Monday, June 02, 2008

Minor Victory With Washington State's Republican Party

You will find four radical resolutions at the end of this article, all of which were submitted to, and the first two of which were passed by the Washington State Republican Party 2008 Convention to become official Washington State Republican Party positions.

The status of these resolutions and their titles:

Official WSRP Position: Constitutional Declarations of War by the House of Representatives
Official WSRP Position: Repeal the 16th Amendment
Suppressed by the McCain machine: Repeal the Federal Reserve Act
Suppressed by the McCain machine: Repeal the 17th Amendment

The story behind their respective fates is illustrative of how the political process works at the state level. I'm going to go into some details that may seem self-indulgent but they are also illustrative of what it actually took to get the first two resolutions adopted as official policy by the Washington State Republican Party. Think of it as a flavor of war story. The devil is in the details...

First, my county's platform adopted a plank similar to "Constitutional Declarations of War by the House of Representatives" and elected me the Skamania County delegate to the Washington State Platform Committee. This was done with a coalition between an amazing turn out to the County Convention of committed local Ron Paul supporters with military veterans, one of which was the convention chair, and two of which were county commissioners. The moribund turnout of McCain Supporters is indicative of the apathy with which he is supported by the grassroots GOP in a county that has exceptionally high military service. Moreover, I think the McCain supporters who _did_ turn out were largely military veterans of Korea, Viet Nam and Iraq, who almost unanimously understood my argument for the declaration of war plank.

Second, at the State convention, you have to understand that Jan and I had to stay in a different location each of the 3 nights we were there and did both moves under "emergency" conditions. Our plan had been to save money by pitching a tent in a $20/night campsite within 10 minutes of the convention -- saving enough money to buy a bigger tent, new sleeping bags and air mattresses. We've camped out in tents on other Ron Paul excursions, however, when we arrived at 8:30pm after 6 hours on the road, we discovered that the reason it was so inexpensive was that the "campsite" was right next to the freeway and right beneath the brilliantly lit RV park sign advertising to freeway traffic. Jan didn't get _any_ sleep and I got just a few hours. Jan used her sleepless hours to do some chores despite being a wreck. One chore was to reserve a hotel room for us for the next 2 nights. In the morning we had to pack everything into the car again before I went to the meeting of the platform committee. We barely got out of our "campsite" by checkout time and I barely got to the platform committee meeting.

At the platform committee meeting, the chairman was prepared to fight off a coup by the grassroots organization of Ron Paul supporters where the Spokane delegation had an entirely new platform drafted and was hoping to have the committee adopt it as the working document rather than the platform that had come out of prior hearings. With only 9 Ron Paul committee members out of 40, it was a fool-hardy plan which was soundly defeated, but prior to the vote I managed to get a commitment out of the chair that the committee would entertain each of the Spokane planks as amendments to the committee's prior document. With the head of the Spokane delegation saying that is what he wanted, I thought a more-or-less "friendly" compromise had been reached and voted with the majority, although other Ron Paul members did not.

Virtually none of the Spokane platform was adopted into the platform.

With work on the platform done, work on resolutions began. We ran across several resolutions from Ron Paul supporters that had merit but were so poorly formed that even the lead of the Spokane delegation had difficulty voting for them. I then asked the chair if the Ron Paul committee members could submit a new set of well-written resolutions for their positions. He agreed, stating that the deadline was 1pm the next day. The poorly written resolutions were unanimously voted down. The chair later stated the fact that the Ron Paul delegates had been willing to compromise caused him to recommend that the committee reciprocate and pass the resolution by the Spokane delegation against USDA-mandated animal identification implants. This was obviously a very important issue for many of the Christians -- especially those who supported farmers in strict sects, such as the Mennonites, who could not in good religious conscience comply with such mandates and were therefore abandoning animal husbandry. It passed.

At the end of that Thursday, we had little to show for our efforts as Ron Paul supporters, but we did at least have some strict language calling for prosecution of employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens, physical border security, and some strong language endorsing English as the official language of the US, with proficiency requirements for citizenship. These measures drew condemnation from a self-proclaimed Ron Paul supporter -- a naturalized US citizen from Taiwan who told the committee they should examine their motives for hidden "racism" and pointing out the absence of other minority racial members. Other Ron Paul supporters tried to explain that multiculturalism at the level of law was dangerous -- that the US needed to have common language for civil operation, and immigration restriction to allow graceful assimilation.

When we adjourned I sought out the Spokane delegation, who had been working closely with the Clark delegation leadership on platform strategy, and brought up the importance of submitting re-written resolutions before the 1pm Friday deadline. The Ron Paul members agreed but seemed quite distracted. So I called the chairman and asked what the procedure was to submit resolutions. He referred me to the WSRP communications director, who then walked me to the physical door where resolutions were to be submitted by 1pm the following day. I followed up with the apparent head of the grassroots organization, informing her of the submission process and requesting that she make this a priority while offering her myself as a resource. She said she was going to get the strategic leadership of the organization together to work on resolutions and that they would contact me if they needed my help.

I then went with Jan to our new motel room and unpacked the car for Thursday night. We had a two room suite with kitchenette for only $60 which was about 20 minutes from the convention. It was nice to finally get some sleep but the expense was somewhat troubling. Once we were settled in I called again to see if there was anything I could do to help and make sure they had the details of the submission process. I was thanked and told I was not needed at that time.

The next morning, I got to the convention floor right as the color guard was presenting the flag. Waiting for the opening ceremonies to be done I then found my county's section where the other delegates were already seated, chiding me gently, "It's about time!" As activity started with the various formalities, I got on my cell phone and tried to find out what had been done to meet the 1pm deadline. I started thinking the grassroots organization had failed to produce the resolutions, despite telling me they were working on some submissions to give to the platform committee and that they would call me if they needed my help.

After more calls, with the 1pm Friday deadline drawing nearer, I discovered that, in fact, no one had actually done any work to draft the resolutions. Up until that time I had been willing to be one of the troops and follow orders as part of a coherent and effective machine for the convention process (which is really a proxy for war). But since I was getting virtually blank stares from the members of the platform committee that supposedly were redrafting and submitting the resolutions, I realized we were in trouble.

I think this is known as "the fog of war" by veterans of real military action.

That's when I left the floor of the convention with my laptop and sat down in the coffee shop to draft as many resolutions as I could in order of priority, as well as I could. I had 2 hours.

However, no one in the executive suite had any idea that they were designated to receive resolution submissions. This despite the fact that I had been instructed by the WSRP communications director in attendance at the Platform Committee meetings to submit to them. So I had to find out what their chain of command was, track down their executive authority on the floor, get him to radio up to his folks to tell them to accept resolutions and provide me with a contingency plan
in the event that communications broke down again.

I knew I had to draft a resolution on behalf of my county's support of the "Constitutional Declarations of War by the House of Representatives" plank, and there were other resolutions I had determined were of the highest priority for the convention given the fact that it was a State convention (making "Repeal of the 17th Amendment" a priority) moreover a State convention in conflict between Ron Paul supporters and John McCain supporters. To complicate matters, at 12:50 I got an instant message from a business associate that, at long last, a major business was showing serious interest in some web software we had been working on for 10 years (10 years with little interest from major companies despite the fact that we had contacts like Bill Gates' replacement at Microsoft, Ray Ozzie). I had to put him off.

Unfortunately, there was no time to submit the resolution text to Kinkos to copy them for the Platform Committee members (as a staffer at the executive office had told me I must do). So, crossing my fingers, I sent them to the WSRP communications director via email with a few minutes to spare and ran upstairs to the executive suite where he had told me to physically submit the resolutions. The floor coordinator was there and he said that I had arrived just prior to the deadline. I told him that I had emailed them to the communications director because there wasn't time to get them printed at Kinko's. He said, "As long as you have evidence you sent them before the deadline, no problem. Printing is one of the jobs of this office." Apparently his staffer who advised me hadn't realized that in addition to accepting resolutions they were also to print copies for all platform committee members.

Anyway, the 4 resolutions made it in with about 3 minutes to spare.

The platform committee meeting was delayed by the fact that the room in which we were to meet was occupied by one of the caucuses going over-time electing delegates to the national convention. After about an hour we obtained the room next door for our meeting but we didn't have a quorum. It was late Friday afternoon and people like to socialize at that time during the convention. I even had one of the more "gung-ho" Ron Paul "kids" telling me he wasn't going to show up because he was tired of the platform committee voting down his resolutions. After admonishing him to stay, he helped round up the other Ron Paul committee members. The chair of the committee was also the chair of one of the more contentious caucuses where they had multiple rounds of voting for national delegates -- so he didn't show up until nearly 2 hours after the appointed time. During this time I had a conversation with the Asian lady about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with which she was unfamiliar, trying to explain to her the difference between "equality under the law" and having the government force others to accept you in their private lives. As a supposed "Ron Paul supporter" she had an "amazing" amount of difficulty understanding why it was that people might react with even greater hostility to minorities who used the government to pry their way into private business relationships. I finally think I got through to her when I told a little parable: "Imagine a young lady who finds a particular man quite attractive, but this man approaches her with the attitude that says 'You will have sex with me whether you like it or not because I'm so wonderful and you _should_ like to have sex with me. If you hate me for this then this merely proves you're a man hater and need to have a man like me force his way on you." That seemed to get her to empathize a little with "racists".

When the platform committee chair finally did show up, he realized there was no quorum and the odds of getting one were dwindling fast as Friday Night approached. Fortunately, the a quorum of 19 was established shortly thereafter and the chair then made a motion that each resolution be voted Yea or Nay without debate -- reading only the "NOW THEREFORE" clause aloud. It passed.

It was within that streamlined meeting that the resolution "Repeal the 16th Amendment" passed...


Although the chair read and actually said he liked the resolution "Repeal the 17th Amendment", it did not pass the committee. He is a professor of history and active at the State level so it is probable his background helped him understand its value.

When I finally got out of the platform committee meeting I discovered that my previously-silenced cell phone had not even vibrated to let me know calls were coming in. When I called Jan, I discovered that she was waiting in the street with the car, unable to get into our motel room because the motel had taken all of our belongings and placed them into storage -- giving our suite to other guests. They disagreed with Jan about how many nights we had reserved. You can imagine the state Jan was in -- and after telling her I would meet her in the lobby of the adjacent hotel, I went to the head of the grassroots organization to inform her that Jan and I were going to have to go home immediately because we had lost our accommodations. She immediately said "Don't go! I have a room for you!" I called Jan back but only got her voice messaging, so I recorded that I had found us a room and that I would be there shortly. I don't know the details but grassroots coordinator thought that we could move into her family's room because they were vacating it, and then went to talk to her husband. The next thing I know he has handed me a cell phone and I'm talking to the reservation agent at their motel about getting our own room -- this one for $75/night. OK, so buying new camping equipment really wasn't that good of an idea after all.

Anyway, I scooped up Jan from the lobby of the hotel and drove her over to our new accommodations. It being Friday night and the situation being so unpleasant I went next door to check out the Indian restaurant and then called her to come over so we could have a nice dinner out on Friday night and try to forget the stress of finding affordable accommodations. This (excellent) dinner of Tandori Chicken and Lamb Curry of course was to cost another $50. It helped quite a bit but the regular coughing of the host and the subsequent gas and intestinal rumbling weren't documented on the menu. I then had to drive to the other motel to collect our belongings which included my CPAP machine -- all of which were packed in disarray -- and transport them back to our NEW accommodations.

Exhausted, we collapsed.

Next thing I know I am waking up on Saturday morning -- at 11am -- the morning of the convention almost over and one hour before motel checkout time.

This wasn't what Jan and I wanted to wake up to.

So we managed, once again, barely before checkout time, to get our things packed into our car -- now filled to the brim in disarray -- and make our way to the convention center which is adjacent to a hotel. I stopped the car in a loading zone for Jan to then drive somewhere and park while I entered the convention all to gather information before making any further decisions. Jan, understandably,
did not immediately jump out of the car and run to the drivers' side as she was still collecting herself after the chaos she'd just experience upon waking from a sound sleep. That's when a valet I shall, for lack of a better name, call "Pedro" came up to me as I was walking to the convention center and started asking me repeatedly "Excuse me, sir, may I help you?" To which I said, "I don't know how." To which he said "You can't park there." To which I said, "My wife is about to drive the car away to park it. She was just dropping me off." Whereupon Pedro quickly walked to Jan and started saying something that I couldn't hear -- but I certainly _did_ hear Jan's response! Pedro said he was going to call the police and wrote our license number down before Jan could get the car out of the loading zone.

For some reason it never crossed my mind to thank Pedro for doing jobs Americans won't do. Wait... I know why: I'm a racist. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Too bad neither Jan nor I used any racial epithets or we might have received complimentary therapy from the state under some law about "hate crimes".

So, trying to put out of my mind the idea of facing Pedro in court over a charge of your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine, I headed to the convention floor. Before arriving at the sergeant at arms, a woman came up to me that I vaguely recognized and very urgently insisted on seeing my badge, saying "You're from the Skamania delegation aren't you?" She was quite upset and started telling me how she was one of the alternates for the Skamania delegation but that there was only one delegate from Skamania currently seated on the floor of the convention -- and, of all things, that delegate was voting with the Ron Paul bloc! After a bit of clarifying conversation, it became apparent delegates leaving the floor for any time were to give their badges to an alternate, any alternate, from their county. I had not done this the prior morning while working on resolutions, nor had I done it that morning when I overslept because I thought there was only one alternate assigned to me and since she had not made it to the convention, there was no reason to hand my badge off! Moreover, the alternate confronting me thought that the other delegates, who had left for home already, were supposed to have given her one of their badges but they had not done so.

Since she was a McCain supporter and I was head of the Ron Paul grassroots effort for my county, this was rather awkward. We went up to the executive office, which had a police officer by now protecting the occupants, and told him we had a credentials problem. He then fetched an official who informed us that our delegates who had already left were "automatic" (not elected as) delegates -- because they were the county chair and representatives to the WSRP from Skamania -- and that automatic delegates could have no alternates. That's when it became even more awkward since the only time the alternate could have been seated was when I failed to give her my badge upon my absence from the floor. I explained to her that I had been under the impression from our county's officials that I had only one possible alternate and that she had not come to the convention, leaving my seat unfilled while I was not on the floor. I told her to wait in the alternates section of the floor while I located the chair of the platform committee to find out when my resolutions would be hitting the floor -- at which time I was under the impression I was obligated to give a 2 minute address to the assembly for each resolution. I had two or three hours, so I decided to seat the McCain supporter alternate for that time. We discovered the ceremony for handing off delegate status involved finding a sergeant at arms and exchanging delegate for alternate badges in his presence with him verifying our identities. I then let her have my seat on the floor to compensate her out of fairness to her as a McCain supporter. She acknowledged that I had not done anything purposely to exclude her and took her seat. I then located a sergeant at arms and told him that I had some resolutions coming later and that I may need his help in recovering my seat. He was a tough -- almost scary looking -- older Marine-type with a McCain badge, who I'll call Deathwish. We had a conversation in which I explained to Deathwish the situation and he seemed to respect my having given up my seat for a McCain delegate and was hence quite helpful whenever I needed him.

Jan and I, both getting weak from lack of food, then went off to grab a quick lunch, but I was called back before we had gotten 2 blocks from the convention center because the other Ron Paul delegate from my county was losing her ride home and wanted to know if we still had room in our back seat so she could stay for the rest of the convention. Unfortunately, our car was now packed to the gills in chaos so I had to not only tell her that she'd have to catch a ride home immediately, but that I would have to return to the floor immediately since her cell phone was my only communications with the McCain alternate, who I would have to retrieve from the floor when time for my floor address approached. Fortunately, Deathwish said he would be glad to act as a runner to retrieve my alternate when the time approached, and Jan and I were able to eat. By this time it was nearly 3:30pm and the convention was scheduled to end at 5pm so we decided to eat some canned tuna and soy lite washed down with orange juice Jan had purchased between meeting Pedro and Deathwish.

Then Jan and I returned to the floor, but this time to the Alternates section -- shared with the registered Guests like Jan. Work on the resolutions was just beginning but with barely an hour to go before time was up for the convention -- and with my "Repeal the 16th Amendment" fairly far back in the package of committee-approved resolutions. I was concerned it wouldn't be considered at all. My concerns were compounded when someone, apparently a Ron Paul delegate, moved to table the approved resolutions and proceed with the resolutions that had been rejected by the platform committee because there were a number of very valuable resolutions that needed to be considered by the floor. Another delegate, addressed by the chair of the convention as "Senator", got up in support of the motion, mentioning specifically that he wanted the floor to over-ride the platform's committee "No" vote on "Repeal the Federal Reserve Act". I couldn't see clearly but from his age and general appearance I suspect he was former US Senator Slade Gorton. That motion was defeated, but was then immediately followed by a motion to pass the entire package of resolutions that had been approved by the platform committee. I thought this might have been one way "Repeal the 16th Amendment" would be adopted as WSRP policy and, indeed, that is precisely what happened -- but not before someone rose in opposition to the motion, citing specifically, the fact that this would make "Repeal the Federal Reserve Act" official WSRP policy! So far my resolutions had been batting a thousand on the controversy scale.

Once the entire platform-committee-approved resolution package, including "Repeal the 16th Amendment", had become official WSRP policy, Deathwish approached Jan and I to inform me that my alternate was now prepared to give my seat back to me. She had had enough. I went out to the foyer and, in the presence of another sergeant at arms, exchanged badges, whereupon I retook my seat as a delegate. There was a lot of other movement on the floor. In addition to my alternate leaving, many other delegates were leaving. We were about to discover there was more going on than just people tiring at the end of the day. Wait for the other shoe to drop...

The normal floor agenda then proceeded to consider the resolutions rejected by the Platform Committee. Expecting I would have to get up in front of everyone and, looking a little like a wild frontiersman, appeal to mainstream GOP delegates. I asked a Ron Paul supporter who was running for US Congress for help in finding someone who could speak in my stead, but he insisted I would be the best to speak. I asked a few others but they agreed. So I resigned myself to having to spend 2 minutes per resolution basically doing as dramatic a reading as I could muster without rehearsing the dry WHEREAS... THEREFORE language of each. As they were down in the pack I expected to have some time -- and possibly not before the convention adjourned.

However, the first motion, again apparently by a Ron Paul supporter, was to jump to the middle of the package of rejected resolutions to reconsider "Constitutional Declarations of War by the House of Representatives". During the ensuing debate, the Convention Chairman gave my name as the author twice, the first time as "Jim Bowery" (did I know this guy from somewhere?) and the next time as "James Bowery". Incredibly, it passed!

This was when the head of the Ron Paul grassroots campaign got up and moved to suspend the rules so that the convention would _not_ adjourn until all business had been completed -- meaning all rejected resolutions had a chance to pass. This would quite possibly have meant the passage of "Repeal the Federal Reserve Act" and "Repeal the 17th Amendment".

It looked like quite a coup was in the offing, because Ron Paul supporters are known for their tenacity compared to supporters of other candidates -- tenacity that can spell the difference between success and victory when outnumbered during surrogate warfare.

Then the other shoe dropped...

The only McCain delegate to the national convention from Clark County -- a guy who looked like a young tough from "The Sopranos" with an extra helping of 'tude (no, I won't call him "Guido" because it doesn't do him justice) got up and moved for a quorum count. After all, so many delegates had left and everyone had seen it happen! The beleaguered convention chair had to admit that there had been a mass exodus and that he no longer knew if a quorum existed. Anyone with a trained eye could see that there were still far more than the required 670-odd delegates required for a quorum, but the chair's eye was not so-trained. So a lengthy counting process ensued wherein each county's chair was to report the number of delegates now seated from their county. But my chairman wasn't even there! How was I supposed to report myself? How many other counties would not be properly counted? Could these uncounted delegates bring the numbers down to the point that the a quorum did not register in the count?

This is where I made my worst mistake of the convention (although I like to comfort myself thinking it wasn't all that bad in its ultimate effect given other circumstances):

I went up to the Convention Chair and told him that although I was only a single person, that there may have been other counties lacking a present chairman, and that therefore a quorum may exist but not be fully counted. He responded that he had heard from others in similar circumstances and said he would take care of it. He then stopped the count, which had been going on for 20 minutes -- running well past 5pm -- and restarted the count using sergeants at arms instead of county Chairmen.

And, the minute the Convention Chair told the sergeant at arms to report their numbers, a mass entrance of delegates occurred -- at least equal to the mass exodus that had previously occurred.

This is what had happened:

The McCain delegates had attempted to stop reconsideration of rejected resolutions by removing themselves from the floor, thereby disestablishing the convention in a loss of quorum. Failing that they would at least make so many seated delegates weary of the monotonous parliamentary machinations that when the motion to suspend the rules to extend the convention finally came to a vote, it would be unable to achieve the required 2/3 majority.

They succeeded in this tactic and the convention was adjourned without further controversial Ron Paul resolutions being adopted as official WSRP policy.

Even so, the passage of the two radical resolutions wrapped up the convention with energized the Ron Paul supporters who had a very enjoyable time marching through the streets of Spokane with their signs chanting "Ron Paul Revolution: Legalize the Constitution".

Minor victories are necessary to maintain morale. Although the Old Media probably won't take the bait and report these radical positions of the WSRP, not even for their sensational "infotainment" value, it is still something that the Ron Paul delegates will have to encourage them as well as keep as fond memories.


Submitted by James A. Bowery, 2008 Skamania County Delegate to the Washington State Republican Party platform committee.

Constitutional Declarations of War by the House of Representatives

WHEREAS, The People must bear the burden of fighting wars, and

WHEREAS, The House of Representatives is the voice of the people, and

WHEREAS, The Founders recognized these realities by granting the House of Representatives the power to declare war, and

WHEREAS, The House is not authorized to delegate, to others, authorities granted it, and

WHEREAS, military actions in Korea, Viet Nam and now the middle east, the House authorized the use of force by the President, in effect delegating to the executive branch the House's authority to declare war, and

WHEREAS, three generations of military personnel have served their nation without the full support of The People in those military actions, now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party should support formal declarations of war passed by the House of Representatives and repudiate "authorizations to use force" or any other delegation of war declaration powers to any other body.


Submitted by James A. Bowery, 2008 Skamania County Delegate to the Washington State Republican Party platform committee.

Repeal the 16th Amendment

WHEREAS, the Founders created a Federal Government which was not allowed to levy an income tax on its Citizens, and

WHEREAS, it is clear from the debates surrounding the adoption of the 16th Amendment that its original intent was not to burden average families and their small enterprises either monetarily or legally, and

WHEREAS, the reality of the income tax burden on average families and small enterprises has grown to consume a substantial portion of their financial and legal resources, and

WHEREAS, the legitimacy of the government is increasingly called into question by the incomprehensible morass of legislation that inevitably follows from attempts to put into place income tax exemptions that salvage average families and small enterprises, now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party should support the repeal of the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution.


Submitted by James A. Bowery, 2008 Skamania County Delegate to the Washington State Republican Party platform committee.

Repeal the Federal Reserve Act

WHEREAS, the Founders granted Congress the authority over legal tender, and

WHEREAS, Congress is not authorized to delegate, to other bodies, authorities granted it, and

WHEREAS, the Federal Reserve Act delegated, to another body, Congressional authority over legal tender, and

WHEREAS, it is clear from the debates surrounding the establishment of the Federal Reserve that Congress for intended the Federal Reserve to prevent economic crises, and

WHEREAS, the Federal Reserve failed to prevent the Great Depression, and

WHEREAS, the temptations presented by delegating, to another body, Congressional authority, responsibility and therefore accountability over legal tender, has resulted in Federal deficits so great that every child born in the United States starts with a share of national debt so large that it threatens their prospects for economic self-sufficiency, now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party should support the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act.


Submitted by James A. Bowery, 2008 Skamania County Delegate to the Washington State Republican Party platform committee.

Repeal the 17th Amendment

WHEREAS, the clear intent of the Founders as expressed in the Constitution was a federation of sovereign States granting the central government specific powers, and

WHEREAS, the Founders created a Congress with a House of Representatives to represent the people and a Senate to represent the States, and

WHEREAS, the 17th Amendment removed from the States their representation in Congress, and

WHEREAS, the States are now burdened by Congress with unfunded mandates, and

WHEREAS, the central government is increasingly imposing uniform law on the States under questionable Constitutional authorization, now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party should support the repeal of the 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution.