The Constitution of the United States
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The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
Recent events in Ferguson, other American cities, not to mention Syria, Iraq and the Ukraine, all host to rampage and destruction, have affirmed the enduring nature of the French Revolution.
“The pagan religions of antiquity were always more or less linked up with the political institutions and the social order of their environment, and their dogmas were conditioned to some extent by the interests of the nations, or even the cities, where they flourished. A pagan religion functioned within the limits of a given country and rarely spread beyond its frontiers. It sometimes sponsored intolerance and persecutions, but very seldom embarked on missionary enterprises. This is why there were no great religious revolutions in the Western World before the Christian era. Christianity, however, made light of all the barriers which had prevented the pagan religions from spreading, and very soon won to itself a large part of the human race. I trust I shall not be regarded as lacking in respect for this inspired religion if I say it partly owed its triumph to the fact that, far more than any other religion, it was catholic in the exact sense, having no links with any specific form of government, social order, period, or nation.
The French Revolution’s approach to the problems of man’s existence here on earth was exactly similar to that of the religious revolutions as regards his afterlife. It viewed the “citizen” from an abstract angle, that is to say as an entity independent of any particular social order, just as religions view the individual, without regard to nationality or the age he lives in. It did not aim merely at defining the rights of the French citizen, but sought also to determine the rights and duties of men in general towards each other and as members of a body politic.
It was because the Revolution always harked back to universal, not particular, values and to what was the most “natural” form of government and the most “natural” social system that it had so wide an appeal and could be imitated in so many places simultaneously.
No previous political upheaval, however violent, had aroused such passionate enthusiasm, for the ideal the French Revolution set before it was not merely a change in the French social system but nothing short of a regeneration of the whole human race. It created an atmosphere of missionary fervor and, indeed, assumed all the aspects of a religious revival–much to the consternation of contemporary observers. It would perhaps be truer to say that it developed into a species of religion, if a singularly imperfect one, since it was without a God, without a ritual or promise of a future life. Nevertheless, this strange religion has, like Islam, overrun the whole world with its apostles, militants, and martyrs.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Régime and the French Revolution, 1858.
Translated by Stuart Gilbert, 1978, pp. 12-13.
In may 2011, the Obama White House chooses Schultz, to be paid with your tax dollars, to handle press on Fast and Furious.
Our relationship is courteous enough. As far as I’m concerned, it largely consists of Schultz trying to discredit those who could harm the administration, and advancing story lines and ideas to help his boss. He seems to have a pretty well-organized network of support. For example, Schultz might suggest to his media contacts that they do a story dissecting controversies in Issa’s background. It could be an editorial or blog written by party loyalists, an article penned by a like-minded reporter, or a favorable piece in the left-wing propaganda blog Media Matters. Schultz then circulates the resulting “story” to the rest of us in the media, sprinkled with his commentary. The strategy counts on the tendency of many bloggers and reporters to copy and codify each other’s work. If things go according to plan, the story is regurgitated and excerpted by so many outlets that it appears, to the uninitiated, to be prevailing thought. It’s self-fulfilling and self-legitimizing. Pretty soon, the theme bleeds into real news organizations and the cycle is complete. The message being delivered, of course, is that there’s no real story behind Fast and Furious. Just a Republican vendetta.
. . .
It’s a propaganda campaign to divert from the damaging facts: controversialize critics to try to turn the focus on personalities instead of the evidence.
Sharyl Attkisson, Stonewalled, 2014, pp. 107-108.
To write, publish, blog, or facebook ideas contrary to the zeitgeist of Leftist orthodoxy is to routinely endure all manner of insult and ad hominem from the reverse barometers of truth and justice trying to saturate “prevailing thought” with their politics.
If the people taking down society are against you, however, one has to treat such attacks as compliments.
Hans-Ulrich Klose is an Advisor to the Robert Bosch Foundation and former Member of the German Parliament. He is the former Chairman of the German-American Parliamentary Group and a former Member of the German Bundestag (MdB). Prior to that position, he was Coordinator of German-American Cooperation in the Federal Foreign Office. He has also served as Vice Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag since October 2002. His previous positions include Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag, Vice President of the German Bundestag, Chairman of the SPD Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag, and Treasurer of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. A former Governing Mayor of the City of Hamburg, Mr. Klose was first elected to the Bundestag in 1983. Mr. Klose was also the Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation in the Field of Intersocietal Relations, Culture and Information Policy at the Federal Foreign Office from 2010 to 2011.
Mr. Klose spoke on “German Foreign Policy Perspectives on Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the Middle East: Impact on the Transatlantic Partnership.” Presented by The Denver Eric M. Warburg Chapter of the American Council on Germany.
It is wrong for Obama to accuse Republicans of not having a plan to address illegal immigration.
From: The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, Paul Ryan
First, secure the border and enforce the laws we have on the books.
- Institute an effective visa tracking program.
- Institute an e-verify system for employers to electronically confirm an individual’s immigration status.
- Institute a guest worker program for temporary and seasonal workers to perform jobs “not being filled by Americans.”
- An independent third party must verify that the above border security and enforcement conditions have been successfully implemented.
Next, grant probationary legal status with specified conditions for undocumented immigrants.
- an admission that they entered the country unlawfully
- payment of a fine
- payment of back taxes
- a criminal background check
- learn English and civics
- must stay off any form of public assistance
After all the above have been satisfied, a probationary immigrant may leave probation and receive a non-immigrant work visa.
After another period of time, a holder of a non-immigrant work visa may get in line and apply for a green card.
Exceptions to the above:
- Illegal immigrants brought here as children and who are now pursuing advanced degrees or serving in the military should have an accelerated path [to be determined] to legal citizenship.
- Foreign students in STEM fields should be encouraged [to be determined] to remain in the U.S. after they complete their education.
Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman opines 11-13-14:
“understand the defense in depth that fossil-fuel interests and their loyal servants — nowadays including the entire Republican Party — have erected against any action to save the planet.”
False implication – Republicans want to destroy the planet.
“The first line of defense is denial”
“cabal including thousands of scientists around the world”
“witch hunts against climate scientists”
“crazy conspiracy theory”
“economic scare tactics”
Denial, cabal, witch hunt, crazy conspiracy, scare tactics – a whole string of unsupported ad hominems.
“the right’s usual faith in markets”
“we’re supposed to believe that business can transcend any problem, adapt and innovate around any limits, but would shrivel up and die if policy put a price on carbon.”
“Still, what’s bad for the Koch brothers must be bad for America, right?”
Ridicule. False implication that markets are inefficient. False implication that carbon taxes would not suppress economic activity. “Koch brothers” ad hominem fallacy.
“a “war on coal” as if this were self-evidently an attack on American values, but the reality is that the coal industry employs very few people. The real war on coal, or at least on coal miners, was waged by strip-mining and natural gas, and ended a long time ago. And environmental protection is quite popular with the nation at large.”
Multiple false redefinitions of “war on coal” – first that it’s about coal miners, second that environmental protection means using less coal.
“the last line of defense, claims that America can’t do anything about global warming, because other countries, China in particular, will just keep on spewing out greenhouse gases. “
“climate denialists controlling Congress “
Ad hominem attack against Republican majority.
“Not to mention the possibility that the next president could well be an anti-environmentalist who could reverse anything President Obama does.”
False implication that whatever Obama does helps the environment.
This language rolls off Krugman’s keyboard without a hint of hesitation or thought. It’s a practiced script of leftist memes and mantras – a liturgy that Krugman recites like a high priest. In Elbert County Krugman’s acolytes surround us, parroting their high priest, proud, cocksure owners of the liturgy, thumping their keyboards – “oh the science, the science” – like preachers at a tent revival.
Elbert County is filthy with them.
Thing is, the standard these grubers set for the right doesn’t even rise to the level of a caricature. Instead, we get windows into mean little nobel prize winning minds that would be pitiable if not for all of the malice therein.
People engaged in practicing scientific methods came to the Society of Exploration Geophysicist‘s [SEG] annual meeting and exhibition this week in Denver. They came to talk about all aspects of the science that uses imaging techniques for virtual simulations of the composition of the earth below the sea floor, below dry land, and below the sandy shallow shorelines. They brought examples of many of their tools for gathering the data to build the simulations – at least the tools that could fit on a semi truck, including a few as big as a semi truck. They brought a full library of reference books that SEG publishes and sells to anyone in the general public. They brought supercomputers built with arrays of CPU cores and stacks of graphics processors cabled into large racks to form co-processing centers capable of petaflop processing speeds. They brought software experts to manipulate datasets hundreds of terabytes in size through exotic transformations and functions for improving, interpreting, visualizing, dissecting, and representing the reflected seismic data vibrations gathered from massive tracts of potential energy-bearing geologic structures. They came to share their passion about their good fortune to be engaged in solving real and interesting problems using state of the art technology for the tangible benefit of mankind.
Last Sunday this technological frontier was out of sight and out of my mind. I hold our mass broadcast media responsible for that condition. Shame on those media content providers who evidently think the only thing interesting to talk about with regard to energy production is the latest bunch of creepy counter culture dregs carrying hand lettered signs with hyperbolic messages about how we’re all going to die from fracking.
Sure. We’re all going to die. You can’t seriously argue against that proposition. But the scientists exploring for energy actually push that day further out into the future for all of us. Geophysicists take on the hard challenge, the difficult question that requires years of education to successfully answer. Meanwhile, fractivists scribble up a few signs, organize their community of activists from the Left, and show up.
What do fractivists do for the betterment of mankind? That’s right. They show up. They occupy space. They “be.” And the media sends out their heavy satellite dish trucks to record the drama as news, to crowd out real information from the airwaves with an endless stream of meaningless pablum that will never build anything, inspire anyone, or improve our existence.
That’s why you have young kids stealing a couple thousand dollars from their parents’ credit cards to buy a ticket for Istanbul to go join some jihadi who will put an AK47 into their hands and add meaning to their empty existence. The kids know on some level that the world has amazing and fulfilling human endeavors in it, but they don’t know where to find them. So terrible forces move into those vacuums of meaning.
Educators and communicators steeped in Marxism for the last 40 years don’t dwell on real accomplishments because those events don’t politically empower the counter culture. Things like geophysics make the counter culture look silly, laughable, a waste of time and energy – all very disempowering characterizations. With Denver hosting a ground-zero event for worldwide oil and gas exploration – an evil incarnate population of engineers to a fractivist – not a single fractivist showed up to object at the Colorado Convention Center. Real meaning is kryptonite to them. Even geologist Governor Hickenlooper stayed away, perhaps not wishing to offend one of his Gang of Four deep pockets.
While geophysicists improve the world, the chattering classes spin their tales of Ebola, head chopping jihadis, financial collapse, wreckages of all sizes and shapes, storms and climate changes, victimization dramas, and politicians frame one hot mess after another with instant interpretations that always end with a moral that improves their side, their position. A cascade of false narratives give the Left the power to destroy, and power is what they live for. Disempowering the Left is the most politically incorrect thing one can do. Disempowering the Left is so wrong that the Left brand it with the most deplorable label imaginable – racism.
Don’t let the Left consume any more young people with destructive power. The Left squandered their franchises in the schools, the universities, and the media with false narratives, false dilemmas and false analyses.
It’s time our educators and communicators focused on the creators, those who accomplish the hard solutions from the difficult problem sets, the ones who tangibly improve mankind and don’t just talk about it.
Leave the dramas that empower the Left in the past. I doubt we ever needed their monkeyshines, but surely we don’t need them now.
After noticing that Citizens United received a judgment in their favor last week to be treated as a media outlet to release and promote their new film Rocky Mountain Heist, I sent an email to them requesting a copy of the film for posting to YouTube. I expected they would grant my request given the short time until the election and my presumption that they would appreciate any additional exposure for the ideas in the film.
In response I received an invitation to attend a Denver premier showing of the film Wednesday night at the Hyatt Regency. See http://youtu.be/JvSfl2FXfP4 to get a flavor of the evening. While most of the conservative movement in America seemed to be there last night, there was not a single Leftist in sight. No signs, no bullhorns, no shoving, no cops, no litter, no bodyguards blocked the way. Just a roomful of conservative luminaries completely open, walking the walk, talking the talk, unthreatened and unafraid, completely accessible. Cool.
I had a chance to meet David Bossie so I asked him if I could publish the film on YouTube. He turned me down and explained it was necessary in order to defend Citizens United’s copyright to the film – certainly a reasonable position since, upon further inspection, I found that Citizens United publishes their films for a fee on their website. My mistake was to presume their only interest was partisan when in fact they’re also in the business of selling views of their documentary films. I was naïve to think they made films solely for the greater good. People have to make money too and good for them that they’ve found a way to profitably work in conjunction with serving society by resisting encroaching totalitarianism.
Rocky Mountain Heist had its genesis in The Blueprint, published in 2010, which I finally got around to reading last week. It is a beyond-eye-opening education in todays American politics.
From Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer, The Blueprint – How the Democrats Won Colorado, 2010.
“After Amendment 27, campaign spending in meaningful quantities could only be accomplished through the “independent sector”–a collection of nonprofit organizations that stepped into the role once occupied by political parties. . . a garden of think tanks, political 527s, 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations, new media outlets, progressive watchdog groups, and assorted activist organizations. . .” p 40-41
“. . .while nonprofits were no longer allowed to coordinate their activities with candidates or political parties, they were perfectly free to coordinate among themselves. And coordinate they did.” p 71
The poetic phrase from one leader I spoke with last night was, “Political parties have become eunuchs.” Another leader explained to me that coordination between financial politics and party politics still exists, albeit informally where no tweets, no emails, no texts, and no communications that leave an audit trail can follow.
While some probably think political parties received karmic justice in campaign finance reform, my guess is that the majority of Americans don’t yet appreciate the financial separation of political money from political parties.
Americans who watch TV see the thousands of political ads produced by organizations “not paid for by a candidate and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee,” that spend hundreds of millions to produce and deliver political content to the electorate. He who pays the piper calls the tune and it’s the profit-motivated, “independent sector” paying the piper today. It’s fair to assume they’re calling the tunes too.
Prior to campaign finance reform when political parties themselves received the bulk of political funding, the case for corruption was that politicians could be directly bought. If the electorate came to dislike the politician, however, the first stop on the complaint trail was the politician. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad thing.
Today, candidates are disclaimed from responsibility in much of the TV advertising. This pulls the legal restraints off political spending, an arguably good thing for 1st Am. free speech advocates. It, however, relieves candidates from responsibility for the message, a bad thing for the electorate. And the “independent sector” is empowered to issue national-grade political media, insulated from the political restraints that the electorate can exercise over politicians.
This appears to be a systemic disconnect between political content producers and the electorate. And though I’ve seen no evidence of misrepresentation in the political content produced by Citizens United, the Leftist “independent sector” groups don’t seem up to that same standard. Big Leftist money can make big misrepresentations without direct consequences, and that’s what The Blueprint and Rocky Mountain Heist accurately document.
I applaud the exposure Rocky Mountain Heist gives to Colorado’s “Gang Of Four” and their political corruptions, but the analysis stops short of a systemic cure. The Blueprint and Rocky Mountain Heist present de facto evidence of a broken campaign finance environment. The fact that the system equally burdens both parties doesn’t save it in my view, since the electorate still comes out shorted from voting accountability.
It appears that dividing the interests between politicians and political message organizations led to veiled power structures beyond the reach of the electorate. This division seems repugnant to the idea of an informed citizenry exercising electoral control of a constitutional republic. It certainly opens the door to corruption by encouraging off-the-record illegal coordination between financial organizations and candidates.
Perhaps more public disclosures can cure this situation. In addition, perhaps a change in the relative legal status of candidates and the independent sector could work. For example a legal requirement that a political messaging organization must obtain a candidate’s endorsement before releasing media involving that candidate might indirectly restore some control to the electorate.
For us visual learners, Elbert County had some great scenes last night. I opened my eyes from an après dîné catnap about 6:00 p.m. when the Cards still had hope from their lead off double against the Giants, and one of those spectacular Colorado sunsets began to carve the sky into a giant jack-o-lantern. It would have been more than enough to just take those pictures and call it an evening but my lovely spouse kicked me out the door. Smart woman.
At 60, the Halloween costumes most people wear no longer frighten me, even the everyday ones. You just see right through all that makeup to the personality. What’s inside is usually a good person, an earnest person, a whole gamut of persons. No one who comes out stays hidden for long. So the gamut pageant came out to do political business under a sharp sunset.
I visited the two Elizabeth political scenes. There was a third one in Kiowa but I rolled it. A fair number of cars on Main Street in Elizabeth reflected highlights from the warm glow escaping the upstairs windows at the Falcon Lounge. Climbing the stairs, I heard the full-throated intensity of a speakeasy just around the corner, and I wondered if the cops knew this place existed and how would I slip out the back door unnoticed when the vice squad came crashing in with nightsticks swinging. I’m not as nimble on the stairs as I once was.
Sliding past the end of the bar, Cathy and Denise’s space transports you into the center of attention. It was loud and the runway is short. I could only sort out words from people right in front of me though the room is small enough, close enough, and warm enough to make eye contact with everyone else. There was a political purpose on the table, but everyone I spoke with was informal.
I suppose some people do business in a bar, or a golf course, using genteel mediums to lubricate their deals. I didn’t see any of that. It was just a decompressing and rich adult time, and who could ask for more.
Moving on over a couple blocks to the Left’s conclave, I should have had my camera ready to capture the looks on many of their faces as I entered that sanctuary of all matters governmental. What a picture! – no mistaking their shocked looks for playful Halloween horror.
Elbert County’s Left, in person, for the most part, treat me with kindness and sometimes even sympathy, kind of like a stray dog I suppose. While I wouldn’t trust a couple of them to walk behind me in a dark alley, most of them aren’t too bad.
Unlike the scene at the Falcon Lounge with its hair letting down and masks coming off, in the brilliantly lit foyer of Frontier High School it was all business. I may have corrupted the sanctuary through the introduction of a politically alien macrobody, may have unavoidably changed the experiment through my observation, but not having been there before I arrived, I’ll never know.
What I heard were people very concerned about things gone wrong in Elbert County. And their certainty that things had gone terribly wrong in Elbert County matched their certainty that they could and should wield governmental power to “rule with kindness” and “bring all citizens to the table” to correct those wrongs. It was a very egalitarian vision, designed to invest voters, though in practice the playground environment of citizen councils seems to turn out more Darwinians than democrats.
I don’t know how one possibly sustains their rose colored impression of governmental power, particularly nowadays with all the internet transparency about things. Moreover, I don’t know how these folks got into such a state of Panacea, ruled by the goddess of universal remedy. When has that ever happened?
But for this room full of Leftists in that foyer, quantum improbabilities presented no bar. A mathematician might infer such an event through a harmonic string vibrating into a parallel universe, but I don’t hold with such fictions. I think this universe is all we have. I’m virtually sure the portal to the Frontier High School foyer is not a worm hole.
And call me an unfaithful conservative, but I don’t dislike most of these Leftists, except for the few haters. I respect their good intentions. How could you not respect utopia? That would be like disrespecting heaven. I respect their intensity, misguided though it may be. And they didn’t eject me from their sanctuary, though if shunning looks from Jerry and Sue Bishop could kill, I’m a rotting corpse today.
But standing out, naked in the harsh fluorescent light, the words of Dorman’s unequivocal promise to immediately reopen the Elbert County Oil & Gas zoning regulation deliberation with an intent to change the law back to something akin to what the current commission rejected two summers ago – kind of a back-to-the-future version of progressivism – captured my attention.
A legal tussle with the State of Colorado over the ownership and control of expensive, income-producing private property in Elbert County would be much more serious than a trip to court with a meadowlark. I know Dorman wasn’t sick that day of zoning denouement two summers ago because I have him on tape. Maybe he doesn’t listen as well as he thinks he does.
Though no one can predict the future with certainty, Dorman’s recent written statement that his election “can change the balance on the Board of County Commissioners,” suggests he’s already worked a new balance out with a partner on the BOCC.
Given the quasi-judicial nature of the job of county commissioner, now that Dorman has promised to form a new majority to pass a law before even seeing a legal zoning proposal, one should reasonably expect him to recuse himself on such future decisions on this subject matter since, you know, he’s already compromised his judicial objectivity.
Nah. That ain’t gonna’ happen in Elbert County.
Well, that was the big impression for me. The Left wrapped it up and I made good my exit before the brawling got started. One more thing about that event. It never had a chance at being a balanced room with people from a spectrum of political opinions looking for real debate. There was only one right answer to every question, and everyone in the room already knew it. I didn’t see any cheat sheets passed around, but my spidey sense was tingling. Conservatives were right to avoid the setup.
I went back to the speakeasy for a drink and a friendly bartender. Politics of a more limited nature still flowed there. And I think that is best. Humility first. Things are complicated enough. And no one sees the future, except those crazy mathematicians.
Marcus Luttrell, the Navy Seal who survived the ordeal that was the subject of his book and subsequent movie, “Lone Survivor,” went back to the war a year after that event to fight in Ramadi as a member of Seal Team 5. He wrote a book about that experience too, titled, “Service – A Navy Seal At War,” published in 2012.
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