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A Declaration of Independents’: A Call to Excellence in Popular Sovereignty

On September 11th, 2001, our great Republic was attacked and the world stood still. Horror and disbelief quickly turned to anger and a lust for vengeance. The world didn’t just start spinning again; it spiraled out of control.

In the madness we sought to strike out fast and fierce, we took no thought towards the costs. We sacrificed freedom in the name of safety. We happily gave greater powers to fewer and fewer leaders who sent our armed forces halfway around the world to fight nameless enemies.

Then we saw an unprecedented economic recession. Life savings and investments were wiped out seemingly overnight. Our elders had to stay hard at work to compensate for eviscerated nest eggs. Our youth, having done all that had been asked of them now found that it was not enough. The employment pool was already full and experience was the new price of entry.

Again we turned to our leadership. We sought to punish any and all responsible, and give us reprieve from the consequences of our past decisions. Responsible parties were too big to fail and proposed solutions to our ailments were too long to read. We passed laws we did not fully understand and buoyed insolvent institutions on the backs of a drowning public. And even when called before judgment, our justices abdicated to the implied will of the masses.

How have we been rewarded for the confidence placed in our supposed leaders? We now have an instable Middle East, social safety nets we can hardly fund, a plague of underemployment, and income disparity all threatening our national and individual security. In our depravity we continually ask each parties strong-arming politicians to bully our neighbors according to our persuasions. For 2016, it may be too late, yet another missed opportunity to correct our course.

But this does not have to be the death knell for our great Republic. We do not have to devolve into the divisive tribalism of third-world nations. We are still a united people. Regardless of color or creed, we all seek security and opportunity. We want assurances that we won’t lose what we work so hard for every single day. We want to keep our homes. We want our children to be able to walk our neighborhoods without fear of harm. We want our schools to impart to our children the knowledge necessary to improve their station in life, just as we hope to improve our own. We want a fair chance of success for every citizen, not just the well-born and the fortunate few. These are the causes that make us one; E Pluribus Unum.

This is our declaration as independent minds: we will no longer remain silent. We will no longer stand idly by as political extremists ravish our country, pulling it towards the edges of obscurity and devastation. “We must engage life as we find it, we will do so boldly and courageously, with the conviction that if we and reason endure we shall surely succeed - and with the knowledge that the greatest sin is not to have fought at all.” The ‘fiery moderates’ are here, and we are here to stay.

This is our call to the rightly proud citizens of this great American Republic: take up our banner; use your voice and vote to fight for the future of our nation. It is time to heave off the burdens laid upon us by imperial pretenders. It is time for pragmatic solutions, implemented with careful forethought and well-reasoned means. It is time that the trustees of government powers be men and women that are worthy of our trust. It is time for the citizens of this nation to stand together once more and fight for our right to be a self-governed people. It is time for We the People.

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1. Rincon Society, “A Call to Excellence in Leadership”, edited

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A Democratic Republic...

Many of the ideals we talk about "Freedom" in this country come from Democratic-Republicanism, but we are often faced with the harsh reality of Federalist implementation. Truth is, I'm kinda partial to the DR, and the more radical ones at that.(Thomas Paine, for the win). Many of these ideas have been around for a long time, and I think its time to sweep away the last bits of Federalist nonsense. 1. The United States is a Democratic-Republic. All language referring to a "Republic", and "Republican" values should be updated to "Democratic Republic", and "Democratic Republican" values. This shall include the requirement for state constitutions to be "Democratic Republican" in nature. 2. Ballot Initiatives at the federal level. A ballot question shall pass a threshold of 25 thousand signatures, or petition of one third of congress to appear on the ballot. Furthermore it shall be a requirement that all states have ballot initiatives in their constitutions. 3. Unicameral congress. The senate and the House of representatives shall be merged, but rules for districting shall remain the same. District lines shall be redrawn and un gerrymandered. 4. All offices shall have a term of 8 years, but subject to a recall vote at any time for any reason. All states must have a recall vote as well. term limits on all offices will be removed. Congress shall have two classes(staggered vote). 5. Further constitutional amendments will require a two thirds vote in congress plus a two thirds popular vote.

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A Historical Consideration of Significant Eras in the Supreme Court of the United States

Throughout the history of the judicial system of the United States, different Supreme Court Justices have taken a different approach to the functions and abilities of our government. Over the 226 years of the Supreme Court’s existence there has been a multitude of different approaches to government which have been illustrated via their decisions on significant Supreme Court cases. These rulings can determine an immense amount about a justice’s political preferences, affiliation, and beliefs as a public officer in a critical office. One such example is our current Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts. In many respects, although Roberts is a Republican, he embodies many key attributes of a liberal and has, in the past, sided with many liberal policies. One example of Roberts more liberal side is his ruling in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius in 2012. John Roberts’ decision in favor of the Affordable Care Act was absolutely pivotal in establishing his tendency and ability to side with pro-left and more liberal policy that have given him a more liberal appearance to many politicians over the last 4 years. Additionally, although Roberts has identified himself as a conservative Republican in the past, the modern Chief Justice has been approving plans that, by his fellow Republicans’ standards, have been relatively liberal. Although not all of Robert’ decisions have been liberal, his more pro-liberal stance in his conventional and expected rulings have lead many to hail him as a powerful moderate (and by some perceptions a possible emerging liberal). For example, Roberts’ ruling in the cases of Morse v. Frederick in 2007 and United States v. Stevens in 2010 were demonstrations of the moderate and liberal approach Roberts’ tends to take in his political rulings. This case specifically deals with the First Amendment and its applicability into messages that portray illegal activity or even violence. Contrary to Roberts’ claimed conservative stance, he makes a more moderate and liberal decision that such areas of speech are not conclusively protected by the First Amendment and this type of speech can be can be stopped and limited, a critical step in the evolution of jurisprudence of the modern Supreme Court. Another critical justice of the Supreme Court was Chief Justice Earl Warren. Warren was pivotal in implementing several levels of liberalism in the Supreme Court of the 1950’s through 1960’s. Specifically, Warren’s career was marked by massive reform in the United States including the transition of African-American Civil Rights which witnessed the desegregation of public schools. This institution of desegregation is critical to the history of the nation and the ke court case that illustrated the liberality of Warren and his fellow justices was the Gideon v. Wainwright of 1963 and the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education. Warren’s decision in the latter case was considered extremely liberal during its time and it encompassed the wider reforms made by the “Warren Court” under Warren’s office of Chief Justice. Another case that has made Warren a historically renowned liberal is his ruling in the case of Abington School District v. Schempp in 1963. This historically vital case centered around the constitutionality of bible readings in public schools, a common practice in america prior to the case. Warren’s decision, which concluded the case, made this action unconstitutional on the basis of its violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. In this specific case the clause was used to explain that have school-sponsored religious practices is tantamount to forcing a religious ideology on a child and that it is not in anyway the right or responsibility of the school system to make any form of prayer and have children recite it in the school. According to the Cornell University Law School’s account of the case, Chief Justice Warren declared that “the First Amendment, in its final form, did not simply bar a congressional enactment establishing a church; it forbade all laws respecting an establishment of religion. Thus, this Court has given the Amendment a broad interpretation . . . in the light of its history and the evils it was designed forever to suppress” The significance of Warren’s opinion in this case is the solidification of his liberal perspective on American law and the American judicial system. Moreover, Warren’s perspective on this religious topic reaffirms his predisposition to support secular liberalism, a position that believes in the firm separation of public affairs from the authority of spirituality and the church, during his time as Chief Justice. Along with Warren, another important and influential Chief Justice of the 20th century was William Rehnquist. Rehnquist was influential in his time for being a powerful Chief Justice and a conservative. Throughout his life as a Chief Justice, Rehnquist made several conservative and controversial rulings on cases along with holding relatively conservative views on religion and its necessity and implementation in the public. One of the most crucial examples of this was in Rehnquist’s fervent belief during his time as Justice in the constitutional division of authority between the states and the administrative national government, a concept also known as federalism. Throughout Rehnquist’s time as Associate then Chief Justice on the Supreme Court he advocated for politically pro-conservative policies. As a conservative Rehnquist fervently advocated, during his time on the Supreme Court, for the restitution of prayers in school after it had been taken away and revoked by his predecessor, Earl Warren. Rehnquist also made massive advocations and defences for the separation of government from certain issue; moreover, as a conservative Rehnquist fervently opposed overbearing national policies, and, as is typical of a conservative, advocated for less national regulation on many issues and comparatively smaller government. This sentiment was expressed in several landmark Supreme Court Cases. One such case was the 1973 landmark case of Roe v. Wade. In this case, Rehnquist then an associate justice dissented the majority decision of on abortion law and claimed in his dissent that the United States and its law simply had no business in determining the life or death of a mother’s unborn child. To the conservative Rehnquist this was a flagrant violation of U.S. Constitutional protocol. Another similar dilemma, dealt with in the 1997 case of City of Boerne v. Flores, which identified the role the Supreme Court would play in analyzing cases in the future. To briefly summarize the impact of the case, the case was able to set an example upon which future case decision were predicated. Specifically, Rehnquist’s conservative opinions about the limitations of Supreme Court jurisdiction over issues stayed true through his time in office as an Associate Justice to his time as a Chief Justice. Another crucial Rehnquist case was the 1981 case of Rostker v. Goldberg. This case showed Rehnquist's conservatism in greater depth that other cases. The case was specifically based on the Rehnquist’s interpretation of the Constitution in concern to the fifth amendment of the United States. Specifically, it dealt with the ethics of having only men apply for selective service, which, in 1981, was a significant dilemma for the Supreme Court. By Rehnquist's (and the court’s) decision the selective service’s policy of only including men for potential service was within its rightful constitutional guidelines. In Rehnquist’s own words, “The Constitution requires that Congress treat similarly situated persons similarly, not that it engage in gestures of superficial equality.” These words have resonated with the nation for over thirty years now and Rehnquist’s impact via his opinions and conservative predispositions has left an indelible precedent on the Supreme Court along with a lasting memory of Chief Justice Rehnquist. In the history of the U.S. Supreme Court there has also been a significant amount of strong and able Chief Justices during the 19th century as well. One prime example of this was Chief Justice John Marshall. Marshall, in his career on the Supreme Court, is often viewed as a conservative for the time in which he was a Chief Justice. A main point that supports this position is Marshall's strict and austere perspective on the use, utilization, and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In his words, Marshall declared in 1803, when ruling on Marbury v. Madison that “A Law repugnant to the Constitution is void.” This perspective on the contents of the 1803 landmark Supreme Court case establishes the firm and relentless fervor of of John Marshall to uphold and interpret the Constitution in a strictly constructionist sense. Moreover, John Marshall’s ability to establish judicial review in the Supreme Court and uphold it throughout other court decisions was critical to the fledgling American judicial system. For example, Marshall’s court ruling in the 1824 case of Gibbons v. Ogden demonstrated the supremacy of the Constitution and the superiority of the Supreme Court in comparison to other laws established in lower courts. A similar assertion is made in the decision of the 1819 case of McCulloch v. Maryland. In this case specifically, the concept of legal superiority and state superiority in law was heavily scrutinized. Under Marshall’s court, the ruling was in favor of the nation entity, the Second Bank of the United States and the ultimate verdict cited the Necessary and Proper (Elastic) Clause of the Constitution, effectively reiterating the supremacy of the highest law in the land being interpreted and viewed by the highest court in the land. This view of jurisprudence was central to Marshall’s core conservative and constitutional beliefs as Chief Justice that established his policies of abiding by the Constitution. The concepts of judicial review, constitutional interpretation, and austere promotion of constitutional law instituted by Marshall was able to set a firm judicial and legal precedent that is crucial in the establishment of American jurisprudence to this day. In addition to the name of John Marshall, Chief Justice Roger Taney was also a critical force in the U.S. Supreme Court during the 19th century. Most of Taney’s decisions in office revolved around the institution of slavery, which became a highly controversial subject during Taney’s time in office. From the perspective of political alignment, Taney is widely considered to be a conservative. Although Taney was, by political affiliation, a Democrat, the party ideals of the time were very different than what they are now and there is a massive difference between modern “liberal” Democrats and the quite conservative Democrats of the early 19th Century. In Taney’s career, as previously mentioned, many of his decision revolved around the highly controversial institution of slavery and the legal ramifications and liberties a slave had in the U.S. One of Taney’s most famous and important cases, the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford was a critical suit that was pivotal in lighting the flames that fomented a civil war. Moreover, this case demonstrated Taney’s conservatism, for like his predecessor Marshall, Taney based the majority of his controversial decisions off of the document that had been used consistently to guide American jurisprudence, the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, Taney ultimately sided against the case of Dred Scott and decided in 1863 that the black populace and their descendents in bondage possessed “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Many people in the modern-era of liberalism and freedom for the African-American race have referred to Taney as the “Leviathan of Slavery”, however, it was not his stubbornness to keep slavery, but rather his adherence to a constitution that did not disallow slavery or offer any equality to races that caused him to make such rulings as in the case of Dred Scott. Another important Taney decision made on the subject of slavery was the Prigg v. Pennsylvania of 1842. This case was extremely critical, firstly in its solidification and affirmation of the powers of the government over states and secondly, the ability of men to be taken from lands of freedom and returned to slavery and bondage. This case and issue specifically has fueled much historical debate over the ethics of the fugitive slave laws which were the main concern of the case.Similar, yet less known than the Dred Scott and Prigg cases was the 1837 case of Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge in which Taney analyzed a clause of Article I of the Constitution the Contract Clause. In the case the validity of a charter to build a bridge came under intense scrutiny by officials in the city of Boston. Taney, who ultimately ruled on the case, referred to the U.S. Constitution to formulate his verdict and took a textualized approach, citing direct information from the document to validate his court. Therefore, Taney as a Chief Justice was a relatively conservative justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who used an extremely textualized interpretation of the Constitution to decide his cases, essentially drawing conclusions “by the book”. Therefore, throughout U.S. history there has been many trends in liberalism and conservatism in the Supreme Court. Each individual preference and fluctuation in political alignment has fascinatingly left its own unique legacy, precedent, and impact on the nation.

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A Modest Foreign Policy Proposal for Humanitarian Aid

This forum is supposed to be for issues that pertain solely to the US, but I believe my suggestion is not off-topic. Too often I have heard the US get accused by other countries of being the self-appointed policeman of the world. Yet whenever there is an international crisis they fail to step up and do their part, or at least, not until the US takes a leadership role. So here's the proposal: Some years ago, an idea was put forward in diplomatic circles to create a “World Navy”, which would actually be more like a World Coast Guard. The charter of this organization would include such things as: search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian relief, counter-piracy, interdiction against human trafficking, and enforcing international law on the high seas. It could be part of the United Nations or a new organization. Member nations would contribute a number of ships and/or aircraft proportional to their GDP’s, but the crews would be multinational. The fleet would consist of patrol cutters, hospital ships, and other vessels designed for the job. Most of these would only need light armament. Such a fleet could have reduced the loss of life from events such as the current exodus crises in Syria and Libya, the Somali pirate scourge, and the Indonesian tsunami. It would also be a way for other nations to shoulder more of the burden of foreign aid and crisis response. So what do you all think? Is this a worthwhile thing to do, or just a pipe dream? I would love to see this become part of the Modern Whig platform, and demand that other countries do more.

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An 11th amendment to the Bill of Rights?

The MWP has a great platform, but there is no plank that addresses individual liberties, except for the one that reaffirms the Second Amendment. You hear a lot of people talk these days about violations of a citizen's right to privacy. But how is the right to privacy defined legally? Some would say that the Fourth Amendment does that: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, ..., shall not be violated." Others would say that the sum of all legal precedents on the matter are used as guidance in legal cases. But is that enough? In the current age of electronic surveillance, computer hacking, identity theft, etc., it seems as though our right to privacy is eroding. Do we need a Constitutional amendment to spell what right to privacy means, and put limits on the government's ability to infringe on it?

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An interesting article regarding income taxes from my daily reading.

I came across this article on the New York Times website during my daily review of national news. Use the link below to read the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/12/upshot/carly-fiorina-shows-us-just-how-weird-americas-tax-system-is.html?WT.mc_id=2015-JULY-OUTBRAIN-UPSHOT_AUD_DEV-0701-0731&WT.mc_ev=click&ad-keywords=AUDDEVREMARK&abt=0002&abg=1 Now I have long been a proponent of either modifying or abolishing Federal Income Tax to either simplify the system (like a flat tax) or turn the cost of government over to the states in proportion to their populations (using census data), but obviously, certain things need to be worked out. This article seems to support the idea that our tax system needs an overhaul. What are your views?

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Another recommended article from my daily reading concerning Veteran's Affairs.

The Alaska Dispatch published this article on September 3rd, 2015. What strikes me as important are two things: 1. The number of backlogged VA disability claims/requests for healthcare seems unchanged from a year ago. 2. Near the bottom of the article there is a statement which seems to confirm information I received from a "confidential informant" that omitting your financial data from the healthcare application paperwork will cause your application to be ignored. I'm having a little trouble with the claim of 300,000 deaths while waiting for care claim, but only because I don't know how far back the numbers are tabulated. After all, the United States Army is not too much larger than that number right now. However, if we are talking the last 25 years, maybe it is true. You can read the article at the following web address: http://www.adn.com/article/20150903/nearly-900000-veterans-have-pending-applications-care-va-and-third-may-already-be

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A Presidential Write-in Candidate anyone?

Curious if anyone else has heard Prof Laurence Kotlikoff speak and is aware of his write in candidacy? They claim to be honing on on 100% write in eligibility. He sure sounds like a Whig..... www.kotlikoff2016.com What say ye fellow Whigs?

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Are the whigs isolationist/protectionist?

So far, I'm all in. Unless the answer to those questions is yes and then I have to think

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Article on the MWP 2010 Wall Street Journal

I came across the article on the MWP from a 2010 Wall Street Journal I thought some gracing these pages (particularly folks like me who came after the fact) would enjoy, as its an insight into the roots of the MWP. It's good bad honest, but every bit of news is good. And, it's quite serious in a political landscape of Vermin Supremes & The Rent Is Too High Parties. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703846604575447623205761174

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A Thought to Our Official Color

I know how asking about something of this nature seems premature since we still need to score more victories in elections, but what should our color be when a diagram presents the political division of a city council, state congress, and (hopefully) Congress? While I personally do not find “red states/blue states” lexicon palatable (since states hold a more complex political dynamic), I do think we should at least start considering a color. For me personally, I champion white. Now, before we begin bulking from the social concerns it may have, allow myself to explain my support. First, we describe Old Glory as the Red, WHITE, and Blue. See, white can be found in the middle just like us, and it’s just as patriotic a color as red and blue. Second, a few parties already do purple to represent them, most notably the Libertarians. All who use it want to send the message of being a mixture of both platforms, of embracing aspects of each major party’s agendas and ideology. To that I say we need not to mimic. Whigs should foster ourselves, our Classical Liberalism, our thinking, our culture, and our solutions as a different breed altogether and not as some two-bit Tom, Dick, or Harry cherry-pickers. Third, white signifies what we champion as a party, ethics. Purity, a purity or at least want of it through the commitment of ethical practices. We may not be perfect, but that should not stop us from holding ourselves to different standards, to at least dream of such things despite far-reaching. Fourth, white can also signify light, light as in the Enlightenment. Sure, we can agree we will not be striving to achieve the state of nature like Rousseau nor an enlightened absolutism like Voltaire, but to be mindful of these profound thoughts when seeking what we want from our government. Time changed a lot of dynamics concerning society and the state that many thinkers of that time could not fathom; and so, their works may be timeless but they may not exactly be a perfect mold as some would preach. Yet that should not stop us from being enlightened in thought; to learn, think critically, rationalize, and promote methodology in solving problems.

 

Yet, I am aware of the connotations this might have concerning race. Yes, it definitely could set us up for some body shots that the opposition could throw in the political arena. I can agree that pundits saying “__(state name)__ is a ‘white state’” reverberates differently and holds an odder ring than “red state/blue state”. It could be a deterrent and misleading about how our party is a socially open one, wanting to embrace all Americans from all walks of life. However, may be I am wearier than I should be about the connotation the color white holds.

 

Anyhow, what color do you guys think would be a good fit for the Modern Whig Party?

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A View and Interpretation of Federalist Paper No. 10

Here is a link to Federalist Paper No. 10:http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed10.asp As presented by “Federalist Paper No. 10” James Madison views the matter of public opinion with many different attitude. From one perspective Madison acknowledges the necessity of division between people's’ beliefs and opinions and he also concedes that a society in which every citizen hold the same beliefs and views in truly impossible. Therefore, acknowledges the need for division that creates a healthy divide between parties which allow loyalty to be granted to citizens, allowing the average man to align with a party and faction that fits his perspective. However, Madison also acknowledges the fact that public opinion can often be extremely disparate leading to divides that are unhealthy for the unity of the nation and can undermine the power and control of the state. This often occurs, as Madison claims, when factionalism and partisanism occurs, dividing the nation along a line which can split the populace into two belligerent, opposing sides. Madison also presents the fact that when such division in public opinion occurs it can often tear apart the fabric of the newly established democratic systems often causing a division that can potentially mitigate the efficacy of the national government. This all originates from the fact that America was at the time very unique, for globally this experiment of a democratic government allowed the people's opinions to have a large stake in the running of the government, which can be extremely detrimental when the nation is divided and severely separated and can lead to problems in national administration. Similarly, Madison believed that the nation could potentially fall under an injurious rule of the people in which the people of the nation, who in many ways are the source of the nation’s sovereignty can become tyrannical and force the government to be hindered by their opinions and actions, mitigating the power held by “enlightened statesmen”. In many respects, Madison presents a blatant negative perspective towards the separation and destruction that could be made via the divisions of the public opinions and their predisposition to given factions. Additionally, Madison clearly concedes the fact that in a representative democracy such state divisions on public opinion are inevitable, regardless of the destruction and inefficacies Madison claimed they caused. Likewise, Madison presented the system of a republic as a way that the nation can attain a balance between control and/or hinderance by public opinion and can save the nation from the tyranny of a few despotic leaders. Madison also claimed that sovereignty should rest with the people however factions that create division were inherently damaging to the nation. Consequently, Madison established the idea that although the forces of public opinion may at times hinder (as Madison clearly stated that he perceived factionalism and division in public opinion to fetter the government) the unity and progress of the union, it is perpetually vital for the government to be able to set aside what is “popular” to do what they deem is right for the people of nation while supporting the spirit and underlying passion of a popular government.

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Bernie Sanders and taxing our way to social medicine...

Today I was surfing the news feeds as I usually do, when I came across this article from Motley Fool… I’ve read several articles about Bernie Sanders and how he thinks we can move to universal single payer health care and finance it through tax hikes, but this is the first article I have seen that breaks it down into individual tax brackets. There is also a bit of analysis on long term economic effects. Let’s put all that to the side for a minute though, and examine one question: Is it right, or even fair to tax people at ever increasing rates as they work hard and earn more money? One of the principles of the American system is capitalism. Capitalism encourages people to work harder and make more money. After all, that’s how you move up. That’s how you realize the American Dream. Or so we have all been told. The biggest failure in the Sanders tax plan is this: It de-incentivizes work. There is really no reason to work harder if the government is going to take bigger and bigger chunks of your income away if you are successful. This is true of the current system also, but Sanders’ plan further punishes those who are successful. It is hard to see people not doing their own very personal cost-benefit analysis and deciding that at some certain point it simply isn’t worth trying to earn more if the government is going to take it away. What the Sanders plan does is move the break-even point down the income spectrum. Those already rich will offshore their wealth, or hide it in some of the many tax shelters their high priced lawyers and accountants will devise. The guy in the middle will again get screwed. I have to give Bernie some credit though. He’s planning on screwing over the guy at the bottom too, by apparently a modest 2.2%. Yet another great step towards the socialist feudal paradise. You can read the article at the link below. Let me hear your thoughts on this. http://www.fool.com/retirement/general/2016/02/07/bernie-sanders-income-tax-brackets-how-much-would.aspx

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Best US politicians in the last 50 years ?

Hey Whigs ! In your honest opinion, who are some of the best US politicians in last 50 years ?

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Career event for Vets in San Antonio

Military MOJO will be hosting a career event for Veterans holding a degree on June 16th, 2016, in San Antonio, TX. Here's the link to their website: https://www.militarymojo.org/

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Coffee Party USA ?

Hello Whigs ! What is your your opinion on the Coffee Party movement ? It seems to have originated as an antithesis of the Tea Party. But by some things I have read, it looks more moderate/Centrist at the present time. Has anyone attended a meeting of the sorts/know anybody who is apart of it ?

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Debt of Honor

I was poking around on the web today, reading accounts of the Paris attacks, and the mostly political responses from Washington, D.C. when I came across this video on PBS: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365602827 The video is called Debt of Honor, and you will see some familiar faces in it. For those of you who do not understand the situation with our Nation's Veterans, this may prove educational, and I encourage you to watch the entire thing, even though it is graphic and provocative. Near the end of the program however, there is a statement that I will paraphrase and expand upon. We got preoccupied with the Occupy America movement, where the presumption is that 1% of America is riding on the back of 99% of the population. In this program, it is stressed that approximately 1% of the population is all that serve in the military today. That hit me sort of hard. I live in a region where that number is more like 17%. It seems like nearly everyone I know is either in the military, or has served in the military, or has some connection to the military (personal, economic, or otherwise). So it was a revelation to me that nationwide, 99% of the population is actually riding on the backs of the 1% who serve. For 99% of America, the so called "War on Terror" isn't actually real. They have no "skin in the game" as my cousin Mike would say. Now Mike and I have very different viewpoints, he being a Deacon, and I a retired Soldier, but his "skin in the game" analogy is very cogent. War isn't Hollywood. The war we are in isn't a feature film. Its real. Its bloody. We as a Nation need to face facts. We need to realize that and we need to get in this thing for the long haul. In World War II, my father and three of his brothers went to war. One of them did not come back. That was typical. There was an evil in the world (embodied by Hitler and the Nazi Party) and it had to be fought. Likewise, there is an evil in the world today, and it has to be fought. On many fronts. This is not something you can just watch on TV. It will be expensive, both in terms of money and human suffering, but it has to be done because the alternative is simply to horrible to contemplate. This weekend, the French are coming to terms with this. The Russians are starting to realize this as well, though at present, I think they are more about trying to use the situation to their advantage than truly getting behind a full effort to win. In the United States, it seems as though we are too busy bitching about the color of coffee cups at Starbucks than we are concerned about evil men and a twisted version of theocracy sending suicide bombers into our towns and malls and places of worship and entertainment. Our military men and woman are on the front lines here. We need to get behind them and support them before, during and after conflict. We need to harden up for what is to come, develop the stomach to see this through and win. This is not some middle east conflict we can stay out of. This is a problem on a worldwide scale. We have a Debt of Honor to finish the fight and not waste the sacrifices that have already been made. We need to fully engage in this, provide the resources and manpower necessary, and see it to the end. --Doug Harvey, LTC, MS, AKARNG (RET) MWP Director of Veterans and Active Duty Affairs

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Donation Webpage

My compliments to the designer of the donation page. It was a breeze to make a donation. Donations on the old site were more often miss than hit. WI Whig

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Dues or no dues, that is the question...

In any organization's life, there comes a time where that organization must eventually transition from an informal structure to a formal one. During this transition, finances are one issue, as well as formal membership. The Modern Whig Party has reached this juncture. I would put forward that the party needs to establish formal membership, and that party dues are a necessary part of this. At present, while we have many hard working individuals all trying to accomplish rational political goals, we do not have a clear dividing line between those who are "in" the party, and those who, as on Face Book just "like" us. It seems a common sense matter, that the direction and operation of the party needs to be determined by members. It also seems a common sense matter, that members need to be identified by a certain level of commitment. While volunteerism, and participation in discussions do indicate commitment, they are hard to quantify. Money on the other hand is fairly simple to quantify. Money is also one of the key fuels in politics, and the lack of it is one of the biggest barriers to political growth. So given that we need money, and given that we need a way to determine who is and who is not a member of the party, dues make sense. Dues indicate a commitment to the party, provide the necessary financial means for growth of the party, and minimum level of support for the party's activities. Further, given that the party, in many areas of the country, has not yet grown to a level where state or regional structures can yet exist to handle finances, it makes sense that a certain portion of dues and donations paid be reserved for the state organizations responsible for party activities in the areas that such funds originated from, and that the national party treasury hold such funds for those states and manage the funds in such a way as to insure their use for party development in the states themselves. With this in mind, I propose that there be a $25 annual dues structure adopted for party membership, and that of that $25, $5 dollars be reserved for use within the state that the member is from. Further, I propose that the same 20% rate be used for all donations to the party, and that 20% be also reserved for use within the state that the donation originates from. By doing this, we can identify our membership, determine who can and cannot vote on party policy and platform matters, and eventually who can vote in party caucuses for candidate selection. We can also raise needed funds for operating costs, and for party development at both state and national levels. I don't think $25 is too much to ask. In this day and age, that is only about the cost of burger and fries for two. I don't fear that we will drive people away, because if someone is unwilling to pay party dues, they really are unwilling to commit to joining the party in the first place. The equivalent of Face Book "likes" do not equate to membership. Before we can move forward, we really do need to know who is actually with us. ---- Doug Harvey, LTC, MS, AKARNG (RET) MWP Director of Veterans and Active Duty Affairs

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Ending the "War on Drugs"

The War on Drugs will likely go down in history as one of the greatest domestic policy disasters in the western world. A failure of lessons not learned from alcohol prohibition decades earlier. The "War on Drugs" has created the largest prison system every seen in the history of mankind, turned cities into war zones, created distrust for the state and government, and helped haulers of contraband rise to power and fund bloody feuds between groups across the globe. The war on drugs needs to come to an end. Policy: 1. Full Legalization of cannabis for adults, to be regulated for purity and quality. Existing convictions of non-violent users will be purged and people pardoned and exonerated for cannabis related offenses. 2. the Drug Enforcement Agency to be disbanded, its assets handed over to the FBI, and to be thoroughly investigated. 3. Civil Forfeiture to be banned, property will not be seized except upon conviction. 4. No one shall be arrested or convicted for possessing small amount and/or using narcotics of any kind, or for paraphernalia

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