Repetition and simplicity

First we had the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force.  A name only an accountant could love.  Now we have the Citizens for a Balanced Budget Amendment Convention.  Not much of an improvement.  Biddulph is looking for a new name, and I’m suggesting “One State, One Vote, One Amendment.”  It’s simple, and it makes a point.  We will make it the theme of the San Diego Summit, as in:

The San Diego Legislative Summit

July 25, 2015

One State, One Vote, One Amendment

I’m hoping for a big turnout.  We want presiding officers, but Majority Leaders, who have been designated as the representatives of presiding officers, would be fine as well.  If you’re in Mississippi, or New Jersey, or Minnesota it’s hot and humid in July.  San Diego has the best weather in the world, with lots of fun things to do.  Why not fly out with the spouse for an expense paid long weekend, and spend one day talking about a Convention that you may be leading a delegation to next year  — a Convention that will make history by proposing a supremely important Amendment to the Constitution?  Why wouldn’t you go?  I haven’t talked to any legislator who wasn’t interested.  We actually might get 26, or more.  Whatever we get, I’m betting the participants will be ready for Round Two, in Annapolis in December.

Rand Paul was not completely out of line in suggesting Republican hawks, like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, are partly responsible for the rise of ISIS.  He overstated his case, as he is wont to do, but he had a point.  It seems like he’s the only announced  Republican who learned from Bush’s disastrous mistakes in Iraq.  All the others who have declared don’t want to seem antiwar, or soft on Islamic Terror, or too hard on Bush.  But there are a whole lot of Republicans who think Iraq was a disaster.  FUBAR.  Paul, and no one else, is speaking for them.

Query:  why didn’t we declare war on Iraq when we invaded it?  I have no idea.  There must be a reason.  We didn’t declare war in Vietnam, or North Korea either.  Maybe we shouldn’t go to war unless Congress passes a Declaration of War.  It’s one of those crazy ideas that just might work.

We are not at war today.  We do not want war.  Anti-terrorism operations may resemble wars, but they’re not the same at all.  We’re not fighting a nation-state that controls and is sovereign over a certain territory.  We’re trying to kill a bunch of lunatics who are creating havoc around the world.  With modern intelligence gathering, and drones, and Special Forces, we have the tools to kill them.  We need to stay at it, as long as they’re around.  Find them and kill them.  Don’t capture and imprison them.  Just kill them.  Every day some of these sons of bitches need to die.  It should be a regular feature on the Nightly News.  Which ones of these bastards did we get today?

Oddly enough foreign policy could be a big factor in the Republican nomination.  We need a new foreign policy, one that’s grounded in non-interventionism.  George Washington told us to avoid the entangling alliances of Europe.  His advice is as good today as it was 218 years ago.  We stayed in Europe after WW2 to stop Communism.  We succeeded.  We’re still there to stop the Russians and Germans from going at each other again.  I say we tell the Germans we’ll give you four more years, then they’re on their own.  If they can’t put together an army, and a coalition, to deter the Russians that’s their problem, not ours.  I say sayonara to Europe in 2020, and South Korea as well.  We want allies, and naval and air stations, around the world.  We don’t want our soldiers as trip wires to war.

Here’s a political slogan for you.

Peace and Prosperity.

Chickens and eggs

If you have funding, you can have an event like the San Diego Article V Summit.  I’ve come to believe that if you have a Summit you will get funding.  We need money to reimburse legislators for their expenses.  I’ve been hesitant to promise this in the invitation.  What if a legislator makes plans, requests reimbursement, and we don’t have the money?

We will get this money, somehow, some way, so I want to make the promise.  It’s possible we could get the Montana Speaker and Senate President, plus their spouses.  This could cost close to $4,000.  But if they want to come, I’ll get the money in Montana, from Montanans for a Balanced Budget.  If we need money to get the leadership from South Dakota there, we’ll ask Hal Wick to raise it in South Dakota.  We’ll find some donor in every state we need to.  For all I know the donors may be lobbyists, it doesn’t matter.  Who wants the honor of paying the way for the Speaker and Senate President, and their spouses, of your state to go to beautiful San Diego and attend an extremely important meeting.  This would be a deposit in the favor bank, if you know what I mean.  So we will get the funding.  I feel a lot better.  This will work.  We could ask the NFIB lobbyist in each state to pass the hat to fund their state’s leadership.

Biddulph has a new toy, a 501(c) (3) called Citizens or a Balanced Budget Amendment Convention.  It’s used, going back to 2011.  He believes this will help raise money.  I hope he’s right.

I have a vengeful streak, and I will take great pleasure when we get to 34, and a Convention is called.  We will have done more for the Cause than anyone in the country, and we will have done it on a shoestring.  All these wizards, and geniuses, and deep, deep thinkers will have pissed away gazillions of dollars and will have accomplished squat.  We will do what the Founders expected us to do.  What they would have done.  What should have been done many years ago.  What the time we live in calls for.

Rand Paul stepped in it, blaming Republicans for ISIS.  Really dumb, and I read he’s having trouble raising money.  I don’t think Rand is ready for prime time.  Like Romney, and Bush, he’s got Daddy issues.  He wants to redeem the good name of his father.  That’s not a good reason to run for President.  He’ll stay in the Senate, where he belongs.  He’s a good man, and has a lot to offer.

I think of the nomination fight in terms of a steel cage death match, with all fifteen or so locked in together.  They’re all beating each other up, and as time goes by one after another will be ejected, leaving two standing, who will fight to the finish.

Who could pass up that opportunity?

Gerald Molen

He won an Academy Award for producing “Schindler’s List”, and has produced both of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentaries.  He’s been working with my friend Steve Gough on making a movie of Steve’s book, “Colter’s Run”.  Molen lives in Big Fork, Montana, and is a serious conservative.  I’ll be in Montana for most of July, and I’m going to visit him.

The most significant thing to come out of the San Diego Summit is the mini-documentary which will be filmed there.  That’s what I want to talk to Molen about.  “The Last Line of Defense  — Article V and the Restoration of Federalism” is one idea for a title.  We’ll come up with a better one.  The main line of argument in the film is that a 2016 Balanced Budget Amendment Convention is nothing to fear.  It won’t run away.  It will vote by state, propose one Amendment, and adjourn.  Nothing scary.  We’ll prove that with the words coming from the mouths of the men and women who will, in fact, be in charge of the Convention.

That’s why we’re having the Summit. We want to convince Andy Biggs and Bart Davis that they have nothing to worry about.  Hell, they’ll be at the Convention themselves  to make sure nothing goes wrong.  But the film will go out to the public as well.  It will be a twenty minute (?) introduction to Article V, and its place in our Constitutional system.  We’ll send cd’s of it to every Tea Party club in the country.  Once Kasich introduces the topic of an Article V BBA into the August 6th debate, a lot of people will wonder what the hell is Article V?  We’ll have a ready answer for them.

I don’t know how to do this.  Maybe between them Cuddy and Molen do.

Brad Bales of Faber’s office called.  We’re having a cc with the Senator Monday morning.  I really need to have someone in Faber’s office I can work with on this.  Maybe it will be Brad.  A lot of decisions need to be made, soon.  The invite needs to go out, the agenda set, the filming organized  — and we need a couple hundred thousand dollars.  Or a hundred, depending on how many scholarships we hand out.

There’s a reason Ohio is the birthplace of Presidents.  It’s a cross between Massachusetts and Virginia, and the two great competing American political traditions  — Puritanism and libertarianism.  As a hybrid, Ohio is a natural compromise between North and South.  Its culture, and it’s politicians, are in the middle, between the two.  This has been true for 165 years, since the election of William Henry Harrison, the first of eight Ohioans to hold the office.

Some things don’t change.

Sunnis and Shias, all over the world

We care about the Middle East because of oil, and Israel.

In the middle of WW2  Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes wrote a column called, “We’re running out of oil.”  The U.S. produced 90% of the oil used by the Allies.  That oil won the war, but it couldn’t be sustained.  So in 1943 Ickes sent the best oil man in the country, Everette DeGolyer, to the Persian Gulf to size up its potential.  The report:  “The oil in this region is the single greatest prize in all history.”  We’ve been messing in the region ever since.  We wanted the oil, and we didn’t want anyone else to get it.

The oil’s still there, but we don’t need it any more.  Other people do, but not us.  We won’t fight a war for it.  Been there, done that.  Let the Chinese and the Germans go fight ISIS, or whatever the hell they want to do.  It’s not our problem.

But what if ISIS gets a bomb and smuggles it into the U.S.?  But what is the likelihood of that, if we have, essentially, withdrawn from the whole region?  Why would they bomb us, and bring the wrath of God down on themselves?  The more we mess in the Middle East, the more likely these crazy bastards are to do something like that.  Get the hell out, and do whatever we can to secure Israel   — short of sending troops.  That we should not do.

The 20th and 21st centuries are The Hydrocarbon Age, and geopolitics is oil politics.  Fracking revolutionized geopolitics by making the U.S. not only energy independent, but an energy exporter once again.  Together, fracking and the fall of Communism have made NATO a Cold War artifact.

The 1952 Republican Presidential primary between Eisenhower and Robert A. Taft was all about NATO, which Taft opposed.  He was a non-interventionist who was labeled an isolationist.  Taft was responsible for Taft-Hartley, which eventually led to the resurgence of the Republican Party.  He opposed internment of the Japanese in WW2.  But Wall Street Eisenhower beat Main Street Taft, and the American people chose to continue the global war against Communism.  Now Communism is gone, and the rationale for NATO went with it.

The Germans decided to fight the Russians a hundred years ago, and we got into two World Wars, in part, to stop them.  Now the Russians may want to take on the Germans, and we’ve committed ourselves to intervene on behalf of the Germans.  To hell with that.  If the Russians and Germans really want to go at it again, that’s their business.  Is anyone really worried about the Red Army going back to Berlin?  Do we want American soldiers to die to prevent that?  No, it’s bullshit.  The American people won’t go to war in Europe again.  That’s so 20th Century.  That’s a political reality.  Basing your foreign policy on a threat of war that no serious person believes is ridiculous.  We’re not going to war, and we may as well admit it, and deal with the consequences.

Right now the Middle East is a bloodbath, and will be for a long time.  Innocents are dying every day.  Christians and other minorities are persecuted, even slaughtered.  No one knows how it will all turn out.  But there are innocents dying all over the world.  Christians are being persecuted, and killed, in Africa.  Tribal and ethnic conflict abound across the globe.  Humanitarian missions are possible here and there, on a selective basis.  But war with ISIS is the wrong selection.  The Shias who will actually fight ISIS are as crazy as they are.

You can hear the drums of war.  Lindsey Graham is the prime war drummer, but there are others.  Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and others are talking all macho.  That’s what you do when you want  Sheldon Adelson’s money.  It’s conceivable that war in the Middle East will be a defining issue in the Republican nomination fight.  Rand Paul has staked out a clear antiwar position.  Who will join him there?

Does Robert A. Taft have a political heir?

Article V, The Movie

David Cuddy, my old friend from Alaska, has agreed to film and edit a mini-documentary on the San Diego Summit.  We’ll fly out and house his camera man, and he’ll do the rest.  I have a strong feeling that once David gets his toes wet he’ll want to become more involved.  This whole business is very much his cup of tea.

We’ll probably have 10-15 hours of raw footage.  The actual meetings of the Summit, plus interviews with all the attendees.  The one shot I want above all others is the signing ceremony.  There should be agreement on a Resolution, which each attendee will sign, in front of all the others.  Not exactly “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”  Just “our word.”

I don’t know how long we want to make it.  Maybe a five minute and a twenty minute version.  I don’t know.  I’ve never done this.  Cuddy has made movies, so he’ll have some ideas.  There will need to be a spoken introduction.  I’m volunteering for that.  I don’t intend to be on camera, only my voice.  A short description of Article V, and how it relates to where we are today.  And, at various points, an explanation of the Summit  — what it is and what it is designed to do.

This is exciting stuff, to me.  All new.  And it should help with turnout.  Politicians like being seen in something like this.  There’d be something wrong with them if they didn’t.

Why do we have an army?  According to the Pentagon, it’s to:

1)  Deter attack

2)  Strengthen global defense alliances

3)  Preclude any “hostile” power from dominating a region “critical to our interests” and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the reemergence of a global threat to the “interests” of the United States and our allies.

What are our “interests”?  Oil used to be one.  It’s not any more.  Thank you, George Mitchell and Harold Hamm.  Freedom of the seas, and of the skies, is an important national interest, one worth fighting for.  No one is going to coop us up in the Western Hemisphere.  What else?  What can’t we do without?  Strategically, what is there, outside our borders, that we are willing to fight a war for?   Israel, maybe Great Britain and the Anglosphere.  Mexico and Canada for sure.  That’s about it, as far as I’m concerned.  We shouldn’t fight for the Germans or the Japanese or the Koreans.  They’re all perfectly capable of fighting for themselves.  In spades, if they have to.  We speak from experience.

Do we need an Army to defend North America?  Really?  From the Canadians, or the Mexicans?  It’s ridiculous to even think about.  Army Rangers and the 82nd Airborne, my Uncle Fritz’s outfit, can handle the borders.

I’ve been a flag waving son of a bitch my whole life.  I have been bamboozled into supporting two unnecessary wars in my lifetime, Vietnam and Iraq.  I’ve finally learned that being antiwar and pro-American can be one and the same thing.

What took me so long to figure that out?