Gone for a while but now we are back.
The Idaho State GOP Convention was convened in Sandpoint, Idaho from Thursday 12 June 08 through Saturday 14 June 08. Bonner County Republican Central Committee Chairman, Cornel Rasor, worked tirelessly with Convention Co-Chairs, Senator Shawn Keough and Dover Committeeman Verna Brady along with the best GOP volunteers in the gem state to produce a near flawless 2008 State Republican Convention.
Many factions came together at the Bonner County Fairgrounds to produce a pretty good platform, voted in most of the incumbent officers, added former State Controller, Keith Johnson, as Treasurer; and in a close vote named Blake Hall as National Committeeman.
To ward off a challenge to the State Chairmanship by former State Senator Rod Beck a broad based coalition supported former D1 Congressional Candidate Norm Semanko for the leadership role. Norm was voted in as Chairman, Idaho GOP late on Saturday afternoon.
Outgoing 2-time Chairman, Dr. J. Kirk Sullivan offered his congratulations and some advice: "Get Up Early, Stay Up Late, and Work Hard". The new Chairman is faced with many challenges, not the least of which is that at least two anonymous legislators are calling for the Governor to punish those who engineered Semanko's victory.
Now we will find out if the Idaho GOP is a party of Unity working to elect Republicans in 2008 or if we are a party of factions trying to outmaneuver, punish, and control one another.
There is much at stake not just this summer and fall but think about who is up for election in 2 years. Republicans are keeping track of uniters and dividers and expect leadership to truly come together behind all of our Republican candidates in 2008.
Cornel Rasor for Bonner County Commissioner.
Sounds like a plan. We went to our first forum in Blanchard on April 25th and it was successful! People out in the rural areas of Bonner County understand freedom and personal responsibility very well. I explained the direction I would take county politics and it was very well received. Folks are tired of business as usual. Big budgets and little in the way of freedoms. We are told how we can build, when we can build, what we can build and whether or not we can do it on our own land. We pay our share and much more for nothing but another layer of bureaucracy that offers little to nothing in the way of protections. The people of the county are waking up. Hard times are coming and county government needs to shrink. (So does the state and the Fed but as a commissioner I will only be able to effect change at the county level). Next stop - Blue Lake Forum at the Blue Lake Grange Hall - 9541 Eastside Road - Priest Lake.
"Ex-Libertarian Ron Paul." This is often the caveat the MSM carefully places into any text about the next president. As though it will turn people away. Americans are finding out about Dr. Paul in multitudes and they like what they see. Ron Paul ALWAYS has been elected as a republican. During the 1988 presidential campaign he changed parties expressly to be able to run. When he resumed his House seat, it was, as always a Republican. It is ironic that the Idaho Republican Platform is almost completely ignored by elected Republicans. Not so Dr. Paul. Let's evaluate several platform planks and see how he stacks up against what should be a Republican Litmus Test. After all, we designed the platform!
Taxation: We do not support additional federal taxation. The problem is not lack of revenue - rather, it is excessive expenditures. We urge our Republican federal officeholders to work to reduce federal expenditures, control federal expansion, and limit the size and scope of government. We will spare no lawful effort to retain an all-Republican congressional delegation.
Ron Paul clearly has these ideals.
"Working Americans like lower taxes. So do I. Lower taxes benefit all of us, creating jobs and allowing us to make more decisions for ourselves about our lives. Whether a tax cut reduces a single mother’s payroll taxes by $40 a month or allows a business owner to save thousands in capital gains taxes and hire more employees, that tax cut is a good thing. Lower taxes allow more spending, saving, and investing which helps the economy — that means all of us. Real conservatives have always supported low taxes and low spending."
Again, Dr. Paul:
"The federal government does not own our children. Yet we act as if it does by letting it decide when, how, and what our children will learn. We have turned their futures over to lobbyists and bureaucrats. I support giving educational control back to parents, who know their children better than any politician in D.C. ever will. The federal government has no constitutional authority to fund or control schools. I want to abolish the unconstitutional, wasteful Department of Education and return its functions to the states. By removing the federal subsidies that inflate costs, schools can be funded by local taxes, and parents and teachers can directly decide how best to allocate the resources."
"We must stop special interests from violating property rights and literally driving families from their homes, farms and ranches. Today, we face a new threat of widespread eminent domain actions as a result of powerful interests who want to build a NAFTA superhighway through the United States from Mexico to Canada. We also face another danger in regulatory takings: Through excess regulation, governments deprive property owners of significant value and use of their properties — all without paying “just compensation. Property rights are the foundation of all rights in a free society. Without the right to own a printing press, for example, freedom of the press becomes meaningless. The next president must get federal agencies out of these schemes to deny property owners their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property."
I could continue down the platform but be it understood that the current Republican Platform is a pretty good platform and where it is constitutional (most of it is!), Dr. Paul is in agreement. Why wouldn't real Republicans vote for this real Republican? There are only a few reasons.
Ron Paul is the only answer nationally to the plague of a bloated federal government.
Well, with November 5th and the $4.5 million haul history, even the MSM will have to re-think the Ron Paul presidential candidacy. Watch for barbs and zingers in every report though. "The Republican with the Libertarian bent." "The man who wants to get rid of the CIA". These and other partially true statements as well as patently false statements will be the best we can expect from a government/media complex that is terrified of a Ron Paul presidency. He wins a poll and the MSM says his followers “hacked” the site. He explains that US foreign policy was part of the reason that 9/11 happened and the MSM avers that he says America caused 9/11. Notwithstanding that the 9/11 Commission report documented the fact, innuendo and partial truths will have their way. Dr. Paul is a gentleman though and we will not see him lash out at the media. Rather he will continue to spread the freedom message and people will continue to be intrigued by it and indeed to join him in the attempt to return this country to a limited government constitutional republic like it was intended to be. Yes he hopes to get rid of the IRS but in order to do this; he carefully explains that American attitudes and expectations about nanny-state government will have to change. He knows that the president cannot willy-nilly get rid of the alphabet agencies that exist primarily to suck taxpayers dry and control their every action. Congress will have to get in the act. In fact, a Ron Paul presidency will return the Presidential power to its constitutionally mandated level. No more imperial robes. The executive is just that, one who executes the laws others create. No more presidential signing statements with their attempt to circumvent the law. Here is a list of the constitutionally granted powers of the president:
· Execute federal laws.
· Serve as commander in chief of the armed forces.
· Commission U.S. military officers.
· Conduct foreign affairs
· Grant reprieves and pardons to federal offenders.
· Veto bills.
· Convene and/or adjourn sessions of Congress under extraordinary circumstances.
· Make treaties (subject to Senate confirmation).
· Temporarily fill vacancies that may occur during the recess of the Senate.
· Appoint Supreme Court justices and other federal judges (subject to Senate confirmation).
· Appoint cabinet-level officers (subject to Senate confirmation).
· Report to Congress on the state of the nation.
· Recommend measures for Congress to consider.
Boys and girls, that’s it! No power to start a war, none to legitimize fast track trade with nations. Nothing there about securing prosperity and partnerships with other nations by ending national sovereignty. Imagine a president that actually takes his oath of office seriously. That would be Ron Paul
"Considering that Congress alone is constitutionally invested with the power of changing our condition from peace to war, I have thought it my duty to await their authority for using force in any degree which could be avoided." (Thomas Jefferson - Message to Congress, 1805.)"The President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States. . . . It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and Admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war and the raising and regulating of fleets and armies, -- all of which by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature." Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist, 69, 1788.)
“The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature . . . the executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war." (James Madison 1793.)
 He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.... (US Constitution Article II, Section 2)
Who is this man Ron Paul? I haven't been this excited about a politician since, well since I got started in political circles. Think about someone who
REGULARLY returns unused congressional funds to the treasury.
A Ron Paul Presidency will
Sounds like the Republican Platform. Why wouldn't real Republicans be for Dr. Paul? Well I think they will be for him if they can discover who he is. You cannot depend on the MSM for information on this man. Visit his website
What does it mean to be a Republican? Is it different than say being a Democrat? Are there principles that make Republicans different than other political parties? Or, do Republicans make their decisions about political direction by looking into their heart of hearts as one said in a recent meeting and then deciding what is right to do? Are there a set of principles that make being a Republican, an understandable and definable thing? Are these principles, solid or are they pliable? How do you know for example, when a decision is made, that it was a Republican decision as opposed to say, a Democrat decision? Should we as Republicans be able to hold our elected officials accountable to a set of principles that we can agree are those principles which should guide government? Or, do we just delve into that “heart of hearts” and hope we make the best decision?
These are concepts that are being debated all over our country today, and the only hope we have here is to add to that debate possibly some ideas that might help clarify it for ourselves and maybe even others.
The Republican platform adopted in June of 2004 states in its preamble, "We believe government must practice fiscal responsibility; and that taxpayers shall allow the government only the money necessary to provide appropriate functions." It was pointed out that the word "appropriate", has a different meaning to different people. And since it means different things to different people, different elected officials may, by consulting their own "heart of hearts", legislate from their conscience. Is this acceptable? Or are there, universally accepted concepts that tell us what government is and what it is not? Should our elected officials work from these concepts rather than from that largely untrustworthy, "heart of hearts"?
It has been pointed out that people define the concepts of governmental responsibilities differently. It is because of this very problem that our founders decided our nation would be one that would be ruled by law. Therefore, they codified the universally accepted ideas of limited government. That codification became our Constitution. When they formed the Constitution, they of course used a philosophy that they had come to through their reading of history, and observations of the failings of previous governments in civilizations antecedent to them. It is instructive to remember that their philosophy is what produced the Constitution. That same philosophy resulted in the early state constitutions. It also under girded the decisions that were made by the legislatures of the federal and state governments for decades after. We would do well to remember that the decision to limit government was not arrived at lightly. Today we violate those concepts, willy-nilly under the impression that we are doing some good to some people. The simple fact is that the decision to limit government was a wise one, because men are not God. Therefore, most day to day decisions were left to individuals in contractual arrangements, in civil arrangements, and in financial arrangements.
When the person mentioned above described reaching into their "heart of hearts" to decide what was "appropriate", someone else noted that just below that statement about appropriate functions, the preamble described what appropriate was. Here's what it said. "We believe the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations, and that the best government is that which governs least." Now we have to define "critical"!
Let's go ahead and define a couple of words. "Appropriate"- especially suitable or compatible. Synonym- fitting. Let's define fitting- 1 a : to be suitable for or to : harmonize with b archaic : to be seemly or proper for <it fits us then to be as provident as fear may teach us -- Shakespeare>
2 a : to conform correctly to the shape or size of <it doesn't fit me anymore> b (1) : to insert or adjust until correctly in place <fit the mechanism into the box> (2) : to make or adjust to the right shape and size <fitting the jacket to the customer>
Just what are we trying to fit? Are we trying to fit our conscience? Or, are we trying to fit a government that is fiscally responsible and limited? It appears that the idea put forth is that appropriate functions are those that harmonize with the idea of a fiscally responsive and limited government.
When people of good conscience differ it is necessary to repair to a set of codified instructions that will prevent them from embarking on a path that will result in violating the principles of government laid down in that codification. Thomas Jefferson, after further noting that the Constitution had "fixed the limits" of political power, concluded, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." He advocated the idea that the fixed powers written out on paper were the limits of political aspirations. In the same way, we as Republicans have a document not so revered but valid for our forays into governmental action. We should either take our platform seriously or chuck it and move on. Either it has validity or it does not. For example, the first two sentences of item I of the platform state:
The Republican Party recognizes that the government is financed only from taxing its citizens. We believe the size and cost of government, as well as the national debt, must be reduced.
What does “reduced” mean. Does it mean “to diminish in size, amount, extent, or number” as Webster’s says? Or does it mean that we work up a budget massively larger than last years, cut some of the increases and call it a reduction? It is clear since the platform was adopted in 2004 that the intention of the document was to encourage the government of 2005 to be smaller than the one of 2004. Where in the country has that happened?
We, in the United States, live under the rule of the largest civil government, measured in budgetary terms, in history. Federal spending alone in fiscal year 2006 was over $2.7 trillion, which means the federal government spent $7.4 billion a day or $5.1 million in every minute of the year. This is 815 times the level of federal spending in 1930. The Idaho budget general fund is way over 2 billion and has increased at an even greater rate than the total budget every year. From just over 1.3 billion in 1998 to 2.2 billion in 2005 is an increase of over 69%. Our county budget has gone from 5.3 million in 1983 to 42 million in 2007. The figures are published by the government so I am not making them up. Private sector salaries in Bonner County have increased about 100% since 1983 but the County budget has increased almost 700% while the population in the county grew 54% in the same time. The government grew thirteen times as much as the population! This does not seem to fit the definition of “reduced”. Can we at least agree that a “reduction” has not happened and is not happening? What should we do in light of this? There has been little action holding elected Republicans to this responsibility at any level of government. How about demanding that the size of government as measured by dollars and cents be less than the previous year? That’s what the platform says. So the county budget in 2008 should be say, 40 million (just two million down from 2007) the state budget should be 2.85 billion (down only 150 million!) and the federal horror should shrink to 2 trillion again. More “reductions” next year! We can’t do it all at once. Suggest this to your legislators and listen to them howl! One of their favorite comments is some variation of “we will have to cut some important projects from funding…”. Most of the projects in question are not government responsibilities at all in light of the Republican Platform statement in the preamble “We believe the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations and that the best government is that which governs least.” And yet they trot out the caveat as though it answers the questions.
While this does not give a complete definition of a Republican it at least shows that very, very few legislators exist today that are Republicans in practice which is the only kind of Republican that matters.
What stops people from spending too much of their hard earned money? Most of the time it is simply the fact that they will not be able to pay for their real needs if they don't reign in. What stops Congress from spending your hard earned money? In a word - nothing!
Congress actually has a limit on their spending. It is contained in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. The founders placed limits on each branch of government. Those limits included spending limits. In fact, in the Federalist Papers, James Madison referred to what might happen if Congress did not obey the limits imposed on spending:
"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress.... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America." - James Madison.
The constitution in its general provisions and in the 9th and 10th amendments specifically interdicted Congress from the kind of spending that routinely goes on today. But they ignore the constitution and the people sleep. What can be done?
Recently a bill was introduced that would cut Congressional pay for any year in which Congress runs a deficit, excluding money borrowed to fund foreign conflicts. If the Congress runs a deficit for any reason other than funding war, they get a pay cut. The bill is H.R. 500. Call, e-mail, fax or write your congressman to co-sponsor this bill. At the present writing, it has 9 Co-sponsors.
Is anybody paying attention to the Ethanol debacle? Simple physics coupled with some basic economics precludes this ridiculous new interference in the market by government.
It takes 1.5 gallons of ethanol (76,000 BTUs) to equal 1 gallon of gasoline (115,000 BTUs).
Current use of gas in the US is about 140 billion gallons. Government wants 20% of the fuel supply to be ethanol. This comes to 28 billion gallons of gas, or 42 billion gallons of ethanol since it takes 1.5 gallons of ethanol to equal 1 gallon of gas. Good farm land produces about 150 bushels of corn per acre with each bushel producing about 2.5 gallons of ethanol. So, at 150 bushels x 2.5 gallons per bushel yields 375 gallons per acre. Divide the needed 42 billion gallons by 375 gallons per acre and we have 112 million acres. About 330 million acres of the US is arable and corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton use up about 225 million acres. Corn occupies about 78 million acres and parks, golf courses and other public places occupy much of the remainder not to mention fruits, and other vegetables. Where is the extra 96 million acres going to come from? Don’t forget that by 2017 mandated ethanol usage will require 120 million acres. Adding insult to very real injury, the government subsidy for ethanol production is 51 cents per gallon and costs the taxpayers just shy of 23 billion per year. Now you know why so many are rushing to the trough for this subsidy. Then there is the very real probability that the production of ethanol uses more energy than it makes resulting in an energy deficit.
It behooves us to ask the same old questions that have always been asked: who benefits and who loses. Companies like Archer Daniels Midland, one of the companies who will be paid to blend the ethanol with gas come to mind. And they donated about 7.7 million to politicians in ethanol states. The losers – the taxpayers as always.
Every day in the halls of power, violations of the rule of law occur. Some are conspicuous such as when a Senator is indicted for influence peddling but some are much more sinister. They chip away at the protections erected by the founders bit by bit in such a way that the people are not alarmed by their seeming insignificance. Case in point:
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the EPA must justify its reasons for not regulating greenhouse gases. Now, this sounds important to the environmentalist. Surely this regulatory agency should explain why it is not controlling the “runaway” emissions of greenhouse gasses plunging our planet into a horrifying hell of heat death.
Now, the fact is, ignoring the issue of whether greenhouse gasses should be regulated, the EPA has no business creating regulations at all. That responsibility was given only to Congress without the option of delegating it. If the Supremes were unhappy with the lack of regulation, the issue should have been sent back to Congress for remedy. Neither the Court, nor the President has the power to legislate, that is, to create law. This “check” is routinely ignored today. So much so that it has become “the way we’ve always done it” and the citizenry passively accepts it.
This “separation of powers” was (it no longer exists in any great measure) one of the bulwarks against big government and misuse of the rule of law.
How important is this? Here is the original thought on the subject:
Now, the last time I checked, the word all meant, well, all. When the Supremes violate this dictum and legislate from the bench, or remand legislation to a body not authorized to legislate they fulfill the fear that Thomas Jefferson expressed nearly 200 years age when he said:
"It has long, however, been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression...that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary;...working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped." --Thomas Jefferson
What to do…
Tell your elected representatives that you expect them to do their jobs and to refuse to allow others to meddle in their affairs. Many of them are not even aware of the issue of separation as it was intended. Encourage them to resist the Supreme Court’s tendency to legislate from the bench and to resist the tendency to help build an Imperial Presidency. The office of President has amassed more power and influence than was ever intended by the founders. This can be best seen in the recent tendency since the Korean War for Presidents to take us into war without the required Congressional declaration of war in Article 1, Section 8. Such a declaration would surely at least prevent the waffling later by politicos who want to have it both ways. A more important point is that each member of Congress would be on record with a “Yes” or a “No” vote whether they could remember how they voted or not.
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