American Education is so Poor only 7% in Survey can Name the First Four Presidents in Order

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 13th, 2014

Week in Review

All you hear from Democrats is that we need to spend more on education.  They call it investing in our future.  Which is a lie.  For ‘investing in our future’ is code for shoring up teachers’ pensions.  And keeping higher education doing what those in control of higher education want it to do.  Produce Democrat voters.  Which actually starts in our public schools.  Where they teach our kids to come home and tell their parents that they are ashamed of them.  For all the global warming they’ve caused.  And bringing them into the world in the evil, rotten United States.

These are the things our kids seem to know about.  Global warming.  Slavery.  Stealing land from the Native Americans.  American imperialism.  But ask them to name the first four presidents of the United States?  Four of the greatest Americans ever to live?  Those in control of our public education don’t think knowing anything about them is important.  Apparently (see Rolling Stone, Groupon Show The Viral Benefits of Historical Inaccuracy by Nathan Raab posted 4/11/2014 on Forbes).

In 2007, a US Mint poll showed that only 7 percent of those surveyed could name the first four Presidents in order. A later poll by Marist was not more encouraging.

George Washington (#1) kept the Continental Army together for 8 years under circumstances few could imagine today.  Near the end of the Revolutionary War his character alone put down a mutiny in the officer corps.  He turned down the offer to make him king.  An unprecedented act at the time.  King George of Britain had said if he turned down absolute power “he will be the greatest man in the world.”  And Washington did.  Twice.  His presence was the only thing that got the states to ratify the Constitution.  And his two terms in office was the only thing that gave the United States of America a chance of succeeding.  This is why there is only one man we call the Father of his Country.  And only one man we call the Indispensible Man.  George Washington.

John Adams (#2) was a driving force for American independence.  So much so that King George could not forgive him.  Had they reconciled with the mother country the king would have pardoned many patriots.  But not Adams.  He would hang.  Adams nominated George Washington to command the Continental Army.  He chose Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence.  He worked with Benjamin Franklin to negotiate the peace treaty that ended the Revolutionary War.  And negotiated America’s first loan from Amsterdam bankers.  The first nation to recognize and do business with the new nation (other than France).  And he averted war with France following the French Revolution.  Giving the fledgling nation a chance to survive.

Thomas Jefferson (#3) was the author of Declaration of Independence.  The author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.  And the Father of the University of Virginia.  The three things Jefferson was most proud of and appear on his tombstone.  As president his administration bought the Louisiana Territory from the French.  More than doubling the size of the United States.  And sent out Lewis and Clark to explore these vast new territories.  And he slashed government spending wherever he could.  A true believer in limited government.

James Madison (#4) is the Father of the Constitution.  He wrote the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to encourage ratification of the Constitution.  The Federalist Papers are still referenced today in Constitutional law.  He also helped the effort to ratify the Constitution in Virginia where he battled the great patriot Patrick Henry.  Who feared a large central government.  Madison served in the first Congress.  Where he championed the Bill of Rights.  And, later, supervised the Louisiana Purchase as President Jefferson’s Secretary of State.

It is indeed a sad commentary on our educational system that only 7% of those questioned could identify these great Americans.  And it’s not a lack of money causing this.  It’s a lacking in the curriculum.  Choosing global warming, slavery, stealing land from the Native Americans, American imperialism, etc.  Instead of teaching our kids why the United States is the greatest country in the world.  Because of men like these.  Who put the individual before the state.  Who made freedom and liberty things we take for granted.  Instead of things people can only dream of.  Which is the case in much of the world today.  And has been the norm throughout history.

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Sandy Hook, Gun Control, Second Amendment, Patriot Act, Motor Vehicle Accidents and Partial-Birth Abortion

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 13th, 2014

Politics 101

(Originally published January 10th, 2013)

The Social Democracies of Europe were all Oppressive Absolute Monarchies at one Time

What happened in Newtown, Connecticut, was a tragedy.  The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary took 26 lives.  Including 20 children.  The most innocent of us.  Which has ignited a firestorm of debate over guns.  The Left blames these deaths on an epidemic of gun violence.  Caused by people having access to guns.  So the Left wants to have a real debate on gun control.  To stop this epidemic of child deaths caused by firearms.  By severely restricting access to guns.

Those on the Right, on the other hand, want to protect their Second Amendment right.  The right to keep and bear arms.  Which allowed the First Amendment.  Freedom of speech.  The British colonial governors tried hard to clamp down on the anti-British sentiment in their American colonies.  And to muzzle that anti-British speech.  They sent over British Red Coats to occupy American cities to keep order.  And to find and confiscate the Americans’ guns.  So the first few amendments of the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments) protected free speech.  Gave us the power to protect ourselves from future state oppressors.  And they even included the Third Amendment.  Which states, “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”  Again, further protection from state oppression.

The nature of states is to oppress their people.  Most have throughout history.  Even the social democracies of Europe were all oppressive absolute monarchies at one time.  Where kings could do pretty much anything they wanted to.  England changed that with representative government.  America expanded on these liberties in the New World.  And ever since has been very wary of government.  Until the Twentieth century.  When the growth of government began.  Transferring ever more power to the federal government.  Everything the Founding Fathers feared would happen without a Bill of Rights.

When it comes to Restricting our Constitutional Rights Liberals Trust Government while Fearing Republicans

Those on the Left say the Constitution is a relic of a different age.  That today’s government is a kinder government.  A more caring government.  One that just wants to take care of the people.  By providing generous benefits.  Of course this is how some of the worst dictatorships started.  Nazi Germany and the USSR both put the people first.  Or so they said.  Even their names said they were putting the people first.  The Nazis were National Socialists.  And the USSR was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Socialism is all about taking care of the people.  Yet these nations had some the most brutal secret police that terrorized and oppressed their people.  For there is no easier way to dictatorial power than championing the people.  And once the people stop fearing their government is when the state can take away their guns.  To make that oppression easier.  The Syrian government is currently having difficulty oppressing their people because they failed to keep guns out of the hands of those they wish to oppress.

If you read a history book you will read a lot about state secret police and state oppression.  It’s more the rule than the exception.  When you grow up in a free country it’s hard to believe this.  And when you’re young you think whatever you know and have experienced is normal.  And that things have always been that way.  Which is why the younger liberals dismiss talk about the transfer of power to the federal government.  While the older conservatives who have seen great change in their lives and know history still fear their government.  While the younger liberals grow up believing that government is not to be feared but to be trusted blindly.  They even look at what China is doing with their economy with approval.  Where the government controls the economy.  They like that.  Because liberals believe we can always trust a government more than a private corporation.  Even if that government oppresses their people.  Like they do in China.  Where people still deal with famine in the country.  Rural workers are paid poorly and live in dormitories in the city factories.  And political dissidents are tortured in labor camps where they manufacture goods without pay.

So naïve liberals trust government.  Completely.  Unless it’s George W. Bush using the Patriot Act.  That they fear.  But when President Obama uses the Patriot Act liberals ask, “The Patriot what?”  When it came to secret wiretaps on people with known ties to terrorists the Left quaked with fear over where these abuses of power would end.  But when President Obama starts talking about gun control they haven’t a care in the world.  Because when it comes to restricting our constitutional rights liberals trust government while fearing Republicans.

People killed 37 Kids with Guns in 2010 while Partial-Birth Abortions have claimed some 2,000 Lives a Year

President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  For the best way to advance an agenda (especially an unpopular agenda) was in the emotional chaos following a serious crisis.  Such as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.  The majority of Americans oppose gun control.  But in that majority are some people that they may be able to convince that some restrictions on the Second Amendment is a good thing in the emotional chaos following Sandy Hook Elementary.  Convincing them that guns are causing an epidemic of childhood deaths.  That without guns these kids simply wouldn’t be dying.  A powerful message during emotional times.  But if you remove the emotions and look at some facts you see something different (see 10 Leading Causes of Death, United States by the Centers for Disease Control).

These are deaths by unintentional injury.  Looking at the leading causes of death in 2010 (the latest year of data) for children aged 5-14 you see 1,643 deaths.  About half (809) of those are from motor vehicle accidents.  Drowning came in next at 251 (15.3%).  Then fire/burn at 135 (8.2%).  Then suffocation at 79 (4.8%).  You have to go all the way down to number 7 on the list to get to firearms.  Where we can see they killed 37 children in 2010.  Or 2.3% of the total number of kids aged 5-14 who died from an unintentional injury.  Based on an approximate population of 41 million kids aged 5-14 the total number of kids killed by firearms comes to about 0.00009% of this total.  According to the CDC’s numbers, guns aren’t killing a lot of kids.  Motor vehicles are.  But firearms are not.  So taking away our guns will probably not change these numbers much.  If at all.  So the motive can’t be saving children’s lives.  In fact, one can make the argument that there is a greater killer of children out there than anything on the above list.  Abortion.

It’s hard to get numbers on abortions.  But if you check various sources the number appears to be over a million a year.  Wikipedia shows 1,313,000 abortions in 2000.  Including 2,232 (about 0.17% of all abortions in 2000) that were partial-birth abortions.  Whatever your politics on the abortion issue are one thing regarding partial-birth abortions is clear.  These are human lives.  For the ‘partial’ part of these abortions requires terminating the life of the fetus while the head is still inside of the mother.  For if they terminated the life of the fetus outside of the mother it would be murder according to the law.  And you can’t kill something that isn’t alive.  In fact, an accidental wrongful death of a pregnant woman often results in two charges of manslaughter.  One for the mother.  And one for the unborn fetus.  Assuming there was no spike in partial-birth abortions in 2000 one can assume that number is representative of all years.  Which is far more deaths than by motor vehicle accident let alone from firearms.  Yet President Obama wants gun control to save kids lives.  When he could save even more by simply revising his stance on partial-birth abortion.  Something he argued to keep when a state senator in Illinois.

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FT174: “A good way to hide your contempt of something is to champion it while you attack it softly.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 14th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Left does everything within their Power to help Men Sexualize and Objectify Women

Men are pigs.  They have one thing on their mind.  They objectify women.  Women have to constantly remind men where their eyes are when talking to men.  And if another woman walks by she has to watch his eyes move from her to the passerby’s backside.  Men grope and pinch women in crowded spaces.  Whistle at them in public.  And feed them drinks to get them drunk.  So they can have their way with them.  Even slip them a roofie.  Because they have only one thing on their mind.  Which is why there are prostitutes, strip bars and pornography.  They’re not there for the ladies.  They are only there so women can satisfy men’s sexual desires.

Women will discover personal nude pictures of themselves on the Internet after a breakup.  Think they are in a committed relationship while their man is in fact sleeping around.  Men cheat on their wives.  And bring home sexually transmitted diseases to their wives.  Men look at women as a means to satisfying their sexual desires.  An object.  They don’t want to bond.  They don’t want to cuddle.  They don’t want to talk.  They don’t want to get to know them.  A man doesn’t want to hear about a woman’s day.  They just want to satisfy their needs then roll over and go to sleep.  While the sexual object of that night dresses and leaves.

This is a common perception of men.  Much of which is true.  And it’s no secret.  Yet the left does everything within their power to help men be even greater pigs.  By further sexualizing women.  At ever younger ages.  Free birth control.  Access to abortion.  And now the morning after pill is available to women of all ages without a prescription.  So girls as young as 15 (or younger) can walk into a drugstore and buy this pill.  The left says kids are going to have sex and telling them not to is just some backward, unenlightened thinking from the Fifties.  With these policies the left lures girls into an active sex life.  And even though they can prevent unwanted pregnancies with birth control, abortion and the morning after pill they can’t prevent the resulting explosion in sexually transmitted diseases.  That these girls will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

Liberals call themselves Feminists so they can Indulge in the Pleasures of the Flesh without Political Consequence

This is what the left is doing to women.  Sexualizing them.  And objectifying them.  Yet all the feminists are on the left.  While it’s the right that has a war on women.  Enlightened feminists are liberals.  They’re on the left.  While those who hate women are on the right.  Who want to force women into loveless marriages.  Instead of letting them have the freedom to enjoy casual sex like a man so they, too, can have a career.  Like a man.  Liberals argue that they liberate women.  And the women respond by voting Democrat.  Believing that only Democrats look after their best interests.  And they believe this despite the nude photos finding their way onto the Internet, the cheating and the explosion in sexually transmitted diseases.

Some liberal icons are adored by women.  JFK.  Ted Kennedy.  And Bill Clinton.  To name a few.  Women love these men because they love women.  It would be hard to find more committed feminists than these icons.  But they also share something else in common.  They loved women.  Literally.  All the while they were championing the women’s movement and feminism they’ve been cheating on their wives.  And fooling around with a bevy of young and beautiful women.  Even when their peccadilloes become public women stood by these men.  Because they were such committed feminists.  And these women were willing to overlook these momentary trespasses.  That actually seemed to happen quite a lot.

Men are pigs.  And they have only one thing on their mind.  So how do you indulge in pleasures of the flesh without suffering any political consequences?  Well, first of all you create an environment that sexualizes and objectifies women.  So there is always a bountiful bevy of beautiful women available.  To satisfy their sexual desires.  And then you call yourself a feminist.  So you can enjoy that bountiful bevy of beautiful women.  How can they do this?  Because they are not true feminists.  They don’t respect women.  Instead, they hold them in contempt.  How else can you explain the nude photos finding their way onto the Internet, the cheating and the explosion in sexually transmitted diseases?

Liberals are always Securing their Power and Privilege while Holding those outside their Privileged World in Contempt

Liberals also get the black vote.  Because they say Republicans are racist for always trying to cut welfare and entitlements.  While the left always wants to increase these programs.  Because they care.  This welfare state and their real war on women led to an explosion of single mothers and the breakdown of the black family.  Keeping them impoverished and dependent on the government.  Securing their vote.  While concentrating them in the inner cities.  Away from their posh neighborhoods where rich liberals live behind gated communities.  So they secure the black vote.  And continue with the Southern Democrats’ Jim Crowe laws in spirit.  For although they champion things like affirmative action they hold the black community in contempt.  And don’t want them anywhere near their wine parties or afternoon brunches.

The Left attacked George W. Bush and his Patriot Act.  Promising once they rose to power they would dismantle his police state.  For they champion civil liberties.  And the Bill of Rights.  Which they repeat ad nauseam.  Even during the Obama presidency.  But it turned out that they actually extended the powers of the Patriot Act.  Turning the nation not into less of a police state.  But more into a police state.  The same things they condemned George W. Bush for they are doing on a greater scale.  Further eroding our liberties.  And the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  Giving the state exactly the kind of power and control over us they say they condemn.  Why?

If we can learn anything from liberals is that we really can’t trust them.  For they are like an Old World aristocracy.  Who hold those outside their privileged world in contempt.  And see them as little more than pawns to advance their agenda.  Which is securing their power and privilege.  That’s why they exploit women for their pleasure.  Why they impoverish the black community.  Why they softly attack our civil liberties.  And the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  Because everything they do is to benefit them.  They don’t care about women.  Blacks.  Or anyone else.  And they sure don’t care about the Constitution.  Always willing to violate it whenever it gets in their way.  No.  They care about one thing.  Living well.  With privilege.  And power.  Just like in an Old World aristocracy.

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Gunpowder Treason, Guy Fawkes, Patriot Act, Bill of Rights and V for Vendetta

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 13th, 2013

Politics 101

Robert Catesby, Guy Fawkes and other Catholic Conspirators conspired to Blow up Parliament

King Henry VIII had a problem with Rome.  He didn’t like that the Pope wouldn’t annul his marriage to Catherine.  And he did not like the Pope interfering with his absolute rule of England.  So he told the Pope to mind his own beeswax.  The Pope then excommunicated Henry from the Catholic Church.  Henry said fine.  And established himself as the head of the Church of England.  And turned England Protestant around the 1530s.  Causing all English men and women to live happily ever after.

Well, not quite.  There were a lot of people who wanted to remain Catholic.  And they were pretty adamant.  Just as the Protestants were pretty adamant about remaining Protestant.  Which led them to, of course, hate each other.  A white-hot hatred at that.  For they wanted to kill each other.  And often did.  The Catholics were cautiously optimistic about King James VI of Scotland moving south to sit on the English throne as King James I of England.  Who promised to relax the anti-Catholic laws.  But, alas, he did not.  The brutal Catholic persecution continued.  So some Catholics got together to do something about that in 1605.  And the rest is, as they say, history.

“Remember, remember the fifth of November.
The Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.”

Robert Catesby and some fellow Catholic conspirators conspired to blow up Parliament.  To teach those Protestants a lesson by killing them.  The lesson being that it was wrong to kill Catholics.  Well, the plan was so long in the making it gave the conspirators time to think.  And some began to think that what they were going to do might be bad.  So someone feeling overly anxious about what they were about to do leaked information of the plot.  And they caught poor old Guy Fawkes in the cellar with all of the gunpowder they were going to use to blow up Parliament.  Long story short the gunpowder treason and plot failed.  And most of the conspirators were killed resisting arrest.  Or executed.  But the conspirators were on to something.  As England would be consumed by civil war from 1642 to 1651.  To settle the question whether England would be Catholic.  Or Protestant.  The Protestants won.  But some time later some Protestants, the Calvinists, thought they weren’t Protestant enough.  And for speaking up they were persecuted.  So they hopped a boat and ultimately came to a place we call the United States today.

George W. Bush was the Brilliant Mastermind behind the Treason and Plot to Transform the U.S. into a Dictatorship

Ah, the United States.  The land of the free.  And the home of the brave.  After winning our independence from Great Britain the United States became that shining city on a hill.  Where people came to escape persecution.  Where Catholic and Protestant can live harmoniously together.  And where there is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  Enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.  And the Bill of Rights.  Which provided strong safeguards to our liberty.  Protecting ourselves from a tyrannical government.  Like that we just won our independence from.  So we can have our freedom of religion.  Even for the Catholics.  A free press.  The right to peacefully assemble.  The right to speak our minds without fear of governmental retribution.  And protection from unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause and a warrant narrowly specifying the place to be searched and the persons and things to be seized.

But then came along George W. Bush.  And his Patriot Act.  A conservative Christian.  And the next thing we knew they were warrantless wiretaps on international calls to terrorists.  There was rendition.  Secret CIA prisons in foreign countries to hold and interrogate terrorists.  Guantanamo Bay.  Where we held enemy combatants captured on the field of battle.  Who fought under no national flag.  And who were not signatory to the Geneva Convention.  The United States held these international outlaws in Guantanamo Bay outside the American legal justice system.  And we even water-boarded three terrorists.  The Bush administration even went so far as to use drones to kill terrorists in foreign countries without due process.

According to those on the left George W. Bush tore up the Bill of Rights.  The brilliant mastermind behind the treason and plot to transform the United States into a dictatorship.  This same man they belittled relentlessly for being an idiot and a fool.  This was the guy that was so shrewd and conniving that he was going to become the next Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler or Adam Sutler.  This devout Christian who lived by the Golden Rule.  Who used the powers of the Constitution to protect the people of the United States from further terrorist attacks.  Which he did.  The American homeland did not suffer another terrorist attack following 9/11 during his 8 years in office.

Despite winning the War on Terror President Obama increased the Domestic Spying of U.S. Citizens

But the left hated him.  They attacked him relentlessly.  On television.  And in the movies.  Even making movies on how to kill him.  The political opposition tried to shut him down.  And basically did when the Democrats won both houses of Congress in the 2006 midterm election.  Taking obstructionism to new heights.  And the mainstream media didn’t even hide their liberal bias.  Because the assault on our civil rights was so great.  They saw parallels between the Orwellian future of Adam Sutler’s England in the movie V for Vendetta and the Bush presidency.  Helped along with a lot of imagery of the Bush presidency nuanced throughout the movie.  V’s speech to London was not only an indictment of the Sutler chancellorship.  It was an indictment of the Bush presidency.

But really, now, which presidency does this speech ring more true?  The Bush presidency?  Or the Obama presidency?  Which presidency has been more active in preventing the political opposition from speaking?  It wasn’t the Bush presidency that used the power of the IRS to shut down free speech.  It was the IRS under the Obama presidency that shut down the free speech of the Tea Party.  Guantanamo Bay is still open.  Though President Obama is not adding more prisoners there.  For he has stepped up drone strikes.  Killing terrorists overseas instead of bringing them back to the U.S. for interrogation.  As well as a few civilians who were unfortunately standing near a terrorist during a drone strike.  Even killing Americans on foreign soil without first reading them their Miranda rights.  Something George W. Bush didn’t do.

And then there’s the collecting of metadata from all our phone calls.  Without a warrant narrowly specifying the place to be searched and the persons and things to be seized.  And project PRISM.  The monitoring and storing of Internet activity.  Some of this domestic spying under the Obama presidency may even exceed the authority of the hated Patriot Act.  President Obama has increased the domestic spying from what the Bush administration did.  Despite President Obama winning the War on Terror with the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Which was a campaign theme of the 2012 election.  The president had delivered a knockout blow to al Qaeda who was now on the ropes and in retreat.  Yet with this victory in the War on Terror President Obama increased the domestic spying the government was doing on its citizens.  Why?  For the same reason the IRS harassed the Tea Party?  To suppress the political opposition?  All of this domestic spying failed to stop the Boston Marathon bombing.  And these guys were all over the Internet.  So if they’ve increased this domestic spying but are not using it to stop terrorists like the Boston Marathon bombers (or the Foot Hood terrorist, the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, etc.) what are they using this data for?

So I ask again.  Which presidency does V’s speech ring more true?  The God-fearing George W. Bush who tried to protect the people?  Or the ‘consolidate power by any means necessary’ President Obama?  The president that gave us Obamacare against the will of the people.  A program to be enforced by the hated IRS.  Who have their own armed enforcement officers.  Obamacare also forces Catholics to provide birth control and abortion pills to their employees.  Against their conscience.  Making Obamacare anti-Catholic legislation.  Similar to the kind that inspired the gunpowder treason and plot.  Of which Guy Fawkes participated in.  And who was the inspiration of V.  Giving us the answer to our question.

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Sandy Hook, Gun Control, Second Amendment, Patriot Act, Motor Vehicle Accidents and Partial-Birth Abortion

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 10th, 2013

Politics 101

The Social Democracies of Europe were all Oppressive Absolute Monarchies at one Time

What happened in Newtown, Connecticut, was a tragedy.  The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary took 26 lives.  Including 20 children.  The most innocent of us.  Which has ignited a firestorm of debate over guns.  The Left blames these deaths on an epidemic of gun violence.  Caused by people having access to guns.  So the Left wants to have a real debate on gun control.  To stop this epidemic of child deaths caused by firearms.  By severely restricting access to guns.

Those on the Right, on the other hand, want to protect their Second Amendment right.  The right to keep and bear arms.  Which allowed the First Amendment.  Freedom of speech.  The British colonial governors tried hard to clamp down on the anti-British sentiment in their American colonies.  And to muzzle that anti-British speech.  They sent over British Red Coats to occupy American cities to keep order.  And to find and confiscate the Americans’ guns.  So the first few amendments of the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments) protected free speech.  Gave us the power to protect ourselves from future state oppressors.  And they even included the Third Amendment.  Which states, “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”  Again, further protection from state oppression.

The nature of states is to oppress their people.  Most have throughout history.  Even the social democracies of Europe were all oppressive absolute monarchies at one time.  Where kings could do pretty much anything they wanted to.  England changed that with representative government.  America expanded on these liberties in the New World.  And ever since has been very wary of government.  Until the Twentieth century.  When the growth of government began.  Transferring ever more power to the federal government.  Everything the Founding Fathers feared would happen without a Bill of Rights.

When it comes to Restricting our Constitutional Rights Liberals Trust Government while Fearing Republicans

Those on the Left say the Constitution is a relic of a different age.  That today’s government is a kinder government.  A more caring government.  One that just wants to take care of the people.  By providing generous benefits.  Of course this is how some of the worst dictatorships started.  Nazi Germany and the USSR both put the people first.  Or so they said.  Even their names said they were putting the people first.  The Nazis were National Socialists.  And the USSR was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Socialism is all about taking care of the people.  Yet these nations had some the most brutal secret police that terrorized and oppressed their people.  For there is no easier way to dictatorial power than championing the people.  And once the people stop fearing their government is when the state can take away their guns.  To make that oppression easier.  The Syrian government is currently having difficulty oppressing their people because they failed to keep guns out of the hands of those they wish to oppress.

If you read a history book you will read a lot about state secret police and state oppression.  It’s more the rule than the exception.  When you grow up in a free country it’s hard to believe this.  And when you’re young you think whatever you know and have experienced is normal.  And that things have always been that way.  Which is why the younger liberals dismiss talk about the transfer of power to the federal government.  While the older conservatives who have seen great change in their lives and know history still fear their government.  While the younger liberals grow up believing that government is not to be feared but to be trusted blindly.  They even look at what China is doing with their economy with approval.  Where the government controls the economy.  They like that.  Because liberals believe we can always trust a government more than a private corporation.  Even if that government oppresses their people.  Like they do in China.  Where people still deal with famine in the country.  Rural workers are paid poorly and live in dormitories in the city factories.  And political dissidents are tortured in labor camps where they manufacture goods without pay.

So naïve liberals trust government.  Completely.  Unless it’s George W. Bush using the Patriot Act.  That they fear.  But when President Obama uses the Patriot Act liberals ask, “The Patriot what?”  When it came to secret wiretaps on people with known ties to terrorists the Left quaked with fear over where these abuses of power would end.  But when President Obama starts talking about gun control they haven’t a care in the world.  Because when it comes to restricting our constitutional rights liberals trust government while fearing Republicans.

People killed 37 Kids with Guns in 2010 while Partial-Birth Abortions have claimed some 2,000 Lives a Year

President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  For the best way to advance an agenda (especially an unpopular agenda) was in the emotional chaos following a serious crisis.  Such as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.  The majority of Americans oppose gun control.  But in that majority are some people that they may be able to convince that some restrictions on the Second Amendment is a good thing in the emotional chaos following Sandy Hook Elementary.  Convincing them that guns are causing an epidemic of childhood deaths.  That without guns these kids simply wouldn’t be dying.  A powerful message during emotional times.  But if you remove the emotions and look at some facts you see something different (see 10 Leading Causes of Death, United States by the Centers for Disease Control).

These are deaths by unintentional injury.  Looking at the leading causes of death in 2010 (the latest year of data) for children aged 5-14 you see 1,643 deaths.  About half (809) of those are from motor vehicle accidents.  Drowning came in next at 251 (15.3%).  Then fire/burn at 135 (8.2%).  Then suffocation at 79 (4.8%).  You have to go all the way down to number 7 on the list to get to firearms.  Where we can see they killed 37 children in 2010.  Or 2.3% of the total number of kids aged 5-14 who died from an unintentional injury.  Based on an approximate population of 41 million kids aged 5-14 the total number of kids killed by firearms comes to about 0.00009% of this total.  According to the CDC’s numbers, guns aren’t killing a lot of kids.  Motor vehicles are.  But firearms are not.  So taking away our guns will probably not change these numbers much.  If at all.  So the motive can’t be saving children’s lives.  In fact, one can make the argument that there is a greater killer of children out there than anything on the above list.  Abortion.

It’s hard to get numbers on abortions.  But if you check various sources the number appears to be over a million a year.  Wikipedia shows 1,313,000 abortions in 2000.  Including 2,232 (about 0.17% of all abortions in 2000) that were partial-birth abortions.  Whatever your politics on the abortion issue are one thing regarding partial-birth abortions is clear.  These are human lives.  For the ‘partial’ part of these abortions requires terminating the life of the fetus while the head is still inside of the mother.  For if they terminated the life of the fetus outside of the mother it would be murder according to the law.  And you can’t kill something that isn’t alive.  In fact, an accidental wrongful death of a pregnant woman often results in two charges of manslaughter.  One for the mother.  And one for the unborn fetus.  Assuming there was no spike in partial-birth abortions in 2000 one can assume that number is representative of all years.  Which is far more deaths than by motor vehicle accident let alone from firearms.  Yet President Obama wants gun control to save kids lives.  When he could save even more by simply revising his stance on partial-birth abortion.  Something he argued to keep when a state senator in Illinois.

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2012 Endorsements: James Madison

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 22nd, 2012

2012 Election

The Father of the Constitution nudged the Father of the Country out of Retirement

The Confederation Congress did not work as well as some had hoped.  Despite having won their independence from Great Britain there was still no feeling of national unity.  Sectional interests prevailed over national interests.  Greatly affecting the ability of the national government to function.  Negating the benefits of union.  And offering little respect for the young nation on the world stage.  The new nation simply was not taken seriously at home.  Or abroad.  Prompting a meeting of states delegates in Annapolis in 1786.  Twelve delegates from five states showed up.  The states just didn’t care enough.  The convention adjourned after only three days.  But not before Alexander Hamilton put a plan together for another convention in Philadelphia for the following year.

The states were happy with the way things were.  They did not want to give up any of their powers to a new central authority.  But the problem was that the states were fighting against each other.  Trying to protect their own economic interests and their own trade.  Some could extend this behavior out into the future.  And they did not like what they saw.  States with similar interests would form regional alliances.  And these alliances would ally themselves with some of the European powers who were also on the North American continent.  The northern states (having industry and commerce) would join together and ally with the industrial and commerce powerhouse Great Britain.  The agrarian southern states would join together and ally with Great Britain’s eternal enemy.  France.  And the western territories dependent on the Mississippi River to get their agricultural goods to marker would ally with the European power in control of the Mississippi River.  Spain.  Who were both eternal enemies of Great Britain.  And the centuries of warfare on the European continent would just extend to North America.  Some saw this as the American future if they didn’t unite and put the nation’s interests ahead of sectional interests.

The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 almost didn’t happen.  For there was as much interest in it as there was in the Annapolis Convention in 1786.  James Madison, the father of the Constitution, made the meeting in Philadelphia a reality.  By his persuasive efforts with his neighbor.  George Washington.  Father of our Country.  Then in retirement at Mount Vernon with no interest to reenter public life after resigning his commission following the Revolutionary War.  He could have been king then but declined the numerous offers to make him so.  Happy that they won their independence he just wanted to live out his years on his farm.  Like Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.  Who left his plough to become dictator of the Roman Republic.  To defend the Roman Republic.  He defeated the enemy.  Resigned his dictatorship.  And returned to his plough.  Earning a cherished place in our history books.  Something Washington had just done.  Only taking some 8 years instead of 16 days like Cincinnatus.  His place in history had come with a far greater price.  And he did not want to risk losing what he had earned after paying so dearly for it.  But Madison knew that it would take Washington’s presence to get the other states to send their delegates.  So Madison was persistent.   The Father of the Constitution nudged the Father of the Country out of retirement.  And made the retired general do the last thing he wanted to do.  Return to public life.  As he was already an old man who outlived the average lifespan of Washington men.

Madison didn’t believe a Bill of Rights would Stop a Majority from Imposing their Will on the Minority

It took four long, miserable months to produce the new constitution.  It was a hot and insufferable summer.  And they kept the windows of Independence Hall closed to block out the city noise.  And prevent anyone from hearing the debates.  So the delegates could speak freely.  And after those four long months the delegates signed the new document.  Not all of them.  Some hated it and refused to sign it or support it.  And would actively fight against it during the ratification process.  As they did not like to see so much power going to a new federal government.  Especially as there was no bill of rights included to help protect the people from this new government.  The document they produced was based on the Virginia Plan.  Which was drafted by James Madison.  Which is why we call him the Father of the Constitution.  So Virginia was instrumental in producing the new constitution.  And the delegates finally agreed to it because of another Virginian.  George Washington.  Making Virginian ratification of the new constitution conditional for other states to ratify it.  So all eyes were on Virginia.  For without Virginia all their efforts in Philadelphia would be for naught.  Because if Virginia did not join the union under the new Constitution that meant George Washington would be ineligible to be president.

Of course getting Virginia to ratify was another story.  Because George Washington and James Madison were not the only Virginians in politics.  There was also George Mason.  Who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776).  Which Thomas Jefferson may have borrowed from when writing the Declaration of Independence.  And Mason also wrote the Virginia State Constitution (1776).  Mason opposed granting the new federal government so much power and refused to sign the Constitution in Philadelphia.  And then there was Patrick Henry.  Perhaps the greatest Patriot orator.  And of “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” fame.  Which he shouted out during the Stamp Act (1765) debates.  He was also Virginia’s first governor under the new state constitution.  Mason and Henry were Patriots of the 1776 school.  The kind that hated distant central powers.  Whether they were in London.  Or in New York.  Mason wanted a bill of rights.  Henry, too.  As well as amendments transferring a lot of power from the federal government back to the states.  Or, better yet, no federal constitution at all.  Which Henry would work towards by leading a fierce ratification opposition.

Perhaps the greatest flaw of the new constitution as many saw was the lack of a bill of rights.  This was a contentious issue during the convention.  It was the reason why Mason refused to sign it.  As there was nothing to check the powers of the new government and protect the people’s liberties.  So why did they not include a bill of rights?  Because it was not necessary.  According to Madison.  Who fought against it.  Because the new federal government was a government of limited powers.  It wasn’t like the state governments.  The new federal government only did those things the states didn’t do.  Or shouldn’t do.  Like treat with other nations.  Provide a common defense.  Regulate interstate trade.  Things that expanded beyond a state’s borders.  And what powers it had were enumerated.  Limited.  It did not repeal individual rights protected by state constitutions.  And had no authority over those rights.  Whatever rights a person enjoyed in their state were untouchable by the new federal government.  Therefore, a bill of rights was not necessary.  Which actually protected rights greater than listing them.  For whatever rights they forgot to list the federal government would assume were fair to abuse.  Finally, Madison didn’t believe a bill of rights would stop a majority from imposing their will on the minority.  A tyranny of the majority.  Something he saw firsthand as a young man returning from college.  Where the state of Virginia harassed and imprisoned Baptist ministers for holding Baptist services in Anglican Virginia.  Something he didn’t forget.  Nor did the Baptists.

If James Madison were Alive Today he would Likely Endorse the Republican Candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan

Patrick tried hard to prevent the ratification of the constitution in Virginia.  But failed.  When it came time for the Virginian legislature to elect their federal senators Henry campaigned hard against Madison and saw him defeated.  When it came to the federal House elections Henry drew the new Congressional districts that made Madison campaign in a district full of people that mostly disagreed with him.  Which it took a change of his position on adding a bill of rights to the Constitution to overcome.  His position gradually changed from opposed to being lukewarm to being a strong supporter.  In part due to some correspondence with Thomas Jefferson then serving in France.  And the Baptists’ concerns over rights of conscience.  Something Madison had longed believed in.  Believing religious liberty was essential to a free people.  As the Constitution stood there were no safeguards specifically against the oppression like that the Anglicans imposed on the Baptists earlier.  What the Baptists wanted was a bill of rights.

Madison promised, if elected, to introduce an amendment to the Constitution addressing their concerns.  In fact, a bill of rights would be the first Constitutional amendment.  And he would introduce it and fight for it until it was ratified.  Based on this promise the Baptists threw their support behind Madison.  Got him elected to the House of Representatives.  And Madison delivered on his promise.  Championing a bill of rights through Congress.  The Father of the Constitution also became the Father of the Bill of Rights.  And then it was a knockdown drag-out fight in the Virginian legislature to get the new Bill of Rights ratified.   Where the opposition to ratification was led by none other than Patrick Henry.  But he would lose that fight, too.  And the nation would have a federal government with limited, enumerated powers.  With individual liberties protected by a bill of rights.  Providing a federal government powerful enough to do the things it needed to do like treat with other nations, provide a common defense, regulate interstate trade, etc.  Those things that expanded beyond a state’s borders.  And in the following decade we would be prosperous because of it.

None of this could have happened without Virginia’s ratification of the Constitution.  Which opened the door for George Washington to be our first president.  And helped New York ratify the Constitution.  With the ratification in Virginia.  And the letter writing campaign in support of ratification.  Which appeared in newspapers.  Articles written by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton (mostly) and John Jay.  Now published as the Federalists Papers.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of Madison and Hamilton the nation had a new form of government.  But Madison and Hamilton would soon part ways once Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury.  And took great liberties with the necessary and proper clause of the Constitution.  Expanding the power and scope of the federal government far beyond what Madison had ever envisioned.  Which moved Madison into closer company with George Mason and Patrick Henry.  Desperately trying to hold onto states’ rights and oppose the expansion of the federal government.  Like he would oppose the great overreach of the federal government today.  The transfer of power from the states to the federal government.  And the expansion of suffrage to include those who don’t own property or pay taxes.  Leading to mob rule at times.  Populism.  And a tyranny of the majority.

Madison suffered ill health most of his life.  Stomach disorders and dysentery.  Brought on by the pressures of public service.  If he were alive today he probably wouldn’t remain alive long.  Seeing what has happened to his Constitution would probably kill him.  If he had the chance to vote today he would vote for the party that championed limited government.  The party that would stop the growth of the federal government.  And reduce its size.  The party that governed for all people and not the will of the populist mob.  The party that did NOT govern through class warfare but through sound principles.  If James Madison were alive today he would likely endorse the Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

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American Revolution, French Revolution, King Louis XVI, National Assembly, Tennis Court Oath, Bastille, Guillotine and Reign of Terror

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 6th, 2012

Politics 101

France was Staring at Bankruptcy while her People were Suffering Poverty and Hunger

Shortly after the American Revolution came the French Revolution.  Inspired in part by the American Revolution.  Whose spirit of liberty was infectious.  Some French even joined the Americans in their fight for liberty.  Such as Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette.  Who was a general in George Washington’s army.  And who Washington looked on as a son.  America’s war was an expensive war.  And only through the generosity of Louis XVI, King of the French, did the Americans win their war.  Ironic, really, that an absolute monarch like Louis XVI would help the Americans break free from a monarchy.  But he did.  And saddled France with a tremendous war debt.

These are two things you don’t want to do if you’re a king.  Showing your people that you support the end of monarchy while denying it to your own people.  And making the French people pay for another people’s independence.  Through higher taxes.  And greater privations.  Things that tend to piss off a people.  It was a gamble for Louis.  For he didn’t believe in the American cause.  It was just a calculated bet.  The British had just recently defeated the French in the Seven Years’ War.  And the British took France’s North American territories.  Territories the French wanted back.  The American Revolution was their chance to rebalance the balance of power.  And get back at their hated enemy.  Great Britain.

Well that was the plan.  But it did not go as planned.  The Americans got wind of what the French monarchy was doing behind the scenes.  Which was even in discussions with the British to secure a peace that left the Americans subjects of the British Crown.  With a much smaller territory in the New World.  Leaving room for the French.  And their ally.  Spain.  An outcome that benefited neither the British nor the Americans.  So the British and the Americans made a separate peace.  One that favored their interests.  Not the French or the Spanish.  So Louis gambled.  He lost.  And he lost big.  The nation was staring at bankruptcy.  While her people were suffering poverty and hunger.  And what did these poor and hungry people see?  A very comfortable and well fed king, nobility and clergy.  This was the kindling just waiting for a match to light.

Montesquieu influenced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen as well as the U.S. Founding Documents

That match came in 1789.  And the lighting of that match began with Jacques Necker.  Comptroller-General of Finance for Louis XVI.  Who advised the king that the nobility and the clergy needed to pay more taxes.  And proposed restricting the power of the parlements.  The nobility and the clergy paid little taxes due to their tax exemptions.  While the poor were too poor to help with the financial mess France was in.  So the only hope of raising new revenue was the nobility and clergy.  Alas, the monarchy did not like his recommendations and fired him.  Enter Charles Alexandre, vicomte de Calonne.  Who advised the king that the nobility and the clergy needed to pay more taxes.  Facing opposition from the parlements for proposing unpopular policy Calonne got the king to summon the Assembly of Notables.  A group of notables (like Lafayette) who advised the king.  But the notables did not endorse Calonne’s plan.  So the king called the Estates-General to the Grands Salles des Menus-Plaisirs in Versailles.

The estates were representatives of the people.  There were three of them.  The clergy.  The nobility.  And everyone else.  The commoners.  That is, the Third Estate.  Who grew weary with the way things were in France and declared themselves representatives not of the Third Estate but of the people.  They called themselves the National Assembly.  A radical move.  The first of a lot of radicalism to follow.  Not liking the look of this movement Louis closed their meeting hall and posted a guard in front of the door.  So the National Assembly moved to an indoor tennis court.  And took the Tennis Court Oath.  Where they promised to write a new constitution before adjourning.  Others joined them.  From both the clergy.  And the nobility.

The weariness grew into agitation.  The people grew angry.  And everything the king did just inflamed their anger.  From the firing of Necker.  To the presence of foreign soldiers in Paris.  The people feared royal oppression.  And began rioting.  Paris was out of control.  Then the people stormed the Bastille for weapons and ammunition.  They released all seven prisoners.  And brutally murdered Governor Marquis Bernard de Launay.  The guy in charge of the Bastille.  Beheaded him.  And placed his head on a pike and paraded it through Paris.  Then they went to Paris city hall and brutally murdered the mayor.  Jacques de Flesselles.  Then the National Constituent Assembly (of the National Assembly) went to work on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).  Sort of a combination of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Bill of Rights.  Drawing heavily on the same great French philosopher of the Enlightenment the Americans did.  Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu.

The People who Embraced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen unleashed the Reign of Terror

In America after the U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified by the states the nation went about its business.  With some bitter fighting between the Founding Fathers as they argued over what the new nation was going to be.  But this bitter fighting was of the verbal kind.  It wasn’t quite like that in France.  There they attacked the Catholic Church.  Seized its property.  And sold it to the highest bidder.  As France grew more radical.  Where the radicals sat to the left in the legislative hall.  And those supportive of the old ways and monarchy sat on the right.  Giving us the political terms ‘left’ and ‘right’.  Then the radicals turned against the monarchy.  Created a constitutional monarchy to restrict the king’s power.  Like they had in Britain.  As the monarchy was assaulted the royal family tried to flee France in 1791.  They were caught and returned to Versailles.  Where they were put under house arrest.

Then the violence escalated.  Food shortages continued.  Prices continued to rise.  King Louis and Marie Antoinette were guillotined in 1793.  Control of France fell to the Committee of Public Safety.  And new leaders rose up to take power.  Including the radical journalist Jean-Paul Marat.  Who was murdered in a bathtub by a woman in the opposition party.  Georges Jacques Danton escalated the bloodletting by unleashing the Reign of Terror.  Where anyone who was identified as an enemy of the people or was not quite enthusiastic enough about the revolution was sent to the guillotine.  He was pretty bad.  But then there was Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre.  Who was real bad.  In all during the Reign of Terror the Committee of Public Safety guillotined some 20 to 40 thousand people.  Including Danton.  And Robespierre.  Live by the guillotine.  Die by the guillotine.

The French overthrew their king quicker than the Americans overthrew their king.  But the Americans quickly won their peace.  Without killing 20-40 thousand of their people.  Or their king.  Whereas the French descended into anarchy.  Even executed their king.  Something that appalled George Washington.  For though his motives were wrong and the Americans just rebelled against a monarch of their own, Louis provided the greatest aid to the Americans in their revolution.  Which probably made it easier to maintain a policy of neutrality in the new war between France and Great Britain during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars that followed.  Even favor the British in that policy of neutrality.  For the vast majority of American trade was with the British Empire.  And all of the agreements the Americans made with France during their Revolution they made with King Louis XVI.  A man executed during the Reign of Terror.  A period where the rule of law was thrown aside.  By the same people who embraced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

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Federalists, Anti- Federalists, Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, French Revolution and Hamilton’s Three Reports

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 9th, 2012

Politics 101

Washington looked upon Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson as the Sons he Never Had

With the new Constitution ratified it was time to put the grand experiment into action.  Beginning with America’s first presidential election.  And the system we now call the Electoral College.  Each state chose their electors.  These electors then voted for the president.  Even this first act of the new federal government was a safeguard to keep its power limited.  (And independent of the Congress.)  By keeping the new republican government from becoming a democracy.  The mob-rule that was the ruin of republics.  By putting intermediaries between the people and the most powerful person in America.  The president.  To prevent anyone rising to power simply by promising to shower riches on the people from the federal treasury.

George Washington did something no one has done since.  He received 100% of the vote.  Every elector voted for him for president.  Unanimously.  John Adams came in second.  Each elector had two votes.  One to cast for president.  The other to cast for vice president.  The one with the greatest number of votes was president.  The one with the next most votes became vice president.  As this was a time before party politics.  There were no political parties yet.  But there would be.  And that would change the way we voted for president.

Both Washington and Adams were Federalists.  They both supported the Constitution.  And the federal government.  As did the other Federalists.  Including Alexander Hamilton.  Who Washington selected as secretary of the treasury.  And would be a major player in the Federalist camp.  His fellow Federalist, James Madison, who coauthored the Federalist Papers with Hamilton (and John Jay) won election to the House of Representative.  Where he introduced and fought for passage of the Bill of Rights.  Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, was in Europe during the Philadelphia Convention and the ratification process of the Constitution.  But he supported it as long as it included a bill of rights.  Washington selected Jefferson for his secretary of state.  Washington looked upon Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson as the sons he never had.  And loved them as sons.  But that would change.

Born out of Wedlock Hamilton was Never Accepted by those ‘Better’ than Him

Washington being the first president everything he did set a precedent.  And he was very conscious of that.  As well as his place in history.  For he wanted to be remembered as America’s first president of many to come.  Not the man who was at the helm when this experiment in self-government failed.  This is why he created a cabinet quickly.  Even though the Constitution included nothing about a cabinet.  After commanding the Continental Army for 8 years he knew how to give orders and delegate authority.  And after battling Congress during those same years he became a good administrator who understood how to compromise.  He hated politics.  But he understood politics.  And knew it meant compromise on the little things.  And standing resolute on the bigger things.

Hamilton was Washington’s aide-de-camp during the war.  He was smart and understood commerce.  During the war he wrote to Congress about the ruinous inflation crippling the economy.  And starving the army.  Proposing a national bank back then.  Washington trusted and respected Hamilton.  And valued his counsel.  Which is why he made him his secretary of treasury.  The country was in a mess.  In debt.  And it needed a plan to raise revenue.  To pay for government.  And to service that debt.  Even just to understand the debt.  For money was owed at every level of government.  Which was what prompted the Philadelphia Convention in the first place.  To put the nation on a sound footing to move forward.  And there wasn’t a better person available than Hamilton.  Who remains even today America’s greatest treasury secretary.

Hamilton was brilliant.  And he had grand plans for the United States.  He saw the potential in the new nation.  And he wanted to use the power of government to hurry it along.  He was also aggressive.  And combative.  Born out of wedlock he was never accepted by those ‘better’ than him.  So he spent a lifetime fighting this social stigma.  Acquiring a competitive nature.  Making him unpopular.  And obstinate.  He fought long and hard for what he wanted.  Knowing that he was right.  And others were wrong.  Even though this may have been true at times it tended to be off-putting.  So Hamilton would spend his political career making political enemies.  And it started in the Washington administration.

After Hamilton’s Three Reports James Madison parted ways with Hamilton and became an Anti-Federalist

While the Americans were setting up their first national government France was well along the way to the French Revolution.  And Thomas Jefferson was there.  Returning to the United States the same year of the Tennis Court Oath and the Storming of the Bastille (1789).  The French had a taste of liberty from helping the Americans.  And now they wanted it, too.  France was drowning in debt.  A bad growing season caused some famine.  The people were restless.  Poor.  Angry.  And sick of the monarchy.  Jefferson felt the spirit of ’76 again.  He joined the conversations in the clubs where the radicals met.  Enjoying their company.  Sharing their hate of monarchy.  Despite the French Monarchy having financed most of the American Revolution.  And provided much of the material to wage war.  Didn’t matter.  The people’s spirit inflamed him, too.  And he brought that spirit home with him.  Upon arrival Washington asked him to join his cabinet.  He accepted.  And the head butting began.

It started with Hamilton’s three reports.  The Report on Public Credit (January 1790).  The Report on a National Bank (December 1790).  And the Report on Manufactures (December 1791).  Taken together they kind of looked like a plan to turn the United States into another Great Britain.  At least to Jefferson, Madison and anti-Federalists everywhere.  What they saw was a nation with lots of debt, where the rich get a little too cozy with the politicians and the financiers reach deep into the halls of government.  That wasn’t Hamilton’s intent.  Other than wanting to accelerate the Industrial Revolution in American to the level it was in Britain.  The subject of his third report.  Which was a bit mercantilist in nature like Britain.  But the other two were about establishing good credit.  To gain the trust of the credit markets.  For a country in debt had to be able to borrow money to service that debt.  As well as pay for government.  Putting the nation on that sound footing to move forward.  Which he did.  He lowered the per capita debt.  And the nation would go on to enjoy a decade of peace and prosperity thanks to his economic policies.

After Hamilton’s three reports came the great schism.  James Madison parted ways with Hamilton.  Becoming an anti-Federalist.  Along with Thomas Jefferson.  While still a member of the Federalist administration of George Washington (though he didn’t label himself a Federalist or join in any partisan action).  Cabinet meetings became insufferable.  As Hamilton and Jefferson just hated each other.  Who could only behave in the presence of their ‘father’.  George Washington.  But the partisan attacks took to the newspapers.  Lies and slander flew with regularity.  From both directions.  Even attacking Washington.  Jefferson eventually left the administration but continued his attacks through his surrogate James Madison.  The attacks on Washington got so ugly that he never spoke to Jefferson again.   Who turned into a radical partisan.  Washington was never happier when his second term ended.  The new president was John Adams.  Federalist.  His vice president was Thomas Jefferson.  Leader of the anti-Federalists.   Who became the new Democrat-Republicans.  Which is why they had to change the election process for president.  So the president and the vice president belonged to the same political party.  So they worked together instead of leading the attack against each other and their party.

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The Constitution, George Washington, Patrick Henry, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the Bill of Rights

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 2nd, 2012

Politics 101

The People trusted no One Man with Great Power except, of course, George Washington

America had a new constitution.  It wasn’t easy.  For the American states covered a lot of geography.  And ideology.  These were a very different people.  Who had only joined together in union to resist their common enemy.  Great Britain.  But now that common enemy was no more.  What now?  These delegates who worked behind closed doors for 4 months in some of the hottest and most humid weather had done the best they could.  It was less a triumph of solidarity than the recognition that this was the best anyone was going to do considering how vast and disparate the people were.  So now it was up to the states to ratify it.  But would they?

Good question.  For there was a lot of opposition to transferring power, any power, from the states to a new central authority.  They had just cut the ties to one king.  And they didn’t do this just to submit to another king.  Of course, America would have no king.  For they would simply call their new executive president.  But it was still one man.  And many feared that this one man given some power may take more power.  So whoever the first president was had to be one of impeccable character and integrity.  A true Patriot.  One whose Revolutionary credentials were beyond questioning.  Someone who was in the struggle for independence from the beginning and never wavered in the cause.  Someone the people universally loved.  And respected.  Of course that could be but one man.  George Washington.

This is why we call George Washington the Father of our Country.  For without him there would have been no country.  For the people trusted no one man with great power.  But they trusted Washington.  And respected him.  Would even have made him king they trusted him so.  So because Washington was available to be the first president the delegates in Philadelphia signed the new Constitution.  For all their sectional differences this was one area where everyone agreed.  They were willing to risk having this new central government because they trusted it in the hands of this one man.  George Washington.

When Patrick Henry and George Mason opposed the new Constitution it was Doubtful Virginia would Vote for Ratification

Of course they weren’t just going to hand the presidency to Washington.  But the electors in the Electoral College simply weren’t going to have a better candidate to vote for.  Washington didn’t want the job.  He just wanted to enjoy retirement on his farm before he died.  And based on the longevity of Washington men he was already living on borrowed time.  But he would serve.  Again.  Because he fought too long and too hard to see the new nation collapse before it could even become a nation.  And he had no illusions about how horrible the job would be.  It was one thing giving orders in the Continental Army where people did what he told them.  But it was another dealing with Congress during the war.  Who couldn’t accomplish anything for the spirit of liberty.  As the states tended to look more after their own interests than the army fighting for their liberty.  Leaving his army barefoot, half naked and starving during the winter at Valley Forge.  And through most of the war.

So, no, being the president wasn’t going to give him the peace and serenity he could find under his vine and fig tree at home.  It would just put him closer to the partisan bickering.  But he was willing to sacrifice his own wants and desires yet again.  To serve the people.  But would the people want him?  For it wasn’t up to the delegates at the Constitutional Convention.  All they could do was make their case to the people.  Then let the people decide if they wanted this new government.  And perhaps the most critical state was Virginia.  Which not only gave us George Washington.  But George Mason.  Patrick Henry.  Thomas Jefferson.  And James Madison.

Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death!”  He was a great orator whose speeches could awe listeners.  He dripped Patriotism (even refused to attend the Philadelphia Convention as he feared it would lead to monarchy).  So did George Mason.  His Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) no doubt inspired his fellow Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, who studied the same philosophers as Mason did.  So when Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence you could read some Virginia Declaration of Rights in it.  So his Revolutionary credentials were solid.  So when Henry and Mason opposed the new Constitution (Mason was a delegate at the convention but refused to sign it) it cast doubt over whether Virginia would ratify the new Constitution.

George Mason and Patrick Henry joined James Madison in fighting for Ratification of the Bill of Rights

Mason supported republican government.  But he didn’t trust a large republican government.  Not without a bill of rights.  Which is why he refused to sign the Constitution at the convention.  James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, argued against any bill of rights.  For he did not think it was needed.  For the Constitution enumerated the powers of the federal government.  Citing specifically what it could do.  And whatever wasn’t specifically enumerated they couldn’t do.  Madison feared if they included a bill of rights that it could backfire on them later.  For someone would argue that the Constitution stated the government can’t do A, B and C.  But it didn’t say anything about D.  So clearly the federal government can do D because it wasn’t included in the list of things it couldn’t do.  Madison saw that if you listed some rights you must list all rights.  Which changes the Constitution from forbidding the federal government from doing anything not enumerated to something that allows the government do whatever it wants as long as it is not listed in a bill of rights.

For some, though, a bill of rights was conditional for ratification.  George Mason simply wouldn’t vote for ratification unless the Constitution included a bill of rights.  Even Thomas Jefferson wrote Madison from Europe urging him to include a bill of rights.  The tide of Virginian opinion appeared to be against him on the issue.  And Madison needed Virginia.  For if Virginia didn’t ratify the chances were slim for ratification in other states.  Which did not bode well for the country.  Because of how vast and disparate the people were.  The northern states weren’t like the southern states.  And neither was like the western territory.  If there was no union the north would probably form a confederation.  And being a maritime region they’d probably seek out closer ties to Great Britain and their Royal Navy.  With some of the bloodiest fighting in the south perpetrated by the British and their Loyalist allies this would probably align the southern states to Britain’s eternal enemy.  France.  With two of Europe’s greatest powers entrenched in the east the western territories would probably align with that other European power.  Spain.  Who controlled the mouth of the Mississippi River.  The gateway to the world for western agriculture.  Turning America into another Europe.  Wars and all.

Madison worked tirelessly for ratification.  Working with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay on a series of articles published in newspapers making the case for ratification.  Later bound together into the Federalist Papers.  And then changing his stand on a bill of rights.  Promising to include a bill of rights as the first order of business for the new federal congress.  This brought George Mason around.  He even helped Madison on the bill of rights.  Which helped tip Virginia towards ratification despite a fierce opposition led by Patrick Henry.  But after ratification he, too, helped Madison pass the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.  The Bill of Rights.  Which Madison delivered during the first Congress as promised.  And then worked tirelessly for its ratification.

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Declaration of Independence, George Mason, John Adams, State Constitutions, Constitutional Convention, Thomas Jefferson and Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 15th, 2012

Politics 101

The Declaration of Independence declared that Government should be By the People, Of the People and For the People 

Tearing down the old order is one thing.  Building a new one is something completely different.  For there’s been a lot of tearing down throughout history.  And rarely does peace and prosperity spontaneously follow.    Which is something that no doubt weighed heavily on the minds of those who voted on July 2, 1776, to declare formerly their independence from Great Britain.  What, exactly, were they to do next?  The most powerful navy and army in the world no longer protected them.  Instead, they were now the enemy of the most powerful navy and army in the world.  Which meant they couldn’t protect themselves.  Their international trade on the high seas.  Or even protect their own people from each other.  For if the British constitutional protections no longer applied to them, what did?  Anything?  Or would anarchy rule?

The Americans declared independence because they were not getting equal treatment under British law.  Much of which they liked.  The execution of it is what they had a problem with.  That and the built-in privileges for some.  And, of course, the established state religion.  Which made many of them come to the colonies to escape in the first place.  So there was a lot in British law they could use.  And some that could do with a little tweaking.  Which is something they could do now that they were starting from scratch.

They had just renounced the royal authority in their states.  Which left these states without a formal framework of law.  And the opportunity to make new law.  Based on the principles in the Declaration of Independence.  That government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.  So when the Continental Congress adjourned after committing their high treason (declaring their independence) the delegates went home.  Back to their states.  To begin the building process of the new order.

The Vehicle for Peaceful Change of Government was and is the Constitutional Convention

Virginia was first.  George Mason drafted their new constitution.  And included a Bill of Rights.  George Mason was a leading mind of the day.  And produced a document that served as a template for other states.  As well as other countries.  It did away with privilege.  And the state established Anglican religion.  Among other reforms.  In Massachusetts the process was a little different.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.  He voted for independence.  And supported the violent revolution that followed.  For he believed when a government harms the people that these people have a right and a duty to abolish that government.  But that didn’t mean a violent revolution whenever the people disagreed with government policy.  Because that would lead to anarchy.  And this was an issue that weighed heavily on the brilliant mind of John Adams.  Who created the procedure of overthrowing a government without suffering through a period of anarchy.  The vehicle for this peaceful change of government was the constitutional convention.  Which provided the framework for the states to develop their constitutions. 

The Massachusetts House appointed a committee to draft their constitution.  When they finished their draft they submitted it to a constitutional convention made up of elected state delegates.  Who approved it and sent it to the towns for approval.  They rejected it.  For it lacked a bill of rights.  Among other required features.  So they started the process again.  They called another constitution convention.  This one included John Adams.  Who had just returned from France.  He took an active part of the deliberations.  And the drafting of the second constitution.  They then submitted this constitution to the towns for approval.  The towns approved it.  And the state of Massachusetts had a new government.  New Hampshire followed this process.  As did the other states.  But it just wasn’t in the American states.  Nations throughout the world have adopted this process ever since.

The Founding Fathers gave their People Great Power and hoped their Religious Institutions would help them act with Great responsibility

Most colonies disestablished the Anglican Church.  Including the taxes that supported it.  And the oaths of Anglican faith required for public office.  But that didn’t mean the states wouldn’t establish their own religions.  Or force the support of it through taxation.  Which is what Massachusetts did.  Either for the preferred Congregational Church.  Or any other Christian religion.  As long as everyone attended church.  For as the Massachusetts Bill of Rights states, “the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality…”

Of course the Quakers and Baptists in Massachusetts objected to paying taxes for what they saw as a violation of conscience.  In Virginia the Anglican Church of England was still supported by the state.  Supported by taxation.  And the state penalized dissenters.  Particularly the Baptists (something James Madison remembered well when later working for the passage of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution).  In direct violation of their own Virginian Bill of Rights.  The Virginian Assembly would subsequently pass an act exempting all dissenters from taxation and abuse.  Thomas Jefferson would take this a step farther with his Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom in 1786.  A piece of legislation that he was particularly proud of.  Even included it on his gravestone.

With great power comes great responsibility.  The Founding Fathers gave their people great power.  Representative government.  And a means to overthrow that government.  The constitutional convention.  That they hoped their religious institutions would protect.  And help their people act with great responsibility.

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