Contributors

Showing posts with label Founding Fathers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Founding Fathers. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Kinda Like Grandpa


Friday, October 09, 2015


Sunday, September 06, 2015

Jefferson on Guns

I think Thomas Jefferson was most illuminating when he wrote...

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. 

 ...I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. 

 ...But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. 

And lastly, let us provide in our constitution for its revision at stated periods. What these periods should be, nature herself indicates.

 (Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Quotations on the Jefferson Memorial)

We are clearly at the point of revision right now when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.

We have 30K deaths a year due to gun violence. There is a mass shooting every single day in this country. Far too many people have guns that shouldn't have them.

So, it's time to reform the 2nd Amendment by focusing first on the "well regulated" part of the right. As in Israel, people should have to demonstrate a valid and rational reason as to why they want to own a gun. There should be universal background checks on EVERY SINGLE gun purchase. The law should require high amounts of liability insurance on every gun purchase. Parents of children who end up accidentally shooting themselves should have as stringent of punishments as we have with zero tolerance drug laws. Anyone with a criminal record or mental health problems should be denied gun ownership.

 As Jefferson noted, we are living under a regimen of our barbarous ancestors. It's time to move on...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Moses A Founding Father?

Apparently so...

Texas approves textbooks with Moses as Founding Father 

It's always something with that wacky board of education in Texas. Of course, the histrionics about this is kinda funny to all the teachers out there. Most end up doing their own thing anyway. Add in the fact that a significant number of students never read their textbook assignments and the mouth foaming is unjustified.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Founding Fathers A Go Go

There have been some pretty strange assertions over the past couple of years about our founding fathers. Politifact has a piece up which collects some of them and rates them for their accuracy. Here is a classic:

"By the word religion in the First Amendment, the founders meant Christianity." Bryan Fischer, Tuesday, December 10th, 2013.

Uh, no they did not.

I will always be amazed at the fervor on display by conservatives in regards to the founding fathers. They feel as though they have some sort of deep and special connection with them. More troubling is their invention (quite literally out of their ass) of what the founding fathers really believed.

Do they think that people aren't capable of picking up a book and verifying their assertions?


Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents Day Good Words #4

"Religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

(James Madison, Letter to Edward Livingston, 10 July 1822)

President's Day Good Words #3

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law." 

(Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 1 Whether Christianity is Part of the Common Law (1764). Published in The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, Federal Edition, Paul Leicester Ford, ed., New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904, p. 459.)

President's Day Good Words #2

"I read my eyes out and can't read half enough. ... The more one reads the more one sees we have to read." 

(John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams 28 December 1794).

President's Day Good Words #1

"Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country" 

(George Washington, letter to Benedict Arnold, 14 September 1775)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thomas Jefferson's Bible

Conservatives love to heap adulation on the founding fathers and bloviate about how they were all Christians founding a Christian nation...at least their version of Christianity. Certainly, Thomas Jefferson, our nation's 3rd president, is one of those heroes who is held up as a champion of the Right and a defender of more local government power.

I have to wonder, though, what those same conservatives think about the fact that Jefferson created his own version of the New Testament.

Thomas Jefferson, together with several of his fellow founding fathers, was influenced by the principles of deism, a construct that envisioned a supreme being as a sort of watchmaker who had created the world but no longer intervened directly in daily life. A product of the Age of Enlightenment, Jefferson was keenly interested in science and the perplexing theological questions it raised. Although the author of the Declaration of Independence was one of the great champions of religious freedom, his belief system was sufficiently out of the mainstream that opponents in the 1800 presidential election labeled him a “howling Atheist.” 

In fact, Jefferson was devoted to the teachings of Jesus Christ. But he didn’t always agree with how they were interpreted by biblical sources, including the writers of the four Gospels, whom he considered to be untrustworthy correspondents. So Jefferson created his own gospel by taking a sharp instrument, perhaps a penknife, to existing copies of the New Testament and pasting up his own account of Christ’s philosophy, distinguishing it from what he called “the corruption of schismatizing followers.” 

In some ways, Jefferson had a point but I wouldn't go as far to cut and past my own version of the Bible nor accuse Christ's followers as corrupt. They were simply trying to understand something that was way beyond them which we can understand in greater clarity today. That's why I'm hoping that in a decade or two, we can leave behind the anti-science of the Right and start a new Age of Enlightenment in which we truly do "His works and greater than these." We can't allow angry, hateful, insecure, irrational people filled with fear to bully their way into being the "official" spokesmodels for God. He is much bigger than their petty obsessions with gay sex and lady parts which, honestly, is an extension of their own sexual hangups.

I wonder what would happen if Barack Obama did what Jefferson did with the Bible...:)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Transparency?

The Right seems to take a great amount of glee by sarcastically pointing out that President Obama has the "most transparent administration ever." I realize that it takes a great deal of effort to put down their copy of Atlas Shrugged, unbuckled their bathrobe and spend a few minutes away from right wing blogs to conjure up an attack like this.

As is invariably the case, however, I have to wonder if these denizens of classical liberalism are as familiar and knowledgeable with US History as they bloviate to be. Would it surprise them to learn this?

In early 1787, Congress called for a special convention of all the states to revise the Articles of Confederation. On September 17, 1787, after four months of secret meetings, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention emerged from their Philadelphia meetingroom with an entirely new plan of government–the U.S. Constitution–that they hoped would ensure the survival of the experiment they had launched in 1776.

WTF??!!?? It can't possibly be that our founding fathers, whom they claim to have a direct connection to in the afterlife, were not at all transparent about the formation of the document they claim to make love to on a nightly basis (missionary position, of course). Why on earth would they be so secretive? Could it be that they wanted to speak their minds without public pressure?

The delegates also agreed that the deliberations would be kept secret. The case in favor of secrecy was that the issues at hand were so important that honest discourse needed to be encouraged and delegates ought to feel free to speak their mind, and change their mind, as they saw fit. Thus, despite the hot summer weather in Philadelphia, and delegates who, on the whole, were rather overweight and hardly “dressed down” for the occasion, the windows were closed and heavy drapes drawn. The merits and demerits of the secrecy rule have been a subject of considerable debate throughout American history.

Feel free to speak their mind and CHANGE their mind as they saw fit? Oh. My. GOSH!!!

Cue the boiling pit of sewage...:)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

'Tis The Season

It's the holidays and that means it's time to give back to those less fortunate than ourselves. With this spirit in mind, I thought I would answer all of the questions that a commenter (Not My Name) has been asking this year and give not only him a Christmas present but the four people that read his comments a gift as well. I've already answered many of them in posts or comments previously but he seems like he needs the attention and is lacking something pretty significant in his social life to spend as much time as he has writing in my comments section. So I thought one post with all my answers would be a great way to lift him out of his depression.

Question: Is the Constitution law? 

The context of this question was the 2nd amendment and I have already answered it pretty thoroughly. Yet there is a more concise way to answer...

Answer: Yes, the perfectly legal to amend and continually open to interpretation, as evidenced by 200+ years of tort, United States Constitution is law.

Question: Why would an uninsured person going to the ER cause insurance rates to go up?

Answer: Because they often can't pay and due to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a law signed by Ronald Reagan and a bipartisan Congress, every person must be cared for regardless of their financial situation. The story of Sharon Ford was a primary driver behind this law. Note the pro life tone to what transpired and consider this recent post of mine. As the link notes, taxpayers pick up the cost via public dollars or raised rates that stem from cash strapped hospitals picking up the tab.

Here NMN assumes that he has led me down a path that will show me that the government is the problem. Yet this same government stepped in to pass this law so we could save lives. Would NMN get rid of this law and let unborn babies like Sharon Ford's child die? I suppose only he can answer that but a reversal of this law would save taxpayers money so I guess he has a real puzzler on his hands. Maybe he should consult the Bible. On second thought, maybe not, as we can see from the next two questions.

Question: Faith in what? 

Answer: Your faith in Jesus and God. It's very, very weak. That's why you need others to believe exactly as you do lest you be tempted to stray from Republican Jesus. You claim to be a "rugged individualist" yet positively can't stand the fact that someone might think differently than you not just with your religious faith but your political faith as well. Like the communists and socialists you decry, you want everyone to believe exactly as you do otherwise you condemn them. You also make the mistake of having faith in conservative political leaders and ideologies. Faith is reserved for spiritual matters not for issues like the economy or health care. Even here your faith is weak as well. I'm not responsible for your insecurities. You are. And Jesus is very clear about people that judge and cast the first stone.

One other note on this question. NMN has refused, despite repeated queries, to outright reject the various sects of Christianity that don't conform exactly to his warped version of it. He's certainly rejected my Christian beliefs. I wonder why he hasn't rejected the Unitarian Church, for example. Or the peace churches.

Primary Question: Authors of words have a meaning they intend to communicate, and that meaning is the only valid "interpretation" of any writing. Do you agree or disagree? 

Related Questions: What makes you think God is UNABLE to do what mere humans can do—get someone to write what they want written? So you're claiming that the Jeremiah 31:33-34 prophecy has already come to pass? That every single person in the world sees and accepts Yahweh as his/her God, even Juris Imprudent? That there is no disagreement about God because we all know Him directly?   

Answer: As a writer myself, I say no to the primary question because maybe someone else can dream up something even more wonderful than I intended. Being a reflective person, I welcome it, of course:) Perhaps I could inspire someone to a higher meaning, right?  The other day in class I was offering a critique of John Maynard Keynes and a student raised his hand and said, "It seems that you are saying that Keynes' theories are too psychologically based." I hadn't actually said that but he took what I was saying and brought it to a higher level. It was magnificent. But really, it depends on the author. Bob Dylan would say yes. John Lennon would say no. NMN also seems to be lacking here in his understanding of the use of metaphor. Perhaps he doesn't understand symbolism either.

Anyway, the context of this question and the related ones is the Bible and the author's intent. As with all of his Bible, legal, constitutional, and morality related questions, NMN assumes he is the authority on the author's intent and proceeds (as always) with great hubris. He recently intimated that he is a more valid interpreter of the Bible than the pope. Wow, he's smart!

So, the question he lacks the courage to ask is "Am I the authority on Biblical interpretation, constitutional interpretation, and morality in terms of spiritual and civic law?" Or, more briefly, "Do I know what God is thinking?" The answer is no (and it's no for me as well) because he continually makes false assumptions based on emotions and a completely instransigent ideology. The failure is not with the authors but with NMN himself because he misinterprets, either purposefully, through ignorance or both, the author's intent. And, as I have mentioned far too many times, he also purposefully misinterprets what I say and turns my writings into gotcha questions (so, how long have you been beating your wife?) in order to go for the win and show off for the TSM people that read his comments. Does he know any other way? Thus far, the answer is no.

Primary Question: Do you think it's okay to punish a child for the parent's crime?

Answer: No, but I wish it were OK to punish parents for children's crimes. There would be a lot less gun deaths and spree shootings if that were the case. Perhaps parents would think twice about having guns in the house with their mentally ill child if their asses were on the line.

The background to this question is abortion and NMN falsely assumes (more on false assumptions aka lying below) that the moment of inception equals a child. It does not. Science (remember facts, evidence and logic?) shows us that there is not a fetus until the 10th week of development. The link above has detailed images of development and people can judge for themselves as to what constitutes a "child." For me that's towards the end of the first trimester which is why I have no problem with a federal ban on abortion extended to include the 2nd trimester. I'd even consider going back earlier with a ban when brain, heart and lung functions are more fully developed. A question that NMN or other pro life folks need to answer...is something human if it has no heart?

Of course, there is no such thing as compromise in NMN's world. Even I have to consider that my views may be wrong. Can the child survive outside of the womb? When? What of the mother's rights? Is her body now a ward of the state? This is a gray area because it's not as cut and dried as human-not human. And the Right doesn't do well at all with gray areas. It's not a person at every stage of neonatal development and even when it is in my view, should the fetus really be granted 14th amendment rights? Consider as well that the same argument against banning guns (only criminals will have guns) applies here. Only criminals will provide abortions and there will have to be funds for enforcement and personnel assigned to police it. Who is going to pay for it? Imagine what happened during Prohibition with liquor happening with abortion in terms of crime. Witness what is happening now with drugs. It would be a nightmare. NMN, like many on the Right, don't really think before they bloviate about nearly all of the issues facing our country today. Recall this as well. 

If we left behind the rock solid stubbornness of both sides in the abortion debate, we might actually be able to solve this problem. Abortion is not birth control and it should be harder to obtain. Single woman in their 20s are the group that need to be targeted as they have the most abortions. At a certain stage (earlier than what is legal now), they should not be allowed to have an abortion unless their life is threatened. If they are raped or a victim of incest, they should use the day after pill or terminate in the first couple of weeks. Family planning and sex education need to be improved. People have to behave more responsibly when it comes to sex. Overall, there needs to be societal shift so demand for abortion is reduced it not all together eliminated. As with most issues, the Right can't help but focus on supply when they should be focusing on demand. Get rid of the demand and you get rid of abortion.

Primary Question: Is "false" equal to "truth"?

Related Questions: Even Joe Biden admits that the administration's gun control actions won't stop the shootings. So why do those things? Since the leaders of the Democrat's effort to implement universal background checks say that "any bill without a records provision would be as toothless as an honor system", do you still assert that "[n]o one is talking about universal registration" and/or that it can be implemented without registration?

Answer: No, false does not equal truth and NMN does an excellent job of illustrating this given the content of the primary question and the related questions. Honestly, all of his questions are, in one way or another, based on false assumptions about the issues of the day or, in this case, me and what I am asserting. With me, that's part and parcel to his childish games.

The context of this specific line of query (along with all of the other gun questions he asks) is based on the false assumption and an inconsolable paranoia that the federal government is out to get our guns. For NMN, any changes to gun laws will result in tyranny. Our system of checks and balances make this highly unlikely. Consider how difficult it is to pass something as simple as a budget let alone a new law on the regulation of guns. A tyranny assumes swift and decisive action not government by sedimentation which is what we have now. He pulls half truths, spins, or simply lies with this category of questions.

Joe Biden's comment is quite different than what NMN has described and essentially (and hilariously) asks, "Why even have laws?" In fact, this very question is at the root of conservative whining. Like the adolescent that simply can't take the rules of the house, conservatives grouse about having to follow rules they don't like. New rules are the worst, man! They suck, and like, the Right doesn't want to do them and stuff. Of course, the rest of the adults in our country recognize that as our society evolves, problems arise and sometimes need to be addressed with (gasp!) new laws. Pretending that a problem doesn't exist or will magically go away (the conservative go to thinking these days) doesn't work.

The background check question is a half truth at best and based on opinions and heresay, not the actual law or an evidence based argument. The Manchin-Toomey bill is available here for review and a Google search (unaided by someone as biased as me:)) will show the full story on his related questions. And why can't we figure out a way to improve gun safety while honoring the 2nd amendment? We are the greatest nation on the planet, aren't we? I find it amusing that someone such as NMN decries those who "hate America" yet appears to be doing just that. Clearly the thinks very little of the leaders of this country and the people in it but that's the adolescent problem with authority again. Equally as amusing is the fact that NMN spends a lot of time and energy debunking things that Democrats say, accusing them of being incompetent liars, but on the issue of universal background checks, they are now suddenly "telling the truth." Wow...it's a Christmas miracle!!

Will NMN accept this gift in the spirit of the season and be gracious? Will his obsession with me continue? Or something else? Or will he reject my gift, take it back, psychotically keep asking the questions over and over again, circle jerk for juris, GD, 6Kings and Larry, and pretend that I never answered the questions? Honestly, it doesn't really matter.

Because in the final analysis we will never, ever see the kind of our nation he claims he wants. The trajectory of our country is evolving to fit the age of globalization and leaving behind backwards, hateful, and ignorant thinking. NMN's comments and questions are great examples of the fear that only comes with the realization that old ideologies are quickly becoming irrelevant.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Good Words

“The legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion.” ~Charles Pinckney, Constitutional Convention, 1787

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Good Words

“The American states have gone far in assisting the progress of truth; but they have stopped short of perfection. They ought to have given every honest citizen an equal right to enjoy his religion and an equal title to all civil emoluments, without obliging him to tell his religion. Every interference of the civil power in regulating opinion, is an impious attempt to take the business of the Deity out of his own hands; and every preference given to any religious denomination, is so far slavery and bigotry.” ~Noah Webster, calling for no religious tests to serve in public office, Sketches of American Policy, 1785

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Good Words

“Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.” ~Roger Sherman, Congress, August 19, 1789

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Good Words

“God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.” ~Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773

Friday, October 11, 2013

Good Words

“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.” ~Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Good Words

“Some very worthy persons, who have not had great advantages for information, have objected against that clause in the constitution which provides, that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. They have been afraid that this clause is unfavorable to religion. But my countrymen, the sole purpose and effect of it is to exclude persecution, and to secure to you the important right of religious liberty. We are almost the only people in the world, who have a full enjoyment of this important right of human nature. In our country every man has a right to worship God in that way which is most agreeable to his conscience. If he be a good and peaceable person he is liable to no penalties or incapacities on account of his religious sentiments; or in other words, he is not subject to persecution. But in other parts of the world, it has been, and still is, far different. Systems of religious error have been adopted, in times of ignorance. It has been the interest of tyrannical kings, popes, and prelates, to maintain these errors. When the clouds of ignorance began to vanish, and the people grew more enlightened, there was no other way to keep them in error, but to prohibit their altering their religious opinions by severe persecuting laws. In this way persecution became general throughout Europe.” ~Oliver Ellsworth, Philip B Kurland and Ralph Lerner (eds.), The Founder’s Constitution, University of Chicago Press, 1987, Vol. 4, p. 638

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Good Words

“Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities. But as we know not what may take place hereafter, and any such test would be exceedingly injurious to the rights of free citizens, I cannot think it altogether superfluous to have added a clause, which secures us from the possibility of such oppression.” ~Oliver Wolcott, Connecticut Ratifying Convention, 9 January 1788

Monday, October 07, 2013

Good Words

“No religious doctrine shall be established by law.” ~Elbridge Gerry, Annals of Congress 1:729-731