Education, Free Society, Trivia, Uncategorized

Presidents’ Day – Things to think about

© 2014 Earl L. Haehl: Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

By the only clearly objective test our greatest president was William Howard Taft. (also Greatest Chief Justice, Greatest Secretary of War, Greatest Solicitor General….)

The only good politician is one who has been dead at least a generation.

The sure way to get a second term is to have a conflict going at the time of the election.A

Hamilton wanted a system of a Presidency for life or good behavior with a much looser standard for impeachment.

There was talk of impeaching George Washington over his pardon of persons involved in the Whiskey Insurrection of 1794. There was also talk of impeaching Jefferson for the Louisiana Purchase.

The election of 1840 was won by name recognition of William Henry Harrison over Martin Van Buren. Harrison was a war hero from the War of 1812 and earlier. Van Buren, father of the political machine was President of the United States.

Harrison gave the longest inaugural address, caught pneumonia and died 31 days later without having time to do substantial damage to the Republic.

Between 1837 and 1861, no President served more than a single term.

Only three Presidents have been elected directly from the Senate. They are Warren Harding, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first vice-president succeeding to the presidency to be elected in his own right.

Neither of the two world class intellectual Presidents went to high school. Jefferson learned what was necessary to running a Plantation at home and had some work at the College of William and Mary. Theodore Roosevelt had tutors and was published in scientific journals before entering Harvard.

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Citizenship, Free Society, Trivia

Death of Parties

© 2013 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

I read of the death of the Republican Party. I have read this many times about both parties. Ross Perot was going to replace both. Political parties come and go and evolve.

A number of Federalists in New York affiliated themselves with the Tammany Hall wing of the Democratic-Republicans sponsoring Aaron Burr in 1804 as their gubernatorial candidate against against Morgan Lewis of the Clintonian (or anti-federalist) Wing. Burr’s program included his support of the secession of the Northern States (New York and New England) to form a confederation more favorable to Britain than to France. Federalists from Massachusetts actually supported Burr for Governor of New York because of his willingness to sign a bill of secession. There were those who feared the Louisiana Purchase would give Jefferson too much power. The Federalists had no candidate so two Democratic-Republican Candidates went head to head.

In steps Alexander Hamilton who wants absolutely nothing of secession because it would be bad for commerce. Hamilton disliked Jefferson and loathed George Clinton politically because they opposed the ratification of the Constitution. He also happened to despise Aaron Burr as a rival in New York Banking. An off-handed insult by Hamilton was perceived by Burr to have given the victory of Lewis and was the “proximate cause” of the oldest sports rivalry in the Ivy League. (Dueling: Princeton 1 – Columbia 0) While some credit the duel as the end of the Federalists, the party had become a northeastern parochial party after 1800.

The Democratic-Republicans, on the other hand were experiencing a similar breakdown. Morgan Lewis, while having some moderate support, was the last of the anti-federalist crowd. A supporter, DeWitt Clinton (George’s nephew who inspired a future governor to build canals) shifted to Tammany to run for Governor and even ran as a Federalist for President in 1812 to oppose Madison’s War.

TRIVIA WATCH

George Clinton was the longest serving governor in American history. He was the first vice-president elected on a party ticket rather than as runnerup for President. He served as vice-president for both Jefferson and Madison. His greatest accomplishment was in chairing the Ratification Convention in New York where New York’s entry into the compact was made contingent on the Bill of Rights. Some scholars believe he was the author of the Anti-federalist Papers attributed to Cato, but others say the authorship is still in doubt—fortunately dueling has been outlawed.

Speaking of dueling: Aaron Burr was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards and a well educated banker. He was involved in a plot to form an empire in Spanish Territory—That had to wait for Pres James Polk who was a cousin to Bishop Leonidas Polk who married a Granddaughter of Jonathan Edwards. The Burr family formed the Manhattan Company (not to be confused with the Manhattan Project) to transport water in Manhattan Island—it also had authority to issue notes and hold deposit. It remains in existence as JP Morgan Chase and owns Alexander Hamilton’s pistols.

DeWitt Clinton had a steam engine named for him. He is best know for the Erie Canal—in opposition campaign literature it was called, “Clinton’s big ditch.”

Modern Republicans are divided and ripping in several directions, but there will always be dissension. The great political philosopher of the 19th Century, Finley Peter Dunne, speaking in the persona of Mr Dooley, said, “if ye’re in a room where a man in one corner is shouting miscreant and in the other corner is one shouting thraitor, you know its only two loyal demmycrats trying to reunite the party.”

Remember: tags are invitations to research.

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Citizenship, Free Society

Election over – time to pull up the boots

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Many “conservatives” will mourn after the election of Statist Obama over Statist Romney. There are those of us with legitimate fears about Obama and gun control, but that is about it and we will have to work harder to prevail. But the truth is, that this was an election about minor tweaks in the progressive agenda, not a “liberal-conservative” matchup. To get a conservative-progressive contest you have to go back to 1964. To get a liberal-progressive contest you go back to 1972.

First of all, no matter what you read in the press or the right alternative media, there is nothing historic or unprecedented in this election. Franklin D Roosevelt was re-elected twice (1936 and 1940) with a worse economic record and unemployment rate—his third reelection came when wartime production skewed the economic reports. Only eighteen Presidents out of forty-four have failed to be reelected—sixteen if you do not count Cleveland. Both Nixon and Clinton were under a cloud of scandal when reelected.

What mistakes did Romney make?

This is the question that will keep pundits busy for about a week at most—a little longer on the alternative media websites—and then it will be limited to the alcohol assisted venues where “conservatives” whine about every election the Republicans did not win. Note: it had nothing to do with Gary Johnson. I do have some observations.

The establishment machine made sure that Ron Paul delegations did not get to the Convention and that Ron Paul delegates were not listed as winning caucuses. People you demonize in August are not real likely to support you in November. I said as much then. Whether it would have made a difference in the electoral college I am not sure, but it could have told voters Romney could be fair.

I have seen Al Gore looser than Romney.

There is a tendency on the part of politicians to share tidbits with key contributors. Unfortunately you should never say anything in any kind of gathering that you do not want known throughout the connected world. (This parallels my advice to high schoolers not to put nude pictures of themselves on facebook or send them to significant parties.) The 47percent remark, regardless of its accuracy or source, hit a nerve in the populace. This is not fair, you say, since Obama seems to be Teflon(tm). Well, the world is what it is. Any politician unaware of the parameters is fair game.

In a debate, Mitt expressed approval of NDAA and the USAPATRIOT Act. This alienated liberty voters. A very considered answer would have addressed the Fourth and Fifth Amendment concerns and been vague enough to make voters think he was considering the issue.

There was no counter to Warren Buffett. Berkshire-Hathaway acquires companies where families are forced by the tax code to divest a profitable company to pay inheritance taxes–this is not that different in strategy from Bain.

Where to from here?

The good news is that the Republican Party is healthier down the ballot than at the top. And there is an opening for liberty minded individuals to influence what is going on. If the Republicans can shift back to the Robert Taft conservatism and pull out of military adventurism, it can start to reduce the size of the federal government.

This is small group by small group process that needs to be implemented now, not at the beginning of a campaign. And it needs to be done without Super PACs.

An agenda.

  1. Decide what to compromise on and what not to. We have much needless gun control legislation because the NRA and other conservative organizations were desperate to compromise rather than look obstructionist. Remember, the anti-federalists forced the Bill of Rights, not as a compromise but as a condition precedent to ratification.
  2. Target legislation for repeal with research. Most of the Homeland Security legislation is “emergency” legislation. The United States was last in a State of War in 1945.
  3. Encourage Tenth Amendment groups in the legislature.
  4. Be ready to force Obama to appoint “vanilla” judges to the Supreme Court. Encourage filibusters if necessary.
  5. Be ready to oppose all UN technical treaties. Support withdrawal from NATO and other organizations which authorize military force contrary to Constitutional constraints.
  6. Support free trade and oppose economic protectionism.

More guidance will come.

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Citizenship, Free Society

The Electoral College – essential and relevant

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

As we look at the polls, the argument over the Electoral College raises its head again. My wife mentioned this to me the other evening and stated the argument succinctly. The Electoral College is a remnant of a time when we did not have an informed democracy. That “our Democracy” has advanced beyond those days and there is no reason to have the EC.

There is the argument, pure and simple. I was informed that just because the founders felt this way is no reason to stick with that system. I replied that there was a reason for my position and I can explain it. It does not matter which candidate wins the popular or electoral vote. And I am not driven by democracy as such—the dictatorship of fifty percent plus one is still a dictatorship.

Benjamin Franklin, who apparently slept through much of the Constitutional Convention occasionally awaking to make a pithy remark, is reported to have had an encounter in which a woman asked whether the Convention had produced a monarchy or a democracy. His reply: “A republic, madame, if you can keep it.”

There were several proposals regarding the selection of the Executive. One was selection by the legislative branch, another by popular vote, another by the Governors. And the compromise was the electoral college. The idea was to balance population with representation of the States, from whom the united States derived its existence and powers. By giving each state a vote in the electoral college equal to its number of Senators and Representatives, the small states were not neglected.

Those favoring the idea of a national democracy rather than a federal constitutional republic see the states as irrelevant—or at best a laboratory for national policy. Those from the District of Columbia complain that their votes count less than those in Wyoming—I did not ever vote on giving electoral votes to DC and would not be upset if they were repealed. The fact is, that with both the popular vote and the electoral vote the current president was elected by those residing in less than ten percent of the landmass of the United States.

It is a token of the Republic that we still have an electoral college, that we still make a distinction of states. As long as we can do this, there is hope that we may recapture the Republic and our basic rights.

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Compleat Idler, Humor

Compleat idler – the Mississippi connection

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

 

Back in 1945 my Aunt Evangeline, an Episcopalian from Boston, decided she would marry and civilize Boudreau Beauregard Laporte, Jr, who may or may not have been Cajun but had proposed to translate Longfellow’s Evangeline into le francais d’acadie. The result was my cousin Beau who went by BB Laporte, III. Beau married Victoria Mary McDonald, which is how I came to meet her family. These adventures should be understood for what they are.

My “shirttail cousin” Bubba McDonald who practices divorce law in Mississippi (the only state with a silent syllable) called me last may after he decided to withdraw from electoral politics. (Like it did any good—he ran in a district he has a vacation home in that has never elected a Republican to the Legislature. As in not ever. Not even during Reconstruction.) So the family political legacy fell to the twins Bragg and Buford—all the boys were named after Confederate generals though the family had moved down from Ohio in the 1920s, but “Gramps” McDonald had political aspirations not realizing that there were long memories. Long memories included that rascal Crockett coming down from Tennessee to promote the National Bank in 1829—and escaping with no tar. The county was posted “No Whigs.”

Bubba had an idea that it might be better to go statewide so he made a speech in Oxford in favor of gay marriage—offending both the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. He was promptly put forward to the Board of the “Family Law Group.” This is an association of divorce lawyers who believe every person has the right to have his/her property divided by a judge.

At any rate he relayed to me the following email.

Sorry to hear about your hand and the humidity down here. Am out of politics for the time being, but Bragg filed for the legislature.

And when I walked into Newt’s Waffle House, all the discussion was on the scandal of 75 which caused Bragg to quit his job with the Ag Dept and go back to gunsmithing which he does better than entomology anyhow.

Seems that back that year Buford was having problems with the cotton crop. My suggestion had been to dredge out the blockage between the field and the bayou (and I do not mean that bar in Oxford where you and Beau Laporte are personae non gratae) and farm catfish, shrimp and crawdads. But Bragg said he would rent Buford a couple boll weevils from the batch he was experimenting on. Said they should produce a big enough infestation to get a $60,000 eradication grant. Problem was, the were both male and you know Buford. What Buford knows, everybody in Ma’s Roadhouse knows which means everybody in three counties knows.

The NRA will back Bragg if Old Man Carson does not seek reelection. And since everybody remembers 75 (hell, they remember the War of 1812 like it was yesterday and we have lived here long enough that Cap’n Jack McDonald had a Company of Militia at New Orleans) he is using the slogan, “The lessor of the weevils.”

Take care of yourself up in Yankeeland and get down here when you can. We’ll get Beau’s skiff and a case of Dixie and go after the big cats.

Regards,

 

Pete

 

Pierre GTB (Bubba) McDonald, Esq

Divorce and Personal Injury

I was not sure what (if any) reply would be appropriate.

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Citizenship

Debates – if you have nothing better to do

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Thinking about debates I have always regarded them as roughly less interesting than going in a spare room and measuring how much the wallpaper has peeled since the last go round.

Some thoughts regarding debates and polls.

Explaining the shift in polls after the first debate indicates that the debate gave an nation a side by side look at the candidates showed that a) people were waiting to see how strong Romney could come off, or b) some people were waiting to see Obama as less than invincible (therefor inevitable), or…

The big OR. Or the electorate is highly fluid. If the tables turn in the next couple debates—or shift with each one—the electorate is also extremely volatile and the demagogue who gets the last shot may win.

Do not worry about prevarication. Lies about economic plans are relative. Paul Krugman, who will not debate an Austrian school economist, is not an expert worth listening to. Romney ignores the fact that we have not had real capitalism in this country since before the passage of anti-trust in 1890, and certainly before the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Obama, who snagged the name of a defunct CPUSA publication as a campaign slogan, lives in a fantasy world of centrally planned economy. His one venture into relevance was his reference to Lincoln—in those days Presidents did not propose or advocate legislation and the one of the three that required expenditure of funds was the Transcontinental Railroad in which he had a vested personal financial interest.

And I have a question for those who place great stock in the debates. Who cares or even remembers Quemoy and Matsu?

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Citizenship, Free Society

RINO, DINO, who really cares?

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us! — Robert Burns

As I sit here watching the political infighting among Republicans I can see why they remain a minority party. One of the key words I here is RINO. The concept is that the individual is a Republican for the purpose of getting elected. It is a matter of perspective. Bob Dole mused that when he was deciding to run for County Attorney he weighed the number of Republican voters as opposed to Democratic voters in Russell County.

Now I would point out that in 1956, George Docking, a lifelong Republican, having been previously rebuffed for the Republican nomination for Governor of Kansas, registered and filed as a Democrat. The term DINO was not used. He won and his son Bob also won as a Democrat. Back then the lines were not drawn as sharply as in the national parties.

Jim Pearson, whose Republican credentials no one questions, switched from the Democratic Party to be appointed and thereafter elected as a United States Senator from Kansas.

Joan Finney, a Republican County Commissioner in Shawnee County, became upset when her mentor Frank Carlson did not support her for Second District Representative. She became a Democrat and ran for State Treasurer. She was elected and reelected and eventually elected Governor.

For a good deal of my life the major parties have been non-ideological. I identify as a Goldwater, conservative and see individual liberty, not populist family values, as defining my philosophy. What that may mean is that I will be at odds with those in power—and I have been a Republican longer than many of them have been alive.

The problem I see is that some of the Republicans calling others RINO are basically Populists in the guise of conservatives. Those who know history know that the Populists, with the aid of the Secretary of State, took control of the legislature until the Kansas Supreme Court certified the results of the County Clerks (whose authority is not subordinate to that of the Secretary of State) and the Republicans, aided by Winchester Arms, took the Statehouse back.

Now that Romney has been nominated he has become the “conservative” answer to Obama. That is not what the “conservatives” were saying at the time of the primaries and the caucuses. So what we have is a “center left” Romney as opposed to a “hard left” Obama, both of whom would have fewer problems with a Democratic Congress than a Republican one.

To find a conservative candidate we need to go back to 1964. No, Ronald Reagan was not a conservative, he was a Teddy Roosevelt progressive with conservative—even some libertarian—tendencies. Look at the record. Call him RINO. No, nor would anyone call Teddy Roosevelt who had plans to amend the Constitution to centralize power in the executive a RINO. They are part of the Pantheon.

And the question is: what happened to the “big tent” after it let in southern populists? And are Republicans going to get elected by trashing other Republicans?

 

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