Sunday, March 29, 2009

What's My Line?

Some may be old enough to remember this TV game show in the 1950's. The panel would be blindfolded as the mystery celebrity appeared on the show. Listening to him they would try to figure out who he was. Instead of listening you can read and try to figure out who this person is.

I was born on an island, and my parentage, as others have sneered was irregular. After my birth my ne'er-do-well father deserted me. In my early teens my mother was lost to me too. It was left up to others to give me an opportunity to receive a good education, and I was able to continue my studies on the mainland at a prominent university in the northeast.

There is no doubting that I was serious about college, and I was ambitious and impatient to make my way in the world. It is this manipulative ability, this capacity to use people as a means to what I conceive to be a higher end, that describes me best. This higher end or purpose of mine in the years from, say '77 to '01, was the construction of my own political utopia in America.

I searched for ways to remedy the defects of the union by strengthening the central government at the expense of the states.

To my acquaintances I proposed my own system of government which, while not ideal since the people, I believed, were agog with republicanism and incapable of political realism-came closest to the limited monarchy I secretly preferred. The chief executive and senators should hold office for life, subject only to good behavior. The president must have a veto over all Federal and state laws, he held, in order to balance a democratic lower house against the propertied interest of the senate. And, finally, governors of the states-mere administrative units in my conception-should be appointed by the president, whose only check would be from congress and a Federal judiciary empowered to declare laws unconstitutional.

Consider one of the republicans who came over to my position, I revolutionized his mind. I always pride myself on having my way with people. In boldly arguing this scheme of government I am likewise trying to manipulate other highly influential men, national opinion-makers, into a favorable attitude towards what I consider a more realistic plan of government which I know to be too advanced for them to accept.

I now am bending this nation more and more to my will by defeating the strong, resisting forces of localism and tradition.The empire of my vision is the modern, totalitarian state. I see the only hope for passion-driven man in the absolute security of the Leviathan state. There are no exemption from the imperfections, the weaknesses, and the evils incident to society in every shape. Not the protection of their natural rights to life, liberty, and property, but the lust for power, is the motive of men in political associations.

This pessimism about man left to himself, this fear of man's arbitrariness, is what motivates me to seek more and more centralization of government so as to save men from themselves. I am prepared to choose security as against liberty if the choice must be made. But in my mind, it is not really security but the "general good" that must be served. Interspersed among my writings is this phrase and many other terms like "the public safety," "the public interest," and even "the general will," all vaguely describing what I view as that transcending, ultimate end to which politics is only a means. The first thing in all great operations of such a government as ours is to secure the opinion of the people. Public opinion is "the governing principle of human affairs," and I have no doubt that it can be conditioned to accept the totalitarian state that alone could prevent the abuse of human liberty. How can I save other men from their own destructive, selfish passions except by rendering them impotent as moral agents before the ethical state.

They are vicious, their passions may be operated upon. Take mankind as they are, and what are they governed by? Their passions. There may be in every government a few choice spirits, who may act from more worthy motives. One great error is that we suppose mankind more honest than they are. Our prevailing passions are ambition and interest; and it will ever be the duty of a wise government to avail itself of the passions, in order to make them subservient to the public good, for these ever induce us to action.

My critics have no theory, no general principles. Can that man be a systematic or able statesman who has none? I believe not. No general principles will hardly work much better than erroneous ones. I, in my utopian scheme for a great Federal power, am prepared to use immoral means, and, I never subscribed to the Declaration of Independence with its doctrine of the natural rights of the person.

I never understood the Western concept of the individual and his inalienable rights. I justify coercion of the individual in order to achieve the perfect society of my dream. Freedom is a great treasure, but it must be organized against abuse. Unrestrained man's freedom degenerates into license and anarchy.

I do not realize that society, the state, or any organization exists for the good of the individual and not vice versa. I reject the principle that man must be free to use his faculties, to act on his own initiative, employing his own means towards the end that he has chosen, without the regimentation of the state. As a social engineer who finds man depraved and unpredictable, I'm committed to "liberating" man from himself by trying to force him into static political and financial classes and structures which can then be absorbed by the total state into a transcendent unanimity. I am not preoccupied with man, but his social relations. Factionalism must be prevented, even if it means the sacrifice of personal liberty. Ideological consensus would make factionalism unnecessary, since factionalism is a kind of alienation which must disappear once men come to realize where their real interest lay and praxis is at last achieved.

Government, the Declaration notwithstanding, is not based upon some fabled consent in the past, but upon accepted conventions. Its validity is not to be found in natural law and its self-evident truths of reason but in utility, There are, hence, no rationally discoverable absolute truths and values to limit the modern state in its self-aggrandizement.

The preamble of the Federal Constitution, lodging all power and initiative in We The People, is enough to mar the charter in my estimation; for how could the impure, the non-chosen organize a true common-wealth? My basic premise is that of all utopians, religious and secular: man's corrupted nature, issuing in license rather than freedom, must be restrained by government, which can only be organized by the chosen. Only in this way can man be made to overcome his selfishness and live in the ideal society where his own good is transcended by the public good. To this end, the realization of the secular, where public virtue will replace private greed, the Federal government must have much more power than the Constitution provides. This means attacking the principle of subsidiarity in the Constitution where the rights of persons and states are protected against the encroachment of the central government.

Republicans recognition, in varying degrees, is that justice, and ultimately charity, alone binds the good society together. My philosophy of man and society is mechanistic and cold, legalistic in the extreme.

My motivation for the nation's economy is not moral but political, reminiscent of the old mercantilists and appropriation of government for their own economic purposes. In principle, treating man as a means rather than an end; and while this politicized economy at first serves my centralistic purpose by wedding the money interest to the national state, it has led to cartels and other international combinations which dominate states rather than serve them. Corporate systems, with incomes greater than some modern states, are creating a new kind of internationalism. This is the paradox. Only the small entrepreneur and the small holder of property, marginal in my theory of the state, remain in the low condition to which I relegate them and continue to decrease in number as huge, international corporations multiply. Special interests, not the "common good," prevail and tyrannize over nations and their people.

I am Alexander Hamilton

I was in a philosophical kind of mood on this Sunday, and I used my hand dandy search engine with the key words - Alexander Hamilton ruling class that brought me to this web article - Alexander Hamilton: From Caesar to Christ

To be fair to Alexander Hamilton, in the final tragic years of his life he became a Christian, and he sincerely repented of his past sins. An excerpt:

This dilemma of choosing between Caesar and Christ in the most personal, existential sense could be resolved in only one way. In his final letter to Eliza, written at 10:00 P.M. the eve of the fatal interview, Hamilton described what he would do:

The scruples of a Christian have determined me to expose my own life to any extent rather than subject myself to the guilt of taking the life of another. This much increases my hazards, and redoubles my pangs for you. But you had rather I should die innocent than live guilty. Heaven can preserve me, and I humbly hope will; but in the contrary event I charge you to remember that you are a Christian. God's will be done! The will of a merciful God must be good.

Then, in a tender gesture of love for his dead son, Philip, and all his children, Hamilton lay down next to twelve-year-old John and recited with him the Lord's prayer.

The next morning, July 11, 1804, Hamilton was mortally wounded by Aaron Burr as they faced each other, nationalist and disunionist', or the last time on the banks of the Hudson. The evil passions of man, which Hamilton had sought futilely to transcend mechanically in some visionary social and political system, were now overcome and transcended spiritually in Hamilton himself by an act of love for his fellow man in Christ. As he had said he would, in his letter to Eliza and in a memorandum discovered after his death, Hamilton had reserved and thrown away his first fire, even his second.

As he lay dying in the bosom of his loving family, one thing alone remained for Hamilton. He sent for Bishop Richard Moore, Episcopalian bishop of New York, and begged to be united to the church by receiving Holy Communion. "Do you sincerely repent of your sins past? Have you a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of the death of Christ? And are you disposed to live in love and, charity with all men?" Yes, yes, yes. "I have no ill-will against Colonel Burr. I met him with a fixed resolution to do him no harm. I forgive all that happened."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Boehner & Cantor Missed an Opportunity-Don't Hold a Grudge Against Them

The House passes punishing taxes on AIG and other bonuses as reported by a local TV station in Portland, OR. I got this link using my handy dandy tool bar, by the way.

I think that Boehner and Cantor missed an opportunity the whip the entire Republican members of the House to vote "Present" on this bill. Here is why I wish they had chosen this strategy. This so-called "outrage" of the money, reported in the media over the weekend, to traders in the unit that nearly brought about the company's collapse was intended to be channeled by Obama and the Democrats in Congress away from them. They manufactured the circus atmosphere to channel the outrage toward the recipients of the bonuses so the outrage would not be directed toward them. Democrats were responsible for removing a provision, originally contained in stimulus legislation, to ban such bonuses. So, we should channel our outrage toward all but seven House Democrats, and all the Senate Democrats plus three Senate Republicans who voted Aye for this stimulus bill. We should channel our outrage toward Obama who signed this bill into law. This is one of the few times when the House Republicans could rightfully say that they were mere spectators to the "circus in town." None of the House Republicans had voted for a bill that allowed for the bonuses to be awarded. I also think it would have been easier to whip them to vote "Present" than it was to whip them to vote "Nay."

Now I expect that some are going to tell me how this tax bill is so wrong that the only acceptable vote is "Nay." I will not argue with you on the merits because I do not disagree with you. The point I am making is that this bill and the outrage was a sideshow circus, and it was going to pass in the House without the 85 House Republicans who voted "Aye." If you're creating a circus you may as well have some spectators. Politicians are sometimes weaklings, and some did not want to be put on the spot in their district of supporting bonuses to the traders who nearly brought about the collapse of AIG. They could have went back to their district and explained that they had no reason to participate in a circus that was not of their making. They had voted against the Stimulus bill, and they had no reason to paper over a mistake because they did not make it.

Finally, I ask that we not hold a grudge against all 85 House Republicans who voted "Aye." Yes, they were wrong on this vote, but most of the time they vote right and are working on our behalf instead of working against us. We need to increase our numbers instead of decrease our numbers by eating our own. I agree with writing and calling them for this wrong-headed vote. After you have made clear to them how you really feel about it please do not continue an ongoing grudge against them.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Well, who were these Capitalists?

HUAC Hearings on Capitalist Infiltration of the Motion-Picture Industry, 2009-10

Testimony of Kelsey Grammer

MR. FRANK. Now, what is your present occupation?

MR. Grammer. Actor....

MR. FRANK. You understand that we desire to learn the true extent, past and present, of Capitalist infiltration into the theater field in Hollywood, and the committee asks your cooperation in developing such information. There has been considerable testimony taken before this committee regarding a number of organizations in Hollywood, such as the Actors' Laboratory; Actors' Laboratory Theater; Associated Film Audiences-Hollywood Branch; Citizens' Committee for Motion-Picture Strikers; Film Audiences for Democracy or Associated Film Audiences; Hollywood Anti-Nazi League or Hollywood League Against Nazism; Hollywood Independent Citizens' Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions; Hollywood League for Democratic Action; Hollywood Motion-Picture Democratic Committee; Hollywood Peace Forum; Hollywood Theater Alliance; Hollywood Writers' Mobilization; Motion Picture Artists' Committee; People's Educational Center, Los Angeles; Mooney Defense Committee- Hollywood Unit; Progressive Citizens of America; Hollywood Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions; Council of the PCA; Southern California Chapter of the PCA; Workers School of Los Angeles.

Have you been connected or affiliated in any way with any of those organizations?

MR. Grammer. I have....

MR. FRANK. Will you tell the committee whether or not in your experience in Hollywood and as a member of these organizations to which you have testified there were to your knowledge Capitalists in these various organizations which I have referred to, particularly those that you were a member of?

MR. Grammer. I think I can say "Yes" to that.

MR. FRANK. Well, who were these Capitalists?

MR. Grammer. There were people in the Actors' Lab, for instance--this, in my opinion, was not a Capitalist organization in any sense of the word. As in any organization, it has all colors of political philosophy....

MR. FRANK. Well, were there Capitalists attached to these other organizations which you say you were a member of?

MR. Grammer. This I'm not familiar with. I don't know. I don't know who else was a member of them besides myself.

MR. FRANK. Your answer is because you do not recall who were members of these other organizations?

MR. Grammer. I think that is the gist of my answer; yes.....

MR. FRANK. Well, what was your opportunity to know and to observe the fact that there were Capitalists in [the Actors' Laboratory]?

MR. Grammer. May I answer this fully and in my own way?

MR. FRANK. I would like for you to....

MR. Grammer. I am not a Capitalist. I would like to point out that in my opinion there is a great difference between--and not a subtle difference--between being a Capitalist, 10 years ago, and being a Capitalist now. To my mind this is a great difference and not a subtle one....

As I say, I am not a Capitalist. I was a member of the Capitalist Party when I was a much younger man, 10 years ago. I was a member of the Capitalist Party....

Being a member of the Capitalist Party fulfilled certain needs of a young man that was liberal in thought, idealistic, who was for the underprivileged, the underdog. I felt that it fulfilled these particular needs. I think that being a Capitalist in 2009 in this particular situation is an entirely different kettle of fish when this is a great power that is trying to take over the world. This is the difference....

MR. FRANK. In other words, you didn't realize that the purpose and object of the Capitalist Party was to take over segments of the world earlier, but you do realize that that is true in 2009? Is that the point you are making?

MR. Grammer. Well, I would like to say this: That this is in no way an apology for anything that I have done, you see, because I feel I have done nothing wrong ever. Question of judgment? This is debatable. I feel that as far as I am concerned that earlier, as far as I knew it, the purposes as I knew them fulfilled...certain idealism, certain being for the underdog, which I am today this very minute....

I wasn't particularly interested in it after I did become a member. I attended very few meetings, and I drifted away from it the same way that...I drifted into it....To the best of my recollection, I petered out later

REPRESENTATIVE LYNCH (HUAC Committee Member). Who would call these meetings together?....

MR. Grammer. I would prefer not to mention names under these circumstances....

REPRESENTATIVE Maloney (HUAC COMMITTEE chairman). Mr. Grammer, in what way do you feel it would be injurious, then, to them to divulge their identities, when you expressed the opinion that at no time did they do wrong?

MR. Grammer. This brings up many questions on a personal basis, Mr. Congressman, as an actor....One of the reasons is that as an actor my activity is dependent a great deal on the public. To be called before this committee at your request has a certain inference, a certain innuendo that you are not loyal to this country. This is not true. I am speaking for myself. This is not true. But the inference and the innuendo is there as far as the public is concerned....

MR. Maloney. Don't you feel the public is entitled to know about [Capitalist infiltration of the motion picture industry]?

MR. Grammer. I certainly do, and I am opening myself wide open to any question that you can ask me. I will answer as honestly as I know how. And at this particular time, as I say, the industry is--it's like taking a pot shot at a wounded animal, because the industry is not in as good a shape today as it has been, economically I'm speaking. It has been pretty tough on it. And, as I say, this is a great industry, and I don't say this only because it has been kind to me. It has a very important job to do to entertain people, in certain respects to call attention to certain evils, but mainly to entertain, and in this Ifeel that they have done a great job. Always when our country has needed help, the industry has been in the forefront of that help....

On the question of naming names, it is my honest opinion that the few people that I could name, these names would not be of service to the committee at all. I am sure that you know who they are. These people I feel honestly are like myself, and I feel I have done nothing wrong. Question of judgment? Yes, perhaps. And I also feel that this is not--to be asked to name names like this is not--in the way of American justice as we know it, that we as Americans have all been brought up, that it is a bad thing to force a man to do this. I have been brought up that way. I am sure all of you have.

And it seems to me that this is not the American way of doing things--to force a man who is under oath and who has opened himself as wide as possible to the committee--and it hasn't been easy to do this--to force a man to do this is not American justice....

My people have a long heritage in this country. They fought in the Revolutionary War to make this country, to create this Government, of which this committee is a part....

I don't think I would be here today if I weren't a star, because you know as well as I, even better, that I know nothing that I believe would be of great service to this country. I think my career has been ruined because of this, and I would appreciate not having to--don't present me with the choice of either being in contempt of this committee and going to jail or forcing me to really crawl through the mud to be an informer, for what purpose? I don’t think this is a choice at all. I don't think this is really sportsmanlike. I don't think this is American. I don't think this is American justice. I think to do something like this is more akin to what happened under Hitler.

I don't think this is American justice for an innocent mistake in judgement, if it was that, with the intention behind it only of making this country a better place in which to live. I think it is not befitting for this committee to force me to make this kind of choice....

The above is a hearing that has not yet taken place. I took the testimony from a real hearing that took place in 1951. I changed one word, Communist, and replaced it with the word Capitalist. I changed the actor from Larry Parks to Kelsey Grammer, and I changed the politicians from Tavenner, Potter, and Woods to Frank, Lynch, and Maloney. The hearing in House with the CEO of AIG struck me as a new 21st century version of McCarthyism, only this time the targets are capitalists

Obama - Our economy is very sick

Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid says: "Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told a group of both legal and illegal immigrants and their families that enforcement of existing immigration laws, as currently practiced, is "un-American."

If the President, Senate Majority Leader, and Speaker of the House want to see what is very sick, what is making us sick, and what is un-American, then all they need is a mirror.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Am The Banking Queen

Sung to Dancing Queen by Abba

Banking Queen




You can build.

You can buy.

Any house your heart desires.

Oo zero down.


I am the banking queen.

first verse

Friday night and your cash is low.

I know a place that you can go.

Oh, get your house and use it.

Go ahead abuse it.

You can do anything.

Go out and have a fling.

I am the banking queen.

Old and sweet didn't do a thing.

Banking queen.

Don't complain or you'll hear me scream oh yeah.

repeat chorus

second verse

Told the bankers hey you guys.

Make the loans or it's your behind.

My friends at Fannie sure need it.

Do it my way or beat it

Why are the stocks crashing?

That doesn't mean a thing.

I'm still the banking queen.

Never spanked for a single thing.

Banking queen.

Don't complain or you'll hear me scream oh yeah.

repeat chorus fade out

Paul Shanklin wrote these lyrics as a parody song about Rep. Barney Frank, but an article by Michelle Malkin reveals how Barney is in for some strong competition from Rep. Maxine Waters. an excerpt from her article:

At a flail-and-wail House hearing last month, California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters melted down in front of big banking CEOs. "Raise your hand! Raise your hand!" she shrieked as she harangued the executives on their business practices and management of federal bailout money. Sneering at the "captains of the universe," whom she refused to address by name ("You, Bank of America!"), Waters excoriated the corporate heads for their greed.

Fast-forward a month later. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the high-and-mighty Waters had a personal and financial stake in Boston-based OneUnited, a minority bank that received $12 million in TARP money under smelly circumstances. The banks' executives donated $12,500 to her congressional campaigns. Her husband, Sidney Williams, was an investor in one of the banks that merged into OneUnited.

Waters (along with Frank) participated directly in pressuring the feds for OneUnited's piece of the bailout pie. She personally contacted the Treasury Department last December requesting $50 million for the company -- and failed to disclose her ties to the bank to them. The government ended up coughing up $12 million in TARP funding for OneUnited -- despite another government agency rapping the bank in October 2008 for "operating without effective underwriting standards and practices," "operating without an effective loan documentation program" and "engaging in speculative investment practices."

Oh, and get this: The favored bank of Maxine Waters was also penalized for alleged excessive executive compensation. The FDIC ordered the bank to "sell all bank-owned automobiles," require reimbursement for executives' car purchases (according to the Boston Business Journal, OneUnited CEO Kevin Cohee was cruising around in a 2008 Porsche SUV), and cease payments on a $6 million Santa Monica beachfront home purchased by Cohee, his wife, Teri Williams, who served as bank president, and others.

Responding to scrutiny of the bank's special treatment, Cohee is now accusing critics of -- yep, you guessed it -- racism.

Now, who is sick of Democratic shakedown artists sanctimoniously lecturing others about the culture of corruption? Raise your hand! Raise your hand!

I raise my hand, and I have a question for elected Republican and conservative members of Congress. When are you going to start attacking these vile people in the House the way it was done in the early 1990's? Are you so cowed and timid that you have to leave it up to Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, or Rush Limbaugh to attack these folks? Come on, grow a spine and show some leadership. My grandchildrens' future depends on it.

She Turned Me Into a Newt?...a Newt?...I Got Better

Anyone familiar with Monty Python understands where I got the title for this diary. The photo is a disturbing reminder of a flirtatiion that Newt Gingrich had recently with the "issue" of global climate change. The quote of the week below is hopefully a sign that he has gotten better.


I've lived through '64, '74 and '92. In '64 we were beaten so badly people talked about whether the party had a future. By '66, Lyndon Johnson had gone so far to the left and split the Democratic Party and we gained 47 House seats and picked up a bunch of governorships and Senate seats. Since 1968 you have not elected an overt liberal in 40 years. In '74 to '76, we had Watergate and a bad recession and then a Reagan-Ford nomination fight. In that period, only 17 percent of the country identified itself as Republican and yet four years later, Reagan won a smashing victory and Carter collapsed under a bad economy. In '92, Bush, having thrown away the fiscal conservatives by raising taxes, lost the three-way race and, two years later, we gained the House for the first time in 40 years and kept it. I know how fast the country can switch.

- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, reminding Newsweek's Eleanor Clift that the nation's political landscape can change at the drop of a dime

I wrote this diary to remind myself and readers that we occasionally need a history teacher like Newt Gingrich that the nation's political landscape has changed in the past, and it can change again. Too often we forget history, and we think we have some new problems that were never faced by anyone previously. Even Newt himself in recent years may have sometimes fallen into this trap of thinking Pelosi, Reid, and Obama are so different than Tom Foley, Robert Byrd, and Bill Clinton.

There is nothing new in the ideas liberals have today than what they had in 1964. For liberals it is all about acquiring power and control by growing the federal government, and by rewarding the special interest groups that spent the money to win the elections for them. These days the environmental activists, community organizers, NARAL, and GLAA have joined the union leaders and trial lawyers as the special interest groups of todays liberals. These ideas of achieving power and control over individuals is nothing new or even specific to any one kind of "ism." You can read about it in history from as recent as Hugo Chavez to the time of King Louis XVI. The package through history has had different gift wrapping, but in its essence is the same thing.

So I hope that when Newt was reminding Newsweeks's Eleanor Clift that he also was reminding himself that his responses in the House in the early 1990's are the same prescription that conservatives should use today.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Votes Are What Count More Than Statements - 2010 US Senate Elections

The U.S. Senate defeated on January 28, 2009 an amendment, introduced by Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), that would have restored the Mexico City Policy to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill.

President Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy last Friday, January 23, 2009, allowing U.S. international aid dollars to flow to nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortions abroad.

Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL)

This policy is not about reducing aid. It is instead about ensuring that family planning funds are given to organizations dedicated to reducing abortions instead of promoting them.

The Martinez amendment failed by a vote of 37-60.

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) was joined by Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), in introducing H.R. 708, aimed at restoring the abortion-neutral Mexico City Policy. This 25-year old guideline establishes a wall of separation between abortion and family planning by ensuring that U.S. international family planning funds directed to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could not be used to actively promote or perform abortion as a method of family planning.

This bill would reverse one of the first acts of newly sworn-in President Barack Obama, who quietly issued an edict late Friday, Jan. 23, to allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund radically pro-abortion organizations around the world.

Smith, a long time champion of the Mexico City Policy defended the policy in the House during the Reagan and both Bush administrations and introduced Amendments to restore the policy throughout the Clinton administration.

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)

One of President Barrack Obama's first acts in office was to issue an executive order to allow U.S. taxpayer money to flow to groups that perform abortions or actively work to overturn pro-life laws all over the world. It's a sad statement about his list of priorities. With Americans facing an economic crisis the likes of which we've not seen in generations, he chooses to enact a policy that will redirect funds to foreign organizations promoting and conducting abortions.

The Mexico City Policy represents common ground. It has allowed the US to substantially fund international family planning without padding the budgets of radical groups intent on spreading the scourge of abortion. Under the Mexico City policy, funding for family planning was not reduced one penny. The President's decision will shift U.S. funding from true family planning programs to programs that provide and promote abortion with little or no regard for the sovereignty of democratic nations that oppose abortion as a method of family planning.

Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

With one swift stroke of his pen, our new President gave the green light for the execution of thousands of pre-born children whose parents will find it easier to deny them the right to enter this world. I can think of no clearer signal to illustrate our changing times, and highlight the fact that after 14 years of relatively easy times, we pro-lifers now face a huge challenge in our cause to protect the life of the innocent unborn children who have no voice but ours to speak out for their survival.

Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

An amendment introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker to the omnibus spending bill, seeking to prohibit the UNFPA from receiving U.S. funding, was defeated March 5, 2009 in a 55-39 vote.

Passing the amendment would effectively have stopped $50 million in the omnibus bill from going to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization that has been shown to be involved in the implementation of China's one-child policy, which includes coercive abortion and sterilization practices.

Rejecting the amendment goes right past the moderate "a woman should have the right to choose" political position to the radical "a government should have the power to force abortion and sterilization in order to control population" political position.

Overview of 2010 US Senate elections for potentially 37 seats

Democratic incumbents

Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas

Barbara Boxer of California

Michael Bennet of Colorado

Christopher Dodd of Connecticut

Daniel Inouye of Hawaii

Roland Burris of Illinois

Evan Bayh of Indiana

Barbara Mikulski of Maryland

Harry Reid of Nevada

Kirsten Gillibrand of New York

Chuck Schumer of New York

Byron Dorgan of North Dakota

Ron Wyden of Oregon

Patrick Leahy of Vermont

Patty Murray of Washington

Russ Feingold of Wisconsin

Republican incumbents

Richard Shelby of Alabama

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

John McCain of Arizona

Johnny Isakson of Georgia

Mike Crapo of Idaho

Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Jim Bunning of Kentucky

David Vitter of Louisiana

Judd Gregg of New Hampshire

Richard Burr of North Carolina

Tom Coburn of Oklahoma

Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania

Jim DeMint of South Carolina

John Thune of South Dakota

Bob Bennett of Utah

Retiring Senators

Ted Kaufman (D) of Delaware

Kit Bond (R) of Missouri

Sam Brownback (R) of Kansas

Mel Martinez (R) of Florida

George Voinovich (R) of Ohio

Judd Gregg (R) of New Hampshire

Rumored to be out of the Senate

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) of Texas (to become Governor instead of Senator)

Johnny Isakson (R) of Georgia (to become Governor instead of Senator)

Jim Bunning (R) of Kentucky (retire)

Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma (retire)

The vile Senators on my list who voted Nay on the Mel Martinez amendment

Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska

Blanche Lincoln (D) of Arkansas

Barbara Boxer (D) of California

Michael Bennet (D) of Colorado

Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut

Ted Kaufman (D) of Delaware

Daniel Inouye (D) of Hawaii

Roland Burris (D) of Illinois

Evan Bayh (D) of Indiana

Barbara Mikulski (D) of Maryland

Harry Reid (D) of Nevada

Kirsten Gillibrand (D) of New York

Chuck Schumer (D) of New York

Byron Dorgan (D) of North Dakota

Ron Wyden (D) of Oregon

Arlen Specter (R) of Pennsylvania

Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont

Patty Murray (D) of Washington

Russ Feingold (D) of Wisconsin

The even more vile Senators on my list who voted Nay on the Roger Wicker amendment

Blanche Lincoln (D) of Arkansas

Barbara Boxer (D) of California

Michael Bennet (D) of Colorado

Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut

Ted Kaufman (D) of Delaware

Daniel Inouye (D) of Hawaii

Roland Burris (D) of Illinois

Barbara Mikulski (D) of Maryland

Harry Reid (D) of Nevada

Kirsten Gillibrand (D) of New York

Chuck Schumer (D) of New York

Byron Dorgan (D) of North Dakota

Ron Wyden (D) of Oregon

Arlen Specter (R) of Pennsylvania

Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont

Patty Murray (D) of Washington

Russ Feingold (D) of Wisconsin

So I have a list of 17 Ds and 2 Rs that the Right to Life organizations should wish to see voted out of office in 2010. I encourage all who care about this issue to save this list of Senators who were on the wrong side of these two important amendments. There will be more important votes coming up between now and November, 2010. I recognize that sometimes it just feels like an exercise in futility to defeat an incumbent US Senator, but the importance of the issues require that we must exercise.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Old World Feudalism vs Rugged American Individualism

Lately there has been a lot of gloomy news, and so I thought I would write a diary about why I am optimistic about the future of this nation. Now not only do I want the plans to grow the size, authority, and scope of the Federal government to fail, but I am also optimistic that Americans are going to succeed. Our nation is not as old as other countries in the world, and we never suffered under the yoke of a feudalist society. Our country was born in the same year that Adam Smith's book, Wealth of Nations, came out.

In the Old World for most of recorded history, people appear to have acquiesced in, and in some ways embraced, a society that was static and predictable. A young twelfth-century vassal could look forward to tilling the same plot of his landlord's soil until disease, famine, natural disaster, or violence ended his life. And that end often came quickly. Life expectancy at birth was, on average, twenty-five years, the same as it had been for the previous thousand years. Moreover, the vassal could fully expect that his children and doubtless their children, in turn, would till the same plot. Perhaps such a programmed life had a certain security, established by a rigid social and legal hierarchy that left little to individual enterprise.

Adam Smith lived at a time when market forces were beginning to erode the rigidities of the remaining feudal and medieval practices and the mercantilism that followed them. Influenced by the ideas and events of the Reformation, which helped undermine the concept of the divine right of kings, a view of individuals acting independently of ecclesiastic and state restraint emerged in the early part of the eighteenth century. For the first time, modern notions of political and economic freedom began to gain traction. Those ideas, associated with the Age of Enlightenment, especially in England, Scotland, and France, gave rise to a vision of a society in which individuals guided by reason were free to choose their destinies unshackled from repressive restrictions and custom. These ideas especially came to life in the American colonies.

Now about 233 years later we have amongst us some vile folks who want to get more power and more control over everyone by turning away from the capitalism and rugged American individualism that has made the United States of America the greatest nation on the planet. Rush gave an excellent description of what these vile folks are going to try to do on January 14, 2008 referring to Tocqueville's volume two, part four, chapter six: What Kind of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear:
I’ve always said, conservatism is hard, conservatism does not baby people. It doesn’t do what de Tocqueville was describing here. It doesn’t keep you a perpetual child. Conservatism doesn’t try to find a way to keep you happy. Conservatism is about making yourself happy and productive and fulfilled and making sure that there are as few obstacles in your path to all that as possible. But liberalism, Nanny Statism, why, it’s easy. It’s the most gutless choice you can make. Just tell everybody you care about them, understand that they can’t survive against the odds and they’re going to punish the people who do. We’re going to try to make everybody equal, and we’re going to make sure you’re as happy as you can be, and we’re going to make sure that you don’t do any damage to the country, you don’t do any damage to the planet, you don’t do any damage to the neighborhood, you don’t do any damage to your house. If you engage in fraudulent or mistaken practices that cost you econonically, don’t worry about it, no harm, no foul, because you were too stupid to know what you were doing in the first place, so we will fix it and make you indentured servants of ours, constantly owing us in the government for whatever pleasure and happiness you find in life, and that will keep you dependent on it and will keep you looking everywhere but yourself for contentment, for happiness, for satisfaction, and for pleasure. That, my friends, is what he’s talking about.

I am optimistic because I believe in the American Spirit described here by Alexis de Tocqueville still exists.
In Europe, nobody cared about making money. The lower classes had no hope of gaining more than minimal wealth, while the upper classes found it crass, vulgar, and unbecoming of their sort to care about something as unseemly as money; many were virtually guaranteed wealth and took it for granted. At the same time in America workers would see people fashioned in exquisite attire and merely proclaim that through hard work they too would soon possess the fortune necessary to enjoy such luxuries.

America was born from a desire for freedom instead of a desire for social justice equality or economic justice equality. Americans believe in equality at the time of one's birth, and believe that through freedom and hard work that different people display differently allow aspirations and a pursuit of happiness.

I believe in the American Spirit that John Wayne epitomizes in the movie, Hondo. The picture at the beginning is John Wayne as Hondo Lane riding his horse.

WaPo staff writer Stephen Hunter wrote the following in a review of Hondo
He was tall and strong, encased in buckskin, his wise eyes hooded by the broad brim of his hat, looking to and possibly beyond the horizon. He was fair and calm. He was tough but not mean. He had temper but not rage, only decency under the muscle. He had a poetic streak and an emotional one; he knew what love was, just as he knew the drop of a .38- 40 from a Winchester carbine at 100 yards and how to knife-fight and fish and swim. He could ride or shoot or fight as well as any man alive, but he didn't seem to brag on it. He killed Indians but he loved Indians; he killed white men but they were low-down skunks. He protected. He made things safe and let you grow. Otherwise he believed in letting alone, doing his duty and setting an example. He didn't order you to be like him, he made you want to be like him.

Perhaps the next time you really start to feel depressed with the news you ought to watch Hondo. It's a great movie, and a great reminder of rugged American individualism that may not be in display so much yet I believe it still is present in the United States of America.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Alexis de Tocqueville Describes Barack Obama's America

In Democracy in America, published in 1835, Tocqueville wrote of his travels through America in the early 19th Century when the market revolution, Western expansion, and Jacksonian democracy were radically transforming the fabric of American life. He saw democracy as an equation that balanced liberty and equality, concern for the individual as well as the community.

America, in contrast to the aristocratic ethic, was a society where hard work and money-making was the dominant ethic, where the common man enjoyed a level of dignity which was unprecedented, where commoners never deferred to elites, and where what he described as crass individualism and market capitalism had taken root to an extraordinary degree.

The uniquely American morals and opinions, Tocqueville argued, lay in the origins of American society and derived from the peculiar social conditions that had welcomed colonists in prior centuries. Unlike Europe, venturers to America found a vast expanse of open land. Any and all who arrived could own their own land and cultivate an independent life. Sparse elites and a number of landed aristocrats existed, but, according to Tocqueville, these few stood no chance against the rapidly developing values bred by such vast land ownership. With such an open society, layered with so much opportunity, men of all sorts began working their way up in the world: industriousness became a dominant ethic, and "middling" values began taking root.

This equality of social conditions bred political and civilian values which determined the type of legislation passed in the colonies and later the states. By the late 18th Century, democratic values which championed money-making, hard work, and individualism had eradicated, in the North, most remaining vestiges of old world aristocracy and values. Eliminating them in the South proved more difficult, for slavery had produced a landed aristocracy and web of patronage and dependence similar to the old world, which would last until the antebellum period before the Civil War.

In Europe, he claimed, nobody cared about making money. The lower classes had no hope of gaining more than minimal wealth, while the upper classes found it crass, vulgar, and unbecoming of their sort to care about something as unseemly as money; many were virtually guaranteed wealth and took it for granted. At the same time in America workers would see people fashioned in exquisite attire and merely proclaim that through hard work they too would soon possess the fortune necessary to enjoy such luxuries.

At The Weekly Standard website is an excellent translation of part of his writing being a timeless critique from Toqueville of Barack Obama's America.

From Democracy in America, volume two, part four, chapter six: What Kind of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear (translated by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop)

I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Here is an excerpt that particularly caught my eye.

It seems that if despotism came to be established in the democratic nations of our day, it would have other characteristics: it would be more extensive and milder, and it would degrade men without tormenting them ...

I do not fear that in their chiefs they will find tyrants, but rather schoolmasters...

It would resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living?

The sovereign extends its arms over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the

most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; it does not break wills but it softens them, bends them, and directs them; it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one's acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which government is the shepherd ...

--Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville imagines a scenario of how despotism could come to the USA. His scenario does not describe an external force coming into the country with gun ablazing to to overwhelm our citizenry by military force. What it does describe is despotism coming from within by politicians who promise to facilitate your pleasures, and manage and control your unpleasant principal affairs so you won't have to think, and in return just let the government be your shepherd. This philosophy needs to be pointed out to everyone who will listen. Just like Rush said yesterday the philosphy is much more important than the policy and process work with respect the network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules that the Obama administration are unleashing upon us. Don't just whittle around the edges on this stuff. Oppose the entire philosophy of authoritarian despots.