"Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold, and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the Emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor, and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich - whose gold was taken away - would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor - who received the gold from the hands of soldiers - would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first—and then they will joyfully share their wealth."
-- John Chrysostom
"Necessity is the argument of tyrants: it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
Republicans are ecstatic about Senator Collins' remarks today announcing that she will vote to confirm Kavanaugh. I just watched a portion of that speech and don't share their enthusiasm. Her support for the nominee is based in the outrageous claim made by Kavanaugh in his testimony that he believes the concept of "stare decisis," or strict adherence to judicial precedent, to be rooted in the Constitution and Federalist #78, when nothing could be further from the truth.
In short, the GOP is "winning" another seat on the Supreme Court, by continuing to abjectly surrender our actual American form of constitutional republican self-government. A pyrrhic "victory" if there ever was one.
It's a slow-moving but steady coup d'etat, and the people are, sadly, too ignorant of what our government is supposed to be to see what's right in front of their face.
“You seem . . . to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Jarvis, Sept. 28, 1820)
“…The candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.” (Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address)
"The great question of our institutions is a moral question. Shall we use our power for self-aggrandizement or for service? It has been lack of moral fibre which has been the downfall of the peoples of the past."
-- Calvin Coolidge, to the Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier, January 18, 1921
Truth in American Education
Shane Vander Hart
Education Week reports that the FY2019 Appropriations Bill that was passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump represents, not counting inflation, the largest appropriations for the U.S. Department of Education. They write:
In total, the bill Trump signed into law sets the department’s budget at $71.5 billion for fiscal 2019, an increase over fiscal 2018 of $581 million, although that figure doesn’t include a rescission of $500 million from Pell Grant reserves. In general, the fiscal 2019 budget impacts education funding for the 2019-20 school year. The spending package largely ignores the push from Trump and DeVos to create new school choice programs, as well as their proposals to cut the Education Department’s overall budget.
Not adjusting for inflation, the $71.5 billion budget is the largest-ever appropriation from Congress for the Education Department.
Read this story at truthinamericaneducation.com ...
Letters of Note
August 7, 1865
To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee
Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.
I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, "Them colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.
As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams's Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.
In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.
Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.
From your old servant,
In 1864, after 32 long years in the service of his master, Jourdon Anderson and his wife, Amanda, escaped a life of slavery when Union Army soldiers freed them from the plantation on which they had been working so tirelessly. They grasped the opportunity with vigour, quickly moved to Ohio where Jourdon could find paid work with which to support his growing family, and didn’t look back. Then, a year later, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Jourdon received a desperate letter from Patrick Henry Anderson, the man who used to own him, in which he was asked to return to work on the plantation and rescue his ailing business.
Jourdon’s reply to the person who enslaved his family, dictated from his home on August 7th, is everything you could wish for, and quite rightly was subsequently reprinted in numerous newspapers. Jourdon Anderson never returned to Big Spring, Tennessee. He passed away in 1907, aged 81, and is buried alongside his wife who died six years later. Together they had a total of eleven children.
(This letter, along with 124 other fascinating pieces of correspondence, can be found in the bestselling book, Letters of Note. For more info, visit Books of Note; Image: A group of escaped slaves in Virginia in 1862, courtesy of the Library of Congress.)
“There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”
-- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, #78.
In the exact same way, of course, no judicial opinion, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.
“Every law consistent with the Constitution will have been made in pursuance of the powers granted by it. Every usurpation or law repugnant to it cannot have been made in pursuance of its powers. The latter will be nugatory and void.”
-- Thomas Jefferson, Elliot, p. 4:187-88.
"If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain."
-- George Carlin
“…the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding...”
-- Alexander Hamilton, Elliot, 2:362.
“A tub was brought in to melt snow for mortar. They heard somebody saying it was twelve o'clock already.
"It's sure to be twelve," Shukhov announced. "The sun's over the top already."
"If it is," the captain retorted, "it's one o'clock, not twelve."
"How do you make that out?" Shukhov asked in surprise.
"The old folk say the sun is highest at dinnertime."
"Maybe it was in their day!" the captain snapped back. "Since then it's been decreed that the sun is highest at one o'clock."
"Who decreed that?"
"The Soviet government."
The captain took off with the handbarrow, but Shukhov wasn't going to argue anyway. As if the sun would obey their decrees!”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
“In view of the large families of the Slav native population, it could only suit us if girls and women there [Poland and Russia] had as many abortions as possible. Active trade in contraceptives ought to actually be encouraged in the Eastern territories, as we could not possibly have the slightest interest in increasing the non-German population. … We must use every means to instill in the population the idea that it is harmful to have several children, the expenses that they cause and the dangerous effect on woman’s health. … It will be necessary to open special institutions for abortions [“clinics”] and doctors must be able to help out there in case there is any question of this being a breach of their professional ethics.”
-- Adolf Hitler, Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier, 1941-42
“It is not true that the legislator has absolute power over our persons and property. The existence of persons and property preceded the existence of the legislator, and his function is only to guarantee their safety.”
― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law
“A great writer is, so to speak, a second government in his country. And for that reason no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Every man always has handy a dozen glib little reasons why he is right not to sacrifice himself.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
“Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Power is a poison well known for thousands of years. If only no one were ever to acquire material power over others! But to the human being who has faith in some force that holds dominion over all of us, and who is therefore conscious of his own limitations, power is not necessarily fatal. For those, however, who are unaware of any higher sphere, it is a deadly poison. For them there is no antidote.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
“The solemn pledge to abstain from telling the truth was called socialist realism.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“It is here that we see the dawn of hope: for no matter how formidably Communism bristles with tanks and rockets, no matter what successes it attains in seizing the planet, it is doomed never to vanquish Christianity.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated …."
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to C. Hammond, July 1821
"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."
-- John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790.
"No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown."
-- William Penn