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Keeping our representatives beholden to those they represent

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The vast majority of responses to our stance on having individual “platforms” for every candidate and representative has been positive. People like the idea of a party that is willing to hold its own people accountable to the promises they make. With that said, there have been a few concerns that must be addressed.

By far, the biggest concern is that if there is no centralized direction from the national party, we could get an extremely diverse range of perspectives from representatives. As a national party our platform is quite simple. We believe in reining in the federal government by dramatically limiting budgets, bureaucracy, and power. We hold the rights that every American is born with as sacred; the Constitution defends those rights which means our representatives must defend the Constitution. Lastly, we believe in the sanctity of human life.

Based upon the simplicity of this platform, many assume there will be too much room for interpretation. We feel strongly that there will be just the right amount of room for degrees of flexibility, but interpretations will not be skewed by whimsy or creative reckoning. For example, limiting government is as straight-forward as it needs to be. We do not fear a Federalist representative misinterpreting this in a way that makes them act to the contrary. If a bill is on their desk that truly reins in overreach, they’ll be able to recognize that just as easily as anyone else in the party would. The beauty of Federalism is that it isn’t hard to apply even with a basic understanding. We expect the understanding of those representing us to be more than basic.

Here’s the key to our stance: every state, city, community, and individual is different. We all have different needs and priorities. Today, Washington DC has become too detached from the will of the people because our national representatives are compelled to work from a national level. That’s not to say they don’t listen to their constituents, but most are only truly listening around election time and only for the purpose of determining how to win votes. In between elections, they’re willfully insulated from the real world by the partisan politics and inherent corruption of Washington DC itself.

We need our representatives to make and keep promises to their people. In some cases, “their” people may very well be the entirety of the United States. The attempted debacle of an Obamacare repeal bill currently working its way to President Trump’s desk is an example of this. In most cases, the promises made and kept by our representatives in DC should be directly influenced by the people who voted for them. This is why it’s so important for the Federalist Party to hold them accountable for their promises in the form of a clearly outlined personal platform. If a Texas Congressman says he’s going to fight against natural gas regulations to free up businesses and employees in his state, we’ll hold him accountable to that promise. If a California Congresswoman pushes forward legislation to reduce protections for illegal immigrants, it’s because she made that vow to the people in her district. That’s how Federalism works. A Congressman in New Hampshire might not care about either of these promises and likely wouldn’t list them in his platform, but he would almost certainly vote for them since they fall in line with the overarching Federalist mentality.

This works at every level. Just as a state representative has to make some decisions for the state and others for the local district, so too does a city council member often have to make promises and take actions that work on multiple scales. This is the flexibility that we desire for the party. It’s not to make it harder for the party to unify as some have suggested. It’s to allow representatives to act based upon the needs of the people they represent.

For over a century, the nation has been creeping towards more centralization. At times, it’s been lurching towards Statism at an alarming pace. Today is such a time which is why the Federalist Party must rise. We have to push for localization in order to have true accountability. Only when our representatives are beholden to the people they represent will we be able to move the country back in the right direction.

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Immigration

Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

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Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fight over President Donald Trump’s $5 billion wall funds has deepened, threatening a partial government shutdown in a standoff that has become increasingly common in Washington.

It wasn’t always like this, with Congress and the White House at a crisis over government funding. The House and Senate used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law. But in recent years the shutdown scenario has become so routine that it raises the question: Have shutdowns as a negotiating tool lost their punch?

Monday brought few signs of progress. A partial shutdown that could occur at midnight Friday risks disrupting government operations and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay over the holiday season. Costs would be likely in the billions of dollars.

Trump was meeting with his team and getting regular updates, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Trump was also tweeting Monday to keep up the pressure.

Exiting a Senate Republican leadership meeting late Monday, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said, “It looks like it probably is going to have to build for a few days here before there’s a solution.”

The president is insisting on $5 billion for the wall along the southern border with Mexico, but he does not have the votes from the Republican-led Congress to support it. Democrats are offering to continue funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, not for the wall but for fencing and other border security.

It’s unclear how many House Republicans, with just a few weeks left in the majority before relinquishing power to House Democrats, will even show up midweek for possible votes. Speaker Paul Ryan’s office had no update. Many Republicans say it’s up to Trump and Democrats to cut a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump talk most days, but the senator’s spokesman would not confirm if they spoke Monday about a plan. McConnell opened the chamber hoping for a “bipartisan collaborative spirit” that would enable Congress to finish its work.

“We need to make a substantial investment in the integrity of our border,” McConnell said. “And we need to close out the year’s appropriation process.”

Meanwhile more than 800,000 government workers are preparing for the uncertainty ahead.

The dispute could affect nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

About half the workers would be forced to continue working without immediate pay. Others would be sent home. Congress often approves their pay retroactively, even if they were ordered to stay home.

“Our members are asking how they are supposed to pay for rent, food, and gas if they are required to work without a paycheck,” said a statement from J. David Cox, Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the large federal worker union. “The holiday season makes these inquiries especially heart-wrenching.”

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are already funded for the year and will continue to operate as usual, regardless of whether Congress and the president reach agreement this week.

Congress already approved funding this year for about 75 percent of the government’s discretionary account for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, wouldn’t be affected by any government shutdown because it’s an independent agency.

Trump said last week he would be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a border wall.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused.

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, in a meeting last week at the White House, suggested keeping funding at its current level, $1.3 billion, for improved fencing. Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats’ offer, telling them he would take a look.

Schumer said Monday he had yet to hear from Trump. Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer warned that “going along with the Trump shutdown is a futile act” because House Democrats would quickly approve government funding in January.

“President Trump still doesn’t have a plan to keep the government open,” Schumer said Monday. “No treat or temper tantrum will get the president his wall.”

One option for lawmakers would be to provide stopgap funding for a few weeks, until the new Congress convenes Jan. 3, when Pelosi is poised to become House speaker.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who is in line to become the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, suggested a stopgap bill could be one way to resolve the issue or a longer-term bill that includes money for border security.

GOP leaders, though, were frustrated as the clock ticked away. Leaving the weekly leadership meeting, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said any planning was a “very closely held thing. That’s why we should never let this happen. We should pass the bills the way we’re supposed to pass them.”

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Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

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Entertainment and Sports

Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch ‘Bambi’

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Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch Bambi

OZARKS, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri poacher has been ordered to repeatedly watch the movie “Bambi” as part of his sentence in a scheme to illegally kill hundreds of deer.

David Berry Jr. was ordered to watch the Disney classic at least once a month during his year-long jail sentence in what conservation agents have called one of the largest deer poaching cases in state history, the Springfield News-Leader reports .

“The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste,” said Don Trotter, the prosecuting attorney in Lawrence County.

Berry, his father, two brothers and another man who helped them had their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges revoked temporarily or permanently. The men have paid a combined $51,000 in fines and court costs — but the judge ordered a special addition to Berry’s sentence for illegally taking wildlife.

Court records show he was ordered by Lawrence County Judge Robert George to “view the Walt Disney movie Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before December 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter” while at the county jail.

Berry was also sentenced to 120 days in jail in nearby Barton County for a firearms probation violation.

His father, David Berry Sr., and his brother, Kyle Berry, were arrested in August after a nearly nine-month investigation that also involved cases in Kansas, Nebraska and Canada. The Missouri Department of Conservation said information from the investigation led to 14 Missouri residents facing more than 230 charges in 11 counties.

Investigators say David Berry Sr.’s other son, Eric Berry, was later caught with another person spotlighting deer, where poachers use light at night to make deer pause and easier to hunt.

The investigation into the Berrys began in late 2015, when the conservation agency received an anonymous tip about deer poaching in Lawrence County.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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Economy

Trump blaming Federal Reserve for recession created by his trade war

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Trump blaming Federal Reserve for recession created by his trade war

Wall Street had another very bad day yesterday. How bad? Well, the S&P 500 fell to its lowest level of the year, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 500 points, bringing its two-day losses to more than 1,000 points after a bad day last Friday.

Actually, yesterday’s very bad day is only a snapshot of what is officially a very bad month for Wall Street and a very bad year for the S&P 500. The Dow and S&P 500 are on track for their worst December since the Great Depression in 1931, down approximately 7% so far for the month. And the S&P 500 is down over 4% for the year.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is holding its last policy meeting of the year and will likely be announcing an increase in interest rates tomorrow due to economic uncertainty surrounding Trump’s trade war and a shaky global financial market.

So, it should come as no surprise that Trump spent time on Twitter yesterday spreading fake news about the imaginary success of his economic policies while simultaneously criticizing the Feds for tomorrow’s likely interest rate increase.

Trump’s attack on the Feds is not new. When the stock market’s 2018 gains were wiped out in October, Trump blamed Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, calling the man he appointed to the job “the biggest threat” to his success. He also issued a warning at that time that he might fire Powell.

I should note here that shortly after the 2016 election and before Powell was appointed, Federal Reserve officials were very concerned about Trump’s economic policies and how they would likely lead to inflation and higher interest rates. Maybe, instead of blaming the Feds for being right, Trump could admit he was wrong and end the trade war.

Yeah, like that’ll ever happen.

Trump’s “no inflation” claim is a complete fabrication; inflation has been steadily rising since Trump’s inauguration when it was around 1%.

The reality is that his trade war has been a primary driver of inflation and has grown to become the true “biggest threat” to the US economy. This threat so real that a majority of 134 business leaders recently surveyed — including executives from companies like Ford, Verizon, and Morgan Stanley — expect a recession to hit by the end of 2018. That’s two weeks, folks.

Meanwhile, Trump can’t really be bothered with the economy right now. He’s too busy tweeting threats against Saturday Night Live because they tell mean jokes about him.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

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