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Whig Party Goals

I would love to see some discussion on goals for the party. I signed up and signed a petition, but I have no idea on where the party is going and what to do next. What am a volunteering to do if I sign up? How can I sell this party to those who think that the two party system is here to stay? Here are a few suggestion to provoke a conversation (I know eventually there will be a place to discuss strategy...). 1. Focus on recruiting well know moderate Republicans and Democrats to the Modern Whig Party and promising to fund them in their next election. 2. Increase the size of the Modern Whig party to 100,000 members. 3. Run advertising commercials in states that Presidential candidates are campaigning in. The narrative should be demonstrating that the Republicans and Democrats together have broken American. The right has pushed the financial deregulation on the right which led to the Saving and Loans crisis in the 80s and the crash in 2008. The left in turn pushed house ownership which helped lead to a bubble in the housing market. The left in turn has continually pushed the growth of entitlement programs etc. 4. Get Modern Whig hosting shows on talk radio. 5. Try to get five homegrown Modern Whigs elected each election cycle. 6. The strategy for the Whig party should be to be a powerful minority that can swing the vote on important issues. 7. Open up 100 Whig party clubs on college campuses in the next two years. 8. Have bumper stickers. 9. Try to attract a few household names to the party. 10. Connect to centrist think tanks.

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So, about the House....

So, about the House of Representatives.... As you've read by now, the contest for Speaker is once again a free-for-all. Factions and sub-factions have entrenched yet deeper, and compromise has once more been the victim. And the sad thing is that it never had to be this way. The Speaker of the House, as established in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, need not be of the majority party, nor even a member of Congress. It can be, quite literally, anyone. And there's a reason for this. See, the job of the Speaker is not to legislate. I'll say that again: the job of the Speaker is not to legislate. Rather, the job of the Speaker is to facilitate and enable the House as a whole to legislate. It is the duty of the Speaker to ensure that the House can and does function, that legislation proceeds in an orderly fashion to and from committee assignments, that discussion and debate is both fair and thorough, and that bills that are ready for a floor vote receive that vote. But that isn't how it has happened. Indeed, from the very beginning, the office has been subverted for the political gain of the majority party. Henry Clay, Thomas Brackett Reed, Joseph Gurney Cannon, Champ Clark, Sam Rayburn, Tip O'Neill, Newt Gingrich... right up to and including Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner; they have all used the Speaker's gavel as a bludgeon. They have, one and all, treated the House as their personal fiefdom, and have ensured that legislation was most surely *not* facilitated unless it met their political ends. Now, we reap the final rewards of this misappropriation of authority. We have a House of Representatives that is, for all intents and purposes, not merely dysfunctional but in free-fall. Even within the majority party, nobody wants to let that gavel, that mighty truncheon, find its way into the hands of someone who is of even a marginally different political footing than themselves. It is time for this to end. And it *can* end, by going back to the original purpose of the office. There's really only one way to do that, and that is for the House to do something it has never done in its 227 years: elect as Speaker someone from outside of the House. It is time for a fractured and beleaguered body to take this, the last option remaining to it should it wish to return to respectability and responsibility, and to do so without the trappings of either major party. The House can and should elect as the next Speaker -- and as every Speaker from here forward -- an outsider, an independent who can and will refrain from using the position for political gain, who will see that all legislation that emerges from the requisite committees is given a fair hearing upon the floor, who will refuse to allow the process to be held hostage by extreme factions of either party, and thus return the Speakership to the people of the United States of America.

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Whiggish Reading?

I'm currently reading the 'one and only' book out there (that I can find and as a historian I do like digging things up) on the MWP which is the The Whig Manifesto. It's not bad, but when it reads 'most Americans are conservative with conservative' values and talks about God multiple times, it doesn't exactly exude the centrist inclusive MWP platform. I have trouble recommending it as a MWP or just Whig in general sourcebook. And, before I'm accused of negative reviews I'll say it's nice to have something rather than nothing, but I've had my thoughts echoed by others in the MWP who have even said the author is not a member, but for reasons that pre-date me chose to support the party this way. So, my question is ... for those of us that need another book, or want to know more, or are new to MWP, love history, does anyone have any interesting books they recommend in line with or accentuating our Whig philosophy? My first thought is biographies on Henry Clay and Daniel Webster and maybe even the political philosophy of Horace Greeley .... but .... thoughts, book reviews, or ....

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. More regarding the VA from my daily read:

We all just know that there are Federal protections for whistle blowers. However, according to this article which I have just read, the VA seems unaware of that fact. That the VA still doesn't have a permanent Inspector General to handle complaints and other issues is a stain on the Government's credibility to reform the way Veterans and conscientious employees are treated. You can read the full article by going to the link at the end of this blog entry. Your input can be posted here, or sent to me at veterans@modernwhig.org The link to the article is: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/09/22/va-culture-of-reprisals-against-whistleblowers-remains-strong-after-scandal/

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Its not all golf and gunfire...

Yes, in ten days I will be traveling to Arizona where I hope to spend some time with friends and family, play a few rounds of golf, and compete at the Civilian Marksmanship Program Western Games, and the Creedmoor Cup Rifle Matches. I will be in Arizona from October 1st to October 19th, and while there I hope to meet with Veterans and members of the Arizona Modern Whig Party leadership to discuss the Veteran's Volunteer Initiative and Veteran's and Military Issues. So please send me an email at veterans@modernwhig.org so I can arrange meeting times and places. Also, given that our party supports 2nd Amendment Rights, if there is anyone who would like to join me for the rifle matches at the Ben Avery Shooting Center during the period October 9th to October 18th, please do, and let me know. Events of this sort are great opportunities to get out and meet the public and make them aware of our party and platform. There will also be a CMP Eastern Games in North Carolina starting April 28th, 2016 - wouldn't it be great if we could field a team of 4 to 6 individuals and perhaps set up an information booth....?

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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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More from my daily read concerning eduational costs...

Back in July I posted a blog item here on Whig Forums entitled "The Rising Cost of Education. What do we do?" In the discussion which followed we debated methods of controlling the spiraling costs of post-high school education and the seeming trap of education indebtedness which puts a drag on our economy. During this discussion, Isaac Gipson put forward a proposal which recommended modifications to student loan programs designed to limit tuition increases. If you haven't read his proposal, I suggest you read it in our original discussion chain. It is simple and practical. What brings this up is a CBS News article that I read this morning. This article tries to put forward the idea that tuition isn't really expensive since educational institutions are awarding grants and other incentives, students don't have to pay the full cost. The article avoids entirely the question of why schools don't just reduce tuition up front, but instead, use incentives resembling automotive manufacturers rebate programs or force students into loan programs. You can read the full article at the link provided at the end of this blog post. I encourage you to do so, and then go back and re-read the original discussion and article from July 10th. Please feel free to post your thoughts here. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/college-isnt-nearly-as-costly-as-you-think/

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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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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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Whig-like Politicians?

Is there any politicians on the scene (or who were on the recent scene in the past few decades), such as Presidential candidates or even politicians around the country, who fall 'in line' with Modern Whig Party values? Or, to rephrase maybe, if someone asked you what is an example of a Modern Whig Party politician who might you point to and why?

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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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More from my daily read: Another VA travesty?

I came across this article regarding Veteran deaths while awaiting care from the VA during my daily read of news items nationwide: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/09/03/ig-report-close-to-300000-vets-died-while-waiting-for-health-care-at-va/?intcmp=hplnws I would recommend that you read the article. Then I would recommend you read the material on this website regarding the Veteran's Volunteer Initiative. The point is this: If Whigs would step up and volunteer nationwide in Veteran's Centers and VA Healthcare Facilities we would have eyes on what is going on in these facilities and could take political action before things like this occur. As Whigs we are committed to honoring the commitments made to our nations Veterans. Don't just stand by and allow things like this to happen.

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My next road trip...

Friends, if you wish to discuss Military or Veterans issues in person I will be headed to Tucson, AZ on October 1st. I will be going from there to White Sands testing range on October 2nd and returning to Tucson on the 4th. After that I will drive up to Phoenix on the 9th and eventually return to Alaska on October 19th.  So if you want a face-to-face with your Veterans Director, let me know by emailing me at: veterans@modernwhig.org and I will get you into my schedule.

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One of my confidential informants passed this to me recently...

If you are filling out a 10-10EZ form to obtain veterans health benefits from the VA, DO NOT DECLINE TO PROVIDE YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION. I have been told that if you elect not to provide this information, the VA is simply determining all such applications as "INELIGIBLE". So, in short, if you want to obtain health benefits, be sure to complete the financial information section.

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Valuable Information For Those Filing Disability Claims With The Veterans Administration

One of the things I am tasked with as Director of Veterans and Active Duty Affairs for the Modern Whig Party is to be on the lookout for information of value to our Veterans. Today I came across a book which I believe every veteran should obtain. The title of the book is: The Road to VA Compensation Benefits, by Matthew Hill with Brenda Duplantis. This book is being provided FREE by the authors to Veterans Centers nationwide so that they can distribute them to veterans. The book is only 66 pages long but it covers all the essentials with regard to filing a claim for disability compensation Inside the front of the book is the following statement: "This book provides information about the VA claims process broken down into simple terms. For more in depth information about specific VA rules and regulations, please visit the blog on our website www.hillandponton.com" I really, REALLY recommend that you either go to a Veterans Center and acquire this book and read it thoroughly OR contact Matthew Hill via the above website or the phone number he has conveniently listed at the bottom of every page of the book: 1-800-784-8247. Since he is volunteering to send it in bulk to Veterans Centers at no expense to the receiver, I doubt he would balk at sending you a copy directly. I suspect that this book may become scarce soon, so get it while you can.

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From my daily read...

Greetings fellow Whigs, and also to you others reading this. I just returned from traveling in Minnesota and Wisconsin where I gathered information from family and friends and made a guest appearance on a N.E. St Paul public access channel. This morning, I came across an article in my own local paper which makes me wish I had the time to address the Veterans Choice Program while on air. The link to the article is at the end of this posting. I hope you take the time to go there and read it, and post your feedback here. Veterans Choice is a relatively new program set out by the Veterans Administration. The idea behind it is to allow Veterans who live more than 40 miles (as the crow flies) from a V.A. Health Care Facility to utilize non-V.A. providers closer to home. As ideas go, it is a good one. However, with all great ideas, there are stumbling blocks. Let's take Alaska, where I live. Virtually EVERYWHERE in Alaska qualifies. There are no V.A. Hospitals in this state at all. Alaska is a tremendous land mass with few people. With this in mind, you would think Veterans Choice would be ideal. However, there are very few participating providers, so finding one in your area can be difficult if not impossible. Then there is the pre-approval requirement. If you need treatment, you have to call for pre-approval, once you get it, you have to find a provider. Getting through these steps in a timely manner is next to impossible. If you do find a provider, they are probably located in Anchorage, great if you live in Anchorage, but not so great if you live in Fairbanks (6 hours away in good weather) and even worse if you live in Angoon (wherever that is...). Then apparently (who knew?), V.A. isn't good at paying the bills on time. I've had this happen to me. I've had complaints from other veterans that providers have gone to collections after 90 days of not being paid. I myself made sure I had copies of the authorizations for treatment and kept calling, emailing, and faxing V.A. until they finally paid up, but others have had their credit ruined while waiting for payment for treatment pre-approved by V.A. For me, it was a pain in the rear end. For others, a financial nightmare. Alaska, of course, is a special case. Not many other states have our population density (or lack thereof). How has your experience with Veterans Choice been? I'd like to know. http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/veterans-testify-to-poor-health-care-service-from-newly-reformed/article_c9df3548-4af7-11e5-8cc2-439b273ef122.html

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Paid Membership

Now that we have a date and place for our next national convention, I'm wondering if it may be time to start requiring a paid membership for "voting membership."? I think that continuing to have the free membership for new members, to explore the party, is a good idea. I think that those who want to have more of a formal voice in the party should have a paid membership. I think $25 for annual national membership is very reasonable, and is consistent with what other parties charge for their general membership. State chapters can decide whether state membership should be required for themselves.

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What future topics would you like to discuss on the Whig Forums?

I've put out blog items on Health Care, Taxation, Veteran's Issues, and the Cost of Education. Since the Modern Whig Party Platform is currently under development, what topics would you like to see discussed? I spend a good part of my week scanning through the news feeds looking for interesting viewpoints on a variety of subjects. If there is a subject area you feel I should be looking into, let me know. -- Doug Harvey, LTC, MS, AKARNG (RET)

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More improper actions by the VA?

This item from my daily read was recommended by Party Chairman Michael Burger: http://www.kare11.com/story/news/investigations/2015/08/07/va-greatly-regrets-brain-exams-by-unqualified-doctors/31319523/ After you read the story at the above link, I encourage you to both add your feedback here, and to contact both the television station (KARE 11) in Minneapolis/St. Paul and your elected representatives. No one should be subjected to substandard medical care or evaluation. Is this sort of thing going on in your area? Speak up! Doug Harvey, LTC, MS, AKARNG (RET) 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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