Letters to the Editor: August 15, 2014

West Valley View's picture

Response to Craig Heustis


Craig probably does not know that he was my hero two years ago when he and Robert Garza voted AGAINST making the Temporary Sales Tax permanent. My comments about the Buckeye City Council not showing “financial discipline” were general and not aimed at Craig or Robert. The Mayor and the other four council members voted FOR the Permanent Tax. My opponent Eric Orsborne was one of the four. His campaign literature says he helped “raise revenue and cut expenses” for the city. Most city revenue comes from taxes and fees. This is an interesting admission. As for cutting expenses during his term, most of the cutting was forced by the recession. Since the Permanent Tax was passed there has been a spending binge which I itemized in my last article. Eric is a Republican but should consider putting “in name only” behind the R.

Technically, Craig was right about the property tax rate not changing in the last three years. However the paper clearly indicated in the preliminary budgets of the last two years that it was the council’s intention to raise the rates. As it turned out the city received their 5 percent increased Tax Levy through property valuations. For two years prior to the threes years of home price appreciation the council raised the property rates sharply. Whether through home valuations or rate hikes the last five years have seen city property taxes rise by 19 percent while population growth went up 9 percent.

Greg Smith



WOW Mr. P Crocker spoken like a true Anti American thinking Liberal.Sticking to the words of the 1776 Declaration would be a blessing, and solve plenty of our problems today.But folks like you seem to want to twist and spin the words to fit your own political purpose.The Founders never wanted a stronger Government. As for the bill of rights it did correct some errors from the past. The main purpose was to protect the folks just like you and I from a devastating BIG Government as we see today in DC. Neither Obama, Holder, or any of the regime respect or follow any of the founders papers.Also over the last 6 years the USA does not purport to be the leader of anything including the so called free world. Obama has proclaimed us to be one of the weakest, and is succeeding. As for Goodyear if the price is to high there is always somewhere cheaper! Have a great day Sir.

Elwood C Kuentzler

Parents weren’t communist


In your July 29th issue of W.V.V., Jim Terwilliger wrote a very clever letter making it sound as though I was writing about myself. American Christians are being bashed on a regular basis by the far-left in Our nation. I have no idea where Mr. Terwilliger is politically? I can’t believe a man intelligent enough to be reading the letters to the editor, could think that I was writing about my own family. This means his letter had to be poking fun at me. Anyway since I don’t know Jim personally I can’t write to him at his home. Meaning my response can only be through the W.V.V., you know in case he really believed my parents were Communist! Thank you, West Valley View for putting up with the political left and the political right.

Bernard L. Oviatt

Put Jeff Raible on Litchfield council


I would like to encourage those of us in Litchfield Park to put Jeff Raible on the LP City Council. Unlike some of the other candidates for a Council seat, Jeff has a great deal of direct experience with Litchfield Park government. I am particularly impressed with his current leadership of the LP Planning & Zoning Commission where he has led the Commission with a steady hand in these challenging times. In his role on P&Z, he has continuously demonstrated he is willing to do his homework to ensure that the important issues are addressed. I am also impressed with his continued pursuit of a Council seat and with his willingness to go door-to-door to all parts of our community to exchange views regarding our future directions. Please vote for Jeff — Litchfield Park can benefit from his continued leadership!

Jeff Gibbs
Litchfield Park



OMG — Analie Maccree — Do you really think ISIS is an individual?

Carol Landesman

Hickman just wants money


Clint Hickman would like to be elected to the seat on the Board of Supervisors that he was appointed to in March of 2013. However, in the 16 months he has held the position; it appears that instead of being the advocate for District 4; he has used his time in office to find ways around our building and zoning ordinances. It would appear; Hickman’s oath of office has taken a “back seat” to his family’s egg business. You only have to do a search of public records from state and county agencies to see the extent of his non-compliance with regulations and permits for the family business..

During a recent interview, with Channel 12’s Joe Dana, he tried to convince the reporter that an egg on his campaign sign was an oval. Another circumvention of a County regulation? Arrogant? I think so…

In his zeal to force his “blight of an industry” on what he and his family thought was a small defenseless community; we believe he abrogated his responsibilities as District 4’s representative on the Board of Supervisors…All of this just to make more $$$$. How much is enough? What price, integrity?

Mike Butler

Vote for a winner!


As a candidate for District 13 House of representative, Diane Landis clearly understands the importance and special attention required concerning the military presence in Arizona. The total number of all branches of the military in Arizona numbers in the thousands.

The largest Arizona military installations are located at the Yuma Marine Air Station, Davis Monathon AFB in Tucson and our immediate neighbors; Luke AFB in Litchfield Park. All of these military facilities require special attention by the State concerning the security of billions of dollars of valuable defense equipment. Diane Landis is very aware of the fact that Arizona realizes billions of dollars in revenues and jobs as a result of the military presence. As it turns out, many departing and retiring personnel become permanent residents and they share Diane’s constructive attitude concerning the military.

Diane Landis is also concerned about real estate land encroachment around our military installations and eagerly endorses more Federal funding to correct this problem.

Diane’s “Master Plan” concerning the military is to maintain an effective team effort between District 13 and all concerned military organizations.

Diane Landis can and will be a valuable House of Representatives member and deserves your vote made in a single entry on your ballot.

Don Rebtoy
Litchfield Park

Lopez Rogers endorsement


My wife and I are writing this letter of support for Supervisor Marie Lopez Rogers for Maricopa County Supervisor, District 5. We have known Supervisor Marie for over ten years through the help that she has provided to many of the non-profit organizations that we have been affiliated with and most recently with our shared passion of the “Sweet Science” Boxing. Supervisor Marie has provided all her support, contacts, advice and guidance in helping the organizations and provision to tomorrow’s future leaders our “Youth” to achieve their goals. Supervisor Marie understands the importance of dealing congenially with the public; she is honest, reliable and willing to work the long hours for her position. She is very well liked and respected in our communities and we most admire Supervisor Marie for her selfless volunteer work.
This is the community connection that we need with our County Supervisor and the district she represents. Supervisor Marie has served Avondale well, she brings excellent credentials and now she will serve the county with her caring and commitment to the community. We believe Supervisor Marie is the person best qualified for Maricopa County Supervisor, District 5 because she has devoted her life to serving our community, her generosity, intelligence and dedication to good cause.

With proud enthusiasm, we support Mrs. Marie Rogers for county Supervisor.

Maritza & Duane Mitry

Fabricated facts and law


I see Mr. Peabody has poor reading comprehension, along with his lack of legal skills. (July 22nd) I neither implied nor asserted that he claimed “unanimous Supreme Court rulings cannot be overturned”. I was clearly and expressly addressing Mr. Oviatt’s statement! (July 18th) So the fabricated “facts” are Peabody’s!

(One thing we agree on is that Oviatt was wrong!)

But given Peabody’s track record so far, the consistency with which he gets the Law wrong, I really shouldn’t be surprised that English isn’t his strong point either!

Oh, and Justice Brandeis said nothing remotely like what he claims. I challenge Mr. Peabody to quote Brandeis precisely and in context, instead of putting his own “spin” on it. Here, in fact, is what the Erie decision says (on the very pages Peabody cited):

Except in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by Acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the State. And whether the law of the State shall be declared by its Legislature in a statute or by its highest court in a decision is not a matter of federal concern.... the authority and only authority is the State, and, if that be so, the voice adopted by the State as its own whether it be of its Legislature or of its Supreme Court should utter the last word.”

- 304 U.S. at 78 – 9 (emphasis added).

As I’ve previously said, this clearly declares that court decisions are Law, whether made by the State courts when applying State Law, or Federal courts when applying Federal Law. In fact, by denying this Peabody is making the very argument Erie rejected! Once again, he gets everything backwards.

Peabody can’t “educate” us on a subject he so consistently gets wrong!

Gordon P.R. Posner

Hickman’s not representing


Clint Hickman’s family business Hickman egg is building a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation in Tonopah. Mr Chickman has excused himself from Tonopah’s issues because his business is a conflict of interest. Mr. Hickman is not concerned with his constituents because he did not ask the Chairman of the Board to appoint another supervisor to be available to his constituents. Mr. Hickman lack of concern is no surprise to the residents of Tonopah.

Do not vote for Mr. Clint Hickman.

Linda Davis

Zero tolerance


There should be zero tolerance for those politicians who lecture us on how people should conduct their lives. The issue of the GLBT community is they have aligned themselves with the liberal left in the effort of following the civil rights movement. The push for gay marriage angers the conservative right and they continue to fight back with religious bigotry in the name of some high moral standard. The question should be why and when did government decide to get involved in the issue of marriage? Maybe these WVV Constitution scholars can answer it.

The problem with the GLBT community has become a liberal lobby group in the world of politics and ignores the prejudices within their own ranks. Everyone ignores or fails to understand that the term sexual orientation is a “behavior” and not a lifestyle. The writer and commentator Rush Limbaugh has craftily been attacking the GLBT community by pointing out that gay population is 2 percent and should not be catered too.

Rush is simply playing partisan politics in support of the conservative movement during an election year and is being a sycophant to the religious right. However, Arizona conservatives passed SB1062 in an effort to give businesses the right to refuse service based on religious beliefs. The governor thankfully vetoed it. Yet, they seem less concerned about Barack Obama’s “Un-American Philosophy”.

If any politician “left or right” has to campaign of sexual issues, gay marriage, and family values they are not worthy of anyone’s vote. Perhaps “we the people” should bring back tarring and feathering. Thank you, Michael Holcomb for your insight.

Thomas M. Brosius

Vote for Debra Undhjem


Litchfield Park friends and neighbors, we highly recommend Debra Undhjem for Litchfield Park City Council.

Debra has been a good friend of ours since meeting Debra through volunteering with Boy Scouts of America in Pack and Troop 90 of Litchfield Park. After her sons became Eagles she continued her strong support of our local BSA as an officer on the Board of Directors for the Litchfield Park Scout Lodge Preservation Inc.

We have worked with Debra on numerous other projects and boards over the years and have found her dedication to our community to be over and beyond even the best volunteers. She has always been passionate about issues facing our community. Remarkably, through thick and thin found ways to solve problems and organize overwhelming projects to support us in the Litchfield community.

We know she will be a great asset to our City Council and encourage you to vote for Debra so we can put her to work on the City’s most important issues.

Tim and Terry Smith
Litchfield Park

Vote for Darin Mitchell


Early balloting is underway for the primary election. I am writing to endorse Darin Mitchell for the AZ House LD 13 Republican primary. I have met with him several times and find him to be honorable and principled. He puts the needs of his constituents in the West Valley and Yuma first. Darin is a true conservative, which means he believes in limited government. He is a champion of the taxpayer; he has shared with me numerous examples of how he has voted to eliminate wasteful or duplicate spending. The Goldwater Institute and Americans for Prosperity have given him high marks — in fact, rated No.1 — for his dedication to conservatism, small business and free market issues. Darin believes that Arizonans know what is best for Arizona, not some career federal bureaucrat in Washington DC. Vote for Darin Mitchell in the LD 13 Republican Primary.

Howard Chen

Buckeye Tax rates & Prop 469


The letter from Buckeye City Councilman Craig Heustis needs to be addressed. He states that Buckeye has kept it’s property tax rate at $1.80 for the last three years, and that if we saw an increase in our property taxes, we need to blame the increase on the Assessors office for increasing our property Valuations.

Does he actually think that Taxpayers are that stupid as to buy that logic? Property valuations in Buckeye have gone up around 50 percent in just the last 2 years. When these elected officials don’t DECREASE the property tax rate as the Tax Base broadens, homeowners and businesses see a corresponding percentage increase in their property taxes. Do the Math. It’s not the Assessors fault for property tax increases, it’s the Taxing authorities fault for not lowering the tax rates.

This councilman is running unopposed in District 5; he doesn’t deserve anyone’s vote with thinking like that, Write someone in as a write in candidate or just under vote that ballot position. Buckeye taxpayers deserves better.

While you’re filling out your ballot this election be sure to vote NO on Buckeyes Proposition 469, the permanent Home rule, tax and spend legislation. The rest of the Buckeye officials also believe it’s the Assessors fault for out property tax increases or our taxes wouldn’t be going up at the rates they are. Guess where this almost 4 million dollars every year, forever, will be coming from.

Nix Buckeyes Home rule prop 469. Vote NO.

Ken Busboom

No spin letter


I am an American first, and a Republican second, because country should always come ahead of party. Doing so allows me to have an objective world view. Hopefully some of my Democratic friends will take the same approach.

Wait a minute. I forgot I have no Democratic friends.

None the less, I am convinced that invading Iraq was a disaster, both in terms of American lives and the waste of billions of dollars. Sadam Hussein was no threat to us. He acted as a buffer to militant Islamic terrorism.

Today ISIS controls a major part of Iraq, and are a definite threat to our culture. Had Sadam not been deposed, these insane militants would not have such a strategic geographical presence today. President Bush and all the congressmen and women who voted for invasion made a terrible mistake in judgment.

What President Obama is doing, however, is no mistake in judgment. It is a deliberate course of action dictated by his Progressive ideology. He sees us as an imperialistic and bad nation. Therefore he downsizes and weakens our military. He does not believe in peace thru strength. He wants to redistribute America’s wealth to the Latinos, from whom he believes we stole five Western states; to the native Americans, from whom he believes we stole an entire continent, and to the Black man whom he believes are owed reparations for their slave ancestors.

I am convinced Obama hates capitalism; and correspondingly believes it has created a White privileged class. He cares not for American values. All this and he was given a second term to continue to ravish the nation. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Good grief and many wonder why our country is in such a mess today.

Roy Azzarello

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porr000's picture

What argument are you going to use for your appeal, extenuating circumstances, temporary insanity, coersion, being a retired lawyer?  ;)


P.S. great joke!

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   I will invoke the definition of Lawyer in Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary:

Someone who can write a 100 page document, and call it a brief!

porr000's picture

Dude, Judy saved you 82 words!

I'm sorry counselor, but her evidence is conclusive on its face.

She did a good job!

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

  Well then, I'll just have to appeal to a higher court.  (Did I mention appellate work is something I'm particularly good at?)

  By the way, have you heard this old joke?

A young attorney returns from his first criminal trial, and the boss asks what happened.  When told "Justice has triumphed", he replies:  APPEAL!

P.S.S. You wasted 82 words (almost one-third of your alloted space) ON INSULTS!  Okay I'm done now...I think. smiley

porr000's picture

But If I didn't know better, I'd guess you two were siblings



Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

  I suggest you wait to hear both sides, before awarding a verdict to Judy.

You realize you just gave Gordon a coronary, right Patrick?

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Judy:

   No, when it comes that will be due to my diet and sedentary lifestyle.

   Debating here is what keeps me going.


eagle73's picture

Who just got most offended.

I won't mention any names, Steve, but the initials are Judy Weaver.

porr000's picture

Steve, that's why I said siblings instead of an old married couple...it sounded less offensive.


Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   Whatever her faults, I'm sure Judy would have the good taste, and sense, never to marry me!

Now you're scaring me, Gordon. You're being way too nice.

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Judy:

  Nothing to worry about.  Even I have "moments of weakness"!


porr000's picture

Gordon, sitting here @ TJ's with Mark laughing at all your guy's comments.

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   Speaking of which, if you like Cajun cooking, there's a restaurant I'd love to share with you in Avondale (near the Wal-Mart).  It's called Flavors of Louisiana.

   I tried it for the first time last week, and it was good.  Drop me an e-mail if you're interested.  (I should get around to reading it within a year or so!)

porr000's picture


Thanks, but I am a total spice wimp. I'm sure I can find something on their menu to eat that's not spicy, but that would defeat the purpose of sharing that place with me.

We'll have to figure something out to get Judy and Roy (and others) to join us. I'd like to meet them.


Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   That depends on how "wimpy" you are.  The dish I had (Shrimp Etouffe) wasn't spicy at all.  (The Seafood Gumbo was, but I expected that.)

   Good food doesn't have to be spicy.  For example, most people don't want to try Indian cooking (that's the country, not Native American) because all they hear about is curry.  But there are plenty of dishes which are very subtly spiced, and the various types of Bread are fantastic!

   As for Judy and Roy, well just tell them that in person my politics is less strident than here.  (At least I hope you found that to be true.)  Of course, I had my anti-politics friend Dennis with us, so I guess I'd have to bring him along too in order to make sure I "behave".

porr000's picture

Dune was a terrible movie in my opinion, so I won't be making any witty comments related to it about the spice. No, I never read the book. In case you were wondering (nor do I have any desire to read it.)

Being a spice wimp, I am often times told "It's not that spicy".

What I have discovered is that the majority of the time, it is absolutely too spicy for me. Therefore I have adopted a saying...If it even contains spice, it is too spicy for me.

I am perfectly happy eating foods that don't contain spice AT ALL! I am not happy AT ALL paying for something to eat that contains any spice.


Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   On this we completely agree.

If you're looking for Cajun, Claim Jumpers' Jambalaya over pasta is much better, Gordon--in my opinion. Though FOL's fried shrimp is the best this side of the Mississippi.

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Judy:

   I tried Claim Jumpers once, but thought it overpriced.  (I didn't have the Jambalya, though.)

   Believe it or not, Mimi's makes a great Jambalya.

   Does anyone know a good place for Paella?

And who are you calling "old"? Gordon is old, I'm not--though we're almost the same age.  wink

porr000's picture


It really is a relative term, isn't it?  ;)

During High School, my friend Vicki and I started a journal called, "You know you are getting old when..."

The first journal entry was, you know you are getting old when everybody you meet reminds you of someone else.

The latest one is you know you are getting old when your "mid-life crisis" savings fund has enough in it to buy a motorcycle and a sports car.  

But in reality, we are all just wipper-snappers compared to Methuselah.  


Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Judy:

  Of course you're not old.  Remember the seven stages of a woman's life:

  1. Infant.
  2. Child.
  3. Teenager.
  4. Young woman.
  5. Young woman.
  6. Young woman.
  7. Young woman.


I hadn't heard that one, Gordon...but I like it!

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Judy:

  It's from a birthday card I sent to my sister years ago.  We try to exchange funny ones.  (We're not big on sentimentality.)  My favorite is one she sent me.  The cover has an military insignia on it, and says:  "For your birthday I wanted to get you this card, and a present."  On the inside it adds:

But I bought this at the Pentagon gift shop, and it cost 12 Million Dollars!

   Sometimes the best thing to do about government waste is laugh at it!

Now you've given ME a coronary!

Hey, Gordon...I re-wrote your letter without the insults. Doesn't it get your point across just as well as your original version? You don't always have to be nasty!

I neither implied or asserted that Mr. Peabody claimed "unanimous Supreme Court rulings cannot be overturned". (July 22nd) I was clearly and expressly addressing Mr. Oviatt's statement! (July 18th)

(One thing we agree on is that Oviatt was wrong.)

Oh, and Justice Brandeis said nothing remotely like what he claims. I challenge Mr. Peabody to quote Brandeis precisely and in context. Here is what the Erie decision says:

“Except in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by Acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the State. And whether the law of the State shall be declared by its Legislature in a statute or by its highest court in a decision is not a matter of federal concern.... the authority and only authority is the State, and, if that be so, the voice adopted by the State as its own whether it be of its Legislature or of its Supreme Court should utter the last word.”

- 304 U.S. at 78 – 9 (emphasis added).

As I’ve previously said, this clearly declares that court decisions are Law, whether made by the State courts when applying State Law, or Federal courts when applying Federal Law. In fact, by denying this Peabody is making the very argument Erie rejected!

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Judy:

  At the risk of making a bad excuse, he started it!  Throughout our entire debate (going back months) he has regularly been insulting, dismissive, and abusive.  Frankly, I think I've shown tremendous patience.

  But let's review the parts of my Letter you find so objectionable, putting them in context.  I began by stating:

I see Mr. Peabody has poor reading comprehension, along with his lack of legal skills. (July 22nd) I neither implied nor asserted that he claimed “unanimous Supreme Court rulings cannot be overturned”. I was clearly and expressly addressing Mr. Oviatt’s statement! (July 18th) So the fabricated “facts” are Peabody’s!

   (The underlined portions are the parts you removed.)

  What was I responding to?  Why this assertion in his July 22nd Letter: "Posner also fabricated “facts” by implying (7/18/2014) that I had asserted that unanimous Supreme Court rulings cannot be overturned."

  As I prove in this Letter, it is Peabody who "fabricated facts", since my July 18th Letter was clearly referring to Oviatt's false assertion.  (Indeed, that Oviatt was mistaken is probably the only thing Peabody and I have agreed on.)

  I'd say Peabody earned that insult.

   Next, you apparently disapprove of this remark:

But given Peabody’s track record so far, the consistency with which he gets the Law wrong, I really shouldn’t be surprised that English isn’t his strong point either!

   Must I run through a complete list of how consistently he gets the Law wrong, indeed backwards?  Remember, he originally insisted that the legal meaning of the Ex Post Facto Clause had been "corrected" by an early Supreme Court decision.  Except it turns out that case (Ogden v. Saunders) did nothing of the sort!  In fact, the case wasn't even about that Clause.  At best, all Peabody did was quote dicta by one Justice in that case (not even the majority's opinion).  And dicta, being the part of an opinion irrelevant to the result of the case, has no legal force whatever.

   His other Letters were equally wrong.  (As my quotation from the Erie decision shows in this issue's Letter.)

   You also object to my remark about Peabody's "spin" on that case.  I could have simply borrowed a page from your book, and called it a bald-faced lie!  (Believe me, I've been tempted to do that many times in this "debate".)

   I note you also left out my observation that the Brandeis quote (which refutes his "spin") comes from the very pages he cited!  That's important, since there's nothing on those pages which supports his statements.  In short: "Once again, he gets everything backwards."  And once again, he earned that "nasty" remark.  (Which other's might call accurate!)

   Finally, you object to my mocking his claimed desire to “educate us on a subject us on Astronomy, and claimed the Sun revolved around the Earth, how should one respond?  Remember, he has repeatedly boasted of his legal knowledge and experience.  Forgive me if I observe he's displayed none of it - especially after I've proven how wrong he is!

   But let's not forget his insults (besides those already mentioned).  Start with the very title of his Letter: Writer ignores Constitution.  That's a powerful accusation to make, especially against an attorney (even a retired one).  It's also completely false.

   Remember, our dispute is over his interpretation of the Constitution.  He insists on applying the words ex post facto with a literal translation from the Latin, forgetting that they are a legal term with a legal meaning.

   Now, I've proven (with quotes and citations to relevant Supreme Court decisions) just how wrong he is.  All he's done in return is misquote decisions, taking language from them out of context, and ignoring the parts which refute his contentions.  Simultaneously (and hilariously) he argues that court decisions aren't binding Law.  (Which, as I've previously observed, begs the question why he bothers citing them at all.)

   Which brings us to his final paragraph, where he tries to turn my own words against me by ignoring all the Law.  Court decisions aren't law, and therefore I don't know what I'm talking about?  Based on what?  His bold and completely incorrect assertions.  Once again we hear "Mr. Justice Peabody" claim he knows better than every court and judge in the United States!  (All of whom, disagree with him.)

   As I said before, I've exercised remarkable restraint.  If this were a litigation, Peabody would be fined for frivolous conduct, accused of abusing the court, and declared a "vexatious litigant".  Sort of like this:




   Of course, I don't know that the David W. Peabody of Buckeye in these decisions is our Mr. Peabody.  But if they are the same, it's a very revealing indication of his "legal background", and explains why he's so desperate to ignore court decisions.  Consider this, the next time you think I'm being too "nasty" with him.

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

  If you remember our conversation in the restaurant, you now know what I was referring to you when I said there would be something in my Letter (published on July 11th) that I expect would "set Peabody off".  It was, of course, the last sentence.


P.S. You're always complaining about the 300-word limit. If you'd cut out the insults you'd have more room to actually state your case.

Gordon Posner's picture


Note: this is a response to a Comment in the August 8th issue: http://www.westvalleyview.com/comment/2587#comment-2587

Dear Judy:

   Touched a nerve, did I?  Funny how "conservatives" can get all "holier than thou" and accuse those they disagree with of being "immoral" or "anti-God", but when a little of it is thrown back in their face, they get all defensive about it!

   The only part of that little tirade of yours I will dignify with a response is the one (falsely) accusing me of having told "an unadulterated bald-faced lie".  Here's what I know.

   We have debated the question of Abortion and the condition of Anencephaly on several occasions.   Though you ultimately "came around", and were willing to concede such a condition might (just might) justify having an abortion, that wasn't your original position.

   No, back when that particular debate began you mocked the whole idea.  In particular (and this is what I can never forgive you for), you responded to my discussion of that awful condition by condemning women seeking such abortions as “callously” wanting to “snuff out” a “practically normal, complete human being.  Remember those sick, twisted, words, madam?  They were yours!  And they got the response they deserved in my Comment of September 26, 2012, in the September 18th issue of that year.

   (I'd provide you with a link to that issue, but unfortuantely in the switch to the new web system, the View lost the Comments to prior issues like that one.  I can provide you with a copy of it if you like.  I kept my own private Archive of some issues.  But since that would just involve "copying and pasting" the text, it wouldn't really prove much.  You'd still have to take my word for it that such an exchange between us took place.)

   So no, madam, your accusation against me is just as "inaccurate" as all your other "one dollar premium" moments.

P.S. - And oh how I miss the "old" Archive function.  This new one is practically useless!

Nice try, Gordon, but you're all wet--as usual.

I don't keep copies of two-year-old Comments (Can you say "OCD"?), so I'll trust at least some of what you claim is correct.


You know, as well as I do, that the synopsis of our discussions is that you believe those babies should always be aborted--to spare their parents the anguish of having to look at them. I argued the reasonableness of some parents' choice to let the pregnancy go to term and spending time with the baby until it succumbs.

Is any of this coming back to you yet?...

You say you "can never forgive me" for mocking the situation? Like everybody else, I am certainly flawed. But possessing the insensitivity it would take to "mock" a mother and child in that situation is NOT in my realm of capability.

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Judy:

You know, as well as I do, that the synopsis of our discussions is that you believe those babies should always be aborted--to spare their parents the anguish of having to look at them

   Really?  Care to provide some proof for that assertion, or is this to be your ultimate "one dollar premium" moment?  I've discussed as well the anguish of the entire pregnancy.  The horror of waiting nine months to give birth to a thing that will only die!  I even referenced an Arizona Republic story about all this, which (ever the callous, self-righteous, and evil person you are when it comes to this issue) you mocked.  But, just so you can get your "yucks" again, here's a link to it.


   Please note the "hilarious" passage describing what one mother went through after choosing to continue the pregnancy.

Gonzales struggles to speak through her tears when she thinks about what will happen when Carmen is born.

   Yup, a woman reduced to tears by the tragedy she's caught in.  Fun stuff indeed!


Dana Southworth (right) counsels Joaquin and Julia Gonzales on their baby, Carmen, who is not expected to survive after birth.

   I have consistently said that without a brain one cannot honestly refer to what's "born" as a "bably".  But on this subject, honesty has never been your strong point, has it?

   Thank you so very much, madam, for proving my point.  When it comes to being callous, nobody does it "better" than you!

P.S. - And no, our disagreement wasn't about the "reasonableness" of deciding to do what Julia Gonzales chose to do.  I've never advocated that Anencephaly means an abortion "should always" be performed.  My position is that it's the parent's choice!  Not yours, and certainly not the governments!

   Can you at least agree to that position, and partly redeem yourself?  Yes, or no.  It's a simple question.

Gordon Posner's picture


   By the way, I may be wrong (I'm relying on my memory here), but I think this story was the one you responded to with that crap about "practically normal, complete human being", I referred to in my other Comment.


   They both were part of the same ongoing debate.  In any case, your attempt to <i>minimize</i> the suffering of people who have to deal with this tragedy (Anencephaly) by saying it's merely about "the anguish of having to look at them" is callous beyond belief.  After all, the father could be out of the delivery room altogether, and the mother could be sedated (which was the usual practice for all deliveries before the "natural birth" craze started).  That way they <i>wouldn't have to look at all!</i>  Again, as the Republic's article should have made clear to you, the horror of Anencephaly is about a lot more than just "looks"!

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Roy:

   How can someone who's told us, repeatedly, that all opinions are equally valid, have an "objective" view about anything?  The only way your stock phrase can be true is if there's no such thing as "objective" reality.

   But I'm glad to see you're finally considering the possiblity that the Iraq invasion may have been the worst mistake of the 21st Century.  I just wonder if it will take you another eleven years to reverse your views on the rest of the nonsense you spew?

   (Such as what's in the rest of your Letter.)

P.S. - But if you want to know "why our country is in such a mess today" (assuming it is), just look in the nearest mirror.

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Mr. Brosius:

   Unless you were just being sarcastic, I suggest you go back and re-read Mr. Holcomb's Letter of August 5th.


  He was clearly against politicians making statements like the ones you seem to favor, unless you somehow think the following was complimentary:

This Politician also stated that he voted for the law that allows Bigotry towards others. I take no stand on GLBT, but I will take a stand on freedoms. If a business does not want “certain” people in their area then lets put USA back into racial riots. As a previous business owner who was I to judge a person. Judge not unless ye be judged.

In short, I would rather vote for someone who tried to create jobs rather than vote for a Bigot.

  But hey, why shouldn't Straights be allowed to discriminate against Gays, Whites against Blacks, Protestants against Catholics, and just about everyone against Jews (and vice versa).  Just think how "united" America will be, when everyone is "free" to act on their hate!

  And why shouldn't Gays and Lesbians have their own "lobby"?  Christians have many (including the Catholic Church).  "Conservatives" have plenty (including the Center For Arizona Policy - called by some the Center for Arizona Theocracy).  And the self-proclaimed "moralists" among us have a plethora:  including Focus On The Family, the Family Research Council, the National Organization For Marriage, and the Traditional Values Coalition.  Heck, what do you think the Moral Majority was - just a catchy phrase?

   But thanks for your ignorant remark that "sexual orientation is a 'behavior' and not a lifestyle", a snide way to refer to what's really up your A$$.  (Sodomy)  Now, aside from the fact that this "behavior" is hardly unique to Gays (and technically is impossible for Lesbian, at least according to the "traditional" meaning of the term), that's no more part of what "sexual orientation" means than the "missionary position" is about marriage.  (There are other positions for procreation you know, and not all married people engage in procreation while having sex, let alone all the time.)

   No, the term refers to one's emotions, who one falls in love with, and wants to share one's life with.  You know, all the things you take for granted!  But apparently it's too much for you to consider that homosexuals deserve the same right too!

   I might add that, by the same token, religion is a "behavior", so I guess you won't mind if we all decide to discriminate against Christians (and never mind what the Civil Rights laws say)!

   (As for Rush, anyone who thinks he's a "writer and commentator", or that the bile he spews is "crafty", obviously hasn't been listening to the man.  He's just an "entertainer", remember?  And a pretty poor one at that.)

   But since when do numbers matter where civil rights are concerned?  The Yazidi are less than 2 percent of Iraq's population.  (650,000 out of 36,004,552)  Does that make the genocide ISIS is conducting against them okay?



  Yes, Rush (among others) is "playing politics" with this issue.  In the process revealing what they know about Law and Morality.  (Which is nothing!)

   But here's the answer to your constitutional question.  Among the powers not delegated to the Federal government by the Constitution is what's literally known as the Police Power; defined as the ability to legislate for the health, safety, and welfare of the people.  That's the power the States employ when they "get involved in the issue of marriage".  After all, there's good reason to oppose child marriages, incestuous marriages, forced marriages (including marriages procured by fraud), and bigamous marriages, to name just a few.  Similarly, there are good reasons to state what rights, duties, and responsibilities come with the status of marriage.

   You might as well ask why and when did government decide to get involved in the issue of Contracts, Torts, or any other area of the Civil Law.  After all, why not just let the "invisible hand" of the Marketplace deal with those who don't honor their contracts, or pay their debts?  Or better yet, why not just employ "self-help", Mafia style?  A few broken arms and legs are a far more effective and efficient way of collecting  money than a lawsuit!

   Thank you, Mr. Brosius, for your complete lack of insight!


Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Mr. Oviatt:

   On the topic of Christians, and bashing, you mean like this?


Don’t want to be hassled by creationist teacher - Give up Buddhism, Louisiana public school says



  Or, maybe like this?


Christianity is America's true faith



   Note: that's an editorial by a "good" Christian "conservative" on the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors which argues that only Christians have religious freedom in this country.  He's since "gone on the record" in his official capacity to declare that members of other faiths (Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc.) don't have the same rights as Christians - at least when it comes to prayers at the Supervisor's meetings.



   And let's not forget the Chesterfield County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors, which will only allow "ordained religious leaders of monotheistic religions" to say such prayers.  (Must be something in Virginia's waters.)



   Of course, from my perspective (as a Jew) this probably could qualify as an example of anti-Christian persecution.  You see, according to my faith the idea of a "Trinity" is hardly monotheistic.  (Ditto, having a Devil running around.)

   Then there's this "charming" example of "Christian persecution":


Protesters disrupt historic reading of Senate prayer by Hindu



   And let's not forget that "good" Christian, Judge Roy Moore of Alabama:


Alabama’s chief justice: Buddha didn’t create us so First
Amendment only protects Christians

http://www.rawsto ry.co m/rs/2014/05/02/alabamas-chief-justice-buddha-didnt-create-us-so -first-amendment-o nly-pro tectschristians/


   Oh, I'm sorry, were you referring to bashing against Christians, instead of by Christians?  If so, here's something you should read:


The Religious Right’s Deceptive Rallying Cry



   You remember that old saying about people who live in glass houses?

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Mr. Kuentzler:

  Indeed, it would be a blessing, provided people like you, Roy, and (yes, I'm afraid) Mr. Crocker didn't keep picking and choosing only parts of it to follow!

   I'll spare the webmaster the burden of reposting my Comment to Crocker's Letter (which also applies to both you and Roy), and instead just post a link to it:


   You should also go back and read my response to Roy's laughable assertion that he's a "centrist".  It covers much of the same ground:


  Finally, your assertion that "The Founders never wanted a stronger Government" is just false  The whole reason we replaced the Articles of Confederation with the Constituiton was to create a stronger government!

  For example, the Constitution gives the Federal government the power of direct taxation.  The Articles didn't.  (Under that document, all the government could do was submit requisitions to the States, asking them to fork over money to keep the national government running.  Frequently they didn't.  That's one reason Washington and our Army had to spend that dreadful winter at Valley Forge - lack of funds to obtain better shelter and provisions!)

   Your Letter is thus infected with what passes for "wisdom" these days: ideological blindness, and just plain ignorance.  (And yes, that's not a condition unique to the "right").

porr000's picture


Thanks for addressing the problems in these letters. I have not had the time to sit down and do them justice.

One thing you left out in your reply to Crocker was the invocation of God in the DoI as the Supreme Judge of the world.

How in the world did THAT happen? A lawyer of all people forgetting to include the Supreme JUDGE? Isn't that like blasphemy or something?

So, you now have God invoked four times in the DoI: Nature's God, Creator, Supreme Judge, and Divine Providence.

Now, I don't know if it was intentional on Jefferson's part, but the three invocations of Nature's God in the DoI seem to correlate to the three branches of government on the US Constitution.

Creator to Congress, Supreme Judge to the Supreme Court, and Divine Providence (or hand of Divine Providence as Roy states) to the Executive.

But, that correlation is not why I feel Mr. K's comment is wrong when he calls that these two documents conflicting.

He felt they are conflicting because they served different purposes. I feel they are harmonious not only because they were both the means to the same end, but because the Constitution was written in a way that 1. Supports the beliefs mentioned in the DoI and 2. Is an attempt to form a government that would prevent the grievances listed in the DoI from happening again.

This harmony is one of the reasons I consider these two documents to be some of mankind's greatest literary works. I feel they are right up there with the writings of Shakespeare, the Bible, Dante, Sophocles, and Homer, to name a few.

You once asked about American Exceptionalism, well, these great literary works are a reason for it. The Constitution of the United States is currently the oldest constitution alive today.


porr000's picture

My appologies to Mr. K.

It was Mr. C. who wrote, "Those are two conflicting documents."


Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   You're absolutely correct, and I hadn't noticed that when composing the Letter I'm going to send (before I sign off tonight in fact).  I think I'll incorporate a reference to Crocker's claim in my critique there of his Letter.

   Thanks for the assist.

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   Then you're going to love my next Letter (which I'll be e-mailing to the View later today).  It deals with all three letters by these gentlemen.  (They are all intertwined, of course.)  There's little new in it (it's mostly a summation of my Comments to all three), but I think you'll like it.

   Regarding references to "the Supreme Judge of the world", "Nature's God", a "Creator", and "Divine Providence", in the Declaration, there are two points to remember.

   First, nowhere is it specified precisely who that being is.  (As I've often noted, Jefferson, author of the Declaration, didn't believe it was Jesus.)  That was deliberate both for philosophical and practical reasons.  Philosophically, the Founders were men of their time: the Enlightenment.  Thus their version of Christianity tended to avoid more specific invocations.  (Washington often referred to "the Grand Architect of the World", for example.)  The practical reason was that the Declaration was an appeal to the World for support, as well as declaring ourseleves independent.  Since many of the world's nations weren't Christian (nor were the Christian ones all of the same denomination), being too specific would defeat that diplomatic purpose.

   Second, the Declaration isn't part of our law.  The Constitution is.  In fact, it's the supreme law of the land!  (Article 6, Paragraph 2)  So what the Declaration may say, while inspiring, has no legal force.  As I've observed in prior Comments (and do again in my Letter), no god "ordained and established" the Constitution.  "We, the People" did - acting in accordance with the principles of the Declaration.  (Which says "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed".)

  (By the way, the references to the "Supreme Judge" and "Divine Providence" may not have been by Jefferson.  Congress edited the document after all.  I think it was the Reverend Witherspoon who inserted the latter.)

   Since the Declaration only mention's "Nature's God" once, I don't see how you get that bit about the branches of the government.  The whole idea of separation of powers (as the concept is known) actually came from The Spirit of the Laws, a book by Montesquieu.  (Mon dieu, a frenchman!  How "progressive" can you get?)


   I don't see Mr. Kuentzler as saying the Declaration and the Constitution are in conflict.   However, you are quite correct in saying that the latter is the instrument by which we attempt to fufill the purposes of the former.  The connecting link can be found in the further words of the Declaration that Roy (and other "conservatives") tend to forget.  Here's my full quote (from my earlier Comment addressing Crocker's Letter):

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.  That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

   So, in accordance with the principles of the Declaration we abolished the government of Great Britain (at least in so far as it ceased to be our government).  Then, to secure those rights, we instituted a new government (under the Articles of Confederation), "on such principles and organizing its powers in such form" as we thought best.  But, realizing the Articles didn't work very well, we did it again!  Abolishing the government created by them, and ordaining and establishing a new one under the Constitution.

   (Like I keep saying, one really can't understand the Constitution without understanding the history behind it.  A lesson Mr. Peabody has yet to learn.)

   So your statements about the relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution are quite correct.   Just remember the Constitution is the surpeme Law, the Declaration isn't.

   Finally, I didn't "ask about American Exceptionalism"  (though I did ask others to state what they considered exceptional about America).  If you recall, my first two items were the Declaration and the Constitution.  So we completely agree on that.

porr000's picture


I look forward to reading it.  I really enjoy learning about the enlightenment period and the history behind the Constitution of the US.  

When you say nowhere is it specified precisely who that being is, I assume you are meaning that "Nature's God" is not specified as the Christian God, Jesus, Yahweh, Buddah, Allah, Vishnu, or whomever.

Not only is it not specified, but it was never intended to be specific.  That was not the point of even mentioning Nature's God, Creator, Supreme Judge of the world, or Divine Providence.  The context in which these invocations were used were for entirely different reasons. 

Nature's God is the writer and giver of the Laws of Nature.  

The nature of things is obvious when compared with things of a different nature. A rock has an entirely different nature than a fish, and man has an entirely different nature than a god.  King George was certainly not a god, he was a man like you and I. The nature of one man and another man is the same, or equal. In nature, man is equal to one another. 

In nature, mankind, including a king, is found to need a lot of care. It takes years and a lot of nurture for people to get to a point they can care for themselves, and when they get old, they are found to need a lot of nurturing again. Mankind needs family to survive. Survival for mankind requires certain things.  Mankind also is found to desire certain things, like security, establishment, a place to call their own, so that they can care for offspring and to ensure the survival of the species.  These are things that are found in nature to exist for all mankind.  

The Creator endowed each of us with unalienable rights, as was found in nature, and the King violated them continuously.

In the conclusion, the beseaching of the Supreme Judge of the land to find their endeavor worthy and right, and the request of divine providence to protect them as they entered into this death pact, which is an act of treason under the King, certainly sounds like the influence of a minister.  Indeed, Jefferson's work in writing the DOI was a collaborative effort to not only inform the king but the rest of the world as well. Trade could now be conducted with countries who are enemies of England.   

These invocations were not used in the context of establishing a "Christian Nation" by any means, nor was it meant to give support to the idea that the establishment of the Union is based on theology. But that argument won't stop people from believing God had a hand in the creation of our country.  If it is their faith that God directed the hearts and minds of men who wrote the Constitution, then that is their faith, period.  If they believe the Revolutionary War was won because we had God on our side, then they are going to believe that no matter what anyone says. That is the thing about faith...it doesn't rely on facts or reason.

True the Constitution is the only one of the documents with any legal force.  The DOI is not law.  Why you feel that important to distinguish, I don't know.  Roy never stated, asserted, or insinuated what is contained in the DOI has any legal force.   

Roy was saying if you compare his "traditional values" to the values enunciated in the DOI and Constitution, then he is a centrist. He listed some of them, which included a couple I don't believe were enunciated in either document, such as self-reliance or opportunity.  Maybe he gleened them.  I also noted he carefully or absent-mindedly left out the word "small" prior to saying "limited government".  However he earlier complained about the other side wanting a bigger government, so I guess the "small limited government" can be implied.  I don't remember a value in either document that is for small government. 

His statement that they do not evolve with the passage of time as some activist judges would have us believe, is probably the closest he came to incorrectly suggesting the DOI is law.  First of all, people do not refer to the DOI as evolving. I have only heard people claim it is the Constitution that is an evolving, living, breathing, organic document. There is some argument out there I believe he is relying on that makes it seem the founders intended the Constitution to be for all time, but I cannot find it now.  

But my question to the centrist Roy would then be...who is right wing compared to him?  Puritans?





Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   Indeed, that's the very point I made in my previous Comment.  The Declaration isn't specific because America needed the help of Catholic countries (like France) and Protestant ones (like Prussia).  She also could use help from Muslim countries, and would have accepted it from Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Confucian, or Jewish countries (had there been any at the time).  So specifying who was "Nature's God" (etc.) wouldn't be a very good idea.

   (Plus, let's face it, even in America there was hardly agreement on which was the "true faith", so avoiding specificity was wise here too.  For example, many American Jews helped bankroll the Revolution, with loans that were never repaid.  I doubt they'd have done so if they thought America was to be a "Christian Nation".)

   If I didn't make this clear, it's important to note that the Declaration doesn't say "how the hand of Providence helped form our great Republic".  (To use Roy's phrase from his July 15th Letter.


   How could it, since the Republic wasn't actually formed until after the Declaration was signed!  The Articles of Confederation (which formed our first national government) weren't approved by the Continental Congress until the next year, and it wasn't finally ratified until 1781.  The Constitution, which "ordained and established" the government for "our great Republic" wasn't even drafted until 11 years after the Declaration (1787).  So when the Declaration speaks of "Nature's God" (etc.), it isn't talking about the forming of the Republic.  At most, it is giving the philosophical foundation for our rebellion against George the Third.

   Please note, the signers of the Declaration merely appealed to "the Supreme Judge of the world", and then only "for the rectitude" of their intentions.  (Sort of like saying, "As God is my witness, . . . .")  And they only declared their "firm reliance" on protection from "Divine Providence".  Nowhere did they say that God actually provided such protection (or would).

   Remember the words from Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address?

Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. . . . The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.


   The claim that "Divine Providence" played any part in the forming of our "great Republic" strikes me as arrogant, and a little blasphemous.  It's really a throwback to the idea of trial by combat, in which the "litigants" try to kill each other ("and God defend the right").  If you survive the battle, and your opponent doesn't, that "proves" God was on your side.  It's really just a theological justification for "might makes right".  Lincoln would have none of it, neither should we.

   Jefferson's point (when invoking "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God") was to reject the notion of "the Divine right of Kings".  (A biblically based notion, by the way.)  Instead of the King (or any government) gaining "its just powers" from "the mandate of Heaven", answerable to God alone (as the Lord's servant and Lieutenant on Earth), government is the instrument of the governed!  Created by us, deriving its just power from us, and changeable by us.  That's what the Declaration is all about, not the theocratic view Roy toys with.

   Read the Declaration carefully.  What does it say our right is when government becomes "destructive" to our "unalienable rights"?

it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

   How many times must I quote that passage before the point sinks in?  We, the People, formed the Republic.  No god applied for the job.

   As for believing God (or "Divine Providence") had a hand in the creation of our country, I have no problem with that.  As long as it isn't turned to political purposes (as Roy was doing).  Remember, he asserted that such a view made him a "centrist", as contrasted with his usual "demons" (those dreaded "Progressives").  A political position contrary to the Constitution!  After all, there's no requirement one believe in "Divine Providence" in order to serve in government, or even vote.  To the contrary, the No Religious Test Clause, and the First Amendment, prevent such a requirement.  Clearly, the Founders didn't demand people believe in a god, much less that said god "had a hand in the creation of our country".  Roy's assertions are contrary to everything America was founded on, and they are very dangerous if acted upon.

   George Washington famously said we had a government "which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance".  Roy's views are the start of the process which leads to the opposite.

See: George Washington’s 1790 Letter To Touro Synagogue.

   And note, that while Washington was replying to a letter which had referenced "the work of the Great God", he made no such remark in his response.  Instead, he said it was the "Citizens of the United States of America" who deserved credit for creating such a government.  In this debate, I think I'll side with Washington and Lincoln, not Roy.

   The distinction between the Declaration and the Constitution is important because Roy (and people like him) try to base their theocratic view of our country on the former, while often ignoring (or denigrating) the supremacy of the latter.  Here are Roys precise words:

However, if my traditionalist values are compared to what the Declaration of Independence and Constitution say about limited government, self reliance, opportunity, God given, not government given rights, and how the hand of Providence helped form our great Republic, well that would be another story. Compare my values and beliefs to what the Founders intended as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

   Well, that's the problem, isn't it?  What does the Constitution actually say about any of that?  NOTHING!  Care to quote me (Article, Section, and Paragraph) which talk about "self reliance", "opportunity", "God given" rights, or "the hand of Providence"?  Since it's the document which actually created our government, and which laid its foundation and organized its powers, doesn't what it says (and doesn't say) take precedence over the more philosophical words of the Declaration?

   (And the limitations on government in the Constitution are there because "We, the People" put them in!  Along with the rights that document secures.)

   How many times have we heard rhetoric like Roy's used as an argument in a political dispute?  Abortion should be banned.  Why?  Because we're "one nation under God".  Gay marriage should be banned.  Why?  Because God (the "Creator" referenced in the Declaration) says so.  Only good "conservatives" and "traditionalists" should hold office.  Why?  Because we're a "Christian Nation".

   (Make no mistake, Roy has a very definite idea just who "Nature's God", the "Creator", etc., is.  It' ain't Adonai Elohenu, Allah, Buddha, or Brahma.)

   By the way, the Declaration also says NOTHING! about most of what Roy was babbling about.  There's certainly no mention of "limited government, self reliance, opportunity, . . . , and how the hand of Providence helped form our great Republic".  It does discuss certain rights endowed by a Creator (without saying who that creator is).  But even then, again, it goes on to say that we need government to secure those rights!  And the rights we enjoy as Americans (the legal rights we make political arguments about) certainly are "government given", not "God given".

   (When during the drafting of the Constitution, Franklin proposed starting each session of the Convention with prayer, not only was his proposal rejected, but Hamilton supposedly joked that we shouldn't be seeking "foreign aid".)

  If I may, allow me to criticize what you write.  There's a tendency on your part to downplay, or even ignore, what's right before your eyes.  You objected to my saying there are racists within the Tea Party Movement (as there clearly are), because you reject the notion that the Movement itself is racist.  (A notion I also expresslly rejected.)  I'd say you're doing the same thing here: downplaying the full importance of what Roy is saying and trying to do.  Thus allowing him to demonize those he diasagrees with, while claiming all virtue for "his side".

   One can oppose stupid government, and unnecessary government, without ranting about "small" or "limited" government.  (And certainly without the ideological methods Roy employs.)  In the 18th Century (when the government was founded) we had no need for the EPA, the FDA, the FBI, or the SEC.  Today we do.  I see nothing in either the Declaration or the Constitution forbidding creation of such agencies, and empty rhetoric about "small" or "limited" government cannot supply it.

   As for whether the Constitution is "Dead or Alive", the dispute he touches on, I've often said that's the stupidest argument I've ever heard.  And I'm referring to both sides of it.  Why?  Because the only correct answer to the question is: Yes.  (It's both!).  The words on the document don't change (unless formally amended), but our understanding and application of them do!  Partly that's because much of it is written in broad, general, terms, whose meaning and use must be worked out on a case-by-case basis.  And partly because such general principles can indeed change with the times.

   In The Federalist Papers (written, remember, to get the Constitution ratified and adopted) Madison makes a very good point.  Discussing the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution (the last paragraph of the "laundry list" of legislative powers granted by Article 1, Section 8), he says:

Had the [constitutional] convention attempted a positive enumeration of the powers necessary and proper for carrying their other powers into effect, the attempt would have involved a complete digest of laws on every subject to which the Constitution relates; accommodated too not only to the existing state of things, but to all the possible changes which futurity may produce; for in every new application of a general power, the particular powers, which are the means of attaining the object of the general power, must always necessarily vary with that object, and be often properly varied whilst the object remains the same.

Federalist Paper Number 44  (emphasis by Madison).

   He made a similar statement when opposing the addition of the word “expressly” to the Tenth Amendment. See: James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights by Richard Labunski (Oxford University Press, 2006) pages 229 - 230.  (And he was successful in preventing the addition.)

   The point is that the Federal government wasn't to be limited merely to those particular powers expressly spelled out in the Constitution.  As circumstances change (as they will over time), there will be a "new application" of the general powers, and therefore the particular powers must change ("vary") with that "new application" in order to attain the object of the general power.  A more eloquent way of explaining why the Constitution can (indeed must) "evolve with the passage of time" is hard to imagine.  Except, Chief Justice John Marshall did:

We must admit, as all must admit, that the powers of the government are limited, and that its limits are not to be transcended.  But we think the sound construction of the constitution must allow to the national legislature that discretion, with respect to the means by which the powers it confers are to be carried into execution, which will enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it, in the manner most beneficial to the people.  Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.

McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 4 L.Ed. 579 (1819), emphasis added.

   Again, that discretion is much broader than Roy allows, and while the "letter" of the Constitution may not change (absent amendment) its spirit (the purpose or object of the Constitution) and our understanding and application of it most definitely does.

   Otherwise, how could the Supreme Court have rejected the doctrine of "separate but equal"?  How could it declare the Second Amendment granted an individual right to "keep and bear arms" (when prior Court decisions seemed to say the opposite)?  Study the history of what's known as the "Lochner Doctrine", if you want to see an example of the Constitution "evolving" - first in a "conservative" direction, then in a "liberal" one.

   As for Roy being centrist, remember my first Comment on that claim:

Maybe compared to Torquemada (the Grand Inquisitor).


P.S. - If you're going to keep raising such interesting and complex matters, we really have to find other restaurants to eat in.  (It will be less time consuming, and more fun, than typing.)  Would a good old fashioned steak, at the Texas Roadhouse on 75th Avenue, be "wimpy" enough for you?


porr000's picture

Yup, a good steak is definitely "wimpy" enough for me!  


porr000's picture

If you look at the etimology of the words, constitution, statue, and statute, they all derive from the same root.

A statue is a type of thing that is big and heavy and not easily moved. It is set up in a place with the idea that it is to remain there permanently.

A Statute is also a thing that is set up with the idea that it will is not easily moved, that it is set up with the idea in mind that it will remain permanently.

And so is the idea that the Constitution is a thing of permanence, meant for all time, set up with the idea that it is fixed to remain unchanged, never intended to "evolve".

Thus is the one arguement I've heard against the idea that the Constitution is a living, breathing, evolving, or organic document.

If you look at Wilson's argument for an evolving Constitution, he claimed the Founders took a Neutonian view of the Constitution of it rather than a Darwinian approach...an fixed orbital view bound by gravity rather than a living organism that evolves.

"Now, it came to me, as this interesting man talked, that the Constitution of the United States had been made under the dominion of the Newtonian Theory. You have only to read the papers of The Federalist to see that fact written on every page. They speak of the “checks and balances” of the Constitution, and use to express their idea the simile of the organization of the universe, and particularly of the solar system,—how by the attraction of gravitation the various parts are held in their orbits; and then they proceed to represent Congress, the Judiciary, and the President as a sort of imitation of the solar system.

They were only following the English Whigs, who gave Great Britain its modern constitution. Not that those Englishmen analyzed the matter, or had any theory about it; Englishmen care little for theories. It was a Frenchman, Montesquieu, who pointed out to them how faithfully they had copied Newton’s description of the mechanism of the heavens.

The makers of our Federal Constitution read Montesquieu with true scientific enthusiasm. They were scientists in their way—the best way of their age —those fathers of the nation. Jefferson wrote of “the laws of Nature”—and then by way of afterthought —“and of Nature’s God.” And they constructed a government as they would have constructed an orrery —to display the laws of nature. Politics in their thought was a variety of mechanics. The Constitution was founded on the law of gravitation. The government was to exist and move by virtue of the efficacy of “checks and balances.”

The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton"

-Wilson 1912 campaign speech

Gordon Posner's picture


Dear Patrick:

   Due to lack of time (you've taken up quite enough of mine today), forgive me if I don't address your Wilsonian fixation.  (I think my Madison and Marshall quotes are sufficient to counter the suggestion that the idea of a flexible Constitution only began with Wilson).

   But I think your attempt at linguistics is a bit oversimplified.  According to my sources the word "statute" comes directly from French, not Latin.  (Though, of course, being a "latin language", the French has Latin roots too.).  The French word is statut, and estatut, meaning a royal promulgation or legal statute.


  It's late Latin derivation is from statutum (a law, decree, noun use of neuter past participle of Latin statuere, meaning "to enact or establish", from status "condition, position").


   Now, of course, one can "set up" a statue (in Latin statua, signum, or imago), but that's a tenuous basis on which to derive "statute", especially when the Latin for Law is lex or ius (also the basis for iuris, from which we get "jurisdiction" - the term for the power of our courts of law), and Constitutional Law is ius publicum.

   See: Collins Latin-English, English-Latin Dictionary (1966).  Yes, I took Latin in High School, but don't ask me to speak a word of it.  I sucked at language classes.

   Furthermore, the real import of the word statute is to distinguish that source of law created by the Legislature from the Common Law created by the Judiciary.


   Statutes, of course, are relatively easy to change.  All that's required is a majority vote by the legislature.  (Remember, that's the key distinction between the American and British constitutions.  The latter is simply all the statutes passed by Parliament, changeable anytine Parliament wants to.)  So, clearly, a statute isn't "set up with the idea in mind that it will remain permanently."

   Even our Constitution isn't.  After all, Article V provides for how the document can be changed (by amendment).  And among the first acts of the first Congress was to propose just such changes: the Bill of Rights.  They were adopted two years later - hardly an example of the Constitution being "meant for all time".

   (Jefferson thought we should completely rewrite the Constitution every 20 years or so.)

   By the way, that Wikipedia article includes a discussion about the meaning of the term "statute" in Biblical law:

In biblical terminology, statute (Hebrew chok) refers to a law given without any reason or justification. The classic example is the statute regarding the Red Heifer.

The opposite of a chok is a mishpat, a law given for a specified reason, e.g. the Sabbath laws, which were given because "God created the world in six days, but on the seventh day He rested".  (Geneis 2:2-3)

   That's not relevant to our discussion, but it is interesting.

P.S. - As for Wilson: I don't recall reading a single word about Newton in The Federalist Papers, though David Hume (the great skeptic and empiricist) and Montesquieu are mentioned there.  And the only mention of the word "gravity" I can find was when (rejecting an idea as "far-fetched") Hamilton states "one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery".  Federalist Paper Number 29.  There's nothing "Newtonian" about that!

   (Then again, Wilson's hardly my "favorite" President.  I much prefer men like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and both Roosevelts.  I even have some admiration for Polk, deeply flawed as he was.)


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