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AMERICAN CONSERVATISM IN 2008 AND BEYOND

 
 
ican711nm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 09:45 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:
You were homesholed in constitutional law, right, Ican?

JTT, I was schooled in how to spell "school" in grade school.
I was schooled in Constitutional law in Junior High School and High School.
I was schooled in Constitutional Law in college under-graduate engineering school, and in graduate schools in both engineering and business.

I continued self-study of Constitutional law ever since (e.g. Various Supreme Court cases, and The Federalist Papers: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/fed.asp).

How about you JTT? What is your education in Constitutional law?
parados
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 09:49 pm
@ican711nm,
Quote:
All duties, imposts and excises are taxes. The income tax is a tax that is an impost on the dollars of the incomes of individual persons, as opposed to an impost on individual persons.

yeah.. and oaks, maples and poplars are all trees but it doesn't mean that pines aren't trees.
Because duties, excises and imposts are taxes doesn't mean they are ALL taxes.

For someone that claims to be "scholed" in constitutional law and the USSC rulings you sure don't know the first thing about what kind of tax an income tax is.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 10:39 pm
@ican711nm,
Quote:
JTT, I was schooled in how to spell "school" in grade school.


Observant too.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 12:42 pm
@ican711nm,
Quote:
I was schooled in Constitutional law in Junior High School and High School.
I was schooled in Constitutional Law in college under-graduate engineering school, and in graduate schools in both engineering and business.

I continued self-study of Constitutional law ever since ...


I guess there's no way to make that "no child left behind" thing retroactive, is there?
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  3  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 01:17 pm
I often see Conservatives praising Thomas' Sowell here. I thought I would present a contrarian take on his work.

Intellectuals and Society
by Thomas Sowell
Review by Alan Wolfe

Basic Books, 398 pp., $29.95

Let’s get my judgment of Thomas Sowell’s new book out of the way first. There is not a single interesting idea in its more than three-hundred pages. Purporting to deal with the role that intellectuals play in society, it offers no discussion of literature, music, and the arts. While containing copious references to Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, its index lacks references to Lionel Trilling, Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, Daniel Bell, Jürgen Habermas, Raymond Aron, Mary McCarthy, Michael Walzer, Amartya Sen, and countless others known to have put an interesting idea or two into circulation. It recycles ancient clichés about the academic world and never questions its author’s conviction that those who share his right-wing views are always right. Jonah Goldberg calls it “an instant classic.” Case closed.

The more interesting question is how Sowell managed the task of actually writing the thing. Even jeremiads should have their joys; there is something so wonderful about being a writer and a critic that delivering even bad news can be a source of unbearable pleasure. But Sowell takes no joy in anything he has to say: his tone is as dour and depressing as his conclusions. I understand that the man is a conservative, but can’t he crack a smile? Sowell is such a plodder that even sarcasm, conservatism’s reliable and sometimes amusing old ally, is beyond his reach.

This business of dreary writing escapes me. True, writing can be a torment. But then there is the payoff: the unexpected insight, the sly pun, the implication left dangling for the reader to run with. Did Sowell’s research assistants, one of whom has worked for him for two decades, ever hear him shout with joy? Did he ever run into a colleague’s office bursting with enthusiasm about a brilliant sentence that made a whole chapter hang together? I cannot believe it. There is no grandeur in Sowell’s words, no sign of human creativity, no dream or fantasy of immortality. Sowell writes as if called to grim duty. There are people out there who hate intellectuals. His vocation is to tell them why without ever disturbing their complacency. The example of his book certainly will give them no reason to feel otherwise.

Sowell, a syndicated newspaper columnist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, writes a book a year. His first one appeared in 1971, and he has written forty-six in all. I confess to not having read them all. But I have read enough of them to know that Sowell is not one for changing his mind. Although he claims to have been a Marxist in his youth, his published writings never vary: the same themes"the market works, affirmative action does not work, Marxism is wrong, and, yes, intellectuals are never to be trusted"dominate from start to finish. The right has its share of converts"those, such as the also prolific David Horowitz, who began on one extreme only to shift to the other, and along their bumpy way display at least some genuine vitality"but Sowell is not one of those. The flatness of his sentences is matched by the flatness of his trajectory. Whatever darkness exists in the world does not reside in his soul. He undertakes no bildung and experiences no crises. He learns nothing that does not confirm what he already knew. If he were a character in a novel, it would end on page one.

I am not in the conversion business, but I have changed my mind more than a few times in the forty or so years that I have been putting my views before the public. Reality can do that to you. You might think, for example, as I once did, that affirmative action is highly suspect because it gives more weight to group membership than individual achievement. But if you teach at a university and see your classes enriched by the diversity that affirmative action brings to them, and if you then hear remarkable stories of the individual achievements made possible through the magic of the college admissions process, you may begin to change your mind. I do not fear a future Tim Russert combing my early books to find words in blatant contradiction to my present ones: good luck in even finding the young out-of-print me. Sure, some of the stuff I once wrote embarrasses me now, even down to my choice of titles. But better that than sentences never exposed to the air of experience.

Writing, in short, is a form of risk-taking. You say what you believe and hope that you are proven right. Oddly for such a passionate defender of the market, Sowell never takes a risk. “Not only have intellectuals been insulated from material consequences,” this secure inhabitant of the right-wing think tank world writes, “they have often enjoyed immunity from even a loss of reputation after having been demonstrably wrong.” This is meant to apply to others, but the description works well also as autobiography. If Sowell were an investment fund, he would be hedged against failure. You can make a bet about what you are likely to find on any page he has ever written and be sure of being right.

Perhaps Sowell’s joylessness stems from the fact that his main idea is the hatred of ideas. It is one thing to be an intellectual and love ideas: why else spend so much time reading and thinking about them? When I come across a bad idea, I disagree with it and, as I am doing here, I try to expose its silliness. But I value bad ideas well enough to take them seriously. I write about Thomas Sowell because I recognize in him a fellow intellectual.

But it is by no means clear that Sowell recognizes himself as one. He does from time to time note the existence of “conservative and neo-conservative intellectuals” who offer “an alternative vision” to the dominant ideology and whose influence “no longer negligible” in the media. But then Sowell goes on to write as if the only talking heads on television belong to Bertrand Russell and Noam Chomsky. Safely back to his thesis that intellectuals are always loathsome meddlers who hate capitalism, rationalize evil, and get everything wrong, he is free to quote Eric Hoffer, Paul Johnson, and all like-thinking writers who trod this ground before him.

No wonder, then, that Sowell is so depressing. I, too, would find the world a dreadful place if the activity in which I spend my time rendered me as arrogant as it made me impractical. I actually do not know many self-hating Jews, but there seems to be a plethora of self-hating intellectuals, most of them located in think tanks and all of them convinced that the other intellectuals are not only demonstrably wrong but also in charge of things. It is only in Sowell that I discover someone who believes that people like me are really influential.

Sowell is in desperate need of some cheer. Look Tom, I want to tell him, you write books just like the people who write the ones you attack. We think our ideas are correct, and so do you. Sure, we may get things wrong from time to time but hey, the free market did have something to do with the Great Depression even if you tell me otherwise. There is a reason we do this knowledge-and-thought stuff, you know. We understand that history is not pre-determined, that ideas matter, that experience holds surprises, and that anyone who dabbles in the life of the mind is privileged beyond belief. It is a great club and one should be proud to be a member. So come join me; there is room for us both. Once you get used to the idea that ideas are good things, and sometimes unexpected things, I am sure you will love it. You might even find yourself writing a book worth reading.

Alan Wolfe is writing a book about political evil.

For more TNR, become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
[/quote]
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 01:35 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Maybe someone could email it to Foxy and she'll come stormin' back with guns ablaze.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 01:36 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Maybe someone could email it to Foxy and she'll come stormin' back with guns ablaze.


Please, no. For all of our sakes.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 01:45 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cyclo - Ever since I've been introduced to Sowell, the game has been the same. Over and over again. Liberals are supposed to (1) read Sowell, (2) disagree, (3) then be absolutely shocked to learn he is black, (4) then somehow atrophy until dead because the liberal argument was obviously based on all conservatives being white...

T
K
O
wandeljw
 
  4  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 02:12 pm
@Diest TKO,
Diest TKO wrote:

Cyclo - Ever since I've been introduced to Sowell, the game has been the same. Over and over again. Liberals are supposed to (1) read Sowell, (2) disagree, (3) then be absolutely shocked to learn he is black, (4) then somehow atrophy until dead because the liberal argument was obviously based on all conservatives being white...

T
K
O


It is kind of sad, but that sums up the entire function of Sowell as a political commentator. There is also the aspect of Sowell being a former Marxist who has converted and seen the light.

He is kind of like "Robin of Berkeley".
0 Replies
 
ican711nm
 
  0  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 08:33 pm
Judicial Watch's Tea Party Convention Experience
As I mentioned last week, I had the honor of addressing the National Tea Party Convention Friday, February 5 on the subject of corruption. Judicial Watch was one of the major co-sponsors of the historic event, which gained worldwide media attention, especially the keynote address by Sarah Palin. As you might have guessed, many of the Tea Party conventioneers are supporters of Judicial Watch so I was happy to chat with many of them in person. And I'm pleased to say my colleagues and I signed up many other supporters. It was a committed, patriotic crowd. You can be sure that the Tea Party movement is very much in synch with your Judicial Watch's concern about public corruption, the rule of law and, our national course " a federal government that is increasing its size (and our debt) in an out-of-control fashion.

Here are a few excerpts from my speech:

On Bipartisan Corruption: As Republican leaders now acknowledge, the party of small government became, in the many ways, the party of big corruption, or at least a party that countenanced big corruption. And Democrats also put politics ahead of principle, agreeing to an ethics process that protected Republicans (and themselves) in the short term and one that would protect Democrats in the long term if and when they regained the majority. Now that there has been a change in power, based in no small measure on the perceived corruption of the opposing party, Democrats have simply repeated history and don't seem to care that corruption matters to the voting public.

On Pelosi: Nancy Pelosi is an ethics disaster. You may have read last year and just (last) week about the Pentagon documents showing Nancy Pelosi's misuse and abuse of military air travel for her and her family. The liberal media knew there was an issue here. But only Judicial Watch obtained and exposed that Nancy Pelosi (and too many other members of Congress from both parties) use luxury travel provided by our military to go on junkets far and wide. Who pays for it? You do. We found that "Air Pelosi" cost over $2 million in just two years!

On Rangel: Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly "forget" to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding…Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

On Obama: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's scheme to sell the President's former Senate seat to the highest bidder… Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors " this is Obama's "ethics" record " and we have just gotten through the first year of his presidency.

On the Bailout: Most Americans are not fools. Our polling shows that over 70% believe political corruption played a "major role" in the financial crisis. (President Obama recently suggested "fat cat bankers" were the chief cause of the crisis.) Let me tell you something about that. Judicial Watch sued the Obama Treasury Department in order to obtain documents regarding the historic 2008 meeting held by former Treasury Secretary Henry "Hank" Paulson with top bank executives. The documents show that Paulson and other officials, including then-NY Fed Reserve head and current Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Timothy Geithner forced the executives to take the government's $250 billion "investment" (and resulting government control). So in O bama's world, you force banks to take government investment, the banks pay it back with interest, and then you tax these same banks as punishment!
ican711nm
 
  0  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 02:31 pm
@ican711nm,
Top portion written by a friend in Tyler, Texas. --Dusty
------------

The actions of President Obama and his pack of socialist cohorts in the Federal Government has caused me to undertake the exercise of rereading the Constitution of the United States, along with the Federalist Papers written in support of the Constitution's adoption by the States. I believe Obama and his minions either have little understanding of the Constitution or they just view it as an inconvenience to achieving their goals.

One of the issues which most stirs me is the incessant mewling of Obama and other members of the Democrat party about what they view as legislative "obstructionism" on the part of Congressional Republicans and even some Democrats. I, for one, believe that opposition to issues, with which many people in this nation disagree, is not "obstructionism" but is, instead, exactly the kind of Constitutional protection the Founding Fathers created for the people of this country . I was thus pleased to find that view also expressed in Federalist Paper 46, written in January 1788 by no less a patriot than James Madison. I have taken the liberty of reproducing some of the operative language of that document for your consideration in the paragraphs below. The only protection we have is continued and strident opposition to those things we believe are not in the best interests of this nation.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

James Madison & the Federalist Papers

"On the other hand, should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter."

"But ambitious encroachments of the federal government on the authority of the State governments would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole"
-------



JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 03:21 pm
I am not a big fan of President Obama but if he really is serious about this my hat is off to him.
Quote:
AP source: Obama to announce nuke plant loan
Feb 12, 5:34 PM (ET)

By BEN FELLER

WASHINGTON (AP) - An administration official says President Barack Obama next week will announce the first loan guarantee for a nuclear power plant in nearly three decades, to the Southern Company in Georgia.

The federal commitment would finance the construction and operation of two nuclear reactors in Burke, Ga.

Obama's direct involvement in announcing the award underscores the political weight the White House is putting behind its effort to ramp up nuclear energy. The official cast the news as one part of Obama's effort to shrink greenhouse gas emissions, boost jobs and cut dependence on foreign oil.

More such loan guarantees are expected to be announced in the coming months, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100212/D9DQTEM81.html
Very Happy
I'm not that familiar with the process but I think the permitting process has been a bottleneck for such plants for a long time. Just saw something in the WSJ where CA Gov. Schwarzenegger might be fighting back environmentalists holding back the construction of an "Energy Farm" in the Mojave. He labels some greens "fanatics" and accuses them of "go[ing] overboard". Are some of our political executives showing a near future 'push back' against environalmentalists?
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703525704575061532708529798.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

JM
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 03:29 pm
@ican711nm,
Quote:
"But ambitious encroachments of the federal government on the authority of the State governments would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole"


Can you say Tea Party!?
Cool

JM
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 03:45 pm
@JamesMorrison,
I agree it is welcome news. Hard to tell what is behind this from the Administration's perspective. In his campaign rhetoric Obama was deliberately vague on his position on nuclear power (and many other key issues as well).

He noted that it would be a component of our "new energy economy" but failed to include it in any of his green energy programs or as a potential beneficiary of green money from the now defunct cap & trade program. This was, of course odd in that, apart from hydroelectric (which is nearly tapped out in this country), nuclear energy is by far the cheapest, most reliable and arguably the least environmentally damaging source of zero emissions energy available.

It looks to me as though he (justifiably) feels that he is in some political jeapordy. When the wolves are chasing the sleigh, it is occasionally necessary to throw a baby out to them, just to keep them from catching up.

Whatever incentives he proposes for nuclear power now, his minions in the highly politicized EPA will find a way to delay it all.
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 05:21 pm
Its easier to campaign than it is to govern. So, expect more campaigning while the Democratic Congress continues to pursue expensive pork and social-engineering legislation. Lack of specifics gave President Obama some wiggle room to adjust his idealistic pronouncements with the practical constraints facing any moder U.S. President. As the water gets hotter, he can either step up to the plate and lead, or, far more likely he can do some more PR.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 06:36 pm
@JamesMorrison,
JamesMorrison wrote:

Quote:
"But ambitious encroachments of the federal government on the authority of the State governments would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole"


Can you say Tea Party!?
Cool

JM

I can say "sore losers" when it comes to elections held and won as set out in the constituiton.
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 08:17 am
@parados,
RE Tea Party Advocates parados has said:
Quote:
I can say "sore losers" when it comes to elections held and won as set out in the constituiton.


parados, I sincerely hope that you, President Obama, the democrats in Congress and elswhere continue to believe such and I hope you will be successful in convincing more liberals that this is so.

JM
parados
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 08:19 am
@JamesMorrison,
Let me ask you JM...

Did Obama become President based on the Constitution?
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 10:07 am
@Asherman,
Quote:
Its easier to campaign than it is to govern.


For once, I agree with you, Asherman. But it's odd, I don't recall you bringing this issue up during the years 2000 to 2008.
Asherman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 10:59 am
President Obama is our national leader, and as such deserves our support and loyalty, especially during these troubling times. We conservatives remain convinced that his political philosophy is terribly flawed, and that the continued drift away from individual responsiblity and free enterprise toward a powerful socialist state is wrong-headed in the extreme. We shall not waver in our oppositon to that trend that has been steadily growing since FDR.

The Democratic left is careful to avoid having their programs labeled socialism, but that has been the nature of their philosophy since the 1930's. Constraint of selfish business practices that undermine the national welfare, have proven necessary since the Gilded Age. Federal authority was necessary to extend the civil liberties to all our people when the individual states failed to act for over a hundred years. The national compassion we are so famous for finds its expression in Social Security and Medicare programs. These are all hugely popular programs and have doubltess benefited the entire nation. Only the most radical of conservatives believe these programs should, or even could be eliminated.

However, we should not blind ourselves to the fact that entitlement scocial programs, like Social Security and Medicare, agricultural supports, etc., are the real source of our National Debt burden.

Once the Federal government begins to interfere with private enterprise, where does it stop. Even 20 years ago, the idea that the President of the United States could and would seek to dictate the salaries of people working in private business would have caused outrage. Since the nation began issuing money and bonds based on government assesments of national productivity, the debt has soared and we have experienced periods where inflation rob everyone of their hard earned savings. Uncertainty and the national penchant for living for the moment, rather than taking the longer view where prudence is more natural, has not served the nation very well.

The elmination of Jim Crow Laws was far overdue, and doubtless was a good thing. Even so, the social revolution that opened the doors of opportunity to minorities had its own unintended consequences. Last evening we watched a PBS show about comedy, and was struck by the fact that the language used by socially aware comedians during the 1960's and '70's, would be even more objectionable today for PC reasons than it was then for its shock value. Some minorities may have gained the semblence of opportunity, but well-meant welfare programs may have contributed to the destruction of families and hopelessness that is far too often still rampant. We, as a nation have eliminated the legal impediments to civil and political equality, but may have in the process nullified much of the good unintentionally.

Though these and other elements of the Democratic rush toward socialism are of serious concern to conservatives, the great majority of Americans have come to embrace those programs whole-heartedly. Democracy guarantees that The People will ultimately have their way, it does not guarantee that the choices made by The People will be wise, or even in their own best interests. The Founding Fathers recognized the dangers implicit in democracy and perhaps had a better understanding of human fallibility than we do. The Constituion is the great mechanism the Founders devised to frustrate indivdual leaders from perpetuation their power, and to balance the interests of property owners and the poor. The system is slow, and that serves to reduce impulsive reaction to temporary conditions while giving time for reason to prevail over emotion. The great danger to individual liberty, the primary goal of the American Revolution and experiment into self-government, was and is the reach of a powerful centeral govenment.

The Constitution wisely limited the Federal Government to the management of military and foreign affairs, the relationships between the various states, and more problematical... the national currency. Only in the first quarter of the 20th century did the Federal government begin to seriously escape the Constitutional bounds. The Dust Bowl, and Great Depression that shook govenments around the world was the worst economic/political crisis that the nation had ever encountered snce the Civil War. As we stood on the brink of chaos, The People demanded that the Federal government act to relieve conditions. FDR had a pocket full of solutions, and while they may not have been as effective in solving the national crisis as the onset of WWII, they convinced the public that something could be done and that we as a People and political system would survive.

Since that time, both National Parties have contributed to the irrosion of Constitutional constraints on the Federal government. Both parties have promised what can not be delivered, and failed to take unpopular steps to limit entitlements. Both parties spend and spend as if there are no limits, but limits do exist and we may well be approaching the point where costs far exceed benefits.

We also are currently facing a number of dangers that would be the responsiblity of the Federal government even under the most stringent interpretation of the Constitution. Radical Islam has declared war against us, and they are determined upon our utter destruction. These groups seem to be independant, but most are actually covertly supported by national governments like Iran and Pakistan where such sentiments are widespread. The enemy has determined upon low-intensity warfare that is difficult to respond to with traditional military force. We are at risk of biological and electronic attack by groups that need little beyond a safe haven and some basic equipment. Our national economy is in trouble, and the bulk of our bonds are in the hands of the PRC. If they should begin dumping those bonds on the open market, the value of the dollar might sink as low as the Mark was in pre-WWII Germany. That makes us vulnerable to inflation, and should worry folks far more than it seems to.

Can President Obama navigate us safely through the rocks and shoals while we are on this windward shore? I sincerely hope so, but my political philosophy makes me doubt it. Could anyone see us safely into a future where love and laughter and peace everafter prevailed? I doubt it. Still, President Obama is the man we've elected to lead, so we should do our best to insure that he succeed at doing best for the country.
 

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