Posts Tagged ‘descent into tyranny’

Obama to Boehner: ‘take the deal’

December 20, 2012

Yesterday, President Obama showed his true colors when communicating with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner: ‘Take the deal’, he said.

Now, in my Lexicon, a deal is something that is agreed between consenting negotiators. A deal requires consideration on both sides, transfers that move both parties to preferred positions by comparison with the status quo.

 President Obama is a Harvard law graduate who spent ten (albeit unproductive) years on the faculty of the University of Chicago  School of Law. So I must presume that he understands sufficient contract law to make sense of what I am about to state:

‘A contract requires an offer, an acceptance and a meeting of the minds that is identified at law in the concept of consideration’

There are just two explanations for the President’s turn of phrase. Either, he remains basically uneducated, despite his qualifications, accumulated perhaps on the basis of misplaced affirmative action. Or, he is donning the outfit of the highwayman, and holding a pistol at the head of the passer-by: ‘Your money, or your life’. At  law, the passage of money to the highwayman in return for the life of the passerby does not constitute a contract, and hopefully, it never will do so.

If the second explanation holds, then Barack Obama is attempting to act like an autocrat.  Fortunately, the wisdom of the Founding Fathers still constrains his ability to force anyone to ‘take the deal’.  The Highwayman Presidency has not yet come to pass in the so-called Land of the Free.

Thinking constitutionally

August 17, 2011

As Americans approach the 2012 election campaign, after three years of unconstitutionality under the Obama administration, it is truly important that they should reflect on the enormous privilege that they enjoy as citizens of a constitutional republic. In no small part, their freedoms and their economic success is grounded on the fine crafting by the Founders at Philadelphia so many years ago.

It is always tempting, when provided with a windfall electoral majority, as was the Democratic Party in the 2008 elections, to throw parchment to the winds and to brutalize favored policies through elected majorities. The Democratic Party severely tarnished its reputation by taking such a route, most notably with respect to the GM and the Chrysler bankruptcies, and with respect to the Obamacare fiasco.  The nation will long have cause to rue these illegal actions.

It is quite possible to get away with such behavior when a supine  Supreme Court, fearful of alienating a new black  president, renders itself unconstitutional.  But that is the very moment to cherish what the Founders brought forth, and to honor the principles and the specific words of the United States Constitution.

So my hope and expectation is that the GOP will not follow the example of the Democrats, should the political situation reverse itself in 2013.  Only when the People themselves love and adhere to their constitution can it long survive. And without that constitution there is no evidence that Americans are any better than other nationals in avoiding the pitfalls of the tyranny of the majority.

BP, My British Petroleum!

June 17, 2010

“The despot’s heel is on thy shore,

British Petroleum!

His torch is at thy temple door,

British Petroleum!

Thou will not cower in the dust,

British Petroleum!

Thy beaming sword shall never rust,

British Petroleum!

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant’s chain,

British Petroleum!

Virginia should not call in vain,

British Petroleum!

Thou will not yield the Vandal toll,

British Petroleum!

Thou will not crook to his control,

British Petroleum!

Better the fire upon thee roll,

Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,

Than crucifixion of the soul,

British Petroleum!

I hear the distant thunder-hum,

British Petroleum!

The Old Line’s bugle, fife and drum,

British Petroleum!

She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-

Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!

She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!

My British Petroleum!

(with apologies to James Ryder Randall who wrote Maryland, My Maryland!  in response to Abraham Lincoln’s military suppression of the desire of its citizens to secede from the Union in 1861. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia sang that song as they marched victoriously through Maryland (to Gettysburg) in June 1863.  Since 1939 Maryland, My Maryland! has been the official State Song of  Maryland)

Of the Dissolution of Government

March 19, 2010

In my column dated March 18, 2010, I presented John Locke’s definition of Tyranny and his courageous explanation of what Tyranny implies for a civil or political society.  His words were addressed to the People suffering under the English autocracies of Charles II and James II, monarchs both who had entered into their sacred office with strong popular support, but whose administrations had then moved decisively to overturn the rule of law and to oppress the People . Dangerous though his next step would be, John Locke did not flinch from drawing the relevant consequences for the People when they understood, in their own consciences, that a State of Tyranny had been imposed upon them.  It is important to understand, when reading Locke’s carefully worded judgment, that he distinguished most clearly between the Dissolution of the Society and the Dissolution of the Government. The only way in which the Society might be dissolved, in his judgment, was through foreign conquest. Governments, however, might be dissolved by the People, whenever  such Governments  subjected them to Tyranny:

“The Reason why Men enter into Society, is the preservation of their Property; and the end why they chuse and authorize a Legislative, is that there may be Laws made, and Rules set as Guards and Fences to the Properties of all the Members of the Society, to limit the Power, and moderate the Dominion of every Part and Member of the Society.  For since it can never be supposed to be the Will of the Society that the Legislative should have a Power to destroy that, which every one designs to secure, by entering into Society, and for which the People submitted themselves to the Legislators of their own making; whenever the Legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a State of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any further Obedience, and are left to the common Refuge, which God hath provided for all Men, against Force and Violence.  Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty, and, by the Establishment of a new Legislative (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own Safety and Security, which is the end for which they are in Society.”  John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government, Chapter XIX, paragraph 222

and

“What I have said here, concerning the Legislative, in general, holds true also concerning the supreame Executor, who having a double trust put in him, both to have a part in the Legislative, and the supreme Execution of the Law, acts against both, when he goes about to set up his own Arbitrary Will, as the Law of the Society.  He acts also contrary to his Trust, when he either imploys the force, treasure, and Offices of the Society, to corrupt the Representatives, and gain them to his purposes: or openly pre-ingages the Electors, and prescribes to their choice, such, whom he has by Sollicitations, Threats, Promises, or otherwise won to his designs; and imploys them to bring in such, who have promised before-hand, what to Vote, and what to Enact.  Thus to regulate Candidates and Electors, and new model the ways of Election, what is it but to cut up the Government by the Roots, and poison the very Fountain of publick Security?  For the People having reserved to themselves the Choice of their Representatives, as the Fence to their Properties, could do it for for no other end but that they might always be freely chosen, and so chosen, freely act and advise, as the necessity of the Commonwealth, and the publick Good should, upon examination, and mature debate, be judged to require.  ibid., Chapter XIX, paragraph 224

and

“In both the forementioned Cases, when either the Legislative is changed, or the Legislators act contrary to the end for which they were constituted; those who are guilty are guilty of Rebellion. For if any one by force takes away the establish’d Legislative of any Society, and the Laws by them made pursuant to their trust, he thereby takes away the Umpirage, which every one has consented to, for a peaceable decision of all their Controversies, and a bar to the state of War amongst them.  They, who change the Legislative, take away this decisive power, which no Body can have, but by the appointment and consent of the People; and so destroying the Authority, which the People did, and no Body else can set up, and introducing a Power, which the People hath not authoriz’d, they actually introduce a state of War, which is that of Force without Authority.” ibid., Chapter XIX, paragraph 227

John Locke’s seminal writings, as faithfully reproduced above, played an influential role in justifying the Glorious Revolution,  the  American Revolution, and the  French Revolution. In my judgment, John Locke is the greatest social contract political philosopher of all time. His words constitute the best guidance available to all individuals, anywhere, who desire to preserve and to protect their inalienable rights to life and liberty, and their imprescriptible rights  to property.

Health Care Reform in a United States Slaughterhouse

March 16, 2010

“Democratic congressional leaders have floated a plan to enact health-care reform by a procedure dubbed ‘the Slaughter solution.’  It is named not for the political carnage that it might inflict on their members, but for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D., N.Y.), chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, who proposed it.  Under her proposal, Democrats would pass a rule that deems the Senate’s health-care bill to have passed the House, without the House actually voting on the bill.  This would enable Congress to vote on legislation that fixes flaws in the Senate health-care bill without facing a Senate filibuster, and without requiring House members to vote in favor of a Senate bill that is now politically toxic.  The Slaughter solution cannot be squared with Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution.” Michael W. McConnell, ‘The House Health-Care Vote and the Constitution’, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2010

My father owned a thriving Animal By-Products Company – Charles Rowley ABP Ltd. – in Southampton, Hampshire. During the summer holidays, as we were growing up, my brother and I would often travel as passengers in one of the many vans that visited slaughterhouses spread across the southern counties of England. The enjoyable part of such ventures was travelling through the beautiful countryside of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Sussex, Dorset, and Somerset, enjoying the open road (few people had cars in England during the early 1950s) and the blue sky. Almost without exception, the sun seemed to shine down upon us we travelled the leafy lanes.

The inevitable price came as the van drew up at the slaughterhouse. My brother and  I were not spared. Into that house of death we would go, holding our noses, and treading warily across surfaces slippery with blood, excrement and pieces of carcass of recently slaughtered cattle. Oh, and the stench of fear as desperately foot-dragging animals were led  in lines to the stun gun and then, often still alert, were slit from neck to stern by hard-faced men, seemingly hardened against their awful profession. Even now, I can recall the stench, of  fear, blood and excrement of a process that few meat-eaters ever experience.

Well, Dear Readers, those of you who enjoyed the ‘sunshine and blue skies’ of your childhood civics classes that glorify the democratic foundations of American exceptionalism, may now be about to draw up at that slaughterhouse of American politics so inappropriately named the House of Representatives. Hold your noses as you walk through those dreadful portals and please do watch your step. Make sure that you wear boots with well-adjusted soles. For you may be about to wade your way through human waste and offal of the most offputting kind. And never ever forget the stench of decay and death of a foot-dragging American Constitution as it is pushed remorselessly forward,  first to Slaughter’s stun gun, then to Pelosi’s butcher’s knife, and finally to a slow and painful death.

How can it have come to pass, you may well ask, that a constitution-hater  like Louise Slaughter was able to access this hallowed chamber and to take charge of the stun gun that will apply the coup de grace to representative democracy?  How could it have come to pass that a constitution-hater like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, could run such a slaughterhouse behind doors locked and bolted to keep all opposition out?  And to do so with the benign consent of the Overlord  who is located a discreet mile or so distant in order to avoid the foul aroma of the carnage that he has unleashed.   

At least, during my youth, such dirty business was the exclusive domain of poorly educated, impoverished men, desperate to earn enough to feed their under-nourished families. In March 2010,  highly educated men and women  gladly assume the role and relish in the blood and excrement that they are creating in order to feed their insatiable egos.

Shame on you, Slaughter and Pelosi and all you other consenting employees of the slaughterhouse, as you contemplate defiling yet further the constitutional republic that you should be so honored to serve. Shame on you! Shame on you, every one of you!


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