Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fifty Questions: 11-20

Our series of questions this week for Presidential debates, as formulated by Chris Sullivan of Different Bugle, continues with a second set of ten questions.

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11. If a state chooses to nullify a federal law, what action would you take?

It would depend on the law, and whether the authority of that law is more proper to the several States. I contend that the Founding Fathers meant what they said when they wrote something down, as most of us are wont to do, which is why I support a strict interpretation of the Constitution. As President, I swear allegiance to that Constitution. My action would take that obligation into account.

12. If a state were to secede from the union, what action would you take?

Historically, when a territory petitions to become a State, a relationship is formed with the whole, becoming symbiotic over time. This includes a share of federal infrastructure, and various forms of federal assistance, such as would not be possible were that territory to remain on its own. Any attempt at secession would require that I as President, petition the Congress to determine the full measure of compensation as beneficiary of that relationship, such that I would then, to the extent provided under the law, use my executive powers to exact it. Obviously, very few States are in a position to meet that requirement for self-determination, thus I do not expect a secessionist movement to be undertaken lightly.

13. Do you support repeal of laws compelling acceptance of government-issued money [legal tender laws]?

As is an internationally accepted criterion of sovereignty, the United States through the federal government has the legitimate authority to issue currency, as a means of legal tender for all debts, public and private. The short answer: Yes.

14. Has the US ever fought an enemy who was honorable? Which ones?

At least one; itself. In the War Between the States, Americans fought against Americans, and a state of truce was frequently enacted, so that those on either side could not only barter for goods, but learn of news from home or family. To suggest that one side was dishonorable would suggest that the other may have been as well. I am loathe to endeavor attaining high office of a nation determined to be any less.

15. Were the attacks on the Marine barracks in Beirut, or the USS Cole, terrorist attacks or attacks on a legitimate military target?

Yes to both.

16. What is the maximum amount – not percentage – that anyone should have to pay in taxes?

Taxation based upon a percentage of earnings has historically been a criterion for determining the amount of taxation. The question presumes that this is not the case, and is therefore not a fair question. I am not compelled to answer.

17. Do you support abolition of the income tax?

Eventually, yes, in favor of a national sales tax, among other measures that were the staple of the federal government's revenue before the income tax was imposed in peacetime. Until Congress sees fit to pull that together, I support a flat tax of no more than seventeen percent (that is, just over one-sixth) of personal income.

18. Why is discrimination prohibited, but is the basis for a progressive tax?

See the answers to questions 16 and 17.

19. Is simulated drowning, or "waterboarding," torture? If not, define the word torture.

Thankfully, this word already has a definition: "Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion, and/or an instrument or a method for inflicting such pain." Simulated drowning inflicts physical discomfort to the extent of being painful, which explains why most people try to avoid any form of drowning. Therefore waterboarding is torture.

20. Do you support transferring federal lands to the states in which they are located?

If I own a parcel of land in a municipality, and they wish to acquire it for their own purpose, it is reasonable to expect compensation at fair market value. Likewise, if the federal government cannot make the case for the common good being served by holding real property in any one of the several States, my answer is yes. Even so, proper compensation over the long term, based upon fair market value if necessary, must be arranged.

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Tomorrow's segment is guaranteed to cover dangerous ground. You have been warned.

[Questions are the intellectual property of their author, and are reproduced here without permission or shame.]

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