King Obama

Thursday, November 20, AD 2014

 

 

In Federalist 69 Alexander Hamilton responded to the criticism that the Presidency under the proposed Constitution established an elective monarchy which would be a perpetual threat to American liberties:

 

Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast in this respect still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer group.

 

The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and hereditary prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an absolute negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of declaring war, and of raising and regulating fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the sole possessor of the power of making treaties. The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever; the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies. The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation; the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin. The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other? The same that ought to be given to those who tell us that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.

 

One can only imagine what Mr. Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers would make of this:

According to a senior Democrat familiar with the plans, Obama will announce on Thursday that he is providing temporary protections to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. His orders will make up to 4 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary protective status and provide relief to another 1 million through other means.

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24 Responses to King Obama

  • Sorry Mr. Franklin, we couldn’t keep it.

  • Our tax dollars pay for this. This cannot be put on the ballot? If Obama wants these illegal immigrants as constituents, he ought to pay for them out of his own pocket.

  • David Burge – “American voters repudiated in historic landslide 1-0 vote.”

  • Oh but wait Mary De Voe…where is your compassion for these poor? (sarcasm) Where are these children going to sleep eat or receive health care? (sarcasm)

    This is the tidal wave of social justice from the left that see’s a baby seal as sacred yet an unborn human baby as blob of tissue. Now what?

    I agree with you. Michelle Badrock and Uncle Joe can personally fund these immigrant’s. Or, respect the rights of the legal voters!

  • My compassion for the poor begins with the virtue of Justice (no sarcasm) and praying for Divine Providence to care for them. (Truth)

  • This action shows not only deep contempt for the Constitution and the Congress, but also the American people.

    Obama’s spent his life in and among subcultures where a systematic appreciation of ordinary people is not to be found. His grandparents might have attempted to impart it, but Stanley Dunham was so confused as to how to proceed with his grandson that he thought spending time with Frank Marshall Davis and exporting his grandson to a random liberal arts college would be salutary.

    You recall that Edmund Morris — not a bien pensant, really, but a man who had spent his adult life among the word-merchant element — could not make sense of Ronald Reagan. Reagan gave him a brief and explicit précis of interpretive tools – “my life’s an open book”, and Morris was still baffled. For people who manipulate words and images for a living, a man as straightforward as Reagan cannot be who he appears to be; everyone just has to be a poseur (but they cannot figure out what the pose was concealing).

    We’ve had some accomplished men in the White House. Then we have men whose principal accomplishment has been cadging and holding political office (Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bilge Clinton, and BO being examples of that). There’s little doubt Nixon and Ford could have done something else and been someone else; both had military service, Ford had 10 years practicing law in a city of middling size in a firm he himself formed with Phillip Buchan, and Nixon still had enough left upstairs to return to law practice after a 17 year hiatus (electing to go back into politics because the law bored him). Roosevelt, Truman, and (arrgh) Clinton had at least spent time superintending public agencies. As for Kennedy, you cannot take the man’s bravery away from him, nor is oratorical skill. The man sitting in the White House now has to be the most bogus character who has ever sat there. His adult life since 1985 has consisted of waste of time positions in political eleemosynaries, of patronage jobs handed him, and of clever marketing. That’s pretty much the same deal with his wife, whose vital $300,000 a year position at the University of Chicago hospitals was eliminated when she vacated it.

    Not only was he not taught the value of ordinary people, simply assessing his own life honestly would be very painful. The contempt keeps reality at bay.

  • King Obama. Daniel 4:28-33:
    .
    28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnez′zar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnez′zar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox; and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnez′zar. He was driven from among men, and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.

  • “The contempt keeps reality at bay.”

    Bingo.

  • Obama, as president, does not decide for any citizen how much charity, the citizen, in good conscience, has the ability to donate. Since Obama refuses to identify the citizens’ conscience as a valid indicator of charity, he must behave like lord of the world.

  • Amnesty announced. Champagne bottles popping heard at USCCB. The Constitution wept.

  • How the word “discretion” is used….
    🙁
    It used to imply a particularity. Singling out a case for a different reaction than what had been expected. Looking at exceptional cases and applying a discretionary judgment.
    You could look at one case details and say, I will decide not to prosecute.
    NOT to look at millions of cases, where the identities of the person are not even known and applying a discretionary judgement en masse.

  • Art Deco wrote, “For people who manipulate words and images for a living, a man as straightforward as Reagan cannot be who he appears to be; everyone just has to be a poseur (but they cannot figure out what the pose was concealing).”
    One recalls Prince Metternich’s remark, when informed of the death of Talleyrand – “I wonder what he meant by that.”

  • Another aspect of this lawlessness is the abdication by 95% of the media to ACCURATELY report the difference between the “tweaking” of a duly passed law by Congress by Presidents Reagan & Bush & the impatient unilateral action of this emperor. Shame on the presidents “water carriers” in the media!

  • Agreed. Some of the Fast and Furious e-mails Judicial Watch has managed to pry out of the Department of Justice are revealing as to what the pr flacks for the Regime expect of the major media. They expect them to act like Democratic operatives with bylines, and by and large they do. They do not have the budgets to do much anymore, but by and large they’re not motivated, which is why Sheryl Atkisson is out of a job. As recently as 1998, the print media (while biased) were not shills of the Democratic Party and broke inconvenient stories (per Brent Bozell, television news was already suborned at that time).

  • What follows has been read into the Constitution by the President. So long as nothing is done, he does have the powers he has usurped and this is de facto the new law of the land.

    Article VIII

    Notwithstanding any Power granted in Article I above or in Article III above, in time of declared emergency or crisis, all Power shall be vested in the President and officers duly appointed by him, said Power including, but not limited to, all legislative powers, all judicial powers granted herein, and all powers reserved to the States or to the people under Amendment X hereto. The President alone is vested with the Power to declare an emergency or a crisis. In an emergency or crisis, the President and his duly appointed officers shall, as deemed necessary by the President, suspend any and all rights protected under Amendments I – XXVII.

    Guy McClung, San Antonio

  • Malone (Connery) from the movie, “The Untouchables”, “And ‘then’ what are you prepared to do?”

  • Obama has chosen to introduce millions of illegal aliens into our country, our towns, our schools, our hospitals, our neighborhood, our charity, into our personal space and our privacy; into our countenance without our permission, our invitation, and our informed consent. Entering into a sovereign person’s privacy and personal space without his welcome, his permission, his invitation is assault and battery.
    .
    As constituents of the President, all citizens are spoken for by the President. If we cannot agree with what the president is doing we actually remove ourselves from citizenship to protect ourselves. So, now Obama owns the whole America without the citizens. and any citizen who chooses to remain will have his personal space violated and his countenance assaulted.
    .
    As far as the Catholic Church goes, after tithing, the Church must pay the bill.

  • “de facto the new law of the land.” must be ratified by three quarters of the states. The states have un-ratified Obama’s new law of the land.

  • Seen at Zero hedeg: “Me the People . . .”

    .
    La republique c’est moi!

  • “Malone (Connery) from the movie, “The Untouchables”, “And ‘then’ what are you prepared to do?”

    “01:47:33 Your Honour, the truth is that Capone is a killer and he will go free.

    01:47:39 There is only one way to deal with such men, and that is hunt them down.

    01:47:44 I have. I have forsworn myself. I have broken laws I swore to defend.

    01:47:49 I am content that I have done right. That man must be stopped, you must…

    01:47:53 I’ll be the judge of what I must do, Mr Ness.”

    Thus far this country has avoided that. Obama is setting some terrible precedents that may eventually some day produce a whirlwind.

  • I told people Osama (misspelled on purpose) was like this before he was elected president the first time. So no one can blame me because “I told you so!” Nothing this man could do–short of lining us up on the White House lawn & executing us with a firing squad–would shock me. There are no words for how angry his actions make me. We are no longer a constitutional republic.

  • “Thus far this country has avoided that. Obama is setting some terrible precedents that may eventually some day produce a whirlwind.”

    Do what? We are in the middle of the whirlwind right now! Check out how many violent crimes are carried out by illegals in this nation.

Freedom of the Press is for All of Us

Friday, February 14, AD 2014

Freedom of the Press Under Obama

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Thomas Jefferson

Hattip to Instapundit. Josh Stearns at Huffington Post reports on the fact that the media in the US isn’t quite as free as it used to be.

 

According to a new report from Reporters Without Borders, there was a profound erosion of press freedom in the United States in 2013.

After a year of attacks on whistleblowers and digital journalists and revelations about mass surveillance, the United States plunged 13 spots in the group’s global press freedom rankings to number 46.

Reporters Without Borders writes that the U.S. faced “one of the most significant declines” in the world last year. Even the United Kingdom, whose sustained campaign to criminalize the Guardian’s reporters and intimidate journalists has made headlines around the world, dropped only three spots, to number 33. The U.S. fell as many spots as Paraguay, where “the pressure on journalists to censor themselves keeps on mounting.”

Citing the Justice Department’s aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers, including its secret seizure of Associated Press phone records, the authors write that “freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.”

The threats facing newsgathering in the U.S. are felt by both longstanding journalists like New York Times national security reporter James Risen, who may serve jail time for refusing to reveal a source, and non-traditional digital journalists like Barrett Brown.

Brown is a freelance journalist who has reported extensively on private intelligence firms and government contractors. He now faces more than 100 years in jail for linking to stolen documents as part of his reporting, even though he had no involvement in the actual theft.

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5 Responses to Freedom of the Press is for All of Us

  • Only truth has freedom of speech and press, so help me God.

  • An open society is still usually a very good thing. Sometimes error just needs a little light to show it for what it really is. To be honest. The freedom of speech is likely the last weapon we have to defend ourselves against progressivism. On an equal playing field virtue, truth, and beauty should defeat permissiveness, propaganda, and crassness every time.

  • Mary de Voe wrote, “Only truth has freedom of speech and press, so help me God.”

    Certainly not for those Robespierre called, “the mercenary libellers subsidised to dishonour the people’s cause, to kill public virtue, to stir up the fires of civil discord, and to prepare political counter-revolution by means of moral counter-revolution—are
    these men less culpable or less dangerous than the tyrants whom they serve?”

  • Thank you Michael Paterson-Seymour: ““the mercenary libellers subsidised to dishonour the people’s cause, to kill public virtue, to stir up the fires of civil discord, and to prepare political counter-revolution by means of moral counter-revolution—are
    these men less culpable or less dangerous than the tyrants whom they serve?””
    .
    “…the mercenary libellers” call vice virtue to kill public virtue by means of moral-counter revolution.
    The right to choose, the right to privacy, equality, social Justice are words that beget human sacrifice, sodomy, redistribution of personal wealth without consent and taxation without representation all denying the human person and the soul and our God as Supreme Sovereign. The “useful idiots”, Lenin’s description of his own henchmen are quick to take credit for establishing a new order with man as a beast of burden. Jesus said to test everything. Two witnesses establish a judicial fact. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God is the only justification for the freedom of the press and speech and peaceable assembly, for invoking Divine Providence drives evil away. The First Amendment must be taken as a whole. Freedom of religion is a relationship with our Creator acknowledged by the state. Speaking, writing and assembly to exercise our relationship with our Creator, “Wherever there are two or more people gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.” is from God, not from the state. From an infinite God come unalienable human rights.

  • And the 1st Amendment is protected by the 2nd (which Obama and his demonic minions of darkness are trying to erode and nullify):

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Gallup: 71% Think the Signers of the Declaration Would Be Disappointed

Friday, July 5, AD 2013

15 Responses to Gallup: 71% Think the Signers of the Declaration Would Be Disappointed

  • We’re not the ‘last best hope on Earth’. We are just a county.

    We have a lousy political class who are maintained in office by public apathy. Part of the reason we have a lousy political class is the secular decay in the character of the sort of bourgeois types who run for office (matched measure for measure by the wage-earning majority). Look at the distance traversed from Thomas E. Dewey to Andrew Cuomo or from Richard J. Daley to Rahm Emmanuel and you see what has happened.

    You can call it ‘loss of liberty’, but the most salient phenomenon has been the placement of individuals, families, enterprises, and public institutions under the superintendency of lawyers and their auxilliaries, the helping professions. Some carve outs are allowed for academe and the entertainment business that no one else gets. Regaining liberty is, one suspects, going to require a messy and violent confrontation with the legal profession (because they have foreclosed lawful means).

  • Disagree with you Art, root and branch. We are not just a country but the embodiment of an idea of ordered liberty. Without what the Founding Fathers accomplished history would likely have taken a very much darker turn over the last two centuries and the Earth, if humanity survived at all, would now be inhabited by totalitarian states.

    As for our decay, it is at bottom a crisis of faith.

  • The poll tells me 29% of Americans are clueless. And raises the question: ” How did Obama get re-elected?”

  • I do not think it is a crisis. It is a condition or process. It has been going on long enough that I do not think a metaphor of a cross-roads truly describes it. Humanity has never quite been at this place before, so we do not have a ready answer to the question of what happens to virtue in conditions of mass affluence.

    Counter-factual speculation is generally idle. The thing is, I cannot look at Europe during the long 19th century (say from 1789 to 1914) and see a proto-totalitarian landscape, nor is it evident to me that had the United States been a British dominion like Canada that the course of world politics would have been severely injured.

  • Art – For one thing, if we were just another colony, we wouldn’t have been the destination of choice for people escaping lousy European governments. The spirit of innovation, combined with the immigrant’s distrust of government and our own fixation on liberty, created an ideal environment for technological growth. Our tractors, our planes, our light bulbs changed the world. Plenty of other things about us changed the world, too, but that’s one thing that we sometimes overlook.

  • we wouldn’t have been the destination of choice for people escaping lousy European governments.

    We can check the precise size of the various immigration flows given the size of the respective territories and host populations, but there was considerable flow into Canada, into the Antipodes, and into the South American Southern Cone. (By way of example, about half of the post-war heads of state in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay have had non-hispanic surnames. By contrast, I believe Kennedy and Obama are the only two post-war Presidents who are not largely descended from Colonial-era migrants).

  • Umm, Pinky, I think Britain, Belgium, the Rhineland, and Switzerland saw considerable technological innovation during the 19th century.

  • “The poll tells me 29% of Americans are clueless.” – You are being WAY generous!

    Even if the poll is valid – and I’m less impressed with polling the more of it I am subjected to – wouldn’t the 71% who are disappointed have to first have learned something about the Framers and the founding of our country?

    I would be hugely surprised if more than 5% of Americans had a clue to what the Framers intended or even cared.

  • “Counter-factual speculation is generally idle.”

    What counter-factual speculation? Totalitarian regimes arose in the 20th century and only the US had the power to stop them. Take away the US and I find it hard to see how Democracy would have survived the bloody 20th. World War I came about without the US, and, whichever side won, the losers were going to have the type of political instability that led to Communism and Fascism. I can easily see a thermo-nuclear war between totalitarian states leading to the ending of most of the life on this planet without the US having been present in the last century.

    The US set a salutary example for the UK in the 19th. Dominion status granted to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc was in large part due to the disastrous results of the American Revolution for the Brits and their determination not to go through that again with any of their colonies, at least their white ones. Outside of the anglo-sphere democracy proved to be largely a hot house flower, and I would not lay any bets to its long range survival under stress, even today, absent a United States.

  • 1. If your counter-factual speculation has political developments in Central and Eastern Europe proceeding as they did but removes the United States from the equation, I suppose we were indispensable. I am not sure why what happened in Russia in 1917-22 was not just as contingent as the appearance of the United States as a sovereign republic, but whatever.

    2. I am not exactly sure how Abraham Lincoln in 1862 is supposed to have anticipated the emergence of Soviet Russia sixty years later.

    3. I am not sure why a United Empire would have been necessarily a less effective adversary for Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia than an Anglo-American alliance. IIRC, Samuel Huntington made reference in one of his later volumes to the work of a demographer who reported that 49% of the population increase recorded between 1790 and 1990 was attributable to natural increase. That aside, both Canada and Australia experienced considerable immigration from various parts of Europe in spite of the fact that the vast bulk of their respective territories is unsuitable for agriculture.

    Outside of the anglo-sphere democracy proved to be largely a hot house flower, and I would not lay any bets to its long range survival under stress, even today, absent a United States.

    Shades of John Derbyshire.

    Some years ago the political scientist Larry Diamond offered that after more than two decades of studying the question, he had concluded that the only iron-clad prerequisite for the appearance of democratic institutions was the determination of a political class to impose such a system. You have electoral politics in every region of the globe, it has been standard in Latin America and Eastern Europe for the better part of a generation and common everywhere else, and you can identify about two dozen countries (only half a dozen or so from the anglosphere) who have had democratic institutions in place since the 1st World War or thereabouts with only foreign occupations as interruptions. It seems odd to refer to such institutions as ‘hot house flowers’ in these loci.

  • “I am not sure why what happened in Russia in 1917-22 was not just as contingent as the appearance of the United States as a sovereign republic, but whatever.”

    Because what happened in Russia was in no way contingent on the US entering the War. The Tsar had fallen before the US intervened and the Germans had embarked on their program of sending Lenin to Russia just after the US declaration of war. None of this was contingent on the US.

    “I am not exactly sure how Abraham Lincoln in 1862 is supposed to have anticipated the emergence of Soviet Russia sixty years later.”

    He didn’t have to. Republics were in a very poor state in Lincoln’s world with France now being an empire and Latin American having entered their dispiriting cycle of republic-anarchy-dictatorship. At the time opponents of republics pointed to the American Civil War as an argument against the long term stability and endurance of republics.

    “I am not sure why a United Empire would have been necessarily a less effective adversary for Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia than an Anglo-American alliance.”

    The Brits had all they could do to stave off defeat in World War I with massive American assistance. Your query also ignores the fact that without the American Revolution Britain might well have entered the War with fairly unhappy and restive colonies, more resembling Ireland in 1916 than the dominions of 1914 in our history.

    “Shades of John Derbyshire.”

    Rather shades of actual evidence. Latin America speaks for itself. Democracy in Europe took firm root in Europe only under the protection of NATO, and it was a near run thing even then in many countries. Democracy in Europe in the 19th century was largely a result of the unusual period of peace, punctuated by a few brief wars, from 1815-1914. Its rapid disappearance under stress in many nations from 1914-1950 makes me not at all sanguine as to the fate of democracy in that part of the globe, with the exception of the UK and Ireland, absent the United States. Post colonial Africa demonstrates just how difficult it is for democracy to take root. Asia demonstrates that democracy in that part of the world is largely an import from either the US or Britain.

  • I am just not understanding you. At a particular set of historical moments, it was useful to have the United States present. You posit a considerable alteration in the political landscape but hold all other elements constant. That only makes sense to me if you regard the emergence of Soviet Russia as a function of a determined social process. I am not seeing that. Nor can I see that the United States is the only possible counter-configuration.

    That aside, I cannot figure how the caudillo states of Latin America are analogous to to well-institutionalized bureaucratic authoritarian states in Europe. Aside from the caudillo regimes you had a mess of elite-dominated regimes with a certain legal order to them, though not very much electoral competition (Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia). Paraguay had a totalitarian order during the period running from 1814 to 1870, but Paraguay has always been odd.

    Nor can I understand your characterization of either Latin America or Europe. Constitutional monarchy was standard in Europe in 1914. It was messy and crooked in the Mediterranean states and of uncertain establishment in Russia, but there were broad swatches of the United States where the quality of political life was quite low as well at that time. The Hohenzollerns issued a constitution for Prussia in 1851 and the Hapsburgs one for their various territories in 1860. Bar the period running from 1933 to 1949, some sort of constitutional government was the mode in the German states from that time to this; political competition was restored in the 2d Empire in 1860 and has abided in France bar periods of foreign occupation; again, bar foreign occupations, democratic institutions have been ever-present in the Low Countries, Scandinavia, and Switzerland since 1848. The implosion of democratic institutions in Europe (never thorough) during the period running from 1922 to 1938 was the anomaly, not the period before and after.

    How does Latin America ‘speak for itself’? There have been some sketchy patterns in Latin America’s political history – you have caudillo states, highly elite dominated constitutional states, states with legal order but without much electoral competition, patrimonial states, institutional military rule, rule by political machine, rule by military factions, hybrid systems, and modern constitutionalism. There has been a secular decline in the frequency of the caudillo state on the Latin American scene: the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic may have been the last good example. You have had a gradual increase in the list of states with abiding democratic institutions: Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and the Dominican Republic. Since 1990, electoral institutions have been universal and the main problem has been political and social violence.

    Africa has been troubled. African countries are generally dirt poor, multi-ethnic and lacking in an extended period as an integrated political unit, and had little practice with electoral institutions before they were cut loose by Britain, France, Portugal, and Belgium. I am not sure why you consider Africa emblematic of political problems generally.

    Cannot help but note that the first experiments in electoral institutions in India date from 1909. There has been only one (18 month) interruption in parliamentary government since 1948.

  • “At a particular set of historical moments, it was useful to have the United States present.”

    Yes, in response to your description of the US as “just another country” which I regard as completely ahistoric. Describing the presence of the US as “useful” over the past 237 years is a dictionary worthy example of understatement.

    “You posit a considerable alteration in the political landscape but hold all other elements constant.”

    Which is proper in this thought experiment since World War I and the emergence of the political instability that plagued Europe thereafter was going to happen with or without the US for the reasons I already cited.

    “Nor can I see that the United States is the only possible counter-configuration.”

    One can always imagine star fleets from the Andromeda Galaxy coming to save the day Art, but all one has to do is contemplate Europe and the world in 1940 to see that without the US the totalitarian regimes were going to dominate the globe.

    “That aside, I cannot figure how the caudillo states of Latin America are analogous to to well-institutionalized bureaucratic authoritarian states in Europe.”

    I never said that they were. What I did say was that under crisis democratic regimes proved fairly weak reeds in almost all of Europe between 1914-1950. But for the presence of the United States as a global Super Power, Europe circa 1950 would have been under the aegis of one or more totalitarian states, any democratic regimes like Sweden or Switzerland existing only through the sufferance of their more powerful non-democratic neighbors. Fascism and Communism were widely regarded in the thirties as the wave of the future in Europe, a prediction that would have been entirely accurate but for the US presence in Europe as a result of World War II.

    “How does Latin America ‘speak for itself’?”

    Actually it shouts for itself in regard to democracy. There is not a nation in Latin America that has not had a period of dictatorship in the last century, usually several of them. The contrast with the United States is stark and damning. I can only imagine it would have been far worse without the example of the US to demonstrate that a stable long term democracy is possible.

    “Cannot help but note that the first experiments in electoral institutions in India date from 1909. There has been only one (18 month) interruption in parliamentary government since 1948.”

    Courtesy of the British Raj Art.

  • I am reminded of Newman’s “deep in history” statement – understanding history makes one more likely to lvove and appreciate the Church and I think the same thing applies to this beloved country- the more one understands human history, the more one loves and appreciates America. the convergences of thoughts and events that have attended the birth and growth of this nation can not be taken just as uncanny coincidences.

    I also am put in mind of Isaiah- who said that God’s word does not return to Him void– I thin America is a word sent out from God and has already been the source of much blessing for the world– and could continue in that vein if we cooperate with Him.

  • sorry about my typos

An Administration at War With Our First Freedom

Thursday, March 1, AD 2012

“Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”

James Madison, Federalist 10

The video above is from the Heritage Foundation and incisively sets forth how ObamaCare is at war with religious liberty.  The Founding Fathers made it clear that they viewed freedom of religion as being at the core of the framework of what they were seeking to accomplish:

 

“We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart.  In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”

George Washington

 

 

 

“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

Patrick Henry

 

 

 

 

 

The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.

James Madison

 

 

 

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

Charles Carroll of Carollton

 

 

Pope Benedict recognizes the threat to religious freedom that exists in our country:

In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.

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32 Responses to An Administration at War With Our First Freedom

  • “One of my ancestors died at Bunker Hill to establish this Republic and I intend not to see what he fought for ended in my lifetime.”

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

    I pray that this does not mean the inevitability of civil war, but the liberals are not going to give up without a fight.

  • I do not think that it will come to that Paul, but it is important that we all speak out now and act to defeat an Administration that is at war with traditional American notions of liberty.

  • I pray that this does not mean the inevitability of civil war, but the liberals are not going to give up without a fight.

    Hugh Thomas’ histories of the Spanish civil war include accounts of Spanish political life immediately prior (1931-36) and the mentality of the bourgeois republican parties depicted therein (and manifested in the figure of Manuel Azana) is disconcertingly familiar.

  • I pray that Donald’s optimism proves true and Art’s analogy false. (No offense intended, Art.)

  • It seems Pharaoh is intent on denying Americans unalienable rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    Seems as if the “general welfare” and “commerce” clauses, and social justice are being used as alibis for tyranny.

  • Pingback: Religious Liberty: Obamacare’s First Casualty « Circle or Line under Most Beautiful Absolute
  • “Seems as if the “general welfare” and “commerce” clauses, and social justice are being used as alibis for tyranny.” Yep – for about the last 75 years. See “FDR’s New Deal.”

    “Social Justice” is a straw man, propped up by Progressives to underscore their collectivist philosophy. Christianity, and by default the Church, can be concerned only with Individual Justice. Salvation is not offered to “Society.” It is offered to each man, woman and child as individual creations in and of God’s image. Anything that lumps people together into a faceless blob is dehumanizing and derogatory; in and of themselves two qualities that are inherently unjust.

    This is why the government is inherently unjust. It does not see individuals. It Socializes everything, and now it has come this far.

    I fear Paul may have the most prescient point of view. This election will tell the tale.

  • The Senate vote to kill the Blunt Amendment today 51-48. This amendment would have killed the HHS Mandate. Three Democrats voted against tabling the Blunt Amendment: Manchin, Casey and Nelson. One Republican, the worthless pro-abort Olympia Snow who just announced her long overdue retirement, voted in favor of tabling the amendment.

    Here is how each of the Senators voted:

    kaka (D-HI), Yea
    Alexander (R-TN), Nay
    Ayotte (R-NH), Nay
    Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
    Baucus (D-MT), Yea
    Begich (D-AK), Yea
    Bennet (D-CO), Yea
    Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
    Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea
    Blunt (R-MO), Nay
    Boozman (R-AR), Nay
    Boxer (D-CA), Yea
    Brown (D-OH), Yea
    Brown (R-MA), Nay
    Burr (R-NC), Nay
    Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
    Cardin (D-MD), Yea
    Carper (D-DE), Yea
    Casey (D-PA), Nay
    Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
    Coats (R-IN), Nay
    Coburn (R-OK), Nay
    Cochran (R-MS), Nay
    Collins (R-ME), Nay
    Conrad (D-ND), Yea
    Coons (D-DE), Yea
    Corker (R-TN), Nay
    Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
    Crapo (R-ID), Nay
    DeMint (R-SC), Nay
    Durbin (D-IL), Yea
    Enzi (R-WY), Nay
    Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
    Franken (D-MN), Yea

    Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
    Graham (R-SC), Nay
    Grassley (R-IA), Nay
    Hagan (D-NC), Yea
    Harkin (D-IA), Yea
    Hatch (R-UT), Nay
    Heller (R-NV), Nay
    Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
    Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
    Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
    Inouye (D-HI), Yea
    Isakson (R-GA), Nay
    Johanns (R-NE), Nay
    Johnson (D-SD), Yea
    Johnson (R-WI), Nay
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea
    Kirk (R-IL), Not Voting
    Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
    Kohl (D-WI), Yea
    Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
    Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
    Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
    Leahy (D-VT), Yea
    Lee (R-UT), Nay
    Levin (D-MI), Yea
    Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
    Lugar (R-IN), Nay
    Manchin (D-WV), Nay
    McCain (R-AZ), Nay
    McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
    McConnell (R-KY), Nay
    Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
    Merkley (D-OR), Yea
    Mikulski (D-MD), Yea

    Moran (R-KS), Nay
    Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
    Murray (D-WA), Yea
    Nelson (D-FL), Yea
    Nelson (D-NE), Nay
    Paul (R-KY), Nay
    Portman (R-OH), Nay
    Pryor (D-AR), Yea
    Reed (D-RI), Yea
    Reid (D-NV), Yea
    Risch (R-ID), Nay
    Roberts (R-KS), Nay
    Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
    Rubio (R-FL), Nay
    Sanders (I-VT), Yea
    Schumer (D-NY), Yea
    Sessions (R-AL), Nay
    Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
    Shelby (R-AL), Nay
    Snowe (R-ME), Yea
    Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
    Tester (D-MT), Yea
    Thune (R-SD), Nay
    Toomey (R-PA), Nay
    Udall (D-CO), Yea
    Udall (D-NM), Yea
    Vitter (R-LA), Nay
    Warner (D-VA), Yea
    Webb (D-VA), Yea
    Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
    Wicker (R-MS), Nay
    Wyden (D-OR), Yea

  • The fact that Casey voted against it is really no surprise. I know some had high hopes for him but it was never to be.

    Knowing how liberal northeast Catholics from Pa tend to be it was probably more popular for him to vote against the Amendment.

    Regarding this whole situation, I for one really wish the Church leadership would take this opportunity not just to rail about general notions of “religious” liberty, but stand firm and bold and explain why contraception is immoral. This is the opportunity given to them to proclaim the Truth!

    Instead it’s been left to Santorum to discuss contraception in a medium not best suited for this fight. He has earned my immense respect, for he is essentially the lone voice talking about the evil of contraception and being clobbered for it.
    Our Catholic leadership has been given a perfect opportunity and it is being squandered. I keep hearing “it’s not about contraception, it’s not about contraception”, but it’s about “religious liberty”.

    Well, for our President and his minions it’s about contraception…

    It’s like

  • Actually Chris a no vote was in support of the Blunt Amendment, so Casey the Lesser voted in favor of religious freedom. I have no doubt that Reid allowed this vote to get to the floor without a filibuster only because he knew that he had the votes to kill it. The Republicans should bring this back to the floor every week and make the Democrats vote over and over again against religious liberty.

  • If I’m a D, I vote with D’s – virtue and life don’t belong in the Party mindset.

  • thank for this list! the three states of most interest to me.. Iowa- the 2 senators cancelled each other, as usual; South Dakota, the 2 senators cancelled each other, but Nebraska was totally pro -life.

    My concern is that Non Resident Nebraskan Bob Kerrey is running for Nelson’s seat. I believe he is swooping down from his high perch in the East, to forward his ideology– not to represent the good people of Nebraska.

  • I do wonder whether Obama’s father in fact came from Kenya.

    Judging by the way he’s acting, he came from Zimbabwe – and that despotice president Mugabe is Obama’s role model and hero.

    It really staggers me that so many Americans think that all this is okay. They are so blinded that they cannot see an assault on their freedom???

    And this, of course, is the thin end of the wedge – surrender once, and you’re going….going…..GONE.

  • Actually Chris a no vote was in support of the Blunt Amendment, so Casey the Lesser voted in favor of religious freedom.

    My fault, very suprised he voted that way. Would like to give him the benefit of the doubt on no ulterior motives via Reid, but I think you have it right……

  • Even more striking: it appears that more Catholic Senators (13) voted AGAINST the amendment than for it (11)!

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pat-archbold/catholics-vote-against-their-own

    The breakdown as enumerated in the above story:

    Catholics who voted for Freedom (i.e. to NOT table the amendment) include Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pennsylvania), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine),John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska),Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

    Catholics voting to table the amendment (thereby voting AGAINST the Church in this case) were: Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), Patty Murray (D-Washington), and Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island).

    The latter list, of course, reads like a roundup of the usual suspects when it comes to Catholic Democrats voting pro-abortion and all that. What does it say when Baptists (including Sen. Blunt himself) and Methodists were more “Catholic” than the Catholics were on this issue?

  • I wonder how many of these Catholic Senators sent their kids to Catholic schools. Schools that are now in jeopardy of closing.

  • The latter list of Catholic Senators voting against the amendment includes 4 who are up for re-election this year: Cantwell, Gillibrand, McCaskill, and Menendez. Just FYI for residents of the affected states… don’t forget the Senate race on your ballot!

  • I have one word for the USCCB: “excommunication.”

    Those people are liberals not Christians. One cannot serve both masters. They have chosen the secular over the eternal.

    Salvation and doing the heavy lifting for the despicable party of envy, hate and murder are mutually exclusive.

    They deploy social justice as the alibi for every mortal sin in the Book.

  • T. Shaw, it would be good for the sake of the confused faithful and uninformed youth to have some word from that authority on how to think through the onslaught of the liberal legislation. By November, if there is no concise word to counter their rhetoric, we will be shamed before God. Right now, on EWTN, there is a special program with its CEO on Women of Grace live discussing the situation of spinning contraception.

  • It seems to me that no one is mandating that the Catholic CHURCH, or Catholic individuals to do anything against their belief system. It is businesses administered by Catholics, that are being required to follow the law. Businesses who accept government funding are required to follow the laws. Businesses run by Catholics, are considered Tax- exempt due to a ruling in 1959 about church-related businesses, on a par with 501(C) 3 non-profits. Catholic Hospitals and churches pay NO taxes (corporate welfare), build their buildings with the help of government-funded bonds; and Catholic Hospitals accept government patient funding in the way of government insurances- Medicaid and Medicare. I suggest if the Catholic Bishops do not want to follow the rules of laws by the government, that they stop taking government benefits and become totally private unto themselves. Sell private insurance to people who do not want contraception, or any other objectionable treatment, and only want to be treated in Catholic Hospitals.This might be an appropriate time to look again at those tax exemptions, anyway.

  • “It seems to me that no one is mandating that the Catholic CHURCH, or Catholic individuals to do anything against their belief system. It is businesses administered by Catholics, that are being required to follow the law.”

    Rubbish. Businesses are made up of individuals. My law firm is me.

    “Businesses who accept government funding are required to follow the laws.”
    No, the HHS Mandate is not limited to businesses who accept government funding. In any case you cannot strip individuals of their constitutional rights simply because Uncle Sam decides to purchase services from them.

    “Catholic Hospitals and churches pay NO taxes (corporate welfare),”

    Catholic hospitals and churches and schools provide far more in charitable services than the taxes that could be squeezed from them. Calling this welfare merely indicates you do not have any idea what you are talking about.

    “I suggest if the Catholic Bishops do not want to follow the rules of laws by the government, that they stop taking government benefits and become totally private unto themselves.”

    Hilarious. Catholic schools receive no assistance from the government, and the impact of all those students suddenly going to public schools would be immense. The free care provided by Catholic hospitals to the poor is an immense saving to the taxpayers in this country each year.

  • Something Donald wrote caused me to start thinking. I had always believed that Catholic institutions shouldn’t accept money from the Government because it makes them beholden to Government. But really, isn’t the onus on the buyer, not the seller, hence the warning, “Buyer beware”? Let me explain.

    If Government gives money to Catholic institutions because of the educational or charitable work that they do, then Government is in effect the buyer. If Government doesn’t like what it is buying, then it needs to stop buying. It has no right to force the seller to give a different product or the same product in a different way. So regardless that Government might have given Catholic institutions money, it did so ostensibly for the educational or charitable work that those institutions provide which Government demonstrably cannot provide.

    Now the only exception to this thumb rule or principle is when we are dealing with things like nuclear energy (US NRC), or aircraft structures and engines (FAA), or medical instrumentation and controls equipment (FDA). For example, in my industry, the Government gets to tell my company what our nuclear products will do when installed, how they will operate, and how they are made, inspected and tested. It does this by regulation promulgated from the US NRC (i.e., 10 CR 50), and because of the overriding need to ensure public health and safety, no one here would want that process to be any different [ unless you would prefer to glow in the dark while sterile 😉 ]. None of that, however, applies to any Catholic institution.

    If Government buys a charitable product, then Government needs to shut up on how that product is provided. Stupid godless liberalism, however, says differently.

  • I forgot to add something in my analogy above. Issuing regulation to protect the public and the environment from radiological releases does not equate to issuing regulation to provide free contraception so that men and women may immorally titillate their genitals without fear of unintended pregnancy.

    In the first case, regulations are issued to ensure the safe use of radioactives (and hence the safe generation of electricity) without threatening human life or the environment.

    In the second case, regulations are issued so that perverts can wallow sexual filth on the public dime without either responsibility or accountability.

    People can die from excessive radiation exposure, but there have been ZERO such cases in 50+ years of commercial US nuclear power in large measure because of intelligent regulation.

    However and paradoxically, the regulations that promote contraception use will result in MORE instances of venereal disease and MORE deaths among the members of the public.

    No one will ever die from sexual abstinence. Yet Obama’s Government wants to shove the hedonist life style of sexual perversion down especially the Catholic Church’s throat. He’s going to find that that throat is a part of the Body of Christ before whose Head he will one day find himself standing – and wanting (God forbid!).

  • No!

    It is not about the First Amendment.

    It is not about birth control.

    It’s about distracting your attention and energies from 100,000 failures the regime has accomplished.

  • If Government gives money to Catholic institutions because of the educational or charitable work that they do, then Government is in effect the buyer. If Government doesn’t like what it is buying, then it needs to stop buying. It has no right to force the seller to give a different product or the same product in a different way. So regardless that Government might have given Catholic institutions money, it did so ostensibly for the educational or charitable work that those institutions provide which Government demonstrably cannot provide.
    All taxes remain the property of the taxpayer even while being administered by the adminstration. For the administration to return some of the taxes to the tax payer is absolutely legal. Government in and of itself can own nothing, because we the tax paying citizens own the government. Eveything belongs to each and every citizen in joint and common tenancy.

  • Originally posted as a response to THE WHITE HOUSE HOPES FOR A SCHISM. This post belongs here as it is about religious freedom, which comes from God our Creator, not from the state. Can the state create your immortal soul? Your conscience? Your intellect? your free will? The duty of the state is to protect and defend, virginity, innocence and the citizens’ civil rights. How does Obamacare protect virginity, innocence or civil rights?
    Sovereign immunity is that shield from the state’s penetrating into one’s immortal soul and taking God-given freedom from a person, sucking the marrow from his constitutional bones. The Catholic Church has been compliant with rules and regulations to help the state, such as incorporating as a non-profit or as a religious institution. This is in good will. The Church does not need to do this. The state cannot, in reality, give the Church a tax-exemption, because the state cannot tax the Church. Therefore, an exemption implies that the state may tax the Church, but is being a nice guy about generosity. Well, generosity is a virtue, a God-given virtue and the practice of religion by the state in rendering the virtue of charity through the God-given virtue of generosity to the Church. And God is left laughing.
    Sovereign immunity, like diplomatic immunity, defines the realm of the Catholic Church as being autonomous in its existence through the Catholic Church’s institution by Jesus Christ, of the Catholic Church’s creation by God, of which the state has had and may have no part.
    In redefining freedom, the state has dissolved the very foundations of its existence as constituted by the sovereign persons who have constituted the state. In violating the will of the people, the state has failed to be the state. In violating the will of God for His Catholic Church and for the people of God, the state has incited the wrath of God.
    Back to the future in the catacombs.
    As President, Bill Clinton wrote an executive order making all free lands and waters the privilege of the president. As President, Obama wrote executive order 13575 Rural Councils, making all private land the object of eminent domain, to be taken at will from all persons, but not FOR all persons, as eminent domain requires. The LOST treaty, not ratified by Congress (only Congress ratifies treaties) signed by Hillary Clinton, secretary of State with the United Nations, an atheistic entity without sovereign authority or immunity since only God gives sovereignty through the immortal soul of man, privatizes all the oceans and seas and the mineral rights under the seas to the United Nations. American citizens will now have to pay to sail the seas. The reason this is of utmost importance, is that now, when Obama nationalizes the Catholic Church and her property, there is nowhere to say Mass. Once upon a time, in Ireland, Mass was said in a goat drawn cart hauled onto the land exposed by the receding tide. This riprarian land was no man’s land. The exiled Catholic Church Mass was free to be said on this land which belonged to God. Obama has usurped what belongs to God and redefined God’s property as his own. There is nowhere for the Catholic Mass to be said, once Obama nationalizes all church property, except the catacombs, once again.

  • wow- very interesting Mary– if what you said is correct, the LOST treaty mentioned is one among the many precipitous actions of the last three years that have escaped much real scrutiny! There seems to be more we don’t know than what we do know about why we so need a new administration.
    How can such (almost subterranean) issues all be made a part of the the national discussion? Who can capture the microphone now so ably held by the counter-Christian culture movers and shakers?

  • This thread is getting far removed from the topic of the post. Stay on topic please.

  • Excuse me please.

  • Obamacare is a blank check. What Congress representing its constitutents signs a blank check? What citizen in his right mind signs a blank check to a government entity? Is informed consent to any contract still valid? Is informed consent to a “mandate” still a necessary part of that mandate? If Obama can demand a blank check from citizens and tell them that it is in their best interest to provide him with a blank check, isn’t giving Obama what he demands like signing a blank contract, leaving it to the seller to supply you with his choice of products not described or offered for sale?

Alexander Hamilton and the National Debt

Tuesday, July 26, AD 2011

This country was blessed at its founding to have on the scene a member of the Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, who was a financial genius.  His idea to have the Federal government adopt the Revolutionary War debts of the states in order to establish the credit of the new Federal government was a policy of genius.  At a stroke he restored the credit of the country as a whole, made certain the debt would be paid, made America attractive to foreign investors and laid the basis of future American prosperity.  His ideas on the subject were set forth in his first report to Congress on  public credit, 1789, and which may be read here.

The final paragraph of the report is salient for the time in which we live:

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29 Responses to Alexander Hamilton and the National Debt

  • ” . . . the creation of debt should always be accompanied with the means of extinguishment.”

    Ah, there’s the rub. The US likely does not have the capacity to repay.

    Adults are trying to set up a means where, at least, the debt will not “eat us alive.”

    Demagogues are kicking the can down the road and cannot agree to cutting the Federal dollars they use to buy political power, er help the poor.

    The name of the president’s secret plan seems to be “demonize, lie, and polarize.”

    FYI: When a corporation applies for a commercial loan, the Board of Directors passes a resolution authorizing the corporation to incur the debt. The bank then looks at the corporation’s collateral, capacity to repay, character, credit, and capital. Then, decides whether or not to extend the loan. The BoD borrowing authority only says the corp. owners want the money. The credit decision is made on the numerous other general credit factors mentioned.

    The US is not a AAA credit, anyway.

  • Don,

    What do you suppose Hamilton would have said about whether we should raise the debt ceiling?

  • This scene portrays rather well the complexities of the balance between states rights and the need for a strong yet not overreaching central government.

    I find Jefferson’s support for the French Revolution so ironic in that it was so contrary to Jeffersonian sense of liberty, especially in regards to the right of the church to tend to its owninternal affairs. Jefferson, despite his views on institutionalized religion, was adamant in defending the rights of church bodies to tend to its own affairs and the need for them to influence political action.

    While I believe Washington was the greatest of the founders overall, I find John Adams the most endearing. He was at times impetuous and thin skinned, but could aspire to greatness despite.

  • “What do you suppose Hamilton would have said about whether we should raise the debt ceiling?”

    I rather suspect that he and many of the other Founding Fathers BA would wonder why the American people hadn’t long ago risen in revolt. What the Founding Fathers intended as the government of our new nation is not what we have now, and the Federal government bears an uncanny resemblance to the government of King George III, in many respects, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Governmental intrusion in the daily lives of the citizenry they would have regarded as shocking. Our expenditures and tax rates they would regard as obscene. The number of Federal criminal statutes they would regard as an engine of tyranny. In judging most aspects of modern American life, except for our technological advances, I suspect the views of the Founders would be pungently negative.

  • ” . . . the creation of debt should always be accompanied with the means of extinguishment.”

    Fortunately, we do have the means to extinguish our debts when those bonds come due. No matter the amount we take out, we have the means to extinguish them as we are the issuer of our own currency. And it’s not simply just printing money, its more accurately changing numbers in bank accounts. The debt is simply the amount of savings in dollars that the private sector holds. Bonds (or debts) are offered so that holders of dollars have an interest-earning option to their dollar holdings. It is a way that the government can keep inflation and interest rates from spiking by “forcing saving” when it needs to spend. Deficits are simply the amount of net injection of dollar reserves into the private sector.

    We cannot go bankrupt, unless we volunatrily declare it, as we are threatening to do.

    To say that our government is too big and should be reduced is one thing and is, I think, up for further debate and should be our polticians’ focus; but to say that we can have so much debt that it cannot be extinguished is simply a misunderstanding of how government finances work in a sovereign nation with its own currency.

    If you think differently, tell me how the government does not have the ability to pay its debt, and I will be glad to debate with you.

  • You are mistaken Alex. Too much conjuring money out of thin air and we all have monopoly money of no value. One can imagine the impact on the value of the dollar :

    http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011072922/beyond-debt-ceiling-30-trillion-plan-ending-national-debt

    This type of printing endless paper money to pay for government has been tried twice in American history: The Continentals during the American Revolution and Confederate currency during the Civil War. It is beyond the power of any government to alter economic reality forever.

  • First of all, I wish you no ill-will or animosity of any kind. Nor do I inted to attack you as a person in any of my comments, so please do not read them in that way. I am just trying to promote truth (and its opposite, demote non-truths) and lively debate about achieving the common good.

    You are correct, we can all “conjure money out of thin air” the problem is its acceptability. The value of the dollar is dependent on its supply and its demand. Taxes are what create a demand for government money. I am not familiar with the continentals of the American Revolution, but I challenge your suggestion that the reason for the Confederacy’s inflation was “printing endless paper money.” In their case it came from their inability to tax their people, they had no reason to hold and accept it.

    What do you think gives money its value? It is no longer backed by gold or any other commodity. Even if it was it does not explain why we all hold and use US govt dollars. We hold them and use them because the government demands them in payment of taxes and if we refuse to pay those taxes, we face some kind of punishment.

    As for reality, there are many institutions who hold economic power and who alter our economic reality. The question is: should the government get involved and if so how? It seems clear you think it shouldn’t, I am merely pointing out that it can get involved without constraint of bankruptcy. I would rather debate what governemnt should do, and not what it supposedly can’t do.

    In regard to the article, I see no reason to retire all or any of our debt. I am more than okay with ignoring the debt constraint through seignorage, but would prefer a payroll tax holiday for both employers and employees so that we can boost demand and end the recession.

  • “What do you think gives money its value?”

    The goods and services produced by a population. That is why Zimbabwe can print trillion dollar bills and they will not receive a trillion dollars in goods in return.

    “In their case it came from their inability to tax their people, they had no reason to hold and accept it”

    Incorrect. The States of the Confederacy also issued state paper money as legal tender and that currency was wiped out by the same inflation that wiped out the Confederate currency. The South simply lacked the economic basis for the paper currency being issued. The North on the other hand had stunning success with the greenbacks issued during the war. The worthlessness of Confederate currency was replicated with the issuance of Continentals during the Revolution by the Continental Congress. Paper money is worthless paper unless a country has the economic strength to assure people that the nation backing it with its full faith and credit can prevent the money from collapsing in value.

  • “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know that ain’t so.” Will Rogers

    Whose portrait will be on the $10,000,000,000,000 Federal Reserve Note (or platinum or plutonium coin)? Saul Alinsky or Michelle Obama?

    Deficit/national debt problem solved.

    Brilliant!

  • We hold them and use them because the government demands them in payment of taxes and if we refuse to pay those taxes, we face some kind of punishment.

    An odd theory of money. The reason I hold dollars is because I’d rather make transactions in small paper notes than in chickens or shirts or martinis. You seem dismissive of the whole medium of exchange/unit of account/store of value definition of money. On what basis do you think seigniorage is not inflationary? Or perhaps you don’t see anything wrong with inflation?

  • I see I am not making much headway here, so I will defer to an expert on my views of money. I’m not a quack who thinks he knows everything, rather I am a Ph.D. student of economics who believes whole-heartedly in the modern money definition of money that has its roots in Chartalism.

    So if you are interested in my views of money I implore you to read a short and easy book Understanding Modern Money: The Key to Full Employment and Price Stability by L. Randall Wray or “What is Money” an article by A. Mitchell Innes.

    But I stand fully behind the explanation of hyper-inflation given above (by me), that it is more the inability of the government to tax (and therefore its inability to appropriate REAL resources towards it uses, like wars, infrastructure, etc.) rather than its printing of money willy-nilly without it being properly backed by real goods. If it wants to appropriate real resources to itself by printing and issuing its own money it has to be able to enforce a tax in that money. Otherwise, yes, printing money will lead to Zimbabwe, the Confederacy, or the Weimar Republic.

    And as I retreat, I still don’t think you’ve given me an answer why people demand government money. Why hold government dollars instead of your own money? What makes them so special? I contend it has to do with taxes and enforceable contracts, you say its because it is an easier medium of exchange?

  • Sorry one last recommendation to understand where I am coming from in regard to the taxes and demand for govt currency:

    http://neweconomicperspectives.blogspot.com/2011/07/mmp-blog-8-taxes-drive-money.html

  • Pacem. A. Binder: Good for you.

    I’m a mere conservative, tea party hobbit who is constantly enthralled by academics’ and politicians’ detachments from both reality and virtue.

    Only thing that will save the US is stable, strong economic growth.

    The US debt was 117% of GDP at end of WWII. Since, the debt was never paid down. The economy/GDP growth far outpaced debt growth. That reversed in the 1960’s and 1980’s and 2000’s. Spending has expanded at higher rates than both taxes revenues and GDP growth and development. Federal spending was $2 trillion when Clinton left in 2000. It was $3 trillion when Bush left in 2009. It is $4 trillion in 2011. And, will rise each year if the GOP doesn’t stop it.

    There is one rational (completely absent from DCcrats) argument that might support this huge, deathly debt. I have not heard it.

  • Pingback: What Would The Founding Fathers Think? « Almost Chosen People
  • Alex is right. The ISSUER of the currency “cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations denominated in that currency” — a quote from Alan Greenspan, who ought to know! As Ben Bernanke affirmed: the government spends by marking up balances in others’s accounts. It taxes by marking them down. A deficit means a net addition to the non-government sector’s holdings of financial assets. So-called “fiscal responsibility” misses this point completely. Notice that the private sector is now running massive surpluses. Why is that? Anyone who understands balance sheet accounting knows that it is because the government’s deficits have been large enough too push the print sector back into surplus … Where is belongs.

    And it is sheer folly to suggest that the US has “never paid down the debt”. Anytime the government runs a surplus (as under Clinton”) debt is retired (rather than rolled over). And how did that work out for the economy? The Clinton surpluses 1997-2001 were the longest on record since the 1927-1930 surpluses? Coincidence.

    Stephanie Kelton

  • Why is that? Anyone who understands balance sheet accounting knows that it is because the government’s deficits have been large enough too push the print sector back into surplus … Where is belongs.

    Though to the extent that the private sector surplus is representative of people needing pay down excessive debts they’ve built up, or socking away extra savings because they fear more economic instability in the near future, the private sector running at a “surplus” is not necessarily a healthy sign.

    And it is sheer folly to suggest that the US has “never paid down the debt”. Anytime the government runs a surplus (as under Clinton”) debt is retired (rather than rolled over).

    Well, it’s never paid off all the debt. There have been times when the government has run a surplus, thus decreasing the total amount of debt, but there’s certainly never been a period when the US hasn’t had debt. (Not that I would advocate that.)

    And how did that work out for the economy? The Clinton surpluses 1997-2001 were the longest on record since the 1927-1930 surpluses? Coincidence.

    Frankly, I think this is one of the weaker MMT claims, at least if it’s meant to be cause and effect. It seems really hard to argue that the late ’20s stock bubble or the DotCom era stock bubble were caused by the government running a surplus — though perhaps one could argue that part of the reason for the surplus was that the economy was booming and thus the government receipts were growing faster than its expenses (the which booming turned out to be leading up to a bust.)

    Plus, the 27-30 period was entirely different in that back then the US was on the gold standard — we didn’t have a fiat currency.

  • Darwin–

    Hello again.

    I think you make a good point about private sector surplus. It certainly does matter who takes in that surplus and how they use it. Because of the private sector debt run up prior to the crisis and the subsequent crash, people are needing to pay down large amounts of debt. They desire a larger surplus–more savings. I think it’s important to give it to those most in need through programs like medicaid, TANF, etc., but I also advocate a payroll tax holiday until demand picks up. People will pay down their debt and eventually start spending, and this may mean larger deficits, but demand-pull inflation won’t be an issue as long as their are so many idle resources. So we need more of a surplus in the right hands to see it as a healthy sign.

    About the ‘surpluses lead to recession’…a booming economy certainly can lead to a government surplus of its own accord through increases in revenue. The argument, though, is that gov’t surpluses take away from the private sector who will almost always prefer to take in net savings or a net surplus. So govt surpluses take away the desired savings of the private sector. They also reduce the total income of the private sector. People often will desire to consume at a minimum level that maintains the standard of living they are used to and often times they desire to consume more than that to “keep up with the Joneses”. If the gov’t surplus takes away income and savings from the private sector, when the private sector is trying to increase it, the private sector will respond by taking on more debt to keep up their consumption patterns which is partly what drives a bubble. So I do think, through this reasoning, there is some cause and effect–govt surplus leads to recession.

    Also, MMT is still applicapable to gold standard regimes, the implications are what change.

  • The argument, though, is that gov’t surpluses take away from the private sector who will almost always prefer to take in net savings or a net surplus. So govt surpluses take away the desired savings of the private sector.

    I think you are overlooking the role the Federal Reserves plays in a fiat system.

  • In case my last comment was too obscure, the problem with the argument is that it (implicitly) assumes the Fed does not alter its policy based on what the government is doing. That is an implausible assumption for modern fiat based monetary systems. If government starts sucking more money out of the economy via taxes than it puts in through government spending, for example, that will exert a downward pressure on inflation. If the Fed is targeting inflation, however, it will respond to this pressure by loosening its own policy a corresponding amount, and the net effect overall will be approximately zero. A similar line of reasoning applies if the Fed is targeting interest rates, NGDP, etc.

  • Well, it’s never paid off all the debt

    I believe there was no federal debt for a time in 1835 and in 1841

  • DarwinCatholic said:

    “Well, it’s never paid off all the debt. There have been times when the government has run a surplus, thus decreasing the total amount of debt, but there’s certainly never been a period when the US hasn’t had debt. (Not that I would advocate that.)
    with one brief exception the federal government has been in debt every year since 1776.”

    Again, not so.

    From http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/ppb_111.pdf

    “For the first and only time in U.S. history, the public debt was retired in January 1835 and a budget surplus maintained for the next two years, in order to accu- mulate what President Jackson’s Treasury secretary, Levi Woodbury, called “a fund to meet future deficits.” In 1837, the economy collapsed into a deep depression and drove the budget into deficit, and the federal government has been in debt ever since.

    There have been seven periods of substantial budget sur- pluses and debt reductions since 1776. The national debt fell by 29 percent from 1817 to 1821, and was eliminated in 1835 (under President Jackson); it fell by 59 percent from 1852 to 1857, by 27 percent from 1867 to 1873, by more than 50 percent from 1880 to 1893, and by about a third from 1920 to 1930. Of course, the last time we ran a budget surplus was during President Clinton’s second term.”

  • oops. that last line “with one brief exception the federal government has been in debt every year since 1776” was from the article I provided, not from DarwinCatholic.

  • Blackadder,

    You make a good point, thank you for clarifying. I do not think I overlooked the Fed, however. I believe that the Fed, or monetary policy in general, has less control over inflation than fiscal policy. The Fed primarily targets over night interest rates, or the price of money, which affect the quantity of money much less directly. Monetary policy has more to do with interest rate management than inflation management. The purpose of the Fed’s actions, as long as they are targeting overnight interest rates, is to avoid undue impacts on reserves from Treasury actions, in order to maintain interest rates at target levels.

    The only exogenous variable they set is the overnight rate, which I believe has very little impact on how much banks loan out to borrowers and therefore on the quantity of money (note that despite very low rates at the moment there is very little borrowing because there is no demand for loans because there is no demand for the goods and services those loans would provide), and the rest of their actions are defensive, that is, meant to maintain the rate they set.

    If I didn’t explain myself well enough I direct you to Understanding Modern Money by L. Randall Wray, particularly Chapter 5. Or perhaps this post regarding inflation and an alternative theory of prices will suffice: http://neweconomicperspectives.blogspot.com/2011/07/two-theories-of-prices.html

  • I believe that the Fed, or monetary policy in general, has less control over inflation than fiscal policy.

    In 1980 the inflation rate in the United States was 13.5%. In 1983 it was 3.2% (I could cite dozens of other similar cases, but let’s look at this one). This coincided with aggressive action by the Fed to get inflation down. It did not coincide with any significant contractionary fiscal policy. On the contrary, the federal government cut taxes during this period while simultaneously increasing spending.

    If you think monetary policy doesn’t have much effect on inflation, how do you explain the fall in inflation rates from 1980-83?

  • The idea that fiscal policy has a greater influence on inflation than monetary policy is pretty unorthodox. In any case, I think the evidence, as well as mainstream economic thinking, supports Blackladder’s assertions.

  • Blackadder,

    First, I’m not sure what you mean by “aggressive action.” Volcker tried targetting monetary aggregates for the first time ever from 1979 – 1982 to control inflation and it didn’t go so well, meaning he didnt (couldnt) hit his targets.

    Second, I think that contractionary monetary policy can have an effect on inflation through its effect on aggregate demand. If pushing interest rates up (which is what happened when the Fed let the FFR float in its attempt to target reserves) causes demand to fall, then inflation will fall accordingly.

    Third, I think that people calling his actions a success is a mistake. He did lower inflation through contractionary monetary policy, but in the process helped bring about a painful recession. Under my policy proposals, that wouldn’t have to happen for inflation to be reduced.

    My contention is that inflation is affected more by aggregate demand and aggregate supply and less by monetary policy. Monetary policy can certainly have an effect on inflation if it’s policies have an effect on aggregate demand or aggregate supply.

    As it says in the link I posted:
    “Thus, overall, there are two sources of inflation in this approach, a cost-push source (here summarized by the unit labor cost) and a demand-pull source (here summarized by the aggregate demand gap). Note that the money supply is absent from this equation. Money does not directly affect prices.”

  • Mike,

    I believe that fiscal policy has a greater effect on aggregate demand and therefore on prices and inflation than does monetary policy. I’m not sure what evidence you are referring to or how much economics you have had. I’m quite aware my views are unorthodox as are my Catholic Social Teaching views on economics in general.

    I realize that I have a major uphill battle against the mainstream, but I am choosing to debate others and defend/promote my views in any way I can for the common good of all people. I truly believe that this is right and that understanding it will help us achieve greater economic propserity and stability and thus enable us to focus on a more equitable and just distribution of wealth as well as on social issues that deserve our attention more so than bad economics such as abortion, death penalty, etc.

    I did not come up with these ideas on my own and encourage you to look into it for yourself so that you can decide what you think is right/wrong rather than just trusting the mainstream and the talking heads on television.

    I do not wish to persuade anyone, but rather to help them come to the right conclusions themselves for I, too, was once a mainstream thinker before I pursued the topics further.

    If you want to know more, visit my blog: Christian Economics where you can find in my opinion a wealth of resources on Catholic Social Teaching and heterodox views of economics including the ones I mention in my comments.

  • My contention is that inflation is affected more by aggregate demand and aggregate supply and less by monetary policy.

    This is kind of like saying ‘I believe that deaths from gunshot wounds are caused less by bullets than they are by a lack of oxygen to the brain.’ Both monetary and fiscal policy operate through certain mechanisms. The question, though, was which of the two was more powerful.

    Suppose you have a monetary authority (the Fed) that wants to increase aggregate demand and a fiscal authority (Congress) that wants to decrease it. Who wins? The fiscal authority controls around a quarter of GDP. The monetary authority controls the money supply. The fiscal authority acts infrequently and with a fair amount of notice as to what they will do. The monetary authority is constantly adjusting its activities to meet its objectives. The fiscal authority is made up of people most of whom have little to no idea how the monetary authority works or whether it might be pursuing a contrary policy. The monetary authority is very aware of what the fiscal authority is doing and how it may affect its own goals.

    It’s not even a close call.

    I think that people calling his actions a success is a mistake. He did lower inflation through contractionary monetary policy, but in the process helped bring about a painful recession. Under my policy proposals, that wouldn’t have to happen for inflation to be reduced.

    What is the policy proposal you would have suggested to bring down inflation without a recession?

  • Right, I contend that fiscal is more powerful. I also contend that the monetary authority doesn’t control the money supply (that’s perhaps my main point).

    I agree with your statements starting “The fiscal authority acts infrequently…how it may affect its own goals.” I still think that whether congress knows it or not their policies have more affect on our economy (and money supply) than monetary policy.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying is not a close call. Monetary authorities being aware of their policies and fiscal authorities unaware does not make monetary policy more powerful.

    The policy I suggest (but to be clear its not my own idea; I didn’t come up with it) for both full employment and price stability is a buffer stock job guarantee program. To explain the policy would take a lot of time and I am currently working on such paper incorporating CST principles and will also be engaging in debate with DarwinCatholic over the policy in the near future. But if you’d rather not wait you can read all about it in Understanding Modern Money: The key to full employment and price stability by L. Randall Wray. Wray is a very learned economist and the greatest pupil of the late great Hyman Minsky. You can purchase the short, easy to read, and relatively cheap book at Amazon.

Happy Independence Day! (A Roundup)

Sunday, July 4, AD 2010

Happy Independence Day, folks! — Here is a roundup of some choice reads as we commemorate the birth of our nation:

Following are two books which I heartily recommend for some engaging historical reading of the American Revolution and our founding fathers.

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5 Responses to Happy Independence Day! (A Roundup)

Calling all Federalists!

Thursday, September 24, AD 2009

The Federalists

The Cranky Conservative, Paul Zummo, is beginning a series on his blog on the Federalist Papers.  His comments on Federalist 1 are here. The Founding Fathers created a system of government which has endured for over two centuries.  That is a formidable achievement.  The Federalist Papers, written in the heat of the ratification battles over the Constitution, are the primary text for understanding what motivated those who sought “a more perfect union”, how they expected the new government to function and their arguments in response to the anti-Federalists who opposed the Constitution.  It is easy to draw up schemes of government;  it is very difficult to make them function in reality.  In the Federalist Papers we see at the beginning the drive to create one nation out of the disparate states.  Paul has embarked upon an intellectual adventure in giving an exposition to these theoretical building blocks of our Republic and I urge you to join him for each installment.

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2 Responses to Calling all Federalists!

  • Thank you, Donald. I hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew. But one down, 84 to go!

  • It is a bold task you have set yourself Paul, but I have every confidence that you can meet it! I am certain that your expositions will bring to mind this quote from Madison: “What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty and Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?”