Archive

Archive for October, 2009

Confidence In Man

October 29th, 2009 No comments

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson

Security

October 28th, 2009 No comments

“If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care, and so on. The only thing lacking … is freedom.” –5-Star General and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

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Microsoft Retail “Innovation”

October 22nd, 2009 No comments

Even been to an Apple Store? Watch this video of a grand opening of a Microsoft Store. “Innovation” indeed! http://bit.ly/1JOo0O Eerie, isn’t it?

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Russia 100 Years Ago

October 22nd, 2009 No comments

The series of (color!) photos captures the beauty and culture of a Russian era that has passed. http://bit.ly/ffnTy (via @henrymullen)

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Consequences

October 16th, 2009 No comments

Consequences.jpg

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An Op-Ed from Lake OhBeGone

October 15th, 2009 No comments

An NYT Op-Ed proving that the petulant, intolerant Garrison Keillor http://bit.ly/4htifh is still a noted author of fiction. Facts: http://bit.ly/2zQc7Q

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Young Hamlet’s Agony

October 12th, 2009 No comments

Charles Krauthammer delivers a cogent Op-Ed on the fecklessness of the Administration’s Afghanistan policy. Will the President rely on the advice of political advisors or our military leaders? An authentic “Decisive Moment” presents.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/08/AR2009100803132.html

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Decline Is a Choice

October 12th, 2009 No comments

Charles Krauthammer’s excellent essay provides a succinct synopsis of the Obama world view: http://bit.ly/sr53F

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Soft despotism

October 12th, 2009 No comments

“After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” –French historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

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Constitutional Comprehension

October 1st, 2009 No comments

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents…” –James Madison

An instructive excerpt[1] from “The Life of Colonel David Crockett” by Edward Ellis.

Ellis wrote, “One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose…”

According to Ellis, Crockett said, “Mr. Speaker; I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.

“Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”

Though the measure was expected to receive unanimous support, after Crockett’s objection, it did not pass.

Be sure you are right…
Ellis recounts that Crocket was later asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, and he replied: “Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.”

Crocket explained, “The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.

“I began: ‘Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and…”

His constituent interrupted, “Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again.”

Crockett replied, “This was a sockdolager … I begged him to tell me what was the matter.”

The farmer said, “Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.”

Crocket responded, “Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.”

But the farmer fired back, “It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man. … So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people.”

Thus, Crockett explained of his opposition to support the widow of that distinguished naval officer: “Now, sir, you know why I made that speech yesterday.”

1. Courtesy of The Patriot Post (www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/)

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