly possible the sort of instability made easier by democratic rule.  Their constitution set at odds every branch of government, and even divisions within branches, like the House and Senate.  It relied upon a competing fight for sovereign power between the several states and the federal government, all at odds in most cases, except when the most pressing of public crises may discipline them to more affable cooperation.  This was their plan, and their intention, and they hoped that in little-modified form, it could survive some severe tests that they knew would come, as they must for all nations.

With the onset of the progressive era in the early twentieth century, there was a move toward greater “democratization,” that brought with it a string of constitutional amendments, causing a great unwinding of our nation.  The 16th, creating an authority to tax income (and the legal establishment of a class system;) the 17th, changing the manner of election of US Senators; the 18th, instituting prohibition; the 19th finally giving women the right to full political participation all came in this era, with only one of them(the 19th) having been justifiable among civilized people, and one of them(the 18th) creating such terror that it was ultimately repealed by the 21st amendment.  Progressive Republicans of that era helped to install these amendments, and none of them did more damage to the system of checks and balances the framers had invented than the 17th amendment.  It effectively muted the voices of the states as sovereigns in the federal system. It did so by causing Senators to be popularly elected in their respective states, shutting out the state governments as a confounding, obstructive influence on the growth of centralized government.

Our republican form of government was constructed to sub-divide government into so many competing segments and interests that it would be nearly impossible for any one interest to gain supremacy.  It succeeded in many ways so long as politicians held onto the general republican ideals, for more than a century generally held by members of both parties. (It is instructive to remember that the forebears of the modern Democrat Party called themselves “Democratic Republicans” for many years before dropping the second half of their name with the ascendancy of Andrew Jackson.)  It is therefore no surprise that a Democrat party would become the party of the slave-holding South, or that the Republicans would supplant the Whigs by championing the rights of an enslaved minority.  Words, including even party labels, meant something distinct in those days.

In the progressive era, mostly for the sake of political expediency, there were a number of Republicans who began to adopt more democratic notions of governance, including the predisposition of their Democrat brethren to an elitist view of a class system not only in the general populace, but also among political offices and those who occupied them.  The influences of corporations grew, as did the corrupting influence of gangsters during prohibition.  From that era arose an establishment of Republicans who were nothing of the sort, and with few exceptions, have managed to maintain a fairly strong control over that party, most often as the minority party.  Viewed in this fashion, it could be said rightly that the Republican Party has been charged with managing the real republicans into submission.

Who are the real advocates of republicanism in the Republican Party?  Nowadays, we call them “conservatives,” although they are actually the philosophical heirs to the classical liberals of the late eighteenth century, by and large.  “Conservative” is approximately opposite of “liberal” or “progressive” in popular connotation, and since the Democrats had successfully co-opted the term “liberal,” despite being nothing of the sort, they managed to carry off a vast fraud on the American people using a sort of primitive branding that set conservatives against the liberal Democrats and the progressive Republicans.  It has been in this approximate form ever since, with the Republicans adopting “moderate” from time to time as a way to escape linkage with the frightful failures of the progressive era.

Now come we full circle to the moment that is both the beginning and the end.  The Bush clan seems to have some special public sense of duty to rule over the country, as evinced by the fact that despite having had two members of their clan accumulate two solid decades of first influence and then dominance over the Republican Party, they are far from finished. Their ideas are as progressive as any Democrat you will ever meet, the singular difference being that they seem to temper the left’s radical secularism with public professions of faith in the Almighty.  Put in plainer language, they are approximately ecumenical communists, and their particular subset of the broad statist philosophy is known as communitarianism. Whatever did you think is “compassionate conservatism?”

They don’t believe in the supremacy of the individual over the interests of the community.  Most conservatives are almost precisely opposite in philosophical leanings to the communitarian front, being Christian individualists in the main.  While they certainly work in their communities and contribute to them greatly, they believe in an individualized form of salvation, and an individual responsibility in obtaining it.  The communitarians conceive instead a form of “collective salvation.” If that term sounds vaguely familiar to you, it is because your current president has used it too.  In this sense, it is fair to say that from Bush the elder, to Barack Obama, we have been on a nonstop course of communitarianism since 1989.  They do not believe in the small “r” republicanism of our founders, and they certainly do not believe in the containment of the state, the only discernible difference being their apparent relative positions on the scale between religious and secular intent.

To demolish the United States will require demolishing its distinct culture, any sort of nationalistic sentiment among its people, and the broadening of the definitions of citizenship and nationhood.  Did you think the Senate’s amnesty bill was just about cheap labor?  It is about deconstructing the United States as a sovereign entity responsive to the interests of its inhabitants.  Now that brothers George W. and Jeb Bush are openly pushing for the Senate bill in the House, or indeed any bill at all that can be a vehicle for the Senate bill in conference, one should be able to discern quite clearly that more is at stake in the matter than cheap labor for some construction contractors.

For those of you who now wonder how any of this pertains to small “r” republicanism, it is so simple as this: Very few of your elected leaders or even your supposed “conservative” spokesmen are interested in the sort of republicanism your founders brought out of deliberations from a sweltering Philadelphia convention.  If you wish to discern who are Republicans of the “RINO” construct and who are actual republicans, you need only key on their records of adherence to lowercase “r” republican principles, including primarily their previous adherence to the US constitution and its framers’ intent. Flowery words don’t matter.  Professions of faith aren’t enough. Look at their records.  Look at their ideas and the principles upon which they rely.  If you are constitutional conservatives, you must in the name of all you cherish perfect the ability to recognize the charlatans at a mile’s distance.  In Washington DC, and in states’ capitals, Republicans are legion, while actual republicans are few, and it’s a ratio we must reverse.

Buyback BackFire: Police Gun Buyback Turns Into Gunshow

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

 reception dressIn Seattle, Police were conducting a buyback program in their attempt to “get guns off the streets.”  Unfortunately, they didn’t plan on gun buyers showing up with signs and cash to offer in exchange for the guns.  The police program exchanged gift cards worth $200 and $100, depending on the gun, but when gun buyers began paying in cash, many of the people there to sell their guns quickly shifted from the buyback line to wheeling and dealing with the cash buyers.  According to the website DCXposed, the scene became like an impromptu gun show, particularly after police ran out of the gift cards, and began issuing IOUs. From the article:

John Diaz, Seattles Police Chief,  wasn’t pleased with the turn of events stating “I’d prefer they wouldn’t sell them,” but admitted it’s perfectly legal for private individuals to buy and sell guns, FOR NOW. Mayor Mike McGinn said at a news conference the private transactions are a loophole that needs to be closed. “There’s no background checks, and some (guns) could be exchanged on the streets that shouldn’t be in circulation.”

But Schuyler Taylor, a previous gun retailer attending the event in hopes of buying weapons, asked “Why not offer them cash versus a gift card? I’m still taking the guns off the streets; they’re just going in my safe.”

It seems that this really rained on the parade of gun-grabbers, although they still managed to collect up a large number of guns.  Still, the ingenuity of Americans and the entrepreneurial spirit are alive and well in Seattle.

Class in Session: Mark Levin Declares RINO-ism Dead

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
graduation dresses

RINOism Dead!

There should be no mistake about what Mark Levin believes, or even the vast reach of his influence over the debate about government.  Many left-wingers and not a few establishment Republicans accuse Dr. Levin of being a yelling mad-man, but that ignores the extent to which he influences the public debate.  At an event last year in support of Ted Cruz, in the run-off that made him the Republican candidate, one attendee asked quite simply:  How can we stop the construction of Ameritopia?  What was stunning wasn’t the fact that the Senate Candidate knew full well what the questioner meant, being a friend with Dr. Levin and a campaign season guest on his show, but that all around the room, heads nodded up and down, because they knew the meaning of the question too.  When the Senator answered, he demonstrated an understanding of the implications with respect to the US constitution, but unlike your typical rally of Democrats, the audience understood his points in part because some of them are lifetime students of our civil society, but also because among them were many listeners of Mark Levin’s show.

On Tuesday evening, frustrated with the talking points and narratives of establishment Republicans who wish to blame conservatives for last November’s losses, Levin launched:

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Dr. Levin holds a special contempt for so-called RINOs, or as I have recently dubbed them, “Mini-Dems.” They don’t believe in conservatism, or near as one can tell, much of anything.  Instead, theirs is the worship of a brand of vague pragmatism that ends in Republican defeats.  Of course, Dr. Levin realizes the RINOs aren’t going away, but here I think the larger point is that the underlying strategies and arguments that comprise RINOism are dead, as demonstrated by their repeated failures in election after election.

Levin’s reach into the blogosphere is deep and wide, as almost daily, some blogger somewhere, much as I’m doing now, is posting a vital clip from his show, and this acts as a spark for debate, not merely between left and right, but more importantly in the wake of last November’s election defeats, between and among Republicans and conservatives.  This is because Levin spares no feelings, or at least not many, in making the essential and incisive points that establish the conditions of the debate.  This may explain more than anything else why Levin’s show has grown while others have remained fairly static.  He engages one’s mind, and he demands you follow the logic.  He makes no apologies for supporting the Tea Party, or the conservative wing of the party, as Levin came up in politics in the watershed year of 1976, campaigning for Ronald Reagan.  Though Reagan lost that election, it set the stage for his nomination and election in 1980, and Levin was there to learn the critical lessons.

Most listeners to Levin’s show comprise a group of studious, committed pupils, attending a a constitutional classroom in which the principles behind the founding of the country and the framing of its constitution are the daily lesson plan.  What’s more, while it’s relatively early to draw this conclusion, as conservatives are searching for answers to their current political morass, it seems as though more are turning to Levin for the answers.  It’s not as though Levin claims to be an all-knowing font of wisdom on what ought to be conservatives’ course, but his determination to fight and keep moving is enough because what becomes plain to his listeners is his unfailing commitment to see the battle through, whatever form it takes.  Part of this may owe to the fact that in the wake of the 2012 election, conservatives are looking for a strong, articulate leader to make their best case for liberty, but I believe it’s a good deal more substantive than that.  Levin seems almost instinctively to understand what the left will try next, which may explain why the stories he reads on one day so often become the topic of discussion throughout the blogosphere on the next day.

It’s been true on this site, almost from its inception, and on many occasions, I have brought readers audio from Dr. Levin’s show.  My readers will have no idea on how many occasions Dr. Levin had stolen my thunder by covering a stories that I had in draft form as Levin’s show began, only to later discard them because on topics of substance, he generally leaves so little to be explained.  That’s fine by me, but it highlights another important point about Levin: He’s plugged-in, and he works tirelessly outside the confines of his show, not merely to prepare for his daily three-hour lesson in liberty, but because in other efforts, he’s at the tip of the spear.  The Landmark Legal Foundation is his other instrument of our republic’s defense, taking up cases of constitutional import on behalf of a grateful people.  This level of involvement means that unlike so many other talkers, he’s in the trenches with us, and often as the point-man out ahead of us, spotting danger and directing the initial engagements.

Given all this, you’d think more Republican politicians would heed his advice, but where Dr. Levin is fearless, all too often, elected officials won’t follow his lead, out of a fear frequently masquerading as an overabundance of prudence.  Levin understands this, and he often asks politicians questions that he then suggests they not answer, instead completing the thought on his own, knowing the precarious state of any official’s office.  Levin’s show is probably also the largest network of plugged-in conservative activists in the general right-wing sphere, and his audience is unashamed to lean on politicians and to begin with the phrase: “I heard on Mark Levin’s show that you were going to vote for…”  It is for this reason that so many of the DC Republican establishment tunes into his show, and while most won’t admit it, the fact is that they are well aware of Levin, and they feel his electoral influence. Politicians on the receiving end of his support love to hear the phrase “Levin surge” pronounced on their behalf, just as they cringe when they pop up on Levin’s radar for the sake of a well-deserved critique.  They know they’re about to find their email and voice-mail full, and they’re going to get it both from Levin on the radio as well as from their constituents.

What may make Levin the most compelling and influential of the talkers and political media figures is that he expresses his contempt for the malfeasance of politicians and parties in the context of legal concepts on which he daily refreshes his audience.  Apart from this blog, and rare few like it, you will not often witness a discussion of the principles underlying our supreme law.  Law can be a minefield as any layperson will know, but there’s something precious about the ability to breath life into the collection of words, explaining their meaning and the context in which they were formulated in a manner that both educates and engages listeners.  Very often, listeners to Dr. Levin’s show evince a reverence for our republic’s charter that is both touching and sincere, but also ironic in light of how easily their alleged “betters” dispense with both its words and spirit inside the beltway.

This kind of reformation movement isn’t religious, but its most ardent supporters would contend that while they may cling to their guns and their bibles, they haven’t turned-loose of their constitution either.  Listening Tuesday evening, as Levin mentioned the effect he suspected his show might have on the national dialogue, I wondered aloud in response to my deaf computer screen as to just how many of the people I know are now loyal Levin listeners, and the truth is something staggering.  I may live in rural Texas, where we tend to value liberty more than the average, but even friends from the distant large cities, in this state and out, all seem quite familiar with Levin’s show, his daily “lesson plans” frequently filling my morning inbox:   “Did you hear what Mark [Levin] said last night?”  There’s no denying he’s a bold and entertaining talk radio phenomenon, but more than this, he’s also the commander of constitutional defense headquarters on a national scale.  When people seek the low-down on the latest Obama executive usurpation, they tune to one show on the dial and in streams across the Internet, because for better or worse, they know they’ll find the answers.

Dr. Levin can be heard Monday-Friday, 6-9pm Eastern, both on terrestrial radio and streaming from his site, as well as  affiliates.  If you miss the live show, he also offers free downloads of his podcasts here.

The Rise of the Mini-Dems

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
formal gown

formal gown

In the ruinous ashes of Republican defeat at the hands of Barack Obama, a number of Republicans have popped-up in media to dutifully serve the narrative that the election had been the fault of conservatives.  Not only is this preposterous conclusion untrue, but also a proxy for any actual examination of why Republicans lost in 2012.  One of the favored approaches of these critics is to suggest that if conservatives wouldn’t be, well… so darned conservative, there’s some chance Republicans could have won.  One writer has even fashioned a new term to apply to staunch conservatives, but it’s not hard to notice that by the connotations of his term, he doesn’t mean to win them over.  James Arlandson, writing in the American Thinker, has coined a new term for most of you and I, and I don’t believe he intends flattery, although the combative part of me likes the label even if inaccurate.  He suggests we “might be Hyper-conservatives if…” and in the form of Jeff Foxworthy, goes on to list a number of conditions he believes characterizes the class.  Myself, I’ve devised a different label for folks like Arlandson because I believe it captures the essence and spirit of their fundamental philosophical frailties, to the extent they adhere to any ideology at all. These philosophically smallish Republicans would honestly make better “Mini-Dems.”

Arlandson’s approach to the matter is straightforward, if a bit muddled.  He alleges that there are certain aspects of some in the conservative wing of the general Republican universe that must disqualify their opinions because he believes certain positions are beyond the pale.  He lists a number of these conditions, and right off the top, he asserts a falsehood without substantiation. What makes it interesting is his use of a term to describe those who vote libertarian.  We’ve heard this term before, and it’s another I’m not afraid to wear. Arlandson says those who wish to eliminate too much government too quickly(while bothering to define neither scale) are “too severe.”  The only other person I know who in recent memory used that term to describe conservatism was Mitt Romney, describing himself, for Pete’s sake.

He then insists that we might be hyper-conservatives if we cry “third party” every time we don’t get our way.  Actually, I haven’t cried “third party” every time, but only when the party completely undercuts its purported principles for the sake of political expediency, an approach Mr. Arlandson would seem to approve.  The fact that these betrayals are happening with increasing regularity plays no role in his formulation.  His claim is that “grownup conservatives” (ostensibly such as he) “must be willing to suck it up and fight harder for the (imperfect) brand that has the best chance of winning — R.”  Let us imagine we take his advice.  The imperfect brand with the best chance of winning actually won, with the other imperfect brand following his advice.   Hint to Mr. Arlandson: That’s a “D” – Not an “R.”

He argues that we might be hyper-conservatives if… “[We] refuse to work with Dems(even after [we] lose an election.)”  Exactly what work would Mr. Arlandson suggest we take up with the Dems?  Shall we help them ban semi-automatic firearms?  Shall we work with them to more rapidly bankrupt the country(an object Republicans in DC have apparently taken up?)  Shall we stand by and watch the Democrats rape, pillage and burn, or does the mere suggestion of the truth of the situation brand me irrevocably as a “hyper-conservative?” I know one he intends, but he gets to that in a separate line-item, and so shall we.

Let’s apply his faulty strategy to any other human endeavor in which one side wins and the other sides loses.  In war, should we now work with al-Qaeda, since its apparent that despite more than a decade of conflict, our current administration seems committed to failure?  Too late, the President Arlandson suggests we’re no longer to substantially oppose has already done that.  Even in sport, is a beaten football team supposed to work with its rival?  Should a defeated boxer pummel himself in order to work with his opponent? I’m trying to understand the mentality that permits one to believe any of that is possible without simply joining the other team, but I think Mr. Arlandson is fairly-well ahead of me on that score.  This serves as the unmistakable clarion call of an approaching Mini-Dem.

He argues that if we fantasize about shredding or scrapping the school lunch program, we might be hyper-conservatives.  I suppose that cinches the matter, and I should confess, because if this is the standard, I am guilty as charged, and this issue must serve as my hyper-conservative bona fides.  I would also suggest that this is the sort of issue where the Mini-Dem is likewise exposed.  You see, I may be hyper-conservative, but I also know that the ultimate aim of any such program must be the intent to become obsolete by virtue of a growing prosperity, a quantity and quality that will remain out of our reach so long as we continue to fund dependency.  While Arlandson likes to wave Ronald Reagan around with zest, here he instead peddles “compassionate conservatism,” a theory that when turned to practice actually demonstrates neither.  As he decries those of us who would cut government programs “like drunken lumberjacks,” I’m looking around for some whiskey, and where did that blue ox run off to?  It seems Mr. Arlandson has forgotten that Reagan maxim that we should measure compassion not by how many are on government programs, but instead by how many no longer need them.

Naturally, it didn’t take long for him to get around to the discussion of immigration.  After all, it’s a good opportunity to work with Democrats who will be the primary beneficiaries of so-called “comprehensive immigration reform.”  Those who want illegals deported are apparently some sort of back-woods rednecks right out of the script of The Deliverance, at least where Arlandson is concerned.  Says he:

“Honestly, I would self-deport from your America if she were ever made in your image. The DNC is gleeful.”

Honestly, I too would be gleeful at the prospect of your self-deportation, Mr. Arlandson.  He offers us sage counsel, as if we’re too stupid to know it, or too lacking in compassion to care, chiding us:

“Immigrants, even illegal ones, are humans.  Never forget that.”

If there’s one thing a hyper-conservative hates, it’s to be the object of condescension by a Mini-Dem, and here, Mr. Arlandson goes too far.  My wife happens to be an immigrant.  I know everything I need to know about the issue, and I am well aware of the hurdles, the obstacles, and the myriad difficulties, but guess what?  None of that stopped me or my wife from observing the law. Put another way Mr. Arlandson, stuff it. How’s that for hyper-conservatism?

He apparently supports the made-up holiday Kwanzaa.  Why should I care?  In his view, admitting the entirely contrived nature of the holiday is to express some part of that quality that Colin Powell would term “a dark vein of intolerance.”  I suppose he needs to take this complaint up with Ann Coulter who famously dislikes the holiday, if she’s not too busy tying Chris Christie’s shoes. This is one more glaring reason that our country should never be entrusted to Mini-Dems, any more than it should be left to the mercy of the full-size imbeciles.  They’ll accept any absurdity in order to appease others, particularly if those others comprise a significant voting bloc that Republicans will never likely capture.

He says hyper-conservatives get side-tracked too easily by hobbyhorses. Like berating conservatives critical of Kwanzaa?  One example he offers is the desire among many conservatives and libertarians to eliminate the Federal Reserve.  He dismisses the notion with a thoughtful and retrospective view of the history and function of the Federal Reserve by simply saying:

“Ain’t gonna happen.”

That’s a nifty assertion, but let me offer a different view to Mr. Arlandson, although he may well reject it as the product of hyper-conservatism:  Nothing made by men lasts forever, so that whether it happens as a result of a seemingly inevitable monetary collapse birthed by that very institution, or instead because the United States of America ceases to exist as a political subdivision on this Earth, it most certainly will happen at some point whether you like it or not.  The question is not “if the Fed will die,” but instead “when,” and perhaps also “how.”  I love it when people like Arlandson deify themselves and make such preposterous declarations, as if they had any power whatever to make it come out the way they dictate.  It’s another tell-tale sign of a Mini-Dem. Apparently unhappy with their station in life as the weaker ideological sister to either left or right, they tend toward grand pronouncements easily debunked by adolescent logicians.    Notice, however, that Arlandson does not answer whether the Federal Reserve ought to exist, or whether it is doing more harm than good, instead merely asserting that it does exist, and on such basis must remain in perpetuity, or perhaps at least until he gets tired of it.  Naturally, he takes on those who get caught up by media questions about the age of the Earth, as though it had been a perfectly settled matter, but he is unable to acknowledge that the sun will burn out, the world will end, the United States will dissolve, and the Federal Reserve system will come to an end.  Apart from the direct intervention of God, these things will all come to pass, but while He might have some interest in the first two events, I suspect the Almighty isn’t spending much of His infinite time pondering the possibility of life on Earth without the Federal Reserve.

Arlandson goes on a bit more, about “birthers” and rape, and the age of the Earth, along with other pressing issues to conservatism, in each revealing his general competence for the description of Mini-Dem.  Like so many Mini-Dems, he wields Ronald Reagan in selective references like a sword, much like full-size Democrats do, but he is careful to remember only that much of “the Gipper” that will buttress his points, but no more.  He quite predictably flees to that age-old taunt about “hyper-conservatives” being too “simplistic.” What this really denotes, as ever, is a willingness to forgo discussions of precise right and wrong; simple truth and falsehood; moral white and black.   This is the signature cop-out of a Mini-Dem, because what they assert is that things are not so simple as to be reduced to a string of binary choices and decisions, though every computer on the planet proves otherwise.  It’s the same old dodge with the same old flavor:  Create gray areas to obscure one’s [intended]wrongdoing.

As a matter of clean-up then, I suppose it’s time to explain what I mean by “Mini-Dem,” and therefore permit you to decide for yourselves whether Mr. Arlandson fits the description:

A “Mini-Dem” is Republican who never has a single big idea.  Big ideas are too risky for Mini-Dems, because the larger (and smaller) part of what defines them as such is their abiding lack of political courage. They refuse to confront difficult challenges because it’s so much easier to surrender.  To conservatism?  No, never.  To Democrats?  Who else?  Mini-Dems would rather join with Democrats and assist their victory than bend their will to conservatism, because they possess the imbecilic need of a teenager to be accepted by the crowd, while actual conservatives realize that saying “no” is necessary job of responsible adults.  Part of the problem may owe to their conception of political courage, in Mini-Dem terms defined by criticizing conservatism to the endless glee of the left-wing media.

Theirs is the position of interminable surrender.  Who wants to go through all that fighting, and after all, “can’t we just get along?” It’s not that they never contemplate a fight, but instead that at the first imagined spilling of political blood, they go running of in search of another excuse for their cowardice. It’s always “we’ll get’em next time,” but when it’s this time, the “getting’em” is always delayed until next time. Next time never comes.  Ever.  If you want to see Mr. Arlandson’s prescribed approach in action, watch the abandonment of all reason and principle by the House Republicans over the Debt Ceiling.  Last time, they said “next time,” but when the next time came, they said again “next time, not this time.”  Do you notice the pattern?  They talk about conservatism, but when the time demands conservatism in practice, it’s always next time.  My own conclusion is that this owes to small hearts, small minds, weak constitutions, and over-indulging parents.  (All right, fine, maybe not that last, but it just felt right.)  In short, they’re almost exactly like Democrats in practice, their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

I think that which defines the larger part of the psyche of Mini-Dems is a preternatural fear of being disliked. It’s like the teenage emotional state of panic that occurs when they realize everybody is looking at them as though they had the world’s largest zits on the ends of their noses. It’s that kind of sheer terror that reveals the Mini-Dem, and it’s another reason why we continue to lose elections.  Their panic at the embarrassment of a naturally occurring dermal disturbance sends them screaming out of the room to the roaring laughter of their peers, not because they had pimples, but because they had freaked out over them.  It makes a more solid conservative wish to grab and shake them. “Get a grip, man: Zits happen.”

The rise of the Mini-Dem was inevitable after moderate Mitt was defeated.  The idea is to excuse Mitt’s moderate or liberal positions, as possible reasons for his loss.  The problem is that these had been most of the cause, but just as Mitt refused to fight over the Benghazi issue after Candy Crowley flat-out lied to the debate audience, this lack of combativeness typifies the Mini-Dem.  We mustn’t have a big and ugly spectacle lest some one notice those zits on our noses, don’t you know?  Therefore, what defines the breed is an near-absolute unwillingness to stand on any principle lest they be mistaken for us.  What are we?  Apparently, we’re hyper-conservatives because we don’t fear losing much of anything save for our souls. Then we’d be Mini-Dems.

 

 

Escaping The Party-Trap: The Liabilities of Low Information Republicans

Sunday, January 20th, 2013
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Cheering for the Team

Rush Limbaugh has popularized the discussion of “Low Information Voters” who dutifully go to the polls on election day to throw the levers as instructed by the talking heads of the Democrat party, but the truth is that we on the so-called “right” face a similar challenge with many Republicans, who hold with that party due to tradition, momentary fad, or simply because it’s what their friends are doing.  In many cases it simply comes down to their disgust with Democrats, an understandable feeling that would drive sane people to vote for virtually anybody else.  This is all a result of what I term the party-trap, and it causes people to defend and support candidates, ideas and policies with which they would never align had they been asked to choose from an infinite range of possibilities.  This is the intention of GOP party bosses and insiders, who wish to leave you with a narrowed range of choices among which their chosen candidate will be left standing as the only “obvious” or “inevitable” choice.  They don’t mind if you see their candidate as the lesser among evils, so long as you show up and vote for them.  It is in this way that the Republican Party has gone from a mildly conservative party to a reliably liberal one, not in its speeches, but in its actual legislative and executive endeavors, but it’s only possible because we have permitted too many of our own to become Low Information Republicans.

The whole notion of party identification is to associate candidates, ideas, and policies with a party, such that if the party is seen in a favorable light by a given voter, he will tend to choose that party irrespective of the concretes involved with the specific choices at hand.  In 1994, after the Republican revolution led by Newt Gingrich, there was an entire sea-change as many long-time Democrats saw the hand-writing on the wall, resigning that party to join the Republicans.  Did they change their firmly-held beliefs overnight, or did they simply change labels according to the shifting tide in favorability in party labels?  Here in Texas, I can certainly tell you that a large number of politicians who jumped from one to the other didn’t change their ideas in the least, and we witnessed newly-minted Republicans who continued to advance policies that looked precisely like those they had advanced when they were still Democrats.  It is for this reason that I think when a politicians switches party, he or she ought to immediately face the electorate to confirm their continuance in office. It’s not that I wish to punish those politicians who have a real change of heart, rare though they may be, but that I wish all the others to face up to the electorate and explain their change, and what views they’ve adapted or changed. Otherwise, it looks a good deal like being traded from the Yankees to the Dodgers, where the only determinate factor in loyalty is the matter of who is paying the wage.

Too often, our own ostensible support is hooked into those party labels without regard to what they mean or represent. In too many instances, this is because the labels have come to mean precisely nothing.  This is how we arrive at the bizarre spectacle of Jon Huntsman Jr. seeking the nomination for President as a Republican.  Huntsman’s disagreements with the Republican Party platform are so thorough and so deep that I cannot imagine how he sees himself as even remotely eligible, but the same can be said for other liberal Republicans like Chris Christie, or Colin Powell or Jeb Bush.  These are not Republicans insofar as the party’s platform would describe one, never mind conservatives, yet these are the sorts of people who seem to crop up as our national choices, and with increasing regularity and unfailing precision, we seem always to land on the most leftward candidate that conservatives can somehow contort their intellects to support.

From there, it’s a piece of cake.  The Low Information Republicans, easily pushed by media and political strategists, go into full-throated support mode, and then there is no stopping it.  At that point, there’s such gravity in favor of the candidate that nothing short of a colossal and all-consuming scandal can stop them.  In 2012, I watched people I had regarded as conservatives based on their prior positions go into defensive mode on behalf of Romney-care.  Ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing about Obama-care’s pilot program in Massachusetts to defend, particularly if you’re even vaguely conservative.  I listened to self-described “conservative Republicans” explain to the electorate with unabashed loyalty to the party, but not their purported principles that Mitt Romney’s more liberal decisions taken as governor owed only to the liberal environment in which he was operating, as though this would be some sort of assurance that once he landed in that statist Mecca that is Washington DC, he would somehow there find reformation to something approximating conservatism.  It was gob-smacking.  Worse, all through the country among Low Information Republicans, I watched as people desperate to unseat Barack Obama abandoned all reason and actually concocted some formula by which to call Romney a conservative!

Those of us who had thought Romney the worst possible choice (excepting only Huntsman) dutifully went to the polls with the singular motive to oust Barack Obama, but we were not fooled about who Mitt Romney was, and we certainly had no intention of carrying water for him.  In point of fact, many of us were on the fence as to whether we would vote for him at all.  I don’t believe there was more than one chance in one-thousand that Romney could defeat Obama, and I said so all through the long primary season during which he was consistently portrayed as the “inevitable nominee.”  The problem is that for Low Information Republicans, this “air of inevitability” became a sort of self-fulfilled prophecy to which at some point, most Republicans inevitably surrendered.  This is why we mustn’t adhere to the notion that to get somebody out of office is our most pressing objective.  If we had succeeded in pushing Obama out and getting Romney in, what would we have gained?  A slightly less-virulent big government?  Electoral success cannot commence with the self-deceptive idea that a candidate can win by default.

Ladies and gentlemen, if party labels are to have any meaning, the candidates, ideas, and policies of that party must be firmly rooted in some sort of ideological bedrock from which we will not retreat.  The dangerous phenomenon of Low Information Republicans must be demolished, not by name-calling or brow-beating, but by a real and thorough effort to educate our target audience.  So many who vote Republican cannot tell you why they do except in terms of their opposition to Democrats, and when left in the position of defending one of the liberal or so-called “moderate” Republicans, they engage with the same fervor as their Democrat counterparts who defend Obama, and from the exact same ideological vacuum.  Ideology is a dirty word to many, but ideology is merely an expression of the fundamental principles underlying one’s proposals.  If one cannot describe his or her ideology, they’re offering a blank slate onto which anything conceivable may be drawn, and it is by this method that the Republican Party has moved unmistakably leftward.

It’s our job to explain the ideology we conceive as being “conservative,” because left to others, the entire question will be abandoned, dismissed, and evaded in order to continue the process by which voters are subsumed into the party without any identifiable, rational cause.  This party-trap is fueled by people who have no actual interests in policy discussions, but are instead motivated by such faulty drivers as “popularity” or “prestige.”  They speak in riddle-like terminology about “compromise,” “moderation” and “flexibility” without explaining what these will mean in concrete policy implementation.  The more troubling part is that too many ostensibly on our side will accept it.   These are the same Republicans who cannot really explain why they dislike Sarah Palin, except in terms of leftist attacks in the popular media culture. They’re like the cheerleader section of the Republican Party.  They don’t know why they’re cheering, except that “their team” is involved so that whatever that team does, it must be good, right?  I think this business begins in High School, where no person would consider publicly supporting a rival team, or even contemplating the nearly unlimited alternatives.  One team.  One. That’s all they’ll permit themselves to see. It will be up to us to show them something different.

I realize that many of our Low Information Republicans are simply people who are too busy in their lives to take on much more, trying to keep businesses afloat, keeping the family farm alive, or merely concentrating on local politics where statism is likewise on the march, but the truth is that much of it is intellectual laziness predicated on the false hope that somewhere, somehow, some one else is fighting on their behalf.  You might be astonished at how many Low Information Republicans actually exist, and how dependent the GOP is upon their votes, but as you may have guessed, not nearly all of the people consumed with the idiocy in our popular culture are liberal, leftwing Democrat Low Information Voters, although admittedly, that number is embarrassingly high.  What I hope is that we who study the issues, make the arguments, and engage in the political discourse are willing to make our case, not merely to one another, and not only to our friends, but particularly to these Low Information Republicans because if we are to avert the rise of faulty candidates, we’ll need greater numbers of those who by sheer ideological immunization against them are no longer persuaded by superficial cheer-leading.

The elections season of 2014, and just beyond it, the next presidential cycle in 2016 are racing toward us, though with Obama in the driver’s seat, it seems torturous and slow. It’s time now to give some thought to where we have been racing, and and whether the lame horse that is the GOP can be rehabilitated, or instead should be put out to political pasture.  We won’t be able to accomplish either if we’re outnumbered by Low Information Republicans, but as we stumble around in search of a viable course of action, we’re in danger of being led into another losing effort, and it will be made with the voting support of those least aware of our current predicament. If we’re not careful, they will overwhelm us by the sheer force of their numbers. How many conservatives spent some of the last primary season scratching their heads over the absurd pronouncement of fellow Republicans?  If we’re to avert that sort of catastrophe, we must begin now, advancing our position by making our arguments and refusing to defend bad decisions and policies of the past on the basis of supporting the team.  One unmistakable message of the primary season of 2012 is that we ought not spend so much time worrying about Democrats’ legion of Low Information Voters.  We have enough of our own to keep us busy for a long, long time.

 

Hating “Extremism”

Friday, August 24th, 2012

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One of the terms that has gained favor in popular culture, particularly on the left, but increasingly in the broader political arena in America is the word “extremist.” I find this word to be a shallow, empty word, used as a bludgeon, but carrying no factual, logical impact while delivering an entirely emotionalized blow.  I’ve been called an “extremist” depending on the issue at hand, and after a while, the term loses its meaning precisely because “extremist” merely refers to a person who had been “extreme” in some facet of their actions, character, or pronouncements.  In this context, the word “extremist” tells us precisely nothing about the matter at hand, but since it’s an ugly-sounding word, it is used by leftists for its emotional impact rather than as the basis for any rational discussion.  When I see the term “extreme” or “extremist” hurled around in this fashion, it has generally been a leftist hurling it, but increasingly, I have seen conservatives begin to wield this same weapon, and what this signifies is how intellectually slothful some on the conservative side of the aisle have become in making an argument, or at the very least how thoroughly they disrespect the intellect of their audiences.  When some commentator, pundit, or writer uses the term “extremist” or “extremism,” whether from right or left, we ought to demand a fuller explanation than that which had been provided by such an empty taunt.

Rather than pulling out Merriam Webster’s dictionary in demonstration of the misuse of the term, I’d prefer that we restrain ourselves to contextual examples. Knowing that I’ve been labeled an “extremist” myself on a few occasions, it might be instructive to view the context in which such a charge has been leveled.  After all, in our culture, the term “extremist” has such negative connotations that one is immediately painted with an easel of colors that suggests a wild-eyed maniac, lurching zealously in pursuit of some particular end.  Of course, therein arises the problem, because the term tells us little or nothing about the nature of the “extremism.”  Instead, due to the negative connotations associated with this word, the presumptive impact delivered is negative, and yet there is nothing inherent in the meaning of the word to suggest a deleterious implication.

For instance, I have been told I am an “extremist” because I refuse to abandon the logically consistent position that life begins at conception, and that if men are endowed by the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God with certain unalienable rights, they must begin to arise at that moment, such that any excuse for ending that life must still ignore the rights of that individual, no matter how new and as yet, undeveloped it may be.  The assertion leveled in my direction is that by remaining inflexible to any other contextual concerns, I have become an “extremist.”  The only thing truly “extreme” about my position is that I refuse to concede the argument on the basis of situational ethics, or relativism.  My support of a right to life for all human beings is therefore branded as “extreme,” and the connotation attending that label is foisted upon me in the same manner that Timothy McVeigh was called an “extremist” without reference to what it had been about which he was extreme, or to what extremes he was willing to go in furtherance of his twisted world-view.  That’s the object being pursued in many instances in which the word “extreme” is so frequently misused: The desire to paint one’s political opponents as being raving lunatics.

I have been called a “Second Amendment Extremist,” because I can read the plain language of that amendment, and because I can see in the construction of the sentence that comprises it everything I need to know about the intentions of its authors.  I note that in that amendment, there is a dependent and independent clause, and that if I identify the two, what is plain is exactly opposite of what leftist, statist legal scholars contend.  They suggest that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is dependent on their proximity to a “well-regulated militia,” but knowing the construction and grammar of the English language, I know they are lying.  The full sentence states:

“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

There are two clauses in this sentence, and you can decide for yourself which is the dependent and the independent.  One definition of the distinction would lead you to test them each as sentences.  “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State…”  Complete sentence, or fragment?  Now try the other: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  Clearly, the second clause is independent, while the first clause is dependent on the latter.  You could, in point of fact, place any clause whatever in place of the first, and not change the meaning or impact of the second.  “Ham and cheese on rye being necessary to the fullness of one’s stomach, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Yes, this seems a preposterous remark, but notice that substituting my dependent clause about ham sandwiches does exactly nothing to the meaning or impact of the independent clause.  What we must therefore learn from this is that the author of this Amendment, and those who subsequently adopted and ratified it intended to say “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  Why put the other clause there? The intention was to demonstrate one cause relative to governance for which the government must sustain that right, but it was not intended to be the exclusive or sole reason for the amendment.  Instead, it was simply to explain one interest the federal government should recognize so that it does not infringe upon that right.

Naturally, the fact that I would rely on the actual words of the amendment, and the rules of English to recognize its essential meaning simply implies (according to leftists) that I am some sort of “extremist.”  Note, however, that I am only an “extremist” about this subject in the eyes of those who at least contemplate depriving the American people of this right. I might just as easily state that those who would consider such a disparagement of our rights as an “extremist,” and I would contend to you that they are, but I will at least offer you the respect of telling you the nature of their “extremism,” rather than relying upon that word to carry the emotional water I wish to convey.

Of course, this can be applied to many things, well away from the realm of politics.  How about human relationships?  I am certain that my wife would prefer that I remain an “extremist” with respect to my observance of my wedding vows.  I am certain that my friends and neighbors would prefer that I remain an “extremist” when it comes to my honesty in my dealings with them.  I am likewise certain that my co-workers would prefer that I maintain my extreme diligence and thoughtfulness with respect to the work I do.  Of course, if you prefer to remain in the political realm, you could take it from Barry Goldwater who famously asserted:

“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” (Sen. Barry Goldwater(R-AZ), 1964 RNC Convention)

Here’s the video, for those who weren’t yet around to witness it:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVNoClu0h9M]

The Republican Party has been running away from that statement with few exceptions since Senator Goldwater uttered it, and yet it reminds us of a central truth about the nature of our political discourse and the infamy of misusing the language in such a way.  What Goldwater said as he accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for the office of President was a thing we ought to recognize, because at the time, the Johnson Campaign was painting him with the awful and generic brush of “extremism.”  Quite obviously, the most controversial thing about Goldwater’s views at the time lied in the fact that they were perceived as controversial at all. The GOP establishment, even in those days, quickly abandoned Goldwater and left him to fight with an underfunded campaign.

My point in bringing up Goldwater, and the notion of “extremism” as a label of infamy cast about by commentators, reporters, journalists, and even ordinary people like me is that we should question its use, or more properly, its overuse.  I have become accustomed, as have most of you, to being smeared with this label of “extremism” in such repetitive fashion by leftists that is very nearly a badge of honor among actual conservatives.  I am proud to be what the press might call an “extreme conservative,” or what Mitt Romney might call “severely conservative,” or what John Boehner would simply characterize as a “knuckle-dragger.” The term “extremist” conveys no actual meaning of its own, and left in isolation, it’s impossible to judge with certainty whether the “extreme” under discussion is a bad thing or a good thing.  It’s a shoddy method by which to launch an attack with no specificity for its basis, and that should get your attention.

What I am astonished to see in this campaign season is when bloggers,  columnists, commentators, journalists, and writers ostensibly on our side resort to this sort of lazy language to attack not only our opponents, but also some of our own. “Extreme” and its derivatives are words we who cover politics should refrain from using without contextualization and definition.  It’s a dastardly attack because of its presumptively negative connotations, but absent any context, it loses its meaning. I might posit the notion that “Voters don’t like extremists,” but what information have I conveyed if I provide no context or meaning to the term?  What sort of extremists do voters not like?  Is there a sort of extremist they might like?   Having permitted the reader to define the term for his or her self, I haven’t said anything substantial, and in that case, perhaps I’m better off had I instead refrained from saying anything at all.

The Screams You Didn’t Hear

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

I refrained from posting on Friday, because while there was a rush to politicize the shooting just past midnight on Thursday in Aurora, Colorado, I frankly wanted to leave it be for a day.  Too many people in media were in too big a hurry to capitalize in some political fashion, and given the nature of the event, I must admit that I was spitting-mad.  I was mad at the culture of the left, for trying to immediately leap in to make propagandist pronouncements, and I was mad at the right for failing to see that one must choose one’s battles wisely.  The best thing for talking-heads to do on Friday was to shut the Hell up.  Most of those on the right did precisely that, but we also had the obnoxious spectacle of Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempting to advance his political position on the matter of gun control.  From the moment I heard Bloomberg’s comments, I became livid.  It had been bad enough with the episode of Brian Ross trying to tag the Tea Party with guilt by association, but hearing Bloomberg on the radio spiked my blood pressure, and I did something unusual.  I went off-clock, hopped in my car, drove to a wide-open space, and cursed all of these parasites at the top of my lungs.  Finished, I returned to work, leaving my most vicious contempt with the wind, where none will hear of it.

Having given this a day to settle in me, and having afforded the dead and their survivors the barest modicum of the respect they deserve, I am prepared to state my case:  These deaths needn’t have occurred, but it is the masterminds of the universe – characters like Mayor Bloomberg – whose preferred policies permit our people to be slaughtered by villains, defenseless in the face of mad-men.

Let me first state as a baseline of absolute clarity: One person is directly responsible for the deaths of and injuries to the victims in Aurora, Colorado. His name is James Holmes.  He plotted this cruel massacre, he planned his actions, he armed himself with vicious intent, and he carried out the slaughter.  He acted in cruel indifference to the liberties and lives of his fellow men, and for this crime, he must be tried and punished without remorse by the full fury of the instrument of Justice, wielding her sword without hesitation.  He must be removed from the face of the Earth with the deliberate action of the state in the name of the people whose rights it is sworn to protect.  Let us not discuss this part of the matter further, for there is no consolation or relief in it.  I don’t care for his particular motive, whatever twisted excuses he might concoct, or others might raise on his behalf.  He did it, and he must pay the only appropriate price.

Having covered the essentials facts relevant to the actor in this case, I now wish to deal with the generations of non-actors who demanded, through their intransigence, within their own sense of “moral” superiority, and from behind the fortress walls of the protected bubbles in which they live, that these victims be defenseless before the blazing guns of this mad-man.  I wish now to address the man who presides over the City of New York like a King, dictating that salt be stricken from the menu, that soft-drinks be limited to sixteen ounces, and that no law-abiding citizen may easily obtain a gun for his own defense.  There are many like him, and they are all equally guilty in abetting murder wherever law-abiding citizens have been deprived of the lawful ability to carry the means of their own defense.  Even in jurisdictions where concealed handgun permits are available, business owners, acting within their rights as property owners, often restrict patrons from bringing their weapons on the premises, irrespective of permits. Patrons at least have a choice as to whether they shall frequent such establishments, yielding their ability to self-defense.

What none of the political opportunists will tell you is that in every state in which concealed-carry permits are authorized, the incidence of violent crime against persons has fallen precipitously.  What none of these masterminds will tell you is that in all of the locales in which they have had their way, imposing gun control measures for their own nefarious purposes, these have become the deadliest cities in the country.  Chicago, New York, and Washington DC have among the tightest gun control regulations in the country, but they also remain at or near the top the list of violent murders by all weapons, including guns.   Once you have been armed with this knowledge, when Mayor Bloomberg addresses the media with his crass indifference to the murders committed under the shelter availed criminals by his sort of law, you should know that you are facing a man who is an accomplice, if not in the crime at hand in this case, then in others like it, numbering in the thousands, that draw little media attention because their victims number in ones and twos at a time, rather than in scores.

Do not tell me that we cannot know with certainty whether an armed citizen in the theater could have prevented some or all of this killing and maiming that visited this audience with gruesome indifference.  We do know with certainty that none were armed in defense of their own lives, and that the killer was unmolested on his way in and out of the auditorium.  What we also know, as Americans, but also as human beings in general, is that every person is entitled to defend his or her life, limb and liberty against brutal assault, but that none were able because they were faithfully abiding by rules that prohibited to them the instruments of their own possible salvation.

Make of it what you will, but every American ought to be outraged, as in instance after instance, killers seek out victims en masse, assembled for some peaceable, ordinary purpose, who are by virtue of the locale prohibited from their own defense.  To those who would argue that the killer might have succeeded anyway, given his body armor, I ask, since it appears by virtue of his booby-trapped apartment that he had a particular desire to take out cops if he were killed, why did he not launch his attack at a police station?  Why did he not attack people gathered at a practice range?  Why not?  He knew that the place he selected for attack was likely to be a weapons-free venue.  Unless there had happened to be an off-duty cop, he was likely to commit his mass murder unopposed.

The shooting at Virginia Tech was the same.  The gunman in that case struck where he could rampage unopposed, and it only ended when he decided to end it.  Major Hasan, at Fort Hood, knew full well that under ordinary circumstances, on an Army installation, despite the arms-rooms full of weaponry and bunkers full of munitions, soldiers do not walk around armed, and when on those rare occasions they train under arms, they do so without ammunition on hand.  A military base, should you penetrate its perimeter security, is a place where a shooter can rampage for some time without opposition, and Major Hasan was in the Army, so he knew this all too well.  He did not launch his attack in a restaurant off-post, where he might well be able to kill service-members, but might also encounter an armed civilian.  He knew his greatest chance of “success” in his spree of “work-place violence” would be where he would find legally disarmed victims.

More than two decades ago, when George Hennard rammed through the front of a Luby’s restaurant in Killeen, Texas, nearly within sight of the gates of the same Army post, he set in motion more than mass murder.  One of the survivors of that attack, Suzanna Gratia Hupp, whose parents were both killed in the assault, fought to see the concealed-carry law enacted.  She had a gun, but it was in her vehicle, as she did not wish to run afoul of the law, so she never carried it in her purse as she would have preferred.  Testifying in passionate words before the legislature, she explained how if only she had possessed the slightest idea that this attack was imminent, she would have risked all the sanctions of law to have her parents back.  Who would blame her?  She would have operated on the basis of the old maxim: “Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six,” but she had no idea an attack was only moments away as she walked into the restaurant.  Almost nobody ever does, except the killers.

We have seen these senseless acts of brutality enacted upon innocent people for too long to be mere bystanders caught up in the drama the media lays before us.  We have been told for generations that if we only stripped guns from law-abiding persons, or limited the types of guns, or prohibited this feature or that, our world and our lives would be safer.  It has never worked, and I don’t believe for one moment that the proponents of such laws believe it will have any effect, except perhaps to leave us defenseless against them.  Let me tell you what I do believe is their real motive:  They fear the day that we realize the treachery they’ve enacted, and that while they ride around in bullet-proof limousines that consume a gallon of gasoline in six miles because of their weight, and while they are escorted by well-armed bodyguards who are highly trained to react to any threat to their persons, and as they pontificate on the evil of guns upon which they rely to keep them safe, they have hypocritically, sanctimoniously argued that you should not be afforded the same privilege.

If you are part of the favored elite or privileged classes, whether a politician or celebrity, you will be afforded every exemption known to man, and you will be able to buy licensed private protection to care for your well-being.  If you are a single mom, on your way home from work with your children, you will have no such privilege when a hooligan smashes your window at a stoplight, sticks a gun in your face, and does unspeakable harm to you and your family.  If you are a retired school teacher, walking alone in the park, you will not have the benefit of such protection, or even the ability to defend your own person, outnumbered by multiple youthful attackers.  If you’re a young man on a date with your girlfriend at the movies, you will not be given the chance to defend her from a villain, all because the masterminds have decided you’re a bigger liability than you are an asset, by whatever twisted calculus they apply to the lives of we “lesser” men.  A father will be forbidden from wielding arms in defense of his children, because the geniuses have decided that there is an acceptable rate of loss to the inevitable mad-men who arise to commit heinous crimes against their fellow men.

Do you think the police can protect you?  On Friday night in New York, a police officer was stationed at every movie theater in the city, to give the appearance of security and to defraud the prospective movie-goers of that city into believing they would be safe.  Don’t go to the play, the musical, or the rock concert,  because all the cops are occupied elsewhere.  At this moment, the criminal element in New York is likely assessing the possibility of carrying out crimes at locations well away from movie theaters, knowing that the response times will be slower since the police are otherwise engaged.  Do you think thugs don’t watch CNN or FoxNews?  All around the country, cities are putting on a show of force at movie theaters, but that’s all it is: A show.

Ladies and gentlemen, we must no longer yield the means of our personal defense. We must not cede responsibility for our protection to the likes of Michael Bloomberg, who enjoys protection provided at taxpayers’ expense while we languish at the mercy of every would-be mass murder who would demonstrate that a “gun-free zone” is only gun-free so long as it is inhabited strictly by law-abiding citizens.  Too often, these venues are the precise targets of choice for those who would do others harm.  For once, as happened two decades ago here in Texas, the people of America should consider that rather than restricting the instrument on the basis of the preposterous notion that any one of us might lose our minds at any given moment, we ought again yield to the natural fact that none has a greater interest in or capacity for your defense than you. Not Mayor Bloomberg. Not even the most conscientious cop.  You.

Editor’s note: I realize some will take offense at my remarks above, particularly with respect to the Mushmouth of New York.  Tough.  His maniacal launching of an attack on the 2nd Amendment in the wake of this tragedy earned him all the contempt reasonable people may wish to heap upon him, and certainly much more than I have mustered here. He and his cohorts who opportunistically utilize such circumstances to advance their anti-freedom agenda are a blight on this country, and I will offer such charlatans no quarter in my assessments.

As for the people of Aurora, Colorado, particularly those who have suffered directly the grievous loss and the trauma of this nightmarish event, you have the sympathies and support of every American of good will.  When I have seen images from the scene, of first responders, health-care workers, and members of the community who have reached out to help their fellows in a time of despair, I am heartened by what are the inestimable good graces of so many fine people rendering all the aid they are able.  On this website, I often focus on the doom and gloom in which so much of our world seems to have become cloaked, but this day, in Aurora Colorado, while I see a grim tragedy, I also see reason for hope, not in some shoddy politician offering slogans, but in the actions and the fraternal love I see among the people there.  When I am asked why I am proud to be an American, it is because such people as these give light and love to our country even in its darkest hours, when it would be easier to simply turn it all off in order to avoid the horror.  I recently explained that I had been searching for America, and in the finest devotion to purpose, and in the greatest tradition of American spirit I’ve seen in a community wracked by terror, I have found her, and she is still thriving.  May those souls be at peace, and may America take their survivors into the bosom of her fullest compassion.

 

Will The Real “Prostitute” Stand Up?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Right Proposition?

Listening to the Democrats, you would think Rush Limbaugh had committed a war crime.   His use of the terms “prostitute” and “slut” that he offered as possible descriptors of leftist agitator Sandra Fluke, and for which he subsequently apologized has been the rallying cry of every lefty feminist in sight, but Democrats generally as they seek to make as many miles on this as they can.  The problem is that contrary to the shrill refrain, it’s not having quite the effect the Democrats had hoped, and what seems to be happening is that there has been a backlash against sponsors who withdrew advertising from Limbaugh’s show.  This flies in the face of all we’ve been told about this episode by the mainstream media, but it also offers a little insight as to who the American people see as the real prostitute, as the double-standard in the media has become apparent with such leftists as Bill Maher getting a pass from certain politicians and political groups.

National Organization for Women(NOW) President Terry O’Neill was asked whether she thought the Obama SuperPAC that received a million dollars from the so-called ‘comic’ Bill Maher ought to return the money on the basis of what he has said about a number of prominent conservative women, including Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.  Her answer is only surprising to those who are naive about the motives of the NOW gang.  Watch the video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCYAP3JCIEk]

Ms. O’Neill expresses a smarmy contempt for the question, noting that she wants Barack Obama elected, thus rejecting the idea that the money ought to be returned to Maher.  I would never make the mistake of telling you that O’Neill is a “prostitute” or a “slut,” but it is interesting to see how her support of women is conditional and quite obviously for sale.

This brings me to the real object of my question.  You see, while President Obama doesn’t technically control the SuperPAC that accepted Bill Maher’s million dollars, he does exercise at least theoretical moral authority.  He could urge the money be returned if he was as serious as his invoking of his own daughters in a discussion of the Fluke-Limbaugh situation implies, but that’s if you believe his feigned moral outrage.  Here you have the pinnacle of hypocrisy.  Obama waxes philosophically on the shame of what Rush Limbaugh said prospectively of Sandra Fluke, and yet he permits a SuperPAC operating in his name to accept money from a misogynist like Bill Maher?

The fact is that the things Bill Maher has said about conservative women are far worse than Rush Limbaugh’s proposed words, and honestly, if we can see media castigate Rick Santorum because Foster Freiss made his remark about “an aspirin between the knees,”  surely this President, who poses as the savior of women, and who has the President of NOW selling out the organization’s stated principles on his behalf could stand firm against misogyny.

What this demonstrates is that Barack Obama is a political prostitute, and that his principles and haughty talk about misogyny all goes out the window for a measly million dollars.  He’s just announced his price, if you ask me, and he might as well stand on a DC street corner asking for the support of lobbyists in much the same way.  Unfortunately for us, he has no need of a street corner because he has turned the Oval Office into the political brothel-of-state, where he routinely sells out all of his lofty notions about the “interests of the people” and “change” along with whatever else he’s selling on any given day.  The lobbyists had no problem finding him when it came time for the negotiations on the health-care bill, or the financial reform act.  They merely made deposits at the bank of the DNC and his favorite campaign SuperPacs, and for chump-change, he willingly put out.

Rush Limbaugh needn’t have proposed that Sandra Fluke might be a “prostitute” or a “slut.”  He really only needed to point out that the nation’s head madame is a he, and that he plies his trade at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Those who were confused shouldn’t be now, because Barack Obama has made it clear: He’s for sale, and the bidding starts at one million dollars, setting the price at which he will overlook anything, no matter how vile.