Hamilton’s Curse by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

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History can be a funny thing. Sometimes the sands of time obscure facts from those with only a passing knowledge of the truth.

So it is with some of the Founding Fathers. As a group they are revered by many for their knowledge, wisdom and forethought. They are seen as selfless defenders of liberty.

But that view is not completely accurate. Take the case of Alexander Hamilton, described by Thomas J. DiLorenzo in Hamilton’s Curse as essentially the anti-Thomas Jefferson—a man who would be pleased with America’s economic system today.

Hamilton’s Curse is not a biography of Hamilton. Rather it describes “his core political and economic ideas; the intellectual, legal, and political battles over those ideas; and the consequences America has suffered since his ideas were implemented,” DiLorenzo writes.

Although he was a principal author of The Federalist Papers and championed the adoption of the United States Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation, he began to work immediately to undermine its tenants as President George Washington’s first Treasury Secretary.

What Hamilton really favored was a strong central government. In fact, as DiLorenzo writes, Hamilton opposed the Articles of Confederation because it did not empower a centralized government. He wanted America to be ruled by a king that would have supreme power over all the people. He favored making the states provinces with governors appointed by—and therefore loyal to—the king.

Under such a regime, all political power in the nation would be exercised by the king and his circle of advisors, which undoubtedly would include Hamilton. Essentially, Hamilton wanted to turn the United States into Britain.

But what Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers sounded quite Jeffersonian, leading many to believe later that he was being less than sincere in the writings, DiLorenzo writes.

“More likely, his writings were intended to goad the public into acquiescing in the adoption of a document that he hoped would become a ‘living constitution,’” according to DiLorenzo. Hamilton later described the Constitution as “a frail and worthless fabric.”

Among the legacies of Hamilton and his acolytes is the idea that the Constitution granted the Federal government “implied powers”—powers that were not actually in the Constitution but that statists like Hamilton wish were there.

He favored a central bank, activist judges and mercantilist system modeled after the British system.

DiLorenzo writes that Hamilton was likely the first to twist the meaning of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, claiming the clause was an all-inclusive term for all commercial activities in society, and therefore that the government had a “right” to regulate and control all commerce—not just trade but intrastate commerce as well.

Hamilton believed “public” debt was a blessing, and he favored high taxes and paying subsidies (corporate welfare) to certain businesses.

While small government advocates in the Jeffersonian tradition won out over the Hamiltonians in the beginning, the Hamiltonians—or nationalists, as DiLorenzo calls them—never relented in their efforts.

Finally, in 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve and the passage of the 16th Amendment (granting the power to lay and collect taxes) and 17th Amendment (changing the way Senators are selected), the Hamiltonian philosophy prevailed.

Hamilton’s economic philosophy is in play today, and is the source of our country’s economic ills. DiLorenzo lays this all out in excellent fashion and peels back the layers of historical revisionism that have lionized Hamilton and others who believed as he did.

DiLorenzo makes an excellent case that if we are to return to the republic the Founding Fathers like Jefferson and James Madison envisioned we must end the Federal Reserve and repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments.

Freedom-loving Americans who are interested in devolving themselves of the glossed-over public school history they learned—and the false history being perpetuated today—must read this book.

Republicans Ask For Citizens’ Opinions On Spending Programs

Republicans ask for citizens' opinions on spending programsIn an effort to connect with conservative activists and help curb Federal spending, House Republicans announced last week the creation of a new project designed to allow citizens to vote on what they think should be cut from the Federal budget.

The new initiative, called YouCut, will enable voters to choose from one of five possible cuts each week. The winning suggestion will be brought to the floor the following week and will be voted on by members of the House.

"What we’re saying here is we’re going to listen," House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told Fox News. "Vote on your priority, and we’ll take it to an up-or-down vote on the floor."

Meanwhile, Democrats are calling the program a simple public relations gimmick that has no realistic chance of trimming the Federal budget.

"It’s not surprising that they are resorting to another gimmick for a round of press rather than a substantive idea for lasting solutions," said Hari Sevugan, the Democratic National Committee’s press secretary. "But if they actually listened to the American people, Republicans would know that knee-jerk opposition, obstruction, delay and gimmicks are not a substitute for leadership."

In response to the program, the Democrats created their own project called GOPSpent, where Americans can vote on the most irresponsible Republican initiatives that favor special interest groups.

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Attorney General Eric Holder’s Deputy Testifies In Voter Intimidation Inquiry

Attorney General Eric Holder's deputy testifies in voter intimidation inquiry As the Obama administration tries to stave off criticism over its dismissal of the investigation into the alleged New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case last year, a top Justice Department official testified on May 14 in front of the United States Civil Rights Commission.

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez spent 90 minutes defending the department’s actions, saying there were no alternative motivations behind the decision to drop the case by then-Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Loretta King, according to Main Justice.

"This is a case about career people disagreeing with career people," he was quoted as saying by the news provider, seemingly implying that the dispute was primarily between lawyers.

However, Perez entered into a heated exchange with Commissioner Gail Heriot who pressed him to answer why a more expansive injunction was not sought against a member of the Black Panther party who had carried a nightstick, the news source further reported.

The ongoing inquiry stems from an incident on Election Day 2008 at a Philadelphia polling station where members of the New Black Panther Party allegedly tried to intimidate voters by standing in military-style garb outside.

Late last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed most of the case, causing anger among many conservatives.

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Praises, Criticisms Of Kerry-Lieberman Climate Bill Continue

Praises, criticisms of Kerry-Lieberman climate bill continue In the days since Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced their energy and climate bill proposal, unions, industry groups and other stakeholders have continued to express their views that span an entire spectrum of opinions.

Among powerful unions, the United Steelworkers has praised the bill for its provisions to limit carbon "leakage," i.e. reduce incentives for production of goods to move to countries that fail to address global climate change.

Public Service Enterprise Group, a publicly traded energy company, has expressed a similar opinion, with its representatives stating that the proposal has the potential to protect consumers and provide the regulatory and legislative certainty needed "to unleash investment and create jobs."

They added that the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico underscores the importance of a comprehensive energy policy that achieves fuel diversity and "puts a price on carbon."

However, the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association appeared to be alarmed by the proposed carbon mandates. Its Executive Vice President and general counsel Gregory M. Scott stressed that carbon reduction mandates won’t have any impact on climate change because they apply only to vehicles, power plants, refineries and manufacturing facilities in the United States and ignore the soaring carbon dioxide emissions from rapidly industrializing countries.

"The draconian carbon reduction targets and timetables in this bill would trigger destructive change in America’s economic climate," Scott said, adding that "this would add billions of dollars in energy costs for American families and businesses, destroy the jobs of millions of American workers and make our nation more dependent on foreign energy sources."
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Vitamin A Supplementation May Improve Lung Function In Newborns

Vitamin A supplementation may improve lung function in newbornsExpectant women who take vitamin A supplements before and during pregnancy have a greater chance of giving birth to a child with superior lung function, according to a new Johns Hopkins study.

For the research, a team of investigators analyzed the lung function of a group of children whose mothers had been assigned to receive vitamin A supplements, beta-carotene tablets or a placebo both before and during their pregnancy.

They discovered that women who took vitamin A supplements gave birth to children who had greater forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1) and a greater forced vital capacity (FVC), two important measures of lung function. On average, the offspring of participants in the vitamin A group improved their lung function by 3 percent compared to the other respondents’ children.

"This benefit was limited to children whose mothers received vitamin A and not to those whose mothers received beta-carotene," said the authors of the study. "Early interventions with vitamin A in communities where undernutrition is highly prevalent may have long-lasting consequences in lung health."
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Supreme Injustice

“Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.” President William Howard Taft

President Barack Obama is covering all the bases when it comes to forming his Supreme Court, an institution which will leave his stamp on America long after he has left office.

Gay rights activists are quick to laud the President’s latest pick for the high court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan. The nomination of Kagan comes one year after Obama’s first selection for the court, Sonia Maria Sotomayor. Latinos loudly applauded that nomination. Gays are downright giddy over Obama’s decision to replace John Paul Stevens with Kagan.

Kevin Cathcart, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund’s executive director, believes Kagan holds “a strong position” in opposing the military’s ban on gays.

During her confirmation as solicitor general last year it was revealed that Kagen had tried to bar military recruiters from the campus of Harvard Law School while she was dean. Even though Kagan was part of the Clinton administration she was never a fan of Clinton’s policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” It seems that this academic nominee (she has never been a judge and she has only practiced law for two years) believes that being openly gay is good, even if it impedes national security as many in the armed forces believe.

Kagan told the Judiciary Committee last year that in her view, “the exclusion of individuals from basic economic, civic, and political opportunities of our society on the basis of race, nationality, sex, religion, and sexual orientation (is injust).”

With control of 59 votes in the Senate, Democrats should be able to win confirmation. However, if all 41 Republicans vote together, they could block a vote with a filibuster.

Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign president, said Kagan’s selection fulfills Obama’s promise to promote “diversity” on the court. There can be little doubt of that. Last week The Washington Post asked in a headline: “Can men still be appointed to the Supreme Court?”

If we assume that the pool of possible nominations includes equal numbers of equally qualified men and women, then the nomination of two women consecutively has a one in four chance of occurring. But the kicker for Kagan getting nominated is her close personal relationship with the President. In fact Obama introduced the former Harvard Law School dean as "my friend."

"Elena is widely regarded as one of the nation’s foremost legal minds,” Obama said. “She’s an acclaimed legal scholar with a rich understanding of Constitutional law. She is a former White House aide, with a life-long commitment to public service and a firm grasp of the nexus and boundaries between our three branches of government."

I don’t know what having a firm grasp on the nexus and boundaries means, but it sounds like something that would be bandied about at a Mensa meeting. And while I will never be invited to that group of geniuses, I am smart enough to understand that when it comes to consolidating power, Obama resembles leaders from Caesar Chavez to Fidel Castro; friends come first.

The never-married 50-year-old Kagan is not only a close friend to the President but also shares many of his ideals. Kagan clerked for one of the Supreme Court’s staunchest liberals, Thurgood Marshall, and was a research assistant for one of the greatest legal defenders of gay civil rights, Laurence Tribe. She was also a staff member on the Dukakis for President Campaign in 1988. The defeat of Dukakis set back gay rights for 20 years, but with Obama and now Kagan, another minority is set to take swift strides.

As MSNBC pointed out, “Kagan has the chance to extend Obama’s legacy for a generation.” And every bit as alarming as that is the likelihood that Kagan is a supporter of even greater executive powers.

The Court’s Lurch To The Left
In 1952 Supreme Court clerk and later Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that the Court should not strike down Jim Crow laws. Rehnquist also said that Brown v. Board of Education should not find that minorities do not have a constitutional right to the same treatment as the majority.

Rehnquist wrote: "To the argument made by Thurgood Marshall [in Brown v. Board of Education] that a majority may not deprive a minority of its Constitutional right, the answer must be made that while this is sound in theory, in the long run it is the majority who will determine what the Constitutional rights of the minority are."

I wonder if it was not Rehnquist’s ideas that were sound only in theory. It seems less and less that it is the majority deciding its future. Consider the immigration law passed in Arizona, SB 1070. A CBS poll showed that 60 percent of American’s don’t think the new law—which is bound to include profiling—is too extreme.

Yet our President has announced opposition. Obama held a reception at the White House on May 5—Cinco de Mayo Day—where he denounced Arizona’s new immigration law. Obama announced that he has instructed his administration, "To closely monitor the new law in Arizona, [and] to examine the civil rights and other implications that it may have."

Furthermore, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the Justice Department is deliberating whether to file suit against the Arizona law, either on the grounds that it violates the Supremacy Clause or Federal civil rights laws. But during a Congressional hearing May 13, Holder admitted he had not even read the law.

It doesn’t look like Arizona will back down and, in the wake of the past 17 months in office, it appears doubtful that Obama will either.

Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas) accuses the Obama administration of doing more to secure the borders of foreign countries than its own and called for immediate action to reverse that.

“We want the National Guard to be armed and defend themselves if necessary and to assist the border patrol and local law enforcement," said Poe.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer—who signed the bill—has said Arizona must act because Washington had failed to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico. Arizona is home to nearly half a million illegal immigrants and is the nation’s busiest gateway for illegals and drugs.

Yet Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said that Republicans are using the issue to divide the country. "We’re here to say it’s time to deal with comprehensive reform realistically and begin the process of healing this country.”

For things to work out for Grijalva, the city of Phoenix may have to live up to its name and raise the dead. According to Brian Ross of ABC News, “Phoenix, Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside Mexico City, and over 370 cases last year alone.”

In the end expect this dispute to land on the steps of the Supreme Court; a once non-partisan institution that Obama is trying to stack with minority rights activists such as Sotomayor and Kagan. While Latinos and gays may rest easy because of Obama’s choices for the Supreme Court, Americans living in Phoenix will not. That is bad news for the majority of Americans whose families built this great country.

Yours in good times and bad,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

The Birth Of Wall Street

What would become the New York Stock Exchange was born 218 years ago this week. On May 17, 1792, 21 stock brokers and representatives of three firms met under a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street and signed what became known as “the Buttonwood Agreement” to regularize the buying and selling of public shares.

Members of the New York Stock and Exchange Board, as it was called, pledged to honor two commitments. First, to buy and sell shares only among themselves—no outsiders permitted at this table. Or as the Agreement put it, “We will give preference to each other in our Negotiations.”

Second, that their commissions on all exchanges would never be less than .25 percent (one quarter of one percent) of the transaction. Over time, both the number of members and the percent for commissions grew exponentially.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: For more than 200 years stock prices were quoted in fractions, not decimal points. The reason has more to do with Spanish pirates than English banks. In order to share some of the captured booty with their crew members, pirates would slice doubloons into eight pieces—sort of like dividing a pizza today. So 1/8th of a dollar became a common unit of measurement. Two of them were “two bits,” or 25 cents—an expression we still use today.

That is, of course, the only association between pirates and Wall Street that’s ever existed.

—Chip Wood

Holder Admits To Not Having Read Arizona’s New Immigration Law

Holder admits to not having read Arizona's new immigration lawAfter criticizing Arizona’s new immigration law over its alleged proclivity to promote racial profiling, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted last week that he has not read the statute.

While fielding questions at the House Judiciary Committee’s latest hearing, Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas) asked Holder directly if he had read the law that he openly criticized.

"I have not had a chance to," the attorney general responded. "I’ve glanced at it. I have not read it."

Meanwhile, Holder said on NBC’s Meet The Press last weekend that the law could lead to racial profiling and may put a "wedge" between law enforcement personnel and the Latino community.

"People in that community are less likely then to cooperate with people in law enforcement, less likely to share information, less likely to be witnesses in a case that law enforcement is trying to solve," he said.

Holder also indicated last month that the Federal government may challenge the law in court based on its constitutionality, Fox News reports.

In response to the attorney general’s confession, Poe responded, "its 10 pages—it’s a lot shorter than the healthcare bill. I will give you a copy of it if you would like."
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Holder Evades Questioning On Alleged Illegal White House Job Offer

Holder evades questioning on alleged illegal White House job offerDespite Representative Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) intensive questioning at a Congressional hearing last week, Attorney General Eric Holder refused to comment on the status of a possible Justice Department investigation.

In February, Representative Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) told a Philadelphia news station that he was informed by the White House that he would be offered a Federal position with the Department of Defense if he dropped out of the upcoming Pennsylvania Democratic primary election, where he will be competing against Senator Arlen Specter (D-Penn.).

Issa, the ranking Republican member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to the case in March, and said he had yet to receive a response from the attorney general’s office.

Meanwhile, Holder continued to evade Issa’s questions regarding whether or not an investigation into the accusations had been launched.

"I can say that with regard to the appointment of a special prosecutor, that it is done on a case-by-case basis," Holder said. "It is the department’s policy not to comment on pending matters, to say there is an investigation, to say there is not an investigation."

As to the lack of response to the Representative’s letter, Holder said he assumed his office had taken action and apologized.

"It could be in the mail," Issa said sarcastically. "It’s very slow sometimes."
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Poll Shows Michigan Residents Oppose Expansion Of Sales Tax

Poll shows Michigan residents oppose expansion of sales taxThe idea of expanding the sales tax to services has been floated as one way to help lower Michigan’s budget deficit, but a new survey shows that most residents overwhelmingly oppose this measure.

The poll, released by the the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Association of Realtors, found that 75 percent of likely voters oppose the proposal put forward by Governor Jennifer Granholm and House Speaker Andy Dillon to lower the sales tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and expand the tax to most consumer services.

Only 21 percent support this measure, according to the survey.

"The more the people of Michigan learn about a service tax, the more they see it as an effort to nickel-and-dime those who can least afford it," said Michigan Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Studley.

"Businesses and working families are struggling and can’t afford to bear any more burdens," he added.

The survey moreover found that the opposition was consistent across the political spectrum. In fact, 77 percent percent of Republican voters and 74 percent of independents were joined by 60 percent of Democrats in expressing a negative view of the governor’s plan.

According to recent estimates, Michigan faces between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
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