Ohio Primary on March 15, 2016: Buckeye RINO endorses Kasich and Sanders in GOP and Democrat prez races

The heyday of this blog was a few years ago when I had my hands less full of things to do, thus more time to write.  I don’t post new blog articles as much as I used to.  Imagine my surprise to see that my blog traffic is actually on the rise despite my relative silence.  I guess people are really, really, really interested in the elections this cycle.  When I look to see what is driving traffic to Buckeye RINO, I see people are digging up my endorsements in past election cycles, particularly in races lower on the ballot than the race for POTUS.  I’m sorry all you readers who came to Buckeye RINO only to find news about years past and very little about this year.

For this primary election, the only local endorsement I’ll make is that I support Michele Silva Arredondo for Lorain County Common Pleas Court judge on the GOP ballot.  I’ll remain silent on all the other local and state races.

In the GOP race for POTUS, I endorse John Kasich, and in the Democrat race, I endorse Bernie Sanders.

I’ve been hesistant to endorse a GOP candidate for U.S. President.  In a blog article much earlier on in this election cycle, I chronicled how no candidate in either party excited me, and this is still the case.  It seemed to me, on the GOP side, that as soon as I pick a favorite, my favorite drops out and then I have to search out another favorite, so I hope my endorsement, at this date, is not the kiss of death for John Kasich.  For a while, I favored Bobby Jindal, then Rand Paul, then Carly Fiorina, then Ben Carson.  Each has exited the stage.

I’ve had some beefs with Kasich.  If you dig through Buckeye RINO, you’ll see some of my criticisms.  But when I reflect upon my biggest disagreements with Kasich as governor, a number of those disagreements are about education.  Education is a big issue when one is governor, but there are bigger fish to fry as President of the United States, one of which is the national debt that has our nation perched atop a crumbling economic precipice.  Kasich balances budgets.  Yes, it took government shutdowns during the Clinton administration to force the White House to accept the budgets, but it stuck.  Ted Cruz has caused government shutdowns in the name of good fiscal policy, too, but Cruz doesn’t know how to remain friends within his own caucus.  With Kasich’s government shutdowns, his colleagues were still his friends, which means that Kasich is better poised to identify a Congressional coalition that will help him govern as U.S. President.

Cruz actually made me angry when his staff pulled a stunt during the Iowa caucuses claiming that Ben Carson was dropping out.  Cruz operatives apparently pulled the same stunt this past Tuesday in Hawaii at the expense of Marco Rubio.  In these and other instances of dirty tricks, Cruz was very lawyerly in defending his campaign.  How Clintonesque.  What a turnoff.

See the little search window at the top of the left sidebar on Buckeye RINO?  If you type in the search term “gambling,” you’ll see that I despise gambling.  Trump, being the casino tycoon that he is, wasn’t likely to get my nod for nominee, anyway.  Also, I have decried religious intolerance before, so when both Cruz and Trump harp on and on against Muslims, they are not winning any points with me.  As for the flap about Trump somehow being in cahoots with the KKK, I think that’s all manufactured by the desperate.  I fail to see past Trump conduct that fits with this seemingly manufactured narrative.  If I see conduct from Trump in the future that smacks of racism, I’d be happy to call it out, but I fail to see such a pattern thus far.

Marco Rubio has revealed himself to be a candidate of the donor class, not a candidate of the grassroots.

Having said all of that, in November, I’ll vote for any of the Republicans over Hillary Clinton, should she be the Democrat nominee.

Democrat voters in 2008 made the right decision in nominating Barack Obama, notwithstanding I voted against him in November of 2008 and 2012.  Yes, I disagree with much (but not all) that our current POTUS has done and is trying to do.  Some have said he’s the worst president in history, but I’d have to disagree.  There’ve been worse.  Hillary Clinton, had she won it all in 2008, would have been worse.  Bernie Sanders would be a far more ethical, far less corrupt president than Hillary Clinton would.

DOJ politicized under Obama?  You bet.  IRS politicized under Obama?  You bet.  But while Obama claimed that the IRS was a phony scandal perpetrated by a bad actor or two with no connection to the White House, I could easily envision an emboldened President Hillary Clinton issuing a charge to the DOJ and the IRS to take down the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that menaces her and the country (or at least menaces her plans for the country).  With Obama, there’s denial.  With Clinton, she’d be justifying it.

One may wonder:  How can a right-of-center blogger favor Obama and Sanders over Clinton when they are further to the political left than Clinton?  My reply would be that I sense that Hillary is capable of far more heinous treachery.  U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is further to the left of Clinton, too, but if I had a choice between Warren and Clinton, I’d take Warren.  As for Sanders’ socialism, I would just note that the political pendulum swings back and forth.  Socialism won’t take firm root before it is out of vogue again.  In the meantime, Sanders is more honest than our current president, more honest than many of the GOP candidates, and far more honest than Clinton.  We could use some cleaning up of Beltway ethics, and I think Sanders could deliver on that front.  Depending on the GOP nominee, there is a possibility I could vote for Sanders in November if he were the Democrat nominee.  It depends on how dirty politics looks by then and how squeaky-clean Sanders looks by comparison when election time draws near.

A Sanders presidency may clean up corruption, whereas a Clinton presidency will maintain the status quo, letting the corruption continue.  You can see it in the New Hampshire Democrat primary exit poll data that showed that it is the privileged Democrats who will benefit from a Clinton presidency.  The only group of Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire were those who thought the country was headed in the right direction, who were not worried about the economy, who had not felt betrayed by their government or their political party, and whose annual income exceeded $200,000.  Voters in subsequent primaries and caucuses should take note:  If you are unhappy with the way things are right now, Hillary is not your candidate.  She is there to do the bidding of the privileged Democrats who donate to her: Maintain the status quo.  These privileged Clinton Democrats don’t have much in common, demographically, with the rest of the Democrat Party.  The Clinton Democrats are the ones who pull all the levers within the party machine (hence the “superdelegates”), they often have prestigious titles working in America’s universities, liberal think tanks, non-profit organizations, and crony-capitalist businesses such as those on Wall Street.  These people, if they get in trouble, they get bailed out.  That’s who Clinton represents.  If that description doesn’t fit you, then you have no business voting for her. Clinton and some media types have said what a wonderful thing the Democrat primary race where voters have two good choices and the candidates see eye-to-eye on most issues.  This is a lie.  The difference between who Sanders is and what he represents and who Clinton is and what she represents is huge.  To me, it is the difference between broad sunlight (Sanders) and a dark alley (Clinton).

When I was a young boy (3rd grade), my career ambition was to be a U.S. Ambassador to France.  With that thought in mind, I majored in international studies at Ohio State.  Nowadays, my field of specialty is teaching English to speakers of other languages.  When I contemplate the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with the deaths of three others at the hands of terrorists, it gives me chills.  The terrorists acted upon information.  For all I know, the information the terrorists acted upon came from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for she did not safeguard top-secret information, including information about U.S. assets and personnel abroad.  Looking at events leading up to those deaths–where it seems that security vulnerabilities were deliberately overlooked–and looking at events unfold after mischief was clearly afoot in Benghazi–where it seems that the opportunity to evacuate was doable but somehow deliberately nixed–I can only arrive at the conclusion that Stevens’ death was the desired outcome.  Was he a man who knew too much?  Even if his death were merely due to Clinton’s negligence, rather than malfeasance, it is still too much for me to stomach.  If I were a U.S. Ambassador to anywhere, I’d want the U.S. government to have my back.

Hillary Clinton tried to rig the elections in 2008, but Barack Obama outsmarted her.  She has outdone herself this time around, with nearly every superdelegate handpicked for their loyalty to her.  The election on the Democrat side is rigged.  Only rank-and-flle Democrat voters have the power to throw a monkey wrench into her machine, and I hope they’ll do just that.

As for a brokered GOP convention, I do not favor the pandemonium that Mitt Romney seems to invite.  If Trump has the delegates, then he’s the nominee.  If Trump goes on to lose the election, then the establishment can engage in party-building after that (and get in touch with the grassroots) and make a push for redemption.  If Trump goes on to win the election and the establishment still cannot make amends with him and thus will not allow him to be their standard-bearer going forward, then found a new political party and recruit elected Republican legislators across the country to switch to this new party starting in January.  If this new party succeeds well enough at this recruitment, it could conceivably enact laws in many states that would grant major-party status to their new creation.  If we’re to have a falling out, let’s have it then, after January, in the broad light of day.  Make new rules then.  Don’t bend and break rules midstream this July in some smoke-filled convention backroom to thwart a vast array of voters.

I hope that Ohio will do the right thing.  Kasich for the Republicans.  Sanders for the Democrats.  Make November a sweeter pill to swallow.

Is a “natural born” citizen the same thing as a citizen “naturalized at birth?” If not, Ted Cruz is in trouble.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was born in Canada to an American-born mother and a Cuban-born father.  That Senator Cruz is an American citizen from his birth is not a question posed here.  He was a citizen at birth . . . period.

Senator Cruz is now seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in this 2016 election cycle.  Another Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has called into question whether Senator Cruz, under the US Constitution, is eligible to be President.  Trump warned that if Cruz is not eligible, the Republican Party would find itself in an awkward situation if Cruz were the nominee.

The US Constitution, approximately midway through Section 1, of Article II, spells out the eligibility of presidential candidates:

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

The US Constitution, just by itself, in isolation from acts of Congress, confers citizenship to those born on U.S. soil.  For those who may be citizens at birth not born on U.S. soil, one must look to the acts of Congress.  Citizenship by parentage was not an issue tackled until the Naturalization Act of 1790, three years after the ratification of the US Constitution.  See where this is headed?  At the time of the writing of the US Constitution, citizenship by location of birth was fairly well defined.  Birth citizenship through a parent or parents off of U.S. soil was an open question not yet taken up.  Congress, not the Constitution, bestowed Ted Cruz with citizenship at birth.  The 14th Amendment to the Constitution expanded upon who was to be enumerated as a citizen, but that amendment has little to no bearing upon the case of Ted Cruz.

The following passage is excerpted from the Naturalization Act of 1790:

“And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States [ . . . ]”

Clearly, Senator Cruz is a citizen of the United States based upon this statute.  His Cuban-born father did reside in the United States for a few years in advance of Ted Cruz’s birth in Canada.  The phrase within the statute that reads “shall be considered as natural born citizens” seems to settle the matter of Ted Cruz’s eligibility to become POTUS, does it not?

Or does it?

The use of the helping verb “shall” is binding upon the government, so that bodes well for Cruz, along with the phrase “natural born.”

But why say “shall be considered as” rather than “are?”  If the statute were to read, “And the children of citizens of the United States . . . are natural born citizens,” then no question would remain about Cruz’s eligibility.  But “shall be considered as” might signify that a person in such circumstances is naturalized at birth, not needing to follow the same processes of naturalization that others born off of U.S. soil must go through, but it still falls under the auspices of naturalization law.  Does this statute create a “naturalized at birth” citizen separate from a “natural born” citizen, with the one being “considered as” the other?  Is there a distinction there?  Or does “shall be considered as” equal to “are,” relegating the concept of “naturalized at birth,” in an instance such as this, to mythology?

Clearly, Ted Cruz is convinced that there is no “naturalized at birth” in play concerning his own citizenship.  Donald Trump isn’t convinced otherwise, it’s just that, as he pointed out, questions might be raised.  Any other time this question might have been put to the test in our presidential races, it never was.  Those who might have come under questioning were never the eventual nominees of the major parties, anyway.  Ted Cruz, however, stands a chance to be the Republican nominee.  Though no caucuses have been conducted and no primary election votes counted, the two frontrunners of the GOP appear to be Trump and Cruz. The other GOP candidates appear to be trailing badly.

Trump’s question, in a backhanded way, could be taken as a compliment, for Trump is implicitly acknowledging that Cruz could become the party’s nominee.  Aside from posing the question, Trump has always asserted that he, himself would be the nominee.  But if Cruz does become the nominee, I think Donald Trump is absolutely right that the question over natural born citizenship will loom much larger than the so-called “birther” issue that tried to nip at Obama’s heels.

You may have heard Democrats that have openly expressed a desire for either Trump or Cruz to be the GOP nominee.  Why?  Because they think the election of the Democrat nominee to the presidency is a slam dunk if one of those two happens to be the GOP nominee.  What if the Democrats get what they wished for in a GOP nominee, but the general election picture appears to be much less of a slam dunk?  What if the Democrat nominee is not faring well and the prospect of a President Trump or a President Cruz is becoming a very real one?  Will the Democrats pull out all the stops?  Will they seize at any straw they can?  Of course, they will.  If Ted Cruz is the nominee, and the matter of his eligibility has not been settled definitively, the GOP may have a real mess on its hands because if the Democrats are not faring well, they will seize at that straw.  That’s all Donald Trump is pointing out.

I believe that, if Cruz is nominated and stands a real chance of winning the general election, the Democrats will seize upon this, and it won’t be resolved until after Election Day.  If the Democrat nominee wins, then the question goes by the wayside.  If Cruz wins, I think his inauguration in January will be hijacked by the Democrats and hauled into the courts.  I think they will seek a court injunction barring Cruz from taking office until after the question is settled in court.  If the Democrats’ injunction is granted and, under that scenario, if Cruz wins in court, then how many months will it take to do so?  When would Cruz be allowed to take office?  Who would be acting as POTUS until that point in time?

What if Cruz loses such a suit months after winning an election?  Do we reconvene the electoral college with another GOP nominee?  Does the VP candidate, who won just as many electoral votes as Cruz, the winning presidential nominee, get to take office as POTUS?  Would the electoral votes have to be vacated, leaving no nominee with a majority of electoral votes, and then get decided in the U.S. House of Representatives?  Or, scarier still, does the electoral college reconvene without a GOP nominee?  I think it’s the scarier scenario that would prevail.  Alternate Republican hopefuls will be bombarding electors with sales pitches while Cruz’s case drags through court.  But unless GOP electors uniformly embrace the VP nominee, I think the electoral college vote would be a mishmash, perhaps landing the decision in the US House, or perhaps by flipping the majority of electors over to the Democrat nominee.

If you are a staunch Cruz supporter, steel yourself, because emerging victorious will likely be a rougher ride than you’d ever imagined.

2016 POTUS race is like cable or satellite TV: so many options, but nothing that’s interesting

Yeah, the ratings for the Republican presidential campaign debates are through the roof.  Yeah, there are lots of choices this time around–and that’s a good thing.  That being said, I’m getting frustrated that I can’t identify a candidate I’m excited about.  I had a favorable opinion of Bobby Jindal based on how much less corrupt Louisiana state government is than it was before he took office.  A record of reform is appealing to me.  Jindal, however, is one of four GOP candidates who have dropped out of the race.  Lindsey Graham dropped out very recently.  Further back, Rick Perry dropped out.  Scott Walker was the first to drop out (which made total sense to me).  On the Democrat side (not that anybody across the aisle interests me), Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee have dropped out.  That still leaves 13 Republicans and 3 Democrats in the running:

To get an idea of the lay of the land, I’ve listed the candidates top to bottom in each party to approximate recent polling data (not an exact science to be sure).  I’ve linked each name in that list to the corresponding official campaign webpage.  Go ahead and click on the links.  See if anybody excites you.

Let me list some of the grievances that cause me to cross candidates off my list of preferences:

  • Crony capitalism?  Support for bailouts?  Ties to the gambling industry?  Ties to businesses “too big to fail?”  Pay-to-play politics?  Manipulate markets through artificial means to predetermine winners and losers of your own choosing?  More beholden to campaign donors than to voters?  Sorry, not for me.  Oops!  I just shoveled a bunch of people off my list already!
  • Isolationism?  Reluctant to propel our nation to lead the world?  Fearful of increasing legal immigration?  Hey, wake up!  People are watching us all around the world.  I am mindful of that.  We cannot have leaders that bury their heads in the sand.
  • Dishonesty?  Trying to be enigmatic about policy positions?  Talking out of both sides of your mouth?  Unwilling to be held accountable?  Holding double-standards?  Dodging culpability through legal technicalities and obfuscation?  Lacking integrity?  (I’m looking at you, Hillary Clinton.  This is why you’d be the last person I’d vote for of either party.)
  • Lack of leadership?  No executive experience?  Unable to rally people to your cause?  Unable to form coalitions?  Unwilling to negotiate with those on the other side of the political aisle?  A lone voice in the wilderness that no one cares to listen to?  Ineffective administrator?  Constantly making excuses for poor performance?  The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing?  Take credit for the good but pass blame for the bad?  The buck doesn’t stop at your desk?  There are places in society for such people.  They can be bloggers, just like me.  And, just like me, they shouldn’t be POTUS.
  • In trouble with the law?  Domestic violence?  Sexual harassment?  Driving while intoxicated?  Use of recreational drugs?  Evaded taxes?  Commingled personal funds with business funds, campaign funds, NGO funds, or government funds?  Hired a domestic that was not eligible to work in the United States?  Steered contracts for bribes and kickbacks?  Hid information from FOIA requests that the public has a right to know about?  Does a life of privilege protect you from reaping legal consequences that would ordinarily befall someone in less-priveleged circumstances?  No one should be exempt from the law.
  • Utopianism?  Should free markets go the way of the dinosaur?  In the interests of economic egalitarianism in pursuit of a classless society through destratification, should our society and economy be centrally planned by a benevolent federal government comprised of the best thinkers within the ivory tower?  Do we need to be saved from ourselves?  Are we citizens irrationally prone to vote against our own best interests?  Should the interests of the betterment of society trump the ambitions of individuals?  Wouldn’t equality guarantee happiness for everyone?  Well, I don’t call myself Buckeye RINO because I am okay with being herded like cattle.
  • Constitution allergy?  Is the U.S. Constitution inconvenient?  Should speech, religion, the press, and peaceable assembly be regulated?  Should firearm ownership be confined to on-duty law enforcement and military personnel?  Is the whole population comprised of suspects, thus seeking warrants just bothersome red tape?  Do the checks and balances of the U.S. Constitution intrude on the branches of government to the point that each branch needs work-arounds to circumvent the checks and balances?  Are the people too subversive to be sovereign?  Is it too hard to declare war before engaging in acts of war?  Is due process too much to expect when the government has an interest in seizing private property?  Shouldn’t the Senate have the same right of introducing an appropriations bill as does the House?  Should special interest groups be delegated the responsibility of writing the legislation that gets introduced in Congress?  If any act of Congress, on its face, is unenforceable, should the executive branch be given carte blanche to add whatever administrative code to it deemed necessary to make it enforceable?  Should the new loophole of regarding the U.S. Constitution as a “living document” render the Constitution malleable to the point at which it means whatever it is expedient to say it means at any given point in time?  Should any U.S. District Court judge be permitted to strike down the laws of any state, or institute new state laws, based upon the federal government’s interests and the federal government’s notions of political correctness?  Is holding on to power, whether for incumbents, the federal government as a whole, the two major political parties, businesses “too big to fail,” or government bureaucracies (like the IRS, the Federal Reserve Board, the Bureau of Land Management, the DEA, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, ICE, the FEC, the EPA, etc.) so imperative that the sovereign people, the 50 states, and the U.S. Constitution must ultimately be subjugated?  I cannot abide politicians who act in this manner, and maybe that’s why GOP voters have been driven toward non-politicians early on in this election cycle.

I already eliminated all the presidential candidates based on these 7 bulletpoints.  Now what?  Choose the least of the evils?  In that case, I find myself being pushed toward Rand Paul, for the 7th bulletpoint trumps them all.  I don’t think of Rand Paul as a leader.  I have no data from which I can extrapolate what kind of administrator he would be.  Libertarians often outsource the work of government because the government is deemed too inefficient.  I am not libertarian.  I think many functions of government should be kept in-house.  Ideally, there’d be a chain of command within government that would hold bureaucracies accountable to the chief executive and responsive to the people, thus a political leader should reform government agencies and lead them to greater efficiency.  I don’t agree with many tenets of libertarianism, legalization of recreational drugs being just one example of what I oppose.  I worry that a libertarian running the government would be like steering a rudderless ship, for I think that libertarianism aspires to such an extreme of individualism that it interferes with a sense of community.  I think having a sense of community is the essence of good government that rules by the consent of the governed.  I think Rand Paul is isolationist.  In foreign policy, I fear a President Rand Paul would project weakness.  I fear that the U.S. would step aside as world leader, and that, in turn, would leave a vacuum that Russia or China or many other nations would like to fill.  I must admit that I believe in American exceptionalism.  I think we have the best nation on the planet, and I wish that other nations would emulate ours at least to the extent that their respective constitutions grant liberties to their respective populations that are equal to our own Bill of Rights.

What scares me about so many other candidates is that they want to sound so tough on the homeland security front that they are willing to part with key provisions of the Bill of Rights, whether it’s gun control, the tendency to attempt to muzzle the media in the face of criticism (or script, in advance, the messages delivered by the media), and a barely concealed animosity toward religion on the left; or treating all citizens as suspects on the right.  Have you heard the GOP candidates’ stances on encryption?  They are chilling.  I believe the freedom of speech includes choosing who is and who is not the audience of any given communication.  This blog is unencrypted because I hope for a wide audience for the views I state here.  But if I’m talking about a sensitive personal matter, I want to communicate in complete privacy only to a specific audience of my choosing.  Unfortunately, the national security hawks want every civilian communication to be a public one with plenty of ways to eavesdrop at their disposal.  I never liked the so-called Patriot Act for its infringement of 4th Amendment provisions regarding warrants, or should I say the granting of policing power with either no warrants or issuance of secret warrants, thus circumventing the constitutional checks and balances upon policing power.  The result is an arrangement that makes the government opaque to the people and the people transparent to the government.  I think the people of this nation need to put terrorist acts in perspective.  What is the ratio of terrorist-on-American crime with respect to American-on-American crime?  Remember the chorus on the right side of the aisle that responded to prominent white-on-black criminal cases with the knee-jerk reaction of “What about black-on-black crime?”  The casualties from terrorist-on-American crime are much fewer than non-terrorist-on-American crime.  I suggest we not throw away our constitutional rights over this.  Chris Christie said he puts national security first because, for hours after the attacks on the World Trade Center, he didn’t know what had become of his wife.  Along that same line of reasoning, if someone close to Chris Christie, heaven forbid, should be threatened by a firearm, would that make it okay, in his mind, to rescind the 2nd Amendment?  I think the 2nd Amendment is one way to ensure that terrorists will never take control of our nation.  Do you remember a time when military coups were ubiquitous across the Third World?  In those nations, the people lacked the arms that governments and military insurgents had.  What purpose do assault weapons serve in the hands of a free people?  Some of the answers to that question are that we maintain a civilian-controlled military, that we deter foreign invasion, and that we prevent the formation of a totalitarian state (or that we have the power to overthrow a totalitarian state, heaven forbid).  I offered Chris Christie’s position as an example of the candidates’ rhetoric on national security, but he really shouldn’t be singled out, for candidates at the bottom of the polls, like Jim Gilmore and Martin O’Malley, all the way to the top of the polls, like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, envision a security state that must take precedence over constitutional liberties.

For the time being, I suppose I am cornered into the Rand Paul camp, and I don’t like it.  I’m not a happy camper.  I’m hoping candidates whose leadership skills I admire will come to their senses and take the side of the US Constitution.  Barring that, watching this race unfold is like channel surfing and finding nothing intriguing on TV.

Death sentence warranted for murderers when the killings continue in prison

I understand the well-intended notion that the government should not be in the business of executing people, but I cannot fully subscribe to it.  For murderers who have already been sentenced to life in prison, they deserve a death sentence if incarceration doesn’t stop them from continuing to murder.

I agree that it would be a travesty if the state executed a person who should never have been found guilty.  Despite the fact that jury verdicts must be unanimous, I believe that juries are not infallible in determining guilt.  This is part of the reason why I believe that executions should be rare, for slam-dunks are rare.  Juries may deliberate for hours and hours before rendering a verdict. When that much deliberation is needed, it would seem to suggest that the jury is doing more than just meticulously reviewing the evidence, for it would seem to suggest that there was a difference of opinion about guilt that had to be reconciled.  If such were the case, I would tend to think that such a case would not have been a good candidate for capital punishment.

I have heard the arguments and seen the numbers that appear to demonstrate that the death sentence is ineffective as a deterrent.  Personally, I am in general agreement with the sentiment that executions do not lead to lower murder rates, thus I do believe that executions are poor deterrents with one exception: An execution does deter the executed murderer from murdering ever again.

Supposedly, when a murderer receives a life sentence, where we “lock them up and throw away the key,” it is to remove that murderer from society so that the person lacks the capacity to murder again.  I read the story of a recent prison killing in California that reminds me that such life sentences are not foolproof.  What should be done with the prisoner already serving a life sentence who commits murder again while behind bars, and the evidence of guilt is incontrovertible?  Death is the appropriate sentence.

In this California case, the murder victim, himself, should have, himself, been executed a long time ago.  Perhaps the prisoners who killed him felt that they had to resort to being vigilantes in order to do the job that the state had not done.  Whether the killing was justifiable or not is a matter for a jury to decide.  Investigate and put the killers on trial.  If any convicted murderer is convicted once more in this case, death is the appropriate sentence.  Nonetheless, it was a mistake for the state to have let this murder victim live for so many years behind bars. Pinell was given a life sentence for rape in 1965.  He killed a guard at the Soledad prison in 1971 and received a second life sentence.  He slit the throats of two prison guards (who survived the attacks) in an attempt to escape the San Quentin prison in 1971 and was given a third life sentence.  If he had killed a fellow inmate while serving out his sentence for rape, perhaps some mitigating factor would have resulted in a manslaughter charge rather than a murder charge.  I find it hard to believe that Pinell’s killing of a prison guard falls short of murder.  I think it would have been appropriate to sentence him to death for that offense even though his prior conviction wasn’t for murder.  Slicing the throats of the two guards in the escape attempt were clearly two counts of attempted murder, so 2 life sentences were not deterring Pinell from committing murder, notwithstanding the guards’ survivals.  Even if he didn’t receive death for the murder of the Soledad guard, he should have been sentenced to death for the attempted murders of the San Quentin guards.  Why wouldn’t California be more protective of the lives of its prison guards?  Three life sentences make no sense.  Death makes sense. Might lesser sentences invite future prison riots?  These capital crimes were committed in 1971.  It is now 2015.  Pinell’s execution should have been in the rear-view mirror long before now.

Fox News being selfish in only allowing 3 hours for first GOP debates scheduled for Aug. 6, 2015

Sound bites from the people that matter (the candidates for the GOP nomination for the 2016 presidential election) and hours of hashing and rehashing the sound bites from the people that don’t matter (media pundits): That is what we have to look forward to in the wake of the first GOP presidential candidate debates. This imbalance is the essence of my complaint.

The first GOP debates of the 2016 presidential campaign season will be held on Fox News on August 6,2015.  Seventeen candidates are eligible to participate in one of two debates that evening.  Originally, just one debate during two hours of primetime was scheduled to start at 9 PM Eastern Time.  That primetime debate would only have allowed for the top 10 candidates in the polls to be on stage.  Because of backlash, Fox News has announced an additional hour of debate for the remaining 7 candidates that starts at 5 pm Eastern Time, so all the major GOP candidates get some time on-camera.

But let’s put things into perspective.  Are these debates going to use all 180 minutes of those time slots on these debates?  Or will their be commercial breaks?  Or, at the least, station breaks?  Even if they air the debates nonstop without interruption, three hours does not seem to be much time considering that Fox News is on the air 24/7.  A candidate would be really lucky to total more than 10 minutes of speaking time during these debates.  How much can you really learn about a candidate’s platform in 10 minutes, especially if the moderator is steering conversation away from the message a candidate wants to emphasize?  With such a short timeframe to work with, a moderator has to be very selective about what issues to raise and responses to elicit.  Viewers will not get a chance to learn the depth and breadth of each candidacy.  Therefore, there will be too little information revealed to make apples to apples comparisons between candidates’ competing visions.

24-hour news networks can be boring to follow over the course of a day because so much information is repeated ad nauseum.  The debates will provide a welcome break from that.  Why not pre-empt all of the regularly scheduled programming that evening to give us a solid block of time to hear all the candidates more in-depth in a round robin that puts them all on stage at once?  After all, this is the debut.

A debut means that it is a special occasion that comes around only once every four years, so why the stinginess on time?  At any other time of the campaign season, people will have already dropped out–people who might have been worthy of further consideration, had they only been given a chance to have their say. One of the reasons that the freedom of the press is encoded into our U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights is so that we can access information about these very important political matters.  TV news outlets should exist for stuff such as this.

I say, start the cameras rolling at 4 pm and keep them rolling until midnight.  Yes, that’s a full eight-hour work shift during which the candidates need to remain engaged, but the work of the President of the United States is far more grueling than that, thus it should be no big deal.  Yeah, people need to eat and people need to use the bathroom during eight hours, so seat the candidates at long tables that will allow them to be served some dinner.  Since only one person can talk at a time anyway, there should be plenty of time for the other sixteen candidates to swallow a few bites and take a few swigs of their drinks as they listen in.  The candidates, of course, would need to be cued when they are on-deck so that they are free to speak without food in their mouths when it becomes their turn.  The candidates can grab restroom breaks during commercials.  While food is being served, the debate format can be Q & A between moderator and candidate, with each taking a turn.  After the food has been cleared away, the debate between candidates can begin in earnest, wherein candidates can challenge each other’s positions with much less input from the moderator.  At that point, the moderator would merely play traffic cop by identifying which speaker has the floor at any given point so that candidates do not talk over each other.

Who is going is going to watch an eight-hour debate in its entirety besides die-hard political junkies, you ask?  Never fear, for, in the weeks following, the pundits will all pile on to rehash what was said.  Therefore, if you only caught pieces of the debate, you are sure to see regurgitations of it.  The difference is, instead of the pundits playing upon the same sound bites over and over again, there will actually be enough substance from the candidates’ mouths that the pundits might actually say something insightful rather than knee-jerk.  There will be more context within which to analyze candidates’ statements.

When hours of punditry have to pick over mere seconds of sound bites, the political commentary tends to resemble tabloid TV reality shows.  We have enough of that on the tube already.  If the news networks made the changes I recommend, there would be more meat for the pundits to digest, and the commentary might actually become educational, and that would be refreshing.

Aren’t there way too many pundits?  Don’t they take up way too much broadcasting time?  More time should have been alloted to this debut event–specifically to the candidates.  The pundits are like the poor: They will always be with us.

By the way, here’s a recap of the 17 candidates, in no particular order, with links to their official websites (except for one, the latest entrant, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who doesn’t seem to have launched his website yet).

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore

Former New York Governor George Pataki

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum

U.S. Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul

U.S. Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina

Pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson

Real estate tycoon Donald Trump

Ohio Governor John Kasich

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

How does Scott Walker win Ohio? He won’t.

I hear that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gives really good stump speeches in his quest to win the U.S. Presidency in 2016.  In a very crowded GOP field where a candidate only has to have more than 10% support to be considered one of the serious contenders (really? when 2016 is still 5 months away?), Walker appears to be well positioned for the first GOP caucus contest early next year in Iowa.  So, what if he wins Iowa?  What if he wins nominating contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada?  A lot of competitors will have quit after striking out in the first four contests, true.  But will those potential wins provide the bump he needs to win the White House?  I don’t think so.  Though Ohio’s electoral votes seem to decrease with every census, I still do not see how a Republican candidate wins the White House without winning Ohio.  I don’t see how Scott Walker can win Ohio in a general election unless the Democrat nominee makes a mammoth (and I mean huge, huge, huge) blunder.

It is conceivable, however unlikely, that Walker could win a GOP primary in Ohio, especially if the GOP field is still crowded.  But the field won’t be crowded.  With so many candidates at this stage of the race, the double-digit support Walker currently has makes him seem like a Goliath (OK, maybe not compared to Donald Trump or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, but I think you know what I mean).  In my memory, I can never recall a GOP primary ballot in Ohio that listed more than five presidential candidates.  Going from double-digit numbers of candidates down to 5 candidates would mean that Scott Walker would have to climb to at least 20% of the vote to win, and 20% would only win if the other candidates were also deadlocked with 20% of the vote yet each tallying one less vote than Scott Walker’s.  If there were just 2 candidates Ohio’s GOP primary ballot and one of them were Scott Walker, I seriously doubt he could cross the 50% threshold to win.  His best chance to win Ohio’s delegates is for all the other candidates to drop out (and sometimes that happens by the time Ohio votes).

Walker was making national news as governor of Wisconsin at the same time that John Kasich was making national news as governor of Ohio.  True, Kasich made national news as a key member of the Congress that balanced the federal budget in the 1990’s, but, for many voters, that is not recent memory.  Governors Walker and Kasich were in the national spotlight for the same thing: passing legislation to drastically alter the collective bargaining rights of the public-sector labor unions.

To me, showing real leadership in executive office means toughly negotiating a fair contract.  Leadership is needed not only at the state level to get labor contracts that strike the right balance, but also at the local levels of government, too.  Voters don’t always elect good leaders, and that’s on them if they didn’t do their homework prior to voting.  So, if labor contracts exist that are not in the public’s best interest, then the public needs to recruit good leaders and vote them into office.  After the victors take office, they need to remember that taxpayers expect that our government executives negotiate contracts that the public can support.

What Walker and Kasich tried to do was compensate for an overall lack of leadership, at state and local levels, regarding labor contract negotiations.  They tried to use the legislation to overturn negotiated contracts.  This step, in and of itself, is not only wrong (because it breaks promises), but it weakens the executive branch’s negotiating clout down the road.  Negotiating in good faith strengthens one’s clout.  Wiping out contracts with legislation shows that one did not negotiate in good faith.  Now, what does one do to engender trust when negotiating with the unions if the unions think that you’re just going to turn around and lobby the legislature to undercut what you just agreed to?  Walker is insulated from his mistake, for now, because voters in Wisconsin sided with him. Now, he needs to find votes in other states, and, speaking of states, Ohio is not an insignificant one.

I think that the labor unions in Wisconsin mistakenly thought that marketplace principles don’t apply to them, for they must have assumed that they could do a crappy job and get away with it. When I think about how things turned out, I think Walker’s victories must have had more to do with taxpayer discontent with public employee performance than with anything else. The moral to the story for Wisconsin’s public employees is this:  Serve the public well.  Had that been the case, Wisconsin’s public employees might have succeeded like the public-sector labor unions in Ohio did.  Ohio turned out to support its public employees at the ballot box.

In 2011, Ohio voters supported the referendum that killed Senate Bill 5, carrying 83 of Ohio’s 88 counties. In Kasich’s bid for re-election in 2014, he had to assure Ohioans that he had learned his lesson and would not go back down that same path to do an end run around labor contracts via legislation.  Lucky for Kasich, he was opposed by Ed Fitzgerald, an ineffective and disgraceful politician from Cuyahoga County, in the 2014 gubernatorial race.  Media observers outside Ohio should not read too much into Kasich’s 2014 win because they need to take into account just how pitifully weak a candidate Fitzgerald was.  Therefore, Kasich’s ability to win Ohio as a presidential candidate is not a foregone conclusion.

Let’s make something clear:  In turning back SB 5 in all but 5 counties (Delaware, Warren, Holmes, Shelby, and Mercer), it would appear that a number of Ohio Republicans thought that the bad-faith legislative end-run around promises made to public employees was a bad move.  Democrats, alone, didn’t kill that bill.  In a contested GOP primary, assuming Walker is still in the mix, he can only pick up the votes of those who favored the bill, which, as I pointed out, may not provide a winning margin if the number of candidates is dwindling.  I don’t know what Walker’s fundraising acumen is, but I suppose he could find well-heeled donors in Delaware and Warren counties to give the illusion that he has some kind of political support in Ohio, but money doesn’t necessarily add up to votes.  Though there are other planks in Walker’s platform besides union-busting, many of those same planks exist in the platforms of his competitors.  In other words, he is different from the other candidates in that he engaged in union-busting and got away with it.  Except, he really won’t get away with it, because the path to the White House leads through Ohio.  Kasich, for his part, is apologetic (but he still might not carry Ohio).  Walker remains unapologetic.  And this brings us to the general election of 2016 (okay, I said the 2016 general election might not even happen if all hell breaks loose).

Do we need to remind everyone that Ohio is a swing state?  The Democrats GOTV efforts in Ohio during presidential election years have been full-throttle, to say the least.  The Democrats know that no matter how large the magnitude of resources is that’s poured into Ohio, it pays off if they deny the GOP of Ohio’s electors.  So though Ohio looks red in between presidential election years, the Democrats painted Ohio blue in 2008 and 2012.  History shows us that Republicans do not win the White House without Ohio’s electors.  If Scott Walker were the GOP nominee, how does he carry Ohio?  The death of SB 5 would suggest that Walker will definitely not max out the Republican vote.  What does he offer for Democrats that may cause them to think about crossing over?  Nothing.

Walker slashed the unions claiming that it would save the taxpayers some money.  Maybe it just re-allocated where money is spent, for Walker plans to help the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team get a new arena with the help of taxpayer money–from new taxes.  That’s called corporate welfare.  That doesn’t even sell well with the Tea Party.  Meanwhile, as a saving grace, Kasich works wonders with budgets without more taxation.  Conclusion: Walker’s union-busting is a bust in Ohio.  White House access denied.

Kasich, for his part, has a chance, but the Democrat nominee will not be Ed Fitzgerald in November 2016.  I think he knows that.

James Williamson guest blog: Imminent Rebellion: The Perfect Storm

Editor’s note: James Williamson is one of my younger brothers and is an Ohio native currently residing in Nevada.  He has written a number of guest blog posts for Buckeye RINO previously.  The topic he keeps revisiting is the tension between state governments and the federal government, and the phrase “Imminent Rebellion” is included in title of each blog post in the series, for he predicts that one day, several states may part ways with the federal government, which he believes might even lead to another civil war.  The other posts in the Imminent Rebellion Series are linked here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In this post, James tackles the topic of Jade Helm.  I have presented a competing viewpoint on Jade Helm here on my Buckeye RINO blog titled, “The Meaning of Jade Helm 15 for the Future of the United States of America.“–DJW

Imminent Rebellion: The Perfect Storm

When I first started writing about the split between the Feds and the states it was not a common topic of discussion, nor did another civil war seem imminent to many besides me. Now with the many conspiracy theories surrounding Jade Helm 15 it seems to be a little more vogue. For those that don’t know, Jade Helm 15 is a series of military exercises that are to be held over the next two months in several states, with many of the exercises being conducted in populated areas. This has caused quite a stir in the states where the exercises are being conducted, most notably Texas. Even Chuck Norris felt the need to speak about it and called it “more than a military exercise”.

One of the reasons there are so many conspiracy theories is because the government is not saying what the purpose of the exercises are beyond training in urban environments . . . and they are prohibiting direct coverage by the press. That, of course, is just nectar for the bees (or wasps as the case may be…) and no one should be surprised that the bees are swarming. While there are many theories about the operation the most popular are that the federal government is either 1) preparing to fight ISIS insurgents (some saying on foreign, others on domestic soil) or 2) they are getting ready to declare martial law that would be triggered by riots or some other national crisis. I suppose that you could take a third road and say it’s both. If ISIS took hold here in the US, martial law might have to be declared to effectively counterattack especially if some of the ISIS fighters happen to be US citizens.

For more on the nationwide race riot conspiracy theory, you can read about an alleged race database that is being compiled by “Big Brother” here:  “Obama collecting personal data for a secret race database.”

If Jade Helm 15 is preparation for a foreign campaign, as the few public comments on it from the military indicate, then we have little to be concerned about, right? Well, it does’t fit the rhetoric. The administration has been consistently talking about reducing the number of troops in the Middle East, not increasing them. The administration has also stated that they don’t want to be involved on the ground in Syria. This could be just for Iraq to keep the hard fought gains there, but that doesn’t fit the rhetoric either. We are supposed to have a smaller footprint there, not a bigger one. There is not popular support for any more military invervention in the middle-east anyway so what would the exercise be for if not there? The Ukraine? That makes even less sense. Whose side would we even be on? Aren’t Obama and Putin striking a more conciliatory tone toward each other and calling for “cooperation”? There are reports that the administration is trying to get help from Russia in Syria again. It wouldn’t be prudent to help the Ukrainians put down the pro-Russian movement there if we are trying to get something from Russia. Then again, this administration has never made a lot of sense regarding foreign policy unless you are a cynic. Any other possibilities? China? Not likely. North Korea? Not worth our time. Iran? In the words of Jack Sparrow, “Why fight when you can negotiate?” The ink is not even dry on the agreement with Iran. Intervention on foreign soil just doesn’t make sense (unless you want to start making comparisons to the German/Soviet nonaggression pact…) so we come back to the domestic soil theory.

If Jade Helm 15 is indeed designed for a domestic operation then there is even more cause for concern. Regardless of the trigger, having live military operations on US soil means there is trouble in our own back yard. Many are saying that it’s not just coincidence that Texas, Utah, and the southern tip of California are listed as “hostile” territory for the drills and that they will be targeted first.  Maybe this is all just crazy talk, but why, after more than a decade of urban warfare in Iraq, do we suddenly need urban warfare training in populated areas within the United States? We didn’t need them when we invaded Baghdad. Why now? One thing is for certain: Uncle Sam is not giving answers, so we are left to ponder and let our imaginations run wild. That doesn’t seem like an effective way to run a public relations campaign.

If martial law were declared while President Obama is still in office it would put the liberal Democrats in a tough spot ideologically as they generally are the group that derides Abraham Lincoln for essentially imposing martial law by suspending habeus corpus after the start of the Civil War. On the other hand President Obama is a Lincoln admirer. He started his presidency by riding the train along the same route that Lincoln did on his way to Washington DC. Maybe President Obama wants to follow in Lincoln’s footsteps in more ways than one?