Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott ( @GovAbbott ) isn’t trying to change Texas law with last week’s Executive Order – in contrast to the claims I’ve seen on my Facebook news feed.
Instead, he called for law enforcement agencies under the executive branch to establish policies and training, and financial incentives to encourage “improving reporting channels and closing ‘information gaps’ when members of the public or law enforcement agencies worry that a person might be a threat to commit violence.“
The last three mass shootings in Texas tell us that we need to improve how our law enforcement and agencies follow current law on following up on reports and investigations.
The Sutherland Springs Church shooter in South Texas should have been rejected at point of sale background check because of his prior conviction and incarceration for domestic violence crimes while in the military. Unfortunately, he was never reported to the Federal database. (And so, Texas law probably couldn’t have made any difference.)
However, the Odessa shooter threatened and brandished a weapon at his neighbor, but local Law Enforcement Officers didn’t follow up because his house wasn’t on their GPS maps and was difficult to find!
The El Paso shooter’s mother tried to report him, but the LEO who spoke to her on the phone dismissed her concerns. No record of the call was made, according to the Allen police department.
I’m not sure that current laws would have (or should have) allowed any action against the (future) shooter by authorities, but it looks like that question and reporting procedures are what Governor Abbott wants clarified. From the Executive Order:
“”Within thirty days of this order, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall develop standardized intake questions that can be used by all Texas law-enforcement agencies to better identify whether a person calling the agency has information that should be reported to the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.
Within thirty days of this order, the Department of Public Safety shall develop clear guidance, based on the appropriate legal standard, for when and how Texas law-enforcement agencies should submit Suspicious Activity Reports.”‘
The question should be whether the “standardized questions” and reporting processes might have made a difference. Unfortunately, I’m not reading questions: I’m reading accusations that the Governor wants to impose “red flag laws” and confiscation of guns without due process of law.
The Governor previously directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to implement the “iWatch app” in June, 2018, allowing the public to report suspicious activity. There was no outcry then, and there doesn’t appear to be any “red flag” incidents because of this initiative.
Why do people think the Governor wants gun control now?
Ridiculous! It’s a plant. Which literally grows like a weed – or house plant – and doesn’t require manufacturing or processing to use. What business does government have in outlawing a plant?
Marijuana laws are in the news in Texas, once again. I hear and read plans to make money from taxes and autocratic demands to”protect” people from the plants. The same Republicans who demand legalization of the sale of raw milk and think gambling dollars should stay in the State argue against any decriminalization of marijuana.
Even if you don’t have sympathy for the thousands jailed for use while the plant is illegal, the raids on gardens, seizures of farms or the arrests of people because owners are suspected of growing illegal *plants* should make you consider the harm from draconian narcotics laws.
In fact, my trouble getting poppy seeds for the hard, back in the’90’s is what changed my mind about these laws. The Clinton Administration was arresting people for selling seeds and dried pods used in crafts:
“Somniferum is the only poppy species mentioned in the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, where it is listed as a Schedule II drug, the same as cocaine. The entire poppy plant, not just the opium that oozes from its green seedpod, is considered contraband.
“But the law specifically exempts somniferum seeds, those blue-gray dots you find on your bagel. So chew on this: Seed companies can legally sell opium-poppy seeds, but gardeners who buy those seeds break the law by planting them.
Republicans are advocates of personal responsibility and remind others about the words in the Declaration of Independence. We should know that legitimate laws are intended to protect us from the infringement of inalienable rights by third parties — and the government. Laws are not meant to protect us from ourselves.
In a liberty-minded, Republican-controlled State and Nation, there shouldn’t be any laws against growing seeds from your grandmother’s heritage poppies or your new neighbors’ marijuana plants.
Addendum: a 1992 article about poppies at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello:
“Thomas Jefferson planted white opium poppies at Monticello. They grew in the historic garden near Charlottesville, Va., until last June, when they were yanked up.
“The center even sold the seeds. Until its governing board — “which has a mania for being legal,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said — decided to press the issue.”
Watched the John Stossel “Libertarian Town Hall” from August 26th on YouTube. I believe I will “discriminate” against these two. Johnson and Weld don’t seem to understand the basic tenets of either the Libertarian Party or their former Republican Party. They have moved far to the Left and openly advocate force against anyone who works in the public
Basic Ethics: It’s not aggression ( or harmful “discrimination”) to refuse service – to refuse to act. In direct contrast to the statements made by these two, religious freedom is not restricted to “the church” or within the church worship service. Integrity requires that people practice their religion in all aspects of our lives. And, business regulation cannot legitimately be used to enslave by forcing future labor or giving the government the power to allocate private property.
Both men argued that the government may force a Christian baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Johnson repeatedly refused to answer Stossel’s question about the Muslim delivery owner being forced to sell pork. Such simple question!
Johnson tried to make a distinction between selling a cake and decorating the cake, calling the latter a matter of free speech. The point is that the right to liberty is an inalienable right which gives rise to religious and speech liberties.
In the cases that have been brought against bakers who won’t sell cakes, the cakes have been *wedding* cakes which are, indeed, decorated. Those cakes would have been the result of future labor, and made to order, not cakes already baked, waiting in a display shelf.
In order to justify Federal interference, Weld said of one program, “The proof is in the pudding.” In other words, the ends justify the means. No, in an ethical world, illicit means are illicit, even if they work.
The bottom line is that neither Gary Johnson nor Bill Weld displayed an understanding of ethics, or the rationale behind Libertarian or Republican policies.
Please read the link – or at least the entire quote I’ve pasted here – before commenting.
The immigration debate and its ability to divide the Republican Party and split the Conservative vote is not new. Here’s a commentary about the dispute in light of the 2012 Presidential election, written in 2011. (Scroll down the page to “On Immigration,” Saturday, May 21, 2011.)
Dr. Jerry Pournelle has served our Nation in many capacities (including serving in the Army during the Korean War), but he’s probably best known, to those who know his name at all, as the author of Science Fiction written from a conservative, libertarian-leaning viewpoint. I strongly recommend his essays, including this one from 2011:
“We aren’t going to deport them all, and no Congress or President will do that, nor could even if it were thought desirable. The United States is not going to erect detention camps nor will we herd people into boxcars. We can’t even get the southern border closed. Despite President Obama’s mocking speech, we have not built the security fence mandated a long time ago. We probably could get Congress to approve a moat and alligators, although there are likely more effective means. We can and should insist on closing the borders. That we can and must do. It won’t be easy or simple, but it’s going to be a lot easier than deporting 20 million illegals. Get the borders closed. We can all agree on that.
“That leaves the problem of the illegal aliens amongst us. We can and should do more to enforce employment laws; but do we really want police coming around to demand “your papers” from our gardeners and fry cooks and homemakers?”
This is not a trivial point. I advocate for the necessity of identifying illegal aliens and would prefer that the process begin in the country of origin. However, in practical terms, how would the “Maria” Dr. Pournelle describes, who was brought here as a child, “begin the process?”
Defense and security requires that we secure the border and that we identify as many who are here illegally as possible. A first step would be to better track people who enter on Visas: what are all those computers at border entry spots for?? We should also cease the fiction that our schools don’t know which families with children are undocumented. We should hold employers accountable, but be very careful about instituting new government papers and government computer lists of eligible workers.
We must determine common ground for the sake of success. As pointed out four years ago by Dr. Pournelle, errors will be used against us, with the hard cases like “Maria” will be splashed across media and social networks. Without common ground, and with emotional demands to “deport them all,” we’ll still be debating this four years from now. And our citizens – and the illegal aliens – will remain at risk from the violent and criminal, if not from the terrorist.
Okay, hunker down in the bunkers, y’all.
There is truth to be found in the multi-page soliloquies in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s opus that has won over readers in generation after generation. John Galt’s philosophy appeals to individualists and is rooted in classic liberalism that we now call libertarian or conservative.
But where Rand excelled was as an excellent observer of statism and socialism, as well as faithfully reporting the justification made by the proponents of each. Since reading Atlas Shrugged in the mid-1990’s, I’ve heard and read adults make the very claims that some of Rand’s characters make about the duty of producers and employers and the “rights” of the people who want benefits without obligations and who are willing to use the power of guilt, class warfare and greed to control both.
However, Rand’s objectivist libertarian philosophy goes too far. She was anti-religious, anti-altruist, pro-abortion and left her husband in order to live with a much younger man who was also married. In fact, her portrayals of relationships between men and women too often resemble warped rape and dominance games. Her earlier book, The Fountainhead, includes a controversial scene that Rand is said to have described as, “If it was rape, it was rape with an engraved invitation. Fifty Shades of Gray from the ’50’s?) The fact that John Galt would hide away with fellow rich, intelligent and successful elites in a remote enclave and allow the rest of society to self-destruct is selfish and impractical. (Rand herself certainly didn’t attempt to “go Galt.”)
If you want to understand today’s political debate, I believe you must read Atlas Shrugged. The beginning is online, here.
” . . . The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Since the Supreme Court affirmed (in the District of Columbia v. Heller) that the Second Amendment applies to individuals, there’s not much room in that statement for a need to justify *which* arms to keep and bear.
In fact, you have the right to your guns because of the inalienable right to life, not in spite of it. The right to defend your life is a corollary of the inalienable right to life, which is actually the right not to be killed.
“But,” someone asked me last week during an online discussion, “what about owning an AK-47, an armored tank, or even nuclear weapons?”
A gun or a tank in my neighbor’s yard is not a threat to my life, liberty or property until it’s pointed at me, by an imminent threat or in actuality.
On the other hand, nuclear materials are a real threat to the possessor and those around him, even without a trigger. Because they give off dangerous radiation and decompose (making them even more dangerous) it’s not unreasonable to regulate who may and may not possess nuclear materials, how they’ll be manufactured, stored and transported. Governments may ethically limit their possession because, like biological or chemical weapons, they’re hard to contain, much less accurately aim. They all are able to threaten people nearby, downwind and may even harm future generations.
Inalienable rights aren’t decided by government, much less personal opinion. They are negative and necessarily hierarchical. You may not enjoy a liberty that endangers the life of another, and the government can’t limit rights without prior evidence of a clear infringement of another’s rights.
(For more on rights and ethics, see “Why Ethics?“)
What “executive priorities” would you like to see implemented by Executive Order of the new Republican President, beginning January 20, 2017?
Even as a “dream,” it’s not easy to write all this. It’s easy to see the objections and possible pitfalls. I need help. I suggest not enforcing any law that can’t be justified in 2 to 3 sentences, using “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and a plain reading of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. No “penumbras,” no nuances. Make it plain and transparent enough that even Gruber’s criteria of “the stupidity of the American voters” is met.
Same 90 day deadline Obama set for his immigration fiat?
Here’s a short list:
“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Sen. Paul said in an interview with the New York Times this week. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”
via Rand Paul sounds off on voter ID: Will it help the GOP with black voters? (+video) – CSMonitor.com.
Libertarians within the Republican Party and Republicans who are called “moderate” because they aren’t social Conservatives claim that we will win over more voters and that it’s hypocritical of small-government Conservatives to use government to define or license marriage.
Radio talk show host and commentator Dennis Prager destroyed the claim that Republicans could win elections by dropping our social conservative platform planks in his recent essay :
“To respond to the first argument, it is hard to believe that most people who call themselves fiscal conservatives and vote Democrat would abandon the Democratic Party if the Republican Party embraced same-sex marriage and abortion.
“The left and its political party will always create social issues that make Republicans and conservatives look “reactionary” on social issues. Today it is same-sex marriage, the next day it is the Republican “war on women,” and tomorrow it will be ending the objective male-female designation of Americans (Children should have the right to determine their gender and not have their parents and their genitalia determine it, even at birth). Or it will be animal rights, race-based affirmative action or an environmentalist issue.”
Contrary to the claims of those libertarians, traditional marriage of one man and one woman encourages smaller, not larger, government. State marriage licenses prevent the need for a formal legal contract (and a lawyer) before marriage in order to clarify the mutual duties and rights of spouses, inheritance, and a myriad of paternity/maternity rights within intact marriages, at death, and on dissolution of the marriage. Recognizing that not all marriages result in children, the laws do recognize the State’s “compelling interest” in defending the child’s right to life, liberty and property.
While some (on the Right, as well as the Left) might favor laws making entering into a marriage as burdensome and expensive as divorce, many people would simply cohabit. When they go their separate ways – or if one dies – without a marriage license, the Courts will still determine the separation of property and child custody. At best, the new burden will be added to the old. Or, more likely, whole new layers of court rulings and State or Federal legislation would have to be added to replace current law.
There are strong historic, biologic and societal reasons behind the support for defending the Conservative definition of marriage. The new definition is not clear-cut and has very little history. However, the proponents of gay marriage are seeking not only all of the legal – government – benefits and protections afforded traditional marriage, as well as special protection from those same governments to coerce everyone with a business license into participating in their nuptials. There’s nothing “small government” about “getting the State out of the marriage.”
Just read a long list of long-winded resolutions, evidently sent out from Libertarians to their followers who are attending Republican Precinct Conventions. Here’s a bit of my response:
RESOLVED, the legitimate purpose of government is to protect the inalienable rights of individuals from infringement by others.
RESOLVED, any resolution with more than two “Whereas” clauses will be ignored by all RPT Conventions.
RESOLVED, all “resolved” clauses should be written so that they stand alone since only the “Resolved” portion of a Resolution matters and multiple “whereases” are irritating.
RESOLVED, all resolutions calling for a shorter RPT Platform shall be shorter than the Platform itself.
RESOLVED, the RPT resolutions should be in plain language rather than in pseudo-legalese.
RESOLVED, clauses directing that resolutions passed by the Precinct and County Conventions be passed to the State Convention are redundant under the rules of the RPT.
RESOLVED, the products of gardens, farms, ranches, cottage industries and manufacturing which are not transported across State lines should not be regulated more than the minimum necessary to prevent disease and the infringement of citizens’ inalienable rights.
RESOLVED, licensing of the professions and trades serves to prevent the infringement of inalienable rights of citizens.
RESOLVED, the Primary election rather than a caucus is the best way to ensure one-citizen-one-vote.
RESOLVED, the Republican Party of Texas isn’t interested in redefining marriage as anything other than the union between one man and one woman, so get over it.
Update: additional Resolutions as they come to me.
RESOLVED, laws necessarily limit our individual rights and should be minimal.
RESOLVED, gun regulations and background checks are not consistent with “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
RESOLVED, . . .
The “anti-establishment’ comments from the Right always remind me of the Left’s “don’t trust the establishment” anti-America crowd of ’60’s and ’70’s. It’s the same knee-jerk, across-the-board, ignore-loyalties, and follow-the-(anti-establishment)-leaders chant and rant heard around 1970.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written on this subject, but here goes, once again.
The Republican’s problem is that we failed to get out the Republican vote and lost what little majority we had in the House in the 2006 mid-term election and allowed the media and the Left to claim it was because of the war on terror (read former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates’ memoirs, Duty, for verification of the belief in DC). Then, conservative voters refused to vote for Republican candidates for President in 2008 and 2012. They ignored Reagan’s “80%” rule (“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.”), stayed home, claiming “purity.”
(Or, how about Sarah Palin’s observation that the Dems never talk about “DINO’s:”
“Some far-right conservatives are enamored of the term “RINO,” standing for “Republican in name only.” But is there an equivalent term “DINO,” standing for Democrat-in-name-only? No, the Party of the Donkey isn’t that politically stubborn. They just call them “Democrats.” They win with their approach — and we lose (too often) with ours.”)
The reality we have to deal with is that there is a majority of Dems in the Senate, the White House and the media. Every effort – even the valiant effort to defund Obamacare by the House and Boehner in September – is twisted into something else. Have any of the anti-incumbents said one good thing about that effort by the House and Boehner, or did they just turn on the “establishment?”
Did they support Boehner and the House Republicans when they passed the bill defunding ObamaCare? Have they corrected anyone who claimed that the House Republicans cut Veterans benefits, when in fact, they cut the increase from 5% to 4%?
The anti-incumbents are teaching the same “lessons” of 2006-2012: Republicans can’t be counted on.
There are plenty of secular reasons to oppose elective abortion.
One of the main charges (read the comments on just about any blog, news story that even touches the subject) against pro-life advocates is that we are trying to force our religious views on everyone else. We’re accused of attempting to create a theocracy and compared to – or called – the “Taliban.”
First, for those of us who are human-centric, it is a fact that on this planet, humans are the only species having this conversation, which makes us special.
For atheists and agnostics who believe that this is our only life, doesn’t that give weight to the right not to be killed?
Finally, and most importantly, there’s the ethical viewpoint put forward by the Declaration of Independence. (Ignoring the “Creator,” and “created,” of course.) The Declaration clearly states that rights are endowed on the individual rather than bestowed by the government. that might does not make right. The proper function of government and society is to protect our inalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Where might makes right to the point that the whoever has the biggest gun or can win the most votes, no one is truly safe.
Even if “We the People” decide who is human enough and who is not human enough to have the right not to be killed, there is no liberty and no pursuit of happiness.
Please let me know if you have other secular pro-life arguments.
You can comment, let the New England Journal of Medicine editors and the world know your thoughts.
Do you believe that Mr. Wallace should be able to receive life-terminating drugs from his physician? Which one of the following approaches to the broader issue do you find appropriate? Base your choice on the published literature, your own experience, and other sources of information.
To aid in your decision making, each of these approaches is defended in the following short essays by experts in the field. Given your knowledge of the patient and the points made by the experts, which option would you choose? Make your choice and offer your comments at NEJM.org.
via Physician-Assisted Suicide — NEJM.
My opinion is that poisoning Mr. Wallace, or writing the prescription so that he can attempt to intentionally commit suicide, is a direct infringement of Mr. Wallace’s inalienable right not to be killed.
The recent killings have exposed a lack of ability on the part of family, doctors, mental health professionals and the legal community to determine in advance of their crimes that the men who murdered were a danger to others.
When there was evidence of mental illness – as in the case of the Virginia State and the Colorado movie theater killers – there was no legal way to protect others from harm.
This is where our State lawmakers should focus their energies.
I’m not sure about the legal precedent – maybe it’s the “every dog gets a bite” theory. (Remember the movie, “Minority Report?” There’s still a healthy belief in free will in our society.)
Physicians are trained to evaluate the evidence not only of our treatments, but of our screening and tests. Is there a way to diagnose and treat those who are a danger to others before they hurt someone? Are our markers for who is a danger to others sensitive enough?
Then, we need to address treatment of the individuals, themselves. is there effective treatment?
The mental illness of these very few individuals doesn’t change the right of everyone around them to defend – and to prepare to defend – themselves. If there isn’t a reliable marker or treatment for the individual, is there justification for “treating” the entire population by infringing on the right guaranteed in the Second Amendment?
History in Australia, China, and other countries where limits on gun possession are strong – or in Switzerland or Israel, where a large percentage of citizens are armed – does not support the efficacy of disarming law abiding citizens as a means to make everyone safer.
Those who question the right to keep and bear arms need to read about the Founders’ purpose in ratifying the Bill of Rights in the first place and review the process for amending the Constitution. If the right of the People to defend ourselves against any aggressor has changed, there is a Constitutional means to repeal the Second Amendment.
In the meantime, deciding who does and who does not have the right to keep and bear arms is equivalent to deciding who is and who is not “the People.” I don’t believe we want to begin a movement to base any limit – any infringement – on that right, any more than we want to limit the rest of the Bill of Rights.
I’m in the middle of reading Willie Nelson’s latest book, the semi-biographic stream of consciousness, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road.
I enjoy the stories about his life and family, but I’m continually irritated by his confused comments on politics and ethics.
It really knocks me for a loop when I encounter someone like Mr. Nelson, who has obviously thought long and hard about certain issues but doesn’t seem to understand the basics of ethics or logic. Because he doesn’t know *why* some things are right and others are wrong, he ends up proving one of the homey proverbs he quotes in the book: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll end up falling for anything.
I love to hear Willie Nelson and his songs. My husband and I went to see his band play at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio last January and were very impressed by the Nelson concerts — both of them. Lukas Nelson’s band, Promise of the Real, opened for his father and sons Lukas and Mikah joined the Nelson family on the stage.
It’s tempting to reference Laura Ingraham’s book, Shut Up and Sing, along with the theory and demand behind it. Just because a person is a great singer, songwriter and guitar player, doesn’t mean he’s a great person, much less that he’s a great philosopher or thinker. It certainly shouldn’t mean that his philosophy should be given greater weight than that of other people because of his celebrity and access to the press.
The fact is that Mr. Nelson is a leader and he influences a large number of people. It’s a shame it’s not for the right reasons.
In this book, Mr. Nelson praises the Occupy Wall Street protests, says he agrees with Warren Buffet “that it just ain’t fair for people like us to have all the advantages,” and states that the Second Amendment shouldn’t apply to today’s weapons because they aren’t designed for hunting, only for killing people. His religious comments are mostly just silly ramblings.
However, the cause Mr. Nelson is best identified with – and the one for which it would be simplest to correct his logical errors – is the legalization of marijuana. He writes about his founding of the “TeaPot Party” in the book. Mr. Nelson’s reason for legalizing marijuana is simply that people want to smoke it and there are other legal substances that are worse. And he proposes a Statist’s plan as flimsy as his utilitarian ethic: “Tax it, regulate it and legalize it!” to raise money for the Government:
It’s already been proven that taxing and regulating marijuana makes more sense than sending young people to prison for smoking a God-given herb that has never proven to be fatal to anybody. Cigarettes and alcohol have killed millions, and there’s no law against them, because again, there’s a lot of money in cigarettes and alcohol. If they could realize there is just as much profit in marijuana, and they taxed and regulated it as they do cigarettes and alcohol, they could realize the same amount of profit and reduce trillions of dollars in debt.
Nelson, Willie; Friedman, Kinky (2012-11-13). Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road (p. 20). William Morrow. Kindle Edition. (accessed 12/03/2012)
It might surprise some people that I – the self-proclaimed “hot air under the right wing” – agree that marijuana shouldn’t be illegal to grow, own or use. I base my belief on a plain reading of the US Constitution. How on Earth can our Federal government outlaw a plant that literally grows like a weed and doesn’t require manufacturing or processing to use? In fact, my theory as to why the plant is illegal is because it would be hard to regulate and tax.
Or maybe not.
Back in the mid-1990’s, I attempted to grow a traditional herbal medicine garden and ran into trouble obtaining Oriental poppy seeds, Papaver somniferum. Most of the orders I placed were cancelled, so I started doing some research. I learned that the Clinton Administration was raiding gardens and arresting people for growing and sharing the seeds of heirloom plants passed down from their mothers. This was in spite of the age-old use of the plants in gardens and herbal medicine, as well as the ready availability of food grade fertile Oriental poppy seeds for cooking and baking.
The more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that the Federal government’s “War on Drugs” is not Constitutional and it’s not conservative. I agree with Mr. Nelson that this “war” is a costly abuse of government that strengthens organized crime and too many American freedoms have fallen as collateral damage. But the reason is not because people want to abuse drugs or because the Government could make money off the taxes. It’s because there’s no justification for outlawing a plant in the Constitution.
This is what happens when we the People don’t know our own Constitution and allow our Legislators to habitually pass abusive laws: the infringement of our inalienable rights.
jroger777: So if the #TeaParty fails to show up and the retirees get real excited about voting for Dewhurst then @tedcruz won’t be our next #TXSen (Twitter comment on a poll showing that people over 65 are more likely to vote for David Dewhurst)
By now, we’ve all heard that there’s a runoff race on for Texas’ U.S. Senator Republican candidate. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has received the endorsement of Governor Rick Perry, 18 of 19 Republican State Senators, and the bulk of State-Wide office holders. Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz is backed by many leaders of the “Tea Party,” especially those most interested in controlling illegal immigration. South Carolina’s Senator Jim DeMint recruited former Texas Solicitor Ted Cruz to run last year and has been campaigning with him this past weekend. We’ve seen the fanfare with Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, and Rick Santorum. A few know that Norman Adams, who masterminded the “Texas Solution” guest worker Plank in the Republican Party of Texas 2012 Platform, endorsed Cruz in the Primary.
But who are the grassroots supporters and what do they say in support of and against the candidates? One way to get an idea is to follow the race, the candidates and their “fans” on the social networking sites. The most popular are Facebook and Twitter. A cadre of supporters of both candidates post on Twitter, gathering together under the “hashtag” (see my “Primer” below) #TxSen, That’s why I’ve been putting the # in the title of most of my posts for the last month or so.
I posted about the news coverage and fallout from one conversation on Twitter back in early June, when Katrina Pierson, founder of Garland, Texas Tea Party and Grassroots Texans Network, and volunteer for Cruz, called former Marine Captain Dan Moran “a deformed disabled vet.”
That was about the time I got wrapped up in Facebook and Twitter – especially Twitter – – okay, addicted to Twitter – political social networking. I also started saving a few of the more notable Tweets sent by the Cruz crowd. (Sometimes derogatorily called “Cruzbots.” I wouldn’t do that. I call them the #CruzClan.)
Unfortunately, the conversation above is not that unusual, except that it got some press. The @DavidHDewhurst fans (voters) tend to be polite and rule followers. In contrast, the @tedcruz supporters follow a different drummer. I’ve argued politics on the Internet for nearly 20 years and have never seen the spite and name calling that comes from the #CruzClan, even when talking to atheists, pro-aborts and RonPaulers. That last statement reads like an incredible exaggeration, even to me, but just watch #TxSen or my “feed” after this blog is published.
The biggest surprise came in the form of questions indicating that some of the #CruzClan might not agree with their candidate, who says he’s pro-life and believes in laws protecting marriage as “one man and one woman,” on “social issues,” such as abortion and marriage. Here are a few examples:
KatrinaPierson: @bnuckols Social issues are not constitutional issues. What are his fiscal conservative achievements.
@bnuckols What page of the constitution is homosexuality on. I must have missed that one. #txsen #tcot
smurfdawginnc: @KatrinaPierson @bnuckols Why would the Constitution discuss a persons private sexual preference?
I had a several-day discussion about the Constitution and abortion with this Cruz supporter:
@Clint_Stutts: @bnuckols You’re still reading into the texts of the DOI and Const what isn’t there. Still have not shown they had unborn in mind #txsen
Even with a limit of 140 characters, the discussion followed the same old pattern that all such conversations do.
Wonder how popular Cruz will be with his fans in a couple of years, if he’s elected, but proves more or less Conservative – and effective in the designed-to-be-immovable-Senate than they expect him to be?
If you are reading this on your computer or phone, you have all the skills necessary to be a social networker on Twitter. Join in!
If you want to see – or “follow” – the real time conversation, you have to sign up for Twitter at Twitter.com. (Hint: Pick the shortest name you can, so you don’t eat up the 140 character limit!) If you are interested in a topic or person, enter the word or name in the search box at the top. You can save the search to return to it over and over. You may have to pick the most appropriate result, or find your specific interest as a “hashtag” – subjects that appear frequently enough to form a subheading or group of Tweets – in the list of Tweets given. “Top Conservatives on Twitter” is a good place to start, #tcot. Or #TxSen/#txsen, “Texas Senate” will allow you to follow that subject through the election.
You’ll also see a list of people who tweet about your subject. People are contacted and referred to by @TheirName. I’m @bnuckols.
Attempts to justify increasing intrusion of the Federal government into health insurance and health cost distract from the purpose of the practice of medicine, which is to treat patients.
Remember when doctors talked about “medical care” of individuals, not “health care” for populations?Remember when medicine was an “art,” not an “industry?” People aren’t machines with interchangeable parts and neither medicine nor “health care” are amenable to assembly line production, except in very rare instances.
The bottom line is that employment in the health care sector should be neither a policy goal nor a metric of success. The key policy goals should be to achieve better health outcomes and increase overall economic productivity, so that we can all live healthier and wealthier lives. Our ability to ensure access to expensive but beneficial treatment is hampered whenever health care policy is evaluated on the basis of jobs. Treating the health care system like a (wildly inefficient) jobs program conflicts directly with the goal of ensuring that all Americans have access to care at an affordable price.
Liberty depends on each of us keeping our word, following the rule of law, and honoring contracts. When men and women will not honor their promises or keep their word, the law must enforce contracts. At least nominally, this is a basic tenent of libertarians and conservatives.
A very few men and women who are supporters of Ron Paul believe that they know better than the millions who voted in their State Republican Primary and they are suing in Federal Court for the “right” to nullify the votes of people who voted in the Republican Party Primaries. This lawsuit is about members of a voluntary association, the Republican Party, who don’t want to follow the rules in existence when they campaigned to be delegates by voting in the first ballot for the person chosen at their State Primaries.
“In a revolt against Romney, at least 40 more national convention delegates asked to join 123 previous plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Republican National Committee, and their attorney said hundreds more may soon follow suit.
“The first 123 delegates, all from the 9th Circuit, sued the RNC, its Chairman Rince Priebus, and every state party chairman in the 9th Circuit in Federal Court on Monday, demanding the right to vote for the candidate of their choice on every ballot at the Republican National Convention, including the first.
“The delegates claim the party violated federal law by forcing them to sign loyalty affidavits, under threat of perjury, to vote for Mitt Romney, though he is not yet the official nominee.
The Republican Party has rules. ‘The people who went to the Primaries to vote thought they were voting for their candidate to be placed on the Republican ballot in November. Expecting people who join our Party to follow those rules is not “intimidation” or “disenfranchisement.” The people who are now suing to change the rules volunteered to join a political party when there were other parties available and no party affiliation is mandatory.
These people actually believe that they know better than the voters in their State’s Republican Primary. Since they are so much wiser than the voters, they want to become their own elite power to trump what they believe is another elite. The honest and honorable thing is to follow the votes in the Primaries. It’s ridiculous to believe that they would sign pledges or contracts and decide to break these contracts, yet be honorable or trustworthy enough to override the election results in their States.
The Constitution (Article 1, amended by the 12th Amendment) is clear about the national election of the President and the Vice President. However, Party delegates are not covered in the Constitution, nor are the Parties themselves. At the least, the contract put in place by State Party rules should be followed. At the most, this is definitely a case of State’s rights that is not covered by the Constitution.
In Texas, our State law imposes some rules and the rest come from our delegates to the RPT convention. Before the candidates stood for nomination at our Congressional District meetings last week, the rules for and requirements of delegates and alternates were read. Anyone who didn’t want to follow our RPT rules shouldn’t have run.
This lawsuit probably won’t extend to Iowa, since the Ron Paul delegates are happy with the outcome in that State. Last January, I represented Governor Rick Perry at one precinct caucus in Des Moines and heard the chair of that caucus explain how the National Delegates would be chosen. Nevertheless, after the Caucus voted overwhelmingly for Santorum, the precinct participants then voted to send the two men who spoke for Romney and Paul to their County Conventions. In effect,whether they knew it or not, they actually voted for Paul and Romney, since those delegates later voted to send Paulers to the State Convention. Of the 28 Iowa delegates going to the National Convention, 23 are aligned with Paul. That’s the rules in Iowa and it’s the responsibility of the voters to know.
Irregularities at the State Conventions are completely separate from the requirement to agree to follow the will of the Primary voters. The news reports from Louisiana seem to be one place that a lawsuit to correct high handedness at the State Convention would be appropriate. If the plaintiffs in the 9th Circuit Court lawsuit can prove their other allegations of ballot stuffing and intimidation at Conventions, then perhaps they have a case there. But two wrongs don’t make a right and they don’t have the right to unilaterally invalidate a contract that they knowingly signed.
Check out the ongoing comments on my post at TexasGOPVote.org, if you’ve wondered about the philosophy of the Ron Paul supporters who are trying to win control of the Republican Party. They reaffirm my conclusion after years of flirting with (capital L)ibertarian philosophy: the Libertarian Party is not compatible with conservatism. Conservatism advocates small government, with a few rules, while utilitarianism, and especially objectivism, celebrate license rather than liberty and all too often de-volve into nihilism.
I can sympathize with the proponents of Libertarianism, having spent years participating on the Libertarians for Life list-serve in the ’90’s and early 2000’s. I even tried out to justify “Christian Libertarianism,” which I’ve concluded is an oxymoron. (Check out the blog, Vox Popoli, which, unlike most Libertarian groups, supports traditional marriage.)
The comments at TexasGOPVote.org by one man on marriage were probably the most enlightening:
If two men or women want to get into a contract we see as morally wrong, who are you or me to tell them no?? They don’t have to accept our definition of marriage, and we don’t have to accept their definition of marriage, but neither one of us have the right to use government force to make the other accept our values. That would be Statism. Additionally, faith is a gift, and not all are blessed with it. You, nor I have the right to claim we know that which is unknowable. We can speculate, and we can have faith, but we cannot judge others who may have different beliefs.
These aren’t the first time we’ve heard/read/countered these arguments. Remember the calls for “open marriage” and “do your own thing” in the ’60’s? Demands for restructuring marriage and the family are pervasive in virtually every historic “revolution” EXCEPT the American Revolution, which was based on Judeo-Christian principles: from the enclave that gave us the Enlightenment, to the French Revolution, to the Soviet Revolution and the various social experiments of the 20th Century.
I’m working on a couple of blog posts concerning the controversies that occurred at the 2012 Republican Party of Texas held in Fort Worth last week, but thought I’d report on the oddest event of the week, which happened during the last few minutes of the Convention.
All week a small group of young men and women who claimed to represent college and high school students testified in several subcommittees (including the one I served on, the “Family, Life, and Health” subcommittee) and then at the full Rules and Platform Committees.
For the most part, the group members were super-serious and neatly dressed in suits and skirts or dresses. They all used very much the same language, telling us that we shouldn’t run off all the young people with our platform. They testified that college-aged voters have ‘moved on” and that we were dividing the party by making statements about life, marriage and homosexuality. They also were part of the group that wanted to record videos of all meetings and persuaded the Rules and Platform Committees to allow video and audio recording of our meetings. (I voted for this change, since so many people have the equipment on their phones and we wouldn’t refuse the local TV station if they asked to video tape us for the news.)
One young man, Ian Quisenberry, who calls himself “the Cynical One” on Facebook, appeared to be learning to wear his green suit and to translate his debate club experience to action in the real world. The 18 year-old, soon to be 19 year-old, red-headed delegate testified to the Family, Life and Health Sub-Committee and then to the larger Platform Committee on Wednesday. When encouraged by the Chairman of the Platform Committee and commended for his talent in speaking, Ian explained that he was a new high school graduate, about to turn 19, and heading for college.
During the last few minutes of the very last General Session, Ian twice attempted to get the attention of the Chair, Steve Munisteri by approaching the microphone and hitting the light switch indicating that he had an “interrupting action,” under Robert’s Rules of order. Each time Ian stood at one of the microphones asking to make a motion, Steve explained that there were no motions that would be appropriate, but allowed him to speak the second time.
The boy introduced himself by name and then said, “I’d like to motion for ‘We are legion, expect us,'” before turning to leave the Arena. You can watch the video, here. Ian’s statement is at about 14 minutes in.
That quote is a slogan used by anarchists, most notably the Anonymous group that “hacks” into the websites of its supposed enemies.
Now, I don’t know why these people didn’t spend their time at the Libertarian Convention, held nearby this weekend.They should know that we Republicans are conservatives and we respect laws and facts. We understand that the “egg” ceases to exist when fertilized, just as the sperm does. What exists then is an embryo, an organized organism. We know that “marriage” can’t be redefined for a political fad or social “eugenics.” We grow weary of their implication that the young are are better prepared to lead than the older, wiser, and more experienced. We certainly don’t want a tent big enough to include same sex unions or redefined marriage.
But how disturbing is it that an 18 year old boy would identify with a group whose symbol is an empty suit and whose motto came from the story of demons that committed suicide after Jesus cast them into pigs?
28And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes,e two demon-possessedf men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Many of us suspected that they were Ron Paul supporters, but it appears that at least one identifies with anarchists.
God, Constitution, Government out of the way. Can we unite or do we divide over degrees of commitment to these? What are you going to do to rebuild this nation based on God, Constitution and getting the Government out of our lives?
God includes the unalienable rights endowed on us by our Creator.
Constitution includes the current document as it was written and amended, and subject to amendment by its own rules.
Get the Government of the way of ordinary day to day life, out of the way of worshipping our God, out of the way of following the Constitution and forming better local governments. out of the way of building a business and out of the way of taking care of neighbors and educating our kids.
Now, think it out here at the board.
Paging Libertarian Ron Paul: What do you think. Is this a major step? The Obama Admin plans to let people apply for mini-amnesty from this side of the border.
This waiver won’t fit all 11 million (typo in the article says 11.2 total), but 24,000 made this sort of application from their home country last year. Any bets on how quickly fraud will rear up on this scheme?
Current law mandates that illegal immigrants applying for legal status must return to their home country to do so. Once there, they are barred from re-entering the United States for either three or 10 years, depending on the length of their unauthorized stay.
But immigrants can apply for a waiver that allows them re-entry during the process if they can prove that their separation is causing extreme hardship for spouses or parents who are U.S. citizens. The new proposal would allow the applicant to apply for the waiver before leaving the country; if granted, the applicant could return to the U.S. during the visa application process.
via Immigration Proposal Not Seen as Major Step — Immigration | The Texas Tribune.
BTW, read the odd comments about “nuts with machine guts.”
There’s no conflict between the three legs of Reagan Conservatism, in spite of the confusion surrounding contraception and homosexual “rights” we witnessed during the New Hampshire debates. Social issues such as the right to life and traditional marriage are equally compatible with small government and States’ rights as National security and fiscal responsibility, just as the Declaration of Independence is compatible with the10th Amendment to the US Constitution. Conservatives agree that the best government governs least, but we don’t forget that there is a proper role for even the Federal government.
After all, the Constitution is based on the existence of inalienable rights endowed by our Creator as outlined in the Declaration of Independence: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Preamble to the Bill of Rights explains the States’ desire to ensure Constitutional limits on the Federal Government, using the least force and intervention possible to prevent or punish the infringement of our inalienable rights.
Liberals and Libertarians accuse Conservatives who advocate for social issues and national security of abandoning both the Constitution and the ideal of a small Federal government that is as “inconsequential in our lives as possible.” There are even some in the Tea Party willing to sacrifice these issues in order to form a coalition with the Libertarians to cut spending and lower taxes.
Unfortunately, the Left, Right and middle all manage to stir up not only the divide between Libertarians and Conservatives. They would also exaggerate conflict between socially conservative Catholics and Evangelicals who agree on the definition of marriage and that life begins at conception, but disagree on whether or not true contraception is ethical.
Abortion, medicine and research which result in the destruction of embryos or fetuses infringe on the right to life by causing the death of a human being. (See “Why Ethics.”) In contrast, true contraception prevents conception without endangering any human life. Therefore, unlike abortion, it does not infringe the right to life.
Marriage as a public institution is not merely a means to insurance and legal benefits. The definition of marriage predates the Constitution and goes far beyond culture, religion or National boundaries. Marriage affects the stability of the family and the well-being of both children and the husband and wife. (There’s strong research supporting the latter.) We define and defend traditional marriage in order to secure liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
These same inalienable rights are the justification for establishing National borders, protecting National security, and punishing those who break the law, while opposing high taxes and big Government bureaucracy and regulation that serves to not only redistribute wealth, but creates a dependency on more and bigger Government intervention.
Conservatives like Governor Rick Perry have been just as vocal in opposing the attacks on religious freedom and conscience by the Obama Administration as we have been in opposing increased taxes and regulations and the EPA’s over-reaching. We can stand secure in our understanding that the Conservative, Constitutional and proper use of government is to prevent and punish infringement of inalienable rights.
(Edit 11 AM 1/10/12 “Reagan” added to the first sentence. 04/09/14 – fixed a broken link. BBN)
I decided in ‘08 that Paul was more dangerous than Clinton. Paul refuses to acknowledge that jet planes and missiles make the world a different place than the one that George Washington knew. I agree with Mr. Barber’s latest essay on TownHall.com and laughed at his description of “Uncle Ronny:”
“He’s that affable – if not a little “zany” – uncle who has the whole family on edge at Thanksgiving. “Oh boy; what’s Uncle Ronny gonna say next?”
“Still, you wouldn’t give Uncle Ronny the carving knife for the turkey, much less less the keys to the Oval Office.”
Ron Paul is not a Conservative. He has run as – and is, still – a (Capital L)ibertarian, with skewed ideas about the world based on tunnel vision. By claiming that he is only following the intent of the Constitution, he seems unaware that the Founders did not have to contend with international travel or laws permitting abortion due to Supreme Court rulings that have the effect of a Constitutional Amendment.
Although he has a great personal testimony about the sanctity of life and did finally vote to ban partial birth abortion, for years he refused to vote against Federal limits on abortion as performed in military hospitals or when minors are transported across State lines without their parents consent. And it seems that he doesn’t understand that defense is so much better when you can take it to the aggressor’s back yard and keep him as far away from our home as possible.
I’m hoping that, beginning with the Iowa Caucus, voters will remember that Governor Rick Perry has always been consistent about securing our Borders, defending our Nation from external attack, and protecting the most defenseless among us.