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Live-blogging the Fifteenth Amendment: January 27, 1869 (1)

Live-blogging the Fifteenth Amendment: January 27, 1869 (1)

I have gotten a little behind in this project. Congressional activity picked up considerably in the last week of January 1869.

Rep. Charles A.Eldridge (D-Wisconsin) addressed a civil rights bill by Massachusetts Representative Buckalew under the 14th Amendment as well as the proposed 15th Amendment:

I have not the vanity to suppose that anything I say will cause them to hesitate or consider. Party ends must be accomplished, party purposes must be carried out even though it should revolutionize the Government, overthrow the Constitution, and destroy the Republic.

Hamilton on the same subject in No. 59 of the Federalist … [said], ’Suppose an Article had been introduced into the Constitution empowering the United States to regulate the elections for the particular States, would any men have hesitated to condemn it, both as an unwarranted imposition of power and as a premeditated engine for the destruction of State governments?’

In those days no man would have hesitated to condemn it. The Constitution could never have been adopted if it had contained the grant of power to Congress to determine the qualification of voters for officers of the States. Such a work is left for these days of revolution and usurpation — to the mad fanatics who for particular ends would destroy our Republic of States.

The power to determine the qualifications of electors was, in the States conferred … by the people of the States…. All the powers of the Federal Government come up from the States and people, and it never had and never can have the rightful authority to exercise any power not granted in and by the Constitution. The exercise of any other is rank usurpation.

[I]t seems to me that this bill and resolution for the amendment of the Constitution … for the evils which exist in his judgment with reference to the persons who ought to exercise the right to suffrage, is a filo de se [crime of suicide].  If the power exists in the Federal government to pass this bill, … then I admit that Congress has the right to control the whole question of suffrage and the qualification of electors of all officers ….

Sir, I do not think the gentleman from Massachusetts gave a proper consideration to the fourteenth amendment, as it is called. I will not consider the question of whether this amendment is part of the Constitution; for myself I do not believe that it is….

Source: Congressional Globe,  40th Congress, Third Seeking, pp. 642-45 

What is remarkable about this speech is that Eldridge is not just addressing the Civil Rights bill proposed by Buckalew, but also claims that the even Constitutional amendments are invalid to alter Federal vs. State powers. He considers the power of suffrage in the States to be beyond the control of any proposed revisions to the Constitution itself. Even Chief Justice Roberts, who in the Shelby County case found a right of States to be treated equally in all legislation out in the Constitutional ether, did not go this far.

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Trolling . . .

Elizabeth Warren

Listen or read, your choice. This is presidential material for our troubled nation.


While other senators were throwing questions at opponents, Warren decided to ask whether the Chief Justice has hurt the credibility of the Supreme Court by participating in a trial with no witnesses or evidence. And Roberts had to read the question  per the rules of the Senate.

“At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?”

Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) responded to Warren’s query, “I would not say that it contributes to a loss of confidence in the chief justice, I think the chief justice has presided admirably.”

When you play the stooge, one has to expect to be labeled as a stooge.


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Ballance in The Washington Post All Time Silver Medalist

Senate to emerge from impeachment trial guilty of extreme partisanship, Paul Kane

The absolute need to balance blame for Republican partisanship with false claims about Democrats overcame Mr Kane’s interest in elementary logical consistency. He wrote

none of the rank-and-file senators made a single real effort to negotiate their own compromise on witnesses.

“Nope. I’ve made phone calls, I’ve sent emails,” Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) said Friday. “And the returns have been polite but brief.”

So his proof that there was not a “single real effort to negotiate” is based on describing an effort to negotiate. Evidently, Senator Coons is not a rank and file Senator.

This is just the most extreme example of undying devotion to Jack Ballance, which is stronger than any interest in logical consistency. Immediately before, Kane asserts with no evidence whatsoever, that Democratic Senators had their arms twisted by Schumer and resented it

“For all their griping about the firm grip McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) have on their caucuses, ”

The entire “news analysis” presents no evidence of such griping in the Democratic caucus. Not only is there not a named source (corresponding to the explicitly griping Lisa Murkowski) but there is no un-named source, nor any reference to any news article which contains any hint of such griping.

He presents no evidence that Schumer had to twist arms to convince a Democrat or an Independent that there should be witnesses at a trial. He asserts this as a fact, but does not feel any need to provide the hint of the shadow of a clue that there is anything behind his assertion except for his own fanatically blind ideological centrism.

Also right after the block quote he asserts

“Just 16 months ago, Coons and then-Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) angered both leaders when they forced an extra week of consideration of the nomination of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh,”

I am aware of no evidence that the delay in the confirmation of Kavanaugh angered Schumer. I think there is no such evidence. I think the word “both” was added due to blind fanatical bothsidesism.

Kane laments the change from the Senate in which Coons and Flake reached a bipartisan compromise. A casual reader would assume he is saying that Coons has changed and is no longer willing to make a “real effort to negotiate”. He should not assume that all Post readers know that Coons didn’t compromise with Flake this time, because Flake is no longer a Senator. T

The reason for the change is clear. After the Republicans picked up two seats, there are at least 50 disciplined Republican Senators who can be counted on to put loyalty to the party above loyalty to the country, the constitution and their recently sworn oath.

The Senate hasn’t become more partisan (more Republicans voted with the Democrats this time). It has become more Republican. That is why it has ceased entirely to fulfill its constitutional role.

Now I don’t insist that Kane reject the Republican party, but I do insist that he never reject facts and logic again. I think it would be best for him to quit and look for a job which he is willing to do.

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by Dale Coberly

A few years ago, now getting to be many years ago, I solved a crime. Not because I was a Great Detective, but because I happened to be standing across the street where I saw it committed and took the number of the getaway car. Since then I have tried to tell the police what I saw, but they don’t want to hear about it.

I don’t want to go too far with this parable, just wanted to let you know in advance that I don’t claim to be smarter than anyone else, but what I am talking about is not an opinion and is a verifiable fact.

So back to facts. Sometime in the late 1990’s I heard on public radio (“radio for intelligent people”) an expert claiming that Social Security was bankrupt, a huge burden that was going to crush the taxpayers, especially the young.

Intuitively that didn’t seem very likely to me. How much could it cost to pay for the basic needs of retired people? I did a few calculations and saw that it wasn’t likely to be very much and certainly not unreasonable.

The simple equation to set some parameters goes something like this: If you expect to live twenty years after you can no longer work, and you can live . . . comfortably . . . on about 40% of what you were making while you were working . . . the kids are grown, the house is paid for, you don’t need expensive vacations . . . you can save enough money while you are working for forty years (age 25 to 65) by putting away 20% of your wages:

20% of wages times 40 years equals 40% of wages times 20 years

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If democracy fails in the United States . . .

will it survive anywhere else?

Many people (including me) are worried about the failure of democracy here.  But what happens in the rest of the world if democracy fails here, with the leading countries outside Europe authoritarian or leaning authoritarian, and European democracy looking a bit frayed around the edges?  And if authoritarianism is ascendant around the world, what would be the chance of a democratic restoration here?  This is above my pay grade, but I’m not optimistic . . . thoughts?

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Which Lie Is The Worst?

Which Lie Is The Worst?

With the conclusion of the Trump defense in his impeachment trial, the question arises as to which lie told by the defense is the worst?

Sean Hannity has been emphasizing four in particular.  In the first, he claims that there was no linkage between military aid and investigating the Bidens in the July 25 phone transcript.  But there it is in black and white that when Zelensky mentioned wanting more military aid, Trump immediately goes to “I need a favor though,” and with that immediately followed up by his demand for inveatigating the supposedly missing laptop with mention of investigating Bidens coming a bit later.

Then we have the true claim that Zelensky has never publicly said he felt “pressure” from Trump.  Indeed, but we know no way would he say so as long as he wants aid.

Then we have the claim that Zelensky knew nothing about this before the July 25 phone call.  But in fact numerous witnesses have testified that he did and was fully aware of what was coming (more or less) when he participated in the July 25 phone call. This one is an outright lie.

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Digital technology as used in today’s campaigning

I just read the this article: Trump’s Digital Advantage is Freaking out Democratic Strategist.   It is a NYT’s opinion piece.

I know and have known about the use of collecting our data to sell us stuff.  The concern for me is that there is almost no way for an individual to stop having their self tracked and mined any more based on this article.  What is worse though than just having it used to sell me stuff is having it used as what clearly has become psych ops.  We are clearly in the subliminal suggestion pathway to influencing personality.

Steven Livingston, a professor of media and public affairs and director of the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University, has been tracking this sub rosa electioneering in the current election cycle.

Livingston described “these digital shadow campaigns” as “analogous to and perhaps an actual digital manifestation of ‘dark money’ influence campaigns.” In addition, he continued,

Overwhelmingly, these pages and groups do not have ownership declarations or Facebook verifications. We simply do not know what other digital properties might be operated by common sources with the groups. There is money being spent but we don’t know the sources. It is unaccountable spending.

The article notes the difference in expenditures on digital processes between the Trump and Clinton campaign (it was big) and that the Trump campaign has been developing obstructive since. This is the point I present my political ad: Time for the 1% who are still on the left to start spending their money to combat the money infrastructure the right has built.  I’m talking to you Bloomberg and Steyer instead of for office.

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