Constitution 101 (8)

Lesson 8: “Abraham Lincoln and the Constitution”

Study Guide

Overview:

Abraham Lincoln’s fidelity to the Declaration of Independence is equally a fidelity to the Constitution. The Constitution takes its moral life from the principles of liberty and equality, and was created to serve those principles. We are divided as a nation today, as in Lincoln’s time, because we have severed the connection between these two documents.

Lincoln’s “Fragment on the Constitution and the Union” contains the central theme of Lincoln’s life and work. Drawing upon biblical language, Lincoln describes the Declaration of Independence as an “apple of gold,” and the Constitution as the “frame of silver” around it. We cannot consider the Constitution independently of the purpose which it was designed to serve.

The Constitution acts to guard the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. As the embodiment of the Declaration’s principles, the Constitution created a frame of government with a clear objective. The Constitution is not a collection of compromises, or an empty vessel whose meaning can be redefined to meet the needs of the time; it is the embodiment of an eternal, immutable truth.

Abraham Lincoln defended the Union and sought to defeat the Confederate insurrection because he held that the principles of the Declaration and Constitution were inviolable. In his speeches and in his statecraft, Lincoln wished to demonstrate that self-government is not doomed to either be so strong that it overwhelms the rights of the people or so weak that it is incapable of surviving.

Joke of the Day

Chicken Gun

Scientists at Rolls Royce built a gun specifically to launch dead chickens at the windshields of airliners and military jets all travelling at maximum velocity. The idea was to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields.

American engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made, and a gun was sent to the American engineers.

When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer’s back-rest in two and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin like an arrow shot from a bow..

The horrified engineers sent Rolls Royce the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield and begged the British scientists for suggestions.

Rolls Royce responded with a one-line memo:

Defrost the chicken..

By the Way…The Civil War Started Today

A few moments in history from American Minute:

Less than two months after Lincoln was inaugurated President, the Civil War began APRIL 12, 1861, with Confederate troops in Charleston, South Carolina, firing upon Fort Sumter.

The Confederate Army was unstoppable, twice winning battles at Bull Run, Virginia, just twenty miles from Washington, D.C., forcing the Union troops to retreat to the fortifications of the Capitol.

It was not until the Battle of Gettysburg, over two years into the war, that the tide began to turn. President Lincoln confided to Noah Brooks:

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

In his General Order, November 15, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln wrote:

“The President, Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in the military and naval service.

The importance for man and beast of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, and a due regard for the Divine Will demand that Sunday labor in the Army and Navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity.”

I guess Abe wasn’t aware of the ‘Separation of Church & State”.

Promises, Promises

From Joe ‘Pags’ Pagliarulo & The Blaze:

Most of us outside of Illinois became aware of Barack Obama in 2004.  He was a candidate for senator and asked to give a speech at the Democratic convention that year in Boston.  He was interesting.  A fresh face — in stark contrast to old Washington embodied by the Democrat nominee Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.  He had a certain confidence, youth and ability to grab your attention with how he delivered the speech.  It would be a few years before we really started understanding who this man was politically.

In 2007 — when some of the candidates running for the 2008 nominations on both sides of the aisle became apparent — I was brought into New York to do a show for CNN.  On the show were: Roland Martin (liberal currently with CNN), Rachel Maddow (liberal currently with MSNBC), and one other man — another liberal whose name escapes me, and me – the lone conservative on the panel.  It was assumed I’d be pulling for Rudy Giuliani the former mayor of New York, I guess, because we were both white and Italian.  It was odd that the assumption was made.  I made it clear, however, that I was not a Giuliani guy because of his stance on abortion.  I mentioned I was looking into McCain but was also looking into Obama.  Why?  Because he was young, energetic and gave one heck off a speech.  I still didn’t know much about him other than what I saw and heard — like most Americans.

  The examination didn’t take long before I found out he was the most vehement supporter of abortion I’d ever heard speak and he was, at his very core, a socialist.  He was and is a guy that believes the ruling class gets all the spoils and the rest of us idiots get what the bloated government decides we should get and we should thank said government for the table scraps.

Obama ran on feel good messages like, “Yes We Can!” and “Change You Can Believe In.” He was going to cut the deficit and fix everything George W. Bush did wrong. As soon as he got into office, of course, he raised taxes on regular Americans ($.62 per pack on cigarettes) and pushed through the stimulus package which cost the American taxpayers nearly a trillion dollars after which we saw the economy get exponentially worse, not better as promised.  How did he get these things done?  There is a formula.  Say whatever it takes to get a law passed, smile a lot and do whatever you want in the end.  Remember how he would never raise any tax of any kind for individuals making less than $200k per year or families making less than  $250k?

 ”I can make a firm pledge under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”  Barack Obama – September 12, 2008.

He clearly didn’t mean it, but it was a talking point he repeated knowing full-well it would resonate with voters.  He pledged over and over again to put every bill online for us to see for five days before they were brought to a vote.  He would stop “corporate welfare.”  He promised transparency, and more.  Matter of fact, he listed seven things he’d stop or change:  

1. Make Government Open and Transparent
2. Make it “Impossible” for Congressmen to slip in Pork Barrel Projects
3. Meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public (republicans shut out)
4. No more secrecy
5. Public will have 5 days to look at a Bill
6. You’ll know what’s in it (Republican Senators didn’t know)
7. We will put every pork barrel project online 

This has become a predictable pattern for this president.  He’ll say anything and whether he plans to follow through has never mattered. He’ll say anything no matter its validity, and not think twice about it. He’ll repeat it until the words saturate the American psyche and many blind followers will fall in line and continue the repetition for him. He must have gotten bored of the same ol’ same ol’ because now he’s added the non sequitur to his repertoire and he’s brought back a favorite from the middle of last year. It’s really a variation on a theme: The rich have what they have and that’s not fair. The regular/average American deserves it all too and we can get it for them by taking it from those evil rich people and corporations. 

Last June, the president put his new-found fondness for things that just don’t have anything to do with one another to good use. He started saying things like:

“If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, corporate jet owners, hedge fund managers, oil & gas companies that are making 100′s of Billions of dollars, then that means we have to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship. That means we have to stop funding certain grants for medical research. That means that food safety may be compromised. That means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden. Those are the choices we have to make.

Before we ask our seniors to pay for more healthcare, before we cut our children’s education, before we sacrifice our commitment to the research and innovation that will help create more jobs in the economy, I think it’s only fair to ask an oil company or corporate jet owner that has done so well, to give up that tax break that no other business enjoys. I don’t think that’s real radical. I think the majority of Americans agree with that.” – President Barack Obama News Conference 06/29/11

It, on its face, was ridiculous. Do you really think that because rich people have earned a lot of money through hard work or entrepreneurial spirit or invention and have been able to buy nice things that people can’t go to college? Or that the elderly can’t get care? Or that food won’t be safe? Really? It was crazy and without merit but, he must have liked how it sounded because repeated it whenever he saw a camera or a microphone or newspaper writer. The message didn’t work, and taxes weren’t raised on the “evil rich,” but, he must have felt the strategy still had legs because it’s back.

The latest incarnation of the Obama non sequitur reared it’s ugly head on March 29th. This time, the president once again, went after big oil. Much like he did last year, the president said, “Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make. They can stand with big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.” Huh? Are oil companies somehow not American? The reason for the Rose Garden speech was to pit big oil against the American people and playing the two sides against the middle — that middle being Congress. The only problem: there is no back and forth between the American people and the oil companies. The American people lay the blame for the highest gas prices we’ve ever seen this time of the year squarely on the shoulders of the Obama administration.

The suggestion through the rhetoric was that if Congress stopped the tax deductions for the big oil companies, the burden on taxpayers (and gasoline users) would be lessened. He wants us to believe that he’ll either send the money to us (yeah right) or the price at the pump will go down if the deductions were ended. Think about it. Do you really think the price per gallon will go down should Congress decide to increase the tax burden on these companies? The plan, of course, is to divert attention from him and his administration to Congress to cast the blame there. He knows going in that Congress will not stop the tax deductions — but that’s not the real goal. He cannot run on his record. He cannot point to how he’s held to his campaign promises, or fixed the economy, or not raised taxes on regular folks, or held unemployment to under 8 percent. So, the only real campaign plan is to find a boogie-man (or men and women).

If the gasoline prices happen to fall between now and the election, you won’t hear anything else about it. If they stay high or go higher, the president will remind us all how he tried to get Congress to go after the oil companies and how the REPUBLICANS refused. Smart. Underhanded. Disingenuous. Politics.

Shark-Away

Divers often resort to metal armour, harpoons or simply staying in a cage to protect themselves from sharks, but researchers have shown that magnets could be the way to ensure ‘safety beneath the waves.’

Chemist Eric Stroud runs a research company called SharkDefense, and he’s proved that some sharks cannot bear to be near magnets.

He first discovered this in 2005 when he accidentally dropped one into his shark research tanks in Oak Ridge, New Jersey.

The resident lemon and nurse sharks inside raced away from the magnets as fast as they could.

He demonstrates just how effective magnets are at repelling sharks in a video (below) in the Bahamas.

The footage shows one of his collegues coaxing a small lemon shark into a sleep-like state by holding it gently upside down.

Mr Stroud then holds a piece of card next to the shark to make sure it can’t see what’s coming and moves a magnet right next to its head.

The shark instantly bends away from it, unable to stand being close by. Mr Stroud believes the process that’s taking place, is the magnet interfering with the shark’s electrical sensors, called the ampullae of Lorenzini.

These are used by the creatures to find their way around, because they tune in to the electric fields of ocean currents.

Mr Stroud said, ‘It’s probably something like a bright flashlight across your eyes. It’s just temporarily blinding, and you’re startled. And it’s not pleasant.’

Mr Stroud believes his work can not only help to keep swimmers and divers safe, but protect shark populations, too, which often get caught in nets and on fishing hooks.

To this end repelsharks.com already sells magnetic fish hooks developed by SharkDefense, while Stroud suggests that rows of underground magnets would be a far better way of keeping swimmers safe, while at the same time ensuring the sharks come to no harm.

However, not everyone is convinced of the effectiveness of magnets at keeping sharks at bay. Popular TV show Mythbusters conducted a series of experiments to test the theory and found that magnets only work with some species of shark, and not in every circumstance. It showed that lemon sharks ignored the magnets when there was food attached to them.

Attribution: The World

Joke du Jour

A little girl walks into a pet shop and asks in the sweetest little lisp: “Excuthe me, mithter, do you keep wittle wabbits?”

And the shopkeeper gets down on his knees, so that he’s on her level, and asks: “Do you want a wittle white wabbit or a soft and fuwwy bwack wabbit or maybe one like that cute wittle bwown wabbit over there?”

The little girl puts her hands on her knees, leans forward and says in a quiet voice: “I don’t fink my pyfon really giveths a cwap.”

Afghanistan; What’s the Point?

By: The Common Constitutionalist

The attack on Afghanistan began Oct. 7, 2001 dubbed operation ‘Enduring Freedom’. It was in response to the 9/11 attacks. The stated goal was the dismantling of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and ending its use of Afghanistan as a base.

The United States also said that it would remove the Taliban regime from power and attempt to create a viable democratic state.

The George W. Bush administration stated that, as policy, it would not distinguish between terrorist organizations and nations or governments that harbored them. Of course, it did, Saudi Arabia being a prime example.

On June 22, 2011, President Obama announced that the end of 2011 would withdraw 10,000 U.S. troops. An additional 23,000 troops will leave the country by the summer of 2012. After the withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops, 80,000 are left participating in the war. The War in Afghanistan is the United States’ second longest running military conflict, only the Vietnam War lasted longer.

 Almost 2,000 deaths, over 15,000 wounded. For what? What is our vital interest? I have been searching for days to find what our mission actually is over there. I cannot.

What a monumental waste of manpower, money and time. Our brave forces volunteer for military service, only to be sent over to that hellhole to be shot at & blown up & for what? They don’t know what the mission is. They don’t know what they’re fighting for. They are just told to clear those buildings, clear that road, etc. That’s not a mission. That’s a task and a very dangerous one at that. Especially when more often than not they can’t even shoot back without special permission. The enemy can shoot at us, exhaust his supply of ammunition, put the weapon & simply walk away. We are not allowed to fire on him as he calmly strolls away.

Just imagine if General Patton were told the enemy were hold up in a Mosque. There would be no more Mosque. But not in today’s enlightened military.

We, in this country cannot fight a war to win any longer. We don’t have the stomach for it. We’re too civilized, I guess.

Bring the troops home now; every last one of them, and never go to war again until such time as we can develop the courage & determination to actually win.

What the heck happened to us? Everyone knows the old saying “War is Hell”. I agree. War is hell and no one hates war more than the military. But it is also sometimes necessary. It should however be quite uncommon. We shouldn’t be inserting ourselves into every conflict around the globe.

Our leaders have somehow morphed vital or national interests into Meals on Wheels, saving the whole world, or democracy building.

Any reasonable person would understand that we can’t save the whole world and democracy building is a fool’s errand in most countries.

The United States is a good, just and very charitable country. I understand the want of many to right the wrongs in the world. I certainly don’t have a quarrel with our military acting as first responders after a natural disaster somewhere on this planet, but beyond that we must first consider our own interests.

Is the war in Afghanistan being fought for our interests or the interests of others?

Consider the wars past that America has become involved. The ones we have won and those we’ve lost.

World War II was the last real war that America has won, the Cold War notwithstanding. Of course, Vietnam was the last that we lost.

In World War II we lost many battles but yet won the war. We won the war due to overwhelming force and an understanding of what had to be done regardless of the cost. We bombed cities such as Berlin inflicting horrible civilian casualties. Something we would never consider today. These attacks were not by accident. These were purposeful. They were designed to bring the enemy to their knees. The same was proven of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All these horrific attacks were designed to bring the war to a swifter end and of course they did.

World War II was primarily controlled by the military and less by politicians. Vietnam was fought more by politicians than the military. Unlike World War II, in Vietnam, America won every battle yet still lost the war. Every time our military got close to actually winning the politicians would inject themselves into the situation and order the military to back off and cease hostilities. We could have and would have won the Vietnam War, yet we lost. How is this possible? Easy. One cannot fight a war from Washington DC. As in domestic politics the further one is removed from the front lines the more screwed up things get, which brings us right back to Afghanistan.

So I ask again, what is our mission over there? When, if ever, can we declare victory? What would victory even look like? No one can tell me these answers because there are no answers. This is not a war. It’s a never-ending conflict that can only end with us running away with our tails between our legs again.

If it were up to me, I would scorch the poppy fields, spray chemicals on the fields so that they could not be used again and leave. I would then cut all ties and end all financial assistance to any country on the terror watchlist or those with a despotic leader. Finally I would issue a proclamation, worldwide, stating that if attacked, we will find the country that harbored the attackers and bomb said country into oblivion and then leave.  No rebuilding, no assistance, no nothing. If a country chooses to harbor terrorists, they will know ahead of time the price they will pay for that choice.

Will the Real Eric Holder Please Stand Up

The ‘one person, one vote’ rule is one of the cornerstones of democracy, or is supposed to be.

And political activist James O’Keefe is determined to prove that the doctrine is at real risk of being frequently flouted in the U.S.

In a video for O’Keefe’s Project Veritas website, a man successfully registers to

The Similarity is Astounding

 vote under the name of Attorney General Eric Holder at a Washington D.C. polling station.

While it is not a legal requirement to use photo ID in the state, the ‘voter’ demonstrates how easy it is to receive a ballot under someone else’s name – even a high profile one such as the Attorney General’s.

The man in the video approaches the administration desk and asks: ‘Do you have an Eric Holder [on the list]?’

After thumbing through his papers for a few seconds, the election official confirms Mr Holder’s address, and says, ‘Sign here’.

When the mystery man, who appears to be filming the event from a hidden camera, asks if they need to see ID, the official says it’s not necessary.
‘You don’t need it, it’s OK,’ he says.

And continues with ‘As long as you are in here, you are on the list.’

O’Keefe has previously challenged the Attorney General on voter fraud, asking why there are not stricter voter ID laws.

Mr Holder claimed he needed ‘proof’ to further investigate the matter. Something that O’Keefe seems determined to provide.

You are only legally required to show photo ID in Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Clearly O’Keefe believes this should be extended to all states.
In January, he was prosecuted for filming an election at the New Hampshire primary, where members of his crew obtained nine different ballots under the name of one recently-deceased local resident.

O’Keefe also received three years’ probation after attempting to infiltrate the office of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu in 2010.

While O’Keefe’s video does seem to clearly show that voter fraud is possible, commentators claim that the rate of occurrence is miniscule.

Nymag.com points out that ‘there is no documented wave or trend of individuals voting multiple times, voting as someone else or voting despite knowing they are ineligible.’ The website claims that you are just as likely to be killed by lightning as you are to attempt to submit a false vote, but were unable to produce such documentation to back their claim.

Attribution: Hannah Rand