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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Movement To Torch The Constitution

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." ~ Daniel Webster

I have recently completed a seminar course on the Declaration of Independence and Constitution at Hillsdale College. Though this ten-week course I have rediscovered the beauty of both documents and more so mind of our Founders during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The thinking that went into the framing of the Constitution was best expressed in the Federalist Papers, a series of 85 published articles by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay under the nom de plume of Publius. The most prolific of the authors was James Madison, the author of the Virginia Plan.

Scheduled to begin on May 14, 1787 in Philadelphia PA, the Constitutional800px-Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States.png Convention progressed through the summer to establish a new form of government as described by the U.S. Constitution. Although the convention was called for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, delegates from 12 of the 13 states (Rhode Island was absent) expressed an overwhelming interest in a totally new, and stronger, form of central government. Upon ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, this agreed upon form of government was put into effect and has operated as the government of the United States ever since.

James Madison was a delegate from Virginia to both the Annapolis Convention and the Constitutional Convention who strongly clamored for a vigorous and powerful central government. Prior to attending the Constitutional Convention, Madison prepared two papers on government, A Study of Ancient and Modern Confederacies and Vices of the Political System of the United States, from which he drew most of the ideas for the plan of government that was proposed on May 29th, 1787. Because of his central493px-James_Madison role in creating the U.S. Constitution, and because of the diligence with which he maintained records during the Convention, he is known as "the father of the Constitution." He faced off against Patrick Henry in the Virginia debate over ratification, and contributed his nationalist arguments, along with Hamilton and Jay, to the series of federalist arguments compiled in The Federalist. Later in his political career, he moved away from the federalist political party and became a strong supporter of the Jeffersonian Republicans. Madison followed Jefferson as the fourth president of the United States.

On the other side of the argument were the Anti-Federalists who were fearful of a strong and overbearing central government, a regime they had thrown off eleven years hence through the Declaration of Independence, one of the most beautiful political and succinct statements ever penned. As opposed to Federalists, people that feared a strong central government, supported states' rights, and opposed ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Anti-Federalists insisted that a Bill of Rights must be included in the Constitution to protect individual's rights against a powerful central government. Anti-Federalists typically were members of the poorer classes, but also included patriots Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, James Monroe, and Richard Henry Lee. Anti-Federalists strongly opposed the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in Virginia and New York.

It was Madison who not only believed in a strong central federal government, but also believed that this central government could only insure our liberties through a structure based upon the separation powers, he made an argument for this in Federalist No. 10 and Federalist No. 51.

For the past eighty or so years the Progressives have been whittling away at both the Declaration and Constitution with their constant pressure to expand the power of the central government and establish a more powerful and intrusive administrative state. Rather than adhering to the principles equality of opportunity for all they are demanding an equality of results, an equality defined by masterminds in Washington, D.C.

On June 30, 2012, while in Egypt at a meeting of human rights advocates, Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated:

“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa — a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights.”

That stunning disavowal-by an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court — of the Constitution she has sworn to uphold, drew widespread and instant condemnation from conservative pundits and legal scholars.

NRA -ILA Executive Director Chris W Cox warned that Justice Ginsburg's statements go to the core of why the coming presidential elections are important, and why they are "about the very survival of our Constitution:” He's right on the money.

Especially in the mainstream media, Justice Ginsburg's were generally treated in isolation or ignored. For most Americans it was just a sound bite. A fleeting controversy. A mere blip. Given her animosity toward the Second Amendment, however, Justice Ginsburg's words must be seen as a special warning of things to come.

Her comments may have seemed off-the-wall, but they reflect an on going movement among "progressive" legal activists to render the Constitution as we know it unrecognizable. Perhaps the best definition of this radical movement has been expressed by Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet:

"For 30 years, conservatives have hijacked the Constitution, and were taking it back." For the Second Amendment, understand that "taking back" the Constitution will certainly mean the end of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as expressed in the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions — both decisions dissented on by Ginsburg.

So the big story-intentionally ignored by the big media — is that Justice Ginsburg's enthusiastic embrace of the South African Constitution is a long-range political movement to create a "progressive" constitution to ultimately supplant our founding documents.

The movement has a generic name — "democratic constitutionalism.” It came into serious focus with a 2005 American Constitution Society conference at Yale University Law School called "The Constitution in 2020.” That conference was followed by a book of the same name, and then another Yale conference in 2009.

Its purpose was described in a May 26, 2009, New York Times Magazine article:

"…the organizers set out to gather together a group of scholars to define a progressive constitutional agenda for the coming century ... the democratic constitutionalists see courts and political movements as partners, influencing each and society as a whole.”

Not since Woodrow Wilson’s 1887 speech on Socialism and Democracy and Franklin Roosevelt’s 1944 Message to Congress, where he urged a new bill of rights, has such a bold statement been made to throw out the principles of our Founders. They see the separation of powers as an obstacle to governing, not as an insurance of our unalienable rights of life, liberty and happiness.

Oh yes, and this will likely come as little surprise to you. This activist partnership to meld leftist political activism and the courts to dump or modify our founding documents in favor of a radical-left constitution is bankrolled by George Soros, the billionaire globalist gun-banner.

Among the initial participants of the 2005 gathering of progressive legal stars were two Soros operatives destined to be key Obama handlers in his presidential campaign, the transition and in the White House: John Podesta and Cass Sunstein. Podesta ran Obama's transition team. An outsider/insider with unique access to the president, Podesta oversees perhaps the most successful of the organs of the multigazillion dollar Soros policy/influence machine-the Center for American Progress. It has been a font of left-wing ideas that the Obama White House has turned into policy.

And that brings us to Sunstein, who, predating Ginsburg's comments, expressed an even giddier endorsement, calling the South African Constitution "the most admirable constitution in the history of the world”.

Sunstein, who was tagged as an "informal" Obama campaign advisor, also the husband of Obama’s foreign policy advisor Samantha Power who was the architect of the bombing of Libya, is the White House regulation czar, director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs — a powerful position in which he serves as a gatekeeper for all new federal regulatory changes. Sunstein, on leave as a Harvard law professor, is an incredibly prolific "progressive" far-left legal scholar espousing a host of ideas any reasonable person would just call "weird.”

He would ban all hunting. Sunstein has proposed giving animals-yes, cows, dogs, rats — standing to sue in court. He would afford them a quasi-constitutional personhood. And he has proposed a kind of rationing of the Internet. He has demanded that websites be forced to include opposing views, because of "the growing power of consumers to 'filter' what it is that they see.”

He fears that Americans are too stupid to create the kind of "diversity" provided by the former gatekeepers of network TV. To Sunstein, individual citizens are incapable of being on their own in a sea of digital information. He fears that, "In the extreme case, people will be fully able to design their own communications universe. They will find it easy to exclude, in advance, topics and points of view that they wish to avoid.”

Sunstein is calling for government censorship to create diversity of thought. Imagine this man writing a new First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and it could happen.

Does the term oxymoron come to mind? But then, everything in the world these people inhabit is Alice-in Wonderland — down the rabbit hole. Progressive operators like Sunstein, even with his seemingly wacky views, must never be underestimated. Eighty years of creeping Progressivism has proven this. Through their control of the main stream media, entertainment industry and academia the have moved this republic from a government based on separation of powers to an administrative utopia governed by masterminds.

Although there is no secret about the existence of the "Constitution in 2020" movement (anybody can find it on the Internet), the radicals who would deface the current Constitution plan to do so by stealth. Stealth will be in the details written way below the surface or created by alternative means such as administrative law or international treaties and agreements. The real threat will come "under the radar”' as President Barack Obama is wont to say. This is the same strategy the Fabians used to turn the once great British Empire into a socialist, welfare state.

A lead-off speaker during the follow up 2009 Soros-funded "Constitution in 2020" conference reconvened at Yale University Law School, professor Aziz Huq of the University of Chicago Law School laid out the need for a deep political masquerade to accomplish real change.

“We’ll start with the problem of candor,” Huq said. “No constitutional movement ever got very far by admitting that it sought innovation in the founding document. Or by admitting that it was enabled by the particular social/historical or doctrinal circumstances of the change that it urged ...Yet to be a credible movement for constitutional change — a credible social movement — that movement has to deny, in a sense, its ultimate goal.”

And the deniable goal clearly is to supplant our rights, memorialized for Americans with our unique position as the freest people in the world, with a bizarre set of government-granted privileges masked as “rights”—a kind of leftist cultural affirmative action creating unprecedented social division: a constitutional caste system between the American people. It will be a reflection of President Obama’s now ubiquitous cultural war.

To use the progressive definition of the Constitution as a “living organism,” you must understand that these people see themselves in the same light as genetic engineers who are altering the DNA of our freedom into something entirely unrecognizable—something most Americans today would consider malignant.

If you were to suspect this is a key part of President Obama’s agenda for “fundamentally changing America,” you would likely be right. In fact, their “change” is a growth antithetical to the individual liberty protected and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution as we know it.

In the lexicon of the “progressive” movement to rewrite America’s founding document on a global model, the guarantees of what the founders recognized as pre-existing God-given rights — among them, free speech, freedom to assemble, the right to keep and bear arms, the right against self-incrimination, the right to be protected against undue search and seizure—all of those most basic protections are considered “negative rights.”

These people are not talking about replacing the U.S. Constitution with the South African Constitution out of hand. What they seek is to include key viral elements of that document, in a bit-by-bit infection that will ultimately transform the whole nature of our country. They will not do this by the approved constitutional amendment process, but by judicial fiat and executive orders.

So what is it that these people find so attractive in the South African Constitution? In a phrase, the answer is something they call “positive” rights.

Perhaps the most direct explanation of what they are going for was penned on the “Constitution in 2020” blog by Emily Zackin, now an assistant professor at Hunter College:

America’s constitutional law, its rights tradition in particular, is often said to reflect Americans’ fear of an over-active and overbearing state. Thus, America’s Constitutional rights are widely thought to restrain the state in order to protect citizens from the state’s power and potential for tyranny. Constitutions of other nations all over the world also contain these limits on government, but they include a different kind of right as well. These rights (sometimes called positive rights) obligate government to intervene in social and economic life, promoting equality rather than simply procedural fairness [Emphasis added]. They offer protection not from government itself, but from market capitalism and its consequences. The Belgian Constitution, for instance, declares that everyone has a right to a free education, and the South African Constitution includes the right to medical care. The text of the U.S. Constitution contains no such explicit guarantees, and the Supreme Court has consistently declined to interpret the Constitution to include them. Many have concluded that America simply lacks this other kind of constitutional right, and that Americans have been willing to commit to welfarist policies only at the level of statutory law.”

So, fairness — the very basis of real blind justice in America — is to be replaced with social/cultural favoritism decided by a cadre of law school radicals and masterminds who have no respect for the work of the Framers.

Dr. Zackin—who won top honors from Princeton for her Ph.D. dissertation, “Positive Constitutional Rights in the United States,” cited as an example: “… the South African Constitution includes the right to medical care. The text of the U.S. Constitution contains no such explicit guarantees, and the Supreme Court has consistently declined to interpret the Constitution to include them.” She further defined the notion of “positive rights” as “welfarist policies.”

These “positive rights,” like the “right to health care” and the “right to housing,” are the key elements that make the South African constitution so attractive to welfare statists who would control every element of American life. These “positive rights” dump fairness in favor of drastically skewing the playing field to the advantage of select groups of citizens. They are more focused on the equality of results rather than the equality of opportunity. Dr. Zackin’s is just a rehashing of Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights as expressed in in 1944 message to Congress.

With this stealthy Soros-backed effort, the new, radical Constitution that would emerge in the future will likely include as “positive rights” many government-granted privileges and collective rewards centered around endless memes of “justice”—“social justice,” or “economic justice,” or “green justice.” The list could be endless.

One thing is certain— there will be “freedom from gun violence” added to the list of “positive rights.” With that, the Second Amendment will be headed to the dumpster of history.

In a spot-on Canada Free Press analysis of the effect of “positive rights” versus “negative rights,” Daniel Greenfield characterized the combined “positive rights” pressed by the so-called progressive establishment as “the right to be taken care of in every way possible.” These “rights” — touted as the be all, end all in the South African constitution — serve to eliminate most of what Americans have traditionally considered freedom. Positive rights offer a privilege that is overseen by the government masterminds that provide benefits at the cost of individual liberties.

Yet privileges — unlike rights — can be withheld at the whim of those who hold the power of government.

As for the 61,000-word South African Constitution, perhaps the best view of what U.S. proponents are really striving for was spelled out in a 2003 law review article by Mark S. Kende, now head of the Constitutional Law Center at Drake University Law School. The title of the article is unambiguous: “Why the South African Constitution is better than the United States's.”

Giving meaning to Sunstein’s delirious “most admirable constitution in the history of the world” tag, Kende says the description fits because, “It contains a lengthy list of socio-economic rights, which the drafters hoped would protect and assist those who are poor and vulnerable.”

“Conversely,” he says, “the United States Supreme Court has been unwilling to find socio-economic rights in the United States Constitution.”

Among those “positive rights” he lauds, “Everyone has a right to have access to adequate housing, the right to have access to health care services sufficient food, and appropriate social assistance.”

“Moreover, courts must consider international law in rendering decisions, and may also consider foreign law.”

What is so bizarre about this article — and what is so strange about all of the radical proponents of the document — is that none of these “positive rights” are even marginally attainable by the tens of millions of South Africans who live in indescribable poverty and suffer from a homicide rate nearly seven times higher than ours in the U.S.

So what good is it?

Kende puts it this way: “Placing socio-economic rights in a constitution does not mean that every individual is entitled to assistance on demand. The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization of each of these rights.”

Further, he writes that under a “limitations clause” on the “socio-economic rights,” “The court’s overall responsibility is to determine whether the infringement on the right is proportional to the resulting societal benefit.”

So in reality, these so-called “positive” rights are not rights at all. They are privileges doled out under a deeply corrupt system of state rationing by elite statists and masterminds like Cass Sunstein.

With perhaps as many as 7 million South African citizens dying of HIV and AIDS, the constitution’s guarantee of the right to “have access to health care services” was pointless under the regime of President Thabo Mbeki, a virus denier who kept Western life-saving medicine at bay while his people died.

How would this cadre of activists and professors alter the U.S. ConstitutionUS-SA Flag_002 to take on elements of the South African model? Obviously not by any means provided in Article V of the Constitution, which the Founders intentionally made extraordinarily difficult to accomplish.

So what are they proposing? By what means do they alter the foundation of the nation? By what means do positive rights creep into constitutional law?

Those questions were actually at the very core of the second Yale conference. Among the back-door approaches discussed:

  • Enacting “landmark” laws that are too big, too complicated and bring dramatic fundamental change. These laws take on the force of the Constitution.

  • Enacting international treaties that have the force of law. As one speaker put it, “Once you have an Article II [ratified by the U.S. Senate] treaty in place, it can undo state law that’s contrary, and undo federal law that’s contrary.”

  • Creating administrative law that the speaker claimed would be beyond the normal scope of judicial review.

Attendees also discussed a grassroots political effort to force the U.S. Senate to get rid of the filibuster with its 60-vote requirement to close down debate, making all sorts of simple majority legislative mischief possible.

What the Soros gang proposes is a melding of their notion to replace the Constitution with administrative orders, landmark laws, treaties and the like with raw propaganda and a long-term, grassroots activist agenda. Mobilizing for change on the streets, if you will.

Yale law professor Jack Balkin, among the leaders of the “Constitution in 2020” movement, says under “democratic constitutionalism” grassroots politics is the key: “The basic way that the Constitution changes over time is that people persuade each other that the way they thought about the Constitution and what it means isn’t the right way of thinking about it. … That’s why you just can’t focus on elections, judicial appointments … constitutional culture. That’s why you have to focus on the people’s arguments about norms.”

Keep in mind that “norms” — international norms — are at the heart of the gun-ban movement worldwide. It is a well-recognized “norm” that the United Nations pointedly refuses to recognize armed self-defense as a human right.

It is certain that for many in the “democratic constitutionalism” movement, the kind of draconian laws that have left South African citizens at the mercy of brutal, murderous criminal violence would represent America’s constitutional norm in the future, if they get their way.

Of course, future Supreme Court appointments will be determined by who wins the presidential election this fall. Four more years of Barack Obama would undoubtedly mean one or more new justices in the mold of Justice Ginsburg who would push to shift our freedoms further from what our Founding Fathers intended — yet more “change” that our right to keep and bear arms might not be able to survive.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Romney’s Narrative

When all government, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the Center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Last night (April 24, 2012) after winning the GOP primaries in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, And Connecticut Mitt Romney addressed his followers on a stage in Manchester, New Hampshire. This was the first time I heard Romney begin to address the nation rather than a cadre of Republican voters. Up until this time all I heard from the former Governor of Massachusetts was his business resume, something that was becoming a bit tiresome. Tuesday Night was different.

On Tuesday night Romney began his run at the presidency and I began to300px-Mitt_Romney listen. I had not been a fan of Romney during this tiresome GOP primary season. In fact I had not made my mind up on any of the GOP candidates during the months of January, February, and March with their plethora of debates and comments by pundits. They were all preaching to the choir and tying to garner enough delegates to obtain the nomination in Tampa this August. In fact when I would have been able to cast my vote in June I still did not know who I would support. No it doesn’t matter. Romney will be the GOP candidate whether we like it or not.

So I listened to Romney’s words and watched his delivery last night. I saw a different Romney, a Romney talking to all Americans and beginning to lay out his vision for the future of the Republic. I saw some of Ronald Reagan in his comments with phases like:

“For every single mom who feels heartbroken when she has to explain to her kids that she needs to take a second job … for grandparents who can’t afford the gas to visit their grandchildren … for the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps … for the small business owner desperately cutting back just to keep the doors open one more month – to all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight.”


“This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best – and can provide all.

We’ve already seen where this path leads. It erodes freedom. It deadens the entrepreneurial spirit. And it hurts the very people it’s supposed to help. Those who promise to spread the wealth around only ever succeed in spreading poverty. Other nations have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.”


“I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents – some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.

This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.”


“In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded. And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.

This is the America that was won for us by the nation’s Founders, and earned for us by the Greatest Generation. It is the America that has produced the most innovative, most productive, and the most powerful economy in the world.”

“There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something different to each of us but it meant something special to all of us. We knew it without question. And so did the world.

Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny.”

There was no mention of more government handouts or pandering to college students who have, by their own volition, accepted massive amounts of debt for the college loans they have taken to attend colleges and universities with bloated tuition costs. There was no mention of fairness by having the government guarantee the equality of results rather than providing a climate of equality for all.

Perhaps Romney’s speech was no Time for Choosing by Ronald Reagan or a Copper’s Union speech by Abraham Lincoln but I think he is moving in the correct direction. Now he needs to distil these themes into a simple and concise message for the voters, a message that will bring the independents and right-thinking Democrats to vote for him as Reagan did with his “morning in America” and “city on a hill.”

There is one thing that President Obama refers to as a silly distraction. But in reality, it represents a key part of the bigger thing conservatives must overcome to win this election battle.

The biggest thing was described by the "Big" sites' creator, Andrew Breitbart, in his book, Righteous Indignation:

“The left does not win its battles in debate...The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media. Narrative is everything.”

Breitbart highlighted the "turning point" in the history of media control -- the mainstream coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. The "guys who idolized Woodward and Bernstein" had been transformed into "open partisan hacks," rewriting the narrative with Clinton cast as the hero and Republicans the villains. Breitbart also noted that the "institutionalized conservative movement" became "conspicuously silent" because they had allowed the left to control the spin and "didn't want to put themselves in harm's way"

The "Democrat-Media Complex" (Breitbart's term) control of the Obama screenplay has been obvious from day one, even when there was no narrative to shape. Instead of offering evidence to refute criticism of their star, the Alinsky-schooled Complex lazily lob potent word-missiles like "racist" or "birther." Most Republican elites defensively duck and run for cover lest any of the labels stick. Conservatives hope that intelligent discussion of economic and policy issues will win election battles, but they fight within an arena defined and controlled by the leftist media, leaving the home court advantage to the left.

Refusing to play by Democrat-Media Complex rules, conservative writer Diana West bravely observed the relationship between two of Obama's scandals: his socialism and the probable fraud of his identity documents. The assertions are related in that even though both are supported by facts and evidence, neither fits the narrative, and so both are ignored by the mainstream. And most of the conservative establishment has reacted the same way it did in the Clinton-Lewinsky affair: conspicuously silent and self-censoring. Author Roger Kimball noted the disturbing consensus that has rendered Obama's nativity a topic "literally undiscussable." Sometimes conservatives side vocally with the Complex, brushing aside the quest for truth as less important than debate on other issues.

While debate on the big issues is important, Breitbart was right — regaining control of the narrative is the big thing. Until last year, Breitbart was focused mainly on "winning issues"; however, a few weeks before he died, his battle lines were redrawn at CPAC with the promise that "this election, we're going to vet [Obama]."

Vetting of Obama becomes both a big and winning issue because it takes control of the conversation away from the Democrat-Media Complex. And the first step is re-examining all of the things that make up Obama's personal narrative. Such things as his origin of birth, his school transcripts, who financed his college education, who his closest advisors were, and who pushed him into Illinois politics from an unknown community organizer.

Most famous conservatives are reluctant to do so.

Angelo Codevilla observed writing for the Claremont Institute:

"In our time, asking how a young man of scarce achievement got into position to win the Democratic Party's nomination for president courts the contemporary synonyms for 'impious': 'birther,' 'conspiracy theorist,' and, of course, 'racist.'"

The eligibility question (labeled the "birther" conspiracy by the Complex) was written off by Ann Coulter as the only mythical thing believed by more Republicans than Democrats. In her otherwise brilliant book Demonic, Coulter erroneously defined "birthers" as focused solely on a Kenyan birthplace, but she failed to justify her description or provide evidence that discredited any eligibility arguments, instead filling pages recounting Democrats' numerous and crazier conspiracy theories.

George Stephanopoulos brought up "birthers" in his interview with Obama (just a couple of weeks before the long-form's release) and observed that it was the only thing he, a smiling Obama, and Karl Rove agreed upon: the controversy hurt the GOP.

Mitt Romney needs to sound more like Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan than Mr. Rogers. Hope and change haven't brought a beautiful day in this neighborhood.

The Founders were brilliant political strategists who didn't need focus groups to tell them that their fellow patriots wouldn't be inspired to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to "throw off" a "nice guy who was just in over his head," as Romney repeatedly refers to President Obama.

Civilized gentlemen of unwavering conviction were not above using condemnation to communicate the truth about King George and his tyrannical government. The Founders knew that insipid slogans would never carry the day.

Jefferson and the 55 co-signers of the Declaration railed against the "evils" committed by King George III. They inspired a revolution against the most powerful nation on Earth through the power of the pen — no radio, television, Internet, Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, or hiding behind tough talk by super PACs and surrogates. It was the Founders' words in their names, sealing their own death warrants.

They laid out the substantive case against the King in 1,323 elegant, inspirational, compelling and radical words that birthed this nation. The King's abuses of our God-given unalienable rights required more than moderate words:

  • "A Tyrant … unfit to be the ruler of a free people"
  • "A long train of abuses and Usurpations"
  • "Destructive"
  • "Evil"
  • "Absolute Despotism"
  • "A history of repeated injuries and usurpations"
  • "Absolute tyranny"

Romney should emulate the Founders by stressing the similarities between the King's "long train of abuses" and those of President Obama:

  • "He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."
  • Obama's Department of Justice refused to prosecute armed thugs from the New Black Panther Party who violated federal law by intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place on the day Obama was elected.
  • Obama has sued to stop enforcement of immigration enforcement laws enacted by Arizona, South Carolina, Alabama, and Utah.
  • Obama's Department of Justice has launched a war against state voter ID Laws, as documented by the American Civil Rights Union. The DOJ has sued to stop enforcement of laws enacted by South Carolina and Texas despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2008 upholding an Indiana law requiring a photo ID to vote.
  • "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."
  • Obama appointed approximately 47 czars without congressional confirmation or accountability
  • Obama created a myriad of new federal agencies, boards and commissions under ObamaCare, according to the Congressional Research Service.
  • Obama issued executive orders exceeding his constitutional authority, such as his order to develop a scheme for oversight of oceans and their resources.
  • "He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation."
  • Obama's Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta informed a Senate committee that the administration "would seek an international legal basis," such as approval by NATO or the UN, to engage in military action in Syria, but that it does not need congressional approval for military action.
  • Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her report to the UN included a legal challenge by U.S. Department of Justice to Arizona's SB-1070 immigration law as of one the ways the U.S. was protecting human rights.
  • The Obama Administration is pursuing a renewed relationship with international tribunals and other international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, without a constitutionally ratified treaty authorizing the relationship.
  • "Taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments."
  • Obama is forcing individuals to contract with a private party to purchase government-approved health care insurance against their will in violation of the 10th Amendment.
  • Obama is nullifying the religion clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution by forcing private employers to provide employees with insurance coverage for practices that violate the employer's conscientious beliefs, including abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives.
  • Obama's Equal Opportunity Employment Commission counsel argued in the U.S. Supreme Court that there is no special protection for clergy in our Constitution." A unanimous Court in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission refused "to accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization's freedom to select its own ministers."
  • Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to defend a federal statute, the Defense of Marriage Act, claiming it is unconstitutional.
  • Nine State Attorneys General have accused the Obama administration of using federal agencies to circumvent federal law: "Whether it is through the EPA, NLRB, Office of Surface Mining, FCC or other entities, the Obama Administration has aggressively used administrative agencies to implement policy objectives that cannot gain congressional approval and are outside of the law."
  • Obama usurped the constitutional authority of the Senate by making appointments to federal agencies without advice and consent of the Senate.
  • "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us."
  • Obama endorsed the OWS movement, and his failure to condemn its violent civil disobedience and destruction of private property has encouraged further unlawful behavior.

"Nice guys" get second chances. Obama must not. Making the case against a tyrannical king or the most radical president in U.S. history cannot be entrusted to faint-hearted moderates.

"Will the GOP stop playing Charlie Brown to the media's Lucy? If the Republican Party doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to fight back," warned Breitbart it will be the people who have to step up and win back the big thing: control of the narrative. A narrative of truth.

What a joy it was to watch the Romney campaign executing on the Hilary Rosen flap, launching Ann Romney on Twitter in a heartbeat. And then the Romney war room followed up with the dog-meat play. Liberals thought that the dog-on-the-roof scandal had legs. But it turned out that the legs were Indonesian roast pooch.

Of course, as Bill Kristol insists, the candidate himself needs to be presidential and stick to Big Think presidential speeches about Big Issues. That's especially important in 2012 because the community-organizer-in-chief has left the role of national uniter up for grabs while he shamelessly descends into the gutter, dividing the nation up into the Balkan States of America. Let the president be shrill; let him be petty, writes Bill.

“Romney can give serious speeches about the Constitution and the Supreme Court, the case for limited government and the threat of bankruptcy and penury, about undoing ObamaCare and what will replace it.”

But let's not get too good-government about this. Government is force, and politics is intimidation. While every campaign needs a great candidate who rises above it all, campaigns are won mostly in the trenches by the side that doesn't give up first. That's where intimidation comes in. You need your troops to see the opposition taking hits

The name of the game in political intimidation is to delegitimize the agenda of the other side and shut them up. The last national Republican who knew how to play the intimidation game was Ronald Reagan. Liberals tried to intimidate him and read him out of the mainstream as a mad bomber and an extremist, but they never quite pulled it off. Once Reagan had got liberals on the floor, he never let them back in the game. George W. Bush tried to appease the liberals by running as a "compassionate conservative." That worked about as well as "hope and change."

Today, the task of conservatives is to toughen up and figure out how to intimidate the liberals defending what they believe to be the impregnable fortresses of Race, Class War, and Gender Gap. The job of the Romney supporters is to find the weak spots in the walls and then start the demolition. Take a page from Saul Alinsky, Obama’s mentor.

Only when these liberal fortresses have been reduced can America resume its journey to the Promised Land.

The liberal fortresses are a lot more vulnerable to attack than liberals believe, for liberals have been on the attack for the last decade and haven't really thought much about defense. They imagined in 2008, after eight years of Bush stupidity, that their policies would deliver them a permanent Democratic majority. In other words, they believed their own propaganda.

But suppose that the Romney team decided to exploit its tactical victories on moms and dogs. Suppose they went for the big play and decided to end decades of liberal intimidation on race and class?

There is a big opening on race. For half a century, white America has hoped that one day, perhaps the day that America declared itself ready for a black president, they would gratefully receive racial absolution. But we now know that that isn't going to happen. So maybe we are getting close to a Rhett Butler moment, when Rhett tells Scarlett O'bama: frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. That will be the day that the race hustle hits the wall.

On the welfare state, the liberals have two ways of intimidating reformers. One is the "mean-spirited" argument — that any cuts are made "on the backs of the poor." The other method is the threat of civil disorder. One day conservatives will simply respond like Dirty Harry: make my day.

Turning the tables means putting the liberals on the moral defensive. On race, the liberals have not just tolerated, but encouraged moral monsters like Reverends Jackson, Sharpton, and Wright. On class, liberals have demolished the authentic working-class culture, as the robber barons failed to do, and they have demolished the black community, as the slaveholders failed to do. We are not talking about just hypocrisy; we are talking about a betrayal of everything liberals said they believed on race and the poor. In the 1930s liberals stood on the picket lines with working stiffs. In the 1960s liberals gave their lives for civil rights. Today well-paid liberals make money — big money — out of urban pathologies, ruthlessly profiting from the sufferings of the poor. This must not stand.

Maybe it's asking too much to expect the Romney people to turn around the intimidation game all in one year. But someone has to make a start, because in politics, if your people aren't out intimidating the opposition, then the opposition's people are intimidating you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Largest Land Rush In History

The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. — James Madison

On April 22, 1889 the largest land give-away in history began. At precisely high noon, thousands of would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land.

The nearly two million acres of land opened up to white settlement was located in Indian Territory, a large area that once encompassed much of modern-day Oklahoma. Initially considered unsuitable for white colonization, Indian Territory was thought to be an ideal place to relocate Native Americans who were removed from their traditional lands to make way for white settlement. The relocations began in 1817, and by the 1880s, Indian Territory was a new home to a variety of tribes, including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Apache.

By the 1890s, improved agricultural and ranching techniques led some white Americans to realize that the Indian Territory land could be valuable, and they pressured the U.S. government to allow white settlement in the region. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison agreed, making the first of a long series of authorizations that eventually removed most of Indian Territory from Indian control.

To begin the process of white settlement, Harrison chose to open a 1.9 million-acre section of Indian Territory that the government had never assigned to any specific tribe. However, subsequent openings of sections that were designated to specific tribes were achieved primarily through the Dawes Severalty Act (1887), which allowed whites to settle large swaths of land that had previously been designated to specific Indian tribes.

On March 3, 1889, Harrison announced the government would open the 1.9 million-acre tract of Indian Territory for settlement precisely at noon on April 22. Anyone could join the race for the land, but no one was supposed to jump the gun. With only seven weeks to prepare, land-hungry Americans quickly began to gather around the borders of the irregular rectangle of territory. Referred to as "Boomers," by the appointed day more than 50,000 hopefuls were living in tent cities on all four sides of the territory.

The events that day at Fort Reno on the western border were typical. AtOklahome Land Rush 11:50 a.m., soldiers called for everyone to form a line. When the hands of the clock reached noon, the cannon of the fort boomed, and the soldiers signaled the settlers to start. With the crack of hundreds of whips, thousands of Boomers streamed into the territory in wagons, on horseback, and on foot. All told, from 50,000 to 60,000 settlers entered the territory that day. By nightfall, they had staked thousands of claims either on town lots or quarter section farm plots. Towns like Norman, Oklahoma City, Kingfisher, and Guthrie sprang into being almost overnight.

An extraordinary display of both the pioneer spirit and the American lust for land, the first Oklahoma land rush was also plagued by greed and fraud. Cases involving "Sooners" — people who had entered the territory before the legal date and time— overloaded courts for years to come. The government attempted to operate subsequent runs with more controls, eventually adopting a lottery system to designate claims. By 1905, white Americans owned most of the land in Indian Territory. Two years later, the area once known as Indian Territory entered the Union as a part of the new state of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the first land run into the Unassigned Lands and included all or part of the 2005 modern day Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The land run started at high noon on April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres.

The Unassigned Lands were considered some of the best unoccupied public land in the United States. The Indian Appropriations Bill of 1889 was passed and signed into law with an amendment by Illinois Representative William McKendree Springer, that authorized President Benjamin Harrison to open the two million acres for settlement. Due to the Homestead Act of 1862, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, legal settlers could claim lots up to 160 acres (1/4 of a Section) in size. Provided a settler lived on the land and improved it, the settler could then receive the title to the land.

After years of trying to open Indian Territory, President Grover Cleveland, on March 2, 1889, signed the 1889 Act which officially opened the Unassigned Lands to white settlers via homestead. On a side note, Grover Cleveland signed the Act into law days before his successor, Benjamin Harrison, took over as President of the United States. However, under a section in this original act, those who entered these unassigned lands illegally, before their respective racing times as designated in the President’s opening proclamation, would be denied the rights to the lands they claimed. These people were termed "Sooners,” with this section of the act being termed as the "sooner clause.” But there was growing political pressure to open these unassigned lands to settlement quickly. Thus, later in 1889, an amendment to the Indian Appropriations Act allowed President Benjamin Harrison to be involved in this historical bill as well, proclaiming unassigned lands were open for settlement under much less stringent rules.

The opening to settlement of a choice portion of Indian Territory in OklahomaOklahome Land Rush Map set off one of the most bizarre and chaotic episodes of town founding in world history. A railroad line crossed the territory, and water towers and other requirements for steam rail operation were located at intervals along the tracks that connected Arkansas and Texas. Two places — Oklahoma Station and Guthrie Station — seemed particularly well located for eventual urban development. In the months before the territory was opened, individuals and groups representing town site companies scouted these locations and prepared town plans for these sites.

Congress had failed to provide for any form of civil government. Although the area had been surveyed into the standard system of 6-mile square townships and mile-square sections of 640 acres each, no sites for towns had been designated let alone laid out in streets and lots. The rules simply provided that at noon on April 22 persons gathered at the Arkansas or Texas borders would be permitted to enter, seek a parcel of unclaimed land, and file a claim of ownership in accordance with the applicable Federal laws governing the disposal of the public domain. Federal marshals, railroad personnel, and other persons lawfully in the territory before the opening ("legal sooners") were prohibited from filing land claims — a provision that was more violated than observed.

On May 18, 1889 a William Willard Howard wrote for Harper’s Weekly:

“In some respects the recent settlement of Oklahoma was the most remarkable thing of the present century. Unlike Rome, the city of Guthrie was built in a day. To be strictly accurate in the matter, it might be said that it was built in an afternoon. At twelve o'clock on Monday, April 22d, the resident population of Guthrie was nothing; before sundown it was at least ten thousand. In that time streets had been laid out, town lots staked off, and steps taken toward the formation of a municipal government. At twilight the camp-fires of ten thousand people gleamed on the grassy slopes of the Cimarron Valley, where, the night before, the coyote, the gray wolf, and the deer had roamed undisturbed. Never before in the history of the West has so large a number of people been concentrated in one place in so short a time. To the conservative Eastern man, who is wont to see cities grow by decades, the settlement of Guthrie was magical beyond belief; to the quick-acting resident of the West, it was merely a particularly lively town-site speculation.

The preparations for the settlement of Oklahoma had been complete, even to the slightest detail, for weeks before the opening day. The Santa Fe Railway, which runs through Oklahoma north and south, was prepared to take any number of people from its handsome station at Arkansas City, Kansas, and to deposit them in almost any part of Oklahoma as soon as the law allowed; thousands of covered wagons were gathered in camps on all sides of the new Territory waiting for the embargo to be lifted. In its picturesque aspects the rush across the border at noon on the opening day must go down in history as one of the most noteworthy events of Western civilization. At the time fixed, thousands of hungry home-seekers, who had gathered from all parts of the country, and particularly from Kansas and Missouri, were arranged in line along the border, ready to lash their horses into furious speed in the race for fertile spots in the beautiful land before them. The day was one of perfect peace. Overhead the sun shown down from a sky as fair and blue as the cloudless heights of Colorado. The whole expanse of space from zenith to horizon was spotless in its blue purity. The clear spring air, through which the rolling green billows of the promised land could be seen with unusual distinctness for many miles, was as sweet and fresh as the balmy atmosphere of June among New Hampshire's hills.

As the expectant home-seekers waited with restless patience, the clear, sweet notes of a cavalry bugle rose and hung a moment upon the startled air. It was noon. The last barrier of savagery in the United States was broken down. Moved by the same impulse, each driver lashed his horses furiously; each rider dug his spurs into his willing steed, and each man on foot caught his breath hard and darted forward. A cloud of dust rose where the home-seekers had stood in line, and when it had drifted away before the gentle breeze, the horses and wagons and men were tearing across the open country like fiends. The horsemen had the best of it from the start. It was a fine race for a few minutes, but soon the riders began to spread out like a fan, and by the time they had reached the horizon they were scattered about as far as eye could see. Even the fleetest of the horsemen found upon reaching their chosen localities that men in wagons and men on foot were there before them. As it was clearly impossible for a man on foot to outrun a horseman, the inference is plain that Oklahoma had been entered hours before the appointed time. Notwithstanding the assertions of the soldiers that every boomer had been driven out of Oklahoma, the fact remains that the woods along the streams within Oklahoma were literally full of people Sunday night. Nine-tenths of these people made settlement upon the land illegally. The other tenth would have done so had there been any desirable land left to settle upon. This action on the part of the first claim-holders will cause a great deal of land litigation in the future, as it is not to be expected that the man who ran his horse at its utmost speed for ten miles only to find a settler with an ox team in quiet possession of his chosen farm will tamely submit to this plain infringement of the law.

Some of the men who started from the line on foot were quite as successful in securing desirable claims as many who rode fleet horses. They had the advantage of knowing just where their land was located. One man left the line with the others, carrying on his back a tent, a blanket, some camp dishes, an axe, and provisions for two days. He ran down the railway track for six miles, and reached his claim in just sixty minutes. Upon arriving on his land he fell down under a tree, unable to speak or see. I am glad to be able to say that his claim is one of the best in Oklahoma. The rush from the line was so impetuous that by the time the first railway train arrived from the north at twenty-five minutes past twelve o'clock, only a few of the hundreds of boomers were anywhere to be seen. The journey of this first train was well-nigh as interesting as the rush of the men in wagons. The train left Arkansas City at 8:45 o'clock in the forenoon. It consisted of an empty baggage car, which was set apart for the use of newspaper correspondents, eight passenger coaches, and the caboose of a freight train. The coaches were so densely packed with men that not another human being could get on board. So uncomfortably crowded were they that some of the younger boomers climbed to the roofs of the cars and clung perilously to the ventilators. An adventurous person secured at great risk a seat on the forward truck of the baggage car.

In this way the train was loaded to its utmost capacity. That no one was killed or injured was due as much to the careful management of the train as to the ability of the passengers to take care of themselves. Like their friends in the wagons, the boomers on the cars were exultant with joy at the thought of at last entering into possession of the promised land. At first appearances of the land through which the train ran seemed to justify all the virtues that had been claimed for it. The rolling, grassy uplands, and the wooded river-bottoms, the trees in which were just bursting into the most beautiful foliage of early spring, seemed to give a close reality of the distant charm of green and purple forest growths, which rose from the trough of some long swell and went having away to meet the brighter hues in the far-off sky. Throughout all the landscape were clumps of trees suggesting apple orchards set in fertile meadows, and here and there were dim patches of gray and white sand that might in a less barbarous region be mistaken for farm-houses surrounded by hedges and green fields. Truly the Indians have well-named Oklahoma the "beautiful land." The landless and home-hungry people on the train might be pardoned their mental exhilaration, when the effect of this wonderfully beautiful country upon the most prosaic mind is considered. It was an eager and an exuberantly joyful crowd that rode slowly into Guthrie at twenty minutes past one o'clock on that perfect April afternoon. Men who had expected to lay out the town site were grievously disappointed at the first glimpse of their proposed scene of operations. The slope east of the railway at Guthrie station was dotted white with tents and sprinkled thick with men running about in all directions.”

Over the years there has been much debate and criticism of this legal land grab. There are those who say that this land grab took from the Native Indians land that had been promised them under several treaties. But, the fact remains that it opened vast tracts of free land to many easterners who wanted to challenge nature to establish a homestead that they could call home — a homestead with legal fee title that would allow them to live, farm or do with as they pleased as long as they met the requirements of the Homestead Act.

In my blog What Separates The Rich From The Poor I point out that the most single contribution to the economic success in the United States was the ability for free men to possess land — land that was theirs under the color of title — land that could be passed on to their heirs or assignees at their will. No other nation in history has had such a policy to allow opportunity to its citizens.

Today Oklahoma is a vibrant state with industrious citizens. It has farming, ranching, and oil. Historic Route 66 passes through much of this Oklahoma land. As I write in my 17 part essay on Route 66 (parts Nine and Ten):

“On April 22, 1889, the unassigned lands of the area were opened up for settlement, which quickly became known as the “Great Oklahoma Land Run.” When the signal was given along the outer boundaries, the Fort Reno soldiers were assigned to keep order among the many rushing pioneers flooding the area.

No sooner was the land opened for settlement when the Rock Island Railroad began to build a line from Caldwell, Kansas to the south bank of the Canadian River. Near Fort Reno, a settlement had sprung up called Reno City, which quickly decided to relocate nearer the railroad. Buildings, pioneers and businesses wasted no time uprooting and moving the entire town which they called El Reno. In January, 1890, the first train arrived in the community, which quickly became a rail center for the productive wheat harvests of Canadian County. In March of 1890, El Reno was named the county seat.”

Over the ensuing years Oklahoma developed from a territory devoted to Native Indian lands to one of the most productive states in the union. Even the Dust Bowl years of the 1930’s could not stop the industrious and persevering citizens of Oklahoma. As I write in Part Four of my essay on Route 66:

“Dust Bowl conditions fomented an exodus of the displaced from Texas, Oklahoma, and the surrounding Great Plains to adjacent regions. More than 500,000 Americans were left homeless. 356 houses had to be torn down after one storm alone. Many Americans migrated west looking for work. Some residents of the Plains, especially in Kansas and Oklahoma fell ill and died of dust pneumonia or malnutrition.

The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history within a short period of time. By 1940, 2.5 million people had moved out of the Plains states; of those, 200,000 moved to California. With their land barren and homes seized in foreclosure, many farm families were forced to leave. Migrants left farms in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, but all were generally referred to as "Okies".

The Homestead Act was also responsible for much of the settlement of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, and New Mexico. Today the federal government owns millions of acres of land. Perhaps we should consider another Oklahoma Land Grab for all of those who wish to leave the urban decay of our eastern cities and look for new opportunities and liberties under the blue skies of these fallow lands.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Legitimate Use of Taxpayer Money

“To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;” — Article I, Section 8.11 of the Constitution of the United States.

Columnist Charles Krauthammer calls the ceremonial interment of the shuttle Discovery an act of "willed American decline." He's certainly right about that. It is an historic retreat for America.

Mr. Krauthammer writes:

As the space shuttle Discovery flew three times around Washington, a final salute before landing at Dulles Airport for retirement in a museum, thousands on the ground gazed upward with marvel and pride. Yet what they were witnessing, for all its elegance, was a funeral march.

The shuttle was being carried -- its pallbearer, a 747 -- because it cannot fly, nor will it ever again. It was being sent for interment. Above ground, to be sure. But just as surely embalmed as Lenin in Red Square.

Is there a better symbol of willed American decline? The pity is not Discovery's retirement -- beautiful as it was, the shuttle proved too expensive and risky to operate -- but that it died without a successor. The planned follow-on -- the Constellation rocket-capsule program to take humans back into orbit and from there to the moon -- was canceled in 2010. And with that, control of manned spaceflight was ceded to Russia and China.”

It was under John F. Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, that America was summoned to greatness. Frustrated by a series of Soviet "firsts" in space — first earth satellite (Sputnik), first man in space (Yuri Gagarin) — the young President Kennedy knew that his talk of "getting America moving again" would ring hollow if the Soviets bested us in space.

For the USSR, space was vitally important. Nikita Khrushchev was the446px-Sputnik_1 Communist Party boss who had famously denounced his dead predecessor, Josef Stalin. Under Khrushchev, Stalin's embalmed remains were hauled out of Lenin's tomb, cremated, and buried in an obscure Kremlin grave. But how to legitimize Khrushchev's own dictatorship? How to show the world that Communism was the wave of the future? Space. For Nikita Sergeivich Khruschev, Marxism-Leninism would be validated by conquering space. Russian, not English, would be the first language spoken in the Cosmos. Cosmonauts, not Astronauts, would lead progressive mankind.

Khrushchev chose Yuri Gagarin to orbit the earth because Gagarin was a clean-cut, fit, and outspokenly atheist young Soviet pilot. When Gagarin came safely to earth, he told a press conference he had seen "nyet boga" up there. No God. One Soviet historian, Zheyva Sveltilova, told credulous Westerners that when the hammer and sickle conquer space, "people who now believe in God will reject him. Such belief won't be logical or natural. Man will be stronger than God."

It is noteworthy that the brave Apollo 8 astronauts — Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders — the first human beings to leave Earth orbit and travel to the Moon — did not reject God. In fact, they read from the Book of Genesis as their spacecraft orbited the Moon. On Christmas Eve, 1968, no less. And Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, celebrated Christian communion in the lunar lander as Neil Armstrong of Apollo XI took his famous "giant leap for mankind."

President Kennedy resolved to find that one goal that could inspire Americans and capture the imagination of mankind — and in an arena where he knew the United States could best its Communist adversary: the Moon. At a time when leading Republicans — Barry Goldwater; William F. Buckley, Jr. — carped that the effort to reach the Moon would be too costly, Kennedy's vision prevailed. He knew that being Number One in space would pay dividends on Earth. Surely, it has. The entire computer revolution we are living through was spurred by America's Moon landing.

The U.S. Earth satellite program began in 1954 as a joint U.S. Army and U.S. Navy proposal, called Project Orbiter, to put a scientific satellite into orbit during the International Geophysical Year. The proposal, using a military Redstone missile, was rejected in 1955 by the Eisenhower administration in favor of the Navy's Project Vanguard, using a booster produced for civilian space launches. Following the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, the initial Project Orbiter program was revived as the Explorer program to catch up with the Soviet Union.

I can remember watching the attempted launch of the Vanguard missile with nu buddy, who at the time was working for a firm that was making the guidance system. As we watched the missile fire up, lift off the pad and them tip over and crash and burn I saw my friend’s face turn white with embarrassment at the Vanguard’s failure. The American public was very saddened by this failure and wanted much better results.

After the second failure of Vanguard the Eisenhower Administration tuned to the Army’s Redstone Missile program in Huntsville. Alabama. This program was being led by the repatriated Nazi V-2 rocket experts under the leadership of Werner Von Braun.

Explorer 1 was designed and built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), while a Jupiter-C rocket was modified by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) to accommodate a satellite payload; the resulting rocket known as the Juno I. The Jupiter-C design used for the launch had already been flight-tested in nose cone reentry tests for the Jupiter IRBM, and was modified into Juno I. Working closely together, ABMA and JPL completed the job of modifying the Jupiter-C and building Explorer 1 in 84 days. However, before work was completed, the Soviet Union launched a second satellite, Sputnik 2, on November 3, 1957. The U.S. Navy's attempt to put the first U.S. satellite into orbit failed with the launch of the Vanguard TV3 on December 6, 1957.

On January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time the 31 pound Explorer I satellite was successfully launched and a little beeping satellite was now orbiting theExplorer1 earth. The United States was now in the space race whether we liked it or not and the carping and debate began. The most common carp was; “why do we want to spend money on space when we have so many problems here like poverty and lack of jobs.” On the other hand those with vision believed we had to make these expenditures for our national defense. If the Soviets could launch a 184 pound satellite how soon before they could put nuclear weapons into orbit and hold the world hostage to their totalitarian way of life.

In 1961 when President Kennedy made his famous go to the moon speech I was just a few years out of high school and thinking of moving to California, the land of sunshine and gold. At the time of his bold announcement the scientists and engineers did not have the slightest clue as to how they would accomplish this feat. With the exception of Jules Vern not many folks had thought about going to the moon and for what reason. After all there was no one living there and it was a very inhospitable place. What would be the value of this beside a great public relations exercise?

To go to the moon meant not only rockets and space vehicles it required a whole new way of thinking, project management, and above all industrial innovations. New metals would have to be developed, computers were needed, ground launching facilities were needed, and thousands of new engineers and technicians were needed. This meant high paying jobs and professional careers for kids still in high school. It meant learning math and science. It meant getting good grades. It meant an exciting future for those who wanted to learn and join the program. It also meant millions of job for construction workers and those entrepreneurs who would build and run the ancillary facilities around the new space launch and control facilities.

You may now be asking that while all this public works spending is good for the economy by what Constructional authority did Congress have to spend this money. In Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution there are three enumerated powers authorizing Congress to allocated funds for this space/defense program:

Section 8.12: To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

Section 8.13: To provide and maintain a navy;

Section 8.14: To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

Also the preamble itself states:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In the common defense statement the framers wanted the new nation to be strong enough to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. This might be a difficult feat with soviet nuclear weapons orbiting above our planet.

This is one time I take issue with Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley. While they thought the moon undertaking was too expensive I believe this space/defense enterprise paid tremendous dividends with the technology and jobs that technology created. This in turn increased the tax base of the United States and gave us unbridled scientific and industrial leadership in the world. I can recall visiting our friends in Paris in 1978 with our family. Our Parisian friends had a 12-year old son at the time. Vincent had models of every rocket the United States had built and was enthralled with our space program. He thought the United States was the greatest industrial and scientific nation in the world. How do we rank today? Our youth want to pursue careers in psychology, women’s studies, and almost anything except engineering. Today we get our engineers from India, Pakistan, and other points east.

The spin off from the space/defense enterprise is too numerous to catalog. New meals and carbon fiber materials were developed that are commonplace in the auto industry today. Computer chips were developed and then improved, and improved to where they are today. The astronauts on Apollo 8 did not have the computing power of one of today’s $300 dollar notebooks that you can purchase at Best Buy, and their computers cost millions. A new way of exchanging information was needed so DARPA along with other universities and private companies developed a new way of sharing information. This effort morphed into something called the Internet, a utility we all use today and which has allowed numerous entrepreneurs to create millions of jobs and make billions of dollars.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) industry was another one of those spin offs from the space/defense undertaking. Developed for the Navy in 1973 to overcome the limitations of previous navigation systems GPS was intended to give our nuclear submarines exact positioning in case they needed to launch the missiles in anger. Although classified at its inception it did not take long for the technology genie of GPS to jump out of the bottle and become an everyday utility today. In 1973 the average person did not much care about latitude and longitude unless he was a sailor and then he had to rely on imprecise radio navigation or the methods Magellan or Columbus used to navigate the seas.

The GPS satellites were place in a safe orbit at 12,600 miles (20,200 Km) in order to keep them safe from enemy rocket attacks. The high orbit of the GPS satellites also allowed for the precise navigation and docking of space vehicles such as the space shuttle. Once again when the GPS genie was out of the bottle it did not take firms like Trimble, Magellan and Garmin to spring up making GPS gear for the private sector. Today the use of GPS is commonplace in land surveying, construction, navigation, and monitoring of crustal movement. Almost every new car on the market has a GPS navigation unit and even digital cameras and cell phone are equipped with GPS. When you take a photo with your GPS enabled camera of cell phone and use the appropriate computer application you can see exactly where you took your photo. Even my iPad has GPS. So who said the consumer did not care about longitude and latitude? He may not understand the tremendous amount of science and technology that went into GPS, but he or she sure likes to set their destination into his or hers auto navigation system to find the best driving route and watch the little icon travel along the road or find a place to eat along the way. And you can buy one of these navigation units for less than $200 toady.

Once again I harken back to those who objected about the moon program. In 1964 Lyndon Johnson pushed his war on poverty on the American people and in almost 50 years we have not eliminated poverty. At that time, the poverty rate in America was around 19 percent and falling rapidly. This year, it is reported that the poverty rate is expected to be roughly 15.1 percent and climbing. Between then and now, the federal government spent roughly $12 trillion fighting poverty, and state and local governments added another $3 trillion. Yet the poverty rate never fell below 10.5 percent and is now at the highest level in nearly a decade. Clearly, we have been doing something wrong.

On the other hand the moon project and other related scientific and technological programs have delivered millions of good paying jobs, created trillions in wealth, and created untold benefits to our civil society through the free market. Sometimes our vision is not too clear or far reaching. When man is given the knowledge and opportunity great things are possible. Our Founders knew this very well.

In his jaunty way, JFK said, "America has thrown her hat over the wall of space, and we have no choice but to follow." President Kennedy was right. The American Apollo program was one of the greatest events in all of human history. By turning our backs on JFK's achievement, we have consented to national humiliation and national decline.

An American astronaut was asked recently what advice she had for a young child interested in space. "Learn Russian," she said. Inspired by John F. Kennedy, America went to the Moon. On Kennedy's grave at Arlington the night of July 20, 1969, someone put a simple note: "The Eagle has landed." In the Age of Obama, the Eagle has fallen.