Daily Constitutional

A brand new blog each and every day. Well, not always. But we have to have our daily constitutional to keep us going in defense of liberty.

view:  full / summary

Inauguration Day

Posted by richardmoore on January 18, 2017 at 12:35 PM

Posted by Richard Moore

January 18, 2017


Today, Donald Trump is being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, and we should take the time to pause and mark it together as fellow citizens of the greatest country on Earth.

To be sure, we seem a bit tattered and frayed around the edges, like a flag whipped by the wind and storm of battle fire, but, like the flag, our resolve and determination and patriotism still flies, and flies resolutely.

While many people are espousing doom and gloom about the country’s current state of polarization, the truth is, we’ve endured and survived far worse times as a divided nation set upon itself.

Historically, we are usually more divided than we are united, in part because of our pronounced individualism. Americans don’t like to conform or comply for conformance or compliance sake, as a rule.

The nation was not even a hundred years old when the Civil War erupted, a bloody affair that claimed the lives of at least 620,000 American soldiers and perhaps as many as 750,000. Talk about polarization.

One of the core issues of that war — states rights versus federal power — remains at the heart of American divisions today. Our political acorns don’t fall very far from the constitutional tree.

The Civil War remains the most extreme test of our unity as a nation, and the nation survived.

In more modern times, the Vietnam War sparked the so-called days of rage in American cities and on college campuses across the land. In those days the nightly news would feature little icons spread across a map to depict the locations of the latest riots.

It seemed that most of the time there were more riot icons than states, and pundits bemoaned the shredding of the American social fabric.

But the war ended; the nation survived.

In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon became the first president in history to resign; he would surely have been impeached and convicted had he not voluntarily stepped down.

Many feared Nixon might try to stage a coup d’etat to stay in power, though there’s no evidence he ever thought of doing so. Still, that the thought circulated so widely among Americans shows how profoundly distressed people were then about the state of the nation.

In the end, there was no coup; there was a resignation; the nation survived and afterwards even thrived.

Truth be told, American freedom has never been an easily won or kept thing. As a famous song puts it, every generation has to win it again.

And every generation has won it again. We have survived depressions and assassinations, world wars and natural disasters and interment camps. We have survived lousy presidents, too, and we have thrived.

On this Inauguration Day, we believe this nation shall continue to survive, and we believe we will once again thrive.

To be sure, America is facing grave threats. To some it’s Islamic terrorism and globalist-driven income inequality; to others, it is climate change and racism, as well as gender and sexuality injustice. To still others, it’s the Russians.

Almost everyone believes the nation is in deep crisis; that we cannot agree about what the crisis is could be the biggest crisis of all.

Then, too, as Donald Trump assumes the presidency, about half the nation agrees with his agenda and world view, while about half the nation detests both him and his policies.

That’s significant because the new president has not given anyone any reason to believe he isn’t going to do what he said during the campaign he would do, and that is implement an agenda of radical change. Much of it will come in the next 100 days.

So there are going to be new days of rage straight ahead.

Much of it will be hyperbolic and it will sound threatening, especially given the media’s preference for sensationalism and scandal over policy stories.

As in the past, though, we believe Americans can and will cut through the manufactured drama on both sides, and grasp organically what the president’s policies mean to them, and whether those policies are helping them or hurting them. If they are not satisfied, they will lend an ear to the opposition.

This is always how Americans overcome the very worst of our many crises. We embrace our unique American individualism, and listen to the voice of our inner adviser, and march forward with those who believe like we do to achieve the American Dream.

In such a way, we overcame a civil war that could have ended the nation, and we built an even greater nation. In such a way we have achieved unparalleled prosperity in the world.

In such a way, the people cut through the media clutter and elected Donald Trump president in November. They grasped organically what President Obama’s policies meant to their lives and families, and they gave an ear and support to the opposition.

And so it will be again as Donald Trump stands before us today, on this Inauguration Day, as president of the United States. In the will and way of our great exceptionalism and proud individualism, in the same way as Obama’s was, Donald Trump’s fate will be sealed by the people, as will that of the opposition.

As on all Inauguration Days, the American people realize it is their own hands, and their own hands only, that can free them, and so today a new generation sets out to win its freedom again.

There will be casualties, as always, and winners and losers, and more crises to come, but to all Americans setting out on this noble mission today with our new president, even if it is in opposition, may the winds of liberty be at your back.

Crony capitalism for the people

Posted by richardmoore on December 16, 2016 at 12:20 PM

When a politician does what he says he’s going to do, you’d better get ready for the flak from the ideological and special-interest hacks.

And so it was that President-elect Donald Trump got both the Left and Right in a dither recently when he made good on his promise to save jobs — about a 1,000 of them, give or take — that Çarrier Corporation, a division of United Technologies, said it was going to move to Mexico.

All through the campaign, Trump hammered Carrier for its decision, and he promised to call the company’s executives after he won the election to convince them to stay. Otherwise, Trump said, if they still wanted to leave, he would say ‘adios and good luck’ and slap a 35-percent tax on any goods it imported into the USA.

Trump calls things like that “the art of the deal.” He wrote a very successful book about it.

The Left — Bernie Sanders and his ilk — and the Right — Sarah Palin and other Tea Party types — immediately called The Donald out, saying the deal was one more example of crony capitalism. Palin, an early Trump supporter, was indignant because, she said, the government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers, and especially by feathering the nests of special interests, in this case Carrier, with incentives to do what they should be doing anyway.

To be sure, the Carrier deal is loaded with incentives, about $7 million over 10 years.

So is Donald Trump a fraud? Hardly. In making the deal he made good on a campaign promise.

But was it just another example of crony capitalism, and a sign that nothing has changed after all?

The answer to that is a resounding ‘no.’ Palin and those attacking Trump for this deal could not be more wrong. It’s a good deal, and we should hope the president-elect can make more of them.

Technically, of course, it is crony capitalism — the government is intervening in the marketplace to help a single company — but the context makes all the difference.

First, it’s important to remember that Trump has yet to take office. There’s no way — yet — he can attack the massively spilling gravy boats of crony capitalism that saturate and stain virtually every policy document in Washington.

Once he’s in office, we expect him to make good on his broader promise to get government out of the way, end corporate welfare, and let the markets work. When he does, we’ll praise him; if he doesn’t, we’ll call him out for crony capitalism then, at the proper time.

Second, if this is cronyism, Carrier doesn’t know how to play the game very well. In exchange for that $7 million in incentives over a decade, Carrier is giving up a large chunk of what it has estimated would be about $65 million a year in savings by moving those jobs to Mexico.

So this is hardly a sweet deal for Carrier, as crony deals go, and it’s the sweetness of the deal that defines cronyism in the first place.

Third, this can be more accurately labeled counter-crony capitalism, or, to say it another way, Trump is undoing the evils of earlier crony capitalism the best way he can before taking office, piece by piece.

The real crony capitalism was NAFTA, by which U.S. corporations and Mexican business interests lined their pockets under the guise of free trade. It was anything but free trade; the flow of capital and technology may have been freed up, but the labor market side of the equation remained tethered to the existing standards of their respective national economies, which was devised by big business for itself and rigged against the workers.

Read NAFTA and you read a crony capitalist’s wet dream — some 1,000 pages of limiting the sovereignty of the partner nations, i.e., not only their ability to regulate foreign imports but to protect workers and, in Mexico, to enact standards comparable to those governing American workers. The crux of NAFTA was to keep Mexican workers poor and force American workers to compete against them.

Adding insult to injury, the American government subsidized agricultural products, providing cheap dairy, grain, and meat to Mexico; the result of that crony trade was to create an artificial market of cheap imports to Mexico that crippled domestic agriculture and, according to the Economic Policy Institute, drove some 2 million workers off their farms.

Guess where they went? Yup, to the U.S., as illegal immigrants. In the wake of NAFTA, illegal immigration to the United States rose by more than 75 percent.

In short, NAFTA was the sweetest of sweetheart deals for crony capitalists, all of it legitimized by government.

In the real world, down in the streets rather than up in the free-traders’ ivory towers, free trade only works when all the market components are free — when conditions of competitiveness exist on both the labor and capital sides — not just those that benefit big business. There’s nothing free or capitalist about a cartelized international economy that dictates to nation states what capital, investment, and labor standards they can and cannot pass.

Here’s what the libertarian economist (as in opposed to government intervention and crony capitalism) Murray Rothbard wrote:

“Yet NAFTA is more than just a big business trade deal. It is part of a very long campaign to integrate and cartelize government in order to entrench the interventionist mixed economy. In Europe, the campaign culminated in the Maastricht Treaty, the attempt to impose a single currency and central bank on Europe and force its relatively free economies to rachet up their regulatory and welfare states. In the United States, this has taken the form of transferring legislative and judicial authority away from the states and localities to the executive branch of the federal government. NAFTA negotiations have pushed the envelope by centralizing government power continent-wide, thus further diminishing the ability of taxpayers to hinder the actions of their rulers. Thus the siren-song of NAFTA is the same seductive tune by which the socialistic Eurocrats have tried to get Europeans to surrender to the super-statism of the European Community: wouldn’t it be wonderful to have North America be one vast and mighty ‘free trade unit’ like Europe? The reality is very different: socialistic intervention and planning by a super-national NAFTA Commission or Brussels bureaucrats accountable to no one.”

In this free trade world, capital was globalized and mobilized; technology was globalized and mobilized; productivity was globalized and mobilized; even desperate Mexican workers were globalized and mobilized.

American workers and their jobs? They were destabilized and immobilized.

American workers were rooted to the decaying spot, and it was all part of the free-trade planned economy. This is what crony capitalism, which is really bureaucratic collectivism, looks like. In such a situation, what is the president-elect to do?

The situation is comparable to that of a general of an advance army unit that has surrounded a barbaric government guilty of the ongoing slaughter of its citizens. The general is holding in place until the full army arrives to liberate the country. Meanwhile, the slaughter of citizens continues, but a few rogue members of the surrounded government decide to try and cut a deal. They make one last crony offer — we’ll spare some of these citizens if you just pay us the right price and let us get out alive.

Should the general stand on principle and let those the general could have saved die, while waiting for the full army to arrive? Or should the general save whom he or she can until the cavalry arrives to save whoever is left? Should he or she make the deal with the rogue band of barbarians and save real lives in real time?

In this scenario, the NAFTA economy is the barbarian government carrying out the slaughter of American workers and the president-elect is the general of the advance army. The liberation army he is waiting on is his government authority that will officially arrive on Jan. 20. Carrier represents the break-away band who offers to spare a 1,000 families, if it can get a deal, any deal.

In Sarah Palin’s world, the right thing to do is let the 1,000 die and wait until Jan. 20 to attack the entire problem from a principled, ivory-towered perch. Trump, a man of action, decided to save the few he can while he readies himself to save the many and to end once and for all the sort of sordid deals he had to make.

Trump’s way is the right way. It is the action of a man who sees and feels pain. Those who live in the ivory towers do not feel the pain of others; their theories do not bleed or sob from hunger. The philosopher kings and queens cannot feel compassion, for they are in love with only abstractions, devoid of humanity.

Trump’s spot deals are not without precedent. John F. Kennedy famously called out U.S. Steel for its pricing policies and used his bully pulpit to call out other corporations not acting in the national interest.

In this respect, Trump may be more like Kennedy that he is like Ronald Reagan.

His Carrier deal may well be crony capitalism, but it is crony capitalism in the national interest, not in the globalists’ interests. It is crony capitalism for the public interest, not for the private special interest.

It is crony capitalism for the people, and it is long overdue.

California dreamin'

Posted by richardmoore on December 8, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Years ago, living in New York City, my wife and I, excitedly awaiting the birth of our child, attended Lamaze classes in Manhattan to prepare for what we hoped would be natural childbirth.

These weren’t just any Lamaze classes. It was called Fusion Lamaze, or something similarly exotic, a 1980s update to the techniques popularized in the 1940s.

I’ll never forget the first lesson. Our instructor informed us that the modified Lamaze techniques had just been imported to New York from a foreign country — California, she deadpanned. It was quite funny, and we New Yorkers enjoyed a good and knowing laugh.

But it’s no longer a joke, and no one is really laughing anymore, least of all the people on the Left Coast. California is in fact a foreign country — culturally, politically, socioeconomically — when compared to the rest of the United States, and it has been for a long, long time, at least from the days when the state gave birth to Fusion Lamaze.

It’s not just that the state voted for Hillary Clinton, though California is increasingly the last stand of the Democratic Party. If New York is the Democrat’s wallet, then California is its heart and soul.

New York, though, has deep cultural, patriotic, and birthright ties to the rest of the nation; to be a New Yorker is to be a true American Yankee.

Not so California. There’s no cultural or philosophical tether. Symbolically, to be a Californian is to be a gold digger, not a Yankee.

Its residents are as foreign in lifestyle and thought as the day is long. They dream of open borders and establishment globalism. They do not share our respect for American sovereignty and constitutional values.

They identify their politics by special-interest allegiance to identity groups. They claim gender on the basis of self-identity, and even citizenship is a state of mind. Human-driven climate change, though, is indisputable science, and skepticism is subject to censorship.

Californians are tie-dyed clothing in a dressed-up and grown-up world. Around LA, everybody eats out but nobody goes outdoors, for the smog is too thick. In California, a policy expert is otherwise known as a movie star.

It’s time to admit that California is California, not America, and it always has been. In 1949, as columnist Joe Mathews points out, Carey McWilliams wrote in his book, “California: The Great Exception,” that “(o)ne cannot, as yet, properly place California in the American scheme of things.”

“California is no ordinary state,” McWilliams wrote. “It is an anomaly, a freak, the great exception among the American states.”

We all know this. Californians all know this. And so it is time for all of us to admit that California will never be properly placed in the American scheme of things, and to file for an amicable divorce.

To say it straight up, it is time for California to leave the United States of America and to become its own country.

It’s certainly strong enough economically to do so. Just this year, according to Reuters, California became the world’s sixth biggest economy, larger than India’s, larger than France’s. There’s nothing stopping California now.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no desire to boot the Golden state from the nation. I’m simply here to say that we should help them leave if they want to, and a growing number of them appears to want to.

In the wake of the presidential election, an independence group, Yes California, has submitted a proposed ballot measure to the state’s attorney general’s office. They hope to have a statewide referendum on secession in 2018.

Among the reasons they cite for wanting to establish their own country is the same one I just mentioned: Californians are culturally different from the rest of the country. The group’s leaders say they have 13,000 volunteers ready to collect signatures.

They have some pretty heavyweight Silicon Valley supporters, too. Dave Morin of the social networking tool Path and Marc Hemeon, founder of Design Inc., have reportedly expressed some interest.

The president of Yes California, Louis Marinelli, puts it this way: “This is the first Western secessionist movement that worked, and I think that is going to be very profound. Are you going to say to people in the freest country in the world [you] don’t have the right to self-determination?”

That’s well put, even if it does fly in the face of the Left’s (and most Californians’) wish to deny the U.S. its own right to self-determination, that is to say, our right to reject globalism and open borders for national sovereignty. National self-determination is nothing more than nationalism, after all, so Californians, mad that the U.S. has now embraced an ascendent political nationalism, seem prepared to assert their own nationalist self-determination so that they may then surrender it to globalism.

This is the way these people think, but I digress.

The point is, let’s wish them well. As a libertarian constitutionalist, I do not believe any nation should hold a people hostage, nor can I find anywhere in our constitution where it commands that states that join the union can never leave. This isn’t Facebook, after all.

The nation has been seceding and reorganizing in a de facto way for a while now, and this would merely formalize what is going on. That is to say, as columnist Pat Buchanan has pointed out, conservatives have been moving to politically conservatives states and regions for years, while liberals have been headed for urban utopias. Hence, the nickname the Left Coast.

Just ask a liberal where paradise is, and likely as not the answer will be California, not Heaven.

So how can we help our good friends achieve their Calexit?

Well, though the constitution doesn’t say anything about being held hostage to a union no longer working — much like laws and customs not allowing people to divorce — our liberal courts have interpreted the constitution just that way, and we fought a civil war over such states’ rights.

So allowing California to secede, if they decide they want to, will require a constitutional amendment. If that happens, we should ask our state legislatures to support such an amendment — with appropriate safeguards for American interests and property, of course — and let California’s people go.

It would in keeping with Great Britain allowing Scotland to vote on secession two years ago. It would be in keeping with Britain’s own vote this year to withdraw from the European Union. It would be in keeping with the doctrine of states’ rights, and yet another win for national self-determination and sovereignty.

If California wants to exit, then by all means, say yes to Calexit. And let’s speed up the process.

The vulgarity of Hillary Clinton

Posted by richardmoore on September 6, 2016 at 11:35 AM

Posted by Richard Moore Sept. 6, 2016


There are many ways to describe Donald Trump, and many people go to great and creative lengths to describe him.

I like to call him the unpredictable Trump, which in the end means he merely dares to think outside the establishment box. I have a friend who thinks he’s scary, but I think my friend’s slavish devotion to CNN is scarier.

The away-from-the-planet-for-this-lifetime liberal fringe calls Trump a racist or a fascist or both. Of course, that’s just politics, and even liberals know better.

Most by now have watched the 1999 video of Jesse Jackson introducing Trump at a Rainbow Coalition/Operation PUSH event, praising him as a friend committed to inclusiveness and diversity. Turns out, Trump’s call now to rebuild America’s inner cities using American steel and American workers parallels Jackson’s own recent urgings to rebuild those cities, and would represent a major black jobs initiative.

The fascist thing turns out to be liberal projection, too. Fascism needs at least two ingredients, a dictatorial strong man or woman, and crony alliances of big businesses.

On count one, Trump would be strong, but I haven’t seen any evidence he would be dictatorial; just the opposite. Among other things, he would bring Congress back into the loop by working and negotiating with lawmakers, you know, the art of the deal.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, has turned his back on what is supposed to be a co-equal branch of government and blazed a new — and dictatorial — trail with executive orders, daring the courts to strike him down. He’s the dictatorial strong man fascism needs.

As Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley, one of the nation’s foremost constitutional scholars and himself a liberal who voted for Obama in 2008, told Congress in 2013, in testifying about those executive orders: “When a president claims the inherent power of both legislation and enforcement, he becomes a virtual government unto himself. He (Obama) is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he becomes the very danger that the constitution was designed to avoid.”

Turley said he approved of many of Obama’s policies but could not stomach the president’s extraconstitutional methods to achieve them. The ends, he said, do not justify the means.

For her part, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly endorsed Obama’s use of executive orders and one-branch government, so so much for Trump as the fascist candidate. If you want to find dictatorial leaders, a key element of fascism, look no further than the Democratic Party.

The second element of fascism is the need to have a big-business crony class that serves the dictator’s needs while raking in unconscionable profits on the backs of the people.

We certainly have such a crony capitalist class today, and it is way too bloated with unconscionable profits, but this is the very class that Donald Trump (and Bernie Sanders) have run against. The Donald is very much for Main Street, not Wall Street.

And that brings us to the vulgarity of Hillary Clinton, Wall Street’s anointed candidate.

There are many reasons one could call Clinton vulgar. It could be her shameless attacks on the character of women who accused Bill Clinton of sexually abusing them.

It could be her shameless pay-to-play scheme she installed at the State Department. It could be her callous response to Benghazi. It could be her pathological lies, or her past financial scandals, or her nightmare temper and abusive treatment of those who work for the Clintons.

But what really makes Hillary Clinton vulgar is her contempt for the American people. As commentator Tucker Carlson put it, Hillary’s contempt for the people is much worse than the fact that she is a criminal.

“So the argument against her (Hillary Clinton) is she’s corrupt,” Carlson said. “Everyone knows that. It’s a given. It’s baked in the cake. Here’s the real argument against Hillary. She has contempt for you. If you vote in a way she doesn’t like she’s happy to see some judge overturn it. She wants to completely change the composition of the country and she wants you to change your behavior. That means she doesn’t like you, America, and it’s true.”

People who love the Second Amendment are Clinton’s enemies, that she herself has said, but in the same breath she has called for empathizing with Islamic terrorists. She never talks about empathizing with NRA members.

At various times she has expressed contempt for transparency (not a press conference in 270 days), for the military, for law enforcement, for coal miners, for Bernie Sanders’s “young and ignorant” supporters.

The list goes on, but the accumulation of it all translates into contempt for America.

Nowhere is this contempt more evident that in Clinton’s disappearance from the campaign trail this past month. Or, more correctly, her disappearance from public events with the average Americans she is supposedly going to serve.

While Trump has been charging from boisterous campaign rallies where he mingles with the people to town halls where he takes questions to interviews where he freely opens himself to reporters, Hillary Clinton has been hard to find, even inspiring a social media hashtag, #WhereisHillary.

Well, where she is is with her own kind — the 1 percent. Over the past month she has been charging from private fundraiser to private fundraiser with the nation’s wealthy and elite, and it has gotten so bad perception-wise that even the partisan New York Times had to take notice of it.

“Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s noticeably scant schedule of campaign events this summer to suggest she has been hiding from the public,” The Times reported this past weekend. “But Mrs. Clinton has been more than accessible to those who reside in some of the country’s most moneyed enclaves and are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to see her.”

In the last two weeks of August, The Times added, Clinton raked in $50 million at 22 fund-raising events, averaging around $150,000 an hour.

“And while Mrs. Clinton has faced criticism for her failure to hold a news conference for months, she has fielded hundreds of questions from the ultrarich in places like the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Beverly Hills and Silicon Valley,” the newspaper stated.

And finally there was this from The Times: “If Mr. Trump appears to be waging his campaign in rallies and network interviews, Mrs. Clinton’s second presidential bid seems to amount to a series of high-dollar fund-raisers with public appearances added to the schedule when they can be fit in.”

That gets right to the heart of Hillary Clinton’s vulgarity. Public appearances with the American people are an afterthought, something to be “fit in” if they don’t get in the way of her packed schedule with the 1 percent.

That is ostentatious behavior, and it is vulgar to treat the American people as if they are her pets, worth a nickel of her time and a treat of an appearance every so often as she hustles out the door to her next meeting with the world’s global elite.

Four years ago, Democrats pilloried Mitt Romney as the candidate of the 1 percent. He was that, to be sure. But why isn’t Hillary Clinton, the candidate of the 1 percent this year, being similarly pilloried?

Four years ago, in a major ad, unions talked about Romney’s out-of-touch candidacy, saying “1 Percenters Flock To Support Their Own In Mitt Romney.” The ad pointed out that Romney had 33 billionaire backers, and warned that he would listen to that elite to the detriment of the nation.

So who are the billionaires backing this year? That would be Hillary Clinton, the candidate of the 1 percent.

That group would include not just known liberals such as George Soros and Mark Cuban and Warren Buffett but many of the same billionaires who flocked to Romney in 2012, such as venture capitalist Marc Andreesen, to name just one.

Most of the hedge fund money that went to Romney is now flowing to Clinton. If the unions thought those dollars meant Romney would be listening to them and not to us — and I think the unions were right — why aren’t they concerned that Clinton will listen to her donors, too?

Fact is, and The New York Times noted, Clinton is already listening to them behind closed doors before she is even elected. If that doesn’t hurt her in the election, why would she stop in the White House?

To paraphrase The Times, and as her August fundraisers and pay-to-play meetings at the State Department show, a President Clinton’s term would amount to a series of high-dollar policy meetings with big-dollar donors, with the American public added to the agenda when they can be fit in.

That’s the essence of Hillary Clinton. That’s the essence of her vulgarity.

Clinton’s slogan is the arrogant “I’m with her.” But a vote for Clinton in November is really a vote for who she’s with — and that would be the 1 percent.