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Anticipating the policies of the new administration

Tue Nov 15th, 2016

The immediate prospect -- now an accepted fact -- that the Republican candidate will soon move into the White House -- inspired us to wonder what might be the blueprint of the new administration.  Knowing of no other document, and knowing of Paul Ryan’s fondness for it, we took a look at the Republican Party Platform that may give us guidance on what to expect. 

It is a wordy document reflecting the draftsmanship of a committee some of whom may have been in their cups. It is a serious effort, however, and is intended to be serious.  We here exerpt passages.  Our comments are in italics. The full text can be found at:  https://www.gop.com/platform/

It begins with a statement that Republicans believe in exceptionalism.  They “believe America is exceptional because of our historic role -- first as a refuge, then as defender and now as exemplar of liberty for the word to see.”   They haven’t read much history – they just made it up. It reflects what they believe, not truth. That the platform begins with the perpetuation of a myth suggests the rest may also be mythic. 

"We believe in the Constitution as our founding document."  Who “our” refers to is unclear.  Presumably it is the Republican Party making a statement about their “beliefs.”  What the Constitution has to do with Republicans is also not clear.  Maybe they are claiming is as their own

"We believe that economic freedom and political freedom are indivisible."  The courts, economists and political scientists may have trouble with this indivisibility

"…[T]he people, not the government, are the best stewards of our country’s God-given natural resources."  History is ignored; how we deal with natural resources can be found in the Bible.  “Best stewardship” is, of course, open to debate.  Sustainability, biodiversity, preservation of species, ecosystems and environment are conspicuous by their absence. Presumably, these words are only used by Democrats.   

"Republicans consider the establishment of a pro-growth tax code a moral imperative."  How did morality sneak into the tax code?  They seem not to have taken a course or seminar on tax-policy.  "Any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax." Since constitutional amendments are a complex and lengthy process, this quote means the Republicans are dead set against a value added tax.  Why?  Because they are against taxes.  And it is used in Europe and we don’t follow European leadership in things like tax policy. But then, they want to lower taxes, using “industrial nations” as a standard.  Morality and the need to fund government may be headed for a collision.  

"We propose to level the international playing field by lowering the corporate tax rate to be on a par with, or below, the rates of other industrial nations. We endorse the recommendation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, as well as the current Administration’s Export Council, to switch to a territorial system of taxation so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home. We believe American companies should be headquartered in America." Freeing Financial Markets is a section that criticizes Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its regulatory powers.  They propose to make that bureau subject to Congressional oversight. 

"One fifth of [Highway Trust] funds are spent on mass transit, an inherently local affair that serves only a small portion of the population, concentrated in six big cities." Here is a clear indication that Republicans favor cars over mass transit, which is called a “local affair” and possibly of no interest to a federal government run by Republicans whose base is not in the big cities.

"We propose to phase out the federal transit program and reform provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act which can delay and drive up costs for transportation projects. We renew our call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon law….

…we oppose a further increase in the federal gas tax."

The Republican Platform fails to say how they will balance the budget or even if balancing the budget is fundamental to their policy.  They talk about it, but refrain from saying they will do it.

The TSA will be de-unionized. 

"Amtrak is an extremely expensive railroad for the American taxpayers, who must subsidize every ticket. The federal government should allow private ventures to provide passenger service in the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country.  We reaffirm our intention to end federal support for boondoggles like California’s high-speed train to nowhere.

We intend to facilitate access to spectrum by paving the way for high-speed, next generation broadband deployment and competition on the internet and for internet services. We want government to encourage the sharing economy and on-demand platforms to compete in an open market, and we believe public policies should encourage the innovation and competition that are essential for an Internet of Things to thrive.

We support expedited siting processes and the thoughtful expansion of the grid so that consumers and businesses continue to have access to affordable and reliable electricity." Protection of the environment will be sacrificed for consumer convenience and corporate profits. 

"We must overturn the regulatory nightmare created by the Dodd-Frank law, for the community banks and savings and loans that provide nearly half of all small business loans and over three-quarters of all agricultural loans." And not a small portion of Republican funding. 

We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations.

In a section entitled “We the People” the platform becomes Biblical.

"Man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail; that there is a moral law recognized as “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God; and that American government is to operate with the consent of the governed. " This is a political party that above all fears Shira Law, but here introduces a natural law theory straight from the Roman Catholic book of doctrine. 

The section continues:  "We are also the party of the Constitution, the greatest political document ever written. It is the solemn compact built upon principles of the Declaration that enshrines our God-given individual rights and ensures that all Americans stand equal before the law, defines the purposes and limits of government, and is the blueprint for ordered liberty that makes the United States the world’s freest and most prosperous nation.

Our Constitution is in crisis. More than 90 percent of federal requirements are now imposed by regulatory agencies, without any vote of the House or Senate or signature of the President. The current Administration has exceeded its constitutional authority…". They forget that regulatory agencies are empowered by Congress when it passes laws authorizing their authority to regulate. The judiciary may limit those powers if they exceed their authorizing legislation. 

The Judiciary

"A critical threat to our country’s constitutional order is an activist judiciary that usurps powers properly reserved to the people through other branches of government. Only a Republican president will appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

In tandem with a Republican Senate, a new Republican president will restore to the Court a strong conservative majority that will follow the text and original meaning of the Constitution and our laws. … Foreign laws and precedents should not be used to interpret our Constitution or laws, nor should foreign sources of law be used in state courts’ adjudication of criminal or civil matters."

Using foreign sources of law downgrades our notion that we are exceptional; we should ignore the laws of other states. That our law came from England must be an embarrassment as it would be much better if our laws came from God and nature or if we found them under a tree. 

"We therefore oppose the adoption or ratification of treaties that would weaken or encroach upon American sovereignty or that could be construed by courts to do so. We will not recognize as binding upon the United States any international agreement forged without the constitutionally required assent of two-thirds of the United States Senate.

On social issues

‘Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society… We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances….” 

The Platform would adopt many of Justice Scalia’s pronouncements as its own; Scalia is an important source of Republican positions. While the Platform expresses faith in the Constitution and states’ rights, those rights expire when we are dealing with religion, marriage and abortion, all of which Republicans feel free to regulate at the federal level. 

"We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.

We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This Act would protect the non-profit tax status of faith-based adoption agencies, the accreditation of religious educational institutions, the grants and contracts of faith-based charities and small businesses, and the licensing of religious professions — all of which are under assault by elements of the Democratic Party.

We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities." God apparently gave us the right to tote an AK-47.  Thank God for that! 

"We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle.

We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth

Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth."  Again, the Roman Catholic doctrine creeps into our political system. The section continues on in along-winded blast against any and all abortions, Planned Parenthood and any federal or judicial interference on any state imposed regulation of abortions.  

On federalism

"We condemn the current Administration’s unconstitutional expansion into areas beyond those specifically enumerated, including bullying of state and local governments in matters ranging from voter identification (ID) laws to immigration, from healthcare programs to land use decisions, and from forced education curricula to school restroom policies. We pledge to restore the proper balance and vertical separation of powers between the federal government and state governments — the governments closest to, and most reflective of, the American people. We encourage states to reinvigorate their traditional role as the laboratories of democracy, propelling the nation forward through local and state innovation.

The  Clean Power Plan — the centerpiece of the President’s war on coal — has been stayed by the Supreme Court. We will do away with it altogether…. coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource. Those who mine it and their families should be protected from the Democratic Party’s radical anti-coal agenda."  Coal is clean because its exceptionally good for coal fired electrical plants owned by exceptionally fine Republican donors. 

"We intend to finish [the Keystone Pipeline]  and others as part of our commitment to North American energy security." The influence of Big Oil on the Platform is revealed. Environmental considerations are considered by the Platform as irrelevant and improper. Although much and maybe most of the Keystone effluent will be exported, it’s good for American energy companies and that’s good for security and the Republicans like the Koch Brothers. And what could be better than that? 

"Climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue. This is the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it.  Big oil, big donors and the Koch Brothers are at work here.  We respect the states’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, methane emissions, and horizontal drilling… "This is pure cynicism: the states are more easily bribed or lobbyied.  Does North Dakota have any laws regulating drilling? If they do, they were written by the drilling and pipeline industries. 

"We oppose any carbon tax. It would increase energy prices across the board…."

Not across the board. It wouldn’t increase the cost of energy produced by renewable resources. 

The Republican Party reaffirms the moral obligation to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country. We believe that people are the most valuable resources and that human health and safety are the proper measurements of a policy’s success. We assert that private ownership has been the best guarantee of conscientious stewardship, while some of the worst instances of degradation have occurred under government.

"The environment is too important to be left to radical environmentalists. They are using yesterday’s tools to control a future they do not comprehend.

The environmental establishment has become a self-serving elite, stuck in the mindset of the 1970s, subordinating the public’s consensus to the goals of the Democratic Party.   Here the Platform introduces a conspiracy theory to discredit environmentalists.  They are all controlled by the Democratic party. 

We propose to shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states and to transform the EPA into an independent bipartisan commission, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with structural safeguards against politicized science. We will strictly limit congressional delegation of rule-making authority, and require that citizens be compensated for regulatory takings.

We will enforce the original intent of the Clean Water Act, not it’s distortion by EPA regulations.

We will likewise forbid the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide, something never envisioned when Congress passed the Clean Air Act.

We will restore to Congress the authority to set the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and modernize the permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act so it can no longer invite frivolous lawsuits, thwart sorely needed projects, kill jobs, and strangle growth."  Congress is an expert on ambient air quality and wishes to use its expertise so other experts from horrible places like scientific institutions can’t get their dirty hands on the subject.  The platform ignores the reality that it is the regulated industries that use the courts to delay implementation of rules or findings.  

"The public should have access [to 640 million acres of public land]  for appropriate activities like hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting.  Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) should not include species such as gray wolves and other species if these species exist elsewhere in healthy numbers in another state or country." So if wolves exist in Canada, they don’t have to exist in the U.S.  The balance of nature is also a fraudulent notion invented by Democrats. 

"The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution.

We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which represent only the personal commitments of their signatories; no such agreement can be binding upon the United States until it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate. (Where that noted evironmental protector Sen. Inhofe can torpedo any treaty he dislikes, which just happens to be any and all treaties.)

We demand an immediate halt to U.S. funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in accordance with the 1994 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. That law prohibits Washington from giving any money to “any affiliated organization of the United Nations” which grants Palestinians membership as a state. There is no ambiguity in that language. It would be illegal for the President to follow through on his intention to provide millions in funding for the UNFCCC and hundreds of millions for its Green Climate Fund.

Healthcare

More than 100 million Americans depend on Medicare or Medicaid for their healthcare; with our population aging, that number will increase. To preserve Medicare and Medicaid, the financing of these important programs must be brought under control before they consume most of the federal budget, including national defense.  We intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing.

Our highest priority, therefore, must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws. So as not to burden our healthcare system. The Environmental Protection Agency has rewritten laws to advance the Democrats’ climate change agenda. The Department of Health and Human Services has ignored the enacted text of the Affordable Care Act to do whatever it wants in healthcare. 

Both the Department of Labor and National Labor Relations Board have scrapped decades of labor law to implement the agenda of big labor. The Dodd-Frank law, the Democrats’ legislative Godzilla, is crushing small and community banks and other lenders. The Federal Communications Commission is imperiling the freedom of the internet. We support reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which prohibits commercial banks from engaging in high-risk investment.

Because “sanctuary cities” violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, they should not be eligible for federal funding. Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is indefensible to continue offering lawful permanent residence to more than one million foreign nationals every year. We support the right of the states to enact laws deterring illegal aliens from residing within their states."

Home rule on issues that conflict with Republican dogma simply won’t work. It can’t be tolerated. 

Foreign Affairs

"A new Republican executive will work with the Congress to reestablish constitutional order in America’s foreign relations. All international executive agreements and political arrangements entered into by the current Administration must be deemed null and void as mere expressions of the current president’s preferences. Those which are in the national interest but would traditionally have been made by treaty must be abrogated, renegotiated as treaties, and transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent as required by  the Constitution. The United States will withdraw from all agreements and arrangements failing those standards."

A little mayhem in the international sector will be good for all those foreigners who had it coming to them. 

"We support maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions, together with our allies, against Russia unless and until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. We also support providing appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning." This is support for the neo-cons who were the architects of Ukraine’s break from Russian sphere of influence, making Ukraine a dependent of America and NATO. 

"We should abandon arms control treaties that benefit our adversaries without improving our national security.

We must fund, develop, and deploy a multi-layered missile defense system. (That would violate our treaty with Russia)  We must modernize nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms, end the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction, and rebuild relationships with our allies, who understand that as long as the U.S. nuclear arsenal is their shield, they do not need to engage in nuclear proliferation. While immigration is addressed in more detail elsewhere, we cannot ignore the reality that border security is a national security issue, and that our nation’s immigration and refugee policies are placing Americans at risk. To keep our people safe, we must secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, and properly screen refugees and other immigrants….

We consider the Administration’s deal with Iran, to lift international sanctions and make hundreds of billions of dollars available to the Mullahs, a personal

agreement between the President and his negotiating  partners and non-binding on the next president.

Tehran continues to sponsor terrorism across the region, develop a nuclear weapon, test-fire ballistic missiles inscribed with “Death to Israel,” and abuse the basic human rights of its citizens. A Republican president will not be bound by it. We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the survival of our friends."  This section appears to have been written by AIPAC.

"We will support the transition to a post-Assad Syrian government that is representative of its people, protects the rights of all minorities and religions, respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors, and contributes to peace and stability in the region. "Wonders will never cease.  This is the power of positive thinking. Why bother with history or reality when you can talk of fairy tales.

Our Unequivocal Support for Israel 

"Like the United States of America, the modern state of Israel is a country born from the aspiration for freedom and stands out among the nations as a beacon of democracy and humanity… support for Israel is an expression of Americanism, a We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law.

We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel. Therefore, we call for effective legislation to

thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner. " This section was written with the full support of AIPAC and represents the extreme of Israel’s influence over the U.S. Congress.  The Palestinians do not exist and any mention of them is considered anti-Semitic.

 

We invite readers to look at the composition of the drafters of the Republican Party Platform that appear at the end of the Platform itself.  We venture that these names will likely appear in the lists of policy makers in the new administration.