Category Archives: United States

Happy Constitution Day Open Trackbacks

Celebrate it!

Go and read it again.

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How bad could Obama be?

This bad. Maybe worse.

Investor’s Business Daily has a must-read series on Obama’s stealth socialism titled The Audacity of Socialism.

Barack Obama has styled himself a centrist, but does his record support that claim?

In this series, we examine Senator Obama’s past, his voting record and the people who’ve served as his advisers and mentors over the years. We’ll show how the facts of Obama’s actions and associations reveal a far more left-leaning tilt to his background and to his politics.

I mean it. At 14 parts so far, the series is a must-read.

And if you haven’t heard of it yet, the soberest examination of Obama’s actual record yet is Freddoso’s book. Here is a pretty good interview of Freddoso.

I just want to cite for you one of the things that Alinsky says in Rules for Radicals. I’m not going to read it or quote, I’m just going to summarize it. What he says is that, he’s talking about the middle classes, and he says that they are sort of hopeless and lost. They become bitter. They cling to illusory fixed points which are nonetheless very real to them. They hold irrational religious beliefs that you shouldn’t try to disabuse them of because then they’ll react violently. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

DELLINGER: Yes, it sounds like that speech in Pennsylvania that caused so much controversy.

FREDDOSO: Yes, it was in San Francisco. He talked about the people back in Pennsylvania as bitter people who cling to guns and religion and patriotism. That’s exactly the way Alinsky talked about it, so Obama sort of takes this Alinsky’s entire philosophy condescends upon the human person. It condescends on the poor basically thinking that I know what they need better than they do. It condescends on the middle classes saying that we need to help them because they’re confused and everything but really they’re just a bunch of delusional people who think that patriotism and stuff like that is important. That’s the kind of influence you see in Obama’s life that you see from Saul Alinsky.

Condescending. Mean. Lawyer. Not trustworthy. Not Change we can believe in. Not the Change we need.

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For Memorial Day: John McCain III’s Address to the Naval Academy

April 2, 2008

Thank you. I am very happy to be here. Annapolis holds a special place in my life, and in the years that have passed since my father drove me to the gates of the Naval Academy to begin my plebe year, memories of my experiences here are often bathed in the welcome haze of nostalgia for the time when I was brave and true and better looking than I am at present. But witnesses to my behavior here, a few of whom are present today, as well as a nagging conscience, have a tendency to interrupt my reverie for a misspent youth, and urge a more honest appraisal of my record and character here. In truth, my four years at the Naval Academy were not notable for exemplary virtue or academic achievement but, rather, for the impressive catalogue of demerits I managed to accumulate. By my reckoning, at the end of my second class year, I had marched enough extra duty to take me to Baltimore and back seventeen times — which, if not a record, certainly ranks somewhere very near the top.
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I Praise Thee, Fallen Hero: Repost

I first posted this a year ago, on Memorial Day. I think it still stands.

tomb of the unknown soldierI had to work today, on Memorial Day. The Titanium mines of Titan are a cruel taskmaster indeed. And yet I took a moment to remember those who have given all their tomorrows for my tomorrows and the tomorrows of those who are close to me. Thank you brave men and women. Thank you for caring enough to risk it all. I don’t deserve your deaths, but then none of us do. We don’t believe in human sacrifice, not our country, but in men doing what is necessary and putting themselves at risk in order to do what must be done against those who do believe in human sacrifice, the burning bull of Moloch, the suicide bombers and headchoppers and torture-murderers of the global jihad death-cult.

Read some of the stories of those who have earned the Medal of Honor, both those who died and those who lived. Here is one who has an important lesson for those who feel a conflict between their desire for peace and the realization that war has been declared against our country, and that like it or not our choice is not whether to be at war but whether to fight back against those who would slaughter us.

Sgt. Alvin Cullium York, US Army

Alvin York did not want to go to war. He freely admits that and tells why. He says, “There were two reasons why I didn’t want to go to war. My own experience told me it wasn’t right, and the Bible was against it too…..but Uncle Sam said he wanted me, and I had been brought up to believe in my country.”

If there is anything one can say about Alvin York without fear of contradiction, it is that he was patriotic. He loved his country, and what is more, he came from a long line of patriots who had fought for their country all the way from King’s Mountain to New Orleans, Chapultepec and Shiloh. In addition to York’s direct family ancestors who had fought for their country since the Revolution, he also felt a close kinship with such frontier greats as Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. The influence of all these patriotic ancestors, both by blood and by culture, weighed heavily on the mind of Alvin York as the day of his induction into the army moved closer and even after he got to Camp Gordon. He describes his dilemma in these words:

“So you see my religion and my experience…told me not to go to war, and the memory of my ancestors…told me to get my gun and go fight. I didn’t know what to do. I’m telling you there was a war going on inside me, and I didn’t know which side to lean to. I was a heap bothered. It is a most awful thing when the wishes of your God and your country…get mixed up and go against each other. One moment I would make up my mind to follow God, and the next I would hesitate and almost make up my mind to follow Uncle Sam. Then I wouldn’t know which to follow or what to do. I wanted to follow both but I couldn’t. They were opposite. I wanted to be a good Christian and a good American too.”

Up to this point in the sheltered life of the isolated valley in which Alvin York had lived, he had never come face to face with and had to choose between two great principles or courses of action. He had always just assumed that being a good Christian and being a good, patriotic American were one and the same thing. At least they were so closely connected that a man dedicated to one would automatically be dedicated to the other. Now he was learning it was not so in the light of what he had always been taught about Christianity and about patriotism. The complexities of theology and its application to living in a world far more complex than he had imagined, drove him to cry out, “I am a soul in doubt.”

The records in the War Department in Washington will always make it appear that Alvin York was a conscientious objector. He was not. He was a “soul in doubt” as he said. He was torn between what he thought was his duty to his country and his God. When this conflict was resolved in his mind, he never again voiced objection to fighting, killing if necessary, for his country. The petitions filed asking exemption from military duty were initiated by Pastor Pile and his mother. “My little old mother and Pastor Pile wanted me to get out,” he wrote in his diary.

“Pastor Pile put in a plea to the government that it was against the religion of our church to fight, and that he wanted to get me out on these grounds. And he sent his papers to the War Department, and they filled them out and sent them to me at the camp and asked me to sign them.

“They told me all I had to do was to sign them. And I refused to sign them, as I couldn’t see it the way Pastor Pile did. My mother, too, put in a plea to get me out as her sole support. My father was dead and I was keeping my mother and brothers and sisters. And the papers were fixed up and sent to Camp Gordon and I was asked to sign them. I knew I had plenty of brothers back there who could look after my mother, that I was not the sole support, and I didn’t feel I ought to do it. And so I never asked for exemption on any grounds at all. I never was a conscientious objector. I am not today. I didn’t want to go and fight and kill. But I had to answer the call of my country and I did. I believed it was right. I have got no hatred toward the Germans and I never had.”

Here we have a direct statement from Alvin York denying categorically that he ever was a conscientious objector. But we have another direct quotation from another book stating that “….so long as the records remain I will be officially known as a conscientious objector. I was. I joined the church. I had taken its creed, and I had taken it without what you might call reservations. I was not a Sunday Christian. I believed in the Bible, and I tried in my own way to live up to it.”

Here we have two direct statements which appear to be flatly contradictory: “I never was a conscientious objector,” and “So long as the records remain I will be officially known as a conscientious objector. I was.”

How do we reconcile these statements? Or can we reconcile them? I think we can.

Those who knew Alvin York personally knew how confused he was at that time. In that confused state of mind he interpreted the term “conscientious objector” in two different ways, as it was used by the War Department and as he saw it in the light of his church creed and the Bible. By the former interpretation he was not a conscientious objector; by the latter he was. His lack of education made it impossible for him to comprehend entirely the two horns of the dilemma upon which he was impaled. In his own writing he gives us a basis for this explanation: “Only the boy who is uneducated can understand what an awful thing ignorance is . . . . I know what I want to say, but I don’t always know just how to put it down on paper. I just don’t know how to get it out of me and put it in words.”

The conflict raged on in his mind. He was still the “soul in doubt knowing that he really wanted to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors and fight for his country, but finding no way to reconcile war and killing with his own conscience and the creed of his church.

What did this conscientious objector do to earn himself the Medal of Honor?

“The part which Corporal York individually played in the attack (the capture of the Decauville Railroad) is difficult to estimate. Practically unassisted he captured 132 Germans (three of whom were officers), took about thirty-five machine guns, and killed no less than twenty-five of the enemy, later found by others on the scene of York’s extraordinary exploit. The story has been carefully checked in every possible detail from headquarters of this division and is entirely substantiated. Although York’s statement tends to underestimate the desperate odds which he overcame, it has been decided to forward to higher authorities the account given in his own name. The success of this assault had a far-reaching effect in relieving the enemy pressure against American forces in the heart of the Argonne Forest.”

The official history of the 82nd Division states that York’s exploit in the Argonne Forest “will always be retold in the military tradition of our country. It is entitled to a place among the famous deeds in arms in legendary or modern warfare.” Following this exploit which made him famous, York stayed on in the front lines in the Argonne from October 8 until November 1. It was during this time that he had his closest call. “The nearest I came to getting killed in France,” he wrote, “was in an apple orchard in Sommerance in the Argonne.” They were digging in during a German artillery barrage when a big shell hit immediately in front of them. York describes the experience: “I have dug on farms and in gardens and in road work and on the railroad, but it takes big shells dropping close by to make you really dig. And I’m telling you the dirt was flying. And then Bang!….one of the big shells struck the ground right in front of us and we all went up in the air. But we all came down again. Nobody was hurt, but it sure was close.”

After retiring, York became a tireless campaigner for education for mountain children, and eventually was harassed until his death by the IRS. It is one hell of a story. Read the whole thing.

Thank God for men like Sgt. York and all the other brave fighting men and women that have honored America with their service.

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Reading List: Foundations of the American System of Government

Updated

The Internet in general, and WikiSource in particular, is a wonderful thing. This is a mostly chronological reading list on the foundational documents of the American system of government.

The Magna Carta (The Great Charter), 1297
The 1215 version imposed upon John was repealed shortly after being signed. The 1297 version remains in legal force in England and Wales to this day. It records the rights of the nobility and of freemen and restricts the rights of the King and his Government by holding them subject to the Law.
The Law of Nations
The Law of Nations is the science which teaches the rights subsisting between nations or states, and the obligations correspondent to those rights. States (be they city states or later nation states) have attributes that they get as larger parts above normal society. The Law is distilled from the historical actions of states that behaved admirably, tempering justice with mercy and reinforcing faith with reason. The Law of Nations is voluntary. Yet by becoming a state, the nascent state takes on the attributes of a state, like it or not: attributes such as embassies, treaties, truces, declarations, taxes, import duties, armies, militias, a mint, internal laws, etc. The Law informed the American founding documents, which left implicit many of its premises and conclusions.
The Articles of Association, 1774
The Articles of Association were a petition of grievances against Great Britain by the American colonies, and a compact among them to collectively impose economic sanctions to pressure a resolution. The Articles were drafted by the First Continental Congress in 1774 and were an important formative document in the history of the United States that perhaps hastened the American Revolution, though they were intended instead to alter Britain’s policies towards the colonies without severing allegiance. [link]
United States Declaration of Independence, 1776
The first of three Charters of Freedom declared the colonies independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained the reasons why this must be. It was ratified on July 4, 1776. This is why July 4 is celebrated as Independence Day in the USA.
Articles of Confederation, 1777
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, or, more commonly, just the Articles of Confederation, was the first governing document of the United States of America. The articles, which combined the 13 colonies of the American Revolutionary War into a loose confederation, were adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, after 16 months of debate. The articles were ratified three years later on March 1, 1781. [link]
Constitution of the United States of America
The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. It was completed on September 17, 1787, with its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was later ratified by special conventions in each state. It created a federal union of sovereign states, and a federal government to operate that union. It replaced the less defined union that had existed under the Articles of Confederation. It took effect on March 4, 1789 and has served as a model for the constitutions of numerous other nations. The Constitution of the United States of America is the oldest written national constitution in use. [link]
The Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 pseudonymous articles written mostly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison arguing for the ratification of the United States Constitution. They were first published serially in New York City newspapers. A compilation, called The Federalist, was published in 1788. The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, as they outline the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government. [link]
Antifederalist Papers
The Antifederalist Papers were written pseudonymously by several patriots who believed that the Constitution without any enumeration of individual rights at all would be a prescription for tyranny. It was highly influential in the passage of the Bill of Rights and its attachment to the Constitution. They are arranged in one-to-one correspondence to the Federalist paper against which they argue. See here for more.
United States Bill of Rights, 1789
In the United States, the Bill of Rights is the term for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These amendments explicitly limit the Federal government’s powers, protecting the rights of the people by preventing Congress from abridging freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religious worship, and the right to bear arms, preventing unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and self-incrimination, and guaranteeing due process of law and a speedy public trial with an impartial jury. In addition, the Bill of Rights states that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” and reserves all powers not specifically granted to the Federal government to the citizenry or States. [link]

Additional amendments to the United States Constitution
These are additional amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America added after the first ten amendments on the United States Bill of Rights (ratified in 1791) have been ratified . There are 17 additional amendments to date, ratified from 1795 to 1992.
Some Unsuccessful attempts to amend the United States Constitution
There have been over ten thousand attempts to amend the United States Constitution. This is a list of a few of the more recent or interesting ones.

Enjoy!

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The 2nd Amendment is an Individual Right, no doubt about it

The question under consideration is what does it mean? Is the right under question an individual right that cannot be generally voided by the government or is it a corporate right only for members of a militia such as the National Guard?

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

First we notice there are more commas than Strunk & White would recommend. Obviously, the commas were inserted by someone with a different set of rules for commas, perhaps the writer believed in inserting commas whenever the reader might take a breath. Given that the commas are in weird places, we will have to discount comma placement somewhat when we analyze the text. I make this argument up-front, even though it will not have anything to do with the way I parse the language, because there are those who make a big deal of the commas in the argument. Consider this a prophylactic measure against obsessive comma-parsing.

Then we notice from the other 9 amendments in the Bill of Rights that they are all amendments that apply to individual rights, not corporate rights.

Then we ask ourselves, why was the amendment written? Let us assume for a moment that the amendment was meant to apply to corporate rights. It only applies to militias: Armed militias. Given that armed militias are bands of armed men established by the government, would there be any doubt that a militia would be allowed by the government to bear arms? Why would the Constitution need to be amended in order to allow members of an armed militia established by the government to bear arms? The government under question would guarantee this right as a matter of course. Even the tyrannies in China and Myanmar allow their militias to be armed. Wouldn’t this be a nonsensical amendment, written by idiots, passed by fools, only challenged by the likes of Humpty Dumpty intent on redefining the meaning of an armed militia, or armed, or militia?

Or perhaps the amendment was written by a poor speller with a petty focus, and the amendment guarantees the right of people to bare their arms in short sleeves? I apologize for the joke, but it’s almost impossible to stay earnest when surrounded by so much silliness.

We could presume that the founders of the USA were not fools and idiots and petty-minded jokers, and that they wrote this Amendment because it protected a controversial right (to be armed) that was granted to all free men (and women) which future governments might wish to void through legal action? In fact, that is what the government of Washington DC has done with its gun ban. Mr. Heller, who filed the lawsuit challenging the ban, is allowed to carry his gun when he is at work to protect the local nobility in Congress. But he is not allowed to carry it when he is at home with his own non-privileged family. The Washington DC ban is a profoundly anti-democratic law that discriminates against people who don’t have all the juice of a standing Senator or Representative.

That’s why there can be no doubt whatsoever among the serious minded that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right.

The WSJ lists some things the Supreme Court said in DC v. Heller.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked why the Framers included the word “people” if the Amendment only applied to militias. Justice Antonin Scalia discussed the importance the Framers attached to providing citizens the means to protect against tyrannical government. Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the Court’s swing vote, informed all in attendance that “In my view, there’s a general right to bear arms quite without reference to the militia either way.”

Counterarguments are welcome. Please, give it your best shot!

Heh heh.

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King George Washington: thank God it didn’t happen that way

As I write this, tomorrow, January 22, is Washington’s birthday. I’m not going to talk all that much about what he did, but about what he didn’t do. And what he did as he didn’t do the most important thing he ever refused to do.

George Washington could have become another Julius Caesar. After winning the Revolution against Britain, participating in the debates that defined a new and Republican nation in a new way that had never been done before, and serving two terms as President, he was still beloved by the people. The people still remembered their old King George, some more fondly than others. All other countries were ruled by kings, except for France in its bloody convulsions. The masses would have gladly offered George Washington a crown. What could he have done then? The USA would have been ruled by the King of the House of Washington, and would have expanded into the sparsely settled vastnesses that now make up the US. What of slavery? What of free speech? Would libel and slander law favor the plaintiff as much as it does in Britain? Would “insulting” the King or his office constitute treason as it did in Britain at the time? Would America have thrived and industrialized and become the freest and proudest and most powerful country in the world as it did with elected Presidents if it had been ruled by the House of Washington?

Or would King Washington have found his own Brutus, Cassius, and Servilia? Would the succession have turned ugly and disruptive, and so disturbed the peace and well-being of the country that it slowed or prevented scientific and industrial progress? Would a nation riven by questions of succession have had the resources to establish its first Navy to crush the thieving, slave-taking, murderous Pirates of Algiers and Tripoli and win free passage through the Mediterranean for all the nations of Europe? Would have the European nations conquered and colonized the backward Muslim nations of Africa as they did, had not the US shown it could be done?

So I am very thankful to God our Creator that George Washington decided not to do one thing. Not to become King George the First of America.

This is how George Washington left public life.

His Farewell Address was published in the American Daily Advertiser on 19 September 1796 and never presented orally by Washington.

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