About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Thanksgiving Proclamation In The Year Of The Independence Of The United States Of America The One Hundred & Forty-eighth

It was 100 years ago this past August 2 that Calvin Coolidge became the 30th president of the United States following the sudden death from a heart attack of Warren G. Harding.  In the middle of the night Coolidge was sworn in by his father, a notary public & justice of the peace, in the parlor of Coolidge's childhood home in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.  Carol & I visited the site in 2013.  President Coolidge was a very humble man.

Although three of our first five presidents died on July 4 (Adams, Jefferson, & Monroe) Coolidge is the only president to be born on July 4.

Coolidge's presidency was a masterpiece.

Under Coolidge all of the principles of supply side economics were achieved: 1) the reduction of the size of government and its claims on earned income, 2) a lower marginal tax rate for the highest income earners, & 3) sound-money policies.   Silent Cal reduced the top 73% income tax rate to 25% by 1925, reduced the national debt, & balanced the budget – a budget that actually was smaller when he left office than when he took office. Federal spending was 3% of GDP in 1928 – it is 24.2% today.

On November 5, 1923 President Coolidge issued Proclamation 1680 - Thanksgiving Day, 1923.

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The American people, from their earliest days, have observed the wise custom of acknowledging each year the bounty with which divine Providence has favored them. In the beginnings, this acknowledgment was a voluntary return of thanks by the community for the fruitfulness of the harvest. Though our mode of life has greatly changed, this custom has always survived. It has made thanksgiving day not only one of the oldest but one of the most characteristic observances of our country. On that day, in home and church, in family and in public gatherings, the whole nation has for generations paid the tribute due from grateful hearts for blessings bestowed.

To center our thought in this way upon the favor which we have been shown has been altogether wise and desirable. It has given opportunity justly to balance the good and the evil which we have experienced. In that we have never failed to find reasons for being grateful to God for a generous preponderance of the good. Even in the least propitious times, a broad contemplation of our whole position has never failed to disclose overwhelming reasons for thankfulness. Thus viewing our situation, we have found warrant for a more hopeful and confident attitude toward the future.

In this current year, we now approach the time which has been accepted by custom as most fitting for the calm survey of our estate and the return of thanks. We shall the more keenly realize our good fortune, if we will, in deep sincerity, give to it due thought, and more especially, if we will compare it with that of any other community in the world.

The year has brought to our people two tragic experiences which have deeply affected them. One was the death of our beloved President Harding, which has been mourned wherever there is a realization of the worth of high ideals, noble purpose and unselfish service carried even to the end of supreme sacrifice. His loss recalled the nation to a less captious and more charitable attitude. It sobered the whole thought of the country. A little later came the unparalleled disaster to the friendly people of Japan. This called forth from the people of the United States a demonstration of deep and humane feeling. It was wrought into the substance of good works. It created new evidences of our international friendship, which is a guarantee of world peace. It replenished the charitable impulse of the country.

By experiences such as these, men and nations are tested and refined. We have been blessed with much of material prosperity. We shall be better able to appreciate it if we remember the privations others have suffered, and we shall be the more worthy of it if we use it for their relief. We will do well then to render thanks for the good that has come to us, and show by our actions that we have become stronger, wiser, and truer by the chastenings which have been imposed upon us. We will thus prepare ourselves for the part we must take in a world which forever needs the full measure of service. We have been a most favored people. We ought to be a most generous people. We have been a most blessed people. We ought to be a most thankful people.

Wherefore, I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, do hereby fix and designate Thursday, the twenty-ninth day of November, as Thanksgiving Day, and recommend its general observance throughout the land. It is urged that the people, gathering in their homes and their usual places of worship, give expression to their gratitude for the benefits and blessings that a gracious Providence has bestowed upon them, and seek the guidance of Almighty God, that they may deserve a continuance of His favor.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this 5th day of November, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States, the One Hundred and Forty-eighth.


By the President:
CHARLES E. HUGHES, Secretary of State.

Calvin Coolidge, Proclamation 1680—Thanksgiving Day, 1923 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/206745

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Galston Column Takes Opposite Approach To RTE

The series of recent posts regarding problems I document with Trump's term in office so far has concentrated on 1) Trump being the biggest deficit spender per year in the country's history, 2) Trump having no constitutional, statutory, or historical basis for asking Pence to not certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election on January 6, 2021, & 3) Trump leaving thousands of people in Seattle to fend for themselves against a band of marauding thugs for over three weeks in the summer of 2020.  

Die-hard Trump supporters commented that voters don't care about these issues citing some they do care about such as "inflation, high gas prices, & high interest rates - can't buy a house" as if Trump spending $3.6 trillion in 2020 was of no consequence compared to Biden spending $1.9 trillion in 2021 as the cause of the resulting inflation & high interest rates.  Trump skates by these die-hard supporters after spending nearly twice as much money as Biden did over these two years.

None of the lists of issues that voters supposedly care about that die-hard Trump supporters presented to me included Social Security & Medicare's solvency problems.  Trump sees no problem - a position that will hurt millions of people, either with benefit cuts or much higher payroll taxes.  Not good leadership on Trump's part & a definite unawareness on the part of his followers of an issue they will care about in a big way one day soon.

With regard to voters not caring about January 6 - please remember that with the authority I cited in the last post Trump could have called up the DC National Guard instead of saying that Pelosi was in charge of Capitol security & there was nothing he could do.  Not a picture of a strong president.  Better yet I alway wondered why Trump would not have called off the perceived danger if it was thought so unsafe that calling up thousands of troops was necessary.

In fact, the die-hard Trump supporter who wrote the original comment defending Trump's summer of love dereliction of duty in Seattle saying "Trump could not just go into cities unless asked by the governor" - went off this track after I presented documentation of many of the cases where presidents did "go into cities" uninvited by changing the topic to "election fraud that is going on in the midterms" & that we should "Stop the fraud, so we can have trustworthy elections" which I take to mean elections his candidate wins.  Because his comments rambled so much I'm not sure this commenter even recognized he was the one that led me to research the Insurrection Act in the first place.

I know that there is a substantial percentage of die-hard Trump supporters who dismiss anything & everything that does not put Trump in a good light - Mike Huckabee, everyone on NewsMax, & some on FNC for instance.  But there are several people who could deliver all of the pro-American policies without the baggage & divisiveness of Trump.  Just look @ Senator Mullin ready for a fistfight on the Senate floor.  Representative Comer was in a heated dispute also & the media encourages this behavior.  We need substance not bluster & Trump is more bluster than substance.

Using all of the above as background I was surprised to read Wliiam Galston's weekly column (below) in the Wednesday WSJ that, like Sunday's RTE post, reviewed the Insurrection Act of 1792 & the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.  What timing. The difference is that I presented the authority for Trump to federalize the National Guard to enforce the laws of the United States during the summer of 2020 in Seattle as something that should have been done to protect American citizens while Mr. Galston presents this same authority as a danger to constitutional liberties that we all take for granted when in the hands of a person suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder. 

Donald Trump's Insurrection Act Gambit 
By William Galston

In June 2020, President Trump considered—and was talked out of—invoking the Insurrection Act against protesters who took to the streets after the murder of George Floyd. Now Team Trump reportedly is preparing the ground to use this law whenever necessary after he retakes the White House.

Like most Americans, I knew little about the Insurrection Act until recently. But the more I learn, the more I worry about its potential to erode our fundamental liberties.

The Posse Comitatus Act, enacted in 1878, mostly barred the U.S. military from the role in civil law enforcement that it had played during the Civil War and its aftermath. The act permitted legislated exceptions, however. The most important of these is the Insurrection Act.

This act gives the president the authority to deploy the military to assist law-enforcement agencies in three situations: when a state government requests federal aid to suppress an insurrection in that state; when the president deems military deployment necessary to "enforce the laws" of the U.S. or to "suppress the rebellion"; and when the president deems such deployment necessary to suppress "any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy" in a state whose government is unable or unwilling to enforce the constitutional rights of its citizens or "opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws."

I quote from the statute to make a point: Its scope, which is both broad and vague, gives the president enormous discretionary power. Key terms—insurrection, rebellion and domestic violence—aren't defined. As an analysis by the Brennan Center shows, the president alone may decide whether these prerequisites for deploying the military have been met, and the Supreme Court has said it has no authority to review the president's decision.

To be sure, a 1932 Supreme Court decision held that courts may review the lawfulness or constitutionality of acts the military performs after it has been deployed, but in the swirl of events basic liberties may be curtailed well before the judiciary can step in.

Consider this scenario: After a divisive campaign, a presidential candidate opposed by half the country is inaugurated, and a massive protest breaks out in Washington. While observers and authorities report that the demonstrators are mostly peaceful, the new president disagrees, federalizes the National Guards of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and deploys them with orders to suppress the protests.

Or this one: After police in a large city kill an unarmed black man, protests break out and spread to other cities. Although the protests are peaceful at first, the president argues that similar events in the past have turned violent in a manner that exceeded local and state capacity to suppress them. He then orders the deployment of military forces to break them up before threats to life and property arise.

In situations such as these, fundamental rights such as the freedoms of speech and assembly are at stake, and the potential for the arbitrary and capricious use of the Insurrection Act is evident. This possibility should disturb anyone who doesn't trust every president to use his authority prudently and within constitutional restraints. After 2020, Congress should have reformed the Insurrection Act to prevent future presidents from using it to suppress basic liberties.

In one of the most enduring lines of the 2016 presidential campaign, veteran reporter Salena Zito wrote of Mr. Trump that "the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally." She implied—plausibly—that his supporters, not the press, were reading him correctly. But that was then, when his plans were relatively unformed and his understanding of how to staff his administration wasn't informed by any government experience.

Things are different now. In his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, Mr. Trump declared that he had learned a great deal during his first term about who is strong and who is weak, about who can be trusted and who can't. With the help of such groups as the Claremont Institute and the Heritage Foundation, Mr. Trump's team is busy formulating policies and making lists of people on whom it can rely to staff his administration.

A second Trump term would be much more effective than the first, a prospect that thrills his supporters and sends shivers through those who fear, as I do, that his re-entry into the White House would trigger the biggest threat to constitutional governance since the Civil War. Let's take him literally as well as seriously.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Trump's Dereliction Of Duty During The "Summer Of Love"

Based on the series of posts I started in August even the most die-hard Trump supporter in this readership has said he understands that Trump is the biggest deficit spender per year in the country's history & that Trump had no constitutional, statutory, or historical basis for asking Pence to not certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election on January 6, 2021.  These are two very large concessions that should encourage interest for some consideration of other candidates running in the Republican primaries.   

Afterall, to acknowledge the above two points & still unabashedly back Trump takes away your right to criticize lesser spenders like Biden or BO & makes your concern less pure for the rule of law & the presidential oath of office "to preserve, protect, & defend the Constitution" which Trump obliterated with what he asked Pence to do for reasons of false pride, self-aggrandizement, & self-importance that demonstrated a narcissistic personality disorder.  Now that these facts are known, a continued acceptance of Trump, compromises consistency regarding government spending & the rule of law.

It is intellectually weak to ignore these two very large concessions, & continue with a blind loyalty for Trump who would not debate as part of the Republican primary field that included in the first two debates Christy, Haley, & Pence - three people who could counter Trump's accounts & statements based on direct personal experience.  And of course that is why Trump cunningly skips the debates - these three would have been more prepared than Low Energy Jeb, Little Marco, & Lyin' Ted. 

In fact, the debate last Wednesday produced many meaningful discussions that gave the electorate several good candidate choices to select from that would be an upgrade to Trump.  I had trouble envisioning Trump answering the questions in a substantive way.

A Trump-Biden choice is a crapshoot that either man could win by a handful of votes in a few swing states like what happened in both 2016 & 2020.  It is like choosing your poison - anthrax or phosgene.  The country loses either way.

The election is a crapshoot because an inordinate number of people will stay home & not vote if the Republican nominee is Trump, or will write in Trump's name if Trump is not on the ballot (the trouble with this threat is that the citizenry votes for electors not the candidate for President meaning this maneuver is really meaningless except for taking away from the real Republican candidate).  The No Labels group candidate is thought to take more votes away from Biden & RFK Jr. is thought to take more votes away from Trump.  A dreadful negative election with all these external factors that will not turn out well no matter who wins - Biden will continue destructive policies & portray a feebleness to the world while Trump will ensure a divisiveness that will ultimately divide the house until it falls.  Liz Peek summed it up well when she said "The country is so polarized that it is turned off by neutrality."

Biden can't hide in his Delaware basement again this election & he really can't run on his terrible record on inflation, deficit spending that increases the national debt to new records every day, control of the border, energy dependence on the Green New Deal, allowing crime waves across the country while not supporting the police, & going wobbly on Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah terrorism in Israel.  Biden is counting on the Democrat machine producing a large turnout that is anti Trump, which it certainly will be, & that abortion continues to be a political winner for the Democrats as the society continues its secular decadent slide.

Trump must perform a skillful deception by not taking a stand one way or the other on abortion while still taking credit for appointing three Supreme Court justices who made the difference in overturning Roe.  Trump also was the instigator of the rapid Covid vaccine development that many people are opposed to, especially the vaccine mandates.  Trump told a Dallas audience that he even received the booster to a chorus of boos.  Trump also previously took the position to raise the age to collect full Social Security retirement benefits to 70 & called for privatizing the program calling it a "Ponzi scheme" - he now says no changes are necessary even though the program is in worse financial shape than ever.  And of course there will be plenty of questions about January 6 - for certain by the Democrats including videos.  By ducking the debates Trump has not been called out on these issues - but he will be sooner or later on all of them & more.

Both parties would be smart to put a fresh face @ the top of their tickets to eliminate as much of the crapshoot as possible so that when the election dust settles there will be no regrets for fielding terribly flawed candidates. 

Now I was a Trump supporter way before most of the current die-hard Trump supporters in this readership turned their devotion away from Ted Cruz.  Please remember that Mike Pence was initially a Ted Cruz supporter & it surprised me when Trump picked Pence to be his VP running mate in 2016.

As readers of this blog from June, 2015 to December, 2020 know I supported Trump - even @ 2:30 AM on November 4, 2020 when Trump said on TV, flanked by Melania & Mike & Karen Pence "Frankly, we did win."  But like Texas Congressman Chip Roy (Liberty Score "A" @ 100%) my support started to erode in December, 2020 when neither Trump nor Chief of Staff Mark Meadows could produce one piece of evidence that Trump won.  What followed after Trump's December 19, 2020 tweet "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"; the ruined careers of 38 year old Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, & Meadows, with more to come; & the $787 million FNC settlement for deliberately & knowingly presenting false information on air regarding Dominion voting machines rigging the 2020 presidential election for Biden are events to be pitied.


Other comments I received that deserve a response pertain to BLM & Antifa committing violent crimes like arson, assault, & damaging business owners' property & federal court buildings during the "summer of love" in 2020.  There was a fatal shooting in Seattle.  I remember Trump saying that after the 2020 election he would clamp down on these violent groups & I wondered why he didn't do it then instead of waiting six months until after the election.  Trump said it would take him about an hour to end the violence & restore order if such situations occurred in his second term.

The comments that deserve a response regarding the "summer of love" violence are "Trump could not do anything unless invited by the governor" & "Trump could not just go into cities unless asked by the governor."

Now governors do have the authority to call up the national guard & mayors & police chiefs certainly have the duty to protect life & property - neither of which happened in the summer of 2020 in Seattle, where the police were so overwhelmed in one section of the city by violent groups that a police precinct was abandoned & all the citizens in that section of the city were left to the mercy of thugs for over three weeks.  The governor & mayor were no help to their constituents & neither was Trump. 

Safety & health matters are handled by the states & cities who can call on (invite) the federal government for help if needed.  It is reasonable to expect this to be a cooperative effort in a unified country but there have been occasions where governors have not cooperated.

For instance, on September 5, 1957 Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus refused to allow the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School following federal court orders after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.  President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to enforce the court's ruling.   Similarly, President Kennedy federalized the National Guard in 1962 to ensure integration of the University of Mississippi & President Johnson, in like manner, gained control of the riots around the 1968 Democrat national convention in Chicago.  Trump & Biden have both put active duty members of the Armed Forces on the southwest border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.   

So there has been presidential authority to call up or federalize the national guard starting with the Militia Act of 1792 that was used by President Washington as his authority to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 in Western Pennsylvania.

The Constitution's enumerated powers specifically grant Congress the power to call out the militia (Militia Clause - Article I, Section 8, Clause 15) & the President the authority to command the militia (Commander Of Militia Clause - Article II, Section 2, Clause 1) when needed in the active service to the U.S.  Starting in 1792 with the above named Militia Act (also known as the Calling Forth Act) Congress delegated to the President the authority to call out the militia for two years.  This delegated authority was made permanent in 1795 & remained permanent as the laws were revised over the years like in 1807, 1903, & Title 10 of the U.S. code pertaining to Armed Forces.

In addition, President Lincoln believed that the "preserve, protect, & defend" language of the presidential Oath of Office clause (Article II, Section 1, Clause 8) placed a special constitutional duty on the President to fight for the nation's survival whether Congress had declared war or not, & by inference, whether or not a governor had invited him to call up the militia to suppress rebellion.

The Take Care clause (Article II, Section 3) requires the President to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" & with particular emphasis on Article II executive branch Power to restrain violations of life, liberty, & property of American citizens by effective criminal law & prosecution of criminals who destroy homes & businesses.

In summary, the President has the legal authority to deploy U.S. military & federalized National Guard troops within the United States to suppress civil disorders, insurrections, or rebellions as documented above.

Accordingly, Trump was derelict of duty when he left people in Seattle to fend for themselves against a band of marauding thugs for over three weeks in the summer of 2020 & only talked about doing something about it if he was reelected in November.  A shameful irresponsible failure to fulfill his presidential obligation. 

Special note - Presidents are aware of our history of quartering soldiers in houses during the Revolutionary War & the use of the army in civil law enforcement during the Civil War & Reconstruction so they design limited missions specifically to restore order & quickly remove the military presence once order is restored.  See Third Amendment & the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.