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Republican ElephantI am only discussing it because it was brought up about a week ago.  Personally, I find it strange to talk about a brokered convention (or open convention for that matter) before the Iowa Caucuses are underway.  Let the primary and nominating process go its course first and see how we stand after candidates drop out and how the delegates are ultimately divided.  If any one candidate achieves 1,236 delegates (50% + 1), he (or she) is in like Flynn and there is nothing anyone opposed can do about it.  Second, it is not something you prepare for, per say.  If it happens it happens.  If no one candidate has that magic number 1,236 on ballot #1, delegates are released from their committed candidate and may the best man (or woman) win.  There is nothing more to it.

There is popular belief that Reince Priebus and a handful of morally upstanding Republicans, mainly the Republican establishment, want to instigate a brokered convention to get rid of Donald Trump in the event that he can achieve the delegation requirement before July 18th in Cleveland due to his inflammatory remarks against all Muslins and his little regard for the Constitution.  Granted, in 1980, the DNC at New York’s Madison Square Garden attempted to open the convention and oust President Jimmy Carter due to his brother Billy’s involvement with the Libyan government.  The difference is they did not disrupt the primary process; they waited until the convention was underway and the DNC took a roll-call vote among all the states to vote aye or nay.  The nays had it and the Carter-committed delegation prevailed.  As much as I see a Trump candidacy being a huge mistake on the part of the Republican Party, an attempt to pre-empt the primary system is a low blow to registered Republicans like myself who cherish our right to vote in primaries just as much as our right to vote in general elections.

The last Republican nominated by a brokered convention was Thomas E. Dewey in 1948.  Not only Generation X, but even late Baby Boomers like myself (a Baby Boomer by definition is anyone born between 1946 and 1965; I was born in 1962) have never seen it.  It would be an interesting political mechanism to study, as it were.  But that does not mean one should root for it.  I did not see the Holocaust either and I pray to God I never see one in my lifetime.

In addition, using a tool like a brokered convention (should it come to that) to dump Trump is an exercise in futility.  He has the financial wherewithal and he will run as a third party (pledges mean nothing to him) and he will help Hillary Clinton win by splitting the Republican vote among Trump and the establishment nominee creating the Teddy Roosevelt Bull-Moose effect. 

I pray with you that [our] party does not nominate Donald Trump.  But do let the nomination process (primaries and caucuses) run its course and see what happens.  Trump can still run as a third party independent if another Republican is nominated; but at least then he is not the people’s [party’s] first choice and he is more likely to go the way of John Anderson (1980) and H. Ross Perot (1992).  Let’s be education on how a brokered convention works, but let’s not instigate such an event; not now.

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Republican ElephantAn interesting debate emerged last Sunday on Bob Schieffer’s round table discussion the last half hour of the ever popular Face the Nation on CBS. With the entire show dedicated to the proposed air strikes against Syria in protest to President Assad’s chemical weaponry. President Obama failed to get congressional approval to use military action against Syria, backing the president into a corner due to his red line of diplomacy, as it were. With the President of the United States being commander and chief, he does have the authority to authorize a strike without congressional approval. Russian President Vladimir Putin worked out [an international] deal for Assad to surrender most of his chemical weapons, making the world safer but increasing the power of the Russian nation throughout the world. With the days of Gorbachev and Yeltsin far in our rear-view mirrors now, U.S. relations with Russia are currently on eggshells as Putin, although not eager to return to hardline Communism of the twentieth century, wants Russia to be a military superpower once again.

 

When our Founding Fathers set up the guidelines for separation of powers and the president’s power as commander in chief, it was hard-coded in our constitution that declaring war on another nation would require an act of congress, but the president as commander in chief would be able to take military action congressional approval if he deemed it necessary. It almost makes giving war power to congress superfluous. The only real difference is a formal declaration of war allows the wartime powers of the Federal Government to kick in—such as temporarily taking over airlines, railroads, and other forms of transportation, the authority to instigate rationing, and the authority to instigate a draft without congressional approval. Two big questions came up at this debate: (1) Did President Obama set a precedent where he now ask congress before imposing military action on any foreign land and (2) What is the obligation of our elected officials to override the will of the people who elected them to represent then and in what circumstances?

 

  1. I think if President Obama is to be effective for the reminder of his [final] term in office, he did burn a bridge. If there is a crisis in Iran or North Korea, he will look fickle or foolish if he makes a decision to invade or strike such places without congressional approval. And it may be a necessary evil, in which case he will do it and sacrifice himself as an effective leader of the American people within the United States to ensure freedom and democracy in this country are not jeopardized. The saving grace is he is not eligible to run for re-election in 2016 so he can minimally function until then.


    This precedent should not have a drastic affect on future Presidents of the United States. Every incoming president differs somewhat in philosophy, even if from the same political party, even if he (or she) served as vice president under the predecessor. The world changes rapidly. Besides, the necessity to instigate federal wartime powers every time there is a squabble in a foreign land is far from necessary. Up to and including World War II, we followed the advice of George Washington; maintained isolationism policies during peacetime and set up no permanent alliances. World War Ii was the last of the American wars with respected to the most rigid definition of a war versus a conflict. Following World War II were the Korean Conflict, the Viet Nam Conflict (our one mistake), and Desert Storm (Iraqi Conflict). The War on Terror after 9-11 was borderline but America survived without implementing wartime power which saved the Federal Government millions if not billions.

    With the advent of permanent alliances such as NATO, our obligation to the State of Israel established 1948, and losses of natural resources on American soil, the world economy, and the instability in many foreign lands, congress would be wiser to not be too quick to instigate formal declarations of war, but rather monitor the sitting president’s commander in chief power and act accordingly should a sitting president abuse his power.

     

  2. The second question is even more interesting. Did the Republican led House of Representatives in the ongoing war between the parties oppose Obama’s proposed strike for the sake of opposing to maintain party dominance? If that were the case, how do you explain the fact he did not get better results from the Democrat controlled Senate? For that matter, only about 6% of civilian American citizens (not holding public office) supported the president’s proposed action against Syria. All things equal, congress did what they were supposed to do—voted according to the will of their constituents who elected them. Our Founding Fathers would be proud of them—but only until the day the relationship between consensus and correctness breaks down.

    There is a reason our Founding Fathers chose the representative form of democracy, modeled a lot after the Roman Republic, even though it failed and fell to Caesar, versus establishing a national government operated like one massive New England Town Meeting. What happens when the majority favors policy that can lead to a fatal mistake? The ultimate conundrum associated with American Democracy is that (1) it must maintain its existence as the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and at the same time (2) must maintain its existence as a Democracy.

    There is no way around it: dictatorships are made of iron and democracies are made out of glass. A democracy can vote in a dictator, just as the Weimar Republic in Germany voted in Adolph Hitler who ended the Weimar and declared himself absolute Fuhrer. But for a dictatorship to become a democracy, blood has to be shed as it was when we won our independence from Great Britain in 1781. Though our Founding Fathers understood all the flaws in the Roman system, the deemed it the lesser of all evils. Therefore, our elected representatives are obligated to go with the will of the people electing them most of the time, but must be willing to take exception in certain instances and must be willing to risk not being re-elected for the sake of doing the right thing.

 

The underlying question now becomes with respect to the Syrian crisis, did we do the right thing, the wrong thing, or did we do the best thing but paid a price?

Republican ElephantWho said it?

1) “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”
A. Karl Marx
B. Adolph Hitler
C. Joseph Stalin
D. None of the above

2) “It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few…… And to replace it with shared responsibility, for shared prosperity.”
A. Lenin
B. Mussolini
C. Idi Amin
D. None of the Above

3) “(We) …..can’t just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people.”
A. Nikita Khrushev
B. Josef Goebbels
C. Boris Yeltsin
D. None of the above

4) “We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own … in order to create this common ground.”
A. Mao Tse Dung
B. Hugo Chavez
C. Kim Jong Il
D. None of the above

5) “I certainly think the free-market has failed.”
A. Karl Marx
B. Lenin
C. Molotov
D. None of the above

6) “I think it’s time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in (the) entire economy that they are being watched.”
A. Pinochet
B. Milosevic
C. Saddam Hussein
D. None of the above
Scroll down for answers

Answers
(1) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton  6/29/2004

(2) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton  5/29/2007

(3) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton   6/4/2007

(4) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton   6/4/2007

(5) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton   6/4/2007

(6) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton   9/2/2005

Want to know something scary? She may be the next president.  So refer everyone you know to this blog post.

Courtesy of a co-worker and fellow conservative.

Republican ElephantBeen following the IRS scandal?  It got me thinking, but not about what everyone else is thinking.  Sure, I know the drill.  President Obama did nothing to bring affordable health insurance to the masses as he promised.  All he did was levy fines to people who do not have any health insurance and the IRS is used as the media to collect the fine money by adding to the Federal Income Tax obligation.  Now the IRS is accused of inequitable practices where the wealthiest Americans are targeted and penalized more heavily.  And Obama is at the seat of controversy with respect to his stand on health care reform the liberal way.  But ironically, that is not the crux of this blog.

The Federal Income Tax was introduced by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913.  There was no 1040 form back then, just a form with the words INCOME TAX in red block lettering across the top and the tax was a flat rate percentage—sound familiar?  Remember 9-9-9 and the proposed 1040 post card?  Overall, Woodrow Wilson was one of our better presidents, most of his reforms were necessary at the time, and unlike FDR, his vehicle was statute law enforced by law enforcement—not creating new government agencies sovereign in their own rights resulting in higher taxes for all of us and the federal government accruing more and more debt.  But the Federal Income Tax is nonetheless, Wilson’s boondoggle.  The bill of goods sold to the American people in one-hundred years ago was that it would be a temporary tax.  Temporary?  Murphy got that one right—there is no such thing as permanent press or temporary taxes!  With the first federal income tax being flat, the temporary one, there was no need to create a bureaucracy as elaborate as the IRS.  You simply calculated 4% of your net income and sent the United States Treasury a check for that amount.  The evolution of graduated income taxes and out of control government spending on superfluous items and government agencies that proved to be either pointless of futile led to the federal government keeping the tax and our obligation to pay it but getting out of the business of collecting the aforementioned tax and creating the IRS, a bureaucracy solely dedicated to the collection of this [temporary] tax.

Alas, immortality is not a virtue if it wasn’t intended to exist in the first place!  The impracticality of abolishing the Federal Income Tax is obvious with $16T deficit.  But do we really need an agency dedicated to the sole purpose of collecting this tax?  Wow, the federal government could save billions if the IRS were closed.  With a flat tax at a percentage reasonable for all income brackets, you won’t even need form 1040.  Just set the withholding at the % rate and transfer that money directly to the United States Treasury.  The most fundamental way to cut cost or pay less for something is to eliminate the middlemen.  Without the costly overhead of operating this bureaucracy we call Internal Revenue, more tax money can be collected with taxpayers paying a lower percentage rate.  No need to make the IRS immortal.  And as far as health care reform is concerned, think about it.  If the taxpayers’ obligation is lightened, the windfall in their paychecks can be reinvested into quality, private sector health insurance.  Obama it backwards.  Instead of levying fines and increasing their obligation to taxation without representation, as it were, do the opposite!  Decrease their tax obligation, their tax burden, and health care becomes affordable.  And if we take Rick Santorum’s advice on heath care savings accounts, we are covered for job loss or inability to work.

The Internal Revenue Service: immortality is not a virtue if it wasn’t intended to exist in the first place.

I have launched The 7 Train back in November 2011 and we finally have a contributor presenting a conflicting viewpoint.  Here it is.

 

It’s time the other side had a few words.  Let [me] start with an explanation of snake oil politics.  This is a term that was coined by George Gallaway, who was once the speaker for the New Labor party in the United Kingdom.  It seems to be very applicable to politics in Washington as practiced by the conservative Republicans who behave more like a vicious cult than a group of elected officials.

Snake oil can be defined as panacea, or some kind of miraculous and quick remedy, comprised of a secret ingredient which is never divulged, of course.  Thus, along with the snake oil, you have the snake oil salesman who will say anything and oversimplify everything in order to [clinch] the sale.  Sound familiar?  It should if you’ve been following the sales pitch of Governor Romney and Paul Ryan.  They say they have a cure for everything but please don’t ask too many questions about the secret ingredient.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party, a.k.a. the Grand Old Party has been corrupted by the right wing conservatives who have made it shallow, spiteful, and brought their politics to a shameful level of infamous disregard for the welfare of the country they purport to cherish.

[My] family was very political and [my] father, known as Mr. Republican in my home town, referred to himself as a Rockefeller Republican—that is a fiscal conservative but a social liberal.  I doubt he would align himself with the Republican Party these days.  I doubt if he would recognize it as the party that he party that he was proud to represent in his political heyday.  There was nothing acrimonious in his disagreements with the policies and personalities of his political foes.

But the Grand Old Party these days with its ultra-conservative infiltration is so intent on regaining and retaining control to further espouse their narrow-minded and soundly biased views that they promise a great deal of snake oil (also defined as bull#@%!) while creating a totally vitriolic and ineffective congress where self-aggrandizement takes precedent over the welfare of the voters who have placed their trust in them.  No doubt you’ve heard the expression that it is politics as usual in Washington.  Well, [I’ve] been a voter for fifty-four years, and politics is not as usual.  To quote Clive Evans:

Democracy itself has no meaning when all parties act in the same way in office,
and when their manifestos are worthless snake-oil.

The election should be, must be, one that is taken seriously and given much thought.  It is not time to be a lazy voter and not check out the facts.  The Republicans would like you to be a political mushroom—cultivate in the dark and fed bull#@%!.