Monday, February 27, 2017

Bill Clinton: A good fiscal president, bad role model

George H.W Bush failed to hold true to his pledge not to raise taxes, and this angered the conservative base. This, coupled with the successful independent campaign of Ross Perot, allowed William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton to slip into the office of the President without garnishing a majority of support among voters.

He ran as a "new" democrat. By this, he was trying to make it look like he was not the same old type of liberal democrat as was portrayed in the 1960's. However, there was nothing new about the Bill Clinton's agenda other than he attempted to run as a moderate (conservative) democrat rather than a liberal democrat. However, once elected he would run as a liberal. 

So, the claim of being a "new" democrat, the fact that the country was ready for something other than a republican, the fact that Bush was perceived as not conservative enough, or as a person who is not true to his word, gave us Bill Clinton. 

Bush made very little effort to change domestic policy; he essentially rode the wave of Reaganomics. By the end of his term, a mild recession was in process, and this may have been partially due to Bush's allowing Congress to raise some existing taxes. However, the recession was short lived and is generally considered one of the mildest recession in U.S. history. The Reagan economic boom continued throughout much of the Clinton administration. 

The result was Bill Clinton became President in 1992. The economy quickly recovered and continued to soar. Bill Clinton's popularity soared as he rode the economic tide created by Reagan. The economy created by Reaganomics was so strong the Bush recession turned out to be but a minor blip in the road.

My dad, a person I would consider a conservative republican, has said to me on numerous occasions that he thought Clinton was a good President just by the fact that he created a sound economic environment. My dad said that he decided to sell his business while the economy was still doing well, and this was mainly because of Clinton. 

While it's easy to give Clinton credit, he probably doesn't deserve it. Here is why.

During the 1980s, Reagan cut regulations and cut taxes in order to stimulate the economy. At the same time, to help win the cold war, he increased military spending. He believed it was important to have the mightiest military in the world but to not need it. He referred to this as "Peace through strength."

To offset this, a democratic controlled Congress promised to cut spending. Congress would later renege on this promise. So, by the end of the Reagan-Bush era, the national debt was at an all-time high. Bill Clinton believed he could pay off some of this debt by cutting military spending and raising taxes on the wealthy. So, in 1993, he signed a bill that would do just that.

As far as the military, throughout his terms, the military budget was repeatedly cut, and this resulted in reductions at the Pentagon, a closing of military bases, a pullout of many troops from Europe, and many military bases were shut down.

By the end of Clinton's term in office, the military was severely depleted. While conservatives saw this as problematic, liberals see this as a good thing. They believe a powerful military just makes the U.S. look arrogant to people in nations like Iran and Iraq.

For instance, when radical Muslims commit acts of terror against us, it's our fault more so than theirs. To fix the problem, rather than built up the military, they tear it down.

You see, this is the kind of nonsensical stuff your dealing with when a liberal posing as a moderate is elected President.

In fact, after 911, Clinton's former Defense Secretary, Casper Weinberger, said Clinton had cut defense spending so much, and the military was so depleted, that he didn't think we could fight and win a war on terrorism.

He also raised taxes on the wealthy. One of the myths of Keynesian economics is that raising money on the wealthy is a viable method of raising governmental revenue. The problem with this is wealth cannot be taxed, only income can be taxed. Most people who are wealthy have their money invested, and so they don't make income per se.

Plus, on the income they do make, as their taxes go up, they just find ways of getting around paying it. It's not worth doing this when taxes are low, but when they are perceived as too high, the extra effort is worthwhile.
In either case, tax hikes usually result in a short-term revenue increase, althoug a long-term decline in revenue. Liberals believe this is okay so long as it allows them to push forth their progressive agendas. 

However, this agenda was repudiated by voters in the 1994 mid-term elections as republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time in 40 years. This is often referred to as the "republican revolution," and was lead by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. It's also often referred to as the "Newt Gingrich Revolution." 

Gingrich's House, capped by the Contract with America, powered Conservatives, and united republicans. The most important thing on that Contract with America called for tax cuts -- particularly capital gains tax cuts. 

Due to his desire to get along with Congress to pass his agenda later, Clinton (perhaps due to bad advice from his staffers), signed the Gingrich tax cuts into law. 

This, in my opinion, is why the economy continued to boom. This tax cut offsets the Bush and Clinton tax hikes and allowed the economy to continue to soar. Now, of course, we also have to recognize the Internet boom also played a role. But I think the Newt Gingrich Contract with America, while helping to reinvigorate republicans, also saved the Clinton administration, making it look good. 

The 1964 election put Clinton up against moderate republican Bob Dole. Clinton rode the economic wave through the election, beating Dole by an electoral vote of 379 to 159. However, once again he failed to gain a majority of support of the voters, as he garnished only 49.2% of the popular vote (although this was more than Dole's 40.7%). 

As you might imagine, the liberal media makes sure most people know that it was Bill Clinton's economy. And that's fine with me, as the President should get credit for the economy. I mean, think of it this way: he could have vetoed the tax cuts. But he didn't. He signed them into law, and in this way, he should get credit.

Still, liberals sight the booming 1990s economy as a result of the Clinton tax hikes. They often cite this as evidence that tax hikes can stimulate the economy. Conservatives understand that it was the tax cuts that did this, not the tax hikes. But, this is one of the reasons there are two parties, so one can act like kids and skrew things up, and the other can act as adults and fix things while not caring that the other gets credit.

In December of 1993, he worked with democrats and republicans in Congress to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This bill removed tariffs on trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

 Critics said this bill would cause industries to move out of the U.S. and open shop in those other countries where workers were paid less, and then they would sell their products back in the U.S. while making a higher profit. Supporters claimed the bill would benefit both countries equally.

This criticism was brushed off by democrats and republicans alike until Donald Trump came around 23 years later and informed voters that NAFTA had resulted in 75,000 industries leaving the country. So, in the end, while seen as necessary in the modern global economy, it would end up benefiting other nations at the expense of American jobs.

So, NAFTA would wind up being one of the worse bills ever signed by any President.

One other really good thing he did was, on August 22, 1996, sign the welfare reform bill called The Personal Responsibility And Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. It required able-bodied people on Welfare to work, and it limited the number of years they could receive government assistance. His Welfare to Work Partnership helped people get the needed education and training they needed to get jobs.

It worked. Between 1994 and 2004, the number of people on welfare declined by 60%.Plus, many studies showed that in 1996, 60% of mothers removed from welfare were able to find jobs, and after a period of several months 80% held jobs. U.S. Census data also showed that between 1993 and 2000 the percentage of low-income, single mothers, with a job grew from 58-75%, an increase of almost 30%. In those same years, the percentage of never-married mothers in the workforce increased from 44-66%, an increase of 50%.

All of these were unprecedented improvements. Another neat statistics is that, between 1994 and 2000, child poverty fell every year. By the year 2000, the poverty rate of black children was at the lowest it had ever been.

Liberals see this as bad, claiming it means there are people who need assistance are not getting it. Conservatives believe success is not based on how many people need government assistance, but by how many people can make it on their own. By the conservative definition, Clinton's welfare reform was a huge success. 

Clinton also faced his share of scandals, including various accusations that had sexually assaulted or raped women, and one woman by the name Monica Lewinski who claimed that she gave him a blowjob in the Oval Office. Clinton at first denied these claims, although later evidence forced him to appear on national television one evening to apologize to voters. That must have been humiliating.

So, I list Clinton in my second tier of Presidents called, "They did some good things, but they also did some bad things. Fiscally he was a pretty decent President. Along with raising taxes and cutting military spending, he also succeeded at cutting 377,000 government jobs and sharply reduced government spending.

This was so successful that, in 1999, it was announced that he and Congress had succeeded at balancing the Federal budget. By the time his term ended there was even a surplus. It's also important to mention that he helped create an economic environment that saw the creation of 20 million new jobs.

Again, people who credit the tax hikes for these successes are not being honest. The true reason for the good Clinton economic years were the tax cuts, particularly on Capital Gains. It should be noted that the best way to get a stagnant economy moving is by cutting capital gains taxes. 

Regardless, by the end of his terms, the Internet Bubble had burst. This caused a recession. I think it's fair to say that, by our own rule of giving a President credit for the state of the economy, we can duly call it the Clinton Recession. It was in this state that Clinton saw his Vice-President nominated as the democratic candidate for President in 2000.

Perhaps a repudiation of sorts on the Clinton years was that Gore lost in in closely contested election to George W. Bush, the son George H.W. Bush. Overall, however, Clinton's economy was pretty good, and for that, we can mark him as a pretty good fiscal President. Socially, however, he was a horrible role model for a nation that truly needed one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My ranking of the presidents

George Washington often a top choice on best president lists,
with Abraham Lincoln usually ranking in the second spot.
The rest of  such lists are merely subjective,
usually being influenced by political affiliations.
The following is a list of presidents ranked from best to worse.   

Here are the great presidents.

1. George Washington (no party) for keeping the country together, and creating a humble executive.  The worse thing he did was sign the Fugitive Slate Act of 1793, which gave the right to a slave owner to recover an escaped slave (an ardent violation of natural rights). However, considering we probably wouldn't have a nation were it not for him, we will forgive him for this and still rank him #1 forever and ever Amen.

2. Abraham Lincoln (Republican) for preserving the union and ending slavery. Nothing else he did could add to nor take away from these stunning achievements, not even the fact that he was an enemy of state's rights.

3. Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican) for protecting state rights and preserving a limited government by repealing many federal taxes and opposing government debt. We must also hail him for the brilliant Louisiana Purchase, which is perhaps one of the greatest bargains in all of world history. Of course his greatest fame came from his actions before becoming president, mainly for writing the Declaration of Independence. He might also gain respect for his making up with John Adams and writing many letters about the true intentions of the founding fathers.

4 .Martin Van Buren:  (Democrat) Some say he was the first forgettable president based on his inability to get the U.S. out of the depression caused by the panic of 1837.  Some say the depression was the result of banks offering easy credit with no central regulation, and that all he had to do was create regulations to end it. However, I believe this is a reason to rank him high on this list.  He was the first president to have a laissez-faire approach to government, and therefore refused to use the depression as a reason to increase the central government at the expense of personal liberties.  This laissez-faire approach set a precedent that was followed by most presidents for the next 90 years.  He should also get credit for keeping us out of war with Britain as tensions grew along the border between New York and Canada.  However, despite these successes, the propaganda tossed out by the Whigs won the day.  Not helping matters was that he was also known for living an extravagant lifestyle, making him an easy scapegoat.  He was easily defeated by William Henry Harrison in 1841. Ironically, to defeat him, the Whigs had to nominate a democrat for Vice President. So, when Harrison died shortly into his term, the laissez-faire democrats were back in power anyway.

5. Calvin Coolidge (Republican) for continuing the policies of Warren G. Harding and becoming the only president to accomplish the trifecta of cutting both individual and corporate taxes, limiting regulations on private business, and cutting spending in order to create an environment of economic prosperity that created the environment that made both the Industrial Revolution and the Roaring 20s possible.

6. Ronald Reagan (Republican) for having the nerve to cut taxes across the board, and limiting regulations on private business, to lift a faltering economy.  He may also receive credit for putting pressure on the Soviet Union to end the Cold War, and for creating confidence that gave rebirth to the notion of American Exceptionalism.

7. Grover Cleveland (Democrat) for his love and devotion to the Constitution, for refusing to sign any law that violated Constitutional restraint and impeded upon natural rights, for supporting low tariffs that benefited businesses, for reducing taxes, for having the courage to fight government corruption and fighting government corruption, and for doing all of this despite the fact that doing the opposite would have paid dividends as far as his political career and legacy were concerned. He should also be hailed for his quote, "People support the government, the government should not support the people."

8. John Tyler: (Whig, Democrat, Independent) He is often thought of as one of the worse presidents. However, according to the Daily Caller, "Short of George Washington, Tyler is perhaps the greatest presidents in American history. Tyler used his veto power the way Washington intended, as a check on unconstitutional legislation. He vetoed the re-incorporation of a central banking system, as well as bills involving internal improvements and a protective tariff. The Whigs expelled him from the party for “gasp!” following the Constitution. His administration laid the groundwork for the settlement of the Oregon dispute with Great Britain and brought Texas into the Union."    He is also significant for vetoing the Third Bank twice, vetoing the tariff bill, ending the Second Seminole War, holding back federal troops in Dorr Rebellion, establishing trade with China, and establishing the role of the Vice President while fending off Henry Clay. Not good was that he annexed Texas despite the fear of free states that Texas would be a slave state.  This lead to a war with Mexico -- although it also ultimately lead to the expansion of the U.S., which as good.

9.  Zachary Taylor: (Whig) He opposed the compromise of 1850. This can be perceived as good because, after Zachary Taylor died in 1850, Milford Fillmore would sign the bill, ultimately prolonging slavery as an institution in the U.S. The bill also strengthened the fugitive slave law, which was an ardent violation of justice.  Taylor opposed all this: He would not have signed the bill.  It also should be known here that the Whigs were ardent supporters of slavery, so Taylor opposed his own party on this.  So he went up against his own party on this issue, and for this we should give him credit. This may also have been why he was killed.

10. Dwight David Eisenhower (Republican) for creating an era of economic stability and peace that allowed the U.S. to emerge as a world superpower, for standing firm against the Soviet Union, and for his warnings against deficit spending. While it was a huge government project, his championing for the building of an interstate highway system was a good federal program.

11. John F. Kennedy (Democrat) for defeating a popular republican vice president (Richard Nixon) and being more conservative than he was, for not being afraid to deal with communism in both Cuba and Vietnam, for not blaming his predecessor for the Bay of Pigs failure (Eisenhower designed the plan), for cutting taxes in order to spawn economic prosperity during 1960s, and for championing for flights to the moon and back, all of which gave Americans reason to be proud once again. He also should be given credit for his quote: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."  His liberal social views are what keep him out of the top ten. 

12. James Monroe (Republican) for a Monroe Doctrine that warned European nations about coming to the new world and prevented the U.S. from becoming entangled in European affairs for the next century. Also for his opposition to excessive government spending and not being afraid to veto popular bills.

13. Andrew Jackson (Democrat) He can be considered a great for refusing to allow South Carolina to leave the union, and threatening military action if it tried. He can be considered great for believing that American greatness comes from the people and not from government.  He can be considered great for cutting federal spending, eliminating internal taxes, and reducing the national debt. He must also gain credit for his constant warnings that government encroachment would lead to many of the problems that are occurring today as a result of government encroachment (mainly a loss of personal liberties, or natural rights).  He did not believe the government should intrude in the lives of private individuals.  Some like to move him down in rankings for his battle with the Indians, but at the time his actions were popular because various Indian Tribes threatened American settlements.

14.  James Madison (Democratic-Republican) He can be considered great for signing the Non-Intercourse Act which allowed the U.S. to trade with all nations except France and Britain, and the Macon's Bill #2 that allowed the U.S. to trade with any nation that worked to protect American shipping interests (all nations except Britain agreed).  He can be considered great for leading the country through the War of 1812 to stop British soldiers from harassing American ships and impressing soldiers. He can be considered bad for creating the Second Bank of the United States.  He is best known for what he did prior to becoming president, which was being one of the key authors of the Federalist Papers and Bill of Rights.

15. Harry S. Truman (Democrat) for having the courage save millions of young lives by dropping Fat Man and Little Boy on Hiroshima, for the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe, and for standing firm against the threat of communism.

16. James K. Polk (Democrat) for being a Jacksonian president (Manifest Destiny) and expanding the country all the way to the Mexican border by defeating and forcing them to cede both New Mexico and California to the U.S in exchange for $15 million in cash, for avoiding war with Britain by encouraging them to agree with creating a border at the 49th parallel, except for the southern tip of Vancouver, in 1846, and for keeping his campaign pledge of being a one term president despite pleas for him to run again (good thing he didn't, because he died shortly after his term ended).

The next group of presidents is generally considered as good or bad, depending on how you look at what they did in office. They all did some good things, but offset them with some bad things. 

17. George W. Bush (Republican) He failed to reign in spending, and in fact allowed it to soar, but he did cut taxes to allow the economy to expand, he did make excellent Supreme Court nominees, and he responded heroically to 911. Another of his failures was to stop the influx of illegal immigrants and to protect and defend the borders. By failing to veto any spending bills placed on his desk, the national debt skyrocketed to unprecedented levels.

18.  Ulysses S. Grant (republican) He rode his popularity following his Civil War successes into the office of the president.  He is usually considered an unsuccessful president due to too many scandals.  However, that's what the propaganda says.  If we go by his attempts to prevent the nation from getting into wars, and ability to preserve liberties, he deserves a higher ranking than he often gets.  He vetoed the Inflation Bill of 1874, he cut taxes, he lowered debt, he fired 2,248 government employees, he moved the country toward a de facto gold standard, he signed the Specie Payment Resumption Act and avoided war with Spain/ Ciuba despite Virginius Affair, and signed the Treaty of Washington.  He should also gain more respect simply because he supported equal rights for blacks and native Americans by supporting the 15th Amendment. Still, bringing down his presidency are all the scandals, plus his creation of the Office of Solicitor General, and the fact that he left reconstruction violence problems to state militias instead of using the army.  He also suspended habeas corpus (the right to seek relief from unlawful imprisonment) by signing the Ku Klux Klan Act in 1871

19.  John Adams (Federalist) We are going to give him credit for avoiding war with France despite his own personal desires to go to war with them. By avoiding war and not advancing his own political agenda, he took serious criticism within his own party, particularly from Hamilton Federalists.  It may have been for this reason that he lost the 1800 electionand and the Midnight Judges.  One of these midnight judges was John Marshall, who was the first activist judge who used his position to advance an agenda at the expense of personal liberty.

20.  Chester A. Arthur (Republican) The spoils system allowed elected officials to award those who supported their campaign with the best government jobs. Even though his political career benefited from this, Arthur ended it by signing the Pendleton Act in 1883. The new law required government officials to be hired based on merit instead of political affiliation. He also lowered tariffs, which are essentially taxes on imported goods.  He pushed for the International Meridian Conference, which established the Greenrich Meridian as an international standard for zero degrees longitude.  He signed into law in 1882 the Edmunds Act, which was an anti-Mormon bill that made polygamy illegal.  The Act was unconstitutional because it violates the natural right to choose who you marry. He also signed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, which prohibited Chinese laborers from immigrating to the U.S. The act was renewed in 1892, made permanent in 1902, and eventually repealed with the Magnuson Act in 1943. 

21. Franklin Deleno Roosevelt (Democrat) He could easily be hailed as one of the best presidents due to his patriotism in war time and his ability to inspire through his speaking skills during the Great Depression and ability to lead during WWII.  However, he could just as easily be hailed as a bad president for putting his own personal political ambitions before the Constitution he was bound to protect and defend.  He could be hailed as great for creating the FDIC for protecting money invested in banks and restoring confidence in the banking system.  He could be considered great for creating a social security program to assure that the elderly and sick would be cared for.  However, at the same time. we could rank him as a bad president for using the troubles of the nation as an excuse to ignore the constitution to push forth programs that benefited a few at the expense of the majority.  And that is why we rank him here. 

22. Teddy Roosevelt (Republican) for carrying "A Big Stick" and breaking up trusts that infringed on individual liberties, and for his defense and foreign policy views. He moves down the list because he was a progressive, big government president who supported high taxation, and government intervention into commerce. Bad is that he increased tariffs, and pushed for an income tax. Terrible is that he created the Department of Commerce and Labor, which set a precedence for future presidents to likewise create such departments.  This is bad because these departments have the power to make regulations without the approval of Congress, and thereby have the ability to take away liberties. 

23. Bill Clinton (Democrat) He can be considered great for putting his nation before his political aspirations and agreeing to sign on to republican bills to cut taxes, reduce capital gains, and welfare reform. Such actions allowed for the economy to stay robust during most of his terms in office. He can be considered great for expanding free trade.  He can be considered a poor president for his lack of leadership in foreign affairs.  He can be considered as a poor president on social issues, such as nominating liberal judges to courts.  He can be considered great for supporting the gay community although opposing gay marriage.  He can be considered a bad president not for having sexual relations while in office, but for lying about it when he was caught.  

24. Warren G. Harding (Republican) for succeeding in cutting spending by 40 percent, and signed a much needed tax cut that helped to lead the country into the greatest period of economic expansion in history at that time. He was the only president to succeed at both cutting taxes and reigning in spending. Unfortunately, scandals lead to his downfall, and perhaps the stress that lead to his early death.

25. James Buchanan (Democrat)  The fifteenth president failed to stand up against the spread of slavery, and the  block of states that would become the Confederacy. However, unlike Abraham Lincoln (the man who succeeded him) he succeeded at avoiding war. He also favored low taxes and low tariffs in an effort to stimulate the economy, Many consider him a failed president, although he really wasn't. Yet the slavery issue was too big a scar on his legacy to rank him higher than this. 

26. John Quincy Adams (Federalist) The son of John Adams, he was literally groomed for the presidency but failed to accomplish anything once elected.  He was good because he did not allow the U.S. to become involved in the affairs of other nations.  He said that America should not go abroad "in search of monsters to destroy." Bad is he supported Henry Clay's American system.  It called for high tariffs that disadvantaged the poor, who were now forced to pay higher prices.  It called for high western land prices to discourage people from leaving eastern states in favor of western states.  This also worked to the disadvantage to the poor who could not afford the higher land prices. The bill favored one group at the expense of another, and was therefore unconstitutional.  He also signed the Tariff Act of 1828, which disadvantages the poor, especially in western states, who could not afford the high prices of imported goods.

27.  Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican) Good is that he ended reconstruction and withdrew federal troops. He defended the rights of blacks who were being oppressed in the South. He ended the spoils system and defended the gold standard. Good is that he vetoed the inflationary Bland-Allison Act.  Bad is he used federal troops to murder 70 striking workers. Bad is that he banned the sale of alcohol at Army forts.

28.  William McKinley (Republican)  He lead over the U.S. during the Spanish-American War.  Bad is he sent federal troops to end the Boxer Rebellion, a Chinese uprising in northern China against western and Japanese influence there. He also kept federal troops out of the south. Bad is he signed onto a high tariff bill. Bad is he failed to choose his own vice president, and allowed his fellow republicans to nominate Teddy Roosevelt at the convention. Good is he proved America could be a influence upon the world scene, setting the state for an American Superpower.

29.  William Howard Taft (Republican) He supported peaceful free trade treaties.  But, he signed on to the Payne Aldrich Tariff Act.  He also supported the 16th amendment, which allowed the government to collect taxes on income.

30.  George H. W. Bush (Republican)  Good is he was a nice guy. He involved the U.S. in a popular Gulf War, and gave the military the authority to do its job and win fast.  Okay, some government is needed.  So his Clean Air Act noble.  Bad is he reneged on his popular vow, "Read my lips: no new taxes." He was too willing to negotiate with democrats, giving them too much of what they wanted.  Of course we must keep in mind he was working with a democratically controlled Congress.  Still, his reneging on his no tax pledge is probably what cost him re-election in 1992.

31.  Gerald R. Ford (Republican)  He was the only president never elected.  He was chosen to replace Spiro Agnew as vice president by Richard Nixon.  He then became president when Nixon resigned.  He therefore is the only president never to be elected.  He did some good things, such as the Tax Reduction Act of 1975.  He urged the reduction of domestic oil price controls and refused to bail out a bankrupt New York City.  He also advocated the Human Rights Watch, a non governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Bad is that he encouraged every American to be vaccinated for H1N1, and this ended up being a deadly mistake.  The Education for Handicapped Children Act essentially forced schools to provide an education for handicapped children and give them one free meal a day.  It surely sounds like a nice act, but it violates personal liberties by forcing schools to act in a certain way.  It basically doesn't force schools to do anything, but refusal to participate would result in reduced. The was an early attempt by progressives to negative incentives as a way to move forth their agenda. It was also evidence of Ford being a RINO, a Republican In Name Only.

The following presidents were not in office long enough to be considered good or great or bad or anything other than just spot fillers.

32.  William Henry Harrison (Whig) Many people have him as one of the worse presidents, but this is merely due to the fact he died of pneumonia 30 days into his term.  I think this is not enough time to judge him by, and therefore I rank him right here in the middle of my rankings.  He was neither a great nor one of the worse presidents. He was, in essence, just an average president. This is why I'm ranking him right here in the middle.

33.  James A. Garfield (republican) Like William Henry Harrison, he was not in office long enough to truly judge.  He was shot by an assassin's bullet and died three months later at the White House due to an infection that set in, probably due to his doctors not wearing gloves when they operated on him.

The following are generally considered poor presidents for the reasons noted.

34.  Millard Fillmore (Whig) He backed the compromise of 1850 that stopped southern states from seceding, but allowed slavery to spread. The compromise also strengthened the fugitive slave law, which was an ardent violation of justice.

35.  Benjamin Harrison (Republican) He did nothing good except have electricity installed in the White House. He signed the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 because he was in favor of restricting international trade to the benefit of American businesses and jobs from foreign intervention.  He supported the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.  This, coupled with the McKinley Tariff Act, would lead to the depression inherited by Grover Cleveland. He also signed onto the Sherman Anti-Trust Act that gave the government too much power over business activity.  He appointed Teddy Roosevelt to the U.S. Civil Service, who would prove to be a thorn in his side and would go on to become the first progressive president.

36.  Herbert Hoover (Republican) Calvin Coolidge actually opposed Hoover following him into the office of the president, even though he was also a republican.  The reason was because he believed Hoover was too progressive.  And he was right.  When the economy started to spiral out of control, he worsened by signing into law bills that raised tariffs and regulations on businesses, making it harder for them to stay in business.  It was his progressive policies, and not capitalism, that lead to the Great Depression.

37.  Richard Nixon (Republican) Watergate dragged him down and doomed his political career.  But even before that he was one of the more progressive republican presidents of all time.

38.  Andrew Johnson (Republican) He has traditionally been judged as a terrible president, and this may be true because, as a democrat, he had essentially no clout over a republican Congress. However, he did have some good ideas. For one thing, he was opposed to high taxes and regulations that would hurt the common man. He was adamantly opposed to Whigs who championed for higher taxes and tariffs to pay for roads and other infrastructure improvements. Even when a spending bill would have benefited his own district and his political career, he opposed it as any good politician would. He was strongly anti-government, and so if he was only given a chance, he very likely would have been a good president. Yet, with no clout, he had no power. He was therefore rather ineffective. Still, he did not hurt the office as later progressive presidents would, so we cannot rank him lower on this list.

39.  Franklin Pierce (Democrat) He tried to avoid a Civil War.  He reduced the national debt. He refused to sign onto any bill that would compromise the slavery industry.  He angered northern voters because he hinted at adding southern slave states. His signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act that lead to Bleeding Kansas. Kansas was a free state, and this act reversed that.  It enraged northern voters. The act also made it so white male voters could choose whether their state was a slave or free state.  So potential voters from the north and south were sent to Kansas to influence the vote, and this was termed "Bleeding Kansas." The Act was a betrayal to the north, and is often considered a prelude of the Civil War.

40.  Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat)  Nothing he did was good unless you consider advancing the progressive agenda and the scope and size of the federal government at the expense of personal liberties as good.  Oh, and he also failed to be a leader during the Vietnam War.  This allowed anti-war political activists to control it until there was no way it could be won.  This set the stage for America losing its first war.

41:  Barack Obama (Democrat) Even though it never had majority support, he pushed his healthcare reform through Congress.  The result was that, for the first time ever, Americans had to buy something (in this case healthcare) in order to be citizens.  Failure to comply with this state demand means you will be punished with higher taxes.  Unable to get his other unpopular agenda items through Congress, he bypassed them with executive action, setting a precedence for future presidents to likewise disrespect the law of the land to advance an unpopular agenda. He likewise used his pen to change Obamacare over eight times without going through Congress.  His administration was also embittered in an array of scandals, such as the Benghazi cover-up, Operation Fast and Furious, VA Scandal, lying to get Obamacare passed, and IRS targeting Obama's enemies. His ending of the War in Iraq created a breeding ground for a terrorist group worse that Al Qaeda to develop: ISIS.  He failed to act to the horrible acts performed by ISIS, such as beheading of American journalists.  He negotiated with Iran, the enemy of our ally Israel, thus setting the table for them to develop nuclear weapons.  He talked poorly of Christians while doing the opposite of Muslims.  He also went around the world apologizing for the U.S., as though we were the cause of the world's problems, as opposed to the arbiters of good. He did nothing good. In fact, he did so much damage to the office of the president that it's impossible to list them all here.

42. Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) He got the U.S. involved in a war we should not have been in, and he created a peace treaty to end that war that ultimately lead to WWII.  He created a ministry of propaganda that allowed the state to arrest and imprison people for speaking out against the government.  He was the first president to speak poorly of the constitution, believing it was a living document that should change to meet the demands of modern generations.  He made the government -- the state -- more powerful, thus setting the stage for future presidents to fundamentally transform America from capitalism to socialism.

43.  Jimmy Carter (Democrat) Nothing he did was good either.  He was another progressive president who attempted, although failed, to advance the progressive agenda.  In fact, he was such a horrible President he couldn't even advance the liberal agenda. His lack of leadership in Iran allowed the overthrow of dictators in Iran who were allied with the United States. His failure to stop radicals from taking over Iran is responsible for many of the problems that have occurred in the Middle East since that time. It should be noted here he was a great man, but a very poor president.

44.  Surely you're thinking there were 44 presidents.  You would be wrong.  Grover Cleveland was elected to two non-consecutive terms, so he is usually counted twice.  We are not going to list him twice here, and so we end up with this extra space.

Further Reading:

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ulysses S. Grant: Rebuilding a nation

Most people remember Ulysses S. Grant as a General who lead the Union to victory during the Civil War. While I'm sure most people know he was later elected President, I think he generally is chocked up as a bad President because of all the scandals during his terms in the office. I would like to argue that he was one of the best Presidents.

One of the objectives of Articulating Ideas is to question the general consensus, to search for and investigate the facts, and to come to our own conclusions. I think once we lay out all the facts about Grant, we can label him as one of the great Presidents.

Huge cigars and scandals aside, here are a partial list of Grant's accomplishments. Sure some of these are bad, although the majority are good. Let's start by setting the stage.  During reconstruction there were two groups of republicans:
  1. Moderate Republicans: They agreed with Abraham Lincoln that the seceded states should be admitted back into the Union, although on Congress's terms, not the presidents. 
  2. Radical Republicans: They opposed slavery during the Civil War, and did not trust ex-Confederates after the war. They believed the seceded states should be punished, and their social structure uprooted. In the meantime, they wanted newly emancipated blacks to be protected by Federal powers.
When Lincoln died, Andrew Johnson, a democrat, wanted a quick restoration, and so he continued on with Lincoln's reconstruction plans. Grant, on the other hand, sided with the Radical Republicans.

A majority of republicans were moderates when Lincoln was President. Once Grant, the embodiment of Union victory, sided with the Radicals, a majority of republicans became radicals.

Grant was the logical choice for President at the 1868 Republican convention. Johnson became very unpopular among democrats. This lead Democrats to nominating New York Governor Horatio Seymour. Ulysses S. Grant would easily go on to win the Presidency, earning 214 electoral votes to Horatio's 80. He won 52.7% of the popular vote to Horatio's 47.3%.

At 46, Grant became the youngest President ever elected up to that time. He was a war hero, but he had literally no political experience. This would go on to plague him during his Presidency.

While he was considered a very honest man, he would go on to appoint some people to his administration who weren't so honest. This has caused many historians to list his presidency as an abject failure.

At Articulating Ideas, we do not always side with historians. We make our own assessment. Scandals aside here is a list of what the Grant administration accomplished, both good and bad.

1.  He supported equal rights for blacks and native Americans, and he encouraged passage of the 15th Amendment, which protected African American voting rights. Congress passed the Amendment on February 26, 1869. At one point, 17 states approved ratification and 11 did not, meaning 11 more states were needed for ratification. This caused Congress to force all Southern States that had seceded from the Union to accept the 15th Amendments in order to be admitted back into the Union. They also had to accept the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to anyone born in the United States, including former slaves. Both Amendments were ratified and signed by the President. This protected the liberties to more people, which is always a good thing. Because the 14th Amendment was poorly written, it has now come under scrutiny, as some people in 3rd world countries are coming to the U.S. just so their children can automatically become citizens. Such an interpretation is taking the Amendment out of context, and that is a discussion for another day.

2.  He enforced civil rights laws already on the books to fight the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). This was good.

3.  He signed the first of the Klu Klux Klan Acts, a.k.a. the Civil Rights Act of 1870. This essentially gave the President the legal power to enforce the 15th Amendment. Essentially, the Act prohibited voter discrimination on the basis of race, color, or the fact a person was formerly a slave. It was passed in May of 1870 and signed by President Grant. This was good.

4.  He signed the 2nd Klu Klux Klan Act, a.k.a. the Civil Rights Act of 1871. The intent of this law was good in that it guaranteed equal rights for African Americans. However, it was bad in that it did so in such a way the violated the natural rights of those of whom the law was used against. The law encouraged the violation of natural rights, thus ignoring the Constitution, thus violating Constitutional Rights and the rule of law.  It basically suspended the right of Habeas Corpus to combat the KKK. Habeas Corpus is the right to defend oneself against wrongful imprisonment.  It is protected by the Suspension Clause of the Constitution (Article One, Section 9), and states, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." So fighting the KKK was good, but signing a law that disregarded the Constitution was bad and violated liberties was bad.

5.  He signed the Civil Rights Acts of 1875, a.k.a. the Enforcement Act. It was good in that it helped in guaranteeing equal rights for African Americans.  The law guaranteed African Americans equal treatment in public places and on transportation prohibited exclusion from jury service based on race. It was later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This was because, while Congress has a right to ensure that government officials guarantee the right to vote of all citizens, it does not have the right to prevent discrimination by private individuals. The law was bad because it violated the natural right to form an opinion. You cannot force me to conform.

6.  He championed for reforms. He favored civil reforms that would have ended the spoils system or a system where elected politicians rewarded their friends and family members who helped them get elected with government jobs. However, he failed to get civil reforms passed through Congress.

7.  Cut taxes. Prior to the passage of the 16th Amendment in 1909 and ratification in 1913, the only means of raising money was through custom taxes or tariffs. There was no income tax. If money was needed it was raised through the states. However, prior to the Civil War, there was no government debt. Foreseeing an expensive war, Congress passed the Civil War Revenue Act of 1861 that called for a 3% tax on income over $800. It was signed by Lincoln and became the nation's first income tax. It was only expected to last 10 years. On July 1, 1862, Lincoln signed the Revenue Act that created the Commissioner of Revenue that had the power to impose even more taxes. To run the program Lincoln created the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Within the next six months over 4,000 government jobs were created to make sure citizens paid the taxes and to prosecute those who did not. Northern residents did not think they should have to pay off the debt when it was Southern states that were responsible for the war. So, in 1872, Congress and Grant allowed these taxes to expire. This was good in that it left more money in the hands of citizens so they could spend it where they wanted. However, the Civil War debt continued into the 20th century, and so too did the Commissioner of Revenue.

8.  Presided over the Panic of 1873 when the economy fell into deep economic recession. During the Civil War, Jay Cooke and Company loaned money to the U.S. to pay for the war. After the war, building tracks where land had yet to be cleared required Federal grants and loans, and the chief financier was Jay Cooke and Company. Jay Cooke's firm, along with other banks and industries, had loaned out heavily to fund a railroad construction boom, which resulted in 35,000 miles of railroad tracks being laid down between 1866 and 1873. In 1869, the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1969. A second transcontinental was planned, and Jay Cook was the main financier. When Cooke realized he had overextended himself, he filed for bankruptcy. This resulted in a nationwide panic resulting in many other banks and industries filing for bankruptcy, and so to did 89 of 364 railroads along with 18,000 other businesses over the following two years. Unemployment grew to 14%.

9.  Vetoed inflation bill of 1874:  Along with the Revenue Act of 1861 to raise money to pay for the war, Lincoln also approved the printing of money without species. Without species means that it was not backed by gold or silver, and were essentially IOU promissory notes whose value was essentially based on the confidence of wealthy investment banks like Jay Cooke. In 1862, the government printed money not backed by gold, called "Greenbacks." This resulted in overconfidence in the market, inflation, and some say this caused the panic of 1873. On Sept. 20, the New York Stock Exchanged announced it was suspending transactions for ten days. Many called for inflating the supply of greenback, while bankers were against it. On April 18, 1874, Congress passed an inflation bill to increase the money supply by $100 million. Grant vetoed it, claiming that any short-term benefits would be worth the long-term consequences, mainly the risk of inflation and a devaluation of the dollar. This set the stage nicely for the Specie Payment Resumption Act.

10.  Signed the Specie Payment Resumption Act. Grant's campaign promise was to return to species-backed money and to pay off debt with gold or silver. The Coinage Act of 1873 eliminated silver as a species and this followed other nations who did the same. Grant believed this would cause stability. However, it was too late. Grant rightly vetoed a bill to print more money claiming it would only cause more inflation and make matters worse. Instead, he signed the Specie Payment Resumption Act of 1875 that ended the overprinting of money and backed newly printed money with gold, thereby returning the country to the Gold Standard. Some say this prolonged the recession and was why it lasted into the Rutherford B. Hayes administration. Others, however, believe such relative inaction by the Federal government is what ultimately helped investors regain confidence. With all due respect to Grant, the resumption of specie payments did not resume until the Hayes administration was underway, and the nation returned to prosperity by 1879.

11.  Lowered debt.   His Treasury Secretary, George Boutwell, worked to reduce federal expenditures. One of the means he did this was by laying off over 2,248 government employees. He signed the Public Credit Act of 1869 to pay off all public debts with gold rather than greenbacks. The reason for this was that part of the debt incurred during the Civil War was caused by giving out war bonds and overprinting greenbacks. Signing the Public Credit Act helped reduce the value of gold to $130 per ounce, making it more affordable for the U.S. to pay back bonds with gold.

12.  Fired 2,248 government employees to help lower the debt. Okay, so that was very good.

13.  Avoided war with Spain and Cuba despite Virginius Affair.

14.  Signed Peaceful Treaty of Washington. It was a treaty signed by Grant in 1871 to settle disputes that arose following the Civil War between Great Britain and the United States.

15. Comstock laws were signed on March 3, 1873. I am not a fan of contraceptives, and they allow people to play God. However, in 1873, Anthony Comstock headed to Washington to try to get Congress to pass a bill he wrote banning the sale of contraceptives through the mail and across state lines. The bill was passed by Congress and signed by President Grant. I think Comstock had good intentions, but it is never good when you use Government to force your views on everyone else. So, in this way, the Comstock law was not a good law.

16. He signed the General Mining Act of 1872. This bill was promoted by prospectors from Nevada and California. It as essentially a byproduct of the California Gold Rush, where most of the gold was found on public lands. At the time there were no Federal laws regarding mining on public lands. Some Congressmen believed that they were robbing the taxpayers and their mines should be seized to pay off the war debt. In 1865, Representative George Washington Julian proposed a bill to seize the mines and sell them via public auction. Representative Fernando Wood actually proposed sending in Federal troops to force the minors out. However, such proposals would have discouraged mining and would have hurt the economy. So, this encouraged prospectors from Nevada and California to promote the General Mining Act. They claimed the minors were providing a public service by settling land and selling valuable products and creating commerce. The Act simply states that anyone over the age of 18 who discovers gold, silver, or platinum on public lands had the right to mine it without paying taxes. This was great for the mining industry and the U.S. economy. Critics say it gives away "valuable assets" at unfairly low prices. They believe the public should benefit from the mining industry. They also hate it because it doesn't include regulations to protect the environment.  However, Grant saw the value in the public service argument, and he rightly signed the bill making it the law of the land.

17.   anti-Mormon Poland Act (-8)

18.   Civil Rights Act of 1875 (-9)

6. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
Good: General Mining Act of 1872 (+9), supported equal rights for blacks and Native Americans (Fifteenth Amendment) (+4), favored but failed to institute civil service reform (+1),[23] vetoed Inflation Bill of 1874 (+7), cut taxes (+6), lowered debt (+3), fired 2,248 government employees (+6),[24] de facto gold standard (+8),[25] Specie Payment Resumption Act (+7), avoided war with Spain/Cuba despite Virginius Affair (+9),[26] peaceful Treaty of Washington (+6).

 Created Office of Solicitor General (-1), left Reconstruction violence problems to state militias instead of Army but kept some federal troops in South (-2),[27] Ku Klux Klan Act that suspended habeas corpus (-9), wanted to annex Dominican Republic (-10),[28] intervened in Liberian-Grebo War(-10),

  Comstock laws (censorship) (-5),,, numerous scandals (-2).[29]
Score: 10

Further reading and references:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Activist Judges Undermine the Constitution

I was discussing with a friend of mine that the #1 most important reason that Donald Trump needs to be elected is to make sure a Constitutionalist Judge is nominated to the Supreme Court. 

She said, "Why?"

I said, "Because we need to make sure that the rule of law is followed. Democrats, at least in the past 100 years or so, have been known to nominate activist judges who do not make rulings solely based on the rule of law."

She said, rolling her eyes, "Oh, they do not." 

Recent events have provided a perfect example of what I was trying to describe to her. To start with here, I think we need some definitions.
  1. Judge. A person who considers the evidence in any given case and makes a ruling or opinion solely based on the laws that currently exist. This would include the U.S.Constitution, followed by laws created by the U.S. Congress, State Legislatures, and the various local legislatures. A modern term for this is a Constitutionalist Judge. 
  2. Activist Judge. A person who considers evidence in any given case and makes a ruling or opinion solely based on his or her own opinion or political preference rather than considering the rule of law. 
  3. Judicial Activism. Judicial rulings solely based on personal opinions and politics. 
Now, for our example. I can think of many good examples, but there is one very good one that is currently working it's way through the U.S. Court systems. It involves an executive order written by Donald Trump banning immigration from seven Muslim Nations and Syria from immigrating to the United States. 

The ban is because radical Islamist terrorists have entered the U.S. since and before 9-11, and 72 have come from these seven nations and Syria. So, the idea of the ban was to cease immigration from these nations until a proper system of vetting them could be put in place. 

To me, this seemed like a logical order. Why? because the #1 job of the President is to defend and protect the Constitution. It is the #3 job to create a sound economic environment. The #2 job is to keep America safe from foreign invasion and from thugs who want to destroy us. In fact, without #2, #1 and #3 are impossible to do. In other words, if we are not safe and secure, we cannot be free.

Now, there are various opinions on this executive order. Some people like it, and some people don't. Regardless, it's what the President thought was necessary given the security information that he was provided with. Okay? Now I am going to give you an example of how Judicial Activism works. 

So, you have activist lawyers who do not like this ruling. So, they create a legal case. Then they find a judge that they believe is an activist judge who will rule in their favor. Judges in Seattle tend to be the most liberal judges in all of the land in the United States. They find this judge in Seattle by the name of Judge James Robart. 

He was nominated by George W. Bush. However, he was referred to Bush by liberal Senators from Seattle. In order to appear bipartisan, Presidents have often times nominated judges in this fashion, alternating from allowing liberal Senators and conservative Senators, or democrat Senators and republican senators, to nominate judges. Then the President officially nominates them, recommends them, and ideally they are confirmed by the U.S Senate. 

So, this is how judge Robart became a judge in Seattle. Liberal activists know that most courts would rule in favor of Trump in this case. So, they know their only hope is to find a judge like Judge Robart. So, they present the case to his court. They knew that, before Trump's lawyers even considered the evidence, that their case would prevail, mainly because they knew they had a judge who would consider his own personal political views over the Constitution. 

Therefore, it should not be a surprise to anyone that Trump's executive action banning Muslim's from immigrating into the U.S. from seven Muslim nations was ruled unconstitutional. Then the case went before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the opinion of Robart was held up. Now, this should not come as a surprise, as there was no way these judges were going to rule any way other than the way they ruled. 

Here's a little history of travel bans. President Bill Clinton imposed travel bans on certain nations 12 times. Obama imposed travel bans on certain nations 10 times. Calvin Coolidge banned all immigration. The main reason for these bans was to make sure terrorists weren't coming into our country. It was to keep us safe based on the evidence available at these various times. 

Not one of these times did the case go to court. No one even questioned the Constitutionality of these bans. If someone did, it was not enough to make a difference. The reason there was not discontent with these bans is because they are not unconstitutional. They are only unconstitutional when Trump does it.

The law is simple here. According to my sources, it comes from a 1952 law, not one created by an activist court, but an actual one created by Congress and signed by a sitting President. It's a statute that says:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
Liberals have an agenda. They know their agenda is not popular with the American people. The only way they can get their agenda moved forward is by using activist judges. You can go all the way back to Rowe-v-Wade to find the first activist ruling by the courts. There is nothing in the Constitution that makes abortion legal. However, when you have activist judges it doesn't matter what the law is: they just rule based on their political views.

It's called judge shopping. Liberals can't get their agenda passed by Congress, they don't have the support of the people, so all they have left are activist judges. They have that and the bureaucracy. They have judges and people hired by democrats who are unelected and you can't get rid of them. 

So, liberals knew how Judge Robart would rule before Trump's lawyers even spoke. It was already known he would rule against Trump. In his ruling, he never even referenced the above statute.  basically stated his own personal political views, that there is no evidence that terrorists were coming from these seven countries, so it was Unconstitutional. He said this makes it racist.

Also without referencing the above statute, the 9th circuit held this ruling.

First of all, a judge is not supposed to rule based on his opinion. It doesn't matter if there are terrorists coming from these countries or not. These judges don't have access to the same security information the President does. There is supposed to be Separation of Powers, where the President doesn't have to share top secret security information with the other branches -- and this is for security reasons.

However, that aside, it was later revealed to Judge Robart that 72 terrorists have come in from those seven countries and were convicted of terrorism since 9-11, but that doesn't matter. It should not matter to this judge. It doesn't matter if it is racist. It doesn't matter the morality of the law. A judge is supposed to rule based on the law. He is to rule if it is Constitutional or not. He is not supposed to rule on the morality of the law -- which is what he did.

Technically speaking, immigrants aren't even citizens. The Constitution doesn't even apply to them. So it's impossible for Trump's executive order to be unconstitutional. This whole issue should have been thrown away just on that fact. But, this judge is an activist, so the ruling is what it is. It was to be expected. This is what to expect from activist judges. This was planned all along.

There is another reason the case went to a Seattle Judge. This is because an appeal would go to the 9th Circuit Court, which is the most liberal, activist court in the United States. They, like Judge Robart, already knew how they were going to rule, even before Trump's lawyers spoke. They knew, because they already decided how they stand on the issue politically. They were going to hold Judge Robart's standing. This is not a surprise. It is not a shock to anyone but people who don't pay attention to the news.

Interestingly, to give an example of how out of touch the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is with the mainstream of America, they are the most overturned court in the nation. Of the cases that made it to the Supreme Court, 80% were overturned in 2010, 71% in 2011, and 86% in 2012. So, they are found to be guilty of political activism greater than 80% of the time.

Of this, Rush Limbaugh said:
But at the root of all of this, is the Constitution being ignored, the will of the people being ignored, liberalism. And they have their various areas where they engage in this nefarious activity, and those areas shield them and give them authority and give them respect, like scientists in climate change and judges in the law wearing black robes eminently educated, among the best and brightest of our legal minds, educated in some of the finest liberal indoctrination centers — I’m sorry, law schools — in the country.
So, these activist judges ruled that it was a Muslim ban. It was a ban on a certain religion, so it is unconstitutional. 

A Constitutionalist Judge, of which most judges are, would have ruled based on the law. In this case, they would have found that it's not a Muslim Ban. The ban is only on seven countries. They do so happen to be Muslim countries. But if it was a Muslim ban, all other Muslim nations would have also been banned from immigrating to the U.S. As it is, 85% of Muslim nations were not banned. So, it is not a religious ban. It is not a ban on religion. If it was a religious ban it would name every Muslim country.

Putting all that aside, a Constitutionalist Judge would have thrown the case out based on one simple fact: the Constitution does not even apply to immigrants. 

But such common sense doesn't matter to activist judges. 

One more thought before I end this post. Judge Gorsuch, when he was nominated to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump, said something interesting during his nomination speech. He said that sometimes he is unhappy with the decisions he makes.  I think what he was implying here is that he doesn't rule based on his politics; he rules based on the law. And, sometimes, he has to make rulings that oppose his own political positions. He is saying he is a Constitutionalist and not an Activist Judge.

Judge Robart and two of the three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are Activist Judges. They are probably always satisfied with their rulings, because the Constitution takes a back seat to their political views.

Further reading and references:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Abraham Lincoln: The first republican was not a conservative

Abraham Lincoln was the first republican. I rank him as the second best President behind George Washington, and I rank him solely on the fact that he ended slavery and fought for equal rights for blacks. Other than that, he was not a very good President, and definitely not a conservative. You might even be able to argue that he was, if the term existed back then, a liberal.

He was a former Whig. The Whigs were divided on whether or not to support slavery. The party dissolved, and the anti-slavery Whigs in the North created a new party to oppose slavery and they called themselves Republicans. Lincoln was one of these republicans. In 1860, they nominated Abraham Lincoln to run for President.

He said he would not interfere with states who were pro-slavery. However, after he was elected, many southern states decided he was too anti-slavery, and so they decided they would secede from the union and formed the Confederate States of America. This caused Abraham Lincoln to use Federal troops to fight to preserve the nation. This was good. The effort would result in the deaths of 620,000 soldiers (bad), but the effort would eventually succeed (good).

Sure, he was a liberal in that he wanted to end slavery, a change that would have been quite radical considering slavery had existed long before the birth of the nation.  However, this change would also move the nation more in line with the founding intentions of "all men are created equal." It would also make the United States the

To be honest, it doesn't matter if freeing the slaves and giving them equal rights was a liberal or conservative act: it was the right thing to do. For this, we rank Lincoln high on our ranking of Presidents. Okay, that's not arguable. And, I'm sure few would argue with me. Well, I known there are libertarians who rank Lincoln on the bottom of their rankings.

That success aside, he was not a conservative. Here is the evidence.

1.  He raised taxes. Prior to the passage of the 16th Amendment in 1909 and ratification in 1913, the only means the Federal government had for raising revenue was through custom taxes or tariffs. There was no income tax. If the Federal government needed to increase revenue, it was up to the states to raise money. This was a means of preserving state sovereignty. Lincoln changed this when he signed the Civil War Revenue Act of 1861 that created an income tax of 3% on all income over $800. This was the nations first income tax. It was supposed to expire in ten years.

Later, on July 1, 1862, Lincoln signed the Revenue Act that created the Commissioner of Revenue position. This commissioner had the power to impose even more taxes. To run the program, Lincoln created the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

2.  He created more government jobs. Along with increasing the power of government, he also increased the size of government. Within the next six months, over 4,000 government jobs were created to make sure citizens paid the taxes and to prosecute those who did not.

3.  He gave the Federal government power over the states, especially in regards to slavery. This was opposed to democrats of the time, who preferred states rights over social justice. Democrats favored limited government over big government.

Lincoln wanted to enforce social justice on the nation, and thereby democrat claims of "state's rights" and forced states to respect the natural rights of blacks. This includes the 13th amendment to abolish slavery. I'm not saying this was bad (by God, no I'm not saying that). I'm just saying this was a liberal change, not a conservative one. It was radical social change.

As a side note here, what we now refer to as conservative was called liberal back then. The term liberal would later be absconded by the progressive movement, and so now liberal means the opposite of its initial intention. Today's liberals are also called progressives, and Lincoln was a social liberal progressive, if we were to use today's terms. He probably would be a democrat. A liberal. A neo-socialist. This is because he used big government to enforce his social agenda.

Anyway, Lincoln's republican party was in favor of a large central government and collective rights, similar to modern liberals.

I do not think I need to go into any further detail regarding Abraham Lincoln, as I would imagine any respectable American over the age of 8 knows who he is and what he did for the nation. He was a great President, perhaps the greatest. He kept the nation together during difficult times, and changed the nation so that it was closer to the founding intentions by freeing the slaves and ensuring that their natural rights would be preserved.

He said in his Gettysburg Address in 1863 that he guaranteed a "government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Thanks to the bravery of this brave and melancholy President the nation continued and more people were granted liberties. That, I would say, is a great achievement, making him the second greatest President of all time.

Obama Nixed Voucher Program Loved by Black Parents

Last week I articulated a nice post on school choice, and how Nancy Devos is good for the poor, especially black poor. She wants to create educational policies, like school choice, that would allow black parents to send their kids to the same schools the rich people go to.

Did you know that Washington D.C. had a school voucher program? Black parents loved it. They were able to send their kids to the same schools the rich people sent their kids to. They were able to send their kids to the same school Obama chose to send his kids to.

Do you know what Obama did the moment he was inaugurated in 2008? He got rid of this program. Black parents were livid. Why would Obama do this? Well, we know why he would do this: he wants poor kids to be trapped in poverty. That way they continue to vote for democrats, who they think will get them out of poverty, or at least support entitlement programs to help them (which ultimately keep them trapped in poverty).

He did it because he had to please the teacher's unions, who donated a lot of money to him. The teachers unions are opposed to school choice because they need students so their teachers can continue to make money.

There is another reason, though. They want to be able to indoctrinate kids. They want to control thought. They want to turn kids into good little liberals. That's the bottom line here. That's the only thing that makes sense about this.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The fight against Nancy Devos by the left -- is a fight to protect indoctrination centers from public takeover

Elisabeth Devos was barely approved by the U.S. Senate (by a vote of 51-50) as Donald Trump's Secretary of Education. Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote today. This was the first time a sitting VP has ever cast a deciding vote for a President's nominee for public office.

It makes sense that democrats would try hard to stop her from being the nominee, as she is a champion for a voucher system. Such a system would allow parents to choose what schools their kids go to, even if they are religious schools.

This would be devastating for the liberal movement. They have altered the American educational system in such a way that has turned the public school system into liberal indoctrination centers. This makes it easy to teach kids that global warming is real, that the world is overpopulated, that high taxes big government are good, and other liberal themes.

Such schools also prevent kids from being exposed to religion, or from learning the truth about American Exceptionalism. They don't want kids learning what life was like before the U.S. existed. They don't want kids to learn about the founding intentions. This is because the majority of Americans do not support their agenda, and the only way they've been able to move forward is by "liberally defining" the Constitution.

Allow me to give you an example. Liberals believe that guns kill and people don't. They believe that if they can get rid of guns, they can more easily control the people. They won't tell you this, but it's what they believe. In order to take guns away from the people, they have to convince kids that this is a good idea.

Here is the text of the 2nd amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

You and I know what this means. The history here is that at the time of the founding, it was common for rebellions to take over governments. This was possible because governments could take away the natural right to own guns. To give Americans the ability to fight against such groups, the founders made sure they were able to form militias, and therefore own guns.

Basically, militia is an army of the people.

Liberal teachers tell kids that a militia is the military. So, their interpretation of it is that only the government military can own guns. This is the liberal interpretation of the 2nd amendment. If they can convince enough kids that this is true, then this makes it all the easier for them to regulate and ideally force people to hand their guns over to the government.

Imagine if the liberals control education, healthcare, and global warming regulations.If they control those, then they control the people. They control what what kids learn. They control what you eat and how many kids you can have. They control what you can drive and who can open a business. They control everything.

Now, here comes Donald Trump who says, "Enough!" He nominates Betsy DeVoss, a lady who has programs set in place that will allow poor black kids get the same education as rich people.

Let me ask you a question: Who has access to better education: rich people or poor people?" The obvious answer here is: rich people. Obama sent his girls to the best private schools in Washington D.C. At the same time, he supports public schools that are free, so poor black kids have no choice but to go to them.

So, even though it's obvious Obama thinks government run schools aren't good enough for his girls, You'd think he'd be all in favor of vouchers, so poor black kids can get the same education as his girls. But, he can't do this. He can't because, to do so, would be to admit that government run schools are indeed liberal indoctrination systems.

Liberals don't have to worry about what kids are learning when they have 8 experts, ideally liberal experts, sitting in an office in Washington deciding what kids learn. They cannot force schools to teach their agenda. However, they can if they give "reverse incentives." By this, I mean that they tell schools if they don't do what the government orders, they will lose funds. So, they have no choice but to comply. This is how common core gets approved by schools, even though a majority of parents hate common core.

(By the way, many people think common core is math. It's not: it's an entire system of educating kids based on the liberal agenda. They just call it common core to make it sound good. It's the same as when they called Obamacare "The Affordable Care Act." It's not affordable, but it sounds good. Okay, now I need to get out of these parentheses.)

If Obama really cared about kids, he would support some other program other than public schools. Actually, some public schools are good. I mean, here in Ludington, Michigan, we are fortunate to have a good public school system. But if parents in Detroit beleive their local public schools are failing their kids, they should be able to get vouchers to send their kids to the same schools rich people send their kids to.

I mean, this makes sense. Think of it this way: you are paying taxes to send your kids to school. So, if you decide to go to a private school, that money should follow you to that private school, not stay in the public schools.

And this is not taking money away from public schools. A lot of my liberal friends say, "How are you going to make schools better by taking away money." You are not. You are creating competition. Public schools that succeed, you are going to have other schools copy the formula they use. Parents will want to send their kids to succeeding schools. The schools that are not working will either have to improve or, sure, they will have to close their doors.

If we continue going the route we have been going with public schools over the past 30 years, this means just throwing more money at it. What good does throwing more money at a system that is failing kids do? The answer is no good. Proof of this is that America has one of the worse school systems in the world, and this is true despite spending more money per pupil than nearly every other Western nation. Okay. So, more money is not the solution.

De Voss wants to return the American education system into what it was before the Department of Education was formed. She wants to return it to teachers and parents. This would make me happier, because I want a say in what my kids learn. I want them to learn about the founding fathers. I want them to learn the true interpretations of the Constitution. I do not want them learning that theories are facts, such as the one that man is creating climate change. I don't want my kids coming home from school telling me that they are concerned because their teacher told them the world was overpopulated, and that too many people means too much carbon and rising global temperatures that are going to destroy the world. Why do they tell kids this stuff?

If they can succeed in convincing kids that they are responsible for the climate, then, when they get older, they will have an easier time convincing them to pass laws and regulations. These regulations tell people what cars they can drive, what foods they can eat, and how much cows can poop.

This would not be the case if teachers and parents were in control. And, if Devos gets her way (if Trump gets his way) the Department of Education will be disbanded, and education dollars will go back to the states, teachers, and parents -- a place where it should be.

So, you can see why liberals are rioting (not protesting -- they are rioting) in the streets. They were so close to controlling everything. They were convinced Hillary was going to win, and she was going to double down on a failing Obamacare. It would have been the same as education, where they keep spending more and more money at a failing program, and nothing gets better.

So, despite their opposition, Nancy De Voss is confirmed. Then she tries to go to a public school in Washington D.C., and she is blocked by a handful of "reprobates." She is forced to go back into her SUV. One person was blocking the road shouting, "Shame! Shame! Shame!. As Rush Limbaugh said on his program on February 10, 2017:

"This is not time-honored and wonderful and great American dissent. It’s human debris who have had their minds polluted and poisoned by the American left from the education system, to media, to pop culture. They’re just sick."
You want some poll results? One poll of democrats shows that 70% of democrats support vouchers and school choice. So, the democrats in power, the protestors, are out of touch with the majority even in their own party. In North Carolina, 65% of African Americans are more likely to support candidates who support school choice. Another poll showed that 72% of African Americans support vouchers. Blacks overwhelmingly support vouchers. Black parents want to be able to choose to send their kids to the same schools rich parents send their kids to. It's not even close.

Democrats in power don't care. Democrats claim to be the party of the little people, the down-trodden, and the poor. Yet they refuse to allow parents the opportunity,of school choice. Some public schools, perhaps not all, refuse to teach kids about the greatness of their own country. They are not preparing kids for college. Some of them are in run down neighborhoods. They have created a system where kids go to schools that are run down, and parent's don't like it, but they have no say because democrats are opposed to trying anything different, like vouchers.

Vouchers would be horrible for the Teacher's Unions. It would destroy their monopoly over thought. African American mothers, for example, who are given the ability to use vouchers, choose schools the rich people go to. Most of the time, they never go back to public schools. If those schools want parents to choose them, then they have to change, and change for the better. If they don't, then they should close.

Vouchers, or similar programs, would be great for parents. It would give parents, and teachers, the ability to decide what their kids are learning. Education should not be left up to the few -- it should be in the hands of the many. That is my opinion.

Betsy De Voss wants poor kids to be able to go to the same schools as the rich kids. She has ideas, she has programs, to do exactly that. She has programs that have been tried and tested, and they work. And liberals hate the thought of that. So, they protest.

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