Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Ghost Of Calvin Coolidge

     Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States, was known by both his political allies and political foes as a man of principal. Whether those who worked with him, or in many cases against him, agreed with his economy and federalism or not, all understood clearly the principles he lived by, and by which he tried to govern a nation. The extent of his commitment to the founding principle of federalism was tested in the floods of 1927.
     Mississippi suffered a devastating flood and the affected area's representatives in congress tried to pressure President Coolidge into supplying federal monies to aid the stricken area. Coolidge and his administration had worked hard for years to trim the federal budget, which lead to lower spending when he left office than when he entered and a smaller national debt. A feat that has not been achieved again in the ensuing 85 years since Silent Cal left office.
     One Mississippi representative smugly stated that the president would surely open the spigot of federal dollars if his home state of Vermont had been the victim of nature's wrath. Later in the year that representative's supposition was tested when Vermont was inundated with flood waters that damaged whole towns and displaced hundreds of thousands of residents. True to his federalist beliefs, Calvin Coolidge did not open up the federal vault and start shoveling money to flood ravaged areas.
     Calvin Coolidge knew, as the Founders knew who proceeded him by 150 years, that once the federal government had the authority to distribute taxpayer dollars to special interests, even if those special interests were areas of the country affected by natural disasters, then the limiting factor written into the constitution meant nothing. Mr. Coolidge suffered the slings and arrows of myopic politicians of his day who wanted to garner the votes and adulation of their constituents using federal taxpayer money. It was this kind of myopia that would drag the United States into the inescapable cavern of debt in which we currently find ourselves.
     I was reminded of Calvin Coolidge's probity and adherence to his principles this week when House republicans showed just the opposite characteristics in passing a spending bill that will fund the federal government through September of 2015. A cowardly piece of budgetary legislation in which the issue of executive amnesty and the yoke of ObamaCare around the necks of the American people were absent without leave.
     Some defenders of Speaker Boehner and the rest of his support staff for the Obama agenda may point to the fact that Harry Reid and the Democrats still control the senate until the Republicans officially take control next month. That is true, but the Republican leadership in the House would not even allow the hint of standing on principle with their refusal to bring Representative Nick Mulvaney's amendment to the floor for a vote. An amendment that would send a strong signal to President Obama that this is still a nation of laws, laws created by the people's representatives in congress and enforced by the executive branch.
     I fear for our nation, not because of what a rouge president is doing to it, but because those who should be in opposition have become silly excuse machines that continually spew reasons why they can not achieve. Meanwhile the ghost of Calvin Coolidge haunts the corridors and alcoves of the capital and rattles the chains of moral rectitude and adherence to principles. Unfortunately there seems to be no one left with ears to hear, nor the courage to take up the challenges of true leadership.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Whites Not The Problem In Ferguson

     I have been a little out of the loop lately, having spent the last week settling into my new job. There is of course the inevitable getting use to a new system, new people, and new duties. As any regular reader of this blog knows, I have not written any commentary on the days' events for about a week. Much has happened in that week, as it does in every week. And while the coming Republican majority sounds more and more like that line out of that Bad Company song, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," a city in Missouri burns encouraged by the President of the United States of America, the economy drags along, and Russia, Iran, China, et al thumb their collective noses at the United States and the "world community."
    In the few days since a Missouri grand jury, following the tenets of our legal system, decided there was not a scintilla of evidence to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of street thug, Michael Brown, there have been hundreds of thousands of words written. So the ones I write here will be of no surprise to anyone. I have no startling revelations, or fresh perspectives to share. How could I? One either believes the legal system in this case succeeded honestly or failed miserably.
     President Obama's call for "calm" in the wake of the grand jury's decision was laced with dog whistles meant to be heard by the community agitators in Ferguson and elsewhere to, as he put it in the meeting he had with some of them the day after the mid-term elections, "stay the course." The President's intimation that this country still suffers from "a legacy of racism" is not only absurd, but is fuel to the fire of racial division being played out all over this country. It is a racial division not promulgated by the white community, but by the industry of race-baiters lead by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and even the President himself.
     Barack Obama's racist rant about minority communities needing more police protection by officers that "reflect the community," because of the high crime rate in these areas, is an admission, if made by anyone on the Right, would be called racist. Besides, is it not racism to suggest that only black officers can properly, or should properly, police black communities? And, as President Obama further suggested, that the only way in which to improve police/community relations is for the police department to reflect the ethnic and racial makeup of the community in which they serve? If the problem in Ferguson Missouri was white police, why then were 80% of the shops looted and burned minority owned?
     "Understanding" people's rage over what they feel is an unjust decision by a legally and legitimately empanelled grand jury, is passive permission for more violence and more lawless behavior. It is a condition which George W. Bush called "the soft bigotry of low expectations." Many on the Right have bought into and suffered from this affliction, and the entire Left, including the Democrat Party, have spent the better part of the last fifty years lowering America's expectations for the black community, which has lead not only to the burning of Ferguson, but the unruly, unlawful, and uncivilized behavior by Michael Brown that caused his death and gave rise to racial opportunists to create more division, not less. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Are We In A Constitutional Crisis? And Is That A Bad Thing?

     So now President Obama has taken unprecedented executive action to essentially grant legal status to millions of illegal aliens, in other words amnesty. And while those on the Left make a desperate attempt to justify the president's unconstitutional bestowment of authority upon himself that he does not have legitimately, those on the Right have vowed to stop him by using the Republican control of congress. Well, we shall see about that. My guess is that Republicans will pass a "comprehensive" immigration bill that the president will sign into law, essentially giving congressional enablement to the president's unconstitutional temper tantrum.
     I have previously written that the Republicans have already lost the immigration debate by accepting the Democrats position that the system is "broken" and a "comprehensive" solution is needed. My supposition is primarily supported by the fact that anytime one suggests a comprehensive government solution to anything, the resulting outcome is bigger government and smaller solutions. The executive action taken by President Obama last night was long on Leftist rhetoric but short on actual details about implementation.
     Some on the Right have decided to oppose the president's unconstitutional behavior by trying to convince the populace that it is the end of self rule under the guidelines of a representative republic that the Founders created. And while this president has taken extreme liberties with his authority granted under the constitution, it is not the first, and will surely not be the last time that a president stretches his authority to its breaking point. The nature of executive orders is as a constitutional power granted the president with few guidelines past the granting of a president being able to make such proclamations.
     Abraham Lincoln penned The Emancipation Proclamation without consent of congress, which freed all slaves residing in states that were in rebellion against the Union. I am by no means comparing President Lincoln's executive order to free slaves, to President Obama's to grant legal status to those residing in this country illegally. But to white slave owners in the South, President Lincoln's executive order, with its corollary outcome to free slaves being the destruction of an economic system based on the labor of those slaves, must have seemed as audacious and constitutionally unhinged as President Obama's executive order to issue amnesty to millions of illegal aliens appears to us today.
     Make no mistake, President Obama's executive action is unconstitutional because it usurps the constitutional power given to congress to make immigration law. It also does not follow the traditional purpose of executive orders, which is to support existing laws legitimately passed by congress. Be that it as it may, I do not believe that this executive order is the "End of our constitutional republic," as some on the Right have been lamenting. Since our inception as a nation we have been in constitutional crisis.
     Before those sanctified words were emblazoned on parchment which gave birth, not only to a new nation, but to a never-before-seen system of government, no one could have imagined the governed having the audacity to question the methods by which they were governed. As a nation we have been in a constant state of questioning the constitutionality of government actions. From John Adams signing into law the Alien and Sedition Act which jailed journalists for speaking out against the government, to Franklin Roosevelt interring Japanese-Americans during World War II, constitutional crisis has been the constant companion to Liberty and freedom. And that is not a bad thing, unconstitutional actions by any president are just guardrails on the road of self-governance that draw our attention back to the safety of the solid pavement of the constitution. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Left Summed In One Statement

    I heard a philosophy professor once say, "If you think all that matters is that your heart is in the right place, then your heart is not in the right place."  I am not sure of the professor's name, otherwise I would give him credit. Like most brilliant insights though, its brilliance is in its simplicity. As with any remarkable insight it can be applied to individuals as well as to a group of individuals, in the case of the professor's statement, to the entire Leftist ideology.
     The professor's insight sums up in one succinct statement the inherent weakness of a political philosophy based on emotion over critically thought out positions. It is an ideology that values intentions over results, collective failure over individual success, and pandering to human weakness as a substitute for inspiring human greatness. There is no greater a detriment to the human condition than the essence of the professor's summation.
     As a corollary to the professor's insight above is another such uttering by a classic philosopher that is exemplary of the same brilliance. I do not remember which philosopher said it but he stated, "Hope is the worse evil because it prolongs the torment of man." I have thought often about this statement over the last six years, as the man who was elected on the vague concept of hope has brought only torment to a nation.
     Which brings me full circle to the poisonous conclusion that if one's heart is in the right place, nothing else matters. Even if the action or public policy that results from that axiom destroys lives, instead of reinforcing them. Looking at every Leftist policy of the last half century or more, one can see the instrument of a heart in the right place using good intentions to sell misery wrapped in the colorful language of compassion. This has been exceptionally illustrated in the minority communities. George W. Bush called it the "soft bigotry of low expectations."
     Whether it is a political ideology infecting a nation with the wayward results of misplaced compassion, or it is an individual engaging in similar behavior by giving money to homeless alcoholics and drug addicts, the effect is the same. The benefactor feels a sense of moral superiority, and the beneficiary continues to suffer, sometimes even more so than before they were "helped" by those taking action as a result of their complete devotion to the premise that "their heart being in right place" is all that matters.
    
    

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Becoming Your Own Worst Enemy

     The coarseness of our public debate has been augmented over the last couple of decades via social media and the Internet. It is an affliction that infects the Right as well as the Left. Which is an admission I never would have made prior to corresponding with those on the Right through Face Book in the last year or so. I mainly acquired a Face Book account, and friended like-minded people simply to drive traffic to this blog. But what I found was an odd assortment of the reasonable, the irrational, and the downright kooky.
     I can deal with the conspiracy theorists and delusional paranoids, after all they have some mental or emotional issues which leads them to such behavior. What I find hard to stomach are those who prosecute President Obama for being divisive using the most disgusting and discordant terms possible. They are the very embodiment of a line from a Bob Dylan song that states, "...fearing not I've become my worst enemy in the instant that I preach..." That pretty much sums up some on the Right who engage in the same behavior and rhetoric of which they accuse Barack Obama.
     I by no means am defending the president for his reckless abandonment of constitutional principles, or for his engenderment of warfare between disparate segments of the American population. But if I am to hold him, and others on the Left, to a higher standard, then it must also be applied to his political opponents. And many who I have met on Face Book have allowed themselves to be dragged down into the gutter of human debate by using the language of ideological barbarians.
     These political flame throwers do not only deny respect to anyone who disagrees with them, even those who may be mostly on their side of the political spectrum, but they fail to respect themselves by marginalizing their beliefs with a scatological thought process. True respect of one's own position comes from the belief that it is worth gaining converts to, not repelling potential converts with insult and invective. Some may say they are not trying to convince anyone, but they are keeping the choir "informed" and "motivated."
     There is no gain in preaching a poisonous sermon meant only to spread hatred of political opponents like the president, instead of developing a network of articulation against his policies. If defeat of President Obama is the goal of these "patriots," then respect for the office, even when there is none for the man in the office, is essential. For what does it benefit the constitution to use its charter of free speech to destroy its spirit of civility? For there is no love of the constitution nurtured by the churlish acrimony born of malice of heart instead of thoughtful reflection of the intellect.
     I hope that my brethren on the Right will take to heart what I have said. And if they truly wish to save the republic, they will do it with sagacious intellects, and not the dull tongue of brutish emotionalism. The greatness of the United States of America is in the tradition of thoughtfulness, not in outbursts of emotions that are the enemy of Liberty and the principles of self-government. 
    

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How The Republicans Lost The Immigration Debate

     There was a day, though I can not tell you the exact date, that Republicans acquiesced to the Democrats in the debate over illegal immigration. That day was when the Republicans accepted, as they often do, the Democrats' premise that immigration reform was needed. Instead of the Republicans articulating the roots of their Party that reach deeply into the soil of law and order, they put that concept on the back burner and accepted the premise of a debate they could never win against Democrats.
     The Democrats were brilliant, or maybe the Republicans were just that stupid, in implementing their strategy to fill their voting rolls with a fresh supply of an underclass that would stay dependent on big government and vote for the purveyors of that big government, i.e. Democrats. During the last six years, the Obama administration has refused to execute immigration laws currently on the books, and when border states like Arizona tried to do it themselves, they were set upon by the brown shirt enforcement arm of the Obama administration; Eric Holder and the Justice Department.
     The refusal by the administration to enforce existing immigration laws created a border crisis exponentially greater than what had existed, and which could have been resolved with stricter enforcement of current laws and beefed up border security. This placed Republicans in the position of articulating how the system for dealing with illegal immigration was not "broken", or giving into the Democrats' premise of a crisis they deliberately created. The Republicans chose the latter, and from that day forward put themselves in a position that was going to be subservient to the Democrat position no matter what they did.
     The proof of this capitulation by congressional Republicans is the amnesty bill masquerading as a "comprehensive" immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last year, with Republican senators lining up to curry favor with the Hispanic voting bloc, and creating quite the pandering spectacle. As if their pandering, or all the pandering in the world, was going to drive Hispanic voters away from Democrats into the arms of Republicans. The presidential election of 2012 proved that even if that happened it would have to be to such a great extent as to be out of reach for Republicans simply by passing amnesty.
     According to Byron York of the Washington Examiner, Mitt Romney would have had to secure the votes of 73% of Hispanic community in order to have won the presidency. And this after having pandered to the all important "independent" vote, which he received the lion's share of and still lost. When are Republicans going to quit following the advice of Democrats for how they can win elections, and stand on their conservative principles which when articulated well always win?
     One thing is for sure, no matter what President Obama does with regards to executive amnesty, the Republicans lost this debate when they did not initially stand on the principle of law and order and demand that the federal government enforce its current immigration laws and build better border security. Instead they have accepted that the immigration system is "broken" and needs a big government solution that has its roots in amnesty, an idea pushed by Democrats for their own political advantage.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Glenn Beck's Convenient Letter

     I never liked people like Glenn Beck, you know the type, the smartass kid in the school yard who insists on possessing knowledge no one else has, even if it is not true, just so he can assert the subterfuge of his superiority. Or the disgruntled teenager who thinks his parents are purposely plotting against his happiness. And as adults we have all worked with folks, who like Mr. Beck, are always spreading rumors about the company's impending demise. No one knows for sure why persons suffering such affliction behave in such a manner, but they have kept research psychologists flush with material for at least a century.
     I am not saying I necessarily disagree with Glenn Beck's assertions about how President Obama and other Progressives have slowly eroded the soil from around the edifice of freedom. But where others take a reasoned approached to this encroachment, Mr. Beck works hard to lead his legions of lemmings to leap off the cliffs of common sense into the chasm of irrationality. The mechanisms he uses are his radio show and books, all aimed to give substance and authority to his delusional theories in order to increase his audience for the former and unit sales for the latter.
     The latest drivel I heard rolling off the tongue of this modern day P.T. Barnum is that all of history as we previously knew it is a lie created by the Progressives for the last hundred years. His "evidence" for such a claim is a letter found in a box belonging to Upton Sinclair which was purchased at auction by one of Mr. Beck's votarients. This one letter, which Glenn Beck never even questioned the authenticity of because it supported his agenda to serve up more conspiracy slop to his masses, proves that Progressives have engineered the manufacturing of history with the willing participation of the press (which is what the media was called in the days when there was only the print medium).
     The Progressive movement was not that formulated back in the early 1900s to engage in such an elaborate scheme as Mr. Beck and his "letter" suggest." The movement began in the Republican Party with Theodore Roosevelt, and Calvin Coolidge even considered himself a devotee of the ideology for a time. The movement flowed between parties and ideologies, sometimes firmly planted in the garden of the Right, and sometimes drifting into the garden of Leftism. It was not really until the Franklin Roosevelt administration that the Progressive movement became the Leftist ideology we know today.
     Of course the real trajectory of history does not suit the purposes of Glenn Beck, it is much to gray to fit into his black and white world. So he must twist and mangle the limbs of history to fit into his conspiratorial casket. The reason is simple; he wants to sell more books, increase his radio and cable audience, and keep his empire based on doom and gloom propped up with the stilts of deception. The persons who buy into Mr. Beck's special brand of self-aggrandizing delusion will find themselves poorer for the experience, both financially, as those who bought gold on Mr. Beck's recommendation and have lost up to a third of their investment, and in piece of mind that never comes as a result of believing conspiracies.