Statement Concerning Gov. McAuliffe’s Veto of HB 2264

Governor Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a key piece of legislation: a bill that would prevent the Virginia Department of Health from providing funds to clinics that provide abortion services to women who are not covered by Medicaid and redirecting those funds to community health clinics. The governor’s rationale was the women should be given quality health care. In an event comprised mainly of his pro-abortion donors from Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and Progress Virginia, Gov. McAuliffe makes to major assumptions.

The first is that abortion is health care. The American Solidarity Party of Virginia is committed to providing quality health care, but we fundamentally disagree that abortion is contributes to health. The very act of abortion is to destroy human life and often has negative, long term affects on the mother who undergoes the procedure. To call this destruction of life health care is a clever deception to mask what is truly being accomplished. What this is truly is Gov. McAuliffe defending his donors’s bottom lines.

The second assumption is that Planned Parenthood contributes meaningfully to the overall health of Virginians. It is absurd to say that women’s health is in jeopardy when Planned Parenthood has only five clinics in Virginia and then only in highly populated areas. They do not extend to impoverished rural areas and focus almost exclusively on city centers. In contrast, there are over 60 free clinics offering the STD testing and other screenings often touted to justify state fund going to the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. If Virginians are concerned with how their tax money is invested, the various free clinics and hospitals in the Commonwealth provide more services over a greater area to more people than Planned Parenthood. Indeed, that was the part of the bill that the governor does not discuss: the reallocation of those funds to clinics that serve more than those who want an abortion.

Therefore, it is clear that this is veto is intended to protect abortion and the governor’s donors, not the health of women. We call upon Gov. McAuliffe to reconsider his decision and the Virginia General Assembly to override the governor’s veto in order to provide quality health care to Virginians all across the Commonwealth and reducing the human rights travesty of abortion.

Summum Ius, Summa Iniuria: Measuring Mercy in Immigration

The New York Times reports:

“Esmeralda, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico in Alexandria, Va., is trying to find a new place to live with her 2-year-old daughter after her husband was deported to Mexico after a routine check-in at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office. She is now wondering if she should apply for a visa — which could end up in her becoming legal, or put her at risk because it notifies the government of her presence here.”

If this does not rankle your very soul, I am sinfully inclined to believe you do not have one. Those in support of this new surge in immigration enforcement tout the law as some immortal defense against accusation of injustice. They scream for law and order, yet their idolization of the law has brought on a serious disorder and a misunderstanding of the purpose of law. And before I am inundated with memes about how Obama did more, the facts are that he did not. We have not seen this level of deportation. The Obama administration did precisely what conservatives most moan about i.e. those undocumented immigrants who have committed dangerous crimes. Trump has expanded on who gets deported so that women and children get deported as well, even if they are citizens.

Now, I do not say that a nation does not have the right to control who comes through their boarders. Screaming about being pro-open boarders is a strawman. What I am saying is that pursuing the law to the extreme results in extreme injustice. Consider the example of Shylock who pursues the payment of a pound of flesh. Legally, the contract he and Antonio made is sound and Antonio owes Shylock a pound of his flesh. Here we see the law being taken to an extreme and putting a life in danger. Shylock’s murderous demand is check, ironically, by the law itself; since taking a pound of flesh would cause Antonio to die, Shylock would be liable for Antonio’s life and therefore be guilty of murder.

When we push the enforcement of the law to exclusion of all else, we do more damage than good. We want people to be here legally. If our enforcement makes those who are here illegally move further into the shadows, we are working against ourselves. When the advantages of remaining illegal remain greater than the advantages of becoming legal, then we can all admit that our immigration policy is backwards.

We see another example in Javier, who pursue Valjean to extraordinary lengths because he cannot conceive of a law breaker doing anything good. Javier’s persistence in following the letter of the law damages numerous people and, when he sees that a man can change through the mercy of Valjean, it inevitably consumes his life.

If we remain focused on the law being executed without mercy, we see grave injustices. We treat people like they are scum that need to be removed from an otherwise pristine nation, then we are the scum, not them. It is written, after all, “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him. The wicked are overthrown by their evildoing, but the righteous find a refuge in their integrity.” Our danger does not come from a now single mother and her toddler; our danger comes from our unwillingness to show mercy. It will eat at us until it eventually consumes our lives. In the end, it is a lack of mercy that will destroy America. Perhaps we should make an Executive Order about that. After all, it worked for Poland.

On Prudential Tax Cuts

President Trump has produced an ambitious tax plan that has people with more knowledge about economics than I scratching their heads as to how in the world he is going to pay such dramatic tax cuts. For those like me who do not understand all the nuances of economics, the logic behind Trump’s plan is simple: lower taxes mean that businesses can hold onto more money and expand, thereby increasing their overall wealth and growing the economy and therefore the tax income. It is not a stupid plan if your plan is to grow the economy and it makes sound sense.

What it depends on, however, is businesses taking those tax cuts and using them for growth. For example, let’s say company x receives an extra $1,000,000 from the tax cuts. Now, suppose they could also hire more people and open a second location thereby adding $500,000 to their yearly revenues. On the other hand, with that bump in income, they are taxed $100,000 more. So the natural thing to do if you are a business that will, in the long run, make you more money, is to not grow.

Think about it: if you choose not to grow, you get $1,000,000 more than you were making before. But if you grow, you not only spend that money, but you will actually end up losing that tax break. My wife and I recently did our taxes and found that, had we made a little less money last year i.e. not worked as hard and not grown, we would have gotten a better return. The business operates on the same principle. By not investing in growth and pocketing the money instead, they come out ahead.

There are plenty of reasons besides that for a business not to grow. For the small sandwich shop that has no aspirations of growing larger, a tax break just means greater income from the business you currently have. In fact, a small business owner is less likely to expand because it involves more risk to do it. Therefore, the sensible small businessman will pocket the extra money, not raise wages, and not hire any more staff, while increasing his profits.

This catastrophic inertness occurred recently in Kansas. The state made massive cuts to taxes. The result was massive budget shortfalls and minimal to no growth. The Kansas legislature believed that lower corporate, property, and private taxes would increase economic activity. When it didn’t–because trying to expand a business in a state with more cows than people is insane unless you are in the grain business–government institutions like schools and public assistance suffered. Thus, businesses became wealthy on the backs of children and the poor. Kansas is now trying to fix that mess with tax hikes that are–surprise, surprise–unpopular.

Like the Marxist Materialists in the Democrat Party, the Randian Materialists in the Republican Party following the Orange Emperor are promising a materialistic paradise that they cannot make good on. We need economic approaches that focus on man and his nature, not his wealth or the wealth of other men. Unless we order our economy and tax policy to serve man rather than exploit him, then we will head to financial ruin whether the Marxists or the Randians are in charge.

The American Solidarity Party seeks to do just that. The first thing we need to do is incrementally abolish the income tax. First of all, the Federal government has no business meddling in the lives of the individual citizens; all its dealings should be with the several states in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. A policy that focuses on taxing real property rather than liquid assets like income would be more just naturally as it would be progressive and distributed based on each person’s economic situation rather than setting up arbitrary brackets.

This is only one proposal as there may be others more suitable. The fundamental principle, however, is to meet the demands of justice and thereby protect the private property rights of each person and protect the right to acquire property, especially that of the poor. It worked for Poland.

Constitutional Rights v. Natural Rights

In the People’s Court of Public Opinion, comes now the Plaintiff, Constitutional Rights, by and through counsel Political Conservatives, submits this complaint against the Defendant Natural Rights on the grounds hereinafter set forth.

Plaintiff Constitutional Rights cannot be applied to non-citizens because the Constitution only protects “We the People of the United States.” Therefore, non-citizens cannot be said to have Constitutional Rights, either of free speech and assembly or due process.

Defendant Natural Rights denies the allegations in the Plaintiff’s complaint. Plaintiff argues from a false concept of the relationship between the state and the human person.

We have all heard the argument that illegals shouldn’t have constitutional rights because they are not citizens. The irony of this argument is that it largely comes from political conservatives who often rabbit on with immense vigor about how the rights in the Constitution are not granted by the Constitution, but merely protected by it. I share this view i.e. that our rights stem from our being human, endowed by our Creator and Nature with our rights rather than receiving them as grants from the state.

Yet, in order to complain about immigrants not accepting American values, political conservatives reject American values. To say that an immigrant, illegal or otherwise, does not have a right to free speech is basically like telling Jefferson that his whole Declaration thing was wrong because the unwritten constitution of Great Britain didn’t allow the colonists to declare independence.

They will dress up the extension of due process rights to illegal immigrants as a sort of carte blanc to enter the country. This is their own self-denial and cognitive dissonance. Due process rights state that someone cannot be indefinitely detained or detained without charges or not given a fair process by which their issue can be addressed. This was important to the colonists before the Revolution because Great Britain would detain people and then send them to England to be held without the prospect of a trial.

To say that someone does not have a right to due process because they are not an American citizen is to repudiate the whole theory of Natural Rights the Constitution was based on. In the debates about the Bill of Rights, the Federalists actually argued that to make a Bill of Rights, the rights of the people would actually be limited. The Anti-Federalists argued that having the Bill of Rights does not mean “these are your only rights,” but rather, “your rights are but not limited to x.” The Founders never believed the Constitution granted rights nor that those enumerated the Constitution were the only one’s people had.

They believed, as I do, that our rights stem from our humanity, from our personhood. They used language such as “individual” and so on, but the sense was largely the same: each and every person/individual has rights and the government protects them. The having of rights, therefore, are prior to the Constitution. This means that, just we are endowed by the Creator with the right of due process, the illegal immigrant is given the same.

By saying the illegal does not have these rights is to say one of two things: a) that God granted special rights to Americans only or b) our rights come from the Constitution and therefore the State. Either one of these is wrong on its face; anyone can see that. Yet, faced with such a dilemma as to how they are going to deny basic human and individual rights to illegal immigrants, I wonder just how much cognitive dissonance political conservatives can drum up.

To Rule at Home: Abolishing Dillon’s Governmental Capitalism

I have often heard that capitalism is the best system and that if only the government had more capitalism and was more capitalistic, then it would be better. That is, unless the almighty and inscrutable invisible hand decides to move somewhere they don’t like. Then we need to regulate bathrooms and the like. I would say there is an exponential function whereat the level of fascist tendencies increases with every value of undesirable legislation passed by local governments.

It often puzzles me that political conservatives will be ready to lay down their lives–read: reputations and the assumption of their human decency–in mass exercises of defiance–read: petty Facebook squabbles and angry rants on call in talk shows–in order to argue against the federal government’s alleged intrusion into their personal lives, but not when they want the state to do the exact same thing to some local government they think is getting uppity.

Take the sanctuary city issue. In these cities, the local authorities have said they are not going to go around trying to find illegal aliens and not arrest the ones that they do find. Some will call this a flagrant disregard of federal law until you realize that local governments don’t have the jurisdiction to enforce federal law. All these cities have done is made it policy to let the feds take care of their own criminals and use their resources on other things like gang violence and such. To conservatives, this means we have to override all local autonomy as to how they allocate their local resources i.e. how they spend their tax payer dollars as the tax payer directs them and force them to enforce a body of law they have no legal authority to enforce without voluntarily joining a federal law enforcement program. My point is that even the proponents of local control and individualism turn into qausi-fascist when towns and cities they don’t live in don’t do what they want them to do.

At the local level where the state and the county/town/city/whatever are butting heads, it gets even worse and the squabbles are even more partisan. What’s more, it inhibits the local government’s ability to provide services and perform in a manner consistent with their particular circumstances. The top down approach that conservatives say is nothing but socialism is exactly the model that is created effectively under Dillon’s Rule. The whole state gets the same, meager services for the sake of Richmond preserving its power. In fact, of the states that have Dillon’s Rule, Virginia is one of the most strict. This means that if Prince William or Sussex Counties have an idea for a better way to manage their food assistance programs, the General Assembly has to expressly give them permission.

In other words, Dillon’s Rule in Virginia stifles the creativity of the local governments to pursue solutions to problems in a manner better suited to their own circumstances in favor of a top down solution that fits most but not all. It is to be expected that the party that nearly nominated a Democratic Socialist as their presidential candidate would support such draconian rules. But the party of personal responsibility seems out of place in what seems to be individualism verses the state. When presented with the opportunity to inject the capitalist spirit by allowing local governments to develop in the way they see fit and share their creativity, the party of capitalism steps away with their blue brethren.

Now, certainly there cannot be absolute Home Rule; there must be some limitations placed on local governments. But the intervention of the state government is only going to mirror the relationship of the fed to the states. Increasingly, we have seen local issues be repressed by the states and the federal government coming down to support the locality, violating the ideals of federalism and states’ rights we hear so much about. Bathroom laws, cake makers, and other disputes that could simply be solved by having the states acknowledge more autonomy and a better ability to address grievances to their localities would likely lead to fewer interventions of the fed. But then the power to rule someone’s life from the capitol building in Richmond is not one, I think, will be given up easily.

Statement from the ASP National Committee on SCOTUS Nominee

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—The American Solidarity Party (ASP) today responded to the nomination, by President Trump of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court:

The American Solidarity Party expresses its hope that the Senate confirmation process for Judge Gorsuch will be thorough and fair, and draw attention to critical issues enshrined in our party’s platform. It is our hope that the upcoming Senate hearings furnish the American people with a full picture of Judge Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy.

A key issue of concern to the party, and a growing majority of Americans, is the right to life. The ASP believes that life should be protected from conception until natural death, constitutionally, statutorily, and judicially. For any potential Supreme Court Justice, this demands a recognition of the flawed and unconstitutional nature of past rulings which have undermined this most basic right, especially the fateful Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. This also requires, at a bare minimum, recognizing that many existing and pending laws protecting pre-natal life at both the state and federal level are constitutionally valid and in service to the common good. In this context, too, the party reiterates its platform commitments to seeking an end to capital punishment; a legal prohibition against euthanasia and assisted suicide; a ban on gestational surrogacy contracts; and special attention and care for women, the elderly, immigrants, and other vulnerable persons.

Religious freedom rights, which are enshrined in our Constitution as a “right to free exercise” and not merely “freedom of worship” are also a significant concern to the party. The Constitution clearly protects our right to live by our religious convictions, both within our halls of worship and in the larger world outside them. This matter will be especially critical as it will come before the court in cases dealing with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as in connection with immigration policy, national defense, Native American tribal claims, and other fields of law.

The party recognizes the importance of judicial restraint, and the need to maintain a firm separation of powers and robust checks and balances within our government.  Nevertheless, it is also the case that the courts are often one of the only avenues through which the politically powerless, the economically or socially disadvantaged, or otherwise marginalized citizens may have their voice heard and their rights secured. We hope, therefore, that Judge Gorsuch will express his commitment to protecting civil rights for all citizens, and particularly the most vulnerable.

Additional critical questions that the Supreme Court will almost certainly address in the coming years, and about which it will be necessary to gauge Judge Gorsuch’s views, include:

  • Free assembly and expression rights, including the right to protest and demonstrate;

  • Rights of workers to be free from discrimination in the workplace, to organize and form association in pursuit of their mutual interests, and to safeguard high standards of safety and health in the workplace;

  • Criminal justice rights;

  • Voter rights;

  • Limitations on executive power;

It is crucial that Judge Gorsuch is questioned substantively regarding all these concerns by the Senate so that citizens can contact their legislators and engage meaningfully in the process of consent for an appointee to the highest judicial office. On Judge Gorsuch’s part, we hope that he will give the American people assurance of his commitment not only to upholding and defending the Constitution, but also to serving true justice and the common good.