Comparison and Discussion of how strong centeral governments form

In 1787 the office of the President was created with the creation of the 2nd Constitution. This office, it was felt, was needed to help run the United States and enforce the laws laid out by the Congress. If we look at the Constitution, article II is shorter than article I suggesting the framers intended more power, and thus more restriction, upon the Congress.

The power of the executive comes from those that support him. People grant the executive power when decisions need to be made NOW and for Everyone. When the environment allows for more deliberation power shifts to the large body. So historically we can point to several contrasts. England and the US on one side, France and Russia on the other.

England and the US are effectively islands. The US is continental, but with Mexico and Canada as its neighbors it was never under threat (before the 20th century). England is the lower 3/5th of Great Brittan. The Scots were rarely a threat and after King James I the two kingdoms were politically bound.  Opposed to that are France and Russia. France is bordered by Spain, Italy, the Low countries, and the Germans. Russia by the Germans, Swedes, Turks, Mongols, Eastern Romans, and internally very large with many people who sometimes rise up.

Both France and Russia are constantly under attack in history and having to push back and outward to maintain itself. These military demands granted the monarch, the executive, more and more power. England and the US are rarely under attack. Invasions are rare, internal insurrection is uncommon. As a result both places developed stronger Legislative Bodies at the expense of the Executive.

The US president was very weak until the 20th century. What happened in the 20th? Well, it started off with America conquering an empire in 1898, then two world wars which lead directly into a 40 year long Cold war with the possibility of total annihilation. That ended in 1992 but backed right into the War on Terror, the first real invasion of the USA since 1812.

These events saw the creation of a standing army for the first time in us history. Coupled with the Progressive movement and social demands on the state, the combination of Military and Social demands has grown the state and the Executive power to levels that King George III would envy.

In the last 5 years, Executive power has taken much greater leaps and bounds by breaking free from Congressional checks. Laws are simply ignored, rules violated, and no one is holding the Executive’s feet to the fire.  While the next president or the one after might follow the rules and checks and balances, the precedent has been set and it has been shown that with the right kind of Charisma, dictatorial power can be assumed.




Progressivsim, the destroyer of natural rights

In 1776, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.”

Thus the founders expressed natural laws, natural rights, as the foundation for American Governance.

in the early 1900s the progressives chucked out natural rights for “Scientific” government.

mind you that “science” in the late 19th century was nothing of the sort. Some guy who might or might not have actually studied something made declarations with fancy sounding words and people assumed it was science. Such things were used to justify segregation, attacks on Asians and Indians, deportment of illegals, and subjugation to the state.

If the progressives wrote the declaration of independence they would write:

“We hold these facts to be scientifically proven by the best minds of the era that not all men are equal. Some men are better suited to lead and thus by that situation are required to direct all others toward more efficient and harmonious living…”

Some stats on 2nd term mid term elections

So the following are a list of presidents who were around for 2nd term mid term elections.

Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Reagan, Clinton, and W Bush.

The following is a change in congressional seats in each of these 2nd term midterms.

In 1795, the 4th congress, Washington picked up senators but lost house members. A split.

In 1807, the 10th congress Jefferson made very shallow gains in both houses.

In 1815, the 14th congress, Madison lost in the Senate, but Gained in the house.

In 1823, the 18th congress the Federalists had almost collapsed and the Republicans had fractured into Clay, Jackson, and Adams factions. Its very hard to figure who gained, but the federalists lost more seats in both houses.  Monroe didn’t seem to notice.

In 1835,  the 24th congress, Jackson picked up in the senate, but lost in the house. The parties were very much split up at this time, the nascent Democrat party and the rump national republicans were fighting with nullifies and an anti-mason party.

In 1875, the 44th congress, Grant lost in the senate and lost big in the house. this foreshadows the election of 1876 wherein Hayes loses the popular vote, ties the electoral vote and wins the presidency by handing the south over to the democrats. The end of reconstruction and the start of Jim Crow.

In 1907, the 60th congress, Teddy Roosevelt picked up a handful of seats in both houses.

in 1919, the 66th congress, Wilson lost in the senate and in the house. His war time victory did not pull political capital.

in 1927,  the 70th congress, Calvin Coolidge lost in both houses but maintained majorities.

in 1939, the 75th congress, FDR lost in both houses.

in 1951, the 82nd congress, Truman lost in both houses.

in 1959, the 86th congress, Eisenhower lost rather big in the congress.

in 1967, the 90th congress, Johnson lost in both houses, Dems maintained majority however.

in 1987, the 100th congress, Reagan lost 8 in the senate and 3 in the house.

in 1999, the 106th congress, Clinton Broke even in the senate and gained 4 in the house.

in 2007, the 110th congress, Bush lost his majorities in both house houses.

in 2015, the 115th congress, who knows…..

The reason for compiling this data is that previous entry. People want to know what will happen.

16 presidents have had a 2nd term Midterm election.

Of them:

4 Were splits (including Monroe)

3 Were gains (Including the narrow gains of Clinton 1998)

9 Were loses

Acceptable Americans over time

In 1607 some English guys showed up on the James river and built a town in a swamp. Most died.  in 1620 some more English guys showed up, this time on Massachusetts bay and built a city, many died. In 1630 even more English guys showed up, further north and built a city, a few died.

These men, and women, were White English Protestants, either Anglican or Calvinists. And over a few generations their children identified themselves as “American”. There were many people here already, the Powhattan, the Wamanoag, the Iroquois, the Algonquin, the Lennapee, and hundreds of others on the east coast area. They did not see themselves as American but as members of smaller units.

As prosperity came to the English colonies, and the English conquered the Dutch in 1665 non Anglican, non Calvinist, non English people began to show up in the colonies. Germans, Irish, Dutch, French, etc. Were they truly American or would they ever assimilate?

Ben Franklin in the 1760s and 1770s wondered about all the Germans living in western Pennsylvania and if their Lutheran style and non English ways would ever assimilate. He did not believe they would.

Over time immigration from Europe increased. The Irish brought a major cultural problem because they were Roman Catholic, or “Papist”. They had strange ways about them, they were Gaelic and not Nordic.  Being Nordic tied the Germans and English together and opened the ways for the Dutch, and Scandinavian peoples. Who could be White increased.

There were also many Blacks in the country, primarily in the south, and primarily slaves, but they were still there. They created a contrast to the peoples who were not black. Their Americaness was debated hotly in the antebellum period.

In 1848 The United states conquered and bought the South West from Mexico. We Absorbed 75,000 Latinos, nearly all of whom were Catholic and not very white. In 1865 the South was defeated and Emancipation was enforced upon them by the 13th Amendment. 4 Million Black men and women were given nearly equal status (only for a short period)  and the backlash against this massive upheaveal was felt for the next hundred years under the phrase Jim Crow.

By this time the Germans were fully American and the Irish were nearly American. Out west the Irish were far more accepted than they were back east where their numbers were concentrated in the cities.

Then came the Gilded age and a substantial shift in Immigration. Eastern and Southern Europeans began pouring in as did Chinese and Japanese. These people were not protestants, they were Catholics, Orthodox, and Buddhist. They were most certainly not white (Slavic people were considered more Mongolian than white in the 19th century) and they would never assimilate to American culture.  I wonder how such 19th century nativists would react to 2007’s Speaker of the house Nancy Peloci. (Italian name for those who don’t get it), or more sharply 1961’s president John Kennedy, Irish Catholic.

The nature of what it meant to be American was redefined in the Gilded age. To be an American meant to be “A man” strong, vigorous, willing to fight and test ones self. It allowed, in the more ideal sense, non whites to prove themselves and rise up. Some did, most were not afforded this Ideal.

By the 1900s There had been a radical change in Ideology. Progressive reformers looking to fix the problems wrought by industrialization expanded to seek social reform. Women and Blacks fought for more recognition. The World Wars brought demand for their labor and resources which both empowered them to demand respect in return and emboldened them to believe they should be respected.  The rhetoric used to justify the war on Hitler and the following cold war was turned around on the old school leadership that a new generation of ethnic minorities, going to college for the first time en mass, began to demand their political and cultural equality.

Women and Blacks moved first, followed by Latinos, Asians, gays, and everyone else. Is Marco Rubio an American? What about Al Sharpton? Joe Biden? Nikki Haley?  All of these people would not be included in the past because of Faith or Genetics. Now they are.

The woman who just won Miss America was called “unamerican” because of the color of her skin. She was called Arab by some idiots, and other idiots trumpeted that stupidity across the internet. But are we really surprised?

the US state department sent Arab translators to Afghanistan where Arab is only used for reading the Koran. The US government is so poorly educated as to how the world works, and this is reflected in our general public. The education of the world in this country is so lacking because such education is based on learning a mountain of facts, an act that Liberal Education opposes. Why learn facts when we can explore feelings.

The ignorance that Liberalism professes to hate is caused by the actions liberal education takes. Not using intelligence, data collection and study, but instead exploring feelings.

People feel dark skin = arab, so they say it. Liberals usually say “what ever you feel is good” unless you say things they don’t like then they call you a gay slur.

The gilded age, the age of Manliness

The gilded age is where I have been focusing my work lately. The age of Manliness. The Spanish American war was fought for an empire, to be sure, but also to test the Manliness of a generation who grew up after the civil war.

in 1898 the public was chomping at the bit for a war. in 1998 they were very angry when the president blew up some guys in Kosovo.


Primary Sources

Im a few dozen pages into Teddy Roosevelt’s “The rough riders” and it was written about 114 years ago after the Spanish-American war.

The fascinating thing is how much Teddy tells us, frankly, about how he sees the world and how things should be.

The chapter where he trains the Rough Riders discusses how men should comport themselves. with Honor, hard work, diligence, and not asking for favors but earning positions.

the phrase “native American” was used which i found fascinating.

comments about drunkenness which reflect his previous actions trying to dry out New York City are slipped in.

The justification and mindset of the war, a short victorious war, good for american blood and spirit, these are talked about too. War was seen as a good thing, a testing ground.

Remembering 9/11

12 years ago we were attacked by al qaeda. It wasn’t the first time, or the last. They hit us again at Fort Hood, at Boston. They also hit London, Paris, Madrid, and places in Africa, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and all over the world.

Al qaeda is arabic for “The base” or network, group, collection. It is a network of terror cells and supporters and funders. Unlike a Bond Villain there is no al qaeda world head quarters with a huge round table filled with colorful characters all bowing down to the new Bin Laden who has a monocle and a cat.  They work through the internet and messengers.

They are a new type of army. They are a non national threat. Many people say “We can’t be at war with them, they aren’t a country.”

This is telling since countries as we know them didn’t exist until the 1790s. Before then there were kingdoms, cities, empires, but not countries.

Since 9/11/01 everyone wants to make a public display of remembering 9/11. I have met people who have lost friends and family on 9/11. But what have we done? We have tied our hands and headbutted al qaeda around. Not fighting a serious war. We are so peace oriented that we can not muster the force to destroy this little pest. The giant wont wake up.

We have anti war movements in the face of being under siege. This is how powerful we think we are, that we are immune to such threats.

We think we have brought it upon ourselves. What did we do to the Cechyian brothers who hit us at Boston? We did nothing to them other than offend their religion. What did we do to Nadal Asan? nothing but offend his religion.

What did Spain do to al qaeda, they weren’t messing around in the middle east, yet they were attacked. Or France?

To say we brought this upon ourselves is to say being who we are is offensive to some and WE should be punished for other peoples’ opinion of us. Meaning, our liberalism, women’s lib, religious toleration, open culture, those are the reasons we were attacked.  We are different from them and we are a threat to them.

Remember that instead of a stupid candle.  Remember that the threat remains undefeated.

Remember that Obama is now aiding al qaeda by attacking Bashar Al-Assad.

Gun control debtae, Plato style

Charlton and his friend Ted were sitting in a cafe, Ted was reading the news paper and the headline said “Gun control bill moves to floor for a vote.”  Ted said “I think this law would put a stop to the shootings.”

Charlton put his coffee down and said “Why is that?”

“It will make it illegal to own a gun,” Ted replied.

“But isn’t it illegal to shoot some one?” Charlton asked.

“In most cases, yes,”

“So that law has already failed,” Charlton said.

“True, but this law prevents the manufacture and import of guns,” Ted said.

“Isn’t it illegal to come into the country without crossing at the check point?” Charlton asked.

“Yes, of course,” Ted agreed.

“So, wouldn’t people smuggle in guns the same way they smuggle people?”

“I suppose this could be true,”

“and so we could never stop the flow of guns, even if we outlawed their importation,” Charlton pointed out.

“I see, yes. But they would still be illegal to own,”

“So, lets define criminal. Would you agree that a Criminal is a person who ignores the law and does as he or she wishes?” Charlton proposed.

“of course,” Ted nodded.

“Then this gun law would be ignored by people who would Intend you harm, and followed by the targets of that harm,” Charlton connected.

“But what of the police?”

“Can the police be everywhere at all times?”

“No, of course not!” Ted stated,

“Then the men and women who would remained armed would be the only ones to use this power in violation of public safety, while those who would be disarmed would be the only ones to use this power in support of public and personal safety.”

“But if this is true, why pass this law?” Ted asked.

Charlton sipped his coffee.

Happy birthday California!

Today is the 163rd birthday of the State of California.

First encountered in the 1500s by the spanish, (or 7,000s BCE by the natives) it was thought to be an island because the spanish encountered Baja first. Eventually they realized it was attached to the main land. But they still named it for a fictional island Califa.

Biologically it is rather island like, it has a number of major barriers keeping outsiders out, the Sierra Nevada mountains are a major example.

The spanish had a hard time with the place, it was too far from Mexico City to entice many to move there. As a result few did. They called themselves Californios and they were distinct from other cultures developing throughout new spain.

The missions were unkind to downright brutal to the natives, but luckily enough, at first, the missions only preyed (and prayed) upon coastal natives. They started going farther inland to find “converts” but that came later.

In 1810 Napoleon invaded Spain and broke the last straw holding their new world empire together. The uprisings broke up and by 1821 Mexico was free from Spain. The Mexican government destroyed the mission system because they were far more secular than their Spanish mother country. They also realized that the British moving in from Oregon proved  a threat so they threw open their doors to Immigrants who would 1) learn Spanish 2) convert to roman catholic and 3) be good Mexican citizens.

Many took up the offer in Texas and California. (New Mexico, which includes modern day New Mexico and Arizona, had about 50-60,000 people already and didn’t need filling up), John Bidwell, John Sutter, and Alexander Leidesdorf were three of many men who gained much land in California by applying for land grants. The problem was these men came from protestant backgrounds and rarely converted to Catholicisms or embraced Mexican nationalism.

In 1844, James K Polk was elected president, (3rd Democrat to ascend) and part of his platform was Manifest destiny. He was a disciple of Andrew Jackson and a military veteran. He pushed American boarders in the Oregon area and along the Texas boarder. Texas joined the USA in 1845 and Mexico decided that Josè don’t play that. 

About the time that Zachary Taylor and Robert E. Lee were fighting in and around Mexico, Captain John C Frèmont was “exploring” California. He may or may not have had orders from Polk or a flunky of the president’s to help speed up the process of taking California.  Frèmont talked to a number of American settlers in California, and a handful of unhappy Latino Californios and helped to start the Bear Flag Revolt. about 600 people vs the might of the Mexican army in California. The battle was met and Mariano Vallejo was locked up in his house.

Commodore Stockton landed marines on long beach and the Battle of Los Angles was the other major battle.

By 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and the transfer of $50,000 dollars brought much of the south west into US hands. the Gadsen Purchase would finish the south western boarder.

Shortly there after, John Sutter was building a Lumber Mill when John Marshall discovered gold. Sam Brannan overheard Sutter and Marshal talking. He went to san Fran and bought up mining supplies then broadly announced “GOLD!”

cleaning up on his mining supplies, people ran up river to find their gold. by 1850 10% of People in America lived in California. Not only White Americans, but some blacks (both free and slave), many Mexicans from the Sonoran Mines, Latinos from all over south and central America, Europeans of many kinds, some direct from Europe and last and not least, the Chinese looking for Gum Shan, the mountain of gold.

California had enough people that it went from acquired land to state in 1850 September 9.

This created a slight problem. From 1820 through 1850 the national slavery debate had been kept in check by the senate. 2 senators from each state. each state gets an equal voice. 1820 Missouri and Maine were admitted. One slave, one Free. California was admitted alone, it was Free. it was the 31st state, 16 free, 15 Slave.

As part of the compromise of 1850, which is how California was admitted, The south would balance its loss of power in the Senate with a strong fugitive slave law. It also opened up Arizona and New Mexico to slavery, should the voters so choose.  But other issues were coming to a head.  The north was industrializing, the west was going small farms, and the south was boxed in. California created a stop, no more expansion west.

They thought about Annexing Cuba, but that failed to work out.

California was one of several key factors that triggered the Civil war.

Zachary Taylor was elected president in 1848 as the second Whig to be elected, he died in 1850. After him, Filmore, Pierce, and Buchanan all failed to reduce the stress between north and south.  The Kansas-Nebraska act pushed by Stephan Douglas to get a rail road to California caused bleeding Kansas, a civil war in the farm country. John Brown got his violent start there which ended at Harper Ferry in 1859.

The Fugitive slave law caused resentment form people in the North. Now they would be FORCED to enforce southern slavery. Blacks in the north were not safe as slave catchers didn’t care about a person’s status.

In 1854 a coalition of former Whigs (the party dissolved), free soilers, and abolitionists formed the Republican party and in 1856 ran John C Frèmont against James Buchanan. They didn’t win.

By 1860 the country was ready to split. The Democrat Party ran both Northern and Southern candidates allowing Lincoln to win. The civil war had begun.

All of this triggered by California entering the union 163 years ago today.

Why Butter is not civilized

So, I am sitting here eating a late supper, eggs and buttered toast. Damn that butter makes the toast taste good.

Toast is civilized food, that is food that comes from an urban environment, again that is food from a settled population who have time to invest not only in grain farms, but ovens to bake bread. 

Butter, as some of you might know, comes from milk, usually cattle milk, and people who domesticated great beasts like cattle, camels, horses, goats, pigs, sheep, were nomadic, ie not civilized, again that is to say, did not live in cities.  It is hard to raise cattle in a city, very little for them to graze upon and the manure piles up quickly.

Dairy products were first developed by the semi nomadic pastoral peoples of the world. True many eventually settled down and adopted urban ways. Arabs are a great example, but so are Turks, Mongols (some), Huns, and others.

One story i have heard is that dairy products happened when nomadic horsemen stored milk in a leather bladder attached to the horse and as they galloped around in the heat, the milk churned into some kind of butter or yogurt. It was good, so they played around with it.  They now had an extra thing to trade with city people. Leather, meat, and now butter.

Butter is barbarian food because good “Civilized” people don’t have time to futz around touching non human boobs to extract milk….  and then churn it into butter. Well, they eventually learned. Once states expanded beyond the small hinterlands of a single city there became room for ranches. the Pastoral and Agrarian side of life was united in a new civilization type….