Skip to content

150 Years Later, Can We Still Hear Lincoln’s Voice?

November 19, 2013

abraham-lincoln-crop-690x388

Most of us used to imagine the voice of Abraham Lincoln, who spoke at Gettysburg seven score and ten years ago today, as something deep, rugged and resonant. If we had to cast an actor to read his words, we might think of Gregory Peck or Charlton Heston.

But Lincoln’s voice emerged from a strangely elongated and narrow-chested body, and its sound reflected its earthly confines. Said Honest Abe’s longtime law partner, William Herndon: “Lincoln’s voice was, when he first began speaking, shrill, squeaking, piping, unpleasant.”  (It grew more melodious as he warmed up.) Nearly everyone who commented on Lincoln’s voice agreed it had a penetrating quality that could carry effortlessly over wide-open spaces — like the battlefield at Gettysburg on that overcast November day in 1863.

Other than those sketchy descriptions, the sound of Lincoln’s voice at Gettysburg has been lost forever. Edison, still in his teens, wouldn’t develop his first recording device until 1877, a dozen years after Lincoln’s death. Of course, we still have Lincoln’s 272 deathless words — memorably somber, gaunt, understated, almost minimalist, filled with bony unpoetic Latinisms like “dedicated,” “consecrated,” “conceived” and “proposition” — a far cry from Churchill’s sinewy Anglo-Saxon “blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

So why do we still venerate a two-minute, 150-year-old speech delivered at the dedication of a military cemetery?

1. Because we still venerate Lincoln, and we haven’t had many leaders in our lifetime who deserve our veneration.

2. Because (let’s face it) the address was short and relatively easy to memorize for school assignments. By now it’s part of our mental furniture. Until he entered the White House, Lincoln was better known for rambling, passionate speeches that would hold his listeners spellbound for two or three hours at a stretch.

3. Because its bald declarative sentences, devoid of fussy ornament, paid tribute to “these honored dead” more movingly than florid poetics and Classical references could have done. (Just ask Edward Everett, the featured speaker of the day.) The Gettysburg Address marked a sharp departure from the public oratory of its time.

4. Because (perhaps most important of all) it contained a concise, visionary mission statement for the American experiment in democracy: a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” based on the Jeffersonian assumption that “all men are created equal.” For this mission thousands of Union soldiers had sacrificed life and limb, and it was “rather for us” to carry on the work of fighting for the survival of that government.

Today Lincoln’s vision is under assault, and we’re battling for the soul of our nation. Government of the people, by the people, for the people? Last time I looked, it was government of the well-connected, by the well-connected, for the well-connected. Our elected representatives scurry shamelessly to represent the deep-pocketed special interests that fund their re-election campaigns. They reward those special interests with subsidies, tax breaks and favorable legislation. And of course, they reward themselves with generous health insurance plans and lifelong pensions.

Do they reward the American middle class? Not so much. Although we still like to profess that all men are created equal, apparently some of us are, as Orwell noted, “more equal than others.”

Worse yet, the deep-pocketed ones have cleverly recruited legions of ordinary, hardworking, put-upon Americans to their ranks.  They’ve pitted race against race, middle class against the poor, gun owners against gun alarmists, believers against non-believers. Through their media outlets, they’ve instilled a burning hatred of democratic government in the souls of the very people who stand to benefit from it.

Lincoln’s voice, clear and penetrating in his time, seems to be fading away in ours. He would be profoundly saddened to see his country split into two mutually loathing, seemingly irreconcilable factions — 150 years after we fought a terrible war to reunite us.

We need to catch our breath for a moment and see how we’ve been edging toward the precipice of another civil war — if not a war fought with cannons and shells, then one fought with accusations and misunderstandings and the billowing rhetoric of contempt. We need to stop labeling ourselves and each other as conservative or progressive, black or white, Anglo or Latino, rich or poor, gay or straight, Christian or Jewish or Muslim or atheist.

If we make our homes in the United States, we’re Americans. Period. As Americans, we owe it to ourselves, our dead veterans, and the memory of Abraham Lincoln to fight for government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” That means us. It means working together as Americans. It means restoring, preferably by constitutional means, a government that genuinely represents the will of the electorate (i.e., us).

Such a noble struggle requires dedication, consecration and all those other bony Latin-derived words that rang so true at Gettysburg 150 years ago. Lincoln’s ideal government is ours to win or lose together. God help us if we allow it to perish from the earth.

gettysburg address top

 

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

About these ads
141 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2013 8:07 pm

    As usual ,well said Rick: you have a gift. One quibble is this: The well-connected have always been with us and I assume, that will not change much. It was true in Lincoln’s time and it is true now. BTW- it was true in ancient Rome as well.

    What appears to be different is that the individuals that we actually pay to represent our interests (with their salary dollars) make only the slightest pretense to do their jobs on our behalf. It is bad enough that they do other’s bidding, they don’t even pretend to hide it anymore. Why got go to a WH dinner and hang out with Zuckerburg and the other elite techies?

    What is also true is that more than our forefathers, we have given the federal government much more influence and control over our lives. When we were both kids, the country would have been in open revolt over some of the crap that is being pulled now (NSA spying, etc.).

    Slowly but surely, the noose is getting tightened. The nanny state creeps up on us, one law at a time. Soon, there will be black boxes in our cars, camera’s on every building and light pole. Camera’s at every intersection, insuring that no one goes unwatched, and if needed, ticketed or punished.

    If I read the above statement just 10 yrs. ago, I would not believed it would be possible. I no longer believe that. The statists have a vision and they will pursue it with vigor and believe me, the guys who supply the technology will be right at their side.

    Prediction, it 10 yrs time, drones flying over our cities will be routine.

    Welcome to the future. The Terminator is on the way.

    • November 20, 2013 1:45 pm

      Rich: Thanks, buddy. Yep, there’s plenty of historical precedent for government by the well-connected; it’s probably the rule rather than the exception. Maybe we were spoiled by the relatively clean era in which we grew up: there seemed to be an abundance of decent men on both sides of the political aisle (or maybe I was just naïve).

      Teddy Roosevelt was a champion of clean government. I found an old recording of a speech he made back in 1912 that could have been delivered in 2012 (aside from his almost comical upper-class diction). He rails against powerful interests who do everything possible to suppress “the genuine rule of the people themselves.” He uses the French Revolution as a cautionary tale, warning us against the wild swings between the extremes of reaction and radicalism. That’s just what we have today. Accent (and hawkish tendencies) aside, TR would have made a great president for our times.

      I see the recent spate of government spying and intrusion as a direct result of the war on terror… nothing more than that. Obama and his men won’t publicly mention Muslims as their targets, of course, but that’s who they’re after — militant Muslims. And let’s face it, the entire country has gone a little paranoid since 2001. If Islamic radicalism doesn’t fall apart or burn itself out anytime soon, we’ll be in a perpetual state of low-grade war. But we can’t just roll over and let the Islamists have their way.

      As for Obamacare, it’s a strange hybrid of state and corporate intrusion. We’re being forced to use private insurers. And we’re not even being forced, really, if we pay the penalty to help fund the system. You have to agree that we needed some kind of safety net for people who were previously refused private insurance for pre-existing conditions. (I think that’s all we needed, frankly, without changing the entire healthcare system.) Is it statism? Well, we already trust the state with our military, infrastructure, parks, education (partially), justice system, food safety and who knows what else… so partial statism is a fact of life. It’s a matter of degrees.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 20, 2013 2:15 pm

        Rick you open up many avenues for comments from this message.

        First, one has to wonder if the era we have known was truely that clean or if it was the lack of instant news that made it seem that way. Remeber it was widely known in political and media environments tha JFK was a womanizer and had many encounters outside his marriage, but that was never publicized.

        Two, given TR’s position on various subjects, would he be an acceptible candidate for either party today. I offer his moderate views, even in those days, would not be acceptible to the Republican party, but he was not liberal enough to be a Democrat.

        Three, how far do we allow our government to infringe upon our privacy rights? If the current days method of communication is e-mail and other internet systems, should they not be protected with the same protections as telephone conversations. You can not monitor everyones telephone conversations through a goverment survailence warrant, but that is what they are trying to do with request for information from the likes of Google, Yahoo and other providers.

        Four. The heathcare system will be debated for years. We still do not know what is totally in the biill even since the “Pelosi fog” has cleared and we have a decent view. But when the private insurers are gaurenteed a risk pool funded by the government to cover unforseen losses, is it truely private when the government dictates the coverage and insures those processing claims they will not loose money. In my way of thinking the government is basically hiring a private company just to proccess claims and not much more.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    November 19, 2013 8:52 pm

    Rick, though I cannot argue with what you wrote so eloquently, it still leaves me feeling the same way I’ve always felt. This is the way it is, the way it will stay, even if 50 or 100, or even 1000 people want connection of some sort. It will not be enough. Weird as it is to say, we are at the age where it’s not going to matter, but for the sake of our Grandchildren, and their Children I hope what people like you say now can push for a revolution, a revolution of thought, not harm, starting with those kids not yet born.
    PS. I do not want to see Drones freely flying over my house in 10 years, it might interrupt my daily swim in the Atlantic and there is no reason for that.

    • November 20, 2013 1:58 pm

      It’s an uphill struggle to change the system for the better, but I don’t think it’s impossible. Eventually the government corruption could become so intolerable that I could see a mob storming the Capitol Building. That wouldn’t be pretty, and I hope our representatives have enough sense to mend their ways before it comes to that.

      I’m on the board of the new Clean Government Alliance… we’re attempting to float a proposed constitutional anti-corruption amendment. If that fails, we might hold a new constitutional convention. Stay tuned… and meanwhile, enjoy those daily swims in the Atlantic. (You must live way down south.)

      • November 20, 2013 2:08 pm

        The Constitution was offered for ratification in 1787, but it took 2 years before they broadened it to include the people’s protection from a centralized government, with the first 10 amendments. Also, and little is remembered of this, the Flag of the United States was adopted which was the symbol that showed in its design the code of conduct that every American was required to uphold in order to be a member of this free nation. The logic was that there can be no freedom without trust, and you cannot have trust if people are not honorable in there affairs. Without honor there can be no freedom.
        Today we are being destroyed by the dishonorable behavior by our government, the press, the financial institutions, an the corporations. We, as a people, need to educated our children and ourselves about the essential value of honor, and to teach the symbolism of our flag, Old Glory… the people’s flag, not a symbol of the government.
        see: http://www.reverbnation.com/timothykprice?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav
        ” Old Glory (acoustic)

  3. November 19, 2013 9:03 pm

    Do people know that when Obama recited the Address that he altered it by omitting the reference, “under God”. What is the significance of this? Is his role that of an Illuminati leader, and not as a President of the Nation? See:

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-removes-god-from-gettysburg-address.html

  4. November 19, 2013 9:36 pm

    Well said, Rick! “Today Lincoln’s vision is under assault, and we’re battling for the soul of our nation.” The problem is that the soul has migrated from the body of the nation. Living now in a brand new country at the very edges of the Caribbean, I’ve learned that people want democracy, no matter where they originally came from. Unfortunately, both creating and sustaining democracy is hard work. Too many people–probably all over the world, but certainly in the US–have become overly complacent. They do not foresee the ease with which freedom can be taken away. All it takes is a charismatic leader to blind the populace to what they are actually giving up, couching his/her rise to power by capitalizing on the populace’s fear. That’s how all totalitarians have taken over time and again. The most blatant example in recent history was Hitler, but read the newspaper and it is easy to see it happening time and again in smaller, often newer (or newly re-established) countries all over the world. People who did not want to work hard to maintain their freedom ended up losing it. That’s a hard lesson to teach. Let’s hope that Americans are smarter than to become too complacent. Let’s hope Americans are willing to work hard again to maintain Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” and truly never let it perishes from this earth.

    • November 19, 2013 11:49 pm

      Obama is truly evil and I have no doubt about that.

    • November 19, 2013 11:49 pm

      Ellie,
      I hope you are right. I think Obama fits the bill as a modern day Hitler. God bless America.

      • November 20, 2013 12:51 am

        Was Hitler also a rather dull witted narcissistic psychopath? I am not informed of this. Obama is a paid stooge working for the NWO folks and being paid very well with perks. He is insane, that much is similar to Hitler, I agree.

    • November 20, 2013 2:32 pm

      Well said, Ellie! (How’s that for originality?) Seriously, you made an eloquent point about our country’s soul migrating from its body. For me, that’s one of the most disturbing trends in our recent history.

      As for the potential loss of freedom, I’m probably not as alarmed as I should be, because it hasn’t affected me personally. What’s ironic is that both the right and the left see their freedom being stripped away by the opposing faction: conservatives fret about gun control and complain about Obama forcing us to buy insurance; liberals denounce Republican legislators and state governments for attempting to strip away abortion rights. Both sides seem to be up in arms about government spying… maybe they can unite over that issue.

      Rich and Timothy: I still don’t see how any objective person could compare Obama to Hitler. Who is he trying to kill, other than Islamist terrorist leaders? What territory is he trying to annex to the American reich? Has he organized an Obama Youth brigade or staged mass rallies? ‘Course not. Concerned about secret service raids? As I said earlier, the administration is going after Muslim terrorists. If Obama weren’t waging a secret war on terror, conservatives would complain that he’s pro-Muslim. (Oh, wait… they already do.)

      • Ron P permalink
        November 20, 2013 8:58 pm

        Rick, I enjoy this site as questions cause me to examine infomation that I would not normally access. You ask JB how can anyone can compare Obama to Hitler? At the current time, their are not many things he has in common, but there are enough to make one concerned.

        Hitler and Obama both rose to power through their ability to communicate to the masses. Based on that ability, both attracted masses of people to support their efforts. The nazi party attracted supporters through their anti-big business, anti-capitalist positions and their promise of social programs. The jews were identified as part of the business and capitalist positions. Todat, we find Obama making big business and capitalist the target, while promoting more social programs, thus increasing the numbers dependant on government for some form of support. In place of the Jews, big banks are the enemy today.

        Through his speaking ability and his promises for equality for the Aryan race, Hitler gained more support and with the beginning of the depression, he took control of Germany due to the divided support within the opposition parties. He downplayed his positions concerning a master race and promoted economic improvement to gain control. Once he had that control, he received control through a degree that resended civil liberties, allowing him to rule by executive order. Comparisons may also be made to Hitler that Obama took over after a financial crisis, the opposition party is deeply divided and Obama is increasingly governing by executive order while the opposition party sit by and does nothing to stop that from happening since they have no direction.

        No Obama has not created a youth corp, but has attracted a majority of younger voters because they are self centered, want to know what the government can do for them and are not concerned with loss of freedoms, just like the Germans in 1932 when they elected Hitler as President.

        So there are some comparisons that can be made, mostly on the social welfare positions of the nazi party compared to Obama’s social wlefare program position in America. Both wanted the masses dependant on government, insuring their continued party rule for years to come.

      • November 20, 2013 10:14 pm

        I am convinced that IF he could become a dictator, Obama would love it.

      • November 21, 2013 12:15 pm

        “Our Obamaphobes generally oppose him because they perceive him as a crypto-Marxist who wants to turn us into a socialist state…”
        Or perhaps he has revealed himself to be the frontman for the bankster/NWO folks and has no real power at all. It is those who control the world’s money that are seeking to destroy the USA as they must in order to have their world dictatorship.

      • November 21, 2013 12:33 pm

        Timothy: Well, it’s difficult to be both a bankster and a Marxist, isn’t it? That said, I think there’s probably some truth to the Obama-as-puppet scenario. I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but it’s not impossible that the banksters made Obama an offer he couldn’t refuse. When he took office during a sharp slide into a nationwide depression, didn’t propose any job programs, and let the big banks off the hook, I wondered who was holding a gun to his head.

      • November 21, 2013 12:40 pm

        In my darker moments, I sometimes wonder if the media’s stirring of race hatred and promotion of cultural degeneracy are part of a concerted effort to destabilize American society. This notion veers dangerously close to the antiquated Henry Ford / Protocols of Zion / NWO paranoia, but there does seem to be a method to the madness.

  5. Ron P permalink
    November 20, 2013 1:13 am

    What we all need to be aware of is most all democracies only lasted 200 years. We have exceeded that by a few years and continue to add to that number.

    The difference today from the time Lincoln gave this speech is the involvement of the American citizen in the support of the democracy. More men lost their lives in the civil war fighting for their beliefs than any other war in American history. Today a very limited number of Americans are involved with the support of the democracy.

    Today we see the changes in America that have led to the demise of so many democracies. Instead of people fighting for their freedoms, we see them more interested in voting for people that are willing to give them something for basically nothing. As Alexander Tyler said at the time our constitution was written, “A democracy is always temporary in nature…..A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generious gifts from the public treasury. From that point on the majority will always vote for the candidate that promises the most benefits from the puiblic treasury, with the result that every democracy will collapse due to loose fiscal policy.”

    As noted iin previous comments above, we see our freedoms taken away a little at a time. Just like the frog in the pot of cold water on the stove, it does not know the water is getting hot until it is too late. We are unaware the freedoms are being taken because we are too self centered. JFK said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. How many people live by those words today? Based on the fact that so many are receiving some sort of government support for their well being, they are not interested in what they cn do for their country, but are only interested in voting for those that will continue those handouts.

    I believe Lincoln, along with many other outstanding presidents, would be appalled at what is happening in America today. The probelm that exist today, unlike what existed in the late 60’s and early 70’s is the lack of concern from the younger generation that stands to lose the most with the deminishing freedoms granted to us by our founding fathers.

    The first step toward regaining a democratic nation is to stop name calling and labeling anyone that supports the constitution an extremist. Working together to reclaim our heritage will be the only way we can insure we do not end up like all the other nations that died after 200 years.

  6. November 20, 2013 2:39 pm

    Ron: I have to agree with you that too many of us are on the receiving end of government generosity without offering to contribute anything. Granted, we have a messed-up economy (I still think a federal job program would have been the way to go when Obama took office)… but it’s true that our national character has grown flabby over the past few decades. There’s way too much emphasis on “boutique” communities of special interests who clamor for perks like baby birds in a nest. “Me, me, me!” It’s a narcissistic and divisive mentality. We all need to start thinking of ourselves as Americans first, or we’ll fade into history like all the other dead empires.

  7. Anonymous permalink
    November 20, 2013 10:09 pm

    It’s ironic that JFK’s famous call to “ask NOT what your country can do for you” has been quoted repeatedly this week, on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, while our current federal government encourages exactly the opposite.

    Everything is a “right,” nothing is a “responsibility.” If my neighbor has more than I do, well then, dammit, it’s the government’s job to make sure that I get some of what he has, even if it means taking his money to pay for it.

    • November 20, 2013 10:11 pm

      Oops, must have gotten logged out of WordPress. ^^ That was me.^^

    • November 20, 2013 10:12 pm

      Stealing is stealing, no matter what logic you use or who you claim to be. If you can take the fruits of my labor, I am your slave.

  8. November 20, 2013 10:12 pm

    “We all need to start thinking of ourselves as Americans first, or we’ll fade into history like all the other dead empires.”

    Tell that to the Marxist Obama. He is the leading the charge on this one.

  9. November 21, 2013 9:32 am

    Rick, I’m guessing that we all (at least all of us here) agree that we need to start thinking of ourselves as Americans first and uniting for those things that we see as important and, also, against those things that we think are wrong.

    So, this morning, I’m reading about 3 more “knockout” attacks in Philadelphia. This evil and deadly “game” is going on in cities all over the country, and at least one person in NYC has been killed. Young black thugs are attacking innocent white people, often women and elderly, by randomly running up behind them and forcefully bashing them in the head,

    The article I read never mentions the race of the attackers or the victims (I’ll link it here, it is truly frightening). This is common in news reporting of black on white crime…were it the reverse, we would be hearing about this non-stop and, certainly, by now, Obama would have weighed it with his characteristic comments on crimes involving black victims only.

    Racism exists in the news only if it is directed at certain minorities. And, everyone knows this. How do you become one unified nation when the institutionalized news media and many in the government refuse to acknowledge this? It’s a rhetorical question, but I really don’t see a way forward unless and until we can have an honest “conversation about race.”

    As it is now, “racists” are people who disagree with Obama. People who viciously attack white people are “disaffected youth.”

    http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/11/20/three-knockout-game-attacks-reported-in-philadelphia-area/

  10. November 21, 2013 9:42 am

    Oh, and I meant to add: Wait until a petrified white person, carrying a gun is approached by a gang of young, black, thuggish-looking boys….maybe they just want directions or something, but, after reading news stories like the above, the white person, terrified of a knockout attack, uses his/her gun. Well, THAT will be reported at a hate crime, for sure. It’s a race disaster waiting to happen.

    • November 21, 2013 11:44 am

      Priscilla: I hadn’t heard about the knockout “game” until now. It seems to be the latest in ethnic thug sport, after “wilding” and flash mobs. I don’t think we need to stir up hysteria about the “black menace” — and that’s not what you’re doing. But you’re absolutely right that the media have a double standard when it comes to their treatment of interracial crimes. The way they fanned the flames of black-on-white hatred after the Trayvon Martin shooting was totally irresponsible.

      In fact, just last night I was engaged in a heated Facebook discussion with some liberal friends who are still going ballistic about Zimmerman and Trayvon. I noted that every white-on-black crime (however rare) is played up in the media as a racial incident, while the numerous black-on-white crimes practically go unreported. The coverage almost never mentions the race of the perpetrators when they’re black, no matter how heinous the crime. (In a recent story about two thugs who killed a young teacher for his iPod, I simply deduced the race of the perpetrators because their first names were Marcellus and Tyrek. That and Marcellus’ remark that their victim was only “some bitch-ass white boy.”)

      I do believe that race relations will only deteriorate as the press keeps stirring up racial resentments against whites and ignoring the real problems in the inner-city black community. Even well-educated blacks are playing a role; they’ve eagerly disseminated the whole “white privilege” myth, which conveniently makes it impossible for white people to ever atone for the sins of their ancestors. And of course most white liberals have bought into this guilt trip, which makes them inclined to give blacks a free pass on any offenses they might commit. I hate double standards.

      • November 21, 2013 1:58 pm

        I have zero White Guilt. I wasn’t here when it happened and neither were any of my ancestory. I don’t condone the history of slavery in the US nor do I feel accountable for it.

      • November 22, 2013 2:26 am

        I give you a lot of credit for disagreeing with that FB crowd, RIck. I’ve jumped in once or twice, as you know, and….well, it didn’t end well, lol. They are a tough bunch, and not very tolerant of opinions that do not jibe with their strongly held beliefs. I have to say, though, that you are unique in your ability to actually disagree with that type of person and get them to respond to you in a respectful way, Somehow, even the most wild-eyed ideologues respond positively to your style of debate.

        Jb, have you ever read Shelby Steele’s work on white guilt? He says that it has robbed white liberals – the very folks that stood shoulder to shoulder with blacks in the Civil RIghts movement – of their moral authority and allowed them to be manipulated and stigmatized…and that this has done infinitely more harm than good to race relations in America.

  11. Roby L permalink
    November 21, 2013 10:33 am

    A very thoughtful post, beautifully written Rick Bayan at his usual level.

    Unfortunately, it was followed by posters comparing Obama to Hitler, black on white violence, etc.

    The recent government spying binge is a response to 9/11, it was implemented by W Bush as civil libertarians, mostly of the liberal persuasion, complained that we are better than this. But the country was quite willing to pay that price after 9/11, I don’t know whether we were correct and neither does anyone here, the spying has its tradeoffs but the public would not have tolerated anything but the stiffest level of defense against terrorist attacks and no president is going to permit another bloodbath on his watch..

    For anyone who thinks the government security agencies have invented something new under Bush and Obama post 9/11 look up J Edgar Hoover and his secret files on everyone, now technology his simply charged ahead. Its another of those vast impersonal forces, calling W or Obama a new Hitler only satisfies people with other agendas and not nice ones. Those surveillance cameras on every corner have convicted quite a few criminals including murderers in my state, who did not realize they were on camera. Is it worth it? There is no correct answer to this, only philosophical opinions.

    In any case the posters here quickly left Ricks point behind and went off on their own tangents, proving Ricks point. Which I doubt anyone actually got.

    Have fun with Hitlers ghost and black thugs.

    • November 21, 2013 10:41 am

      Roby, I call BS on that. I am not a racist, nor do I comment about racism or Hitler very much at all. I watched Martin Bashir (you know the guy on MSNBC who said on TV that someone should defecate and urinate in Sarah Palin’s mouth) last night, as he and the other talking heads argued about how much of the opposition to the healthcare plan was based on racism, for god’s sake. This is not a racial issue, but the media makes it so.

      I don’t know where you live, but in NYC , the “knockout” game is becoming big news and people are terrified of these random attacks. You would think that decent, law-abiding citizens would UNITE in condemning them…..that was the point I was making, in response to Ron’s and Rick’s point that we need to stop name-calling and blaming “others.”

      Racism and it’s evil effects are certainly relevant when discussing Lincoln, or so I thought. You have educated me on my ignorance. Apparently, I did not get Rick’s point as you did.

    • November 21, 2013 11:24 am

      Roby: Thanks for the moral support. We definitely have some Obamaphobes here, though they pale in comparison to the lynch mobs I’ve seen on some right-wing websites. Our Obamaphobes generally oppose him because they perceive him as a crypto-Marxist who wants to turn us into a socialist state (despite his well-known allegiance to Wall Street banks). But they’re not racists.

      I don’t think Obama has been racially divisive, other than a few brief remarks he made about the false arrest of Henry Louis Gates and the shooting of Trayvon Martin. When he was campaigning, he made an enlightened speech about race discussions in America needing to be a two-way street. He acknowledged that white Americans are frustrated about having to be continually on the receiving end of racial resentment while we’re not allowed to talk back. (I’ve felt this way for years, having had to listen to black recriminations since the 1960s.) Unfortunately, Obama has said little of substance on race since he took office — and I’m sure he’s frustrated both blacks and whites on this matter.

      • November 21, 2013 12:29 pm

        Rick, I beg to differ with your characterization of me as an “Obamaphobe.” I gave, over the course of the president’s first term, every benefit of the doubt when it came to other’s accusations of Marxism, socialism, evil intent, etc. What I have always believed is that Obama is an incompetent executive, who thinks politically, not necessarily ideologically, and has used divisive racial and class rhetoric and demagoguery to achieve his political goals. If viewing him as an amateur qualifies me a “phobe,” than I guess I am, but I disagree.

        Although you are correct in saying that Obama has said little of substance on race since he took office, he has frequently spoken, sometimes indirectly, about race, in ways that made it clear that he views his critics and opponents as racists. And I have never heard him call for an end to the continuing accusations of racism that are hurled at anyone and everyone who views his policies negatively.

        A president can use his bully pulpit in many ways – to unify or to divide the country, I would challenge you to give me one substantive example of President Obama using his platform to unify, as Lincoln attempted to do.

      • November 21, 2013 2:01 pm

        “A president can use his bully pulpit in many ways – to unify or to divide the country, I would challenge you to give me one substantive example of President Obama using his platform to unify, as Lincoln attempted to do”

        BINGO!

      • November 21, 2013 12:53 pm

        I have called him a corporatist, I will cop to that, and I have said that his policies are generally redistributionist. I consider those terms to be descriptive, not pejorative, per se. You have described his coziness with corporate donors and Wall Street types quite frequently, and I would not characterize you as an Obamaphobe.

        Defending the president on substance is one thing; attacking his opponents by name-calling is something else. That is my point.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 21, 2013 1:14 pm

        Rick, I can be lumped into “the posters comparing Obama to Hitler”. It was not that I believe Obama would end up anywhere near as bad as Hilter, even if Obama was able to win reelection for multiple terms like Roosevelt. I only brought out those characteristics that are inherent in both to show how people can be suckered into accepting political positions and then be alarmed when many freedoms have been taken away.

        We now have a country where a large percentage of Americans are dependant on government support for their comfort. And I do not include those on social security because you and I, along with millions of others have paid into that fund and had the government invested wisely and not spent those funds, most all of us would have much more income than we will end up costing the government until we die. At what point do we decide that too many people are living off the labors of others and begin expecting people to help themselves?

        Yes, there is too much divide between the haves and the have nots. The rich do seem to be getting richer, while the poor are making no gains. But who and what has caused this divide to grow? Is it personal responsibility, government policies or both.

        I believe that government policies have led to a generation of individuals that find marriage something that is temporary, has led to major declines in expectations in student achievement in schools, has led to low self esteem leading to low expectations of “climbing the ladder” in employment and has led to many of those on government support from getting off government support. Children raised in a stable family have a much greater chance of economic sucess than those in a one parent situation. They perform better in school and are expected to achieve grades above average.

        All of the above insures that those dependant on government wil do little to change government other than to expect more to come from the rich to the poor. That was one of Hitlers plays to insure people continued to support him even with his awful positions concerning black, jews and other “sub-standard” races.

        I offer if the same expectations that Lincoln had when he gave the Gettysberg address were present today, this country would be far better off than we are today. And those same expectations of “government of the people, by the people and for the people” that existed then would offer the same expectations of personal responsibilty today. Had the same expectations of poor education, low self esteem and government support for basic lifes needs existed in the 1800’s that exist today, this country would be far different than it is today and could even be equal to other third world countries where dictators rule.

        When do we begin moving away from social programs begun by “socialist” and begin returning to what made this country great?

      • November 21, 2013 9:36 pm

        I resent the Obamaphobes comment. It is snide and condescending. This POUTS has done his best to best America with division and it started on day one.

        I expect better of you, Rick.

      • Rick Bayan permalink
        November 21, 2013 11:54 pm

        Sheesh, all this consternation over the “Obamaphobe” label. It simply means people who don’t like Obama. There’s no value judgment on my part, and I went out of my way to differentiate you guys from the racist wingnuts on far-right websites. No malice intended, believe me.

      • November 22, 2013 1:03 am

        Not consternation, really, on my part…..I just find the use of terms like Obamaphobe, homophobe, and even Islamophobe a bit odd and inaccurate…and kind of patronizing, I guess, although you are not the patronizing sort, Rick, so I did not take it that way in this case.

        I suppose you were simply using the term as in “the opposite of Obamaphile,” but, even so, I don’t hate or fear the man. I just think that he really sucks as a president.

        When someone expresses support for traditional marriage, they are invariably accused of being a homophobe, despite the fact that their opposition to changing the definition of marriage may have little or nothing to do with their attitudes and feelings about gay people. One may fear Islamic terrorism without disliking or fearing Muslims in general.

        Eh, I may be parsing this too much. If so, I will accept your label and wear it proudly ;)

      • November 22, 2013 8:58 am

        “Jb, have you ever read Shelby Steele’s work on white guilt? He says that it has robbed white liberals – the very folks that stood shoulder to shoulder with blacks in the Civil RIghts movement – of their moral authority and allowed them to be manipulated and stigmatized…and that this has done infinitely more harm than good to race relations in America.”

        Priscilla.

        I have read several of Shelby’s books and he is very insightful. Indeed, they have helped shape my thinking in this area. Sadly, he and other black intellectuals like Sowell and Williams have been marginalized, as their word destroys the narrative.

        The Hoover Institution is a wonderful resource for clear-headed thinking.

  12. November 21, 2013 9:47 pm

    Why the confusion over Obama the socialist and Obama the enabler for the Banksters?
    Does anyone believe that the markets aren’t rigged? What is the stock “market” besides a
    casino of gamblers who can and do control the rise and fall of stacks and commodities?
    With free money to the criminals, charged to the debt, isn’t that about as corrupt a socialism as there is? And poor misunderstood Barry, looking to retire in Hawaii to his 3.2 million dollar cottage by the sea. Obama is the front man for the .5 percent who want to control the world through their NWO, one-world-government, Agenda 21 correct, and with no Bill of Rights.

  13. Anonymous permalink
    November 21, 2013 11:26 pm

    Bravo, Rick!

    Yes, united we stand, divided we fall. Divide & conquer is an old strategy that continues to work. We are divided in so many ways, on purpose.

    When I was in the Navy we received some P.O.W survival training from the U.S. Marines. It was a very good training session. We were instructed that our captors will attempt to keep us demoralized. They will give us a steady diet of bad news, tell us that our family has been killed, et cetera. The captors will take the fight out of you by demoralizing you. Do your captors want you proud, motivated, and strong? Read Google News and see how much of it is bad news.

    Of the people, by the people, and for the people is in the way of a very powerful agenda,

  14. November 22, 2013 1:21 am

    Beautifully written posting, Rick. You are absolutely correct in what you say. Unfortunately, JB and Priscilla are also absolutely correct. In a disturbingly naive election, a majority of American voters chose to reelect a president who had an abysmal record in his first term.
    With no leadership or executive skills, he has continued to use political and lawyerly tactics to advance a divisive, redistributive agenda. Today, Sen Reid enacted the “nuclear option” in the Senate, effectively disenfranchising all the citizens represented by GOP senators from having a say in the confirmation of federal judgeships. The ramifications of this step are huge,and along with many other things, will make it even easier for Obama to rule by executive fiat. We are a nation under attack by our own government at this point. Hopes for reunification of WE THE PEOPLE seem to be dimming. Rick, you are much more optimistic than I am. I hope some of the steps you propose bear fruit.

    • November 22, 2013 9:01 am

      Yes, this was a blatant disregard for over 200 yrs of tradition in the Senate. Yet, I can assure you that the media will salute the “bipartisan” democrats for finally pushing the GOP Senate under the bus.

      Now, when the House responds with an air of discontent, they too will be vilified.

      Disgusting turn of events.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 22, 2013 1:08 pm

        JB,,,there is most always unintended consequences when legislation is passed. The Senate moves from democrat party control to republican party control. Just wait until the republicans are in the majority and then listen to the howling of the minority democrats on how they are not allowed to block appointments. Had this been in effect in the 80’s, Robert Bork might have sat on the Supreme court. What goes around, comes around. It will all equal out unless the Republicans believe in tradition strong enough to reverse Reids actions.

      • November 22, 2013 1:21 pm

        Ron,
        Hope not. That said, the GOP is pretty dopey at times. Think McCain.

    • November 22, 2013 9:49 am

      So ironic to me that Democrats are defending this by saying that they had to “curb GOP power.”

      How does the party with a majority in only 1/2 of 1/3 of the government have so much “power” that it has to be “curbed”??

      When the Democratic minority was blocking every one of Bush’s judicial appointments and the GOP threatened the nuclear option, it was negotiated. We have come very far, in the wrong direction………

      • November 22, 2013 11:24 am

        They can’t be shamed, these pols. Reid is just the worst, up there with Obama.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 22, 2013 1:15 pm

        Priscilla, yes we have come far in the wrong direction. When the Republicans were willing to negotiate, there was not the stigma attached to negotiating as there is today.One can not negotiate anything in congress today and expect to get reelected. That’s why we need term limits to get rid of the stigma and allow elected officials to do whats right for the country and not what’s right for their careers.

  15. Roby L permalink
    November 22, 2013 12:26 pm

    Find please where I called anyone a racist. I made an objective factual statement about the turn the conversation took very rapidly after Ricks thoughtful start.

    I am not a Constitutional scholar nor do I actually follow politics very much or watch any of the media talking heads from either side (talk about people spreading division and profiting from it.). but I do not see why it is reasonable that the party out of power can prevent a president from appointing judges at will, no matter which party it is I am happy to let the winners appoint judges.

    The vast majority of the comments here voice hysteria. Political junkies and hysteria seem to go hand in hand. The world is not ending.

    • November 22, 2013 12:32 pm

      I think you miss the point. The rules in the Senate have been that way since day 1. When the shoe is on the other foot, Reid, Obama, et all decried this day as the end of the world. Now, apparently it is not. For the record, it took the Dem Senate just as long to confirm judges as it is taking the current Senate.

      Checks and balances my friend, checks and balances. The Dems have the WH and the Senate. I guess that is not sufficient for their power desires.

      There is no hysteria here, just clear thinking. People who think the “world is not ending” often find that in fact, in a sense, it is.

      As for racism, that is so yesterday.The libs will have to come up with something new.

    • November 22, 2013 10:17 pm

      Roby, you are clearly feeling triumphant that your side has succeeded in shutting down the minority opposition, for now. Who knows, maybe they will ultimately succeed in destroying any power that the minority party has, and we will eliminate gridlock with one party rule. I suppose you think that is fine, because the Republicans are, as you say “out of power.” Just be careful what you wish for.

      Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat, said this on the Senate floor yesterday:

      “My position today is consistent with the position that I took then, that every Senate democrat took then, and that’s just back in 2005. That was to preserve the rights of the Senate minority. I can’t ignore that. Nor can I ignore the fact that Democrats have used the filibuster on many occasions to advance or protect policies that we believe in. When Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives from 2003-2006, it was a Democratic minority in the Senate that blocked a series of bills that would have severely restricted the reproductive rights of women. It was a Democratic minority in the Senate that beat back efforts to limit Americans’ rights to seek justice in our courts when they’re harmed by corporate or medical wrongdoing. It was a Democratic minority in the Senate that stopped the nominations of some to the federal courts who we believed would not provide fair and unbiased judgment. Without the protections afforded the Senate minority, total repeal of the estate tax would have passed the Senate in 2006.”

      • Roby L permalink
        November 22, 2013 11:23 pm

        No I am not really feeling triumphant. I feel triumphant when I or a family member or friend do something great, not when our politicians behave badly.

        I’m not a deep enough analyst of congress to know whether this is a good or bad thing. But for perspective here is a reasonably fair commentary piece from USA today of all places that has a reasonable take on who brought this on.

        ******************************************************************************************************

        Democrats’ decision Thursday to change Senate rules so they can confirm presidential nominees without Republican support is sure to worsen partisanship in a body that is already dangerously dysfunctional.

        Republicans instantly promised to retaliate, and important national business — the current budget negotiations, for example, or attempts to head off another government shutdown — could suffer.

        Even so, the Senate’s GOP minority brought the rules change, known as the “nuclear option,” on itself. The Republicans’ repeated abuse of the filibuster to block highly qualified nominees simply because they were picked by a Democratic president had left Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., with little choice.

        When it comes to abusing the filibuster, particularly on judicial nominations, neither party has clean hands. Democrats did it during the George W. Bush administration, and in 2005 then-Sen. Barack Obama was among those denouncing the nuclear option. The two parties shamelessly swap arguments and tactics whenever the majority changes hands.

        Little by little, they’ve eroded an honorable system in which each party acknowledged the president’s constitutional right to make appointments, reserving filibusters only for extreme circumstances, where they have important value in encouraging bipartisanship.

        This time, Republicans took the filibuster to new levels by making it destructively commonplace. In the past month alone, GOP senators have blocked Obama’s nominee to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, plus three well-qualified nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

        So now, as a result of Thursday’s move, all of President Obama’s nominees except those for the Supreme Court can be approved by a simple majority, rather than the 60 vote majority required to end a filibuster.

        GOP senators’ operatic outrage after Thursday’s vote belied the fact that they provoked this outcome by refusing to work out the kind of deals that had defused previous confrontations. This year, Republicans twice backed down and agreed to curb their filibusters, and both times they reneged.

        The last straw was their effort to prevent Obama from filling open seats on the D.C. Circuit Court, commonly regarded as the second most important court in the nation because it decides pivotal questions of government regulation and often serves as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court.

        Republicans accused Obama of court-packing — an allusion to Franklin Roosevelt’s attempt to expand a Supreme Court that was blocking the New Deal.

        But that claim is ludicrous. Three seats are vacant. Republicans also say the court should be reduced in size because it is underworked. But if they were sincere, they could propose to shrink the court in the next presidency.

        It’s regrettable that cooler heads couldn’t prevail. The Senate’s paralysis could get worse in the short run, and when Democrats are back in the minority, which could happen after next year’s elections, they’ll no doubt regret detonating the nuclear option. All institutions need rules that everyone accepts.

        But don’t believe Republicans when they say this is all the fault of Democrats. If the filibuster is dying, it’s because both parties have conspired to kill it.

      • November 22, 2013 11:36 pm

        Yet, the data does not support the USA conclusion. Virtually the same number of judges were approved during the Bush years as during the Obama years. Nice try though.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 23, 2013 12:21 am

        Priscilla…the democrats will ask why Reid promoted this legislation once the Republicans gain control of the senate, and that could be a short 13+ months away. They may have given up the farm for a short one season of harvest. There is a reason it is called the nuclear option. The resulting aftermath last much longer than the original blast.

    • November 22, 2013 11:35 pm

      On the one hand, you do make a valid point about judge appointments, one that Republicans made for many years. It was the Democrats, after all, who began the practice of filibustering judicial appointments, so that Bush 43 would not be able to place conservative justices on the federal courts. (And, of course, I have no idea if you were staunchly supporting the right of President George W. Bush to appoint his nominees to the bench. while the Democrats were “out of power”. Perhaps you were…..)

      On the other hand, your point is made without an acknowledgement of the stunning hypocrisy of the Democrats doing a 180 on this now that they are being politically hammered by their own partisan healthcare law and hamstrung by their lame duck president. Hysteria is in the eyes of the beholder, I guess.

      • Roby L permalink
        November 23, 2013 11:28 am

        The USA article is my surrogate and it dealt with that issue nicely and apportioned blame fairly and factually. Some (a lot of them actually) liberals (nuts, according to me) were hysterical under W Bush, now their mirror image, conservative nuts, are hysterical under Obama. Not great presidencies either to put it mildly, but the hyperventilation does not improve our public life no matter which side it comes from.

  16. November 22, 2013 11:37 pm

    “stunning hypocrisy of the Democrats”

    Well said, Priscilla!

  17. Roby L permalink
    November 23, 2013 11:19 am

    I don’t know why exactly I follow politics at all, its a useless bad habit I should try to curb, where does it get me?. But I did a little searching and found that the data do in fact support that the rules for cloture have changed over time (no they have not been the rules for 200 years), albeit rarely, most recently in 1975 and are not in the Constitution at all and that the use of the filibuster has been sort of logarithmically increasing for 50 years with both the Bush and Obama years having their own inflection points. The number of appointments blocked under Obama is considerably higher than under Bush, you can find that data pretty easily if you want to see it. A blanket denial of that is just an opinion and since its the opinion of someone who believes that repetitively announcing the Obama is the modern Hitler is “clear thinking” so I guess I will have to choose to disbelieve that, especially when it is so easy to find the actual facts.

    Since this is a diehard conservative site in its discussion phase then if you all really believe that the GOP is going to take over the Senate, you should be pretty happy about that filibuster change, and Bastiat actually has as much as said that he is just waiting for his team to use it. So the USA opinion seems to me to have hit the nail pretty squarely.

    Ron P, I have found your comments throughout to be the most objective ones, I can agree with much of what you say in your dry objective way although we have different political perspectives.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 23, 2013 12:12 pm

      Roby, thank you for you comments and I take your “dry objective way” as being a positive in this context, much like a fine dry wine. :)

      Everyone has their own political views and it is not for me to question those. I do beleive that two people can debate an issue and still be friends. I also believe if this standard existed in Washington today we would be much better off. We hear senators and representative address the members of the opposition party as “my good friend XYZ” and in most every instance I want to call “BS” as frienship in washington does not exist like it did just a few years ago when legislation was approved that actually helped the nation.

  18. November 23, 2013 11:43 am

    For the record, the GOP is not my “team” as I am much more in the libertarian camp. That said, on a relative scale, it is easy to support the GOP over the Dems. Lesser of two evils I would say.

    As to the Hitler/Obama comparison, I will suggest that in his early years, Hitler was a much different animal. He started slowly and built his insanity one speech at a time. He also had a different set of circumstances which gave him much more of an opportunity to become a dictator, which he clearly loved.

    I believe Obama would LOVE to be a dictator. I am not suggesting he would set up death camps if so chosen, but the power surely would be used to “spread the wealth around.” Then again, for one who uses drones so freely that he can discount the collateral damage of killing civilians, it is not a big leap to suggest that Obama would be OK about selective discharge of people in his way.

    So, statists come in different stripes; in the end, they only solution they know is more government control and domination.

    One thing I would point out Roby is your passive/aggressive way of expressing your “views.”. Toss a bomb with no specific name on it, denigrate someone, and then move on.

    Then, there is your “I am above it all tone.” That’s a nice trick as well.

    You will not be missed.

    • November 23, 2013 11:49 am

      I think it is amusing that you consider Obama to be anything other than the “step-and-fetch-it” for the banksters and their New World Order. His job is simply to destroy America, through the educational system, the financial system, and the working government. That is his only function, then off to Hawaii and his cottage by the sea. There is also the chance that he will have to take the fall for it all, but hey, it was worth it.

      • November 23, 2013 12:12 pm

        I am not sure if that is accurate. He certainly is doing a good job of trying to “break America’s spirit” so that we are much more of a docile bunch. He certainly is enabling the NSA to spy on anyone and everyone. His Common Core would be admired by Big Brother, so yes, I think he is bent on breaking our traditions and institutions.

        Whether he is bank rolled by the banks, I am less sure. I would not be surprised. Is George Soros a bank? If so, indeed, Obama is his puppet.

        That said, I do believe he would take the job of dictator in a NY minute. He is not smart in any demonstrable way, but he is very arrogant.

        A terrible combination but quite dangerous none the less.

    • Roby L permalink
      November 23, 2013 12:14 pm

      You will not be missed either Bastiat, as in, you will give no one the chance to miss you. You will sit here forever, like a dragon on a pile of gold.

      The interesting thing is that the internet really is a proving ground for libertarian principles. Here in the blogosphere anyone is free to say whatever they want. In almost every case, any attempt to have an adult discussion is foiled by posters such as yourself and very few sensible people waste their time talking in conversations dominated by insatiable nuts like you. Is that directly aggressive enough for your taste? So, you are proving exactly why a Libertarian world does not work.

      The dream of the internet as a place where democracy will finally find true expression has been foiled by a small army of humorless ideological activists of the right and left numbering in say tens of thousands, who reduce every conversation to nonsense or worse, depriving millions. It seems like the last sad gasp of miserable people to find a place where they can win, lacking lives they always can find time to have the last idiotic word. Well, I was being nice, but you asked for something else. Enjoy!

      • November 23, 2013 12:19 pm

        Name calling. Well done, Roby. It didn’t take long.

  19. November 23, 2013 11:45 am

    Very nicely done piece on the “knockout game” which we used to call felony battery. Since black youths are the perpetrators, I guess we have to give this a nice name instead of calling it what it is:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/364659/knockouts-high-and-low-mark-steyn

  20. November 23, 2013 11:54 am

    To wit:

    “As noted last week, the president knows no restraints either. He has always indicated a certain impatience with the “checks and balances” — “I’m not going to wait for Congress” has long been a routine applause line on the Obama ’prompter. From unilaterally suspending the laws of others (such as immigration), he has advanced to unilaterally suspending his own. So, for passing political convenience, he issued his proclamation of temporary amnesty for the millions of health plans he himself rendered illegal. The law is applied according to whim, which means there is no law. Four years ago, polls showed no popular support for anything as transformative as Obamacare. But, through procedural flimflam, lameduck-session legerdemain, threats to “deem” it to have already passed, and votes for a law whose final version was not only unread by legislators but was literally unreadable (in the sense that it had not yet rolled off the photocopier), through all that and more, the Democrats rammed it down the throats of the American people anyway: Yes, we can! Brazen and unrestrained, Obama and Reid are also, in Lewis’s phrase, “men without chests.” Cleverness, unmoored from Lewis’s chestly virtue of honor, has reduced them to mere tricksters and deceivers. So the president lied about his law for four years, and now lies about his lies.”

    • Ron P permalink
      November 23, 2013 12:21 pm

      JB..Help me out here. If the ACA is written where certan things have to happen, why isn’t someone from the right taking Obama’s proclamations to court as being illegal?

      He has made executive orders on many different things that others have said was not authorized by the law and no one does a thing about it.

      Is that the “good ol’ boys” network letting things go so they don’t step on their presidents foot when they achieve the power of the Presidency?

      And if executive orders are so bad in most cases that allows presidents to act more like kings, why hasn’t congress changed some of the laws limiting this ability?

      • November 23, 2013 12:25 pm

        I wish I knew the legalities of “executive orders” versus existing laws. To be fair, I can’t remember in my lifetime a Congress that has gone to court on this issue versus a sitting POTUS (I assume it must have happened).

        So, I share your confusion. If the POTUS is acting extra-legally, one would like to think the House would be all over it with legal action?

        As I said above, the GOP is only relatively better than the Dems.

        I will have to check this out.

        PS-notice how the Press gives Obama a pass on this issue of his waiving laws when he wants to.

  21. November 23, 2013 12:28 pm

    This is what Wiki has to offer on past legal actions:

    Legal conflicts[edit]

    As of 1999, U.S. courts have overturned only two executive orders: the aforementioned Truman order, and a 1995 order issued by President Clinton that attempted to prevent the federal government from contracting with organizations that had strike-breakers on the payroll.[10] Congress was able to overturn an executive order by passing legislation in conflict with it during the period of 1939 to 1983 until the Supreme Court ruled in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha that the “legislative veto” represented “the exercise of legislative power” without “bicameral passage followed by presentment to the President.”[11]

    The loss of the legislative veto has caused Congress to look for alternative measures to override executive orders such as refusing to approve funding necessary to carry out certain policy measures contained with the order or to legitimize policy mechanisms. In the former, the president retains the power to veto such a decision; however, the Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds majority to end an executive order. It has been argued that a Congressional override of an executive order is a nearly impossible event due to the supermajority vote required and the fact that such a vote leaves individual lawmakers very vulnerable to political criticism.[12]

    • Ron P permalink
      November 23, 2013 12:43 pm

      There is also the part where executive orders are used to direct cabinet secretaries in the application of laws approved by congress. In this case, there are over 2000 pages of law where congress could hide loopholes for the president to jump through in applying the law. They are still reading the bill and finding out what is in it. Seems lhat will continue for sometime.

  22. Roby L permalink
    November 23, 2013 1:34 pm

    Bastiat, (just in case any one where to think I were talking in a passive aggressive way to some other poster), when you compare anyone to Hitler, I guess that is about as deep into name calling as you can get, unless that person has put millions of some ethnic group into ovens and invaded a large number of neighboring countries, causing tens of millions of casualties and a world war. Its a deliberate choice of imagery, and Hitler is the worst bad name anyone can really call someone else in our time. You can’t have Hitler without the death camps, any more than you can have an ocean without water. You know very well what it means when you call Obama Hitler and playing stupid fools no one.

    If one were simply wishing to make a comparison about abuse of powers by a leader then there are many hundreds of well known choices one can make that are in proportion to the abuse in question. Yes, I AM above that level of discourse, as is anyone I would want to have a serious conversation with. Comparing Obama to Hitler is idiotic and utterly offensive. But god forbid anyone should offend your own very delicate sensibilities by objectively and accurately calling you an Obamaphobe. What a gigantic phony you are!

    I immediately think of anyone who seriously makes the Hitler comparison to anyone short of Idi Amin or or Kim Jong Un as a brainless and heartless ass. Heartless, because it shows a real lack of actual heartfelt understanding of what it is that Hitler did once his name can be used in such a trivial manner. You complained of my passive aggression so do not please do not now pretend to be offended having provodked exactly the response you wished for. As long as you persist in calling this president or any president Hitler you will sometimes be told what a huge pile of manure you really are and how worthless your judgement is.

    You praise Ricks writing, do him the courtesy if you really respect him of not polluting the conversation with Hitler references to the president. Rick’s writing deserves a better follow up conversation than that.

    • November 23, 2013 1:48 pm

      Obviously, we have struck a chord with the Hitler reference. You choose to ignore my commentary about Hitler’s early years. That is your choice. The fact is, this President is the most divisive POTUS in my lifetime. Of course, that is simply because he is half-African in his genetic makeup.

      Well, not really. Obama owns his 5.5 yrs in office. His record, his comments, his policies. He is a statist through and through and it that respect, he is just like Hitler.

      So, if you are bothered by the comparison, so be it.

      I can live with that.

      As for Rick, he is a big boy and a good friend. If he has an issue with me, he knows where to find me.

  23. Roby L permalink
    November 23, 2013 2:34 pm

    So if you are a “statist” you are like Hitler, as well as in the respect of have a nose and two eyes, just like Hitler. No other statists handy for you to reference, its Hitler or nothing? You know, instead of trying to defend the idea that you should be comparing Obama to Hitler, you could just be big and say, ooops that was a mistake. That would be impressive.

  24. November 23, 2013 2:49 pm

    An interesting fixation you have on this comparison. You might want to look at that.

    However, it is your dime (or keyboard, as it were) so, by all means remains stuck. The reality is, this is an argument you are having with yourself.

    I am more than fine admitting a mistake, like for example, reading your comments.

  25. Roby L permalink
    November 23, 2013 2:58 pm

    My fixation on Hitler comparisons is shared by a huge number of people.

    “Godwin’s law” implies that when a Hitler or Nazi comparison is made in an online discussion, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress. You can look that up.

    Ah well, I didn’t think the odds were high on bigness, but it was worth a shot.

    • November 23, 2013 3:14 pm

      I am not surprised that you would cite a “law” based on an assertion made in 1990 by an attorney.

      BTW-who the hell is “debating” here, certainly not you!

    • November 27, 2013 2:39 am

      Roby, lighten up. The fact is, that the president demonizes those who oppose him. Hitler did that, too. I don’t think that the comparison is meant to imply that Obama is firing up the ovens, or that he wants to rule the world. Rather, it is a commentary on political strategy.

      “Godwin’s Law” is kind of dated. It certainly never stopped the BusHitler comparisons :)

      • November 27, 2013 9:44 am

        Indeed, Priscilla,

        I clarified my remark for Roby but he was having none of it.

        Seems the comparison hit a nerve or something.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 27, 2013 1:49 pm

        Jb..Do you really think the GOP has the intelligence to pick candidates that can win instead of ideologues that advocates for a position so hard that they can not see the forest for the trees? In states like Texas, those with views like Cruz can win, even if he turns off some independant voters. I do not believe this to be the case in states like North Carolina were the voters have become much more moderate to liberal due to the influx of yankees into the Charlotte and Raleigh areas. I don’t know enough about Arkansas and Louisiana to comment, but since they have democrats today, it appears they are somewhat like North Carolina.

        Thirty plus years ago I was a Reagan Democrat and turned very conservative fiscally during that period. I still believe in the Reagan position on compromise. Reagan was a strong conservative with very strong principles, but he was not stupid enough to jump off the rocky cliffs and allow ideas to die to stand on principles. He was willing to compromise and cut deals to get his opposition to move closer to his ideas so much of what he wanted was accomplished. He gave up something to get something in return and in many instances, what he received was greater than what he gave up.

        Today we see the Tea Party dominated wing of the GOP willing to jump off the cliff that Reagan stood before, willing to let the liberals have 100% because they will not accept less than 100% themselves. In states like North Carolina, I doubt independant voters will accept those positions.

        I could be wrong, but right now I see little chance that the GOP will choose candidates that can win, but they will stand tall on principle. How much good will that do for the country at this time?

      • November 27, 2013 2:30 pm

        It Is really hard to know. One wonders if the Obamacare law keeps stinking up the landscape what the voters will thing. Moreover, the Iran deal could actually result in a large war in the Mid East, which is another confounding variable.

        I would not want to be a betting man on politics in the next few years.

        And then, there is that immigration/amnesty thing!

  26. November 23, 2013 3:45 pm

    23 yrs ago and totally dead on!

  27. November 24, 2013 11:34 am

    After the Senate deal last week, what are the chances the Dems can get this “trealy” though the House? I would say none.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/gop-iran-nuclear-deal-100296.html

    • Ron P permalink
      November 24, 2013 2:08 pm

      For some reason I do not find the changes in the senate to be that bad. I am not looking to the near future, 1-2 years, but I am looking at the future as a business leader would look at his business strategic plan life cycle 5-10 years.

      What are the chances a republican controlled senate will reverse this change? I think 0%, but sometimes they do do stupid things, so I will say 1%.

      Now when the senate does become right wing controlled, what type of candidates will be brought forward for confirmation? Moderates? NO!. Liberals? HELL NO!!! They will be farther right than any have been earlier. That’s a good thing!

      Now the key to this plan is the GOP picking candidates that can get elected and not the dim wits they have put up against Reid and others that only a small percentage of voters can actually vote for. And given the GOP track record, this is going to be harder than one would imagine. Watch North Carolina where Hagan is running for her life trying to separate herself from Obama. Right now the candidates that appear to be her opposition are in the “Angle” catagory of candidates making it much easier to ride out the healthcare storm.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 25, 2013 3:42 pm

      Jb..I just read an interesting article in Forbes.com. Kind of supports my position that the GOP wanted this to begin with, but did not want to be blamed for making the change.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/11/21/gop-gambles-big-on-harry-reids-nuclear-option-why-not-just-explode-the-filibuster-for-good/

      The interesting twist is the fact Reid believed the GOP would make the change once they got power of the senate, so he did it now to get the liberals appointed to the courts before the GOP could pack the courts with conservatives.

      Once again the GOP got a lesson in how to play the game. I find it a remarkable feat the the GOP is able to find the most inept politicians and put them in the leadership roles in Washington.

      • November 25, 2013 4:00 pm

        I would agree that the GOP seems like a bunch of pansies. I am not sure why this continues to be the case, given they have Rand Paul, Cruz, Rubio (on a good day) and some Governors like Perry and Walker.

        Someone has to teach these boys how to play rough. Also, they would have to retire a bunch of has beens, like McConnell, Boehner, et al.

  28. November 30, 2013 9:32 am

    I love the line about Obama never have been challenged intellectually in his whole life. I guess I am not seeing it. I have been in the room with some very brilliant people in my time and I can say I have never seen THAT level of brain power.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-obamas-presidency-unravels-through-chaos-and-crisis/2013/11/22/57132e74-52de-11e3-a7f0-b790929232e1_story.html

    • Ron P permalink
      December 1, 2013 12:24 am

      One only needs to look at his administration to see that fact. The Peter Principle is represented well by B,O,. But not far behind is the GOP and their handling of key decisions thay have made.

  29. December 4, 2013 1:25 am

    Worth reading the whole thing. Peggy Noonan has perspective that most of us lack:

    “Mr. Obama shows every sign of thinking Reagan led only through words. But Reagan led through actions, as every leader must. The words explained, argued for and advanced those actions; they gave people a sense of who it was who was acting. But Obama’s generation of the left could never see or come to terms with the fact that it was, say, the decision to fire the air traffic controllers, or the decision to take the hit and bleed out inflation, that made Reagan’s presidency successful and meaningful. With an effective presidency, everything is in the doing.”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/peggynoonan/2013/12/03/low-information-leadership/

    • Ron P permalink
      December 4, 2013 1:51 pm

      Reagan was not like the self centered politicians we have today. He was interested in the good of the country because he was a product of the war generation that put country first. Except for a handful, today the politicians are a product of a generation where everything was handed to them and nothing was expected in return. Someone else paid for the education, someone else went to fight in wars thousands of miles away, someone else marched in Selma, Birmingham, Los Angeles or Boston in support of equal rights and integrated schools, someone else will pay the cost of medical care when your age, someone else will pay……etc, etc.

      And this goes from the cities (ie Detroit) all the way to the President.

      • December 4, 2013 1:55 pm

        In the Frontline video, The Keating Seven, you see news footing of Reagan signing the bill deregulating banks. His comment as he signed was, “We really hit the jackpot with this one”. Yes, so interested in the good of the county. LOL.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 4, 2013 2:46 pm

        I think you might want to do some research on this subject before commenting any further. The deregulation of the banking industry had many different aspects from 1980 to the early 2000’s. The first big change was the repeal of DIDMCA in 1980, allowing banks to go into real estate. They got caught them with the pants down on that one due to economic conditions in the 80’s. But the biggest and most distructive change was in 1999 when Bill Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass Steagal legislation promoted by Gramm-Leach and Bliley. Other regulatory changes in the 90’s required banks to have portfolios that represented the economic condition of their demographic area. So if 50% of your area was black, brown, indian, or low incomeetc, your portfolios should be the same. That created the mess of bastardized mortgages that few could pay in the out years because they just barely could afford them at the beginning. So I blame everyone in Washington who did anything to change banking laws, but most distructive changes came under Carter and Clinton.

      • December 4, 2013 4:02 pm

        So, “We hit the jackpot with this one” is appropriate for signing a bill to deregulate banks? Please explain this. Seems to me to be an expression in anticipation of huge windfall profits hitherto restricted… and that is what happened, no matter what you want to tell us.

      • December 4, 2013 4:55 pm

        “If you like your curent health plan, you can keep it.”

        Barack Obama-38 times on video.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 4, 2013 6:15 pm

        Timothy, when you reply to this message could you include the link to the “hit the jackpot”. I qould like to see what you are referring to so I can comment with some understanding of the quote. I have looked for info on the internet from non-political websites and can find little about deregulation of the banks in the 80’s. Even the history news network from George mason university only mentions the deregulations of banking industry during the 80’s and tries to link that to Reagan. They state:

        “The turn away from rules that promote fair business practices fostered dangerous risk-taking. An early sign of the troubles occurred on Reagan’s watch. When the requirements for managing savings and loan institutions became lax in the 1980s, leaders of those organizations invested money recklessly. Many institutions failed or came close to failure, and the cleanup cost more than $150 billion. Yet blame for that crisis did not stick to the Teflon President.”

        But most of these changes occurred with the passing of Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which allowed banks a greater latitude in real estate holdings. That bill was signed by Carter, not Reagan.

        So they can say that the actions of the 80’s led to lax managing of savings and loans that caused reckless investments, but that was a Carter bill and not a Reagan bill.

        However you look at it, what we had happen in the 80’s did not cause the financil crisis of ’08. That was the ending of Glass Seagall that caused most of that problem.

      • December 4, 2013 6:37 pm

        Actually, the Frontline video was called, “The Keating Five” .

        “..the stance that his administration had with the Savings and Loan industry (there were fifteen public policies noted) caused the crisis and it wasn’t a moment he was proud of. It will be remembered for it ending with the Keating Five scandal as well.”

        “It’s not that President Reagan kicked off the savings and loan crisis; it’s that he made it vastly worse, because savings and loans were recovering from the interest rate crisis as interest rates fell sharply through the 1980s. But by bringing in all these new real estate developers with conflicts of interest who were frequently fraudulent, this created a circumstance where pretty soon there were 300 of these savings and loans that were growing at an average rate of 50 percent. And this is what we clamped down on in what became known as reregulation–and that was the greatest swear word the administration could use. Now, they weren’t alone. The Democrats were heavily in favor of the deregulation in the savings and loan industry. The Garn–St. Germain Act passed the House and the Senate, in each case with only one dissenting vote. So both parties overwhelmingly supported this legislation. And when we started reregulating, well, the Keating Five, four of those five senators that tried to prevent us from taking enforcement action against the largest violation of our rules we ever found–by Lincoln Savings–four of those senators were Democrats. The only Republican, of course, was John McCain. Speaker [Jim] Wright, the Democratic speaker of the House, a very powerful speaker, extorted our agency to try to get special favors for the second-worst fraud in America in savings and loans–that was Vernon Savings, know to us regulators as “Vermin”. When we are finally able, after this political opposition, to close Vernon Savings, 96 percent of its loans were in default.”

        http://www.examiner.com/article/this-week-history-ronald-reagan-became-president-iran-hostage-crisis-ends

        But don’t forget this little footnote in history about Reagan and the delay in the hostage release. How corrupt can you get?

        “Ronald Reagan became the United State’s 40th president on January 20th, 1981 and within minutes of him being sworn in, Iran formally released their hostages.

        This week in history is rich with all that has taken place, but with the introduction of one the most charismatic and treasured presidents this country has ever seen, and the release of the 52 American hostages Iran had kept for 444 days, within moments of his being sworn in, this day finds millions all across the country remembering it well.”

        My goodness what an immoral disaster Reagan was.

      • December 4, 2013 7:18 pm

        Well, you can sit here and speculate about the impact of what a POTUS did in the early 1980s and the possible impact on the banking fiasco of 2008. That is your right. You can even attack that man’s character and speculate on whether he lied at that time or not. Given that he is dead, as are most of the players in that little drama, there is small chance of actually determining if you are right or wrong.

        Then again, we don’t have to speculate on the character of the man who is POTUS right now. That man is a confirmed and repeated liar. We have him on video lying through his teeth. Moreover, as he presides over the wrecking of the US health care system we can see right now, what the impacts are and will be.

        So, let’s get back to CURRENT reality shall we?

      • Ron P permalink
        December 4, 2013 9:55 pm

        Well I am not going to get into a conversation about everything Reagan did or did not do based on the examiner article. I understand you did not like Reagan and I can accept that position. Howevr, I stand by my comments that the saving and loan problems started all do to the elimination of DIDMCA. The follow document from CCSU political science department provides a good read about the problems and the Keating 5. This is not a political article by any media, so the slant can not place any blame other than on facts.

        http://www.polisci.ccsu.edu/trieb/curr-tim.HTM

        Please note they discuss the issues with the 101st congress not taking up any legislation to tighten regulations on the S&L’s. Please note the following as it provides info on who controlled congress.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101st_United_States_Congress

        As I said in the very first comment, everyone from 1980- to 2008 that had anything to do with congress or the predidency could have some blame in the game. However, legislation in 1980 and again in 1999 were the primary factors in the crisis.

      • December 4, 2013 4:53 pm

        Never confuse a liberal with facts. Tim is obviously dancing to his own tune.

      • December 4, 2013 5:52 pm

        Actually, the Frontline video was called, “The Keating Five” but no matter. Perhaps if you watched it you might be more informed yourself, but no guarantee of this. Some learn, others do not.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 4, 2013 6:22 pm

        A Liberal can have their own views and discuss a position as long as they are able to provide some documentation to their comments. That is what I have ask Timothy to do so I can use the facts I have and compare them to the facts he has.

        By facts, I do not mean MSNBC, Fox News, Huffington Post or any other far left/right leaning organization. Although they may have the facts correct, I remember that Sargent Friday on Dragnet said, “All the facts, Just the facts” (or something close). And that is what I am asking for, not the Liberal or Conservative Readers digest condensed version.

    • December 4, 2013 3:41 pm

      Priscilla- Peggy Noonan’s article gets it exactly right. I’ve been perplexed by the total lack of competent policy coming out of this administration from day one, but chalked it up to poor selection of staff–the preponderance of them being lawyers with no expertise in any of the fields they were required to address. Subpar ideologues with no managerial competence, expecting words and image control to get the job done, unfortunately seems to be a more accurate take.

  30. Ron P permalink
    December 4, 2013 1:11 pm

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/12/03/house-plastic-gun-bill-vote/3855281/

    I know this is off the subject of the current discussion, but decided to post this anyway. I need some help in understanding this legislation.

    You are a terrorist or you want to enter a federal building to kill a judge that sentenced you to a prior crime or granted your spouse a divorce. You plan suicide after your complete your assigned task. You also have the thousands of dollars available to buy a 3D printer that can make plastic items, or your organization has 3D printers. You have the capability to produce a plastic gun with this printer.

    How does this legislation stop you from making that plastic gun so you can get on that plane or get into the federal building?

    For some reason, I can not beleive Lincoln or any of the other founding fathers were stupid enough to believe a law written in Washington to make arrows illegal was going to stop the indians from making arrows so they did not have an easy way to kill the white man.

    Are those in Washington today so out of touch with the real world they really think this law will stop production of plastic weapons?

  31. December 4, 2013 7:20 pm

    The youth vote just figured out that they have a bulls eye on their forehead and they don’t care much for it.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/04/as-obama-hosts-youth-summit-poll-shows-young-people-skeptical-obamacare/

  32. December 4, 2013 7:22 pm

    Meanwhile, Obama reveals his high aspirations post-office. He wants to be Keith Olberman.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/barack-obama-i-want-host-661762

  33. Ron P permalink
    December 5, 2013 1:31 pm

    JB..How about a new conversation.
    When is a cut not a cut?………….When the democrats say it is a savings!

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/04/first-on-cnn-republicans-bring-back-medicare-attack/comment-page-1/

    Check out paragraph 3. Had this been the GOP that created the cuts (oops savings), gram’s, gramps, uncle charlie, aunt lizzy and the rest of the old timer tribe would be going off the clift, probably off stretchers and not wheelchairs like in the previous democrats message.

    Maybe there is some hope that the GOP will get there message right. I give them a 10% chance, but at least it is a chance. If not maybe its time for the GOP to pack up and let the Libertarian Party have a go at the demcocrats. They could not do much worse.

  34. December 5, 2013 1:48 pm

    As I understand this provision, the major “change” in the law would be to reduce the maximum allowable payment to health care providers (in other words, a price cut) for services delivered to Medicare recipients.

    So, does this move “save money” or not? Well, if you are Medicare, you will pay out less in fees the same level of volume. What could possibly go wrong with this kind of action? After all, health care providers have plenty of money so why not cut the amount paid to the local doc, he can afford it, right?

    Like all price controls, these actions have reactions. So, for starters, at present, docs are NOT required to serve Medicare patients. As these patients get less financially attractive, they move further down the list of patients I must serve.
    So, expect it to be much harder for Medicare patients to be seen. Of course, why would pols and the statists care about that?

    Then again, maybe the doc will simply provide more services per patient visit. That has, and will continue to, happen in the future. We call that fee creep.
    So, in conclusion, this game has been going on for decades and will continue as long as the pols can play it and avoid responsibility for what they have created.

    • Ron P permalink
      December 5, 2013 5:18 pm

      One only needs to ask around their community about which doctors accept medicaid patients. In my neck of the woods, they are not the doc’s that one wants to use if they are looking for quality care. How can we expect good care when they are paid about the same as an oil change at Jiffy Lube for an office visit and they have to pay the RN’s salary, the receptionist salary, rent, utilities, insurance and other cost out of the $35.00-$40.00.

      Yes they can order additional test, but in many cases a test listing for $50.00 is paid about $7.00-$10.00. It takes alot of those test to add up.

      We are headed for a three teir system. Medicaid and Obamacare, large employer based insurance care and cash customers. Doc’s will fight over the cash patient, accept the large employer covered patient if the contract pays enough to cover cost and all the foreign trained doctors and those that barely passed the exam gets medicaid and obamacare. Medicare will fall into one of the first two depending on if the patient has Medicare advantage plan or tradiational medicare.

  35. Ron P permalink
    December 6, 2013 4:26 pm

    http://news.yahoo.com/democrats-backing-gop-another-government-shutdown-060700949.html

    The GOP needs to play the rope-a-dope in reverse and not let the Democrats play the game all themsleves. Given this bit of information, how about the GOP playing hardball up until the negative press begins to impact their favorable ratings, then give in to the Democrats on some of their demands on this budget deal, but not all of them.

    Once that has happened, they have the issue of Obamacare to continue to highlight, they can run on budget deal reached and all the other issues Obama has like the IRS issues.

    Give in on a short term deal, capture control of the senate, keep the house and then play hard ball with B.O. in 2015 and bring all the issues before the senate that they have not been able to do becuase Reid is the assistant King that controls all legislation on that end.

  36. April 19, 2014 4:37 pm

    Rick;

    You seem to have changed little in your interegnum.

    Still fixated on special interests.

    It is POWER that corrupts, it is that powe that attracts money. If it were humanly possible to eliminate the influence of the rich in government – other interests would take their place.

    We have the recent IRS scandal as a demonstration. Was Lois Lehner bought or bribed ?
    There is not a rich donor in site in her corruption.
    Yet here we have a mid-level functionary who used the power of government to punish those she disliked. Recent revelations have her acting at the impetus of representatives and senators directing her to target specific groups – so far the white house is mostly uninvolved. We also now have her coordinating her attacks on political enemies with the Department of Justice and The federal election commission.

    We have the very people you wish to trust to police the corrupting influence of the rich acting corruptly complete absent any connection to powerful outside interests.

    Power corrupts. Whatever power you allow government will be corrpted.
    Money and special interests are merely one means for that corruption to occur.
    The corruption itself is as certain as the power of government.

    • timothy price permalink
      April 19, 2014 4:47 pm

      Since the Constitution limits the amount of land the federal government can own to the 10 square miles in Washington D.C. and such necessary defenses as forts.. (the reason being: to limit the growth that all cancerous central governments become that kill free societies)… wouldn’t the next move be for the people to require the federal government to divest itself of all lands, including the 86% of Nevada that seriously impairse state’s ability to earn revenue.. Bundy grazing fee in point?

      • April 19, 2014 5:49 pm

        That would be a interesting idea. In fact, the is a collective of 9 governors that are preparing a plan to take back Fed land that is in their states.

        I hope they pull it off.

      • April 20, 2014 1:00 am

        I would be interested in hearing the constitutional basis restricting the federal government to 10 sq miles of land in DC.

      • timothy price permalink
        April 20, 2014 8:20 am

        Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the U.S. Constitution, allows for the federal government to own the land “not exceeding ten Miles square,” for the nation’s capitol, along with land, “purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State” in which the land is located for the “Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.” Nowhere is there any mention of “desert tortoises” or any other animal or purpose. The Founding Fathers were strictly against the federal government seizing state and private land.

        Here are the ugly facts of the federal government’s ownership of the lands in the Western states:

        Nevada: 84.5 percent
        Alaska: 69.1 percent
        Utah: 57.4 percent
        Oregon: 53.1 percent
        Idaho: 50.2 percent
        Arizona: 48.1 percent
        California: 45.3 percent
        Wyoming: 42.4 percent
        New Mexico: 41.8 percent
        Colorado: 36.6 percent
        Washington: 30.3 percent
        Montana: 29.9 percent

      • April 20, 2014 9:39 am

        Mr. Price;

        Nothing would make me happier than to see the land owned by the federal government severely limited. Article I Section 8 does not do that. In fact unfortunately it appears to read the opposite. While it requires the consent of the state for the federal government to purchase land within a state, it still grants the federal government exclusive authority over whatever it owns within a state.

        In the instance of Nevada as with most states, one of the conditions for statehood was granting the federal government control of the lands it already held within that state.

        The closest I see to an Article I Section 8 argument is the question of whether there is a need for the federal government to own these lands. While I would prefer to see that interpreted narrowly, I am more likely to see Wickard V. Filburn reversed.

      • timothy price permalink
        April 20, 2014 9:54 am

        assmith:

        Article 1 Section 8, …… for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

        The federal government is not granted the power for land ownership for any other purpose.

        I agree, repealing the application of Wickard V. Filburn is also in order.

      • April 20, 2014 10:05 am

        Interesting little tidbit. State with the highest degree of Fed ownership of its lands? Take a wild guess that it is Nevada, with 80+%.

        Harry Reid is upset about the Bundy ranch? You bet your ass he is.

      • April 20, 2014 6:00 pm

        Bundy is not necescarily the optimal hill to die on.
        Ignoring whether 120+ years of exclusive use of some Nevada land might create an ownership interest,
        Bundy has been dramatically expanding the land he is grazing into areas he has no historical claim of any kind.

        That said he has picked open a scab and revealed a problem – both with BLM management of public lands and with the Reid style corruption that goes along with it.

      • April 20, 2014 7:40 pm

        JBastiat;

        Contrary to your assertions Mises has not yet made it to the top of my reading list.
        While I am not completely ignorant of his views, beyond accepting his conclusion that prices are pretty much entirely subjective – which is the natural conclusion of 100 years of economic exploration of prices, I am otherwise not especially familiar with him.

        I am however interested to understand your views ? You are clearly critical – does that extend to other austrians ? Or to other libertarian schools of economics of philosophy ?
        Freidman, Nozick, Locke, Buchannon, Rand ?

        What values philosophy and principles underpin your arguments ?

        Anyone advocating for federalism has alteast a bit of limited government in their DNA.

      • April 21, 2014 8:27 am

        I have actually read more of Rothbard than Mises (although I like Mises) simply because my interest for a long time was money and banking. Rothbard hates the Federal Reserve and marginal lending/printing money and so do I. I actually like Basiat and some of the early, classic economists very much.

        In the main, I favor maximum personal freedom and very limited government. That said, I oppose abortion (murder) and am not to keen on the move to legalize every drug known to man. I don’t trust humans all that much and in some cases, we need to rein others in if they are not to do too much harm to others.

        PS- I favor legal immigration only. Property rights and the rule of law matter, a lot.

      • April 21, 2014 11:01 am

        I have read a fair amount of Hayek, little Mises, and almost no Rothbard.
        There is only so much time in life and I also read alot of the counters such as Rawls.

        I too find Locke, Smith, Bastiat and other classical writers more comprensible.
        But they were dealing with more general principles.

        I am less interested in arcane details of banking – particularly central banks.
        I think the market has actually mostly gone arround them. The modern shadow financial system dwarfs formal banking and central banks. I think much of what the Fed has done has been wrong, but it has not produced the expected results such as hyper inflation, because the central banks are an increasingly small part of “money”. Bitcoin is giving truth to Adam Smith’s observation that all money is a matter of beleif.
        But bitcoin and all the money of the Fed are small potatoes compared to the innumerable securities that today behave much like money.

        I trust people more that you. But I think that is mostly irrelevant to arguments about government – unless you beleive there is some magical way to assure that only the best people succeed in government.

        I think abortion is less complex that you think. Lawrence Tribe – inarguably the most prominent liberal constitutional scholar, and Walter Block about as close as you can get to an anarchist and still remain libertarian, ultimately came to the same conclusion.
        No human has the right to force another human to preserve its life again their will.
        That is actually a long standing principle of western law.
        A womens right to control her body is absolute. She may insist on ending the dependence of another on her body at any time regardless of prior agreement to the contrary. She may do so even if that means the certain death of another human.
        HOWEVER, her right to control her own body even if that may mean the death of another is NOT the same as the right to murder another. If that dependency can be safely severed without the death of the “fetus” the woman has no right to prevent any effort to end her pregnancy AND preserve the life of the fetus.

        We has seen the consequences of drug decriminalization or legalization in all kinds of degrees accross the world. The net effect on drug use/abuse is usually a negligable increase. Crime usually decreases, the cost of government declines, and government infringement on our rights declines. The primary beneficiaries of ending the war on drugs are those with the least involvement. We get our rights back and no longer have to pay for the war.

        If Heroin were fully legal tomorow – are you planning on shooting up ?

        If you do not trust other humans why do you care if they self destruct so long as they do not harm you in the process ?

      • April 21, 2014 12:42 pm

        In brief, I find your faith in the rightness of your statements to be amusing in the extremis. Is there a subject that you don’t know everything about? If so, I haven’t seen it.

        I find it particularly amusing that you think I care what Lawrence Tribe says about abortion. That you so blithely treat the topic is instructive. You must be a treat to be around.

        Actually, I kind of feel sorry for you. What is left to experience when you know it all?

      • April 22, 2014 4:35 pm

        When political extremes like Tribe and Block come to the same conclusions some of us think that merits serious consideration.
        I would also recommend Tribe as he has been a legal voice of sanity for the left on numerous recent issues. His view that the 14th amendment did not allow the executive to ignore the debt ceiling was influential. He also came out against the idiotic $1T platinum coin idea. Tribe disagreed with Citizen’s United but did not accept the lunatic left argument that corporate speech is not protected.

        Regardless, ignorance of what the best minds on the opposite side of issues that matter to you think is folly.
        No one requires you to agree with Tribe or anyone else. But the marketplace of ideas offers nothing if you are unwilling to listen to smart people with divergent views.

      • April 22, 2014 6:09 pm

        Once again, thanks for the lecture. I am sure we all appreciate your wisdom and bow to your genius.

    • April 19, 2014 5:48 pm

      Federalism attempts to minimize the concentration of power. Too bad, we have strayed so badly from this model of government.

      • April 20, 2014 12:58 am

        My values are individual liberty and limited government. Where federalism merely shifts power from federal to state government it has little merit. In my experience states and local governments are as capable if not more so in abusing power than the federal government.

        Democrats are breathing a sigh of releif because Lois Lerhner has not been connected to the white house.

        For me it is as scarry or more so that individual government agents might abuse the power of government to punish others. It is not important whether they are motivated by politics, or just personal whim.

        If it is your life that is disrupted it matters little whether the state actor you ticked off is politically motivated, or acting on orders from above, or just having a bad day.

        What power is given to government will be abused. That abuse need not be directed by the president or his cabinet. People like David Koch need concern themselves about pissing of our political leaders, ordinary people with different views are not even mosquitos to the truly powerful.
        But ordinary people are the ordinary victims of ordinary government actors.

        Progressives rant of the racial bias of law enforcement. Regardless of race ones risk in dealing with government increases with declining income, and ones skill and ability to deal with government abuse declines with class.

        Henry Gates odds of a police confrontation increased because of his race, but even an upper middle class white male is potentially at risk in any confrontation with a police officer.

        Power is more likely to be abused by those with little power against those with even less.

      • April 20, 2014 9:56 am

        Well Professor, we didn’t miss your lectures and you haven’t learned a thing since you took your break.Federalism is preferable to having Washington DC. have all the power. Why? It is easier for citizens to push back on lawmakers who are down the street or across town. Access allows us to watch them a bit more carefully and they have to live where they work. That makes a difference, albeit in some cases, a small one. I will take it.

        Jefferson knew that, you don’t. Who do I respect more?

        Give the Von MIses act a break. In the real world, we live with trade-offs as we cannot find legislators that are quite as perfect as you are.

        ‘Tis a pity.

        There must be a mountain that you go live on, you know, by yourself.

      • April 20, 2014 5:53 pm

        What provokes the hostility ?
        I do not understand your personal animus.

        I share many of your views. What apears to distinguish us is that you trust states more than the federal government and I trust neither. That you worry about government corruption and the top and I find it reprehensible throughout.

        Of course there are means that exist to influence local government that do not exist with respect to DC – but the converse is also true. Nearly all actions at a national level are explored under a microscope. You and I can more easily know what our Federal Representative is up to than our Township Supervisor. The former is more likely that the later to accept your calls – particularly if you are not locally influential.

        For all their flaws federal bureacrats tend to be held to higher standards of conduct than local ones. I am shocked and surprised by what I see at the IRS. But the exact same type of behavior goes on routinely locally without raising an eyebrow.

        Yes, we should reign in the federal government. Yes, there is much wrong with it.
        Yes, in some ways local government is superior. But not in all. There are plenty of flaws to go arround. Power still corrupts, whether at the federal, state or local level.

        If Mises does not work for you, try Friedman, or Smith, or Locke, or Nozick, or innumerable others.

        Further there is a difference between arguing principles and expecting Utopia.

        I am pointing out that Federalism is no panacea either. It is merely one of many means our founders chose to reign in government. It has value – but only to the extent it actually improves conditions, and that is far from certain.

      • April 21, 2014 8:06 am

        I am a huge fan of Mises. I simply think you approach the world as if you were the only moral person on the planet. Yes, humans are full of shortcomings but not all are, all the time. I favor smaller government but I do not seek to eliminate government in its totality. That is silly and will not happen.

        Governmental entities that are smaller and more local provide more access and are subject to more personal scrutiny. That was my essential point. Federalism is a very solid system but it is not perfect, as NO system is. My problem with some of your rhetoric is that is not at all useful. We have to deal with the situation as it is, which means that we will not produce the nirvana that many libertarians seem to demand.

        I am not talking about selling out, simply understanding that for many, this rhetoric does not enlighten, it simply annoys.

      • April 21, 2014 10:36 am

        Jbastiat;

        I was surprised by the agressiveness of your response because we are not that far apart.

        I am libertarian not anarchist.

        The necescity of government, nor successfully limiting its size eliminate the corrupting influence of power, nor the fact that government will be made of the same infallible humans with the same motivations and weaknesses that we see elsewhere.
        Eternal vigilance is a part of the price we pay for the benefits of government.

        I have no problem with federalism. But it is not the panacea you claim. In many instances local does work better and is more responsive. But the converse is also true.
        There is not a working first principle that local government is superior to federal government. The benefits of federalism are a tendency not a certainty, and as I noted earlier in innumerable instance local government proves much worse.

        Libertarianism is INHERENTLY an imperfect system. It does not even pretend to give the best results for all. Only the NET best results. It does not demand perfection to work.
        Increase the freedom of a country a little and you will increase its standard of living.

        No one would call modern China a free country. But it is orders of magnitude more free than 40 years ago – and standards of living have risen from the bottom of the 19th century to the bottom of the first world.

        If I accused you off selling out I appologize. I do not think I did.

        I disagreed and still do on a matter of principle.
        Smaller government is nearly always better.
        More local government is sometimes better sometimes worse.
        My county government presides over a population almost as large as the original colonies.

        I trust my county commissioners far less than my federal representative.
        I think that is not unusual.

      • timothy price permalink
        April 21, 2014 8:39 am

        Was given the link to a video, All Wars are Banker Wars:

        http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/allwarsarebankerwars.php

        Tried to share it on Face Book but got a warning pop-up instead, saying that the material was considered “dangerous” and the link could not be shared.

        That is pure censorship…. nothing about the video is “dangerous” except to those who perpetuate the slave/debt money system. Where does one go to protest this censoring of ideas?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 164 other followers

%d bloggers like this: