A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday April 14, 1865 marks the One Hundred Fiftieth anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington. The following morning, less than a week after the end of the Civil War, Lincoln would become the first American president killed in office.

Religious Freedom’s Trojan Horse

The Trojan HorseThe religious freedom bills, regardless from which state, how they are worded, and whether they’re currently being proposed or have been on the books for twenty years have one thing in common – they are each a Trojan Horse lying in wait. All that is needed is for one of them to be involved in a case that makes it to the Supreme Court.

Consider Justice Ginsberg’s comment from July 2014 following the Hobby Lobby decision.
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Welfare State or Indebted Man

DebtFrench philosopher Michel Foucoult argued that in today’s society, people’s actions as a political and civil collective and as individuals are guided from birth to death in the same way a shepherd cares for his flock. From this it could be said that in countries where authoritarian rule is the dominant force, people have no choice and move in the pointed direction. On the other hand, within democratic societies political parties vie to “shepherd the flock” by appealing to their emotional needs and financial concerns.welfare state or indebted man

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Teaching How to Think

Where Do We Come From

What Are We

Where Are We Going

Paul Gauguin, D'où venons-nous Qui sommes-nous Où allons-nous, (1897, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Paul Gaugin inscribed the above title across the upper left corner of his 1897 painting; doing so in capital letters and without question marks. He stated the painting should be viewed from right to left, with the three major figure groups illustrating the questions posed in the title. The women with a child represent the beginning of life; the middle group symbolizes the daily existence of young adulthood; and in the final group, an old woman approaching death appears reconciled and resigned to her thoughts.
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Priorities and the Federal Budget

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate budget committee, is adamant as to where addressing the country’s debt challenges begins. “If legislators are serious about further reducing the deficit and the national debt,… they will join in making sure that some of the largest, most profitable corporations pay their fair share in taxes.”
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Intelligence or Intellect

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way
through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means
that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
Isaac Asimov

A friend recently posted on Facebook, “Is there anyone that can explain to me how on God’s green earth some of these people get elected?” While to some a legislature’s behavior may range from odd to reprehensible, for others the same legislature’s behavior is appropriate, admired, courageous. The answer may have its roots in understanding the difference between intelligence and intellect.

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Milton Friedman & the Role of Government

In Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom, he opens with the following.

“First, the scope of government must be limited. Its major function must be to protect our freedom both from enemies outside our gates and from our fellow citizens: to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets…by relying primarily on voluntary co-operation and private enterprise, in both economic and other activities, we can insure that the private sector is a check on the powers of the government sector….”

Thomas Paine also discusses the role of government in his essay Common Sense written in 1776. “Society is produced by our wants and, government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices.”
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Political Parties — Things Don’t Change, We Change

With the November elections over, the cycle continues. For the foreseeable future in Maine and nationally the Republicans will be in the majority. They’ll wear out their welcome and the Democrats will return. The Democrats will lose favor and the Republicans will get another shot. It will go on and on — to think otherwise is naive.

Under the guises of conservative and liberal ideologies, it is money and power that drives the political process. Voters are merely pawns played against each other on a chess board that stretches from California to Maine. Sound bites — welfare, deficit, immigration, and healthcare. School ground name calling — it’s the liberals, it’s the teabaggers. All used to inflame collective passions of party members. » Read more

Eric Cantor: One Door Closes, Another Opens

Many people believe we live in a pro-market society where the agenda aims at encouraging the best business conditions for everyone. The reality is we live in a pro-business society where the agenda aims at maximizing the profits of existing firms. This occurs through public policy and legislation written to favor certain firms within each industry in return for political contributions, i.e. cronyism. This is a problem that crosses party lines, and should increase in intensity with the Republican’s recent election success.

And for Eric Cantor, it should be a very busy time. Many wondered why an investment banking firm would hire him with supposedly limited industry experience. Not to worry, he has something of greater value – connections within Congress. He can navigate more efficiently introductions to those legislators who would be supportive of his firm’s client’s interests, than someone waving a checkbook. Needless to say political contributions will occur at some point. Doing so while working for a small firm helps to minimize his appearance on the Feds investigative radar. » Read more