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Tag Archive: New


Almost Finished

As the site migration completes, one of the things that doesn’t easily migrate are the subscribers via email, and all the followers via Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress.com. Some have asked why this was necessary, and the answer is simple: The blog has outgrown its WordPress.Com home, and while the site will still use the same basic WordPress engine, it won’t suffer from some of the limitations we’ve experienced.  I had intended to bring you a live stream of GrizzlyFest, along with a chat engine, but due to the limitations of WordPress.com, I was unable to do so.  The same has been true of other live, streaming events I might have presented.  In short, the new site will offer flexibility not present in the old one.

I’ve successfully migrated all of the comments, and I’ve actually converted them over to a comment system with IntenseDebate.com that looks like it will do a better job, so by all means, go by there if you like and register for that comment service.  It’s pretty nifty, and one of the things I will be able to do is reach out to some users of long-standing to help me moderate comments if they’re interested. (I can’t be everywhere 24×7 and still get sleep, and after the last few days, I need some.)

I invite you to come by the new site, and if you’re an email subscriber, please use the sidebar subscription field to join the new site.  I apologize for the bother. If you’re a wordpress.com blog follower, you can also register for the new site, and in fact, this option is open to anybody:

Register for the new site Here!  One of the benefits of registration is that I may be making certain “Extras” available to registered users that will not be available to the public.

Thank you all for being so patient.  There are still a few small bugs being worked out, but I think I’ll have those fixed in short order.

Mark

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Thinking About The Presidency

Too Much Power?

One of the features of the 20th Century and continuing in even more grand form now is the extent to which the office of President of the United States has come to represent the country at large.  Given the development of mass media, it’s not surprising, but in truth, I’m not sure it’s been entirely healthy.  We speak of presidents as “running the country,” but none of these characters, neither the worst nor the best of them, ever really run the country, or at least, that’s not what our founders intended.  The President and the federal establishment are supposed to be as remote in our daily lives as they are from most of us in geographic terms.  The notion of the President “running the country” is illusory in most respects, and a testament to the fictions propagated by government in collusion with media that we perceive things in this way.  We shouldn’t regard our government as such a fundamental part of our daily lives, but over time, people now view the presidency in this light.  It is time that we begin the discussion about returning the government and our elected politicians to their rightful place, but the trouble lies not only with the temperament of our presidents, but also with the character of the presidency.

Our present constitution was established in part to create a stronger federal government than had existed under the Articles of Confederation.  That government was considered insufficiently weak by those who saw flaws in its ability to bind the country together in issues of taxation and expenditure, particularly with respect to a common defense.  This left the presidency, merely an instrument of Congress, in a state of impotence, incapable of responding to changing conditions, or coordinating the new nation’s defense.  This was intolerable, and there were significant problems even collecting revenues.  Provisioning for the Army was unreliable, and there was little of centralized form in the execution of law.  The United States was at this time more like a version of the present day United Nations, or European Union, in the sense that it was strictly a treaty among the separate and sovereign states, with little of their powers delegated to the confederation except as pertaining to warfare and foreign policy.  Some critics today would suggest that it had certain advantages over our existing constitution for precisely these reasons.

The anti-federalists argued that much as our Articles of Confederation had perhaps been unduly weak as a reflex against the tyranny of the British empire, in much the same way, the proposed constitution was likewise unnecessarily and even dangerously powerful as a reaction against the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.  Patrick Henry and George Mason were among the most notable critics, and there can be little doubt that he considered the new constitution to contain too many weaknesses, loopholes they thought, through which despots could arise.  The anti-federalists had three central objections:  There was no “bill of rights”; there would be a centralizing tendency; the government would take on an aristocratic character.  While the new constitution was ultimately amended to quiet critics on the matter of a bill of rights, the other two objections have come into sharper focus as it is clear that the history of the 20th Century is one of the centralizing of power, and the death of the concept of citizen legislators, resulting in a permanent political class that rules seemingly in near perpetuity.  The anti-federalists worried about the presidency created in the new constitution arrogating to itself new and terrible powers not specifically proscribed in Article II.   Some would argue with good cause that they had been correct, since at varying times throughout the course of our country, successive presidents have tended to accumulate more power than their predecessors.

This is the curious problem that now confronts us:  We must elect a President who will exercise the power of that office to slowly, wisely return such excessive power to its proper jurisdiction, either in the Congress, or within the several states, but perhaps most importantly, with the people.  Of course, this will not be done without the will and legislative commitment of Congress, but the truth is that a new President, properly inclined, will be able to change and diminish not only the role of the President, but also of the Federal Government generally.  Our nation has become too focused on and dominated by Washington DC.  This is why our federal budget has exploded out of all previous bounds. This is why we are beset by a regulatory nightmare in our small businesses, in our homes, and in almost every other facet of our lives.  We must begin the process of deconstructing the federal establishment to a degree that permits us to function as a nation again without daily reference to Presidential, Congressional or judicial whimsy.

The office of President of the United States was created to remedy an over-weak central government, but it has been so thoroughly enlarged in its power that we must elect a person with the character and temperament to practice self-restraint in the exercise of powers not explicit in the Constitution.  We need a leader who will slowly, carefully devolve as much power as is prudent back to the states and the people.  Our current economic morass is evidence of the accumulation and centralization of power in the hands of those who run our federal government, and they have become a blight upon our economic future, and indeed, our lives.  One need consider only those EPA regulators who have banned inhalers for Asthma drugs.  Some people will die because they will have been unable to afford the new inhalers, but the regulators are unelected, and frequently unaccountable, and they create new rules by which we are governed without respect to how those rules may harm us.  President sign executive order implementing what are essentially de facto law, with the stroke of a pen.  Somewhere along the course of the last two-hundred years, we have lost contact with the stern warnings the anti-federalists about the arrogation of power and the aggrandizement of the presidency, never mind the general growth of a permanent political class that no longer much cares for the will of the people, or even the constitution to which they’ve sworn to uphold.  These are also questions we must ask the GOP candidates for nomination, because we will soon lose our country if we don’t reduce the reach and scope of the U.S. Federal Government and its powers.  It’s time to tear down this leviathan, before it kills all of us.

Society's Lowest Common Denominator

One of the most divisive and intractable problems we face in the U.S. is the growing poverty in our society.  More people are connected to the governmental umbilical cord than ever in history, and there are complaints emanating from all the usual sources that the wealthy segment of our society doesn’t pay enough for the privilege of their wealth.  I look at this from a completely different perspective, based in reality, and not in some grand socialistic dream about the good in humanity.  I know that humans are fallible and imperfect, and easily fall into a destitution of spirit even more readily than they do into a poverty of material things.  Encouraged to do so, many people are more than willing to live from the efforts of others and to subsist without reference to their own sloth.

I realize that what I am going to tell you will cause many to hurl derision in my direction, but it’s time that we tell the truth about who the real free-riders in our society have been.  Our country cannot thrive so long as the free-riders of whom we ask exactly nothing can collect by virtue of their unwillingness to contribute anything.  Our “welfare” system is becoming the largest segment of a rapidly growing government that rests not on a poverty of material things it provides, but on the grotesque destitution of spirit of those among those who these programs were intended to assist.

First, I’d like to address the question of entitlement programs, and differentiate among them on the following basis: Social Security, a program I think has thoroughly impossible problems, has been promised on the basis of individual contributions over a lifetime of work.  While it is clear that some substantial reform is necessary, and many  have been misled about the nature of the program, it is not the program I wish to discuss.  Instead, I’d prefer to focus on the massive programs for which there is no connection between benefits paid and the manner in which they are funded.  This includes the myriad programs that fall into the category widely regarded as “welfare,” and includes everything from public housing to Medicaid, among the more well-known, but includes also Pell Grants and Home Energy Assistance, and extends now even to Internet Service and Cellular Phones.

Over the last number of days, I’ve been verbally hammered via email and on the phone by those who have become disheartened at the things they now witness in their daily lives.  It’s not merely that these programs exist, or that they now provide every imaginable need, but that the recipients no longer appreciate them as a gift of a generous society.  Instead, they now view these benefits as a primary means of existence, and a right to which they are entitled to exercise.  Imagine subsisting in the belief that society owes you a living, based on no more exhaustive claim but for your existence.  It is to say “I’m here, so pay for me.”  If this seems stunning to some Americans who are less familiar with this sub-culture of economic dependency and moral depravity, it shouldn’t.  We have allowed our politicians to create a system in which they are rewarded with votes by providing material goods to people who produce nothing, owe nothing, and more, are being conditioned to believe that they possess an endless right to the wealth of those who produce the wealth of the nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, there can be no doubt that by permitting government to become the great dispenser of benefits, we have built a monster that has taken on a life and a force from which we may not escape.  We have such stellar intellectuals as Elizabeth Warren, a candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, and a former Obama White House flunky, who tells us a few things that ought to disqualify her from any office anywhere on the planet:

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’  No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.”

Do you understand her claim?  She is saying that society enables people to become rich.  This is a lie.  If society enables people to become rich, why aren’t we all rich?  Why? What’s the difference between one person’s wealth and another person’s poverty?  She doesn’t explain that, but she does continue to make absurd statements that reveal her poverty of understanding  of both economics and human nature:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.”

This bizarre and reckless politician is telling you that the roads came first.  She is plainly asserting that roadways came before commerce.  They did not.  Commerce was the reason the roads were built, and the people who were engaged in that commerce are the ones who built the roads.  If there was nothing to protect, we would not need police.  This asinine would-be Senator actually believes that “the rest of us paid for” all of these things.  She is lying.  Find for me the total number of dollars paid for any roadway by those who do nothing but take from this system?

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

This is pure sophistry.  There is no instance in which her narrative is true.  We cannot  afford any more of this notion.  The people who have paid for those products are most frequently the people who had a hand in producing them.  This is a serious problem.  She is an advocate for free-riders who actually insists on bolstering the notion that free-riders are the great virtue in our system who somehow provide the ability of the rich to become richer, while nevertheless providing exactly and precisely nothing.

This must stop.  We must begin to strip such power from politicians. We must challenge this nonsense at ever turn.  We must begin to say “No” and mean it, not merely to these politicians, but also to the people who have become dependent upon them.  It simply ludicrous to suggest that the infrastructure depends on the payments of people who don’t pay, while people who do pay are compelled at gunpoint to build and provide  it.

We have a real problem, and this insufferable leftist demonstrates it quite well: The poverty we face is in intellect, philosophy, and spirit, and we can no longer afford the luxury of all of these programs.  We must end the welfare state before it ends us.  With each day it continues, it increases its own numbers as more people give up the will to earn their existence as they find themselves increasingly surrounded by those who will not.

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