Destroying America

Literally. The Obama administration wants to bulldoze entire swaths of American cities in order to re-engineer them. The next logical step is forced re-locations.

Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic “shrink to survive” proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline. ~telegraph.co.uk

Even I would not have dared suggest that Obama would already be moving forward with the physical destruction of America so soon.

Having outlined his strategy to Barack Obama during the election campaign, Mr Kildee has now been approached by the US government and a group of charities who want him to apply what he has learnt to the rest of the country.

Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential [liberal] Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes. ~telegraph.co.uk

I think that this is just a taste of the future in a progressive America. A shrinking America. Bulldozed and socially engineered according to what the best and brightest minds have deemed proper. Cram everyone into urban centers where they are more easily controlled and regulated.

When leftists complain and bemoan about 'Urban sprawl' what they really mean is that people have too much freedom of movement and choice. They fail to make the right choices, i.e. the ones the left wants, and when people make the wrong choices (according to them) then government has to step in and correct yet another 'market failure'.

Limiting growth is not just a side effect of an economic downturn it is in fact the goal for the left. Much of the popular liberal ideology focuses on downsizing America as a public good. Limited growth is the ultimate end goal of the left.

He said: "The obsession with growth is sadly a very American thing. Across the US, there's an assumption that all development is good, that if communities are growing they are successful. If they're shrinking, they're failing." ~telegraph.co.uk

The left has plans for where and how you should live, what you will eat and how much you will have to exercise. Once the government is paying for your health care your exercise and eating habits will no longer be a matter of personal choice, it will be a matter of national economics. Once the government begins paying for your life it will own you and then the government will be deciding your life for you.

Posted by Eric Simonson at June 21, 2009 7:48 PM
Comments
Comment #283373

Who cares about details, right Eric? Who cares that the cities that they are discussing have already lost significant population, and that this is a way to try to make use of cities like Flint that are crumbling.

Any bit of information is a cudgel for attack. Who cares about reality.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 21, 2009 9:06 PM
Comment #283374

The cities that are the focus of the study are not the cities that are sprawling - they are the cities that are decaying.

Your premise, your evidence, and your conclusion are all unrelated to each other and to reality.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 21, 2009 9:09 PM
Comment #283375

I don’t have a problem with bulldozing decaying areas of a city, although I have no idea why the executive branch of the federal goverment should be the ones carrying it out. This seems very much like a local issue to be carried out by cities/counties if and when it’s appropriate to their city planning.

Even if it’s a good idea to shrink some cities, I share Eric’s concern over the federal government being involved in such things. We don’t need Barack Obama’s help every time we blow our noses.

Posted by: Paul at June 21, 2009 9:25 PM
Comment #283376

Paul,

Actually, I can see why the federal government would be involved. There would be quite a few agencies that could/would participate with funding, research, etc.

Now, if it was being LED, by a federal agency rather than spearheaded at the local or state level, I’d possibly feel differently.

Eric: If you’re going to add some sort of emphasis into a direct quote from a publication, please make a note of it.

Posted by: Donna at June 21, 2009 9:55 PM
Comment #283377

Eric: Thank you for the brackets on that addition. We were apparently cross-posting.

Posted by: Donna at June 21, 2009 9:56 PM
Comment #283380

Eric
The sky is falling!!!…yawn.

Posted by: bills at June 21, 2009 11:09 PM
Comment #283383

Eric, by your logic, corporate businesses are the greatest destroyers of all. They are constantly tearing down perfectly good office buildings, housing, etc., to put up new ones.

In fact, it is precisely due to developers that America has ignored sound urban design for lasting neighborhoods and work places with short commutes, and multi-leveled income tiers mixed in same neighborhoods. Such lasting designs are the bane of turnover, and turnover, or short-lived waste, equals developer’s profits. Las Vegas has to be the epitome, but, its happening every state.

If Obama is intent on replacing blighted and economically collapsed urban areas with well researched sound urban design of a lasting nature, why not?

BTW, your article displays an abject dearth of education in urban design and planning. Maximizing utility and aesthetics and eliminating income flight to ever farther commutes, has enormous benefits for EVERYONE. If you personally don’t want to live in such a community, NO ONE is going to make you.

Freedom of choice remains intact. Though paranoia obviously reigns still among many on the right. If renewed urban centers sell, then they are selling to willing buyers, and there is no loss of freedom in that. Or, do you suddenly not believe in the free market anymore, when fostered by Democratic policy?

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 22, 2009 12:35 AM
Comment #283384
If Obama is intent on replacing blighted and economically collapsed urban areas with well researched sound urban design of a lasting nature, why not?

Why not? Because it’s not in his job description. I think we ought to consult the Consitution now and then and remind ourselves that in addition to the three branches of Federal government, we have states, and those states themselves divide their authority among numerous agencies, cities, and counties.

Even if this was a federal issue, which it’s not, it’s not, this would be a matter for Congress, not for Barack Obama. This is not a small distinction. We don’t have or need a dictator in this country, and we shouldn’t be looking to the White House for things like city planning. Not when we have city councils, mayors, etc.

Obama has enough things he ought to be concentrating which are his clear-cut responsibilities. He doesn’t need to start taking over the duties which are clearly designated for others.

Posted by: Paul at June 22, 2009 12:45 AM
Comment #283390

Paul
Federal involvement in urban planning is nothing new. The Transportation Dept.,HUD(Housing and Urban Development) and probably about a billion other agencies of the federal government are involved and have been for years.These are Executive Branch agencies and it is within the province of the president to direct the policy of these agencies.Generally these agencies work with local officials in planning, providing matching funds etc.GOT that? This is nothing new.

Posted by: bills at June 22, 2009 7:45 AM
Comment #283396

Eric “Nero Fiddles While (The Rust Belt ) Rome Burns” , Just In Buffalo New York , Quote”” there are as many as 10,000 vacant, abandoned homes. Suburban sprawl, an aging population and manufacturing losses have left the city with a population under 300,000 — about half what it was during the 1950s.

Things may be even worse in Flint, Mich. Jeffrey Taylor, 51, moved to a vanishing neighborhood in the late 1960s, when his father worked for General Motors. Taylor, a handyman, lives just north of a huge concrete slab once home to a 130-acre GM complex known as Chevy-in-the-Hole.

At its peak, the factories employed thousands. Now, all but one of the 20 factories and buildings in the industrial valley have been closed and torn down, driving residents from his neighborhoods. City officials are thinking about bulldozing large swaths of the city. Taylor’s is one of the state’s emptiest neighborhoods, with nearly one in three homes vacant.

“Once these shops are gone, these people start going back home, they start heading back south,” Taylor said.

The abandoned homes draw thieves who steal whatever metal they can to sell for scrap, so Taylor pulls vehicles into the driveway of the empty house next door to make it look occupied.

Cities across the region are trying to reverse the tide, buying and either rehabilitating or bulldozing empty homes. Even with billions of federal dollars pouring into cities, civic leaders such as Steve Leeper, director of a Cincinnati development group, say fixing lead paint, asbestos, decay and other problems takes a long time.

So far, his nonprofit group, backed by local businesses, has spent $84 million to rehabilitate Over-the-Rhine housing.

“A 20-year vacancy is just brutal on a building,” said Leeper, maneuvering past construction workers inside the dusty shell of what’s planned as the future home of luxury condominiums.

Already, there are a more than dozen new shops, restaurants and small businesses in Over-the-Rhine, and more than 80 percent of the first new condos have been bought, at an average price of $150,000. Sales have been strong in 2009, Leeper said, particularly among first-time home buyers who don’t have the problem of trying to also sell suburban homes in the down housing market.

But the renaissance hasn’t been felt throughout the neighborhood, and some are skeptical.

“I think the direction the city is going in isn’t helping the low-income and middle people. It’s pushing them out,” said the Rev. Leroy Owens, who heads a Christian outreach ministry that also owns rental property, some of it boarded up. “The lower-income people need a place to live, too. They’re getting discouraged.”

Leeper said there are plans to offer more affordable housing and more rental units, in phased development meant to make sure there aren’t pockets of empty housing left in the made-over neighborhood.””

“When you don’t have an area populated,” he said, “it doesn’t have a heart.”
Buffalo New York Population From 1950-2000
1950 580,132 0.7%
1960 532,759 −8.2%
1970 462,768 −13.1%
1980 357,870 −22.7%
1990 328,123 −8.3%
2000 292,648 −10.8%
Est. 2008 276,059 −5.7%
Historical Population Figures[26]

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 22, 2009 10:37 AM
Comment #283398
Actually, I can see why the federal government would be involved. There would be quite a few agencies that could/would participate with funding, research, etc.
The Transportation Dept.,HUD(Housing and Urban Development) and probably about a billion other agencies of the federal government are involved and have been for years.

Without regard to Eric’s flame throwing for poltical effect, federal involvement is the real issue. We don’t need a billion federal agencies handing out borrowed money (to the tune of half a trillion) to address state and local issues. And where there is need use national money against local needs, it should be done through a needs based system and not one gamed by the likes of Murtha or Shelby.

Cato Hanbook Chapter 5, Fiscal Federalism

Posted by: George at June 22, 2009 10:49 AM
Comment #283402

rodney

i don’t believe bulldozing these comunities in order to replace them with other types of housing makes any sense. the houses are empty because the businesses that were once the economic engine for the area have left for greener pastures or were no longer viable. there will be little demand for any kind of housing if there is no employment.
the solution for any state or community is to make sure your pasture is the greenest. they need to lure businesses with incentives. if these communities continue down the same road believing these companies and employees are piggybanks to be tapped for more and more tax money they will never recover.

spending tax money to fund projects like this will IMHO fail, and amount to throwing more money down a rat hole.

Posted by: dbs at June 22, 2009 11:58 AM
Comment #283403
The Obama administration wants to bulldoze entire swaths of American cities in order to re-engineer them.

Going on the article, the Obama administration is helping a city to demolish deserted, derelict buildings, which the city can no longer afford to provide services for.

The next logical step is forced re-locations.

Nobody’s being forced to leave, and those who agree to go elsewhere are moved into more affluent neighborhoods.

Don’t go imagining next steps nobody is talking about taking, just so you can make your argument more sensationalistically negative.

Even I would not have dared suggest that Obama would already be moving forward with the physical destruction of America so soon.

The physical destruction of America? No, not until you found the excuse. Lean in here. I got something to tell you:

He’s not physically destroying America. The county, state, city and federal governments are demolishing neighborhoods that are derelict, abandoned for the most part. America, I sure hope, is not represented by abandoned, derelict buildings in empty and near-empty neighborhoods.

Or do you beg to differ on that count?

I think that this is just a taste of the future in a progressive America. A shrinking America. Bulldozed and socially engineered according to what the best and brightest minds have deemed proper. Cram everyone into urban centers where they are more easily controlled and regulated.

People encouraged sprawl and development for years without thought of sustainability. That was irresponsible, and now we have to deal with several of the consequences of growth fueled not by the reinvestment of profit from solid, healthy investment, employment, and use of resources, but from the fevered consumption of resources and deferment of costs to the future.

Flint cannot escape the fact that its population has collapsed, and that it no longer can sustain its current boundaries and provide services for neighborhoods almost completely depopulated.

This is not being done because it’s a fashionable idea. This is being done because something has to be done. It’s being looked into not for the prosperous cities that are able to support their sprawl, but for the impoverished, economically gutted municipalities that cannot, which face hard choices to which this might be an answer, unwanted and difficult as that may be.

When leftists complain and bemoan about ‘Urban sprawl’ what they really mean is that people have too much freedom of movement and choice. They fail to make the right choices, i.e. the ones the left wants, and when people make the wrong choices (according to them) then government has to step in and correct yet another ‘market failure’.

As somebody who knows, rather than speculates about what leftists want, I can say you’re full of it on that count.

What is freedom? Massive unused sprawl, draining city resources, or a retraction to more affordable city borders and residential population bases? Big gas-guzzling vehicles that become practically unusable with higher gas prices, or smaller, more efficient vehicles that have greater range?

Having a car and riding into work on it may represent a sort of freedom, but at the same time, it is a burden as well. Parking, paying for parking, toll roads to avoid congestion, or not avoiding congestion and having to wait as all the other free individuals make their way to work all at once as well.

Shall we eliminate the use of cars altogether? No, but we can design and encourage the design of neighborhoods, communities and cities where public transportation, bike, and pedestrian travel are possible and practical, so that people can choose different methods of travel as are appropriate to their situation.

This is the evil plan of the Leftists: greater freedom, greater efficiency, not merely binding people to have to use a car to get around if they want to get somewhere in a reasonable time.

This is the evil plan of the leftists, to reverse the sprawl of cities like Flint so that the cities can make ends meet, and perhaps recover, instead of carrying empty neighborhoods on their back that they cannot support.

This is the evil plan of the left: to give people more choice than just the defaults of private enterprise, to do more than just just what can be done by people by themselves.

Limiting growth is not just a side effect of an economic downturn it is in fact the goal for the left. Much of the popular liberal ideology focuses on downsizing America as a public good. Limited growth is the ultimate end goal of the left.

The goal for the left is growth, but growth from organic, substantive prosperity, rather than as a result of paper wealth, mc-mansion expansion and stock and derivatives market churning.

We can set up an economy where the basis of growth is exorbinate debt, where sustainable supply and sustainable demand are not the foundation, but rather a blind rush towards greater profits, built upon tricky bookkeeping and convoluted speculation.

Or we can set up an economy where the system nurtures growth based on real prosperity, and where the market indicators are more plain, more truthful, and therefore a better basis for market decisions, where people are paid enough to keep the houses they can afford, and can afford the houses that people sell them, and where the jobs stay, so that the people need not go.

The Republicans, in their rule, treated the country like a Jenga puzzle, pulling out one support after another for the middle class, expecting the column never to collapse under its own weight.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and not every part of the economy spontaneously arranges itself as is proper, as the free market fundamentalists would hope. Sometimes we as a people need to act together to redeem costly mistakes, to prevent costly errors, and to end unendurable burdens before they crush the life out of our communities.

The left has plans for where and how you should live, what you will eat and how much you will have to exercise. Once the government is paying for your health care your exercise and eating habits will no longer be a matter of personal choice, it will be a matter of national economics. Once the government begins paying for your life it will own you and then the government will be deciding your life for you.

RUUUUUUUUN!!!! The Liberals are coming!

I trust the American people to let the American government know when it’s stepping on their toes. You’re scaring up a storm here, but you’re acting as if people would just suddenly become zombies, unable to think for themselves. Naturally, you insist on doing their thinking for them, telling them that they cannot seek universal healthcare, or regulate businesses as they need to, or accept the government intervening during economic crisises, and that all we should pay attention to is the big deficit.

They, who quite willingly added trillions to the deficit themselves, and made necessary huge emergency measures because of their negligence.

I think the people here have a choice: be scared by the Republicans into further inaction, or follow the Democrats in doing what needs to be done to restore this country to the greatness it once had, with all the difficult, but ultimately rewarding tasks that entails.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 22, 2009 12:31 PM
Comment #283404

Being realistic dbs not to replace them on a one to one basis they’ve become Hoovervilles (Not Blaming Hoover) That attracts blight and chaos, hopelessness and nothing less, Most of those houses are so run down and old it would cost more money to repair and rebuild the ones that are in good shape, It started in decline a long time ago we can access blame and we know why, Lets solve it.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 22, 2009 12:32 PM
Comment #283406

George-
And if the states and locals can’t afford it, because their tax base is so gutted?

dbs-
There’s a limit to what encouragement can do, especially when the city can’t afford to provide decent services.

For people who only see market solutions as legitimate, every problem is a nail that needs the the hammer of the market to be resolved.

But this is not merely a problem of market unattractiveness. This is a social problem of great magnitude. The derelict structures are probably in pretty lousy condition, so, it may just make better sense to condemn them and if growth returns, rebuild. In the meantime, the city needs to have the infrastructure and boundaries it can afford.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 22, 2009 12:40 PM
Comment #283409

Urban renewal, enterprise zones, urban development, call it what you will, the federal, state and local governments have been at this for many decades.

In the last decade, the plight of many of these cities has been accelerated by the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs.

IMO,this new proposal will only create brand new areas of blight unless the fundamental issue of job loss in not addressed in a major way. Urban renewal does not create the kinds and amounts of jobs that can sustain it.

I personally believe that we need to rebuild all of our cities and towns to create greener and more self-sustaining environs but, I don’t believe we are ready to do that yet. I think we need at least another decade with more funding for research and development before we are ready to begin this on a large scale.

By the way, have any of you seen the new Obama flick at Jib Jab.com?

Posted by: jlw at June 22, 2009 1:28 PM
Comment #283410

http://www.claytonihouse.com/iHouseVirtualTour.cfm?ihouse2 jlw said, “”the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs”” what do you think about this for the Folks to live in there fully furnished And the MILLIONS of good paying manufacturing jobs (year around )in the RUST belt..:) Solar assisted water and heat A dollar or so a day to heat water and supply heating, The costs will go down with Volume..

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 22, 2009 2:05 PM
Comment #283411

That’s just it Stephen, “if the state and locals can’t afford it” is never a part of any grant making decision. It’s what committee your Congressman chairs, or how long your Senator has been in Washington that matters.

And who says the federal government can afford it anyway.

Take the flight from Pittsburgh to Johnstown PA and you will know exactly what I’m talking about. While you are there make sure Ed Sheehan’s personal driver gives you a tour.

Posted by: George at June 22, 2009 2:22 PM
Comment #283418

George-
I’m not saying it should be the sole consideration in the grant process. I’m saying that those are the cities that need help, and if this could help them, it could be a plus for the government, because it could ease the burden that these cities pose for the states and the federal government. Improve their economic situation, and it improves yours.

As for whether we can afford such things? Sure. We can afford anything, if we’re willing to find the money somewhere.

sam-
Look, mister, I’ve knocked down enough of your party’s canards that I seriously question the dittohead’s right to criticize the mainstream media as “drive by”.

You folks want there to be a bias, so you can deny any problems with what your party members are doing. Of course, that lack of accountability is what let your party decline in the quality of its ideas and its governance.

You want this to be something big and evil, when in reality, it simply makes economic sense. People aren’t returning to these places, and the houses are probably mostly beyond repair.

The irony here is, you don’t mind the economic devastation that years of business-centric policy have wrought, but when it comes time to clean up the mess, you’re the first to attack somebody, to ask why folks aren’t paying attention.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 22, 2009 6:04 PM
Comment #283422
The goal for the left is growth, but growth from organic, substantive prosperity, rather than as a result of paper wealth, mc-mansion expansion and stock and derivatives market churning.

Growth of their power over the American people? I can buy that.

There was a reason that limits were placed on the federal government. The fact that the left and right in this country have violated them to the point that they are meaningless anymore is a testament to them.

Nobody’s being forced to leave, and those who agree to go elsewhere are moved into more affluent neighborhoods.

Don’t go imagining next steps nobody is talking about taking, just so you can make your argument more sensationalistically negative.

No, this is already happening Stephen, and has been for years. Don’t you remember Kelo V New London? The left was applauding that decision, remember?

As somebody who knows, rather than speculates about what leftists want, I can say you’re full of it on that count.

I am going to remember this one the next time you try to tell me what Libertarians think and plan to do, Stephen. Since you are going to be indignant about it when it happens to you.

What is freedom?

It is a sadly disappearing concept, one where the individual was free from the tyranny of the majority into their personal lives and the rights to self-determination.

In fact, I might call it dead after the past 50 years of beating it has taken by the left and right in this country in their attempt to gain more and more power over the people of the United States.

I trust the American people to let the American government know when it’s stepping on their toes.

If this were the case, we wouldn’t need those limits on government that made our constitution a document different than any other in the world. But, I don’t expect you to ‘get’ that, the individual is just a road bump on the way to success to the modern liberal.

Posted by: rhinehold at June 22, 2009 6:42 PM
Comment #283423

Moving on to another question. What political party was in control in these cities that are being bulldosed because of loss of population and businesses?

Posted by: sam at June 22, 2009 6:42 PM
Comment #283428

sam
DEMOCRATS in my city and the people keep pulling that democrat lever at election time.

Posted by: KAP at June 22, 2009 7:57 PM
Comment #283437

Your right they ought to, because the Democrats taxed business’ out of town. I happen to live in one of the highest corporate tax rate states in the country.

Posted by: KAP at June 22, 2009 10:45 PM
Comment #283439

Federal money for urban renewal is one thing (a debate worth having but one which brings up a whole of other issues). Yes, it happens (kind of like the bumper sticker says) but federal money specificaly earmaked for bulldozing parts of cities is ridiculous.

Without making any kind of liberal vs. conservative issue out of it, the very necessity or perceived necessity of such measures is already a result of the bad influence of stupid government policies and of a failure to take proactive measures. Bulldozers are no magic bullet.

Urban decay, abandment of neighborhoods, a situation in which there’s a whole lot of derelict buildings doesn’t just happen overnight. There are tons of measures that can be taken, such as enforcing laws which make property owners responsible for their property, or adjusting zoning laws to allow private enterprise to put their own capital into building/rebuilding/maintaining property.

If it’s time to bulldoze, so be it, but it’s not a magic solution to be used on a massive scale by the heavy hand of the federal government. It should be in a focused way by urban planners that best know the city, and those planners need to work in tandem with much less stupid local government.

Posted by: Paul at June 22, 2009 11:16 PM
Comment #283441

Paul
Thanks for the thoughtful comments. We might also include trade agreements that put American workers on a level playing field.Why is Flint shrinking?
I am glad you have not joined those on the right that consider any change in federal policy as a reason to stock up on freeze dried chile beans and ammunition.
Many cities are struggling. If large areas are largely abandoned it makes sense to save the expense of police and fire protection,road maintenence etc. if it can be done effectively. No big deal.

Posted by: bills at June 22, 2009 11:40 PM
Comment #283445

Rhinehold-
Look, the government already has, constitutionally, the right to kick people off their land. It’s called eminent domain. Kelo vs. New London, was based on that. And no, it wasn’t popular on the left, it wasn’t popular anywhere. But its the law, since the Supreme Court made its decision.

As for speculation on what the left thinks? Well maybe you’ll have the right to tell me I’m full of it, but I was responding to a Republican who was suggesting an totalitarian vision that was totally out of line with what Democrats and Liberals are actually seeking. Most of the time, I try and critique libertarians based on their expressed views.

As for freedom? You define freedom in priniciple without looking at in in practice. Take a freeway. Up to a certain point, everybody’s just cruising along at high speed. But if enough people hit their brakes at the wrong time, it can bring traffic to a standstill.

They’ve found that if you put a few barriers in the right places, making everybody move around it though, everybody moves, though not as fast as they might want, faster than they typically would.

All governments have to impinge somewhat on freedom. We can design the government to increase freedoms in principle, or we can increase freedoms in practice. It’s not freedom if you have no choice, and all too often, Right Wing policy leaves people with few choices, and America itself with fewer options.

I do trust the American people to let the American government know when its stepping on their toes. That’s the purpose of Democracy. Thats where the individual, with other individuals, has the freedom to change their situation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2009 8:14 AM
Comment #283448
And no, it wasn’t popular on the left, it wasn’t popular anywhere. But its the law, since the Supreme Court made its decision.

No, it was popular, or at least defended, on the left. My post about it here displayed that.

And the constitution allows for the taking of private land for public use, not for transfer to another private entity. The Supreme Court was wrong and it needs to be fixed. Many states have, but many have still not, which opens the door for this to be done for other reasons, including by this president, when they desire. Using this exact type of interaction.

and all too often, Right Wing policy leaves people with few choices

Says the supporter of the party of ‘single payer’? Sorry, Stephen, but your party is historic for removing choices from the people of the United States and then claiming you have done so for their own good.

I do trust the American people to let the American government know when its stepping on their toes.

Then we don’t need the constitution. Heck, 75% of the United States want us to become a Christian nation, so what’s your beef with that?

After all, if not enough of the right people are complaining…

Posted by: rhinehold at June 23, 2009 8:56 AM
Comment #283449

stephen

“that lack of accountability is what let your party decline in the quality of its ideas and its governance.”

i just love when you guys tell republicans what the problem with thier party is. i always enjoy the advice too. republicans need to (fill in the blank) to save there party. it always seems to involve being more like democrats LOL!!!!

Posted by: dbs at June 23, 2009 9:07 AM
Comment #283452

sam,

Everyone has a right to their opinion, but everyone else has a right to ridicule those opinions. Let’s not go thinking that we have a right to say what we want without making ourselves look the fool.

However, what I find sad is that many on the left will suggest that they are ‘better’ than those on the right because they never do that sort of thing, which is an obvious blind spot for them, thinking that. And there are those on the right that will bring in the ‘right of god’ or some other nonsense to support their doing the same thing while complaining about it happening to them.

Oh, and if I hear another person on the left try to say that our economic issues are ‘because of unchecked greedy republican policies’ I may just vomit all over my keyboard. I’ve never seen such a laughable attempt to relabel and demgagogue as I have seen from the left over the past 9 - 12 months. Its starting to turn into its own religion.

Posted by: rhinehold at June 23, 2009 9:30 AM
Comment #283453

sam,

Worse than that, why do we have state lines again? They’ve all but eliminated any usefullness of having separate states in the union over the past 30 years. Even the healthcare fixes are argued as being valid because ‘we have police and fire’ (which is a fallacy that bears no resemblence to any real argument) but then reject the fact that those are paid for and managed by local municipaliites, not at the federal level. Yet, how many NEW federal agencies are we putting in place?

Posted by: rhinehold at June 23, 2009 9:32 AM
Comment #283457

RH
We probably wouldn’t have have state lines or at least as many had we we had modern communications and air travel etc. when the nation was actively forming. Doesn’t matter, although ,when I lived in Northern CA I often thought we should have more state lines. In N. Ca. tan lines stop at the wrist.
In the mean time, urban planning,housing on a federal level etc. has been with us for a long time with mixed results. I remember the “nigger removal” of the 60’s where blocks of SF were bulldozed and left as festering scars on that city.
OK. So What do we we do now? Nothing? That is often the best course, but there are real problems many cities are having and the precedent for federal intervention already exist. Maybe the feds never should have taken an interest. Maybe I should be able to sh—- opals. So? This program bears careful watch but that does mean it is an entirely bad concept and at least the initial approach was was put together by a guy that knows his area.

Sam
Define “activist judges”. Do you mean the judges that outlawed school segragation or the judges that gave women power over their own bodies ?

Posted by: bills at June 23, 2009 10:52 AM
Comment #283464

sam, and Stephen D. share in their comments the fallacious belief that the American people tell the government what to do. The 90+ percent congressional incumbent reelection rate against an 11% approval rating of Congress by the people, suggests otherwise.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 23, 2009 1:10 PM
Comment #283467

Rhinehold-

No, it was popular, or at least defended, on the left. My post about it here displayed that.

Here we go again. It wasn’t popular on the left, and I can tell you that because I was actually listening to people’s opinions on the matter from the relevant sites. But here’s the key thing: though we didn’t like it, we didn’t presupposed that only our opinion of what the law meant stood as real law.

Folks have taken to labelling stuff judicial activism on account of their personal preference, acting as if no other law than the law they like is legitimate.

The trouble is, this view fosters a sense of entitlement to your interpretation, regardless of what a fair and impartial examination of the law might produce.

The constitution lays out no limits on government’s use of eminent domain, aside from fair compensation. There’s no telling them that their public use can’t be to simply hand over the land to a private corporation. Of course, Congresses at both national and state level can impose restrictions on what is a justifiable taking, and in fact this is exactly what the court suggested and the states undertook.

The Supreme court, wrong or not in your view, in your view, is the final authority on these matters. The funny thing is, that for all the claims of judicial activism on the left, the majority of the revisionism sought in terms of current law is sought on behalf of the Right’s agenda.

In short, buzzwords and personal preferences have replaced a sense of the rule of law for the Right. And I think that is a dangerous situation.

Says the supporter of the party of ‘single payer’? Sorry, Stephen, but your party is historic for removing choices from the people of the United States and then claiming you have done so for their own good.

We are historic for responding to the needs of the American people when they make them clear.

You talk of removing choices. Yes, I am glad to remove certain choices. Choices to engage in conflicts of interests, playing two different groups needs off each other, and serving neither well. Choices to deceive others about the health of their business. Choices to deliver shoddy goods and services with the consumers left with no recourse. Choices to deliver substandard healthcare, to pull the rug out from people in their time of need, choices to put the company’s profits above the patient’s needs.

Choices to pollute, to endanger workers needlessly, to expose American consumers to pathogens that they’re too cheap to keep out of the production line. Choices to market drugs knowing that there are serious side effects affecting many of those taking the medicine.

I’m glad to remove some choices from the realm of legal legitimacy. I am not ashamed.

I think you would deny folks a fundamental freedom: the freedom to determine the shape of the law that will affect them and their lives. You would, in the name of your idea of freedom, deny folks the ability to prevent the interests of the few from becoming a danger to the interests of the many.

We have the constitution in place so we can go ahead and govern America as it needs to be govern, as the people want it to be governed, effectively, and strongly where it needs to be enforced.

dbs-
You may not like me saying it, but its true. I mean, it’s not as if the deficit, the war, and everything else just crept up on you fellows. There were there, you just wouldn’t acknowledge it, and neither would the conservative media that was supposed to tell you when these things were going off the tracks.

The GOP and its media apparatus have formed a bubble that makes it difficult for Republicans and Conservatives to figure out why people no longer have such sympathy for them.

And the failure to register that dissatisfaction is what’s lost you the last two elections.

Take it or leave it. I don’t care if you win, but I’m going to tell you that nothing good will come of continued obvliviousness.

Sam-
Palin was simply an awful choice. The Republicans tried to pull a fast one on the press by just air-dropping her in out of nowhere. To use your terminology, it was the GOP that pulled the drive-by on the media.

And it failed spectacularly. The Reporters out there are not going to embarrass themselves by reporting the sugarcoated party line, only to get the hell contradicted out of them when other reporters did there job and reported on her real past. And The Democrats were certainly not going to react to the sudden air-dropping of this unknown running mate with anything else than laser-intense scrutiny. Especially not the more aggressive Democrats of today.

Everybody sensed that there was something the GOP was hiding. And they were right! Her story about being a new, pure Republicans was complete BS. She positively wallowed in the perks, positively revelled in the earmarks. She was no different in personality, in terms of her corrosively negative anti-liberalism, her ostentatious piety, her doctrinaire beliefs on defense and the economy, and her blood-drawing rhetoric, than many of the Republicans she was supposed to be a break from.

If no other evidence is apparent in view, we can point to “the future of the Republican Party” in Sarah Palin, (or Newt Gingrich, for crying out loud!) and conclude that the party has not learned from its mistakes, and perhaps doesn’t want to learn. It wants to dwell in the past, rather than govern in the present.

Palin is reviled for what she represents: a party that wants things its way, that doesn’t want to be held accountable for its errors.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2009 2:00 PM
Comment #283468

bills,

We probably wouldn’t have have state lines or at least as many had we we had modern communications and air travel etc. when the nation was actively forming.

And it would have been a HUGE mistake, just as it is now trying to erase them. Communities need to be able to address the needs of the people who live in them in different ways based on location and makeup. For example, we have a ‘federal’ minimum wage in the US, however the cost of living is so varied throughout the United States, it is almost without exception the wrong amount. For around half of the country it is too high, for the other half it is too low. In a few random sections of the country is it actually an appropriate number. Where it is too high, unemployment will be higher and businesses will have a harder time making profits because of the additional, artificial labor costs. In areas where it is too low, it allows some businesses to get away with ‘near slave labor’ if the market will allow it in those areas. So the federal statute does little the help anyone and a lot to hurt them…

Another example, fire/police departments. I live in a rural area of the country and do not have a need for a full time fire department. There are just not a lot of houses here and the real purpose of a fire department is not to save a house already on fire (though it is great when they can) but to prevent the fire from spreading to other houses. Because of the distance between houses it is just not as big of an issue here, so we don’t need them. If, however, it were managed ‘federally’, I would end up paying for the protection of those who choose to live on top of one another while getting no benefit from it myself. Hardly right or fair.

As for urban planning, why WHY would federal tax dollars be used? By doing so, what you are doing is taking money from areas of the country that are not failing, are not having issues, and trucking it to those areas. For what? The benefit does not move beyond those neighborhoods, does it? Before coming to me to pay for someone else’s folly, they should be exausting all other options to take care of it, possibly increasing the taxes of those remaining to pay for the benefits they would get from bulldozing the areas. And really, how much does that cost that they can’t do this themselves?

The reality is that this is a way to use money taken from people who are not affected by a problem to fix it for political gains. “Look at what we are doing for you”. The political payback machine is alive and well in Washington, despite the rhetoric of the past 9 months.

Posted by: rhinehold at June 23, 2009 2:02 PM
Comment #283469
Rhinehold-
No, it was popular, or at least defended, on the left. My post about it here displayed that.

Here we go again. It wasn’t popular on the left, and I can tell you that because I was actually listening to people’s opinions on the matter from the relevant sites. But here’s the key thing: though we didn’t like it, we didn’t presupposed that only our opinion of what the law meant stood as real law.

Sooo, the ‘liberal’ judges on the court didn’t vote for that decision? The current president didn’t keep his trap shut on his opinion on it so as to not go against the backlash?

As for ‘real law’, I’m sorry Stephen but the constitution is not written in a foreign language. It was written in regular, basic, english and though lawyers are good at trying to twist the meanings of certain things, someone who is not bent on manipulation can easily understand it. That’s the real problem, the need for some to manipulate to achieve their goals of political power.

Folks have taken to labelling stuff judicial activism on account of their personal preference, acting as if no other law than the law they like is legitimate.

I never used the words ‘judicial activisim’, I simply state that the interpretation was wrong, against the ideals that this country was founded on and an opening of the door to further abuses by a government that does not feel itself needing to bother with limitations and concerns of abuse of power.

The trouble is, this view fosters a sense of entitlement to your interpretation, regardless of what a fair and impartial examination of the law might produce.

Except this wasn’t. Sorry.

The constitution lays out no limits on government’s use of eminent domain, aside from fair compensation.

Yes, it does. The entire point of the constitution was to enumerate the hard limits of the federal government, not to enumerate the limited rights that individuals had.

When stating “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”, it means that the only time that land can be taken for public use is when just compensation is given. By extension, since the right to take land is no where else in the constitution and because we know the original framer’s intent (something that is supposed to be taken into account) we know that there NO ability for the federal government to take land for non-public use.

But, those who want to purposefully misinterpret or mislead others see it as a way to an end. If we weren’t taking original intent into account, or if we weren’t understanding of the overall purpose of the constitution, perhaps you might have an argument, but there are those of us who still actually know what the point of the document was and aren’t more interested in trying to shim their agendas into ‘passing muster’ when they clearly violate the ideals of the country.

The Supreme court, wrong or not in your view, in your view, is the final authority on these matters. The funny thing is, that for all the claims of judicial activism on the left, the majority of the revisionism sought in terms of current law is sought on behalf of the Right’s agenda.

Again, this hasn’t been anything said by me, but of course, you aren’t suggesting that since you understand how others trying to define your views is abhorrant, right?

BTW, just becasue the Supreme Court ruled and it is now the temporary law of the land doens’t mean that a) they were right or b) can’t be overruled by Congress or c) can’t be overruled by a later court who understands their error.

But yes, today, it is quite possible for the Administration of the US to label a neighborhood as ‘blighted’, bulldoze it at federal taxpayer expense, and then give the land to greedy developers, no matter who had legal right to the land to begin with.

In short, buzzwords and personal preferences have replaced a sense of the rule of law for the Right. And I think that is a dangerous situation.

More nonsense about ‘the right’. Of course, I don’t remember you ever saying much that didn’t focus on attacking the right excusively, so I don’t find it a surprise, even though you are addressing someone who isn’t of that group…

Says the supporter of the party of ‘single payer’? Sorry, Stephen, but your party is historic for removing choices from the people of the United States and then claiming you have done so for their own good.

We are historic for responding to the needs of the American people when they make them clear.

At the expense of legality, constitutionality, private property rights, individual rights and freedom, yes. You know, the road to hell thingy…

You talk of removing choices. Yes, I am glad to remove certain choices.

I know.

Choices to engage in conflicts of interests, playing two different groups needs off each other, and serving neither well.

Except, you support the party that wants to increase that. By making things be administrered by the government, not just overseen by the government, you open everything up to politics which is that by definition. That you are equally BLIND to that fact is where your logic falls flat on itself, Stephen.

I’m glad to remove some choices from the realm of legal legitimacy. I am not ashamed.

I know, and that is the sad part.

I think you would deny folks a fundamental freedom: the freedom to determine the shape of the law that will affect them and their lives.

NO. I deny them the ‘freedom’ to determine what others can do with their own lives. Denying someone the freedom, the right, to smoke a cigarette in their own home, for example. The ‘law’ should be used when two or more people interact with each other, for the sake of determining the limits of the rights and how far the extend onto others. But it should not, can not, be used to tell people who to live.

So, you are saying it is ok if ‘the people’ decide that this government should be a christian one and we all must go to church on Sunday? Or if abortions should be legal? If you say NO, then you are doing just what you accuse me of, Stephen. Only you will not accept nor see the hyprocrisy you display when you selectively choose when to step in and when not to. I at least have a well defined, logical AND historical view of this in the sense it is what this country was founded upon, unlike any other country in the world.

You would, in the name of your idea of freedom, deny folks the ability to prevent the interests of the few from becoming a danger to the interests of the many.

No, I would not. You again try to do what you accuse me of doing before, ‘defining what I stand for’, remember? I have stated quite clearly when the law should be used and when it shouldn’t.

An individual has the right to live their lives as they choose as long as they don’t directly violate another’s right to the same. This is what liberalism USED to be about. Before some got it into their head that they could ensure the outcome of how people chose to live their lives to ensure that ‘the downtrodden’ were lifted up at the expense of the self-sufficient. When you started injecting morals into the equation, just as we attack the right for doing, only not based on a christian mindset but a socialist one. ‘We’ becomes greater than the ‘Me’. Only that is not much different than what we left to start here, other than the fact that the religion we are beholden to is not one based on an invisible man in the sky but an ideal that requires the removal of indidual rights and freedoms from people based on mob mentality.

Following your logic, we should all be going to church on sunday and outlawing abortions because that is ‘the will of the people’. What a wonderful world we would live in!

You can’t pick and choose. That’s the problem Stephen, it is that simple. You have to accept that you can’t force people to not be greedy bastards, or unhealthy pigs, or racist wingnuts, or anything else. People get to choose what they are and how they live in this country (or used to) and all we can do is legislate the interactions between them. We have no right to tell a person that they can’t chug DrainO if they want to, or smoke a joint, or buy a cigarette from another individual, or eat a cheeseburger, or not have a god, or pray to allah, or wear white after labor day, or not see a doctor if they have a pain in their side, or not wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, etc. These are not things we can or should try to legislate because they are none of anyone’s business.

We have the constitution in place so we can go ahead and govern America as it needs to be govern, as the people want it to be governed, effectively, and strongly where it needs to be enforced.

Great, I can’t wait until I have to give up my Sunday football watching so I can sit in a church. Thanks a lot Stephen.

Of course, that view means you have to ignore the basic view that the constitution was founded upon, invalidating the whole meaning of it so it no longer has any, but what the heck, right? Just as long as you get your political way?

Posted by: rhinehold at June 23, 2009 3:20 PM
Comment #283476

Rhinehold-
Your first mistake is making it a partisan matter. Believe or not, there are other criteria in the law than whether it follows some party’s orthodoxy.

Yes, the constitution is written in plain language. But since when has that ever meant that people interpreted it all the same? People can even disagree on plain language, and because its so plain to people what it’s suppose to mean, the disagreements are all the more contentious.

If we define the real law strictly by amateur opinion, that is the trouble we get into. We have a Supreme Court which makes the final decisions on interpretation. If you believe in the rule of law, you might not like the decisions that the Supreme Court comes to, but you abide by them as the law of the land.

You have failed to consider here that people might, on the logic of the law itself, arrive at an outcome which is not what we want, but which is demanded by the law. This, of course requires one of two responses, if we want to make things more just: we either legislate new law, or we propose and ratify a new amendment to the constitution, if no other choice is available.

Yes, it does. The entire point of the constitution was to enumerate the hard limits of the federal government, not to enumerate the limited rights that individuals had.

A tension does exist between restrictions and empowerment, but empowerment generally wins out. If you notice, the constitution does a lot more empowerment of the central government than it does restriction. The whole necessity of the revision of the Articles of Confederation is that it created a government too decentralized to do much good.

When stating “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”, it means that the only time that land can be taken for public use is when just compensation is given. By extension, since the right to take land is no where else in the constitution and because we know the original framer’s intent (something that is supposed to be taken into account) we know that there NO ability for the federal government to take land for non-public use.

Not unless the government could justify it as a public use to create a stronger business sector in the area. There’s no constitutional restriction, so long as the public use requirement is satisfied, on just what that public use might be- say, to combat blight by development through alternatived parties.

Which is not to lend moral support to the other side in this suit. Morals, though, are subjective, and the interests of individuals and the communities they belong to are always in tension. We settle on the law, in terms of what is defined as a public use. This way, we’re not getting into an indefinitely drawn-out argument as to just what a public use is.

The SC’s determination is that the states and community’s elected government get to determine what is a legitimate public use.

Up to that point, simply put, the states had not defined that kind of transference as out of the question. You might not like it, but again, we’re talking rule of law, not rule of a certain person’s sentiments. I didn’t like the outcome of the decision, but then again, I also balance the incidental outcome with the question of whether the government is left with an effective ability to use eminent domain when it’s proper.

The law cannot simply be interpreted and reinterpreted for every case, though some flexibility in terms of circumstances is called for. The law must be reasonably consistent from one case to another, a zone of reliable jurisprudence there to guide the legislatures and the lower courts in what can and cannot be done.

The Republicans often complain about judicial activism when there’s an outcome they do not like. Go back through the news coverage. They said that of the sodomy cases, of the cases where Bush got the door slammed on his detainment and habeas corpus practices, and in the case of the Kelo Decision. I’m not mischaracterizing their response. They regularly paint the courts as judicial activists when there’s a disagreement.

They don’t speak about the law as if their interests in the outcome are separate from what they would consider legitimate law, or that there could be a difference. It doesn’t matter that nobody could find any real counter to the equal protection concerns for sodomy laws. They just wanted them upheld. It doesn’t matter that the constitution itself says that what one state enacts shall be given full faith and credit elsewhere- marriages being a classic, enduring example. They want DOMA upheld.

Their tendency to treat questions of constitutional consistency as secondary, when their own causes are at stake, prompts a serious question as whether they’re simply projecting their own tendency towards judicial activism onto their opponents, in an effort to make their own more successful.

Original intepretations can be helpful, but not always. Reality has a way of presenting us with new situations, the likes of which were not encountered before. Meaning, of course, that original interpretation is not necessarily available, and we must go beyond it and think for ourselves to determine what the right interpretation of the laws are. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we cannot have the law taken in at the tailors, and must instead buy a new suit, in the form of new laws, or a revision of the constitution.

We have a government, and state government to boot, with this ability built in.

Except, you support the party that wants to increase that. By making things be administrered by the government, not just overseen by the government, you open everything up to politics which is that by definition. That you are equally BLIND to that fact is where your logic falls flat on itself, Stephen.

You’ve got to explain that in greater detail. Politics is not the only guiding set of principles that can dictate things. That’s what we have the law for. It’s a question of whether we design what government we create properly, whether we acknowledge the nature of what we are trying to regulate and work accordingly.

You accuse me of being part of a party that wants to increase conflicts of interest. Do we? That’s not the sense I get. I think my people want government to govern, to intercede only in emergencies, and there to do intercede with minimal conflicts of interest.

It’s also misleading to suggest that the support of the current government is so seamless. We’re not so apt to just support the administration without question. There is a cultural difference between the Republicans and Democrats about how we treat our leaders.

I do not feel it is sad to put the things I listed beyond the pale of existing legal norms. You ignore many of the things I say, only cherrypicking out one or two points, not acknowledging in your response that many of the concerns I cite have proven difficult for the market, for the average citizens to address.

We are a nation of constitutional, not merely unwritten freedoms. We enjoy many freedoms, like a right to privacy, a right to travel, and so on and so forth, which are not specifically enumerated in the constitution, but which proceed from the rights that are written there.

But that doesn’t mean every unwritten right we claim should be given the status of constitutional guarantee. Rights, and the lack thereof, beyond what is set forth in the constitution, is the province of the legislature. That is how government in a Democracy, in a Constitutional Republic must function.

The thing is, we are nation set in the rule of law, which means not all right we could claim will be rights that the law will honor. We are subject to the restriction of the law. We can’t have all the freedom that the constitution doesn’t say we lack. There is no constitutional provision against murder. Shall we kill, and claim that its our freedom to take life? There is no constitutional provision against theft. Shall we take what we want, and defy the authorities on constitutional grounds?

The funny thing is, you folks seem to fight not against some present outrage, but against not so outrageous regulations and restrictions on the counterfactual grounds that it is inevitable what the outrage will lead to.

We fought torture when torture was what was being done. We fought imprisonment without habeas corpus, when our government was doing just that.

You fight people taking your right to smoke in your own home, when that’s not what the legislation entails.

This pattern of pre-emptive curtailment of regulation, where the curtailment is done based on a slippery slope argument, based on some exaggerated claim as to what will come of moderate legislation and regulation. This is the way of avoiding actual discussion of the effects of the legislation itself, which most people would agree with. Always the focus is on the future, on the possible, rather than on what is clearly there and what is plausible, considering the actual political climate in play.

When I express my faith in people’s ability to push back against excessive legislation, I do not do so idly. I think the Republicans simply don’t trust people to stop things where they want it stopped, so they appeal to extreme hypotheticals to scare people off of the legislation they don’t want.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2009 5:23 PM
Comment #283478

stephen

“You may not like me saying it, but its true.”

ditto.

Posted by: dbs at June 23, 2009 6:54 PM
Comment #283482

RH
Another advantage to states is the ability to take different approaches to solving problems. Experiments, if you will. That was how Canada arrived at their health care delivery system. It started in the provinces, that are still largely responsible for their administration. There are some individual states that made efforts at health care reform. The ones I know of are CA,Ore.and HI. Unfortunately they met resistance from the extant federal government. Moving in that direction now ,IMO, would take too long at this point.
The public taking of property for private uses is an unfortunate decision. It gives far too much opportunity for moneyed interest to grab private property through the influence big money can and does have on elected officials,especially local officials.. Another bad decision is the ability of bankrupt companies to default on their pension obligations. Pensions should be like taxes or at least first in line for payment. The latter was the result of a federal court decision that should be corrected IMO. These decisions were NOT made by “liberal” judges,quite the contrary.

sam
Could you be more specific? Give us an example of past “judicial activism” perhaps.IMO that term has become a mere slogan for legal decisions the right does not like. If you have a case where judges have “written law” I would be interested.
By all means,support Palin. Obama will need a second term to effect all the changes necessary to put the US back on the right path.

Posted by: bills at June 23, 2009 11:24 PM
Comment #283503

http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?feed=OBR&date=20090623&id=10046131
The supply of unsold homes fell 3.5 percent to 3.80 million. At the current sales pace, it would take 9.6 months to clear that supply, down from April’s 10.1 months., How many of these houses are in EMPTY derelict shape I.E. ones not worth repairing and rebuilding and condemned full of lead, fire traps, pipes breaking, and ect ect ec ect I can drive downtown to a city of 25,000 here and count perhaps 300- 500 like that, So knock them down and 3.2 to 2.8 million units left in fair to excellent shape for the Resale market.= Faster recovery back on the tax rolls and creating Jobs= less Blight and Hopelessness.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 24, 2009 11:33 AM
Comment #283511

You people on the right come on get with it and use it, And the far left slow down a little instead of smashing down a million houses and reducing them into splinters and rubble for our overburdened landfills hire workers contractors inner city folks and recycle it, Good gosh man millions of feet of 2x4’s and lumber and doors and casings and fireplace mantels millions of pounds of copper wire and millions of feet of wood floors and old plumbing fixtures and ect ect ect ect ect get the drift.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 24, 2009 1:54 PM
Comment #283513
Rhinehold- Your first mistake is making it a partisan matter.

You are the one making this a political matter by arguing with me as if I were a Republican, it seems you only have one way of defending your partisan views and must somehow try to shoehorn your opponent into that opposing view in order to defend yours. Think outside of the box for a second…

Yes, the constitution is written in plain language. But since when has that ever meant that people interpreted it all the same?

That was my point, Stephen. Those who wish to manipulate and divert the meaning will do so because they can and people are gullible enough to believe them.

If we define the real law strictly by amateur opinion, that is the trouble we get into. We have a Supreme Court which makes the final decisions on interpretation. If you believe in the rule of law, you might not like the decisions that the Supreme Court comes to, but you abide by them as the law of the land.

First, I never said we didn’t. That the Supreme Court was wrong doesn’t mean that at this moment the law of the land is that freedom doesn’t exist and we are all subjects of the ‘crown’. We are just that, subjects, until we change it through legislation or other cases being brought before the Supreme Court to change that bad decision.

Just because it was bad and wrong doesn’t make it not legal unfortunately. That is the real sad truth of it.

You have failed to consider here that people might, on the logic of the law itself, arrive at an outcome which is not what we want, but which is demanded by the law.

Of course I haven’t. In fact, that is the very definition of politics in the US and around the world, laws are written with good intentions and end up creating more harm in their wake. This is especially true of those really really good intentioned laws that the left likes to put in and find later that they are making matters worse. And instead of accepting that they have made them worse, they blame ‘the other side’ and make even worse laws. This is the natural state of things.

Of course, originally it shouldn’t have mattered much because those laws should not be touching the private lives of the citizens. But now we find that isn’t the case any longer.

This, of course requires one of two responses, if we want to make things more just: we either legislate new law, or we propose and ratify a new amendment to the constitution, if no other choice is available.

No, there is a 3rd choice that has been used for the past century, especially since FDR turned the Supreme Court into a political tool. And that is to ‘reinterpret’ the constitution to mean preicesly the opposite of what it does.

I have begged for people to use the amendment process to alter the constitution if they feel that they need to change it, but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case with either party in the past 80 years because they no longer need to. They just need to get a majority of wrongheaded incomptetent jurors on the Supreme Court and Bob’s your uncle!

Yes, it does. The entire point of the constitution was to enumerate the hard limits of the federal government, not to enumerate the limited rights that individuals had.

A tension does exist between restrictions and empowerment, but empowerment generally wins out. If you notice, the constitution does a lot more empowerment of the central government than it does restriction.

Wow, that has to be the purest example of the complete and total misunderstanding of what the constitution is.

Here is the plain truth. The way this country is formed, the federal government has 0 power. Nothing. It cannot even pass an act to admit that it has no power.

The constitution gives the power that the government can use. If it is not in the constitution, the congress and the president CANNOT do it. They cannot enact a law if they are not granted the power to do so. That was the purpose and scope of the Constitution as it was written. It is also why it is a wholly unique document, compared to any other that exists, because it presumes complete and total freedom of the individual over their own lives, not at the behest of the government.

Unfortunately, several ‘decisions’ handed down in the 30s to enact the policies of FDR bypassed those restrictions exactly as the founders who wrote the Constitution warned us would happen if the citizenry were not diligent. That it happened phases no one today, except those few of us who actually understand what it means and the cost that taken from us to make that happen.

And the fact that you can write what you did here with a straight face and BELIEVE it to be true just adds to that sad fact.

Let’s look at what Jefferson stated about that very thing:

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” [10th Amendment] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”

I don’t see how you can get around that without ignoring it, which many on the left are want to do.

The whole necessity of the revision of the Articles of Confederation is that it created a government too decentralized to do much good.

Yes, so they expanded the powers, A LITTLE, but never gave the federal government carte blanche.

When stating “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”, it means that the only time that land can be taken for public use is when just compensation is given. By extension, since the right to take land is no where else in the constitution and because we know the original framer’s intent (something that is supposed to be taken into account) we know that there NO ability for the federal government to take land for non-public use.

Not unless the government could justify it as a public use to create a stronger business sector in the area. There’s no constitutional restriction, so long as the public use requirement is satisfied, on just what that public use might be- say, to combat blight by development through alternatived parties.

No, that is NOT public use, Stephen. Sorry I know you WANT that to be the case, but it simply isn’t. What was done in Kelo was an abomination, the wife of person on the planning board working for the pharmacutical company who wanted to remove those people from their homes because they didn’t want their executives to see those ‘lower class tennent houses’ out of their windows so they used the power of ‘emminent domain’ to force those people out of their family homes and have done NOTHING with the property in the 4 years since, other than grow grass.

Despicable and exactly what I expect from government, the only group in our country that can use force on its citizens. Which is exactly WHY we limited the power of government. Or, used to.

The Republicans

Not being a Republican, I could care less what you think of them, and it is getting tiring having to restate that over and over again with you…

Original intepretations can be helpful, but not always. Reality has a way of presenting us with new situations, the likes of which were not encountered before.

*sigh* No, it is always helpful.

For example, when the founders say that if it is not a power the federal government was meant to have, we can’t simply say ‘oh well, times are different’. We have to CHANGE the constitution to give them that power. Through the use of the amendment process, not by ignoring the meaning and intent of a clause to be what you want it to be.

The ‘general welfare’ clause is a prime example of how this was done. It was clear from the writing and intentions of the document and the founders what that meant. But, when FDR threatened the Supreme Court to get his way in the 30s, they buckled and change the entire meaning of the document in ways that are still being felt today. They literally turned the constitution on its ear, just as Jefferson warned when he stated:

“[If] it [were] assumed that the general government has a right to exercise all powers which may be for the ‘general welfare,’ that [would include] all the legitimate powers of government, since no government has a legitimate right to do what is not for the welfare of the governed.”

And

“They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please… Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.”

It is VERY clear that our constitution was raped when the decision to use the general welfare clause in a way that it was not meant to be used nor allowed to by used by the writing of the 10th amendment which Judge Bork labelled an ‘ink blot’. The left used to understand the meaning of this, they have lost their way. It is a shame that they have been listening to the statists, socialists and communists in the party for the past 80 years, three groups who do not respect or adhere to the believe of individual liberty when it affects their political goals.

You accuse me of being part of a party that wants to increase conflicts of interest. Do we?

Yes

Ha ha ha ha haaa… please Stephen, the perpetuation of the class warfare, use of accusation of racism to further political agendas, pitting people against each other over jealousy and greed, encroaching more and more into our personal lives in the past 80 years than even the most strict socialist regiems would drool over… It’s hard to take your statement as not a joke.

I do not feel it is sad to put the things I listed beyond the pale of existing legal norms. You ignore many of the things I say, only cherrypicking out one or two points, not acknowledging in your response that many of the concerns I cite have proven difficult for the market, for the average citizens to address.

No, I didn’t want to tear your list apart as bad as I could have. It wasn’t my point. I can do that if you really want to, is that what you are after?

We are a nation of constitutional, not merely unwritten freedoms. We enjoy many freedoms, like a right to privacy, a right to travel, and so on and so forth, which are not specifically enumerated in the constitution, but which proceed from the rights that are written there.But that doesn’t mean every unwritten right we claim should be given the status of constitutional guarantee.

Yes it does. See, since the government was tightly locked up within hard limits, ‘writing down’ every single right the citizens enjoyed was impractical. In fact, there were people who argued that the act of writing any down would lead future generations to think that list was exhaustive. It wasn’t. So they included the 9th and 10th amendments, from which we got the defense of the right to privacy, which does not exist in the constitution anywhere, and allows us to prevent things like legislation against abortion.

There are no ‘lack of rights’, the only need for them to be enumerated in the constitution was to prevent the federal government from violating them with the limited power that they had. However, since the federal government has smashed through those tight limits in order to act as more of a monarchy or oligarchy, the lack of having those rights written down are harming us because of the extreme lack of understanding that people like yourself continue to try to perpetuate for political gain.


We fought torture when torture was what was being done. We fought imprisonment without habeas corpus, when our government was doing just that.

It’s a shame that you can fight against the violation of civil liberties of Americans as hard as you defend them against foreigners.

And to suggest by your inferrence of the way that you wrote your sentence that I did NOT fight against torture and violation of civil liberties is insulting the say the least.

You fight people taking your right to smoke in your own home, when that’s not what the legislation entails.

I fight all past, current and future violations. Do you want an exaustive list? Will you join me in fighting them if I Do? Or will you do what those on the left always do, fight for the right to choose in matters of sex and ignore all other matters of individual choice ‘for the greater good’?

Posted by: rhinehold at June 24, 2009 2:36 PM
Comment #283516
So knock them down and 3.2 to 2.8 million units left in fair to excellent shape for the Resale market.= Faster recovery back on the tax rolls and creating Jobs= less Blight and Hopelessness.

Yes! And ignore those nagging aspects of ‘civil rights’, ‘private property rights’ and freedom in general, the country is at stake!

Benjamin Franklin was a busybody!

Posted by: rhinehold at June 24, 2009 2:40 PM
Comment #283521

Oh, and another one, Stephen:

“Our tenet ever was… that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money.”
Posted by: rhinehold at June 24, 2009 3:41 PM
Comment #283585

Rhinehold-
What prompts you to believe that the law, and the tendencies of political faction cannot come to different agreements. Being above the political fray is the reason why the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the federal courts are the sole officials in this government appointed for life.

Unfortunately, some folks do not distinguish general rightness of action from their own instantaneous notion of what is right at a given time. They do not concede that others might know better, might have greater experience, and better education in the matter. They hold up the banner of egalitarianism, but are not averse to putting in place leaders and jurists who use their elite position to impose their opinion on everybody else.

As for my arguments concerning the the constitution’s plain authorial style, I should call your attention to the fact that people were already disputing its meaning before the ink was dry on its ratifications. The constitution’s plain language can be disputed, and was disputed almost from the start. There is actually a Federalist Paper in which an argument is made against the Bill of Rights!

We need a body to interpret the law, to create a consistent body of such interpretation to guide lower courts.

And surprise, surprise! That’s what we get with the courts. Bad decision or not, they define the law, not you.

The law is in a constant state of correction. You allege that the only solution is less law. But that’s your belief. People are not taking your views very seriously nowadays. They see lead in their toys, salmonella in their food, rises in electricity prices deregulation was supposed to drop, drops in investments free markets were supposed to keep going up forever. They’re taking their failures seriously.

Here is the plain truth. The way this country is formed, the federal government has 0 power. Nothing. It cannot even pass an act to admit that it has no power.

The constitution gives the power that the government can use. If it is not in the constitution, the congress and the president CANNOT do it. They cannot enact a law if they are not granted the power to do so. That was the purpose and scope of the Constitution as it was written. It is also why it is a wholly unique document, compared to any other that exists, because it presumes complete and total freedom of the individual over their own lives, not at the behest of the government.

The constitution expanded the powers of government beyond what it had previously. And this time, it did not restrict the Congress to just what was explicitly authorized, but extended Congress’s power to what would be Necessary and Proper to carry out the constitution.

No less an individual than James Madison argues against your point that the powers of Congress end at what is explicitly written. Instead, he argues that any such limitation would render the Constitution a joke on the level of the Articles of Confederation, the provisions unenforceable. He goes on to argue that nobody could have the foresight to come up with the lists of expressly given and removed powers necessary to define for Congress what legislative power they would have to carry out their authority.

What you say is false. If it is not in the constitution, but it is necessary and proper as a means of carrying out what is there, the Constitution delegates the federal government the authority to do it, notwithstanding the other provisions.

The irony here is that your constitutional viewpoint is precisely what Madison was trying to avoid, a nitpicking, lawyerly parsing of every power to determine whether something was delegating, and the resulting inverse position of feeling the need to exhaustively work out what was delegated and what wasn’t.

It’s like I’ve said sometimes: sometime when you push down on complexity of interpretation in one place, it pops back up somewhere else.

The Tenth Amendment does place a limitation on the Federal government. It can’t order the states to carry out its wishes, or draft them wholesale into being instruments of the federal government. The states make their own laws, enforce their own laws, and the Federales do the same. Nothing, though, prevents the Federal government from walking right in and enforcing things from their level. That’s why there are FBI agents and Federal Marshals with their own jurisdiction on such matters.

But the key thing to keep in mind is that the national government still maintains the powers delegated to it by the constitution, and the powers necessary to carry those other powers out.

The Constitution was not meant to be an inflexible barrier to the action of the federal government, but rather a semi-permeable barrier. but if the Federal government’s going to deal with it, it has to either deal with itself, or use the powers it already has (the power of the purse with federal dollars, for example) to bring the states into line on something.

No, that is NOT public use, Stephen. Sorry I know you WANT that to be the case, but it simply isn’t.

You said this in reference to my assertion that states, if they could justify an action as a public use, faced no constitutional barrier to their action.

I know you would like to think that the Kelo outcome was what I desired. In truth, you’re wrong. But hell, how can you tell? I could tell you anything about my opinion I wanted. And you can suppose anything about my opinion that you do want.

It’s so much simpler, though, if you don’t try to allege such beliefs, and simply take my stated beliefs at face value.

Truth of the matter is, I have little sympathy for those who won in that case, and I sure hope that folks like that stare down the barrel of a plethora of federal and state laws prohibiting such misuse of eminent domain.

But I make a distinction between outcomes that are legal, and those that are moral. They can coincide, but not by logical necessity.

The added problem that a result that might be moral for the case in question, might cause, inadvertantly, a worse, more unjust outcome in other cases.

We cannot simply be bystanders to the behaviors of business and commerce. Their power yields them the ability to take advantage of connections we can hardly dream of. Only by insisting on laws and rules to defend our interests, can we prevent such absurd, unjust outcomes.

Reducing something to its text, in my experience, helps create opportunities for misinterpretation, rather than preventing it. While the text must be the starting point for the recovery process of interpreting meaning, it cannot be the end, because words by themselves do not absolutely possess their meaning. Others can project their own meaning therein, and no amount of insistence on what is right can prevent that.

Words are inherently uncertain, and only communicate well when there is synchrony between those communicating and those being communicated to regarding what is meant by something.

Some meaning is always lost. Beyond the historical record, we know little about the thousands, millions of unofficial debates concerning the constitution.

Madison, in his defense of the necessary and proper clause, pointed out the way in which the absence or presence of explicitly given or forbidden powers in the service of carrying out the responsibilities and powers given could throw a major monkey wrench in the interpretation of the powers given, making it difficult to carry them out as charged. This, he says, was a big part of the problem with the Articles of Confederation.

By not specifying everything, the authors of the Constitution allowed the text to give robust authorization to a government to do what was necessary to govern that would not be made obsolete by the passage of years into an unknown, and ultimately unknowable future. Where would the Framers have event started in deciding how to govern a nation where interstate commerce could take place at the speed of light, where travel made trips of months take mere days?

We must trust in the Constitution enough to trust in our own judgment, and where either goes wrong, we must correct ourselves as necessary. This is not a system or a nation that we can turn our back on as we govern it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 25, 2009 3:15 PM
Comment #283618
There is actually a Federalist Paper in which an argument is made against the Bill of Rights!

Yes, and do you know WHY they argued against it? Can you look in the mirror?

And this time, it did not restrict the Congress to just what was explicitly authorized, but extended Congress’s power to what would be Necessary and Proper to carry out the constitution

Sorry, but it DID. I give you more from Thomas Jefferson:

“I hope our courts will never countenance the sweeping pretensions which have been set up under the words ‘general defence and public welfare.’ These words only express the motives which induced the Convention to give to the ordinary legislature certain specified powers which they enumerate, and which they thought might be trusted to the ordinary legislature, and not to give them the unspecified also; or why any specification? They could not be so awkward in language as to mean, as we say, ‘all and some.’ And should this construction prevail, all limits to the federal government are done away.”
“Although the power to regulate commerce does not give a power to build piers, wharves, open ports, clear the beds of rivers, dig canals, build warehouses, build manufacturing machines, set up manufactories, cultivate the earth, to all of which the power would go if it went to the first, yet a power to provide and maintain a navy is a power to provide receptacles for it, and places to cover and preserve it.”
“They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please… Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.”

And you go on with:

No less an individual than James Madison argues against your point that the powers of Congress end at what is explicitly written. Instead, he argues that any such limitation would render the Constitution a joke on the level of the Articles of Confederation, the provisions unenforceable. He goes on to argue that nobody could have the foresight to come up with the lists of expressly given and removed powers necessary to define for Congress what legislative power they would have to carry out their authority.

Care to back any of that up? Where did Madison suggest such things? Cause here what I have him writing:

Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.
This Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties, as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose, for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

So please give me the quotes where Madison said that the legislative body of the federal government had the power to go beyond the specifically enumerated rights of the constitution, because what *I* have posted here tells a completely different story.

Posted by: rhinehold at June 25, 2009 11:47 PM
Comment #283649

RB said ,”“So knock them down and 3.2 to 2.8 million units left in fair to excellent shape for the Resale market.= Faster recovery back on the tax rolls and creating Jobs= less Blight and Hopelessness.
“” Response by “Rine” Yes! And ignore those nagging aspects of ‘civil rights’, ‘private property rights’ and freedom in general, the country is at stake!

Benjamin Franklin was a busybody!”

The Apple and Cherry and Peach Harvest is beautiful up here in Upstate NY Rine Come on Up!

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 26, 2009 2:06 PM
Comment #283662

Rhinehold-
The gist of it seems to be that they thought the Bill of Rights unnecessary, and that by implicitly acknowledging powers the government was not expressly given, they might give people reason to think those powers existed. despite not being mentioned.

As for the relevant sections of Federalist #44, here it is:

1. Of these the first is, the “power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

Few parts of the Constitution have been assailed with more intemperance than this; yet on a fair investigation of it, no part can appear more completely invulnerable. Without the SUBSTANCE of this power, the whole Constitution would be a dead letter. Those who object to the article, therefore, as a part of the Constitution, can only mean that the FORM of the provision is improper. But have they considered whether a better form could have been substituted?

There are four other possible methods which the Constitution might have taken on this subject. They might have copied the second article of the existing Confederation, which would have prohibited the exercise of any power not EXPRESSLY delegated; they might have attempted a positive enumeration of the powers comprehended under the general terms “necessary and proper”; they might have attempted a negative enumeration of them, by specifying the powers excepted from the general definition; they might have been altogether silent on the subject, leaving these necessary and proper powers to construction and inference.

Had the convention taken the first method of adopting the second article of Confederation, it is evident that the new Congress would be continually exposed, as their predecessors have been, to the alternative of construing the term “EXPRESSLY” with so much rigor, as to disarm the government of all real authority whatever, or with so much latitude as to destroy altogether the force of the restriction. It would be easy to show, if it were necessary, that no important power, delegated by the articles of Confederation, has been or can be executed by Congress, without recurring more or less to the doctrine of CONSTRUCTION or IMPLICATION. As the powers delegated under the new system are more extensive, the government which is to administer it would find itself still more distressed with the alternative of betraying the public interests by doing nothing, or of violating the Constitution by exercising powers indispensably necessary and proper, but, at the same time, not EXPRESSLY granted.

Had the convention attempted a positive enumeration of the powers necessary and proper for carrying their other powers into effect, the attempt would have involved a complete digest of laws on every subject to which the Constitution relates; accommodated too, not only to the existing state of things, but to all the possible changes which futurity may produce; for in every new application of a general power, the PARTICULAR POWERS, which are the means of attaining the OBJECT of the general power, must always necessarily vary with that object, and be often properly varied whilst the object remains the same.

Had they attempted to enumerate the particular powers or means not necessary or proper for carrying the general powers into execution, the task would have been no less chimerical; and would have been liable to this further objection, that every defect in the enumeration would have been equivalent to a positive grant of authority. If, to avoid this consequence, they had attempted a partial enumeration of the exceptions, and described the residue by the general terms, NOT NECESSARY OR PROPER, it must have happened that the enumeration would comprehend a few of the excepted powers only; that these would be such as would be least likely to be assumed or tolerated, because the enumeration would of course select such as would be least necessary or proper; and that the unnecessary and improper powers included in the residuum, would be less forcibly excepted, than if no partial enumeration had been made.

Had the Constitution been silent on this head, there can be no doubt that all the particular powers requisite as means of executing the general powers would have resulted to the government, by unavoidable implication. No axiom is more clearly established in law, or in reason, than that wherever the end is required, the means are authorized; wherever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power necessary for doing it is included. Had this last method, therefore, been pursued by the convention, every objection now urged against their plan would remain in all its plausibility; and the real inconveniency would be incurred of not removing a pretext which may be seized on critical occasions for drawing into question the essential powers of the Union.

If it be asked what is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part of the Constitution, and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer, the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them; as if the general power had been reduced to particulars, and any one of these were to be violated; the same, in short, as if the State legislatures should violate the irrespective constitutional authorities. In the first instance, the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in the last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers. The truth is, that this ultimate redress may be more confided in against unconstitutional acts of the federal than of the State legislatures, for this plain reason, that as every such act of the former will be an invasion of the rights of the latter, these will be ever ready to mark the innovation, to sound the alarm to the people, and to exert their local influence in effecting a change of federal representatives. There being no such intermediate body between the State legislatures and the people interested in watching the conduct of the former, violations of the State constitutions are more likely to remain unnoticed and unredressed.

Sorry I didn’t quote this earlier, I prefer to make points without an excess of quotation. I had trusted that you would simply follow my link and read my source. You didn’t, by any chance, happen to tell me where.

After a little detective work, I tracked down some of the documenst you quoted from,one of which is “The Question of a Bill of Rights”, a letter to Thomas Jefferson. I would draw your attention to a part closer to the end:

It is a melancholy reflection that liberty should be equally exposed to danger whether the Government have too much or too little power, and that the line which defines these extremes should be so inaccurately defined by experience.

Supposing a bill of rights to be proper … I am inclined to think that absolute restrictions in cases that are doubtful, or where emergencies may overrule them, ought to be avoided. The restrictions however strongly marked on paper will never be regarded when opposed to the decided sense of the public, and after repeated violations in extraordinary cases they will lose even their ordinary efficacy. Should a Rebellion or insurrection alarm the people as well as the Government, and a suspension of the Hab. Corp. be dictated by the alarm, no written prohibitions on earth would prevent the measure. … The best security agst these evils is to remove the pretext for them.

Madison was neither minimalist, nor hardliner. He believed that if you didn’t give government enough power, an emergency might cause people to deal with the extreme prohibitions by essentially allowing the violation, and that people would just get use to the violation. However, if you gave too much, obviously, bad things would happen.

He believed in a balance. He was an architect of the Constitution, and then a member of the party that got its start opposing it.

In your second and third quoted paragraphs (you unfortunately do not distinguish the sources of your quotes) Madison is not speaking out generally against the idea of the federal government lending them some aid. He was looking for a way around that issue, not making the refusal of charity a constitutional imperative.

Your last paragraph needs context. It is a protest against the Alien and Sedition Act. Few people consider it now to be a constitutionally sound law.

Want to quote Madison? How about this?

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

Later on:

If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure. There are but two methods of providing against this evil: the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority — that is, of the society itself; the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable. The first method prevails in all governments possessing an hereditary or self-appointed authority. This, at best, is but a precarious security; because a power independent of the society may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests of the minor party, and may possibly be turned against both parties.

See, his approach was not to essentially gut the power of the majority. He was very much in favor of a working government, because, of course, the alternative form of government would end up taking more power, by illegitimate means, to answer the call for the use of that power by a Public under great anxiety. Instead of such a counterproductive evisceration, his idea was essentially to break up government into many separate parts, with separate interests, and have their be a Congress where all these separate interests would spar.

Or to put it more plainly, his solution wasn’t a libertarian one, one more like Jefferson’s approach, but rather one where power interfered with power, but if those interests could agree on something, that something would go forward.

Unfortunately, you’re trying to shoehorn this fellow into your own political beliefs. Don’t forget, though: he’s a constitutionalist, which mean he chose a stronger federal government over a weaker, State oriented one. His scheme was not to make government as powerless as possible, but to condition the use of that power to the observation of rights, and the satisfaction of multiple different factions of political, civic, and religious opinion.

His view of government can be reduced to this:
1)Government moderates the People.
2)The Different parts and factions of government moderate each other.
3)The people moderate the government.

Madison did not limit government through a passive lack of authority. After all, he supports the Necessary and Proper Clause, which requires interpretation, rather than putting a laundry list of approved and prohibited powers.

Instead, he limits it through the feedbacks above. The beauty of this system, is that when people need the government to act on their behalf, it can do so. When they don’t want it to do so, there are all kinds of ways in which the overreach can be rolled back, prevented.

It’s always dangerous to go Hypothetical, but if Madison were transported to today, he would recognize the unique challenges of dealing with a society with advanced technology, with huge urban populations, some of which exceed in one city or urban region the population of all the United States as originally founded.

The Republicans don’t want checks and balances. They, having failed to resolve the differences of enough people on a subject to gain their trust, are instead resorting to artificial blocking tactics, that I’m sure Madison would find of dubious character. Americans elected Democrats, knowing what the Democrats planned to do. Even if they did not approve of all policies, they did not let the possibility that Democrats might move forward with that kind of Agenda discourage their vote.

It’s time for the Republicans to let themselves and their party represent the variety of thought that must exist among their constituencies, before the people of their states decide that they need representation more synchronized to their interests.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 26, 2009 8:28 PM
Comment #283839

“The Obama administration wants to bulldoze entire swaths of American cities in order to re-engineer them. The next logical step is forced re-locations.”

That may seem logical to you, but it’s illogical to anyone who, you know, actually uses logic. But it’s just what I’ve come to expect from this column of watchblog.

After all, the homes and other buildings being slated for destruction are not occupied - they’re vacant and abandoned buildings which their owners have allowed to deteriorate and become a nuisance.

Posted by: Greg House at July 1, 2009 5:31 PM
Comment #283880

rhinehold


stephen said:
“There is actually a Federalist Paper in which an argument is made against the Bill of Rights!”

you said:
“Yes, and do you know WHY they argued against it? Can you look in the mirror?”


i believe it was because they were concerned that by listing the rights future generations would assume those were the only natural rights free men had.

thus the the need for the ninth:

“Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Posted by: dbs at July 2, 2009 9:11 AM
Comment #283996

dbs-
No, the argument he makes is that by listing limits on the government’s ability to do things, it conversely implies that the government can do those things.

Your argument also suffers because you mention the ninth Amendment, which blows personal rights wide open, would invalidate the criticism you speculate upon.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 5, 2009 12:37 AM
Comment #284828

I know I’m off subject a bit, but……. Its not really the Obama administration that is destroying America, its Government in general. Our country is overun with politics. We cant even get a simple heath care bill passed without some nickle and dime add on holding it up. Nothing is being done. We are slowly watching the fall of America. The “change” we needed, we dident get. Politicans will be the downfall of America if we the people dont take back control of this country. We get to elect a few officials and thats it. We have no say in reguards to government operation. It dosent matter who we elect they will always do as they please once they get into office. I know this blog probably wasnt intended to vent but I like most Americans have no one to listen, no stage to be heard, and actually no voice at all.

Posted by: Perry at July 22, 2009 5:45 PM
Post a comment