How to Vote

There’s been a lot of noise lately about some proposed Constitutional Amendments: banning flag-burning, prescription recuperation making English the only official language of the US, vitamin banning gay marriage, shop in addition to the usual evergreens. It seems to me that the Bull Moose Party ought to take a position on these.

As my teenage daughter said while listening to the yammerheads carry on about flag-burning, “that’s not what the Constitution is for.” Smart kid.

It’s that simple. The Constitution is a blueprint for the country, it lays out specific duties that the various branches of government are to carry out, and lays out general principles for the things its not supposed to meddle in. The last time a Constitutional amendment was enacted that restricted what citizens could do, it was an unmitigated disaster. That was Prohibition, and it failed so miserably that it barely lasted a decade before being repealed. Now, granted, none of the bans we’re talking about here are likely to cause anything like the rampant crime and violence that Prohibition brought, but there are principles involved.

Get used to it; we hope to make the Bull Moose Party the party of principle. We’re not going to tell you how to vote or anything, but we will call your attention to what we believe to be the important principles that underlie every position that we adopt. Now, on to the topics at hand:

Flag-burning. This one seems obvious. It has been established over and over that the First Amendment protects expression, ESPECIALLY political expression. “The right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances” is specifically protected. I would say that lighting up the Stars and Stripes is a pretty clear petition for redress of grievances. Why are we even discussing this?

Defense of Marriage, banning gay marriage, whatever you want to call it. First, let’s make a little distinction here (you’ll soon discover that it’s all about little distinctions): There is legal marriage and there is Holy Matrimony. Holy Matrimony is a sacrament of the church, and each religion, sect, denomination and affiliation has its own rules for certifying and acknowledging the sacrament. Legal marriage is essentially a contract, a bit of civil law that accords those who enter into the contract certain privileges and rights, including issues of inheritance and next-of-kin status. As long as the religious institutions are guaranteed the right to decline performing or validating any marriage they so choose, there is really no good reason to deny gay couples the legal benefits of marriage. And anyway, it’s not what the Constitution is for.

English only. We’re working on an in-depth piece about this topic, but for now, we’ll just say this: why is it okay for third-generation Americans to celebrate and honor their Irish, Scottish or German heritage (ever been to a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Highland Games or Oktoberfest?), but it’s not okay for more recent arrivals to preserve their family culture and heritage? Certainly, English ought to be the language in which the US government conducts its business, and there is some little merit in the economic argument that it costs money to print official information in multiple languages, but is that a reason to carve this notion in granite as part of the Constitution? Say it with me: “that’s not what the Constitution is for.”
There’s been a lot of noise lately about some proposed Constitutional Amendments: banning flag-burning, health care making English the only official language of the US, and banning gay marriage, viagra in addition to the usual evergreens. It seems to me that the Bull Moose Party ought to take a position on these.

As my teenage daughter said while listening to the yammerheads carry on about flag-burning, “that’s not what the Constitution is for.” Smart kid.

It’s that simple. The Constitution is a blueprint for the country, it lays out specific duties that the various branches of government are to carry out, and lays out general principles for the things its not supposed to meddle in. The last time a Constitutional amendment was enacted that restricted what citizens could do, it was an unmitigated disaster. That was Prohibition, and it failed so miserably that it barely lasted a decade before being repealed. Now, granted, none of the bans we’re talking about here are likely to cause anything like the rampant crime and violence that Prohibition brought, but there are principles involved.

Get used to it; we hope to make the Bull Moose Party the party of principle. We’re not going to tell you how to vote or anything, but we will call your attention to what we believe to be the important principles that underlie every position that we adopt. Now, on to the topics at hand:

Flag-burning. This one seems obvious. It has been established over and over that the First Amendment protects expression, ESPECIALLY political expression. “The right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances” is specifically protected. I would say that lighting up the Stars and Stripes is a pretty clear petition for redress of grievances. Why are we even discussing this?

Defense of Marriage, banning gay marriage, whatever you want to call it. First, let’s make a little distinction here (you’ll soon discover that it’s all about little distinctions): There is legal marriage and there is Holy Matrimony. Holy Matrimony is a sacrament of the church, and each religion, sect, denomination and affiliation has its own rules for certifying and acknowledging the sacrament. Legal marriage is essentially a contract, a bit of civil law that accords those who enter into the contract certain privileges and rights, including issues of inheritance and next-of-kin status. As long as the religious institutions are guaranteed the right to decline performing or validating any marriage they so choose, there is really no good reason to deny gay couples the legal benefits of marriage. And anyway, it’s not what the Constitution is for.

English only. We’re working on an in-depth piece about this topic, but for now, we’ll just say this: why is it okay for third-generation Americans to celebrate and honor their Irish, Scottish or German heritage (ever been to a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Highland Games or Oktoberfest?), but it’s not okay for more recent arrivals to preserve their family culture and heritage? Certainly, English ought to be the language in which the US government conducts its business, and there is some little merit in the economic argument that it costs money to print official information in multiple languages, but is that a reason to carve this notion in granite as part of the Constitution? Say it with me: “that’s not what the Constitution is for.”
There’s been a lot of noise lately about some proposed Constitutional Amendments: banning flag-burning, cardiology making English the only official language of the US, dermatologist banning gay marriage, in addition to the usual evergreens. It seems to me that the Bull Moose Party ought to take a position on these.

As my teenage daughter said while listening to the yammerheads carry on about flag-burning, “that’s not what the Constitution is for.” Smart kid.

It’s that simple. The Constitution is a blueprint for the country, it lays out specific duties that the various branches of government are to carry out, and lays out general principles for the things its not supposed to meddle in. The last time a Constitutional amendment was enacted that restricted what citizens could do, it was an unmitigated disaster. That was Prohibition, and it failed so miserably that it barely lasted a decade before being repealed. Now, granted, none of the bans we’re talking about here are likely to cause anything like the rampant crime and violence that Prohibition brought, but there are principles involved.

Get used to it; we hope to make the Bull Moose Party the party of principle. We’re not going to tell you how to vote or anything, but we will call your attention to what we believe to be the important principles that underlie every position that we adopt. Now, on to the topics at hand:

Flag-burning. This one seems obvious. It has been established over and over that the First Amendment protects expression, ESPECIALLY political expression. “The right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances” is specifically protected. I would say that lighting up the Stars and Stripes is a pretty clear petition for redress of grievances. Why are we even discussing this?

Defense of Marriage, banning gay marriage, whatever you want to call it. First, let’s make a little distinction here (you’ll soon discover that it’s all about little distinctions): There is legal marriage and there is Holy Matrimony. Holy Matrimony is a sacrament of the church, and each religion, sect, denomination and affiliation has its own rules for certifying and acknowledging the sacrament. Legal marriage is essentially a contract, a bit of civil law that accords those who enter into the contract certain privileges and rights, including issues of inheritance and next-of-kin status. As long as the religious institutions are guaranteed the right to decline performing or validating any marriage they so choose, there is really no good reason to deny gay couples the legal benefits of marriage. And anyway, it’s not what the Constitution is for.

English only. We’re working on an in-depth piece about this topic, but for now, we’ll just say this: why is it okay for third-generation Americans to celebrate and honor their Irish, Scottish or German heritage (ever been to a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Highland Games or Oktoberfest?), but it’s not okay for more recent arrivals to preserve their family culture and heritage? Certainly, English ought to be the language in which the US government conducts its business, and there is some little merit in the economic argument that it costs money to print official information in multiple languages, but is that a reason to carve this notion in granite as part of the Constitution? Say it with me: “that’s not what the Constitution is for.”
by Loren Collins

The American political landscape has been dominated by two parties for almost 150 years.  Other parties have risen to prominence during that time, pharmacy only to fall back into obscurity or to disappear entirely.  Yet the Democratic and Republican parties live on as our political powerhouses.  There exist even today a plethora of “third parties, valeologist ” some of greater note than others, prostate but none of which have proven to be particularly successful at the ballot box.

So what does the Bull Moose Party hope to accomplish?  What distinguishes us from the other alternative parties vying for your support?  What is our vision for America?

Although the history of American third parties may at first impression appear to be one of failure, that is not the case.  Throughout our nation’s history, the ideas and innovations of third parties have repeatedly made their way into the political mainstream. Sometimes these prove to be good ideas, such as the push for women’s suffrage that began with the Progressive movement.  Sometimes they prove to be bad ideas, such as Prohibition, which grew out of the Temperance movement.  The Republican Party’s own emergence as a major party in the 1800s involved the adoption of Abolitionist positions.

Third parties fail for the same reason that third party ideas succeed: the political market.  When the proposals of third parties begin to attract public attention and gain in popularity, those proposals are “borrowed” by one of the major parties.  When the public displays an interest in something different or original, the Big Two naturally want to grab that constituent interest for themselves.  Suddenly, the third party is no longer very unique or different.  It becomes a victim of its own success.

We in the Bull Moose Party appreciate this pattern of history, but it does not dissuade us.  Rather, it is what motivates and emboldens us.  We may not replace one of the major parties, though we wouldn’t complain if we did.  We may not even elect a candidate, though we won’t fail for a lack of trying.  But we can still affect America’s discourse and leave a lasting impression on the political landscape for generations.  That is a legacy worth fighting for.

Thomas Jefferson once said that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”  We have thankfully grown beyond the need for violent revolution, but Jefferson’s words still bear truth.  With the Cold War behind us and a new century ahead, we cannot be complacent with the offerings of our two old parties.  As Theodore Roosevelt expressed it in his day, “the old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly what should be said on the vital issues of the day.”

We need revolution.  Intellectual revolution.  Cultural revolution.  Political revolution.  And we believe the Bull Moose Party can be an agent for that revolution.

We recognize that many of the issues facing this country, as well as the world, are complex ones, and their answers are unlikely to be simple.  We believe it is important to first identify and isolate a problem in order to evaluate possible remedies.  All too often a policy with desirable short-term benefits bears the fruit of undesirable long-term consequences.  These need to be weighed and debated and understood before choosing a path.

Because complex problems often involve a balancing of values, it is not unexpected for others to balance those same values differently. America’s parties may be tired husks, but America’s people and politicians are rarely irrational, and it is possible for two reasonable people to reach differing conclusions with the same information.  Our national political culture, thanks to both major parties, has sunk greatly into juvenile posturing and name-calling.  We in the Bull Moose Party will undoubtedly disagree with other persons at times, but we will endeavor to do so respectfully.

Nor are our disagreements limited to one party.  We are distressed by the Republican record on civil liberties, by the Democratic record on personal freedom, and by everyone’s record on the national budget.  We believe there is an important and vital role for the federal government, but we also believe that there are a great many services that can be run more efficiently and with greater citizen input and control at the local level.  Once upon a time, we would probably have been called classical liberals.

Intellectual revolution.  Cultural revolution.  Political revolution.  These are but some examples.

We also offer frankness, honesty and integrity.  We are a party of open minds and straight answers.  We stand for the truth, convenient or otherwise.  We stand for justice, both at home and abroad.

And we stand for the American way, in how it has brought us to this point and in how it will guide us in the future.  Our political state may be suffering, but America itself continues to thrive. Our history is one of ever-increasing greatness, and the Bull Moose Party wants to help make it greater still.
by Loren Collins

The American political landscape has been dominated by two parties for almost 150 years.  Other parties have risen to prominence during that time, stomach only to fall back into obscurity or to disappear entirely.  Yet the Democratic and Republican parties live on as our political powerhouses.  There exist even today a plethora of “third parties, order ” some of greater note than others, rx but none of which have proven to be particularly successful at the ballot box.

So what does the Bull Moose Party hope to accomplish?  What distinguishes us from the other alternative parties vying for your support?  What is our vision for America?

Although the history of American third parties may at first impression appear to be one of failure, that is not the case.  Throughout our nation’s history, the ideas and innovations of third parties have repeatedly made their way into the political mainstream. Sometimes these prove to be good ideas, such as the push for women’s suffrage that began with the Progressive movement.  Sometimes they prove to be bad ideas, such as Prohibition, which grew out of the Temperance movement.  The Republican Party’s own emergence as a major party in the 1800s involved the adoption of Abolitionist positions.

Third parties fail for the same reason that third party ideas succeed: the political market.  When the proposals of third parties begin to attract public attention and gain in popularity, those proposals are “borrowed” by one of the major parties.  When the public displays an interest in something different or original, the Big Two naturally want to grab that constituent interest for themselves.  Suddenly, the third party is no longer very unique or different.  It becomes a victim of its own success.

We in the Bull Moose Party appreciate this pattern of history, but it does not dissuade us.  Rather, it is what motivates and emboldens us.  We may not replace one of the major parties, though we wouldn’t complain if we did.  We may not even elect a candidate, though we won’t fail for a lack of trying.  But we can still affect America’s discourse and leave a lasting impression on the political landscape for generations.  That is a legacy worth fighting for.

Thomas Jefferson once said that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”  We have thankfully grown beyond the need for violent revolution, but Jefferson’s words still bear truth.  With the Cold War behind us and a new century ahead, we cannot be complacent with the offerings of our two old parties.  As Theodore Roosevelt expressed it in his day, “the old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly what should be said on the vital issues of the day.”

We need revolution.  Intellectual revolution.  Cultural revolution.  Political revolution.  And we believe the Bull Moose Party can be an agent for that revolution.

We recognize that many of the issues facing this country, as well as the world, are complex ones, and their answers are unlikely to be simple.  We believe it is important to first identify and isolate a problem in order to evaluate possible remedies.  All too often a policy with desirable short-term benefits bears the fruit of undesirable long-term consequences.  These need to be weighed and debated and understood before choosing a path.

Because complex problems often involve a balancing of values, it is not unexpected for others to balance those same values differently. America’s parties may be tired husks, but America’s people and politicians are rarely irrational, and it is possible for two reasonable people to reach differing conclusions with the same information.  Our national political culture, thanks to both major parties, has sunk greatly into juvenile posturing and name-calling.  We in the Bull Moose Party will undoubtedly disagree with other persons at times, but we will endeavor to do so respectfully.

Nor are our disagreements limited to one party.  We are distressed by the Republican record on civil liberties, by the Democratic record on personal freedom, and by everyone’s record on the national budget.  We believe there is an important and vital role for the federal government, but we also believe that there are a great many services that can be run more efficiently and with greater citizen input and control at the local level.  Once upon a time, we would probably have been called classical liberals.

Intellectual revolution.  Cultural revolution.  Political revolution.  These are but some examples.

We also offer frankness, honesty and integrity.  We are a party of open minds and straight answers.  We stand for the truth, convenient or otherwise.  We stand for justice, both at home and abroad.

And we stand for the American way, in how it has brought us to this point and in how it will guide us in the future.  Our political state may be suffering, but America itself continues to thrive. Our history is one of ever-increasing greatness, and the Bull Moose Party wants to help make it greater still.
Speaking of clowns, denture election time is soon to be upon us. Time to review How to Vote. I’ve developed a simple formula that will get you through the process with a minimum of discomfort. Here’s a simple primer:

1. The propositions are more important than the candidates. Read the election guide. If you don’t understand what the proposition is supposed to do, flip to the back of the booklet where they have the arguments in favor and against the propositions. You don’t even have to read them; just take note of which argument uses the most exclamation points, and vote against it. Exclamation points, all caps, underlines and italics are the prime indicators that the argument is one of emotion rather than reason.

If it should happen that both sides are given to hyperbole, skim down and see who submitted the arguments and rebuttals. One side will likely have a contrived title such as “Citizens United for a Safe Whatever-the-heck.” If the other side happens to list an actual organization, or better yet, an actual person with a title below his name, you are most likely safe in voting against the fake grassroots group with the phony name.

2. Vote NO on bonds. Always. Bonds are the most expensive way to finance any government project. I’ve only once voted in favor of a bond, and I never will again. In that case, the Governor basically held a gun to the peoples’ heads and said if the bond didn’t pass, the state would go bankrupt, so I held my nose and voted for it. Next time, I’ll abstain. Bonds are horribly irresponsible fiscal policy. If the project is that important, they can find another way to raise the money.

3. There’s always somebody to vote against. If you don’t know who to vote for, or don’t want to vote for any of them, pick the guy you hate the most and vote for whoever has the best chance of beating him. For example, here in California, Gray Davis was an absolute failure as a governor. He was up to his eyeballs in helping Enron to screw the whole state. All of his policies were catastrophic. Plus the guy thought he was king. He told the Sacramento Bee as much; he announced that the purpose of the legislature is to carry out his policies. And he was for sale. A popular joke of the time was: “How do you get Gray Davis to change his position on an issue? Tell him the check bounced.” He’s also (according to Jill Stewart at the now-defunct New Times) a full-blown psycho given to fits of rage. Throws things at his staff. Literally, he’ll pick up a knick-knack off his desk and hurl it at somebody. It’s a wonder he hasn’t been arrested yet. In any case, we really didn’t need another term with this bribe-taking egotistical lunatic. Granted, Arnold wasn’t much of an improvement, but he wasn’t anybody’s first choice anyway. At least we got rid of Davis.

That’s one example, but there’s another point to consider: Most career politicians start out by running for School Board, City Council, or Judge, or some other low-level office. This is your chance to kill a political career before it gets started. Read your local paper and check out interviews with the candidates. Look them up. Find the scumballs and vote against them. It’s your civic duty.

4. If you don’t know something about the candidates, don’t vote. Nowadays you can sit down with Google and work through an entire ballot in about 45 minutes, looking up voter guides and candidates’ websites and actually voting intelligently. It’s not that hard.
In the last election here, over 236,000 people voted for the least-qualified candidate for judge that I have ever seen. He ended up with almost 40% of the vote. Clearly a half-million people flipped a coin. Fortunately another 100,000 voters showed up for the other guy, so this incompetent didn’t end up on the bench. You can read the whole story here.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. You could read all the initiatives all the way through if you like, but it’s not always necessary. Most times, all you need to know is who is paying for the campaign and whether their argument is based on fact and reason or fear and emotion. Guess which side you should vote for.

Constitutional Amendments

There’s been a lot of noise lately about some proposed Constitutional Amendments: banning flag-burning, prescription recuperation making English the only official language of the US, vitamin banning gay marriage, shop in addition to the usual evergreens. It seems to me that the Bull Moose Party ought to take a position on these.

As my teenage daughter said while listening to the yammerheads carry on about flag-burning, “that’s not what the Constitution is for.” Smart kid.

It’s that simple. The Constitution is a blueprint for the country, it lays out specific duties that the various branches of government are to carry out, and lays out general principles for the things its not supposed to meddle in. The last time a Constitutional amendment was enacted that restricted what citizens could do, it was an unmitigated disaster. That was Prohibition, and it failed so miserably that it barely lasted a decade before being repealed. Now, granted, none of the bans we’re talking about here are likely to cause anything like the rampant crime and violence that Prohibition brought, but there are principles involved.

Get used to it; we hope to make the Bull Moose Party the party of principle. We’re not going to tell you how to vote or anything, but we will call your attention to what we believe to be the important principles that underlie every position that we adopt. Now, on to the topics at hand:

Flag-burning. This one seems obvious. It has been established over and over that the First Amendment protects expression, ESPECIALLY political expression. “The right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances” is specifically protected. I would say that lighting up the Stars and Stripes is a pretty clear petition for redress of grievances. Why are we even discussing this?

Defense of Marriage, banning gay marriage, whatever you want to call it. First, let’s make a little distinction here (you’ll soon discover that it’s all about little distinctions): There is legal marriage and there is Holy Matrimony. Holy Matrimony is a sacrament of the church, and each religion, sect, denomination and affiliation has its own rules for certifying and acknowledging the sacrament. Legal marriage is essentially a contract, a bit of civil law that accords those who enter into the contract certain privileges and rights, including issues of inheritance and next-of-kin status. As long as the religious institutions are guaranteed the right to decline performing or validating any marriage they so choose, there is really no good reason to deny gay couples the legal benefits of marriage. And anyway, it’s not what the Constitution is for.

English only. We’re working on an in-depth piece about this topic, but for now, we’ll just say this: why is it okay for third-generation Americans to celebrate and honor their Irish, Scottish or German heritage (ever been to a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Highland Games or Oktoberfest?), but it’s not okay for more recent arrivals to preserve their family culture and heritage? Certainly, English ought to be the language in which the US government conducts its business, and there is some little merit in the economic argument that it costs money to print official information in multiple languages, but is that a reason to carve this notion in granite as part of the Constitution? Say it with me: “that’s not what the Constitution is for.”
There’s been a lot of noise lately about some proposed Constitutional Amendments: banning flag-burning, health care making English the only official language of the US, and banning gay marriage, viagra in addition to the usual evergreens. It seems to me that the Bull Moose Party ought to take a position on these.

As my teenage daughter said while listening to the yammerheads carry on about flag-burning, “that’s not what the Constitution is for.” Smart kid.

It’s that simple. The Constitution is a blueprint for the country, it lays out specific duties that the various branches of government are to carry out, and lays out general principles for the things its not supposed to meddle in. The last time a Constitutional amendment was enacted that restricted what citizens could do, it was an unmitigated disaster. That was Prohibition, and it failed so miserably that it barely lasted a decade before being repealed. Now, granted, none of the bans we’re talking about here are likely to cause anything like the rampant crime and violence that Prohibition brought, but there are principles involved.

Get used to it; we hope to make the Bull Moose Party the party of principle. We’re not going to tell you how to vote or anything, but we will call your attention to what we believe to be the important principles that underlie every position that we adopt. Now, on to the topics at hand:

Flag-burning. This one seems obvious. It has been established over and over that the First Amendment protects expression, ESPECIALLY political expression. “The right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances” is specifically protected. I would say that lighting up the Stars and Stripes is a pretty clear petition for redress of grievances. Why are we even discussing this?

Defense of Marriage, banning gay marriage, whatever you want to call it. First, let’s make a little distinction here (you’ll soon discover that it’s all about little distinctions): There is legal marriage and there is Holy Matrimony. Holy Matrimony is a sacrament of the church, and each religion, sect, denomination and affiliation has its own rules for certifying and acknowledging the sacrament. Legal marriage is essentially a contract, a bit of civil law that accords those who enter into the contract certain privileges and rights, including issues of inheritance and next-of-kin status. As long as the religious institutions are guaranteed the right to decline performing or validating any marriage they so choose, there is really no good reason to deny gay couples the legal benefits of marriage. And anyway, it’s not what the Constitution is for.

English only. We’re working on an in-depth piece about this topic, but for now, we’ll just say this: why is it okay for third-generation Americans to celebrate and honor their Irish, Scottish or German heritage (ever been to a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Highland Games or Oktoberfest?), but it’s not okay for more recent arrivals to preserve their family culture and heritage? Certainly, English ought to be the language in which the US government conducts its business, and there is some little merit in the economic argument that it costs money to print official information in multiple languages, but is that a reason to carve this notion in granite as part of the Constitution? Say it with me: “that’s not what the Constitution is for.”

For the Purple State Voters