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Answered Questions

 

John FarmerBill Larson asked a series of questions directed at Republicans in office, or seeking office. Well, I’m a Republican and I am seeking national office so I’ll give it a shot. I must however offer a disclaimer before I begin. My views are just that, my views. They are not necessarily the views of the Republican Party. Just as the Democratic Party consists of a broad spectrum of opinion and ideologies, so does the Republican side of the aisle. My views reflect those of working class Republicans more than they do mainstream corporate Republicans.

Bill’s lead question has to do with the Foley fiasco and the possible Republican Party “cover-up” for Congressman Foley by its leadership. I have written a post related to this question that I would refer readers to for details on my position, but for this post’s purposes let’s say that outrage is my general feeling on the subject. We will simply have to let the investigation progress to determine exactly what happened. If we are honest here, we have to concede that such scandals are not unique to any one Party. Yet, the Republican Party has cultivated the “image” of being the “family values” Party, and as such it is fair to hold it to a higher standard in such matters.

“the terrorist to win after September 11th 2001 by making America and Americans less free?”

At any time this Nation has been at war, there has been a debate between the encroachment of personal freedoms and national security interests. This is not a partisan issue, and any intrusions we are experiencing now are nothing like we experienced during the Civil War or World War II. Yet there is always the danger than the Executive Branch will abuse their Constitutional authority during such times. That is why our founders in their wisdom created three co-equal Branches of power. I think we have seen that dynamic at work in recent history with the Supreme Court and oversight by the Congress. Although I agree that there is legislation that should be of grave concern to all of us.

“the war on Iraq which distracted us from our real enemies allowing them to escape?”

I’m not so sure that the latter part of the question is correct. Historically, large foreign armies on Afghanistan soil have been very ineffective. The operation in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda was for the most part quite effective within limits. Osama Bin Laden and his Afghan allies defeated the Soviet Union and are operating among friends and familiar territory. The best intelligence puts him and his remnants in Pakistan among his supporters. So we have two options, contain him and work with Pakistan to try to secure his capture, or invade another country in search for him. I prefer exhausting the former before we decide to invade another sovereign country. Here is a post I wrote that may expand on this somewhat.

“the patriot act, which was anything but patriotic?”

As I mentioned in the first question, when this Nation is at war, it is common to give tools to the Executive in order to defend this Nation. Many Constitutional conservatives in the Republican Party have serious problems with some of the provisions of the Patriot Act. We are fighting an enemy which operates in the shadows among us, so intelligence officers have to go into the shadows to fight them. Although assurances were given that the Act would not be used against citizens, I think we have seen that it indeed has been. Yet that is why the Act does have a sunset provision and must be renewed frequently. Congress must be very vigilant in oversight of this authority.

“the creation of free speech zones which penalize Americans on the content of their speech?”

I’m not familiar with “free speech zones”. What I am familiar with is the prohibition of clergy to be active in political affairs without fear of retaliation against their Church by the IRS, and it was a Democratic administration that gave us that little item.  Perhaps Bill can point me to more information on this topic.

“the administration to violate federal law by spying on American citizens in the United States?”

I’m not sure that has been demonstrated to be the case. If you are referring to the NSA surveillance program, it is designed to monitor communications originating outside the United States by our enemies. I should think that we certainly would want to do that. When those communications are determined to involve a United States citizen, then it would be my hope that the appropriate Constitutional limitations would come into play. Those Constitutional limitations are not subject to Federal law or Executive abuse. Again, you are talking about secret programs that Congress has an obligation to oversee to insure that citizen’s rights are not violated. And the Judiciary is responsible (Constitutionally) to intervene when they are.

“the suspension of Habeas Corpus in times not permitted by the Constitution?”

Again, I will refer readers to a post I did on this topic in detail. One of my first legislative efforts would be to amend HR 6166 to include the limitation that nothing in that bill could be applied to a United States citizen.

“the intertwining Christianity in Politics, in Government?”

Now I’m old enough to remember that it was a Democratic President, Jimmy Carter who brought the concept of “born again” to the political lexicon. In recent history it has been the Republican Party that has used the model to greater effect. But Christianity has always been a part of American politics (read George Washington’s inaugural address). Where I have a problem is when Christianity is marketed and used for political gain, and we have seen a lot of that lately for sure. Also, this is a Nation of many faiths and the use of the political arena to exclude any one, or to promote one over another is simply unacceptable.

“the stripping of due process from anyone under the control of the American Government?”

Nothing new here. Every war (including the Civil War) has seen the use of military courts to administer enemy combatants and unlawful actions against American citizens. Our Constitution guarantees “due process” to citizens or those within our boundaries, not enemies of the same. But again, we must remain vigilant to insure that the scope of such actions do not go beyond such limitations.

“the President to declare someone guilty without a trial?”

I must have missed that law somewhere.

“the corporations of America to run rampant at the expense of the individual Americans?”

Again, not a partisan issue. When I lost my first job to “corporate globalization” it was under a merger approved by the Clinton administration. NAFTA and China trade agreements were initiated under Republicans and finalized by Democrats. The answer to your question is politicians in general. Take a look at where Congressman Tanner’s money comes from for your answer to that question. TennCare and the Tennessee Waltz are other fine examples.

“the loss of American manufacturing jobs to go unchecked, unanswered?”

Same answer as the last question. And the only real answer is for working people to become more involved in their government and politics. It is this question that has me running for the United States Congress this year.

I understand Bill’s frustration with how things are going in this Nation. I was a Democrat until Ronald Reagan’s second term. By that time the problem was widespread corruption within the Democratic Congress. Republicans gained control full of good intentions, but then the money shifted to them and so did the corruption. Yet, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is a shining example that it is not limited to Republicans. So the answer is not throwing out a Party, but doing your homework and supporting the candidate who will best represent his or her constituency.

And I certainly take my own advice, In Congressional District 9 I am supporting Democratic candidate and State Senator Steve Cohen. I just believe he puts Constitutional rights and his constituency above partisan politics and corporate interests. We disagree on many issues, but we also agree on many issues. And electing Harold Ford, Jr. to the United States Senate would be the biggest mistake Tennessee could ever make. Just look to his current Congressional District for evidence of that. I would refer you to a Memphis progressive Democrat, a Memphis libertarian Democrat, and a Memphis African-American Democrat for the substance of that. A vote for Junior is a vote for one of the most corrupt families in American politics and they will fleece this Nation as they have Memphis for the past three decades. As I tell my Republican friends not satisfied with Bob Corker and who look to vote for Junior as a protest, look at Independent Bo Heyward and vote for a strict Constitutional conservative instead.

So Bill is absolutely right, we as citizens need to shake things up in Washington. But let’s not run blindly into partisan politics and change one master for another. Research the candidates and vote for who you believe will best represent your interests, not because of the letter that follows their name. If that means Democrats are in charge next year, then that is okay if they have the citizens needs at heart and not their own or corporate interest as an agenda. And likewise if it is still a Republican Congress, let’s just make sure whoever we send is going there to serve us.


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4 Responses to “Answered Questions”

  1. John Farmer Says:
    October 16th, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    Darn, the guys on the Right call me a “lefty” and the guys on the Left call me an “extremist righty”. Reckon ya just can’t win some days :)

  2. Bill Larson Says:
    October 16th, 2006 at 2:33 pm
    Bill Larson

    “We will simply have to let the investigation progress to determine exactly what happened. If we are honest here, we have to concede that such scandals are not unique to any one Party. Yet, the Republican Party has cultivated the “image” of being the “family values” Party, and as such it is fair to hold it to a higher standard in such matters.”

    That translates to ignore it until after the election, and hope it goes away. Sorry I don’t want anyone who helped to cover this up being re-elected. They are a stain on our national honor. So we need this hashed out before the elections.

    “At any time this Nation has been at war”

    So we are at war?

      A declaration of war is a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation, and one or more others.

    War is a state of affairs between nations. Al-Qaeda is not a nation and never will be.

    This is no more a war then the War on poverty, the War on drugs, the War on homelessness, the War on Junk food in school. It’s a marketing gimmick. Americans are fighting and dying to give the military industrial complex a new cold war (PNAC), to justify billions of dollars of taxpayer money going to them. America wanted a peace dividend after the end of the cold war against communism, they couldn’t have that.

    “That is why our founders in their wisdom created three co-equal Branches of power.”

    That only works until one party controls all three branches and then abrogates their responsibilities in the name of party loyalty.

      The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. – THE FEDERALIST NO. 47, at 301 (James Madison)

    “The operation in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda was for the most part quite effective within limits.”

    That’s strange….

      Frist said Monday the war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and that he favored bringing “people who call themselves Taliban” into the government.

    Of course it can’t be won, we took our armies and our “coalition of the willing” and went off to play in Iraq.

    “As I mentioned in the first question, when this Nation is at war, it is common to give tools to the Executive in order to defend this Nation.”

    This comment I will parry with a little Ben Franklin…..

      Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755

    Ah on to free speech zones. Don’t try to change the subject. Neither Republicans or Democrats are totally innocent here. But I don’t play favorites when it comes to politics.

    http://www.amconmag.com/12_15_03/feature.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zone
    http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/08/04/hilden.freespeech/index.html

    or if video floats your boat a little better….

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3017881154843817240&q=free+speech+zones
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV1FvX0_m_E
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djSyn2ihMc8&eurl=

    “I’m not sure that has been demonstrated to be the case. If you are referring to the NSA surveillance program, it is designed to monitor communications originating outside the United States by our enemies. I should think that we certainly would want to do that.”

    Ah lets see :)

      For all of the reasons outlined above, this court is constrained to grant to Plaintiffs the Partial Summary Judgment requested, and holds that the TSP violates the APA(Administrative Procedures Act); the Separation of Powers doctrine; the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and the statutory law.

    and later in the same court order

      The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.

    Now lets look at FISA’s requirements….

      A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally:
      (1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute;

    By authorizing this illegal program multiple times George W. Bush, Jr is also guilty of multiple felonies punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both for each. We impeached Bill Clinton for lying under oath in a civil trial. Why is George W. Bush still in office?

    “the suspension of Habeas Corpus in times not permitted by the Constitution?”

      Again, I will refer readers to a post I did on this topic in detail. One of my first legislative efforts would be to amend HR 6166 to include the limitation that nothing in that bill could be applied to a United States citizen.

    That’s a good first step, a better would would guarantee constitutional protections for anyone who resides in the United States, or is under control of the American government, or the US Military anywhere in the world. This would include access to the federal court system.

    “the intertwining Christianity in Politics, in Government?”

      Now I’m old enough to remember that it was a Democratic President, Jimmy Carter who brought the concept of “born again” to the political lexicon. In recent history it has been the Republican Party that has used the model to greater effect. But Christianity has always been a part of American politics (read George Washington’s inaugural address). Where I have a problem is when Christianity is marketed and used for political gain, and we have seen a lot of that lately for sure. Also, this is a Nation of many faiths and the use of the political arena to exclude any one, or to promote one over another is simply unacceptable.

    Once again, just because the other party did it at some point in the past does not make it right now. But, I do agree with you on unacceptability of Christianity being used for political gain.

    the stripping of due process from anyone under the control of the American Government?”

      Nothing new here. Every war (including the Civil War) has seen the use of military courts to administer enemy combatants and unlawful actions against American citizens. Our Constitution guarantees “due process” to citizens or those within our boundaries, not enemies of the same. But again, we must remain vigilant to insure that the scope of such actions do not go beyond such limitations.

    It’s a violation of the constitution, plain and simple.

      “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” – Article One, section nine of the United States Constitution.

    Lets move on…

    “the President to declare someone guilty without a trial?”

      I must have missed that law somewhere.

    It’s called the Military Commissions Act of 2006…. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3932646316025517332

      Nothing could be less American than a government that can indefinitely hold people in secret torture cells, take away their protections against horrific and cruel abuse, put them on trial based on evidence that they cannot see, sentence them to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and then slam shut the courthouse door for any habeas petition, but that’s exactly what Congress just approved. – Christopher Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel

    On the rest of your responses, you say it’s not a partisan issue, and I would normally agree. But over the last 6 years the Republican party has had the control of both branches of Congress, and the Presidency. They could have taken action. They chose not to. If you win election, I hope you will consider changing things. We need someone looking out for the rest of us. Is you it? I don’t know. I leave that to the wisdom of the voters. I hope they will also consider all that has been said here when they go to the ballot box.

  3. John Farmer Says:
    October 16th, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    Whew…we could debate this one for a month or two. I don’t think we disagree, and my response was trying to give the reasoning behind certain aspects of your questions from the Republican point of view. If you read my reference posts beyond the post you will notice that we agree that there are aspects of recent legislation (including the Patriot Act) that I personally have a serious problem with. That is why I closed by saying that I would sponsor legislation to add a simple line to the Patriot Act, HR 6166 and surveillance legislation to the affect of “nothing in this legislation should be interpreted to apply to United States citizens contrary to the 1st and 4th Amendments of the United States Constitution”.

    I am perhaps more concerned about HR 6166 than by any other piece of legislation. I only hope we are not too late to deal with that one. I remember well the Gulf of Tonkin, Watergate, and other Executive abuses all too well.

    And about the War thing…some folks like to debate that point (although the effect is the same), but Al Qaeda declared war on us. I certainly hope we are treating it as a war, or we may be in for a rude awaking.

    Unfortunately due to the final moments of the campaign being upon us, I don’t have time to counterpoint your response. What I have found in life is that there are always multiple ways of looking at the same issue, all being legitimate to those who hold them. So looking at only one perspective only gives half the solution. Hopefully after this election cycle, Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, can come together to find a whole one.

  4. winawachika Says:
    October 17th, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    Donald, just found you through here, are you heading to Paducah? I’ll be there all weekend, was great to see you as always and I enjoyed your story. Always walk in beauty love and laughter. Barbie Harrison

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