Monday, February 29, 2016

James Madison: Small Government, War President

James Madison was the fourth president to serve under the U.S. Constitution that he wrote, argued for, and saw adapted. So there was no president before him, nor since, who understood the Constitution better.
He was therefore an ardent defender of constitutional liberties.  He was also the first wartime president.

When Thomas Jefferson decided to step down after serving two terms as president, Madison, Jefferson's closest adviser and secretary of state, became the logical choice to replace him.  He was nominated by the Democratic-Republicans, and easily defeated Federalist Charles Pinckney in the election of 1808.

On March 4, 1809, he was 58 years old when he took the oath of office, becoming the 4th President of the United States.  Madison gave the appearance of a wise, worn-out and taciturn old man.  Yet the charming personality of his wife, Dolley Madison, more than made up for this.  She was the life of a huge inauguration party, and this set the stage for the Madison presidency.

During his presidency the opposition party, the Federalists, were a battered and broken down party.  This happened in part due to the tragic death of Alexander Hamilton, who was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804.  The Federalists held only a few seats on Congress. So much of the opposition Madison faced was from members of his own party.

He inherited a recession, and, like Jefferson, he had to deal with tensions caused by war between the British and French.  Both French and British blockades (set up against each other) were impacting the American economy due to the inability to American ships to get by them.  Raising tensions was the fact that British and French ships were attacking American merchant ships.

British war ships took this a step further when they started to board American ships and take American sailors captive, claiming they were deserters from the British Navy.  The British also claimed lands south of the Great Lakes and had succeeded in convincing Indian tribes (and arming them) to to fight American settlers.

Not helping matters was that the British officials in Canada were encouraging Indians there to attack U.S. frontier settlements.

Many in Congress wanted to improve conditions in the country by going to war with Britain. The most eager were New England merchants who were were being hurt by the recession that was caused by ships not being able to deliver goods to Europe.  Madison was in favor of avoiding war, but after the midterm election of 1810, which saw many "war hawks" being elected, Madison was pressured to become the first war-time president.

Madison declared war against Britain in December of 1812, a war that would become known as the War of 1812, or the Second Revolutionary War.  It did not start out good for the Americans, although in the end, after two years of fighting, the war was ended in a draw when the Treaty of Ghent was signed in December of 1814. The person who negotiated the treaty was John Quincy Adams, the son of the president.

During the war Madison faced reelection.  He did not face much opposition from the fractured Federalists, although he did face opposition from within his own party, especially on the issue of war.  Also during the war, in August of 1814, the British landed just 35 miles from Washington, and Madison watched as they easily marched past American militia unites.  Madison fled to Virginia.

His wife Dolley, however, remained at the White House and watched events with her telescope.  When she observed British forces approaching the White House, she loaded her personal belongings onto her carriage. She also, at the last minute, took a famous painting of George Washington out of its frame and gave it to friends to keep safe.  Then she left for safety.

British Admiral George Cockburn and his troops entered Washington and burned down the executive mansion. They also burned down the Capitol and Library of Congress.  Madison may have taken a lot of heat for this.  However, three weeks later American troops were victorious when the British tried to capture Baltimore.  The Americans were then successful holding back British forces in northern New York who were marching south from Canada.  These last minute American victories made the war a draw.

Two weeks after the treaty of Ghent was signed , on January 8, 1815, the British attacked American forces that were lead by Andrew Jackson in New Orleans.  A major battle ensued, and in the end 192 British soldiers had died, 1,265 were injured, and 500 were missing.  The Americans suffered only 13 deaths, 13 wounded, and 19 missing.  The British retreated.

Then news of the Treaty of Ghent reached Washington: the war was over.  Peace returned to the land.  Euphoria in the States rose as news got out that the new nation had faced the world's mightiest military and won, not once but twice.  Madison became a very popular president.

The war was a disaster for the Federalist party.  New England Federalists adamantly opposed the war, and even met once to secede from the union.  Considering many Americans blamed them for holding back the war effort, the party simply faded away.

Now, no longer having to have to face the issues of war, Madison was able to focus his attention on domestic issues.  He proposed the building of roads and canals and a national university (an idea the George Washington came up with).

Still, while Madison was a small government person, the war had increased the size and scope of government at the expense of the states and natural liberties of individuals.  Perhaps, if he had been able to establish peace instead of war with Britain, he might have gone down in history as one of the better small government presidents.

Friday, February 26, 2016

John Adams: The first vice president

As a result of the first national election in 1789, George Washington became the first president and John Adams as the Vice President.  So while Washington was busy establishing the role of the president, Adams was busy establishing the role of the vice president.  Adams quickly learned, however, that his job was not so exciting.

The Constitution was rather vague on the role of the Vice President. The only role that was defined was for the vice president to preside over the legislature and be a tie breaking vote in the senate.  For this reason both he and Washington believed the vice president was part of the legislative branch of government.  

That said, here is how Adams defined the role of Vice President. 

1.   One of the first arguments before the new legislature was to determine how to address the new president.  Believing he was part of the legislature, Adams participated in the debates.  He said he believed the president should be addressed as "Your Majesty."  Yet he was mocked and ridiculed by senators, who called him "His Rotundity" and "Duke of Braintree."  Senators then decided to shut him up by ruling that he could not participate in the debates.  Since then, the only role of the vice president in the Senate is to cast a tie breaking vote. While Vice President, Adams used his pen to break 31 ties in the senate

2.  His most important tie involved his confirming Washington's ability to remove officials he appointed.  This blocked attempts to weaken the power of the president. He also decided on a key argument between the north and the south. Northerners wanted the U.S. government to pay war debts incurred by the states during the war.  Southerners wanted the U.S. capital to be in the south.  

3.  Another tie breaking vote determined how war debts would be paid and where the new capital would be built.  Northerners wanted the federal government to pay war debts incurred by the states. Southerners wanted the new capital to be in the south.  Hamilton and Jefferson agreed to a compromise whereby southerners would agree for the federal government to pay off war debts, and northerners would agree to vote for the capital to be on the border between a northern and a southern state.  Adams cast the tie breaking vote in favor of this. Maryland and Virginia agreed to agreed to contribute land for a new District of Columbia.  

5.  Because Washington and Adams believed the vice president was part of the legislature, the two rarely spoke to each other during their terms.  They did this because they did not want to violate separation of powers. 

6.  Because the senate only met a few months of the year, and because the president had few powers, John Adams was bored with the job.  During his second term he would often travel back to Massachusetts.  This enticed Washington to quip: "Presuming that the vice president will have left the seat of the government for Boston, I have not requested his opinion to be taken."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Americans are not stupid, despite what the Trump haters say

My wife's cousin put a link on her Facebook page to a Salon article called, "America, you are stupid: Donald Trump's political triumph makes it official -- we're a nation of idiots." This is interesting, because when Obama won, a man with a past linked with terrorists and socialism, you didn't hear conservatives writing articles of how dumb democrats are for electing him.

We didn't call democrat voters stupid. We think they are wrong. We think they want a different course for America than we do. They want to "fundamentally transform America," or move it "forward," while we just want to keep America as it is. But we never, at any point, believed democrats were stupid.  We never once believed that America is stupid for nominating and electing  -- twice by the way -- the most liberal president in American history.

This is one of those cases where, I'm bored today and so much want to respond to this. I want to write: "We're not stupid, just fed up of government elites controlling us and ignoring us." But I was a good boy. I kept my fingers busy doing other things, like writing this blog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

John Adams: The first big government president

We know more about John Adams, the second president of the U.S., than any other person during his time. This is because he was an avid writer, composing a daily diary along with thousands of letters to his wife and friends. He painted himself as an average man, and this may have sealed his fate as an average president.  Yet a review of the evidence suggests otherwise: that he was indeed a great president.

Historian John Ferling, in his book "John Adams: A Life," said:
Shortly after the conclusion of the War of Independance he had predicted Washington and Franklin's everlasting fame; because he believed himself to be "obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular," he ruefully forecast that he would be forgotten.  "Mausauleiums, Statues, Monuments will never be erected to me," he had remarked.  Later, in retirement, he reflected on his long public life and concluded, "I am not, never was, & never shall be a great man." On another occasion he told a correspondent, "I never could bring myself seriously to consider that I was a great man." Subsequent generations have mostly agreed. A few years ago the distinguished historian, Edmund S. Morgan, thoughtfully considered Adams and reached the conclusion that he was "very nearly a great man." 
It is quite clear that George Washington was the better president, yet a preponderance of the evidence to one side suggests that John Adams was not far behind.  Here are some key events that lead up to him becoming president.

1.  As a member of a committee on Independence for the Second Continental Congress, Adams encouraged Thomas to write the Declaration of Independence, saying, "I had a great opinion of the Elegance of his pen, and none at all of my own."  He and Benjamin Franklin would write the revisions.

2.  As an ambassador to France, he worked with John Jay and Benjamin Franklin to negotiate the Treaty at Paris, signing it in September 1783.  The treaty was ratified by Congress, and this subsequently ended the War of Independance.

3.  During the 1789 Presidential election he became the first Vice President of the U.S. He would go on to discover that the job was rather boring.  All he did was preside over the senate a couple months of the eyar and break ties.  The senate decided he could not participate in senate debates.  Because he and the president believed the vice president was part of the legislative branch, they rarely spoke in order to protect the separation of powers.

4. During Adam's second term as vice president, political parties were born.  The federalists were lead by Alexander Hamilton and they championed for a large federal government. They supported Britain and believed the U.S. should remain neutral in the conflict between Britain and France.  They also supported industry, land owners, banking interests, and merchants. The democratic-republicans were lead by Thomas Jefferson and they championed for a limited federal government. They sided with the French, and supported the French Revolution. They supported farmers and wanted to keep the U.S. a nation of independent farmers. In fact, the dispute between Hamilton and Jefferson became so intense that they both resigned from Washington's cabinet.

5.  George Washington was aware that political parties were forming, and he did not like it.  After deciding that he did not want to run for a third term, he announced his concern about the development of political parties. Federalists nominated John Adams.  Some Federalists did not like him and pledged their votes for his running mateThomas Pickney.  The democratic-republican candidate was Thomas Jefferson.  In an ironic twist of fate, Adams received 71 electoral votes and became president, and Thomas Jefferson received 68 electoral votes and became vice president.  Pickney received 59 electorates.  This set the stage where the president and vice president were of opposing parties.

6.  John Adams was the first and only president to be sworn into office in Philadelphia, where he held his inauguration on March 4, 1797.  It was the first of many peaceful transfers of power.

7.  Adam's first act as president was to meet with Thomas Jefferson, and he suggested they run the government in a non-partisan manner that George Washington suggested.  Jefferson met with James Madison, another party leader.  Perhaps with some regret, Jefferson declined this offer.

That said, here is what defined the Adams administration.

1.  Partisan. Like Washington, Adams was a federalist, so he kept many of Washington's mainly federalist cabinet. However, he decided to rise above politics and govern in a non-partisan way.  He therefore became the second president to put his country before his own political agenda. This would set a precedent that lasted until Woodrow Wilson became president.

2.  Foreign Wars. The Adams administration was forced to get involved in foreign relations because French and British navies were capturing American ships.  The Jay Treaty negotiated during the Washington administration reduced the risk of war with Britain, but at the same time it angered the French.  The Federalists wanted Adams to go to war with France, although the democratic-republicans wanted him him to side with France against the British.  Instead, Adams decided to send three commissioners to France to broker a diplomatic agreement with them to avoid war.

3.  X-Y-Z Affair.  However, the commissioners were denied an audience.  Instead, French agents offered a bribe: if the U.S. made a $12 million loan to France and paid $12,000, they would arrange a meeting with Charles Talleyrnd, the French Foreign Minister.  The commissioners were offended and refused.  Adam's initial response was to ask Congress to declare for war against France.  Democratic-Republicans refused. Because of this, Adams released the dispatches, only he protected the names of the French agents by referring to them as x, y, and z. Congress was outraged by Frances actions and immediately approved Adam's request and declared war on France. The agents returned to France as heroes,  and Adams was hailed as a hero in the U.S.

4.  Two New Departments.  As a result of the X-Y-Z Affair and the War with France, he established the Department of Navy and the U.S. Marine Corp.

5.  Raised Taxes.  He called George Washington to command the army.  Washington asked Adams to declare Hamilton second in command, and Adams reluctantly agreed. Hamilton was leader of the pro-British, anti-French federalists, so he was eager to go to war. He helped Adams push a bill through Congress to increase taxes to fund the war.

6.  Alien and Sedition Act.  These were a series of bills passed by Congress and signed by Adams

  • Naturalilzation Act. Required aliens to live in the U.S. 14 years before applying for citizenship.  It used to be five years. 
  • Alien Enemies Act.  Allowed for the legal deportation of non citizens if the U.S. was at war with their homeland and they were suspected of being a danger to the homeland. 
  • Alien Friends Act.  Allowed non citizens to be imprisoned or expelled from the country at any time by order of the president if he suspected they might cause trouble.  
  • Sedition Act.  Made it illegal for citizens to assemble to protest government policies.  They could be fined up to $5000 and imprisoned for up to five years.  It was also illegal to print, say, or publish any false, scandalous, and malicious writings against the government for the president. They could be fined up to $2000 and imprisoned for up to two years. 
These acts violated the natural rights of non citizens.  Many democratic republicans suspected the laws were aimed at them, considering many party members were born outside of the U.S. Stirring anger was when 25 men were charged under the acts and ten were convicted, most of which were democratic-republicans. 

So the law essentially gave the president the ability to fine and imprison anyone who talked bad about him or his party.  This made him no better than the king they fought to escape from.  It made him no better than a totalitarian dictator. 

Kentucky and Virginia passed resolutions declaring the Alien and Sedition Acts were a violation of the Bill of Rights. Thankfully the acts expired in 1800.  

7.  Attempts to avoid war.  Despite his own party being in support of war, and knowing going to war would make him a very popular president, he did not want to be responsible for the young, and still relatively fragile, nation going to war.  He appointed democratic-republican William Vans Murray as minister to France in 1799 to negotiate a diplomatic agreement to avoid war.  The fact he did not send a federalist made members of his own party, including Alexander Hamilton, very mad at him.  Even his own secretary of state, Timothy Pickering, defied Adam's request to draft a treaty with France. 

8.  Adams fires Hamilton. George Washington died, freeing Adams of the obligation of keeping Hamilton on as second in command of the military.  So he relieved Hamilton of his command, fired his federalist cabinet, and sent Vans Murray to France.  

9.  Convention of 1800.  With support from moderate Federalists, Murray and Talleyrand prepared a treaty called the Convention of 1800.  This ended the threat of war with France.  Once again the U.S. avoided war as the treaty was ratified by Congress. Adams considered the treaty one of his biggest accomplishments.  

10.  Hamilton's scheme.  The federalists were split between moderate federalists who supported Adams and other federalists who supported Hamilton.  Hamilton wrote a pamphlet denouncing Adam's character.  

11.  White House.  The election of 1800 saw democratic republican Thomas Jefferson receiving more electorates than Adams.  Still, prior to the electors going to Washington to vote, Adams moved into what would later be known as the White House. 

12.  Midnight Judges.  Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes to Adams 65.  The House of Representatives chose Jefferson to be president. After the election, and before he left office two months later, Adams made appointments to federal courts. Some referred to these as "midnight judges, suggesting that it was unfair for an outgoing president to make long-term appointments. 

13.  John Marshall.  One of these judges was John Marshall, who would become chief justice of the supreme court and establish the role of that court as a powerful branch of the U.S. government. Some say he was the first activist judge who used the power of his position to advance an agenda, which in his case was the federalist, big central government agenda. 

So, was he a good president or a bad president. He was good because he was able to keep a young, and still fragile nation out of war.  He was good because he kept the young nation together despite the first raging partisan conflict.  He was bad because of just about everything else he did.  Surely he tried to be nonpartisan, but it was his decisions that set the stage for a large central government

Further reading:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Liberal Democrats must be defeated (we cannot work with them)

There is this constant notion that I have to deal with when discussing politics among my friends, and that is that we have to have a candidate who will unify both parties. They say that is why they cannot support Donald Trump, because he is too irrational.

The thing I say to these people, the thing I want them to think about, is this. In fact, I'm not going to use my words here, I'm going to articulate through the words of Rush Limbaugh. He said:
"This whole notion of working together, bringing the country together? We're way past that. We're never... We're not gonna unify with the liberal Democrats. We're not. There's no candidate out there that can forge a kumbaya. These people have to be defeated. They have to be defeated. There's no unity here. There never, really, has been in this country, anyway. It's always been a contest for leadership. 
And this is why the majority of republican voters are so mad at the establishment republicans, because they keep crossing the aisle to support democrat programs. They ran for election in 2014 and 2016 claiming that they will oppose Obamacare and oppose amnesty, and as soon as they get elected they cross the aisle and give Obama everything he wants. I hate to say it, but this is a perfect example of why republican voters hate the republican establishment: if they wanted democrats to win, they'd vote for democrats.

No democrat is going to agree to get rid of all the regulations in the name of the global warming hoax, because they are convinced that there is global warming. In fact, even if global warming is a hoax, they will never admit to it, because they need some sort of global warming scare to convince the people to get their socialist agenda passed. Call it global cooling, global warming, or climate change, the entire purpose of this scam is to convince the American people more government is needed to solve these problems. It's one big, giant scam.

And then you have polls showing that 60% of democrats think socialism is good for America. Socialism is what America has been opposed to since it's inception, or fascism, or progressives, or liberalism, or Communism. It is dressed in many different types of clothing depending on what country it is born it, but it is the same either way: It is a redistribution of wealth through regulations that abdicate freedoms."

So it must be opposed; democrats must be opposed. They must be stopped. The only way to save our country, or get it back, it to annihilate them. We do not need establishment republicans like Jeb Bush in the White House, because he is convinced we must join them in order to get votes. That is why Jeb Bush was forced to drop out of the race for president. This is exactly what created Donald Trump.

Monday, February 22, 2016

George Washington: The greatest president

Most Americans consider George Washington as the greatest president of all time.  This is true because, even while he was determined to stay at his lovely Mount Vernon, he placed his own personal desires secondary for love of country. It was his passion for the country he helped to shape that held it together during the first eight years.

It is true that his leadership helped a ragtag army of untrained and inexperienced soldiers defeat the most powerful military in the world.  While this is not why he was the greatest president, it pretty much set the stage for him becoming the greatest president.

Here is why he should be considered the greatest of great presidents.

1.  He surrendered power.  After the Treaty of Paris was signed in September of 1783, Washington resigned his commission as general.  He said, "Having now finished the work assigned to me, I now retire from the great theater of action."  His actions stunned the people of Europe, as great generals did not humbly step down from their posts.  In fact, George III famously quipped: "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."
He did just as he said, and returned to Mount Vernon.  He said he would never again "take any share in public business."  This was the first of two times he would surrender power.

2.  He attended the Constitutional Convention. In 1786, nearly all of the states decided that changes to the Articles of Confederation were needed and agreed to a convention in Philadelphia.  Washington was asked to attend.  He did not want to leave the comforts of Mount Vernon.  However, after several days of thinking it over, he decided his presence would add credibility to the convention, and that others would look to him for leadership.  He was right on both accounts.  After five days it was decided to scrap the original constitution in favor of a new one.  After four months of debate, Washington was the first to sign the new constitution.

3.  He was the first and only unanimously elected president.  The Constitution of the United States of America was ratified on June 21, 1788.  Elections were held in all states, and on February 4, 1789, all 69 electors unanimously voted for Washington to be the first president.  John Adams was the first Vice President.

4.  He chose to be a humble president. He could have interpreted the new Constitution in such a way as to make himself more like a prime minister or a king, but he chose instead to interpret in such a way as to make the presidency a humble office.

5.  He created a precedent on how to deal with the senate. In August of 1789 he decided to meet before the senate to seek their advice about a treaty with native Americans.  Senators asked meaningless questions and pretty much wasted his time.  He decided to never meet with them again.  No president after him has ever done so.

6.  He created the first cabinet of advisers. Instead, he decided to create a cabinet of advisers to help him run the new government.  He selected Thomas Jefferson to be secretary of state, Alexander Hamilton to be secretary of treasury, John Jay to be secretary of judiciary, and Henry Knox to be secretary of war.  All presidents since him have selected a cabinet of advisers.

7.  He established the constitutional power of the presidential veto. He was the first to exercise the president's veto power.  Congress passed a bill to give some states more representatives, and therefore more power over the federal government.  He vetoed this bill.

8.  He became the only person elected unanimously -- a second time. In 1792, he really wanted to retire to Mount Vernon.  He was sent a letter by his friend Eliza Powell.  In it she asked him how he could relax at Mount Vernon when his services were needed in Philadelphia to keep the young nation together.  So, putting his personal desires aside for the good of his nation, he decided to run for a second term.  He was once again elected unanimously.  He is the the only president to be elected unanimously, and he did it twice.

9.  He avoided war. The French Revolution broke out in France.  Jefferson believed the U.S. should support the French and be suspicious of the British.  Hamilton believed the U.S. should side with the British because they were important trading partners with the U.S. Washington believed the nation was too fragile to go to war with anyone.  On April 22, 1793, he issued a proclamation of neutrality. The country avoided war. Most Americans still supported France and were openly outraged at Washington.  But he stuck to his guns, even though he favored France.  So, once again, he put his country before his own personal desires. He put his country before what was popular among the people.

10.  He supported Jay's Treaty. Division among his cabinet between pro- British Hamilton and pro-French Jefferson continued.  To satisfy both sides Washington sent pro-English representative John Jay to London to negotiate a treaty that became known as Jay's Treaty.  The treaty called for English goods to be favored at American ports and for Americans to pay debts they owed the British since the war began.  The treaty was unpopular, but prevented war with Britain.  To this day Britain remains one of our best allies.

11. He spoke of American Exceptionalism. Despite having a bad year in which the nation was torn by a treaty negotiated by John Jay with the British, and the subsequent resignations of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, at his 1795 State of the Union he reminded the nation how well the young nation was doing. He said:
Our agriculture, commerce, and manufactures prosper... Our population advances with a celerity which, exceeding the most sanguine calculations, proportionally augments our strength and resources, and guarantees our future security... Every part of the Union displays indications of rapid and various improvement; and with burthens so light as scarcely to be perceived, with resources fully adequate to our present exigencies, with governments founded on the genuine principles of rational liberty, and with mild and wholesome laws, is it too much to say that our country exhibits a spectacle of national happiness surpassed, if ever before equaled?
Rather than speak of troubles, he spoke of American Exceptionalism.

12.  He surrendered power, again. He surrendered power for a second time when he announced he would not seek a second term as president.  By doing so, he set a precedent that would be followed for the next 150 years, until a progressive by the name of Franklin D. Roosevelt would put his own personal agenda and his own quest for power b before love of country.

13.  He saved his best speech for last. He saved his best speech for last.  Just prior to leaving office, on September 17, 1796, he gave the first presidential farewell address in which he explained why he was leaving office.  He warned against getting involved in the troubles of other nations.  He warned against the formation of political parties because he believed these would only result in squabbles such as those between Hamilton and Jefferson to the detriment of the country.  He stressed the importance of be responsible with credit and debt. He also stressed the importance of religion and morality.  His speech set a precedent for giving farewell speeches.

14.  He let his slaves go free. When he inherited Mount Vernon Washington became the "owner" of 50 slaves.  By 1790 he owned more than 300 slaves.  During his ventures as a general he observed colonies where people lived without slave labor.  In a 1786 letter to a friend, he said one of his "first wishes" was for "some plan to be adopted by Legislature by which slavery in the Country may be abolished by slow, sure means."  The letter indicates how he may have felt about slavery, although, like other founders, he rarely made such claims publicly he knew such discussion would lead to severe fighting among countrymen, a battle that would be better fought some time in the future after the country was more stabilized.  However, in his will he provided that all of his slaves would be freed upon his and Martha's deaths.  Of the nine slave owning presidents to follow him, he was the only one to free his slaves.

Of course we must also note the bad things that he did as president.

1.  He signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.  This was a law that guaranteed the right of slaveholders to recover an escaped slave. It allowed local governments to seize and return escaped slaves to their owners. It also provided for penalties for anyone who aided an escape slave.  The act was an ardent violation of the natural rights of slaves.

2.  He appointed Alexander Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury.  Hamilton believed in a large central government. The idea of the bank was

3.  He signed a bill creating the First Bank of the United States.  This was Hamilton's idea, and it was meant to help stabilize the American fiscal structure and pay off war debts.  The national bank was allowed to issue paper money, provide a safe place to keep public funds, collect taxes, among other things. Shareholders were allowed to invest in the bank, and this money was used to pay off war debt.  The bank was successful in that it paid war debt and stabilized the economy.  However, it was bad because it was unconstitutional.  It was likewise bad because there was no way that private and state owned banks could compete with such a powerful institution.

4.  He used federal military to crush a revolt against whiskey tax.  In 1794 a group of settlers in western Pennsylvania opposed a new federal tax on whiskey.  They armed themselves and seized tax collectors.  Washington abused his power and sent in the militia (about 12,500 men).  The revolt fell apart and peace returned to western Pennsylvania. Still, the militia should not have been used to stop a protest against a government action, as such is the action of dictators who oppose and wish to quell dissent.

As you can see, George Washington was not a perfect president. Still, his actions set some really nice precedents that established the role of the president.  And while he tended to support the federalists, for the most part, he did not use the power of his seat to advance an agenda.  Most important, despite his personal desire to retire to Mount Vernon, he rose to the occasion when his country needed him.  He held the country together during those initial eight years, and for that he will forever be known as the greatest president.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Election of 1879: The First Election

On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, effectively making it the new law of the land.  While it was clear who the first president would be, not so clear was who the first vice president would be.

At the time the constitution held that each state could choose their own electors, who in turn would cast two votes.  Whomever received the most votes would become president, and whomever received the second most votes would become vice president.

Also at this time only 10 states had ratified the constitution, so only Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and New York participated in the election.

Between the dates of December 15, 1788, and January 10, 1789, these ten states would decide how these electors were chosen.  Only Pennsylvania and Maryland decided to hold state elections whereby the voter were allowed to choose the electors.  The legislatures of a all the remaining states except New York chose electors. Raging disagreements between pro constitution federalists and anti-constitution anti-federalists in New York prevented that state from choosing any electors.

So, in total, 69 electors were chosen by the states, and they traveled to Philadelphia to cast their votes.

Technically speaking, all white males who supported the Constitution were candidates.  George Washington was named on all of the 69 ballots, and so he became the unanimous choice to become the first president. He would be the only president to be elected unanimously.  John Adams was named on 34 ballots, which was far more than any other candidate aside from Washington.  This made him the first vice president. 

Further reading:

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Bible Should Be Taught In School

One of my liberal friends, who contends she is a good Christian (and I have no reason to doubt her claim) said that all republicans do is play on fear. I explained a couple weeks ago how she is right, that fear did create Trump. In fact, we can go further back in time and say that the entire premise of the Bible is that we must "fear" the Lord. My point here is that fear is good. Fear keeps people safe. Fear is what causes people to be prepared.

This kind of reminds me of a another post I wrote a while back. FDR was famous for the quote, "There is nothing to fear except fear itself." I explained how this was not actually a good quote.  A better quote would be, "There is nothing to fear except not being prepared." Imagine if Americans were not so confident during the roaring 20s and, to at least some extent, feared a crash.  If that had happened, then more Americans would have been prepared, thus making themselves resistant to any crash.

I explained to my friend that there is nothing more important than teaching God in school. She said she sees no need for it. I explained that, if God were taught in school, it would cost about half of what it does today. If God was taught in school, if the Bible was taught in school, costly regulations would not be needed to save the environment.

I can say this because the Bible teaches that God created mankind, and God told mankind to take care of the planet, and take care of the beasts on the planet. He said that those who take care of the fig tree shall bear the fruit of that tree. He taught people to be good to one another. He taught people to be prepared and to fear the Lord. He taught people to resist evil and resist the Devil. By doing these things, a person will get to Heaven, which is eternal euphoria.

Until the 1960s, when the department of education was created, parents and teachers controlled what kids learned. A majority wanted their children to learn about the Bible. The cost of education was very little, and the results were great and mighty.

Amid an experiment, liberals decided they could make a great educational system better. So they took away parental and teacher rights and gave eight people in Washington the power to control what kids learned. These eight people decided that God was not needed in school.

This is what made it necessary to teach that theories are real. For instance, this is why they have to teach that global warming is real, even though evidence refutes the basis of it. This is why they have to work to hard to teach kids respect and responsibility, because they did not have access to Biblical teachings.

Teach the Bible and you don't need to create laws to force people to be good  Teach the Bible and progressivism, liberalism, socialism, fascism, Marxism, will not be needed. But, then again, I can see why a liberal wouldn't want the Bible taught, because the Bible teaches capitalism.

A problem with federally funded schools is that parents have no choice but to send their kids to them, or at least this is true for most parents. They do have a choice, but when that choice is between spending thousands on a Christian education and nothing on a public education, this isn't really much of a choice. Most parents are forced to send their kids to the secular public schools.

Truly, the only way to get the Bible back in school is to get rid of the department of education and give the states the right to control what kids are taught. Once the people have power over education again, parents and teachers can decide what kids learn. This system worked for the first 184 years of our country's existence. It will work again.

So, fear is good. The Bible plays on fear in order to encourage people to be good. By inculcating Biblical values to all kids, whether they are at home or in school, will make the world a better place.

Further reading:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why socialism, liberalism and progressivism always fails

One of the biggests myths that liberals believe is that there's only so much money to go around. They believe that people who make lots of money do so at the expense of others. This explains why rich people are so often referred to as "greedy" and "selfish" and "materialistic" by the left.  And it's so not true.

Now, surely, in some cases it might be true.  But in most cases, just because someone is well off does not make them greedy.

This also explains why the left constantly barrages people who succeed.  They do not like it when companies make profits.  Instead, they believe any money over what is needed to make a living should be spread out among all the other people equally.

This explains why they want taxes for the rich and not for the middle class and poor.  They want to punish those who succeed by taking the money they worked so hard to earn and doling it out to the poor.  In other words, they believe they know how to spend other people's money better than they do.

Actually, liberals believe that, left to their own devices, that people who succeed are naturally greedy, selfish, and materialistic; that they will naturally put themselves before the state, And, they believe, this is wrong.

This is why they hate capitalism so much, because capitalistic societies create opportunities for the few to benefit off the many, or so they falsely believe.

A perfect example to help me make my point is Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments.  He read somewhere that $70,000 was an ideal salary.  If you earn this salary you can have a nice house and car and have plenty of money left over to live a good life.  There's no need to make more than that.

Here's a guy who made over a million a year.  He decided to give himself a huge pay cut to $70,000 a year, and he gave this same salary to all his workers.  In other words, he decided, as so many on the left do, that it's unfair that one person makes millions of dollars while all the people who are the workers make so much less.  So he redistributed the money among all who work for him.

Guess what?  This happened back in April.  Not even four months later he announced that it was an utter failure. He had people who worked for the company for many years, were very loyal to the company, and they were upset that people who were newly hired were making as much as they were. Some of them -- some of his best employees -- quit.  It was a devastating blow to his company.

When you dole out money equally you expect that every person will do an equal amount of work.  In the ideal world, this might happen.  But in the real world this is impossible.  In the real world you are always going to have people say: "I'm going to make $70,000 no matter what I do, so I'm not going to go out of my way to do anything."

Why did this system fail? Because it assumes that everyone is equal.  Dan Price assumed that if everyone else made the same money he did that they would have the same passion that he does.  He believed the liberal myth that equality would bring fairness and happiness.  And he was wrong.

The fallacy here is that if everyone was equal, if everyone made the same amount of money, that everyone would do the same amount of work, and everyone would be equally happy.  This is the euphoria liberals think they can create. This is the biggest myth of liberalism that exists out there.

Sure, in their ideal world everyone is equal.  But in the real world people know that no two people are alike.  We are all unique. We all have our own goals, desires, and ambitions.  Some of us naturally work harder than others.  Some of us are early to work every day, and others are late no matter how hard they try.

Not only that, contrary to what the left tries to force on us, no one wants to be the same as someone else. We all yearn to be individuals; we all yearn to be unique.  Surely I might want to be like my dad, and I might want to be like the CEO running my company, or I might like to emulate one of my better coworkers.  Still, I don't want to be considered the same as everyone else. We all want to be unique.  We all want to be missed when we are gone because no one else can do what we do.

That reminds me of a sign I saw in the nursing report room a while back: "No one notices what you do until you are gone."  This means that when you are no longer here, people realize how valuable you were.  All these years, for instance, they just assumed the storage room miraculously was stocked every day.  Now that you aren't around they see that it was you, all along, who stocked.

When my grandma passed away, the general consensus among us grandkids was that this was a woman who could never be replaced. If you are healthy psychologically, then you are special to the world in this way too. You cannot be replaced.  You are unique, You are an individual.  You don't want to be lumped in with a bunch of slackers, half-baked, half-caring people. You want to be thought of as the cream of the crop, and you can't be if everybody's making 70 grand.

Worded another way, if we all make the same income(a so called fair wage), and we all have the same healthcare, and we all have the same education, and we all have the same everything else, then we are nothing more than sheep.  We are herded by the great big Sheppard who lives in Washington D.C. who goes by the name of Uncle Sam.

The problem with this analogy is people are not sheep.  We all yearn to be unique We all yearn to be special. We all yearn to offer some special gift. We all offer a special gift. If everyone is the same, then we are no longer needed. To assume we are all the same is to assume we are all easily replaceable, and that goes against nature

It is for this reason that liberalism, progressivism, socialism, Lenonism, Marxism... always fails.

There are many people in this world that are so special that they will never be replaced.  This is human nature.  We are not the same, and cannot be treated the same. So any attempt to make us the same assumes that we all produce the same, and that's simply not true. It's human nature. To try to perfect human nature will always lead to chaos.

And that's exactly what happened at Gravity Payments after Dan Price decided to give everyone who worked for the company the same wage of $70,000.  Because there are so many different levels of talent and ability, the system set in place never had a chance. It was socialism pure and simple. Everyone was treated the same. Nobody was considered more important than anyone else. They are interchangeable. When one person retires or quits or dies, another can simply fit in to fill the empty pair of shoes, or so the

Marxist assumes.  Such a system is doomed to fail no matter how many times it is tried.Sure it might sound good and make you feel good, but it never works. It has never worked.

The main problem with socialism is best summed up by Rush Limbaugh:
The main policy or main flaw with socialism side from run out of somebody else's money at some point is that we're not the same and we are not equal. There is no such thing as fairness. Fairness is always arbitrary depending on who has the power to define it, and there certainly is no equality. There's equality of opportunity, equality of chance, equality before the law, but these people talk about equality in terms of outcomes, and there's no such thing.
You put a system of socialism in place where you have equality of outcome, and you're always gonna have some renegades, some entrepreneurs who are gonna say, "Screw this," and they're gonna bust out, and they're gonna do what they do, and they're not going to be shackled by silly rules like this. And then you have, on the other end of it, people who are gonna say, "I'm gonna get 70 grand a year, man, and I don't have to do anything special? I just have to show up?" and that's all they're gonna do. Because slackers are everywhere.
If you're not going to be compensated or rewarded for merit-based behavior, then there's no reason to be concerned about merit-based behavior. So that goes out the window, too.
Why did Dan Price's system fail? Because it was pure, unadulterated socialism. Call it liberalism or progressivism or whatever you want, it has failed every single time it has been tried. Yet because it smells good and sounds good, the best and brightest among us will continue to fall for it.

Further reading: