July, Lincoln and Springfield

Monday, July 17, AD 2017



Last Friday my family and I made our annual pilgrimage to Springfield to attend the Lincoln Museum and go to the Lincoln Tomb.  As we made our way though the Museum we encountered, for the second year in a row, a large number of Amish touring the Museum, the women wearing long dresses and poke bonnets that made them look as if they stepped from the 1860s.  The Amish were obviously fascinated by what they were seeing and talked among themselves in “Pennsylvania Dutch”.   Illinois has had a large colony of Amish in the Arthur, Illinois area, about 72 miles from Springfield, since the 19th century.  (Although the Amish are as theologically as far from the Church as it is possible for Christians to be, I should note that I have a huge amount of respect for them.  They take care of their own, and ask nothing from the larger society in which they live, except to be left alone, a sentiment which resonates with me.)

After the museum, as usual we had a first rate lunch at the nearby The Feed Store.  (Nothing shouts Midwest more than eating in a restaurant with a name like that.)  (I highly recommend their barley soup, their tuna fish salad sandwich, and any of their many variants of cheesecake.)

We finished our day at Lincoln’s tomb praying for the repose of his soul and the souls of his wife and kids.)  Once again I thought to myself how nice it was that the first or second greatest President in our history, has his tomb in a cemetery open to all, where there are no guards, no charges for admission, not even for parking.  You simply pull up to the small parking area next to the tomb, go in and make your way through the tomb.  We owe Mary Todd Lincoln for that.  After Lincoln’s murder, there was an attempt to have Lincoln buried in Washington with a grand mausoleum being erected thereafter over his remains.  Mary Lincoln would have none of it.  She took her dead husband, and had the remains of her dead son Willie exhumed, and traveled with them both back to Springfield for burial.  She wanted nothing more from Washington except to get out of there as quickly as she could, a city where she had suffered grief that makes her such a poignant figure in American history.  (An exhibit in the Museum shows her framed by a rain stained window, sitting forlornly, mourning the loss of Willie.  My bride and I, sadly, having lost a son know precisely how she feels.)  We made sure to rub the nose of the nose of the huge bust of Lincoln outside of the tomb.  Most noses of Lincoln on metal statues and busts in Illinois are shiny due to the Illinois superstition that rubbing the nose of a bust or a statue of Lincoln brings good luck.  With my son taking the Illinois bar at the end of July, it can’t hurt.

It wouldn’t be a McClarey expedition if we didn’t buy books.  We bought books yesterday at the Museum and the Prairie Archives bookstore in Springfield which boasts a collection of a quarter of a million books. Most of the books were about Lincoln or the Civil War (surprise!) and here are those books:

Lincoln the President:  The Last Full Measure, J. G. Ballard and Richard N. Current (1955).  This is the fourth and final volume in Ballard’s study of Lincoln.  At the time of his death in 1953 he had written only eight chapters.  In his will he suggested either historian Allan Nevins or Richard N. Current to finish his work if he could not.  Current took up the challenge, even though he had never written about Lincoln before, and completed the volume in 1955.  He later became one of the great Lincoln scholars of his day, writing numerous books on Lincoln and dying in 2012 at age 100.  Now I have the complete set.  I think I will read it backwards like witches are said to say their prayers.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to July, Lincoln and Springfield

Fortnight For Freedom: Bulwark of Freedom

Wednesday, June 21, AD 2017




On this date 239 years ago New Hampshire adopted the Constitution and the Constitution went into effect, as the “Live Free or Die State” was the ninth state to vote to ratify it.  I love the Constitution.  The Founding Fathers crafted it well.  Where this country has gone off the rails is when one arm of the tripartite government begins to operate outside of its scope.  For example, when courts act like legislatures, when administrative agencies act like legislatures, when Congress attempts to micromanage foreign policy, etc.  I have heard the Constitution praised as the bulwark of our liberties.  It is a pretty sentiment, but mistaken.  Lincoln hit the target in a speech on what is the bulwark of our liberties, after God:

What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.
September, 11, 1858


Continue reading...

Theodore Roosevelt on Abraham Lincoln

Monday, June 12, AD 2017


Theodore Roosevelt had two heroes:  his father and Abraham Lincoln.  In 1905 he wrote this introduction to a collection of the writings of Lincoln:


Immediately after Lincoln’s re-election to the Presidency, in an off-hand speech, delivered in response to a serenade by some of his admirers on the evening of November 10, 1864, he spoke as follows:

“It has long been a grave question whether any government not too strong for the liberties of its people can be strong enough to maintain its existence in great emergencies. On this point, the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test, and the Presidential election, occurring in regular course during the rebellion, added not a little to the strain…. The strife of the election is but human nature practically applied to the facts in the case. What has occurred in this case must ever occur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us therefore study the incidents in this as philosophy to learn wisdom from and none of them as wrongs to be avenged…. Now that the election is over, may not all having a common interest reunite in a common fort to save our common country? For my own part, I have striven and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here, I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom. While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.”

This speech has not attracted much general attention, yet it is in a peculiar degree both illustrative and typical of the great statesman who made it, alike in its strong common-sense and in its lofty standard of morality. Lincoln’s life, Lincoln’s deeds and words, are not only of consuming interest to the historian, but should be intimately known to every man engaged in the hard practical work of American political life. It is difficult to overstate how much it means to a nation to have as the two foremost figures in its history men like Washington and Lincoln. It is good for every man in any way concerned in public life to feel that the highest ambition any American can possibly have will be gratified just in proportion as he raises himself toward the standards set by these two men.

It is a very poor thing, whether for nations or individuals, to advance the history of great deeds done in the past as an excuse for doing poorly in the present; but it is an excellent thing to study the history of the great deeds of the past, and of the great men who did them, with an earnest desire to profit thereby so as to render better service in the present. In their essentials, the men of the present day are much like the men of the past, and the live issues of the present can be faced to better advantage by men who have in good faith studied how the leaders of the nation faced the dead issues of the past. Such a study of Lincoln’s life will enable us to avoid the twin gulfs of immorality and inefficiency—the gulfs which always lie one on each side of the careers alike of man and of nation. It helps nothing to have avoided one if shipwreck is encountered in the other. The fanatic, the well-meaning moralist of unbalanced mind, the parlor critic who condemns others but has no power himself to do good and but little power to do ill—all these were as alien to Lincoln as the vicious and unpatriotic themselves. His life teaches our people that they must act with wisdom, because otherwise adherence to right will be mere sound and fury without substance; and that they must also act high-mindedly, or else what seems to be wisdom will in the end turn out to be the most destructive kind of folly.

Throughout his entire life, and especially after he rose to leadership in his party, Lincoln was stirred to his depths by the sense of fealty to a lofty ideal; but throughout his entire life, he also accepted human nature as it is, and worked with keen, practical good sense to achieve results with the instruments at hand. It is impossible to conceive of a man farther removed from baseness, farther removed from corruption, from mere self-seeking; but it is also impossible to conceive of a man of more sane and healthy mind—a man less under the influence of that fantastic and diseased morality (so fantastic and diseased as to be in reality profoundly immoral) which makes a man in this work-a-day world refuse to do what is possible because he cannot accomplish the impossible.

Continue reading...

Cross Examination the Lincoln Way

Thursday, March 16, AD 2017


I have always loved this scene from Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).  Few things are more enjoyable for a trial attorney than a cross examination that is tearing up the opposition case!  Of course in real life in the video above the prosecutor would be on his feet constantly objecting:  Argumentative!  Assumes facts not in evidence!  Mr. Lincoln is using a document that has not been admitted into evidence!  If Mr. Lincoln is going to testify let him be sworn in! Etc.  Of course this was done at a time when most judges tended to give a great deal of lee-way to counsel in their questioning of witnesses, especially in a frontier court and the jury might assume with frequent objections that the prosecutor was attempting to keep the truth from them and vote not guilty as a result.  In any case it is a great scene.

Adlai Stevenson, who would go on to be Vice-President of the United States, when he was young saw Lincoln in action in cross-examination:

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Cross Examination the Lincoln Way

  • He killed him because he could. Cass killed Scrubs because he could. The ultimate power over life and death is procreation upon which even God waits; never homicide.

  • I once appeared for the pursuers in a partnership action. There were allegations that the defender had deceived and imposed on his partners, received secret commissions from the firm’s suppliers and had used the firm’s name to secure his personal borrowings.

    It so happened that his name was Cranstoun. Now, I have a slight knowledge of Scottish armorials and genealogy and, at my request, my instructing solicitors ascertained that he was indeed an impecunious member of the noble Midlothian family of that name.

    “What is your family motto?” I asked him

    “Family motto? I really don’t recall.”

    “Let me help your memory.” [Passing him a copy of Burke, with the page marked]

    The witness read, sullenly enough, “Thou shalt want ere I want.”

    Someone in the public gallery guffawed and that little incident unsettled the witness completely.

Lincoln on Taylor

Monday, February 20, AD 2017

I have never liked Presidents’ Day.  Why celebrate all presidents when only a select few of them, like Washington and Lincoln, deserve to be celebrated?   Officially the date is still the commemoration of George Washington’s birthday, which actually won’t occur until February 22.  However, I will keep up my tradition of writing about presidents on this day.

American presidents all fit into two broad categories:  those who had political careers and held political offices prior to their presidency and those who did not.  Only five presidents held no political office prior to being elected President:  Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Donald Trump.  Zachary Taylor, the first non-politician to become president, is now an obscure figure to most Americans, his fame in the Mexican War almost entirely forgotten by the oblivion that has largely swallowed that conflict, and his relatively brief time in office ensuring that his administration would be one of the forgotten ones in popular memory.  Ironically, one of our two most famous Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, deliver a eulogy on the death of Taylor.  Tomorrow I will comment on the obituary.  Today, I want us to focus on Lincoln’s words, as we use the eulogy as a springboard to look at “Old Rough and Ready” throughout this week.  Here is Lincoln’s eulogy:

At Chicago, July 25th, 1850

GENERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR, the eleventh elected President of the United States, is dead. He was born Nov. 2nd, [2] 1784, in Orange county, Virginia; and died July the 9th 1850, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, at the White House in Washington City. He was the second [3] son of Richard Taylor, a Colonel in the army of the Revolution. His youth was passed among the pioneers of Kentucky, whither his parents emigrated soon after his birth; and where his taste for military life, probably inherited, was greatly stimulated. Near the commencement of our last war with Great Britain, he was appointed by President Jefferson, a lieutenant in the 7th regiment of Infantry. During the war, he served under Gen. Harrison in his North Western campaign against the Indians; and, having been promoted to a captaincy, was intrusted with the defence of Fort Harrison, with fifty men, half of them unfit for duty. A strong party of Indians, under the Prophet, brother of Tecumseh, made a midnight attack on the Fort; but Taylor, though weak in his force, and without preparation, was resolute, and on the alert; and, after a battle, which lasted till after daylight, completely repulsed them. Soon after, he took a prominent part in the expedition under Major Gen. Hopkins against the Prophet’s town; and, on his return, found a letter from President Madison, who had succeeded Mr. Jefferson, conferring on him a major’s brevet for his gallant defence of Fort Harrison.

Continue reading...

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, February 12, AD 2017

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

  • To those who stood their ground, the public square in front of Worse than Murder Inc., you succeed in raising US higher in heart, mind and soul. De-funding death camps like Planned Murder is saving ourselves and our Country. Thank you patriots unaware.

  • For 44 years Church hierarchy hasn’t shared the urgency.

    “Abortion is murder.” Repeat these three words in response to each and very bleat by your typical, pro-abortion nincompoop.

    Reminds me that Democrats haven’t been this bat-crap crazy since Lincoln freed their slaves.

  • If I’m not mistaken, 12 February is Abraham Lincoln’s birth date. It once was a National Holiday, regardless of what day of the week. Similarly, Washington’s birth date is 22 February another former national holiday. I don’t celebrate “presidents’ day” because Barack Hussein Obama and Jimmeh Carter.

    Also, 11 November was known as “Armistice Day.” Now, it’s “Veterans’ Day.”

    All that was before the elites determined that the lower classes need three-day weekends.

    I’m old enough to remember. God gave us memory that we might have America in 2017.

Lincoln and Liberty Too

Saturday, February 11, AD 2017



The low clown out of the prairies, the ape-buffoon,

The small-town lawyer, the crude small-time politician,

State-character but comparative failure at forty

In spite of ambition enough for twenty Caesars,

Honesty rare as a man without self-pity,

Kindness as large and plain as a prairie wind,

And a self-confidence like an iron-bar:

This Lincoln, President now by the grace of luck,

Disunion, politics, Douglas and a few speeches

Which make the monumental booming of Webster

Sound empty as the belly of a burst drum.

Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body


Something for the weekend.  Lincoln and Liberty Too, the most stirring campaign song in American history, sung by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War music to modern audiences.  Mr. Lincoln’s birthday is on Monday which this year coincides with the state holiday in Illinois.  I always close down the law mines on that day.  Lincoln used to say that Henry Clay was his ideal of a statesman and for me Abraham Lincoln has always filled that role.  Presidents come and Presidents go, but Washington and Lincoln remain, the fixed stars of the better angels of our natures.

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Lincoln and Liberty Too

  • “Presidents come and Presidents go, but Washington and Lincoln remain, the fixed stars of the better angels of our natures.”

    Reagan too, Reagan too!

  • One thing that we moderns tend to forget is that figures like Washington and Lincoln were actually very controversial and “divisive” in their own time. Well, maybe not Washington but Lincoln certainly was. This passage from the American Winston Churchill’s novel “The Crisis” — written in 1901, when the Civil War was still within living memory and people who knew Lincoln personally were still alive — sums it up pretty well:

    “Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. And the moan of the storm gathering in the South grew suddenly loud and louder….it might well seem strange –yea, and intolerable –to many that this comedian of the country store, this crude lawyer and politician, should inherit the seat dignified by Washington and the Adamses.”

  • Even Washington had his critics during the Revolution Elaine, as typified by the Conway Cabal. Success does have a way of silencing critics.

  • Not from the Civil War era, but from the 1940’s
    Abe LIncoln Had Just One Country, One Banner To Wave

  • Thanks Anzlyne! I had never heard that song before.

The Whole Great Family of Man

Friday, January 27, AD 2017

March for Life

These communities, by their representatives in old  Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We  hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are  created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with  certain unalienable rights; that among these are life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic  interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their  lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of  the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to  all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their  enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and  likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded,  and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole  race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized  upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide  their children and their children’s children, and the countless  myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise  statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity  to breed tyrants, and so they established these great  self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man,  some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that  none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look  up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to  renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth,  and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues  might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would  hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles  on which the temple of liberty was being built.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

Continue reading...

2 Responses to The Whole Great Family of Man

Abraham Lincoln Sums Up the Obama Years

Friday, January 20, AD 2017

“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words, “And this too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!”

Continue reading...

27 Responses to Abraham Lincoln Sums Up the Obama Years

  • Sherman did worse to Georgia, but not much.

  • When Obama took office in ‘O8 I wasn’t happy.

    Planning to go ballistic and run wild in the streets wasn’t a thought, however the “tolerant left,” seem to be enthusiastic to continue to divide…not mend the tare.

    Like Trump or not, it’s better than the Clinton Fungus. May God Almighty guide the outsider in our national interest.

    Goodbye traitor.
    Hello President Trump.

  • As we speak, I think American history had decayed into an apologetical subdiscipline. The time it takes for American specialists in the history trade to take their work seriously as something other than a buttress for race-class-gender discourse will delay the advent of sensible assessments of these years. Where that’s not at issue, you can look back after 40 or 50 years and get an idea of an administration. I don’t think time will make BO look any better to an honest man. We have partisan Democrats in our Facebook circle who say the most bizarre things about him (“scandal-free administration”).

  • By certain measures Obama was highly successful. So, I fear that President Trump may not match zero’s achievements: Democrat election losses – 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 14 governorships.

  • To quote another famous Black leader “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last.”

  • Touche c matt. Touche. 🙂

  • The commentaries from the ABC, CNN, NBC inaugural event are comical.
    They just can’t get it.

    They are tripping over themselves.

    It’s great.

    The best part is that they can’t admit that their choice for president, Clinton, is WHY this outsider is in the house.

    I love it!

    Pop the cork.
    It’s the “Left” behind party.

  • “By certain measures Obama was highly successful. So, I fear that President Trump may not match zero’s achievements: Democrat election losses – 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 14 governorships.”

    And almost a thousand state legislative seats.

  • “Zero’s achievement…”
    With those losses you mentioned, indeed Obama was successful! Thanks Berry!
    One of the GOP’s best friend.

  • I would certainly say Obama was successful in advancing left wing policies. And I would venture to say the left will still have greater control of government bureaucracies (and that’s who really controls our government, not the elected politicians) when Trump leaves office than they did when Obama took office. And to a hard line left wing ideologue like Obama, that’s success.

  • “This too shall pass away.”
    I don’t like it. In good times it seems to ultimately say that nothing really amounts to anything lasting and could lead to a sense of futility, and in bad times it seems to teach us that there’s no sense in trying to change things for the better– it won’t really matter what you do in the long run.
    Inexorable change is a source of insecurity– especially after studying history just enough. That is why we cling to the Lord in Whom there is no shadow of change. The Rock.
    There has been a lot written speculating about Lincoln’s spiritual life and Donald McClarey probably has a lot of insight into it.
    Perhaps when he made that statement about the passing of human events he knew that kind of thinking was a way out of a knot.
    Faced with the slaughter and mayhem of the War and his personal troubles he was seeking that eternal unchanging Truth and steering toward Love even though committing to war seems counter-intuitive to it. A man doesn’t lead like he did if he doesn’t believe it matters.

  • “And I would venture to say the left will still have greater control of government bureaucracies (and that’s who really controls our government, not the elected politicians) when Trump leaves office than they did when Obama took office.”


  • How? Do you really have to ask that question? The government bureaucracies have been growing for decades as it is. And Trump has really put forth no real plan to change that. In fact, his “infrastructure” plans will actually grow government bureaucracies.

  • “Do you really have to ask that question?”

    You really have no conception yet Greg of what a Black Swan event Trump is do you? Trump is going to govern as he campaigned judging from his inaugural speech and he will go to war with anything or anyone that stands in his way.




    Before you engage in gloom and doom prophecies wait for six months. Trump is sui generis and people who underestimate him have a very bad track record for the past year and a half.

  • Philip…the word “tare” is most appropriate ! Obama has spent 8 years being just like the man in the Parable…the Parable about the man who spent all night sowing “tares” in his neighbor’s field. TR

  • Timothy Reed.

    If a grammatical errors can be found in come boxes on TAC, undoubtedly they will be under my name. Proud? No. I apologize.

    Your take on my mistake however is cleaver and most appropriate.
    Obama has been sabotaging the field.
    Very good.

    For the record…tear. 🐒

  • Philip….I admire you, Lad. There are people who cannot explain their own errors so eloquently. TR.

  • Eloquence?

    It is more acceptance than eloquence.
    I continue to work in a field that does nothing to sharpen the full noodle that is above my shoulders, but my heart has been expanding each year that I stay in the trenches. I love our elders. I wash them with Christ’s heart in the morning. Make them laugh in their long lonely hours in what is not their home. Pray with them and stay with them to their last breath if providence provides.


    Just aware of my many faults.
    TAC has been very patient with me over the course of the last four years.

    I thank them, and you.
    Your career as a patrolman is / was a heart expanding endeavor. Who else could walk in harm’s way to care for the addict, mentality ill or fearfully terrified individual who has lost all sense of reality.

    Doing your job was another chance for the fear ridden to be healed by our Merciful Savior.

    Well done officer.

  • When I was nine years old, I was diagnosed with a rare bone disease that was destroying my body. The best doctors promised my parents that I was going to be bed-ridden, in traction, for years. After which, I was only going to be able to walk with crutches and braces, for life. I was never going to be able to become either a Police Officer, or a Soldier. In my autobiography entitled, “Wings held up by Hope”, I relay those years in the hospital and the struggle to walk again. Those same doctors, who guaranteed me a life of disability, wrote me up in their Journal as a “Miracle Child”. God raised me up for His purposes ! I have two pictures on my dresser. One shows me standing with my brothers and sisters, held up by the crutches and braces. The other picture shows me working with my K9 ( Ex ) outside of my barracks in Germany, wearing the uniform of a Military Policeman. The time lapse between those pictures is exactly Six Years ! The book, “Wings held up by Hope”, by Timothy Reed, is available at all major book outlets. And I am not trying to sell books. I have something to say about the Lord’s love ! TR

  • Beautiful.

    God is so good.
    He is the end of all things, has the last say, searches hearts and sees to completion His works in us.

    Especially the ones that the world has defined.

    In my care at the moment I have a 96 y.o. Family Practitioner. Still very coherent, he speaks of the relationship between his abilities and God’s influence. He had found the balance of Science and the creator of Science. In that relationship he testifies of never loosing any of the deliveries, over 1,000, and attributes the successful deliveries of newborns in the most difficult positions and circumstances to his willingness to pray and believe in the Divine physician.

    Your message is one I wish to read.

    Please direct me to your internet purchase site where I may obtain a copy of “Wings held up by Hope.” Amazon?

    Miraculous outcomes are glorious testimonials to the love God has for all his children.

    Looking forward to your book.

  • Timothy Reed.

    Just ordered your story through Amazon.


  • Thanks Philip. I guess I never was able to completely work thru my experiences as a child. For, when I first sat at the PC and began to write about my hospital experiences, I had to get up often and walk around my den, crying like a little child. And each time I sat down to work on my book, I prayed and asked the Lord to keep me from saying anything that would challenge another’s Faith. My book is dedicated to Him. Timothy R.

  • TR.

    Fear not!

    Giving witness for His glory is priceless.

  • “You really have no conception yet Greg of what a Black Swan event Trump is do you?”

    I do understand the Black Swan event, but Trump himself is as white as every other swan in the pond. He has effectively exploited the cult follower like tendencies of those who have made up his most ardent supporters. Watching these people deny that which has unfolded before their very eyes with everything from Trump melting down like a three year old during the primary debates to his brushing away his bragging about engaging in sexual assault as mere “locker room talk” is disturbing to put it mildly. If Barack Obama had struck a deal like what Trump did with Carrier, DaDonald’s supporters would have rightly condemned it. But they are gushing over Trump doing it. On a somewhat positive note, the Trump phenomena did expose much of the conservative punditocracy as the unprincipled sycophants they really are, especially Sean Sycophannity (er, Hannity).

    “Trump is going to govern as he campaigned..”

    At what point during his campaign are we talking about Donald? For example, although now he talks tough about defunding Planned Parenthood, but just as recent as the later primary debates, he was singing the praises of PP and was, at best, non-committal about defunding them.

    “and he will go to war with anything or anyone that stands in his way.”

    Donald Trump will only go to war with those he knows he can bully. Look at how he reacted during the debates to tough questions. And his treatment of Megyn Kelly. It was Trump who had the vendetta against her more than the other way around. That’s why Trump only went on shows where he got his buttocks massaged by people like Hannity and O’Reilly. Megyn Kelly refused to act like his surrogate anymore than she would Hillary or any of her surrogates. And Trump couldn’t take it. Her exchange with Newt Gingrich showed just how low his surrogates were willing to stoop to protect him.

    “Before you engage in gloom and doom prophecies wait for six months.”

    I’ll do better than six months. I’ll give it four years. Trump’s plan to “improve” our infrastructure will involve spending on a massive scale that would more than offset any savings made by any of these things you link to. And that’s assuming these things will actually take effect. And on that note, you apparently don’t understand who controls the Federal Government on a day-to-day basis. It’s not elected politicians, it’s the entrenched career bureaucrats. And to actually get a hold on the growth of government, you have to do more than elect the right people. You have to get people in these career positions who share a conservative view of government. This is something the left has understood for a century and the right, by and large, refuses to understand. Presidents are there for eight years at the most and individual political appointees are four and out the door at best. But the careerists remain long afterward and further consolidate their power as time goes on. That’s just basic inertia. And that’s what I have seen over the last 24 years as a federal civil servant. If that’s what takes place at the very low level I am at, you know it is even more the case the higher you go up.

    Sui Generis? Yes and no. No, in that his views (such as they are on any given day) are not unique. In many respects, he is a Teddy Roosevelt Bull Moose wannabe. Yes, in that he is the first third party candidate to win the presidency, albeit under the banner of one of the two parties.

    I don’t underestimate him. I just don’t trust him. He masterfully exploited an overcrowded GOP field. To win against such a field, you have to be able to stand out like salt and a pepper shaker. And Trump did exactly that! He was able to portray himself as an outsider when he was and is really nothing of the sort. He was also able to take advantage of people like Ted Cruz’s kissing his ass in the early campaign while Trump was stealing the anti-establishment mantle from him. I think it is safe to say that Cruz, for all his conservative orthodoxy, is a moronic, self-serving demagogue.

    Trump is better than Hillary and Obama, but he is still a gutter rat.

  • ‘I do understand the Black Swan event”
    No, you don’t. Trump should have had absolutely no chance in this race, especially being outspent two to one, with virtually the entire media against him. He broke all the campaign rules and won. Absolutely astonishing.

    “At what point during his campaign are we talking about Donald?”

    He is not making peace with the establishment, he is going to war against it. His inaugural speech was a declaration of war against business as usual as practiced in this country since the 60’s.

    “Donald Trump will only go to war with those he knows he can bully.”

    Simply not true. In the last campaign he beat both parties, the media, the entertainment establishment and academia.

    “I’ll do better than six months. I’ll give it four years.”


    “And on that note, you apparently don’t understand who controls the Federal Government on a day-to-day basis. It’s not elected politicians, it’s the entrenched career bureaucrats.”

    Scott Walker in Wisconsin has provided a blueprint to Trump to cow public employee unions. Trump is already demonstrating with the National Park Service who is in control.


    “Trump is better than Hillary and Obama, but he is still a gutter rat.”

    In many ways I think that is correct. He is not a gutter rat to be underestimated. I made that mistake before and I will not make it again.

  • The power of the press! They have been embarrassed by this black swan. . They are like a wasp nest that Trump and voters just hit with a stick. They are going to get meaner and meaner. Something about Trump’s run and win brought out who/what people are deep inside. The snarks are snarkier while the optimists are more optimistic than ever.

  • The “entrenched career bureaucrats”, in Russia, both during the Soviet era and today, are called the “Nomenclatura”. The simularities between them and our ECB is striking, and terrifying. A good place to start, if one wishes to see what they are capable of, is with studying what happened to Yuri Andropov. TR.

March 4, 1865: The Greatest Inaugural Address

Friday, January 20, AD 2017


Hands down the most moving  inaugural address in American history is the second inaugural address given by President Lincoln, little over a month before his death.  It is short, to the point and powerful.  It is also the most important theological document written by any American President.  Here is the text:

Continue reading...

8 Responses to March 4, 1865: The Greatest Inaugural Address

  • He was a masterful rhetorician in service of a dubious cause. And like most speeches delivered by “good lawyers,”, it’s best to take his assertions with a great heaping spoonful of skepticism. And check your pockets afterwards.

  • Dubious causes? The United States and Emancipation? I pray that we may have another President in bring victory for such “dubious causes”.

  • “Both read the same Bible” there was a wonderful Irish priest – who I know about because he worked in Nebraska and the Dakotas- named Fr. Jeremiah Trecy who spent time as chaplain for both sides.
    so Yes- there was a lot of theological thinking going on during the tragedy of that War and sp many good people tried to live up to what they could figure out to be right.
    To my way of thinking Abraham Lincoln is in heaven now, so i hope he is praying for us.

  • “Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk,” — Can you spell “reparations” ?

    One of my ancestors enlisted in the Union forces as a teen. He was the son of an immigrant from England. I would guess that since slaves were expensive to obtain and expensive to maintain, most of them were owned by a relatively small proportion of the population. I’ve had it with slavery still being held over our heads. All the slaveholders are long dead, at least in this nation if not in Moslem countries.. We’ve killed each other over it, and in recent decades been roiled by the “civil rights” movement, have enacted social programs, have instituted affirmative action, and have passed laws against “hate crimes.” Get over it and worry about the greater current evil of abortion.

  • “I’ve had it with slavery still being held over our heads.”

    Take your rant elsewhere. If you can’t appreciate the historical context in which this was said, and that it has nothing to do with the contemporary issue of reparations, which I oppose, you are too much of a simpleton to comment on this blog.

  • The speech is beautiful. I hoped the new President would take a similar path in his message.

  • Excuse me. This is no rant. This is a statement of facts. Are you afraid because I am sounding critical of blacks ? I understand that you read the phrase to refer to expenditures concerning the immediate war in question — the Civil War. Yet I see in it prophecy and and understanding that goes far beyond the immediate context in which it was made. My friends have told me I should get my own blog. I don’t know if I will, but it is an interesting suggestion. You are welcome to hold whatever opinion you choose of my intellectual capacity / education or lack thereof. This comment was not a statement directed at you personally but at the segment of society which just can’t seem to let their attitude of black victimization go. If that was unclear, I regret the misunderstanding.

  • “Are you afraid because I am sounding critical of blacks ?”

    I am displeased because you brought an irrelevant discussion into a look at the Second Inaugural. Staying on topic in the comboxes is important to me in regard to TAC and I do not appreciate attempts to hijack a post for people to ride their own hobbyhorses. Also, seriously, Whitey McWhitelash? This is not a blog for people who have racial chips on their shoulders, no matter their hue.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 30, AD 2016



The very next day, somebody was discussing with him the difference between character and reputation, when he said,—with a look at me, as if to remind of what he had been talking about the day before,—perhaps a man’s character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of; the tree is the real thing.

Noah Brooks, newspaper correspondent and friend of Abraham Lincoln, recalling a statement by Lincoln

Continue reading...

Tad and the Turkey

Tuesday, November 22, AD 2016

Turkey Pardon

Stories cluster about Lincoln like barnacles on a great ship. Many of them cannot be sourced at all and have to be consigned to legend. One such story that is probably just a legend is that of Tad and the Turkey. The White House in 1863 received the gift of a live turkey that was to be fattened up for an eventual White House dinner. Tad grew fond of the bird, named him Jack and eventually begged his father for the Turkey’s life. Lincoln was reluctant at first, noting that the Turkey had been given as a gift for the table and not as a pet. Tad’s pleas however eventually caused Lincoln to give the Turkey a presidential pardon.

Like all good legends this story has the participants behaving in character: Tad always did have a menagerie of pets in the White House, and Lincoln was soft-hearted about animals and was a fairly indulgent father. A sequel to the story had Jack the Turkey stepping to the front of a line of soldiers waiting to vote at a polling place set up at a White House. Then Lincoln is supposed to have inquired of his son if Jack was going to vote. Tad solemnly responded that Jack could not vote due to his being too young.

Continue reading...

One Response to Tad and the Turkey

3 Responses to Trump on Lincoln

  • Mac, I watched “World Series of Poker.” On TV tape, I saw Hillary implicitly say that Lincoln lied, too. Effectively, she said, “The end justifies the means.” It likely was the only truth she has ever spoken. It’s sad her despicable, imbecilic media and supporters didn’t see it. What do you think?

  • Abraham Lincoln said: “One Person cannot own another Person” Lincoln ended the enslavement of one man to another man. The mother does not “own” her newly begotten child in her womb, not his sovereignty nor his rational, immortal soul, the image of God in him. The court does not own the Person. The state does not own the Person. The Person owns the state.
    These debates are about who has the most good will for the common good to represent all citizens; as we are all constituents of the office of President.
    How much good will for the common good has Clinton shown in her drive to abolish the First and Second Amendment? How much good will for the common good has Clinton shown in her drive to implement international law to rule over our Law of the Land; our Constitution for the United States of America? How much good will for the common good has Clinton shown in her consent to abort 60,000,000 persons in the womb, embrace bowel sex and addiction to pornography, to steal the White House china and to abandon Christopher Stevens after giving the terrorists access to Benghazi? God help us.

  • …in the same way that Obama prohibited the Catholic Mass on military bases during the government shutdown…

Lincoln on Labor and Capital

Sunday, September 4, AD 2016



It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life.

Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of community exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and with their capital hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large majority belong to neither class–neither work for others nor have others working for them. In most of the Southern States a majority of the whole people of all colors are neither slaves nor masters, while in the Northern a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men, with their families–wives, sons, and daughters–work for themselves on their farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand nor of hired laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with capital; that is, they labor with their own hands and also buy or hire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.

Again, as has already been said, there is not of necessity any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life. Many independent men everywhere in these States a few years back in their lives were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless beginner in the world labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all, gives hope to all, and consequent energy and progress and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty; none less inclined to take or touch aught which they have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which if surrendered will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be lost.

From Lincoln’s Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861

Continue reading...

10 Responses to Lincoln on Labor and Capital

  • “Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.”

    This is certainly true. Every human production results from labour, of hand or brain, applied to the free gifts of nature. Tools, plant, machinery and buildings are, so to speak, labour stored up or saved, to be drawn on in the process of further production. The same is true of infrastructure, roads, railways, harbours that allow both raw materials and manufactures goods to be transported and distributed.

  • Of course labor by itself is insufficient to produce advanced economies. For example no amount of labor would have produced the Egyptian state of antiquity without a whole host of developments that had little or nothing to do with labor.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “a whole host of developments that had little or nothing to do with labor.”

    If we include the mental labour of devising, planning, organizing that went into their development (not to mention the domestic labour that went into rearing the planners, feeding them, clothing them, housing them) it can all be resolved into the labour of hand or brain applied to raw materials furnished by nature.

    It is merely the enormous complexity of the web or network bringing them together that obscures this fact.

  • That is too broad a definition of labor. For example, the religion of Egypt had an enormous impact upon how the Egyptian state functioned but the various gods of the Egyptian pantheon were not invented due to considerations of labor. Military developments from outside Egypt had a huge impact on Egypt, but once again were not developed with Egyptian labor in mind. The unique geography of Egypt had the decisive impact on how the Pharoahnic state was organized, and no amount of labor could have changed that factor. Egypt in antiquity fed the world and now Egypt cannot feed itself, once again factors of which labor is only one producing this about face.

  • Here we go.
    Economics is the study of how are allocated relatively scarce goods/resources – Supply – among relatively larger wants – Demand. In pre-post modern economics Price was the means of allocation for Demand and Supply.
    All economic activity revolves around three inputs: land, labor and capital. All three must be present for functionality. And, they overlap. In this discussion capital and labor can be seen to coincide when we examine the relation of entrepreneurship to the equation. Here the entrepreneur uses both his labor (not manual but still a form of labor – creative, human input) and capital to bring about the economic good.
    To make the paradigm out to be envy and hatred between labor and capital is not economics. It’s progressivism. And, it serves no good purpose.

  • You callin’ Karl an’ Freddie progressives?
    He asked in a fake-brooklyn accented huff.

  • T Shaw wrote, “All economic activity revolves around three inputs: land, labor and capital”
    That is true, if we expand the definition of “land” to include all natural resources, indeed, the whole given environment.

  • MP-S: Precisely. I reiterated education and training concepts from real estate appraisal courses and textbooks which are often provided to students (bankers and real estate professionals) without extensive, formal economics education.
    Ernst, Likely Karl and Freddie would fall in with Democrats at any time since the party was established: consistent corruption, class envy and hatred since (what?) 1832. .

  • T. Shaw, I;m stealing that line from you. It will go something like this on the bumper sticker. “The Democrat party: Consistent corruption, class envy and hatred since 1832!”

  • The thing to remember though is that Jackson is Trump with a better record of achievement.
    I’m partial to Democrats; the party of slavery, segregation, sodomy and sedition, myself.

Fortnight For Freedom: Great Family of Man

Friday, July 1, AD 2016

fortnight for freedom 2016




These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

Continue reading...

One Response to Fortnight For Freedom: Great Family of Man

  • The Temple of Liberty will survive.
    Obama – Clinton – Trump. They will bow before Thee…now or at the hour of Judgement .

    We have a good and gracious God. Rich in mercy and patience beyond human ability. He will teach as He chastises, yet He will extend forgiveness to those who are contrite of heart.

    “Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self evident truths, that when in the distant future, some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, their prosperity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence, and TAKE COURAGE To renew the battle which their fathers began – so that TRUTH, and Justice, and Mercy and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principals on which the Temple of Liberty was being built.”

    My God! The emphasis added is for your WORK to be accomplished regardless of the tyranny that threatens your work. Not regardless, rather in defiance of the tyranny that is set to try to destroy your Great Work, AMERICA.

    With YOU great God, we will not bow to hypocrites that claim your authority yet despise your commandments, rather we will stand fast aginist these liars who wish to rule over you and your people. We will rise up to defend Religious Freedom and the Christian Church which you founded after nine evenings of prayer in the upper room so many years ago. We will never give in or up. We will sacrifice our lives since we are yours, and our lives are only granted us by your decree and your power. We will be worthy of the Name, Christian. We will abide by you, our Creator since we are yours..your creatures, your children and your witnesses in this time, our time to stand with you! We stand! We will not fail you. We will proclaim your greatness with our inferiority…since it is in our weaknesses that your power is evident. With you great God, we will never be defeated, since the kingdom we proclaim is everlasting and yours forever. A kingdom that will never end. Your kingdom come…NOW and forever..Amen.

    The distant future Abraham Lincoln spoke of is here. It is now.

    Happy birthday.
    We won’t let you down!

Fortnight For Freedom: Abraham Lincoln on the Supreme Court

Tuesday, June 28, AD 2016






fortnight for freedom 2016


(This is a repeat from last year.  In light of the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday, go here to read about it, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down two key sections in the Texas abortion law, it seemed more relevant than ever.  The Supreme Court is growing ever more high handed in its rulings, and what it is engaged in when it comes to favored made up court created rights like “abortion” and “gay marriage” has nothing to do with the law or the constitution.  In his blistering dissent in Hellerstedt, Justice Clarence Thomas nailed it:


Some quotes from Abraham Lincoln in how to react to illegitimate Supreme Court decisions.  An illegitimate decision is one in which the Court arrogates to itself the power of a legislature under the mendacious guise of merely interpreting the Constitution:

1.  I do not forget the position assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case, upon the parties to a suit; as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government.

2.  Judicial decisions have two uses-first, to absolutely determine the case decided, and secondly, to indicate to the public how other similar cases will be decided when they arise. For the latter use, they are called “precedents” and “authorities.”

3.  We think its (the Supreme Court) decisions on Constitutional questions, when fully settled, should control, not only the particular cases decided, but the general policy of the country, subject to be disturbed only by amendments of the Constitution as provided in that instrument itself. More than this would be revolution.

4.  At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.

5.  Judicial decisions are of greater or less authority as precedents, according to circumstances. That this should be so, accords both with common sense, and the customary understanding of the legal profession.

Continue reading...

Fortnight For Freedom: National Suicide

Friday, June 24, AD 2016

fortnight for freedom 2016






Prophetic words of warning for us today from a young Mr. Lincoln:


We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them–they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Their’s was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; ’tis ours only, to transmit these, the former, unprofaned by the foot of an invader; the latter, undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838


Continue reading...