SPEAKING OF THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: LAWRENCE LESSIG AND HIS ELECTORAL COLLEGE SWITCHEROO.

 

alexander-hamilton-by-john-trumbull-1806

Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1806. Hamilton was a strong advocate of the Electoral College system.

By Lucius Cincinnatus

Lawrence Lessig recently argued in the Washington Post why the Electoral College Electors should cast their vote for Hillary Clinton against the wishes of voters who chose them. In his opinion piece, Mr. Lessig poses a hypothetical situation – “What if the people elect a Manchurian candidate?” His question may not be as hypothetical as he thinks it is. It may be that the people did reject a “Manchurian candidate” if ever there was one. Yes, I mean Mrs. Clinton. (“Manchurian candidate,” is a metaphor for a tool or puppet of foreign governments.) Let’s have a look at it.

Why were so many foreign governments willing to “donate” millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation? Why did the Arab state of Qatar donate $1 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2011 while Hillary was Secretary of State? Even more interesting is why didn’t the Clinton Foundation report the donation to the State Department? After all, that was a condition the State Department set up and which Hillary agreed to.

According to Time Magazine, in recent years, Chinese businessman, Wang Wenliang donated a total of $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. Then there is the case of loyal Clintonite and now governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe and his campaign who are currently under federal investigation for accepting $120,000 from Mr. Wenliang.

Some of us, who are old enough to remember the 1990’s, remember that it was the Chinese who were trying to influence American politics by funneling money to the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign. Yes, they were caught and forced to return the money. These are historical facts: http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/stories/trie0522…

The pattern is there for all to see.

Now, if Hillary is your gal, you can ignore all of this or dismiss it as a vast right-wing conspiracy. But thankfully, enough voters saw Hillary for the deeply corrupt person that she is and they denied her the presidency. So Mr. Lessig, while some points of your argument are persuasive, in this particular instance, it does not make sense for the Electors to contradict the people and install Hillary. Why would they want to hand over the White House keys to the person who most resembles a real Manchurian candidate?

I thank Mr. Lessig for choosing the Manchurian candidate example. It was perfect.

African-American Church Intentionally Set on Fire in Mississippi

By Lucius Cincinnatus

Disturbing news from Greenville, Mississippi. An African-American church was set on fire and the words “Vote Trump” were spray painted on one of its exterior walls. Thankfully, no one was inside the church at the time of the fire. This is totally unacceptable behavior and it would be nice if the person or persons responsible were apprehended immediately or at least before election day. This violent behavior has to stop before it tears our country apart. If this was done by a right-wing nut job or a Trump supporter, may he rot in jail. If this was a cynical attempt by a Hillary supporter to get out the Black vote, may he also rot….

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the Hopewell Congregation rebuild.

hopewell-baptist-church-burned

The Hopewell Baptist Church was set on fire on Tuesday, November 1, 2016.

VIRTUOUS HABITS: essential to the prosperity of a nation.

I cannot help concluding that human nature is unchangeable – the same problems identified 200 years ago are the same problems Americans are facing today. Unfortunately, we are farther down the road to our own destruction than we were in 1815. However, there have been Great Awakenings in the past – nothing is inevitable about the future State of our Nation. But will the hearts and minds of our citizens change in time to prevent further societal decay?

Frotho

“It is essential to the prosperity and happiness of a nation, that public spirit should extinguish all selfish views in exercise of political rights.

“The citizen should know no object but the good of his country– no passion but for its honour. Public spirit should elevate him above that selfishness, which would engage him in the arts of intrigue and the cabals of faction, in order to attain consequence or station. No scene can be more disgusting, and none to a patriotic mind more dismaying, than those political contests, where freemen, instead of calmly and disinterestedly exercising their political rights in reference solely to the best interests of their country, are arranged, in hostility to each other, under the banners of faction. I would earnestly impress the general truth that a nation, whose citizens are made subservient to the selfish views of conflicting political parties, is not destined to be long free, flourishing, or happy.

“VIRTUOUS HABITS are essential to the prosperity of a nation.

“Virtuous habits, as opposed to Indolence, luxury, and licentiousness.

“No nation was ever flourishing or happy, whose citizens were not distinguished by industry–by that industry which, steadily and vigorously pursuing some useful occupation or profession, leads to individual opulence and comfort, and to national strength and prosperity. Singularly favoured in this respect is our country. The innumerable avenues which it opens to wealth are crowded by its industrious and enterprising citizens, whose ingenuity in every useful art is equal; led only by their zeal and perseverance.

“Happy will they be if their energies are not palsied, nor their virtue corrupted, by the baneful influence of luxury–not that luxury which, employing wealth in the execution of ornamental and useful projects, sends it abroad to animate and to fertilize the nation–not that luxury which, making wealth, within the bounds of moderation, subservient to personal and social gratifications, expands, and refines, and exalts society–but that luxury which makes wealth tributary merely to splendour and to sensuality–that luxury which, engaging all classes of the community in the dangerous contest of ostentation, often ruins the individual in fortune, where it does not corrupt him in morals; and which invariably unnerves the public strength, and effeminates, debases, and destroys the public virtue.

“For in the train of luxury is licentiousness–that licentiousness which dissipates and debauches the higher classes of society, and plunges the lower into, the sinks of profligacy and vice—that licentiousness which knows no laws but those of appetite, and no idol but sensual gratification. A licentious people can never preserve their freedom, nor their prosperity. They will, in the first instance, be flattered and cajoled by those ambitious leaders who will afterwards enslave them, and rule them with the only rod that can keep in subjection a vicious people, the rod of arbitrary power. The profligate citizen is the enemy of his country, who is forging its chains. And, still more tremendous consideration, he is preparing it for the scourges…”

These words of wisdom are quoted from:

The Security of a Nation. A Sermon, Preached in the City of New York, April 13, 1815 by John Henry Hobart.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass. Dec. 22nd 1620I have long thought Nathaniel Morton’s history of the Pilgrims one of the most beautiful and moving things ever written in the English language:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years; but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city ( Heb. xi. 16), and therein quieted their spirits. When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready; and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love. The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other’s heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loth to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with most fervent prayers unto the Lord and his blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Alexis de Tocqueville:

“The civilization of New England has been like a beacon lit upon a hill, which, after it has diffused its warmth immediately around it, also tinges the distant horizon with its glow.

“The foundation of New England was a novel spectacle, and all the circumstances attending it were singular and original. Nearly all colonies have been first inhabited either by men without education and without resources, driven by their poverty and their misconduct from the land which gave them birth, or by speculators and adventurers greedy of gain. Some settlements cannot even boast so honorable an origin; Santo Domingo was founded by buccaneers; and at the present day the criminal courts of England supply the population of Australia.

“The settlers who established themselves on the shores of New England all belonged to the more independent classes of their native country. Their union on the soil of America at once presented the singular phenomenon of a society containing neither lords nor common people, and we may almost say neither rich nor poor. These men possessed, in proportion to their number, a greater mass of intelligence than is to be found in any European nation of our own time. All, perhaps without a single exception, had received a good education, and many of them were known in Europe for their talents and their acquirements. The other colonies had been founded by adventurers without families; the immigrants of New England brought with them the best elements of order and morality; they landed on the desert coast accompanied by their wives and children. But what especially distinguished them from all others was the aim of their undertaking. They had not been obliged by necessity to leave their country; the social position they abandoned was one to be regretted, and their means of subsistence were certain. Nor did they cross the Atlantic to improve their situation or to increase their wealth; it was a purely intellectual craving that called them from the comforts of their former homes; and in facing the inevitable sufferings of exile their object was the triumph of an idea.

“The immigrants, or, as they deservedly styled themselves, the Pilgrims, belonged to that English sect the austerity of whose principles had acquired for them the name of Puritans. Puritanism was not merely a religious doctrine, but corresponded in many points with the most absolute democratic and republican theories. It was this tendency that had aroused its most dangerous adversaries. Persecuted by the government of the mother country, and disgusted by the habits of a society which the rigor of their own principles condemned, the Puritans went forth to seek some rude and unfrequented part of the world where they could live according to their own opinions and worship God in freedom.

“The emigrants were about 150 in number, including the women and the children. Their object was to plant a colony on the shores of the Hudson; but after having been driven about for some time in the Atlantic Ocean, they were forced to land on the arid coast  of New England, at the spot which is now the town of Plymouth. The rock is still shown on which the Pilgrims disembarked.”

Nathaniel Morton:

But before we pass on, let the reader with me make a pause, and seriously consider this poor people’s present condition, the more to be raised up to admiration of God’s goodness towards them in their preservation: for being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectation, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour: and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts. Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts, and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes ( save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weather-beaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew; if they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

John Adams:

“I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder– as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth.”   

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Frotho Canutus

 

 

Alexis de Tocqueville on Socialism

Will Americans be foolish enough to elect a socialist to be the next President? Time will tell. A vote for Hillary, or Bernie or perhaps any national Democrat running for President will be a vote for more socialism. That is really what Hillary Clinton meant by her euphemism “It takes a village.” These people simply do not believe in the sanctity of the individual. To them, “the people” are just cogs in a gear that powers the machine of their personal ambition. Thus, they seek to place individuals in groups and conjure up grievances that do not exist or are highly exaggerated. These groups are told they are victims ( for instance the “War on Women”) and that Hillary or Bernie or Joe or Obama is needed to step in in order to right the wrongs of their victimhood. This is how the unscrupulous politician rises to his or her position of power. These propagandists pit Americans against one another and all the while America continues to decline, structurally, spiritually, morally and economically.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville was a believer in the sanctity of the individual and understood the corrosive effects of socialism on liberty, or freedom:

“Now, a third and final trait, one which, in my eyes, best describes socialists of all schools and shades, is a profound opposition to personal liberty and scorn for individual reason, a complete contempt for the individual. They unceasingly attempt to mutilate, to curtail, to obstruct personal freedom in any and all ways. They hold that the State must not only act as the director of society, but must further be master of each man, and not only master, but keeper and trainer.”

The whole speech can be read in it’s entirety here:

Click to access Tocqueville_Socialism1848.pdf

Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize – Will it be retracted?

At least one news report has surfaced recently that claims Mr. Geil Lundestad and others of the committee who awarded Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize now think it was a mistake. I believe the report’s claim is probably true. Thank you Mr. Lundestad  for your candid admission, but you have already done your damage.

The Nobel PP Committee wrote in 2009:

“Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.

“Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.”

Why should we ever again care to whom the Nobel Peace Prize Committee awards it prize? It’s obvious those people are just as clueless as President Obama about how peace is achieved in a world filled with villains.

The PP Committee also wrote in 2009:

“For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman.”

None of the West’s antagonists are listening to President Obama. Vladimir Putin is not listening, Kim Jong-un of North Korea is not listening, ISIS is not listening, Iran’s mullahs are not listening. They don’t care who wins the Norwegian’s peace prize.

The Nobel Peace Prize has become totally irrelevant to achieving ACTUAL world peace.

Retracting their award to President Obama would now do more harm than good. The award should never have been given to him in the first place. It’s kind of like dropping a bomb on the wrong target – some things you can just never take back.

On the eve of WWII, British Prime Minister Chamberlain displayed a peace agreement with Adolf Hitler. Chamberlain was mistaken when he claimed there would be

On the eve of WWII, British Prime Minister Chamberlain displayed a peace agreement with Adolf Hitler. Chamberlain was mistaken when he claimed there would be “peace in our time.” Do President Obama’s concessions to Putin and Iran make him the Neville Chamberlin of our time. Unfortunately, a lot of us think so.

Looking back on the events that led to WWII Winston Churchill wrote: “How the English-speaking people through their unwisdom, carelessness, and good nature allowed the wicked to rearm.”

History doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Apply Churchill’s brilliantly written point to the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria or the U.S. – Iran Nuclear deal.

When historians look back on the international chaos caused by Obama’s brand of foreign policy, I fear they will be writing something like:

“How western leaders, led by President Obama, through their un-wisdom, foolishness and misunderstanding of international structures allowed their enemies to arm as the world devolved into chaos.”

Hortentius

Japanese Internment during WWII Part I: Bill Nishimura

A couple of year ago my wife and I attended a two-day symposium in Santa Fe about the history of Japanese Internment in the United States during WWII. The symposium was sponsored by the Museum of New Mexico and many guest speakers were in attendance. We both love history and thought the event sounded interesting. Besides, I didn’t know much about that part of American history and thought I could learn something new. We thought we might attend just one or two of the presentations, but instead we both became so captivated by it all that we attended nearly every single presentation over the two day period.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Japanese Internment, here’s a little background: On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The base was decimated. On the American side, two battleships were completely lost, two others were sunk (later recovered), 166 aircraft were destroyed and approximately 2,403 Americans were killed including 68 civilians, 1,178 were wounded. By comparison 64 Japanese were killed in the attack. The next day President Franklin Roosevelt publicly announced in his famous “Day of Infamy” speech that the United States had declared war on Japan.

Of course, even though the attack on Pearl Harbor caught our military off guard, the fact that Japan would declare war on the U.S. did not come as a surprise to the American leadership at all. Japan was already waging war against China and diplomatic tensions with the United States were running high at the time. In fact, the Roosevelt administration had already begun making preparations to the extent that it could in case war did break out. Intelligence gathering was part of that preparation.

The Administration had already collected much intelligence on Japanese Nationals and Japanese-Americans living in the U.S. before December 7, 1941. This is evidenced by the fact that some Japanese men in the U. S. were arrested by authorities the very same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor. Unlike today, when millions of undocumented aliens live and work off the record, practically all Japanese nationals in the U.S. were registered with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which made it much easier for Federal authorities to keep track of them. In addition, the Census Bureau provided data that assisted authorities with the Japanese Relocation. Wikipedia explains,

“In the 1930s the Office of Naval Intelligence, concerned by Imperial Japan’s rising military power in the East, began conducting surveillance on Japanese American communities in Hawaii. From 1936, at the behest of President Roosevelt, the ONI began compiling a “special list of those who would be the first to be placed in a concentration camp in the event of trouble” between Japan and the United States, and in 1939, again by order of the President, the ONI, Military Intelligence Division, and FBI began working together to compile a larger Custodial Detention Index.”

Franklin Roosevelt signed into law his Executive Order 9066 on February 17, 1942.

This order stated that,

“Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities…

“Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order.”

The War Department used the President’s executive order to declare the entire West Coast of the United States a Military Zone, subject to the “Exclusion Clause” of the order. This set in motion the Federal government’s program to relocate approximately 120,000 Japanese from their communities in Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona.

Most of the Japanese living on the West Coast, of whom approximately two thirds were U. S. citizens, were given less than two weeks (some even as little as little as six days) to get their affairs in order and report to the government assembly centers. They were instructed that they would be allowed to bring only what they could carry with them.

1942 Exclusion Order Posted at the corner of First and Front Streets, San Franciso, CA. These posters  announced the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the designated military zones on the West Coast. (National Archives)

1942 Exclusion Order Posted at the corner of First and Front Streets, San Francisco, CA. These posters announced the planned removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the designated military zones on the West Coast. (National Archives)

“Over the spring of 1942, (Karl) Bendetsen issued Western Defense Command orders for Japanese Americans to present themselves for removal. The “evacuees” were taken first to temporary assembly centers, requisitioned fairgrounds and horse racing tracks where living quarters were often converted livestock stalls. As construction on the more permanent and isolated WRA camps was completed, the population was transferred by truck or train. These accommodations consisted of tar paper-walled frame buildings in parts of the country with bitter winters and often hot summers. The camps were guarded by armed soldiers and fenced with barbed wire (security measures not shown in published photographs of the camps). Camps held up to 18,000 people, and were small cities, with medical care, food, and education provided by the government. Adults were offered “camp jobs” with wages of $12 to $19 per month, and many camp services such as medical care and education were provided by the camp inmates themselves.” –Wikipedia

Map of the Military Exclusion Zone, Assembly Centers, Relocation Centers and Internment Camps. (National Park Service)

Click to link to: Map of the Military Exclusion Zone, Assembly Centers, Relocation Centers and Internment Camps. (National Park Service)

Now is a good time to state that the purpose of this post is not to enter into a thorough discussion of the history of the Internment Camps, nor will I attempt to address the moral, ethical and Constitutional issues surrounding this history.

The two-day long symposium had a great effect on me and as I looked around the auditorium I concluded that I was probably not the only one to feel that way. Incredible emotions welled up inside of me. I found the stories amazing, the history gripping.

One man who shared his experiences, Bill Nishimura, was a young, twenty-something, second generation Japanese living on the West Coast when the war broke out. Mr. Nishimura was confined behind the barb wire right here in Santa Fe. This camp was different from most because it did not house Japanese families, but only men who were considered “high risk,” or the “most dangerous.” It was run by the U.S. Justice Department.

Mr. Nishimura was sent to Santa Fe because he refused to fill out the U.S. government’s loyalty questionnaire. He said to his government interrogator, “I will not answer your questions until you restore my civil rights.” For his defiance, he was considered to be dangerous and thus was sent to the detention camp at Santa Fe. Bill Nishimura was an American citizen, he was not charged with any crime, yet like thousands of other Japanese-Americans his rights had been taken away.

Bill remembered the “friendly atmosphere” at the camp in Santa Fe. It’s there that he learned to share his time and devote his actions to help others. Life was not all that bad for him in the camps. Ironically, he said that he had certain freedoms that he did not enjoy back home. For example, he related that his parents, being Issei (first generation) were very strict. But when he entered the internment camp system he was able to do things that otherwise he would not have the opportunity to do while under the watchful eyes of his parents – at camp he finally learned how to dance! You should have seen the twinkle in his eye when he told us this.

This Wooden Panel was carved by モリタ (Morita), an unidentified Japanese man. It was carved to help pass away time while he was confined in a U. S. internment camp.

This Wooden Panel was carved by モリタ (Morita), an unidentified Japanese man. It was carved to help pass away time while he was confined in a U. S. internment camp. (Private collection)

It seems camp life brought a lot of firsts to Bill. For instance, he met an uncle from Hawaii for the first time who also happened to be incarcerated at Santa Fe.

The internees at Santa Fe had a short wave radio (probably against camp rules) and so could stay connected to world and war news. And if I heard this correctly, Bill knew a Japanese doctor in camp who kept him informed of events on the outside.

Bill said he was “thankful” that the U.S. gov’t allowed him to stay in the country – he was worried that he might be deported to Japan. It’s understandable that some of the internees remained bitter towards the United States, but what Bill told us amazed me – After the war he advised his children while they were growing up to always do their best by America. When Bill told us this I literally began to cry! I guess part of the reason I cried is that for all of its faults, I love America; not enough people express their love for her, not enough seem to appreciate her, too many speak ill of her. So when I come across someone who publicly pronounces their love for America I get very emotional.

One of Bill’s greatest regrets was that he never thanked the Japanese cooks at camp. They were volunteers and used to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to get the meals going for the day. There was one man in camp (I think his doctor friend) who used to save two raw eggs per week and on Fridays he would make Bill and other inmates Japanese noodles. You could feel Bill’s gratitude when he told us “Oh! – that was really something – we really looked forward to those noodles.” The doctor did this to repay his friends for all they did for him and the others in camp.

This marker, which was dedicated in 2002, commemorates the Internment Camp at Santa Fe, New Mexico where over 4,500 men of Japanese heritage were detained during WWII. The memorial sits atop  a hill that once overlooked the camp.

This marker, which was dedicated in 2002, commemorates the Internment Camp at Santa Fe, New Mexico where over 4,500 men of Japanese heritage were detained during WWII. The memorial sits atop a hill that once overlooked the camp.

Bill remembered that some of the Japanese ladies at Thule Lake and Poston camps would joke that they were on a “nice vacation.” After all, they had janitors, hot running water, and could take three showers a day if they wanted. There were dishwashers, electricity. Bill noted that the internees with this light attitude fared much better than the ladies who dwelled on what had happened to them, who cried all day long that they had lost everything. Bill said he really felt sorry for the older Issei; it was much harder for them; the Nisei (second generation) had a much easier time and were able to bounce back after camp life “like me!” he exclaimed.

We thought Bill was great and his insights into internment camp life simply amazing. One thing I know for sure is that this man, Bill Nishimura, who was once labeled an “alien enemy” by the U.S. Government, is nothing short of a Great American.

In the next post I’ll explain how the Japanese Internment Symposium changed my life; how it started me on a great adventure, thirsting for knowledge about this amazing period of American history and the people who lived through it.

Frotho

LESSONS FOR AMERICA, COMPLIMENTS OF WINSTON CHURCHILL

Winston Churchill, who was probably the greatest wartime leader of the 20th century, was a man of vision, but more importantly he was a man of action. He also had that rare ability to communicate his ideas and inspire an entire nation at a time when that nation could have easily doubted itself in the face of many grave dangers.

Mark Twain said that history does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes. This is so true. Today I post Part I of a speech Mr. Churchill gave warning of the great danger posed by Hitler’s rise and the rearmament of Germany in the hopes that a study of the past can help us decide how to approach our future.

When we look around the world today, it is a still a very dangerous place. Iran may soon have a nuclear weapons. Pakistan and North Korea already have them. Russian Dictator Vladimir Putin has been emboldened by his unlawful occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, which received little opposition from the Western Powers. The world-wide Jihadi movement is on the rise. These are just a few of the many serious problems the free world faces today and going forward.

Who will rally the forces for good in the face of all this? It would be well for the Western leaders who are wondering how to deal with these problems to study history, study winners like Winston Churchill, who understood how to meet the challenges of their day. The guiding principles for keeping America safe are no different in 2014 than they were for Great Britain in 1938.

Frotho    (My 100th post!)

 Mr. Churchill’s Speech before The Free Trade Hall, Manchester, May 9, 1938.

Part I

I have felt it my duty to make exertions, so far as I can, to rouse the country in the face of an ever-growing danger. This is no campaign against the Government of the day, nor against the Opposition. It is not intended to promote the interests of any Party, or to influence the course of any Election. All Parties, Conservative, Liberal, Labor, Socialist, are on the platform. Church and Chapel, Protestant and Catholic, Jew and Gentile, have come together. Trade Union leaders, Co-operators, merchants, traders, industrialists, those who are reviving the strength of our Territorial forces, those who are working on A.R.P. none have felt themselves debarred.

But what is the purpose which has brought us all together? It is the conviction that the life of Britain, her glories and message to the world, can only be achieved by national unity, and national unity can only be preserved upon a cause which is larger than the nation itself. However we may differ in political opinion, however divergent our Party interests, however diverse our callings and stations, we have this in common: We mean to defend our Island from tyranny and aggression, and so far as we can, we mean to hold out a helping hand to others who may be in even more immediate danger than at this moment we are ourselves. We repudiate all ideas of abject or slothful defeatism. We wish to make our country safe and strong – she can only be safe if she is strong – and we wish her to play her part with other Parliamentary democracies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in warding off from civilization, while time yet remains, the devastating and obliterating horrors of another world war.

Winston Churchill inspects bomb damage in South London, September 10, 1940. (Getty Images)

Winston Churchill inspects bomb damage in South London, September 10, 1940. (Getty Images)

We wish to see inaugurated a reign of international law, backed, as it must be in these turbulent times, by ample and, if possible, super abundant strength.

At this moment in history the broad, toiling masses in every country have for the first time the opportunity of a fuller and less burdened life. Science is at hand to spread a more bountiful table than has ever been offered to the millions and to the tens of millions. Shorter hours of labor, greater assurances against individual misfortune: a wider if a simpler culture: a more consciously realized sense of social justice: an easier and a more equal society these are the treasures which, after all these generations and centuries of impotence and confusion, are now within the reach of mankind.

Are these hopes, are these prospects, are all the secrets which the genius of man has wrested from Nature, to be turned by tyranny, aggression and war only to his own destruction? Or are they to become the agencies of a broadening freedom, and of an enduring peace? Never before has the choice of blessings or curses been so plainly, vividly, even brutally offered to mankind. The choice is open. The dreadful balance trembles. It may be that our Island and all the Commonwealths it has gathered around it may if we are worthy play an important, perhaps even a decisive part in turning the scales of human for tune from bad to good, from fear to confidence, from miseries and crimes immeasurable to blessings and gains abounding.

We make ourselves the servants of this cause, but it is no use espousing a cause without having also a method and a plan by which that cause may be made to win. I would not affront you with generalities. There must be the vision. There must be a plan, and there must be action following upon it.

To be continued…

John Adams on the Feudal and Canon Law

“I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder– as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth.”    — John Adams

Detail of John Adams by John Singleton Copley, ca. 1784.

Detail of John Adams by John Singleton Copley, ca. 1784.

John Adams of Braintree, Massachusetts was an American Revolutionary War leader and one of our greatest and most learned Founding Fathers. In 1765, at the age of 29 he wrote an amazing essay, which later came to be called “A Disserta- tion on Canon and Feudal Law,” and which was subsequently published in the Boston Gazette as well as the London Chronicle. It contains one of the great tributes to our Pilgrim and Puritan forefathers. Later in life Adams said of the piece that “It might have been called an Essay upon Forefathers Rock,” referring to the famous rock where the Pilgrims first came ashore.

I am working on a history of the Pilgrims , which I had hoped to have had done by Thanksgiving. It is proving to be far more complicated and time consuming than I first thought. In the meantime, I offer this essay by Adams.

I apologize if Adams’ essay offends anyone. I do not publish it here as an attack on anyone’s faith. Adams certainly was rough in his views towards the Catholic structure here, but a fair view of history reveals many horrible abuses by the Church of Rome. Adams had no love for the Episcopal Church of England either, which in many ways replaced the old abuses from Rome with its own. The bloody history of Canon Law and religion in Europe is the reason we Americans treasure our first Amendment to our Constitution, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” By the way, in case any of you were wondering, I was raised in the Catholic faith.

Below is the actual draft of Adams’ essay, the one found in his diary, courtesy of: http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/doc?id=D10

Frotho

“A Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law” by John Adams

The Desire of Power, Dominion, that encroaching, grasping, restless, and ungovernable Principle in human Nature, that Principle which has made so much Havock and Desolation, among the Works of God, in all the Variety of systems, that have been invented, for its Gratification, was never so successfull, as in the Invention and Establishment of the Cannon and the Feudal Law. — By the former the most refined, sublime, extensive, and astonishing Constitution of Policy, that was ever conceived by the Human Mind, was framed, by the Romish Clergy, for the Aggrandisement of their own order. This Constitution will be allowed to deserve all the Epithets I have given it, when it is considered, that they found Ways to make the World believe that God had entrusted them with Keys of Heaven whose Gates they might open and shut at Pleasure, and with the Power of Dispensation over all the Rules and Types of Morality, the Power of licensing all sorts both of sins and Crimes, with the Power of Deposing Princes, and absolving all their subjects from their Subj Allegiance, with the Power of Procuring or withholding the Rain of Heaven, and the Beams of the Sun, with the Power of Earthquakes, Plagues, Pestilence, Famine; nay with the Power of creating Blood Nay the Blood of God out of Wine, and Flesh the Flesh of God out of Bread. Thus was human Nature held for Ages, fast Bound in servitude, in a cruel, shameful, deplorable Bondage to him and his subordinate Tyrants who it was fortold in the Apocalypse, would exalt himself above all that is called God and that is worshiped.

By the latter another system was formed similar to the former in some Respects, and altho it was originally contrived perhaps for the necessary Defence of a barbarous Nation People against the Inroads and Invasions of her neighbouring Nations; yet it was soon adopted by almost all the Princes in Europe, and wrought into the Constitution of their Governments for the same Purposes of Tyranny, Cruelty and Lust. This Constitution was originally a Code of Laws for a vast Army, in a perpetual Encampment. The General was invested with the Property of all the Land within [sentence unfinished]

Illustration from John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, first published in 1563; Simson was a Protestant Minister tortured for heresy during the reign of Queen Mary I (1553-58); later he was burnt at Smithfield.

Illustration from John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, first published in 1563; Simson was a Protestant Minister tortured for heresy during the reign of Queen Mary I (1553-58); later he was burnt at Smithfield.

It was a Resolution formed by a sensible People almost in despair. [The Puritans’ decision to leave England and settle in America.] (The) Puritans had become intelligent in general, and some of them learned but they had been galled, and fretted, and whipped and cropped, and hanged and burned. In short they had been so worried by Plagues and Tortures in every Shape, and they utterly despaired of Deliverance from these Miseries in their own Country, that they at last resolved to fly to the Wilderness, for Refuge from the temporal and spiritual Principalities and Powers, and Plagues and scourges of their Native Country.

After their Arrival here, they began their settlements and pursued their Plan both of Ecclesiastical and Civil Government in direct Opposition to the Cannon And the feudal systems.

The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, December 1620

The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, December 1620. Published by Currier & Ives, 1876.

Their first Concern was to preserve and propagate Knowledge. The leading Men among the first Settlers of America, were Men of sense and Learning. And the Clergymen, who came over first, were familiar with the Historians, Orators, Poets and Phylosophers of Greece and Rome, and many of them have left behind them Libraries which are still in Being consisting chiefly of Books, whose Character their great Grand sons can scarcely read.

I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder– as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth.

their great grand sons, tho educated at European Universities, can scarcely read. Archbishop King him self, (I think it was, for I say this upon Memory) observed of the Puritans in General, that they were much more intelligent, and better read than the Members of the Church whom he reproaches, and censures very warmly for that Reason.

Provision was early made by Law, that every Town should be accommodated with a grammar school-under a severe Penalty– so that even Negligence of Learning was made a Crime, a Stretch of Wisdom in Policy that was never equalled before nor since unless by the ancient Egyptians who made the Want of Generosity and Humanity a Capital Crime.

But besides the Obligation laid on every Town to provide the means of Learning, a Colledge nay a Number of Colledges were formed very early, and a very early Attention to them from the Legislature, exempted from Military Duties– exemptions from Taxes, and many other Encouragements have taken Place. And in fine We their Posterity, have seen the Fruits and Consequences of the Wisdom and Goodness of our Forefathers. All Ranks and orders of our People, are intelligent, are accomplished– a Native of America, especially of New England, who cannot read and wright is as rare a Phenomenon as a Comet.

Thus accomplished were the first Settlers of these Colonies– and as has been said, Tyranny in every shape, was their Disdain and Abhorrence. No Kind of Fear of Punishment not even of Death itself, in exquisite Torture had been sufficient to conquer that steady, manly, pertinacious Spirit, with which they opposed the Tyrants of those Days in Church and state. And their greatest Concern seems to have been to establish a Government of the Church, more consistent with the scriptures, and a Government of the state more agreable to the Dignity of human Nature, than they had ever seen in Europe. For this purpose They knew that beautiful were the feet &c. But They saw clearly, that of all the ridiculous Nonsense, Delusion, and Frenzy that had ever passed thro the Mind of Man, none had ever been more glaring and extravagant than the Notions of the Cannon Law, of the indellible Character, the perpetual succession, the virtuous and sanctified Effluvia from Episcopal Fingers, and all the rest of that dark Ribaldry which had thrown such a Glare of Mistery, Sanctity, Reverence and Right Reverence, Eminence and Holiness around the Idea of a Priest [sentence unfinished]

The Affordable Care Act – Some Things to Consider

Political pressure has been building around the Affordable Care Act of 2010, sometimes referred to as Obamacare. There is no doubt that this pressure will be applied to the new Republican Congress with the aim of improving our flawed health care system. The Supreme Court will be revisiting the law in 2015 as it has agreed to review lower courts’ rulings in the case of King v. Burwell and other related cases. At the very least, the Court’s ruling on King will have implications for about 5 million people who are receiving federal subsidies for their health insurance under the new law. Some claim that the Court’s decision on King could in effect deal a deathblow to the entire ACA. This remains to be seen.

It’s important to remember that the decision handed down by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012 was limited in its scope. The Court’s decision did not address the Constitutionality of all elements contained in the Affordable Care Act, but only two elements, the so-called individual mandate and the expansion of Medicaid. The Court was deeply divided in its decision, but ruled 5-4 that the individual mandate was constitutional because it was understood as being within the scope of Congress’ power to tax, although the Court also ruled at the same time that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause did not give Congress authority to implement the individual mandate as argued by Obama Administration lawyers. But the Court found one justification for the individual mandate and that was all that was needed to allow it to stand.

The second provision in question, the “Medicaid expansion” was ruled unconstitutionally coercive by a majority of the Court. As a result, States could not be compelled to participate in the Medicaid expansion provision, effectively allowing states to opt out. But the Court’s ruling against the Obama Administration on the Medicaid expansion provision did not render the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Chief Justice Roberts summarized the Court’s decision:

“The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part. The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.

“As for the Medicaid expansion, that portion of the Affordable Care Act violates the Constitution by threatening existing Medicaid funding. Congress has no authority to order the States to regulate according to its instructions. Congress may offer the States grants and require the States to comply with accompanying conditions, but the States must have a genuine choice whether to accept the offer. The States are given no such choice in this case: They must either accept a basic change in the nature of Medicaid, or risk losing all Medicaid funding. The remedy for that constitutional violation is to preclude the Federal Government from imposing such a sanction. That remedy does not require striking down other portions of the Affordable Care Act.”

Except for the Medicaid expansion provision, implementation of the Affordable Care Act was allowed to move forward. Generally speaking, Democrats and Liberals were ecstatic with the Court’s decision, while Republicans and Conservatives were deeply disappointed.

Had only one justice come to a different conclusion, the Affordable Care Act might have had to have been scrapped entirely, or at the very least, the Court would have ordered Congress to rewrite or eliminate the specific provisions in question, namely the individual mandate and the expansion of Medicaid.

What surprised many Americans with divergent views on the ACA was that when the court’s decision was announced it was revealed that Chief Justice Roberts, often viewed as a conservative member of the court, had sided with the more liberal court members, thereby upholding the bulk of the new health care law.

I have heard people who favor the Affordable Care Act say that, because Chief Justice Roberts, a conservative, voted to uphold the law, that the law is therefore bulletproof and there can be no further challenges to it. This is wishful thinking based on false assumptions and flawed reasoning. In fact, I wonder how many of the people guilty of this argument have ever read Judge Robert’s opinion. My guess is not many of them. Let’s have a look at some of the other things Judge Roberts expressed in his official opinion regarding the Court’s decision.

The Chief Justice made it very clear that the questions addressed by the court were specific and limited in nature. At issue was not the entire Affordable Care Act, only the two specific elements previously mentioned:

“Today we resolve constitutional challenges to two provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: the individual mandate, which requires individuals to purchase a health insurance policy providing a minimum level of coverage; and the Medicaid expansion, which gives funds to the States on the condition that they provide specified health care to all citizens whose income falls below a certain threshold…. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.”

In addition, Chief Justice Roberts made it known that, although he sided with the majority, which had the consequence of upholding ACA for the time being, his decision should not be interpreted as being some sort of tacit approval of the new law:

“We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders.”

And later:

“Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments.”

That Justice Roberts was not making a judgment in this case on the wisdom of the ACA, its efficacy or the prospects for its success is beyond argument. Those who claim otherwise have either not read his opinion, or have, but prefer inventions that are not true.

Roberts also touched on a political aspect with regard to ACA and national policies in general,

“Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

The Chief Justice was pointing out that the American people may suffer from the negative effects of their own doing when they elect leaders who implement bad policy, but that the Court’s job is to only rule on the Constitutionality of those policies, not whether those policies are wise or good. Roberts indicates that the remedy for policy that is Constitutional, yet poor, is to “throw the bums out.” That is what happened on November 4th.

Hopefully the new Congress will be able to enact health care legislation that is truly bipartisan and that will actually live up to its name without bankrupting health care consumers, the federal government or taxpayers.

In our next post we’ll explore in detail some of the Justices’ reasoning for and against using the Constitution’s Commerce Cause to justify the individual mandate. The varying ideas surrounding this issue have huge implications for individual liberty and the limits of government power. We’ll also touch upon interesting items including the Court’s decision to construe the “penalty” as a tax even though the law does not refer to the penalty as a tax. Does Gruber come to mind?

Frotho Canutus