Saturday, August 6, 2016

Trump, Torture, Terrorism and Other Talk

Donald Trump, now the official candidate of the Republican Party, presents a great number of concerns when it comes to sustaining liberty and freedom for all. After such a long primary process, the two major political parties have nominated the two most candidates with the most negatives.   However, where the concerns about Hillary Clinton are more with judgement and some poor decisions made, the concerns with Trump are in the areas of Constitutional rights and even the Geneva Conventions.  

Libertarians cannot support someone who is opposed to the freedoms given to US citizens under our Constitution.  Libertarians cannot support Trump.

Here are some examples that Trump is anti-liberty.

Opposition to Freedom of the Press
When the press has said anything unfavorable to Trump, he has many times said the press is lying or corrupt.  He has called for an end to Freedom of the Press by allowing for libel suits against reporters and news organizations.  This not allowed under the First Amendment.

Trump does not want to play by the rules.  All elected and appointed officials realize that the First Amendment allows the press to say unfavorable things about any public figure.  

Opposition to Freedom of Speech
In many of his rallies, Trump points out someone with a sign opposing him, and he has the person removed, often rallying the crowd to chant something against that person.  According to CNN, Trump has also said, "There used to be consequences to protesting. There are none anymore. These people are so bad for our country, you have no idea, folks."(1)   This attitude goes against the First Amendment.

Again, Trump does not want to play by the rules.  All elected and appointed officials realize that the First Amendment allows the public to say what is on their minds, including saying things unfavorable things about any public figure, and including public protests against officials.

Opposition to Freedom of Religion
Trump at one point has called for both the closing of mosques and registering of all Muslims in the US.  The First Amendment guarantees free exercise of religion.  US citizens who are Muslims have their free exercise of religion.  Closing of places of worship or registering the religion of US citizens is against the constitution!

Trump's War on the Constitution
Trump's oppositions to the First Amendment are just one example of his war on the Constitution.  He proposes many controversial ideas including the wall along the Mexican border and the round-up and deportation of millions of the undocumented, likely without due process of law.  While Trump says he loves the Constitution, that love goes only so far as it doesn't stop him from doing whatever he wants to do.

Recently, Khizr Khan at the Democratic Convention asked Trump if he ever read the Constitution.  I doubt he has.

Trump on Torture and Terrorism
Trump's words on terrorism are most disturbing.  He would bring back waterboarding and worse. (2)  While all of his strongly oppose the barbarian cruelty and deliberate murder by terrorists, Torture is never acceptable.  Period!

Trump also wants to murder the families of terrorists. (3)   This is not only illegal, but also immoral!  When told that General Michael Hayden would refuse to follow illegal orders, Trump came back indicating that they will obey him.  Here, again, Trump is proposing to ignore the Constitution and the law.  

Other Trump Talk
Trump, at a number of times, has said things like "I'd like to punch him." and he'd like to punch a number of speakers at the Democratic Convention.  What kind of candidate advocates violence against individuals who speak critical of him?  Certainly no one who should serve in public life.

Mr. Trump:  You don't understand how we do things in this country!  This is America and we are a free people and we are free to speak, even if you don't like it.  The press have the freedom to print the news as they see it, even if you don't like it.  And American citizens have the freedom to express their religions beliefs, even if they are Muslims.  And we live by the rule of law.

If you don't want to live by our Constitution and the laws of the land, I say, Mr. Trump, get with the constitution or get out of the country!  You are not an American!!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Another Big Tuesday

Another Tuesday and five more big states to divide among the final 6 candidates for President.

Word is that at least Marco Rubio, who is unlikely to win his home state of Florida, will likely drop out.  So would John Kasich, if he looses his home state, Ohio, except that he is likely to get the all his winner-takes-all state delegates.

On the Democrat side, Sanders needs to win a few states to his victor doesn't become mathematically impossible.  While Clinton has seemed to be winning more states, the delegate count is still a race:
  • Clinton 1,223
  • Sanders 574
  • Needed for nomination:  2,383

On the Republican side, the delegate race is still very close, with Cruz not so far behind Trump:
  • Trump     458
  • Cruz       359
  • Rubio     151
  • Kasich     54
  • Needed for nomination:  1,237 
Cruz needs to win a state or two to combine with Kasich winning Ohio to keep Trump short of "inevitable."

The Ides of March will tell where the race is headed.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

You Reap What You Sow

Yesterday, a rally for Presidential candidate Donald Trump was cancelled for safety concerns after waves of demonstrators descended upon the venue.  Demonstrators were protesting various statements Trump had made regarding Mexicans, Muslims, and Black Lives Matters supporters.

Trump has been blaming the demonstrators for inciting emotions and denying him of his 1st Amendment right to speak.

However, from a Libertarian standpoint, Trump is wrong on both counts.  

On the 2nd point, everyone has a 1st Amendment right to speak.  Trump does.  The protesters do.  

Trump also has to get used to the fact that as a public figure, he will get protesters and a press that doesn't always swoon at every word that comes out of his mouth.

On the 1st point, it is Trump who has incited emotions:
  • "The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.” (interview on Fox News’ “Media Buzz,” July 5, 2015, quoted in the Washington Post, July 8, 2015)
  • "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."  (Trump campaign press release, quoted by CNN, December 8, 2015)
  • "'I'd like to punch him in the face,' Trump said, remarking that a man disrupting his rally was escorted out with a smile on his face."  (reported by CNN February 23, 2016)
  • "Knock the crap out of him, would you?" (Trump at a rally, reported by US News & World Report, March 11, 2016)
In recent rallies, a photographer was pushed to the ground when walking from the press area, various protesters were pushed and roughed up by security while being taunted while being removed from the venue, and "a reporter for the conservative website Breitbart, was grabbed by the arm and almost forced to the ground, apparently in an effort to prevent her from asking a question of the candidate." (quoted from a report by US News & World Report, March 11, 2016).

Clearly, these statements and actions foster suspicion and even hatred of protesters, as well as those groups he spoke against (Mexicans, Muslims, blacks).  And Trump cannot claim it's the protesters' fault when it is Trump who has said "I'd like to punch him in the face," and "Knock the crap out of him, would you?"

You reap what you sow!

Monday, February 29, 2016

On the Eve of Super Tuesday

On the night before the first deluge of votes and delegates, the race is pointing to Clinton and Trump to continue their leads.

On the Republican side, Trump leads significantly in delegates:
  • Trump 82  6.6%
  • Cruz 17    1.4%
  • Rubio 16   1.3%
  • Kasich 6   less than 1%
  • Carson 4  less than 1%

On the Democratic side, it's a virtual landslide:
  • Clinton   544 22.9%
  • Sanders    85  3.7%

There are no indicators out there in the polls that this pattern won't continue.  You don't need to be a pollster or statistician to predict Wednesday's headlines!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The President Shall Nominate a Replacement for Justice Scalia

No sooner had Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice  of the Supreme Court un-expectedly died, when the controversy over his replacement started.

The President wants to nominate a replacement.  A number of Republican senators and Presidential candidates say we should wait until the public votes for a new president.

Who is correct?  

Let's start with a quote from the Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 2.  Referring to the President of the United States, the second sentence of the second paragraph states "...and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Justices of the supreme Court..."

At times like these, we should follow the Constitution.  The Constitution is clear, using the auxiliary verb "shall" to indicate an obligation.  Not just a nice idea, not just a suggestion, not just maybe he should, but "shall" means it's a true obligation.

Most importantly, there's nothing in the Constitution saying that if the President only has 1 year left in his term, he should wait for the next President.  It's just not there.

So the President is obligated to submit a nominee to the Senate.  Once nominated, the Senate has its role of providing Advice and Consent.  In that role, the Senate can advise the President that he shouldn't have nominated anyone.  But, giving the obligatory nature of the auxiliary verb "shall," that would be unconstitutional advice.  Sorry, Senators!

The Senate also must provide its Consent to any nominee.  If the Senate does consent to the nominee of the President, they can vote accordingly.  And the President can try again.  And the Senate might not vote to approve the nominee.  This back and forth until the next President is sworn in.  That would at least be constitutional.

But, to follow the Constitution, the President shall nominate a replacement for Justice Scolia.  Not to do so would be unconstitutional.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Election Year in a Polarized America

Here we are in another Presidential election year.  But unlike past primaries, this year's race has a much different feel with the candidates, the issues, the tone of the speeches.  
Rejection of Establishment Politics:  On both sides, we see a rejection of the establishment parties.  It seems all the Republicans are running as outsiders, railing against Washington and the press.  We hear Donald Trump, unencumbered by anything "politically correct," saying what no Presidential candidate has ever said, reflecting the latent racism, misogamy, and fear of foreigners of his loyal followers.  And on the left, Bernie Sanders is a self-defined socialist, railing against Wall Street and capitalism in general.
No Middle Ground:  Listening to supporters on each side, there seems to be no middle, no chance that any good can come from the other side.  The right believes a Democrat in the Oval Office means they are coming for their guns, the borders will be porous allowing in all forms of criminals and terrorists, and the economy is going to hell.   The left believes a Republican will put the country in reverse, reversing a women's right to choose, disenfranchising minorities, and enacting policies that benefit the rich as the expense of the poor and middle class.
This time around, there seems to be a more urgent sense that they can't let the other side win, or it will be a disaster.
Now the primaries inherently play to the base of each party, to the hard core, if you will.  So, the questions is who will be the winners in each party?  And will it be possible for them to play to the middle, or will the general election further polarize the country?