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Jeff Flake is a reminder of why we need to abolish the 17th Amendment

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Jeff Flake is a reminder of why we need to abolish the 17th Amendment

It was a shock to see Jeff Flake’s performance in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon. On the vote he caved into the Democrats stalling measure to have an additional FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh prior to his nomination vote on the Senate floor. Jeff Flake once again reminded everybody that he is in the Senate for himself. It seems noble that an individual would oppose party lines and think freely in the Senate. The existence of political mavericks would be splendid in a seat that was up for reelections more frequently than every six years. But a Senator in the United State is afforded the luxury of a six year, six figure salary, acting a fool as they please.

Who does a Senator represent?

The 17th Amendment called for the direct election of Senators by the people. The people already had representation in our bicameral legislature. The House of Representatives serves as the direct voice of the people, while the Senate served as a voice for the states. Now that Senators no longer represent their state, who do they represent? Is it their constituents? Or themselves? In theory, since the 17th Amendment was a populist amendment, the Senator is now a representative of the people? But what incentive does a Senator have to represent the people, rather than themselves.

Arizona is an excellent case study, in which we have three vastly different subjects. John McCain consistently had one of the worst voting records in the US Senate. According to GovTrack, from Jan 1987 to Aug 2018, McCain missed 1,220 of 10,383 roll call votes, which is 11.7%. This is much worse than the median of 1.5% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Aug 2018. Even into death, when physically unable to perform the duties of a Senator, John McCain refused to abdicate the position. Prior to the 17th Amendment, despite a six year term, the state could recall their Senators for various reasons. New Jersey was unable to remove Bob Menendez while he faced trial and Florida was unable to remove Marco Rubio while he was moping in 2015. Minnesota had to wait for Al Franken to resign. Removing an underperforming, inactive, or scandal enthralled Senator is entirely difficult in our society.

In contrast, compare that with Senator Jon Kyl. He has been appointed to temporarily replace John McCain. He was appointed with the confidence that he would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Jon Kyl will represent the interests of the state of Arizona, or at a minimum, its governor. And while the state cannot hold him to accountable, Jon Kyl recognizes his task to represent the state, as he is not currently an elected official. Jeff Flake who is retiring has been considered a wild card for some time now because he’s accountable to only himself.

Full Repeal

The return of the Senate to the states would cut down on underperformance. If a state is underrepresented in the Senate it would be their fault, but that issue was already rare. If a Senator missed key votes, voted the wrong way, or committed conduct unbecoming, they could be recalled. Senate elections wouldn’t require millions of dollars or PAC funding, a bone that leftist can chew on. Now further examine the content of state legislatures. A trifecta is where one party controls both houses and the governorship. There are currently 26 Republican trifectas among the states. That would equal 52 Senators to the Democrats easy 16 Senators from their 8 trifectas. This leaves a contestable 32 Senate seats. An even split of the 32 would give the GOP 68 votes, a supermajority that can withstand a few RINOs. Kavanaugh’s confirmation would be in no danger. The country may in fact curb spending eventually. Obamacare would have been repealed, or never enacted in the first place. The country would experience a massive shift to the right just by returning power to the states. The Democrats would have to shift away from socialism and back to being a “Worker’s Party” just to win votes. Conservatives should champion this issue. And if any good can come out of Jeff Flake, Conservatives should start talking about this movement.

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Offbeat

PragerU drops a turd with Yoram Hazony video

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PragerU drops a turd with Yoram Hazony video

I am a subscriber and an avid fan of PragerU. With that being said, I was deeply disappointed in the poor presentation presented by Yoram Hazony. But before I dive into that, I want to make it clear, on a spectrum between nationalism and globalism, a spectrum with which Hazony deviates, I am in full opposition to the latter. America is one nation under God, not any international body. And since, on this spectrum, I would be a nationalist, it became readily apparent, early on in the video, that he was making a fallacious case to advance nationalism.

Bad Appeal to Credibility

But it wasn’t long ago that great political figures such as Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, David Ben-Gurion and Mahatma Gandhi, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher recognized what I call the virtue of nationalism

Yoram Hazony begins the ascension of his argument by appealing to the credibility of figures who captured his ideal sense of nationalism. Woodrow Wilson was a Klansman who is not ideal when further arguing that nationalism is separate from racism. Teddy Roosevelt was a staunch anti-capitalist, contrary to the”virtue model” later explained by Hazony, and gave us the 16th and 17th Amendments. Mahatma Ghandi was a pedophile and his form of nationalism wasn’t for all peoples in India. Three out of his six role models are misfires.

Denial of History – Literally Hitler

It is agreeable that one can be a nationalist and support trade. But when Yoram Harony plainly states that Hitler was not a nationalist, but an imperialist, Hazony transplants the premises of his argument into a fantasy-land where his fallacious word tangles can thrive. Yes, Hitler was absolutely a nationalist. He was also a socialist. He was also part of a worker’s party (pro-unionized labor). Nazi was an acronym compiling three ideas. One of them was nationalism. However, Hitler being a revanchist was the least of his crimes and the most justified of his actions. Nationalism and racism are not mutually exclusive, as Hazony’s idols demonstrate. He could have delved into Nazism, building a case that the internal us vs them, class warfare, mentality fostered by Adolf Hitler, gave rise to the Holocaust to a far greater extent than nationalism ever did. To the Nazis standing up for the German worker meant that the non-ethnic Germans had to eventually be eradicated. He could have explained the the Holocaust greatly strained Hitler’s nationalist effort. But instead, Hazony made the fantasy argument that Hitler was an imperialist, not a nationalist.

Denial of History – “Nationalism stops at a nation’s borders”

Yoram Hazony asserts that imperialism and nationalism are opposite. This argument is perhaps as bad or worse than the former. It is essentially: a=/=b and a=/=c, therefore b=c. Except history shows that nationalism and imperialism are not mutually exclusive, no more than socialism and nationalism (fascism). Did the Germans practice imperialism? Sure, though the British, French, and Soviets (who would have eventually invaded Europe) were all threats to a rising Germany and other axis powers. One cannot be a German-nationalist and insist that Germany abide by the Treaty of Versailles. The Japanese are a much clearer example of imperialism, though they were a poor imitation of the British Empire.

The once mighty British people are a shadow of their former selves. But it was not the rejection of nationalism that caused the sun to set on the British Empire, rather the rejection of imperialism. British imperialism made the isles a formidable force in Europe winning campaigns in World War One while simultaneously fighting a stalemate in Europe. In World War 2, Britain, because of its global expansion was able to combat the axis powers in Europe, Africa and Asia. These policies kept the British well supplied in World War 2, along with American friendship. After the Second World War, Britain relinquished its global grip creating international trade out of what was once domestic. It is much more clear that this policy shift contributed to the British eventually joining the EU.

America too practiced imperialism. We didn’t reach from sea to shining sea by our national interest staying within our nation’s borders. In, fact during our nation’s founding, our diplomats wanted Britain to cede Quebec to the United States during the negotiations that ended the American Revolution. The Treaty of Paris did not appease these ambitions, and America later invaded Canada during the War of 1812, rekindling this idea. But through the Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, various Indian wars, it would be difficult to argue that America did not advance its national interest through the practice of imperialism.

Every Nation is Equal Mentality

Yoram Hazony argues that nationalists prefer a world of many nations, each one believing that its government should seek the interest of its own nation. I wholeheartedly would discount myself from nationalism if this were the case. I believe in nationalism, opposed to globalism, because the United State of America is the greatest civilization in history, without equal. America is a nation built on values: God, liberty, and union. These values make America great. The nationalism that Hazony supports is an ethnic group fighting for independence with the hopes of becoming freer. Only this doesn’t happen all that often in history. In fact most rebellions under the guise of freedom are really just “we want different rulers, ones that look like us.” They don’t advance liberty and don’t always end well. The Dutch independence praised in the video was scathed by the Founding Fathers in the Federalist Papers. One would be hard-pressed to argue that Iraq is better off independent than a British or French colony, same with Libya, Syria, Haiti, Cuba. We could also examine the Liberia experiment. History demonstrates that nationalism does not inherently lead to freedom. In fact, his own examples of Wilson and Roosevelt were terrible for individual liberties. This is why nationalism is not mutually exclusive with so many ideologies, both evil and benign.

A nation is only as good as its values, and without these values, Americans would be celebrating mediocrity. No nation is entitled to an individual’s unwaivering support, just because their rulers look like you. However, in America, nationalism is an ideology that celebrates and seeks to protect the values that America is founded on. Yoram Hazony failed to build up a substantive case for nationalism, instead devoting his life’s work to raising a false idol, rooted in fantasy, to a pervasive though incomplete ideology. PragerU chose a poor spokesperson for this message, giving ammo to critics with claims that “Hitler wasn’t a nationalist.” That is the first PragerU video I’ve hit the dislike on, not simply because of disagreement, and hopefully the last.

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Democrats

New rule needed: Old Ideas have to work BEFORE they can be tried again

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New rule needed Old Ideas have to work BEFORE they can be tried again

If the Unaffordable Care Act [Obamacare] didn’t work properly, why replace it with more of the same?

It’s a pattern replicated far too many times. There is a small expansion of government based on a ‘new’ idea that inevitably fails to work as promised. This is replaced with an even bigger expansion of government to solve the issues of the original program. When this also fails to work, an even bigger government expansion fails even more spectacularly. Each time the ‘new’ idea repeatedly fails making the situation far worse.

Instead determining what actually can work, the same mistakes are made over and over with the futile expectation of different results. If an idea is flawed, the results will always be the same no matter it’s size or overreach.

Old ideas have to be shown to work BEFORE they can be tried again

There is a perfectly easy way to avoid repeated failure. Look at what works and reject what doesn’t. If the basic idea of a law or government program is a known failure, why bother trying it again? Ever-expanding government programs of failure only lead to ever-expanding failure.

Consider just a couple of examples of this pattern:

  • Government controlled healthcare systems.
  • Government controls on Liberty [i.e. ‘Gun confiscation’]
  • Ever increasing taxation that has led to ever diminishing tax revenue.
  • And the Great, Great, Great, Granddaddy of them all: Socialism [Collectivism]

Government controlled healthcare

In the case of the Unaffordable Care Act [‘ACA’ or ‘Obamacare’] there would be no need for a new overarching system if it were functional. But it’s promises never materialised, so the Left is now clamouring for something even worse. With it now being ruled unconstitutional, the whole concept of government control of health care has been called into question. We should always take into consideration other ideas that actually work instead of heading down the same dead-end road.

The Left’s ideas on healthcare have been a series of ever-increasing failures of ever-increasing over reach by the government. They never admit to failure, they just keep on clamouring for more without any word on funding

For example, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) agreed with the contention that the Democrats should now push for an even bigger expansion of government control over everyone’s life with “universal health care”. Medicare and Medicaid failed to solve the problem, so the Unaffordable Care Act was layered on top. That is also failing, so the ‘solution’ offered by the nation’s Left is even more control of Government control of healthcare. Never mind that we cannot afford the $42 trillion price tag for a new government monstrosity over the next decade, never mind that it violates the basic precepts of the Constitution. History and logic tells us that it cannot work, so is there is no point in trying it all over again.

New Ideas based in Liberty

There is no point in going in the same direction, repeating the same failure with the same ancient ideas. However, as JD Rucker pointed out, we need to support positive ideas instead just acting in opposition. In that context, these are some examples of alternatives to healthcare under the control of the government.

Direct care or Concierge Medicine

This is a system where patients pay a retainer fee to a physician for personalised care. The retainer fee lets the medical professional work with a smaller number of patients so they can have far easier access with lower co-pays. This type of practice would be combined with catastrophic care for emergencies.

For most people this sounds far better than impersonal service and high deductibles of a government-run system with far lower costs. The individual would be the priority rather than the collective. A much better system than one that combines the customer care of the DMV, the empathetic demeanour of the IRS and the cost efficiency of the Postal service.

Other plans to fix the mess of government-run health care

Then there are alternative ideas such as those in a recent Heritage foundation report that outlined some of their ideas to to replace Obamacare. The main point here is to return to plans that put choice in the hands of individuals.

The takeaway

Thus we have two contrasting visions of how things should work (or not in the case the ancient ideas of the Left). The nation’s Socialist Left wants to pile on a new overarching government plan due to the failure of the existing overarching government plan. We can’t afford the cost in Liberty and dollars of the old plan, nor can we even begin to afford the cost in Liberty and dollars of the ‘new’ plan. History tells us that the ‘new’ version of the same old ideas will fail to work as promised. This will cause the need for the Left to have another go at the problem that will also fail to work.

The Left can talk all they want about fighting for people, but the results of their ancient ideas speak for themselves. Only needs to cite the horrific conditions of Venezuelan healthcare to see how much they ‘care’ about people. We of the Pro-Liberty, Conservative Right have the advantage of ideas grounded in Liberty that have been proven to work. These can reverse the trend toward freedom crushing government systems that do not work no matter how expansive or expensive.

The choice is clear, keep on going in a direction will see everyone paying dearly in dollars and Liberty for a ‘new’ government program that won’t work. Or trying a new approach with fresh ideas that actually work and maintain our freedom.

 

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Media

The Weekly Standard’s demise is a bad omen for all, even if you disagreed with them

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The Weekly Standards demise is a bad omen for all even if you disagreed with them

After 23 years, the Weekly Standard is dead. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. We’ve been strongly considering adding a new element to the NOQ Report, whether that be a podcast or video or whatever. Our plans were to explore it fully with the new year but something about the Weekly Standard story awakened a sense of urgency in me yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t agree with much of what was posted and printed by the magazine. Many of their writers were the epitome of the neoconservative movement that’s torn through the Republican Party for the past three decades, but I respected their dedication to their causes and the professionalism they displayed in their content.

Many will point to the Weekly Standard’s general opposition to the Trump presidency as the reason they’re folding. It started back in the early days of the 2016 primary season when there was still a good chance Ted Cruz could beat him. Most of them didn’t like Cruz, either, but with Jeb Bush failing early they had few viable options. So, many will say Trump, or more accurately their opposition to him, is what killed them in the end. This may be true, who knows, though traffic numbers indicate they were doing just fine online. Apparently, their subscriptions and advertising either dried up or couldn’t sustain costs; frankly I haven’t taken the time to look into the cause of their demise. The fact that they’re dying is enough to warrant a response.

In our world of “fake news” permeating across every platform, every medium, it’s a concern when anyone falls off, especially after seeing so much success. This isn’t a two-year-old blog or a local radio show getting axed. This is a news outlet that at its peak was one of the most well-respected right-leaning news and opinion providers out there. For it to fall as it has is a warning to all in the media. There’s no such thing as too big to fail. I’m not just talking about the outlets that were similar in size to the Weekly Standard. I mean the NY Times, Fox News, the Washington Post, CNN. Nobody is beyond reproach in an ever-changing media environment that is now driven in part by the critiques of public figures and the whims of a fickle yet powerful audience on social media.

It’s become popular to say in recent years that “words matter.” It’s true. They definitely do matter and in today’s world, they’re becoming more and more powerful. The President can post a Tweet about China and stocks may rise or fall by hundreds of points based on 280-characters. An average citizen can say something on a local news interview that goes viral and starts a trend until their fame-filled 15-minutes fizzles out. Look, everyone has a voice today if they’re willing to use it and traditional media is becoming obsolete. This isn’t news to anyone. The thing that keeps the bigger players in media afloat is their ability to adapt, which means if someone as big as the Wall Street Journal fails to adapt quickly enough or adapts in the wrong way, even they could be gone soon.

Whether it was the Weekly Standard’s criticism of Trump or a failure to adapt properly or simply poor use of their funds that caused their downfall is for others to debate. I’m simply suggesting that some fall, some rise, and that’s a concern in an industry that relies on stability to keep the bills paid.

Admittedly, we haven’t been paying our bills very well. The funding I put into NOQ Report is drying up, which is what prompted consideration of a podcast or video channel in the first place. But we’re small enough to experiment. As long as we’re producing great content that the audience likes, we’ll continue to grow. Our viewership has tripled in just over two months and shows no signs of slowing.We just launched our Patreon page to coincide with the launch of our new YouTube channel. Now’s the time to get funds rolling in so we don’t suffer the same fate as the Weekly Standard.

But this story isn’t about us. My concern has nothing to do with their ideology. I don’t have to be a devoted neocon to recognize their failure is bad for America. It’s the loss of important voices, which means less discourse. Less discourse means an unhealthy polarization of thoughts. Most people fear deadlock in Washington DC. I don’t. In fact, the slow, methodical way DC works is by design from the founding fathers. But I do fear deadlock when it comes to thought. I enjoy conversations and I’m made stronger by having them, even with those who are ideologically opposed to me.

I could debate the writers at Vox or Slate or Buzzfeed until I’m oozing gray matter from my nose, but I’d never want them to stop expressing their opinions. I wouldn’t want their voices shut down. We’re stronger when more voices are debating issues. Every time a publication like the Weekly Standard or Gawker or whoever falls apart, there are voices silenced. This isn’t a good thing.

America needs conversations. We need debates. I may not have liked what I considered to be pseudo-conservatism espoused by some of the writers, but I’m very concerned that they couldn’t weather the storm. Goodbye, Weekly Standard.

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