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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 Now that Senators no longer represent their state, who do they represent?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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Conservatism

A trillion dollar deficit is much more dangerous than the GOP acknowledges

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A trillion dollar deficit is much more dangerous than the GOP acknowledges

Spending. It’s the thing that helped me make my decision to leave the GOP a few years ago as there seemed to be very little difference between them and the Democrats when it came to fiscal responsibility. Where we spend the money is the only big deviation, but both sides of the political aisle have an addiction to spend more than the country has available. In the past, this was dangerous because of the crushing force of national debt that will eventually bring about an economic collapse. Today, the risk is much, much greater and within immediate striking distance.

What a trillion-dollar budget deficit represents today is an avenue through which Modern Monetary Theory could actually be realized in the United States. Those who are familiar with MMT may still be as complacent about it as I was a year ago; “It’ll never happen, not in America.” But as Democrats push Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, open borders, state-funded education, reparations, and outright socialism, there’s only one conclusion that any economist or political pundit can come to: If the new thinking of the Democratic Party gets a foothold and initiates some of their plans, then MMT is the only possible way to make it happen.

They don’t even need to initiate all of them. Just one or two will be enough for catastrophe.

In other words, they’re policy proposals are already writing checks the U.S. can’t cash, so every scenario in which a partial implementation of these policies takes place can only happen through MMT. For those who don’t want to read up on it, MMT is essentially the practice of printing the cash to pay the bills. Proponents say it will be different this time from every other failed attempt at MMT because America is responsible enough and too crucial to the world economy for it to cause hyperinflation. Reading the delusional excuses for promoting MMT reveals an uncanny ability to deny reality while simultaneously suppressing common sense. It’s the type of thing that only progressive economic scholars can truly comprehend, and that should terrify you.

By moving the budget deficit into the ten-digit arena, we’ve broken a threshold that gives MMT legs. Whether it’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying, “You just pay for it,” or Elizabeth Warren constantly saying the rich will be taxed until it’s paid for despite the basic arithmetic that demonstrates this is impossible, they’ll all latch onto the notion that if we can spend a trillion dollars in one year that we don’t have, why can’t we spend two? Ten? Fifty?

On one hand, I want to do whatever it takes to convince Republicans they need to do what they campaign to do: cut spending. It’s not as easy as just pulling the plug on frivolous programs, services, agencies, and whole departments… except that it truly is that easy. It’s not popular. Some say it’s political suicide. But considering it’s never been tried in the modern era (no real cuts have been made to spending in decades), now is the time to be bold and do what’s right for the nation. The rise of the internet in general and social media in particular gives conservatives an outlet through which they can educate the masses about the need to make cuts. It’s something we plan on doing as part of the American Conservative Movement.

But on the other hand, one thing that can’t happen in trying to convince Republicans they’re doing it wrong by allowing them to lose. The Democrats are now more than the lesser of two evils. They’re dangerous. The plans they will implement are existential threats to America. Sadly, many of them know this. The Justice Democrats, who are driving the leftward lurch within the Democratic Party, are shockingly aware of what they’re trying to accomplish. Destroying and rebuilding America in their image is the end goal. That image is not a pretty one, even to the Justice Democrats, but things are rarely pretty when radicals get their hands on it.

Modern Monetary Theory will be implemented if the Democrats get full control. Unfortunately, Republicans aren’t helping fight it as long as they’re pushing such untenable budget deficits. It’s time for a heavy dose of fiscal conservatism.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Democrats have no answer for the rise of MS-13. In fact, they’re helping them.

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Democrats have no answer for the rise of MS-13 In fact theyre helping them

The left and right can debate all day about sovereignty, how to handle asylum cases, and whether or not to build a wall on the southern border. But there should be no debate about whether, the notorious gang that runs much of Central America and is building a similar empire in the United states, should be allowed to continue their reign of terror. In fact, there is no debate about it at all right now as Democrats are unwilling to talk about it.

Why? Because they have no answers to stopping them and their proposed policies for handling the migrant surge invariably work towards helping MS-13 continue to infiltrate our nation.

The latest heinous act getting attention has gang members accused of beheading and dismembering rival gang members in the United States, among other hideous crimes. And yet when the President referred to them as “animals,” Democrats and much of the media tried to insinuate the President was referring to all immigrants. They kept this lie up for months after it was debunked. They’re still repeating it today.

Here’s who the President called “animals”:

While Democrats focus on the “concentration camps” and push for instant release of the hundreds of thousands of migrants crossing the border illegally and straining CBP, criminals like MS-13 gang members are sneaking in. The southern border is extremely porous and border patrol resources are being wasted on the migrant surge. While border patrol officers are stuck handing out diapers and completing paperwork for migrants, the “animals” are making their way across the border undetected.

But it isn’t just Democrats on Capitol Hill. Activist judges have thwarted literally every attempt by President Trump to deter illegal immigration and dissuade migrants from making the dangerous journey in the first place. They perform judicial gymnastics to find reasons why the President is not allowed to do what it takes to secure our borders. Meanwhile, these activist judges are complicit in the death and destruction they cause by assisting MS-13 in their gang activities.

Instead of coming to their senses, the Democrats are doubling down. Elizabeth Warren released her open borders plan, and we can expect the rest of the field to follow suit. They have literally no solution for the criminal infestation crossing the southern border. But that’s not stopping them from attempting to make the border even less secure. In 2020, remember these gang members. Remember their victims and the horrible way they died. Remember every American citizen killed by MS-13. Most importantly, remember which party has every intention of making the problem worse if they’re given the power to do so.

Every MS-13 robbery, rape, and murder is a direct result of Democratic lawmakers and activist judges preventing the President from doing his job to secure the borders. Ask them for solutions and all they can do is change the subject.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Foreign Affairs

Where in the world is Palau?

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Where in the world is Palau

I’ll take GEOGRAPHY for $1,000, Alex.

Answer:

Westernmost part of the former U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Question:

What is Palau?

I have not researched to see if Palau has ever actually been a brain stumper on Jeopardy. But to the average American, it is esoteric knowledge that not many other than Jeopardy geniuses would know.

WHAT ISLANDS WERE PART OF TTPI?

United States administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from 1947 until 1994. Today there are three independent nations and one United States territory.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands [CNMI] opted to remain a U.S. Territory and for U.S. citizenship.

Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau chose independence.

All four of these entities are within the Micronesian region in the Northwest Pacific. Hawaii and American Samoa and most of the Eastern Pacific are part of Polynesia. Melanesia consists of the islands in the Southwestern Pacific near Australia.

PALAU IS NOW A SOVEREIGN NATION

Though it is now independent and a member of the United Nations, Palau still depends very heavily upon the United States for its supporting infrastructure.

The United States military provides security.

The U.S. Postal Service still delivers mail as domestic to and from Palau with Zip Code 96940.

United States dollars are still used as the currency of Palau.

The economy of Palau depends upon agriculture, fishing, government, tourism and American assistance.

COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION

Palau, as did Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands, entered into a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Under the provisions of the CFA, Palau citizens are able to travel to the United States and even to reside and work without a visa. If they have a criminal record either back in Palau or here in the USA, then they would not be admissible.

You may also see the term Freely Associated States [FAS] in reference to Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands.

SO WHERE IS PALAU?

Palau is 1,043 miles southeast of Manila, Philippines at about 7.5° N. Lat., just slightly farther north of the equator than the city of Davao on the Southern Philippine Island of Mindanao which is 625 miles west. Palau is just 619 miles north of the Indonesian province of West Papua which lies just slightly south of the equator in the southern hemisphere.

Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia lies just 281 miles to the northeast of Palau. FSM includes the states of Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei and Kosrae. Though it is part of the Micronesian region, Palau is separate and independent from FSM.

TOURISM AND HISTORY

Palau, along with FSM, provides many opportunities for divers and aquatic enthusiasts from the United States who make the long journey to the tropics.

World War II buffs are attracted by battlefields such as Peleliu Island.

There isn’t much else for subsistence for the 22,000 residents of Palau.

MEETING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP

In late May 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump met with Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo, and Palau President Tommy Remengesau in Washington DC to discuss the Blue Pacific strategy.

While this is an historic occasion, and a very positive sign, it still was more of a photo op than a substantive negotiation. There is much more the United States needs to do to assist the good people of Palau and the other FAS countries.

The United States Coast Guard and FEMA provide services to Palau. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command based in Honolulu and the component military services are increasingly visiting Palau due to its strategic location.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular and International Affairs also focuses on former and current territories all the way from Palau to the U.S. Virgin Islands somewhat over 10,000 miles away. That’s a big job and a big area to cover.

MORE PACIFIC BASIN INITIATIVES NEEDED

For about 15 years after 1989, there were multinational programs throughout the Pacific Basin and Pacific Rim in which the United States and allied nations cooperated to assist one another ~ along with small island nations and territories ~ in law enforcement and Customs matters.

The primary large countries overseeing this communication were the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. All have a presence and a vested interest in this volatile part of the world.

Palau was an active participant in these programs and benefited greatly.

PROJECT COOK

Named for the British Seafarer and Explorer Captain James Cook of the 18th century, this was a small vessel tracking system which monitored both yachts and commercial fishing vessels that circumnavigate the Pacific Ocean, with more of an emphasis on the private craft. Customs Inspectors in each respective country boarded yachts and filled out the same form which was put into an online database. Thus, information on vessels and bio-data on crew members were shared among the participating countries and territories.

The main thrust of this was drug interdiction. Some small Islands also used it for revenue collection so that they would anticipate boats which were coming their direction.

This program continued till the mid- to late-1990s.

CAPERS

Not a seafood dish, but rather an acronym for Customs Asia-Pacific Enforcement Reporting System.

Computers were provided to small islands at a time beginning in 1999 when they were not already present in all locations.

The United States along with partners Australia and New Zealand provided national support centers to assist in their respective AORs.

CAPERS went beyond what Project Cook had done. Training material was posted for the benefit of Customs Officers from small islands who had no formal Academy. A forum and email were provided to assist coordination efforts. Much open source information was also provided about smuggling threats in the Pacific.

Narcotics smuggling by yachts is still a very serious ongoing situation in the Pacific. That is another topic to which a complete article will be devoted later. There is also the potential for terrorists and weapons of mass destruction to evade detection in border clearances that do not scrutinize yachts the way they do large commercial vessels and aircraft.

PACIFIC BASIN CONFERENCE

For nearly 20 years, the U.S. Customs Service Office of Enforcement sponsored a Pacific Basin Conference in Honolulu every year. Support and participation was also provided by Customs Inspectors. Counterparts from all over the Pacific were hosted and provided very informative speakers as well as opportunities for group discussions. Most activities were held at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

9/11/2001 happened! The late great U.S. Customs Service under U.S. Department of the Treasury, founded the same year the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789, ceased to exist on March 1, 2003. Members of President George W. Bush’s Administration who had little knowledge of agency missions set about to merge agencies to create the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Customs inspections were merged with immigration inspections and agriculture inspections into U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The old Immigration and Naturalization Service under Department of Justice also became a thing of the past.

Customs investigations were merged with immigration investigations into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The third component created under DHS is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

RELEVANCE TO PALAU

Small Pacific islands are very vulnerable to penetration and infiltration from outside. Palau doesn’t even have its own military. Its Customs and Immigration personnel could benefit greatly from increased or reestablished direct ties with the United States.

Palau citizens who travel to the United States would most often pass through their first Port of Entry in Guam where they would be admitted by a U.S. CBP Officer. Guam and CNMI are anomalies because they are part of the United States for immigration purposes but outside the Customs Territory of the United States. Therefore U.S. CBP officers in Guam perform immigration duties whereas customs is provided by the Commonwealth of Guam. Air passengers must clear Customs when they go beyond to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland.

So, you can see that CBP officers in Guam and CNMI which are closest to Palau only do immigration duties but not customs. The nearest U.S. Customs inspection locale is Honolulu. Palau is 805 miles from Guam, which in turn is 3,799 miles from Honolulu. So if you thought these Far West Pacific territories are right next door to Hawaii, think again.

DRUGS AND CORRUPTION ON PALAU

Unfortunately, there is no true tropical paradise in this world. Palau certainly qualifies in terms of climate and weather. But life is not idyllic for the people of Palau.

That’s why the United States needs once again to work hand-in-hand with other large nations that can assist small island countries like Palau.

All of this, of course, is being done with a backdrop of precluding Chinese hegemony in Palau, other former and current U.S. territories and throughout the entire Pacific Basin.

Palau is 1,995 miles south of Tokyo. Japan is America’s strongest ally in the Western Pacific. For well over a half century, Japan has focused on its own economic and cultural stability. It has also become a beneficiary nation to smaller neighbors.

Palau is not only significantly closer, but also much better known to many Japanese citizens than it is to the average American. It makes perfect sense then for the United States and Japan to talk to one another about how to provide mutual assistance to Palau.

This also is in America’s interest as it provides a further hedge against Chinese expansionism in the region. China is exploiting small nations with its Belt and Road Initiative and debt trap diplomacy.

A strong American-Japanese cooperative program to assist Palau with infrastructure development is in everybody’s best interests.

Some of the contraband flooding into Palau may be coming via maritime smuggling. It also may be coming on commercial aircraft and via U.S. mail. That is another entire topic for another day about outbound inspections of U.S. mail that could be enhanced from Honolulu to the U.S. territories. It sometimes pits U.S. Postal Inspectors against CBP and ICE. Keep that in the back of your mind for another essay.

PRIVATE CITIZENS IN USA AND JAPAN ~ WHAT CAN WE DO?

Following is a thoughtful discussion between concerned parties in Hawaii and Japan about how to elevate this situation in Palau to our respective national leadership.

RELATED ARTICLES

America’s good friends in the Philippines

Why America is re-engaging with the Pacific

A Japanese F-35 is missing and that’s a very big deal!

Eyes on the Pacific

China is taking over the world

Countering China

Nuclear threat in the Pacific: It’s not what you think

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Remain circumspect. When you see an article about Palau and the Pacific Basin, take time to read it and educate yourself on the issues.

“The most populous island is Koror. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the nearby island of Babeldaob, in Melekeok State. Palau shares maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Federated States of Micronesia.”

Hopefully you might actually find yourself in the position someday to share information if world events ever put Palau in the spotlight. I didn’t even go into the Chinese Uyghurs from Guantanamo Bay that Obama released there during his presidency. Who knows when something like that might lead to breaking news again?

If nothing else, this knowledge might actually win you a million dollars on Jeopardy someday. If not, don’t blame me because I tried.

Palau

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

American Conservative Movement

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