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The Progressive Mind: Socialist Planning for Abundance

Socialist Planning for Abundance
By Corliss Lamont

Corliss Lamont (1902 – 1995) was born into one of America’s wealthiest families. His Father was Thomas Lamont, partner and later chairman of J.P. Morgan & Co. He was educated at some of the most prestigious schools in America and England, Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard, Oxford, and Columbia. Later he became one of the foremost apologists and philosophers of socialism during the twentieth century. The following article is reprinted from one of his better known books, “You Might Like Socialism”1 published in 1939.

1. Everyone Can Live Well
Like anyone else, I want to live well, and I want my wife and three children to live well. I believe in the wholehearted affirmation and enjoyment of life. There are surely few mortals who appreciate more than myself the simple material things that both sustain human existence and can bring to it such delight. I enjoy good food, comfortable living quarters and surroundings that are pleasant and healthful. I am very fond of sports, especially tennis, skating and swimming. I like to dance. And I enjoy, too, the pleasures of culture: the leisured reading of books and poetry, stimulating wit and conversation, evenings at theater and concert and motion picture, the opportunity to write.

Some of my conservative upper-class friends occasionally banter me on the exuberant way in which I relish the sweets of existence, as if such relish showed that I could not really believe in Socialism. But they miss the point. For it is precisely the destiny of Socialism to bring to the whole community those felicities of living that up to now only a small minority have had the chance to enjoy. I want everyone to live well. And I am convinced that Socialist planning could quickly assure to every American family not merely economic security, but also a fair degree of comfort. For this reason, the idea of a Socialist society ought to attract profoundly not just the more poorly paid workers and farmers, but most of the middle class and many members of the upper class as well.

If we attain Socialism in the United States during my lifetime, I fully expect that I and other persons who are at present economically privileged will be able, if we work loyally under the new system, to maintain a very decent standard of living, though not one that is luxurious or extravagant. This Socialist promise of general prosperity is one of the chief reasons why I consider so infinitely shortsighted and unintelligent those members of the upper class who oppose with such bitter-end stubbornness the passing of Capitalism. For they themselves can share to a substantial extent in the abundance which Socialism will make actual. And so long as they prevent this abundance from coming to fruition, they are playing the invidious role of dogs-in-the-manger. They are saying in effect to the people: “It is true that we cannot ourselves unlock the untold possibilities of this modern economy, but just the same we don’t intend to let you do it.”

Suppose the American people woke up some fine morning and read in the newspapers that every factory and farm in the country was operating at full blast, that all the millions of unemployed had been able to find jobs, that sweeping increases in wages would shortly go into effect and that for the first time in years federal, state and municipal governments saw the sure prospect of balancing their budgets. One can imagine the sense of relief, the happiness, the positive thrill that would be felt from one end of the country to the other; one can picture the rejoicing that would be called forth in every American home, in every place of business, in every public gathering. It would be like the end of the Great War (2); indeed, it would be the end of a Great War, the war on poverty, on unemployment, on depression and the thousand ills that accompany these major maladies of the capitalist system.

All this I have been depicting is no mere word-mirage. It is a close approximation of what would actually take place under full-fledged Socialism. For Socialist planning means that the American economic system would in fact be kept going at 100 per cent capacity, that its potential plenty would at long last be released, its productive resources and distributive techniques utilized and developed to the maximum for the people and by the people. The almost immediate outcome would be that $5,000 (3) income for every American family that I mentioned earlier. And as time went on, this figure would steadily rise. These considerations spell out why Socialism means wealth,  fabulous wealth, and eventually tenfold, yes a hundredfold, more wealth than Capitalism has ever been able to bring mankind.

2. The Principles of Planning
The fundamental principle that lies behind planning is fairly simple and one which we encounter in some form in many different realms of human behavior. It consists of coordinating our activities in the light of our capacities and of the objective external environment, especially its economic aspects. As individuals we all plan to some extent, whether it be for a day or a month, a year or a decade, always keeping a weather eye on the state of our finances.

If we have a family, then planning becomes more complex and essential. The intelligent family looks into the future so far as is possible and plans, according to its resources, for the needs of its various members. If it is wise and has any sort of dependable income, it will make an annual budget, allocating definite sums to food, housing, clothing, recreation, baby carriages and the like. It will also probably try to set aside certain amounts as savings; and the most prudent heads of families will plan years and years ahead for the particular needs and vicissitudes of old age. Thoughtful people will take an even further step and, through the process of wills, lay careful plans for friends and family long after they are dead.

Coming to purely economic units, we find that every kind of business concern, no matter what its size and nature, must plan. The larger and more complex it is, the more attention it has to pay to planning. Any big corporation, for instance, with its many different departments, must have central planning in order to coordinate its various activities and to function successfully as a business. This is true whether the U. S. Steel Corporation or General Motors is concerned, whether R. H. Macy and Company or American Telephone and Telegraph, whether Standard Oil of New York or the Pennsylvania Railroad. The planning necessary for the efficient management of huge businesses like these reaches out to all parts of America and in some degree abroad as well. And in certain fields where big business has come to be overwhelmingly predominant, the planning of a few large trusts or even of a single monopoly may extend over well-nigh a whole industry.

The purpose of planning in all capitalist enterprise is, of course, to make money. And this means that each business, in the process of continually establishing and re-establishing its own superiority, must plan against its rivals and win away from them more and more customers, Trusts in the same industry have to plan against each other and also, in order to capture a larger and larger share of the general consumer’s income, against trusts in other industries. Thus, in enterprise both large and small, the plans of individual businesses and businessmen tend to cancel one another out to a considerable extent. The capitalist theory is that the most efficient and intelligently managed concerns come out on top. Undeniably this is frequently true; just as often, however, it is ruthlessness and lack of moral scruple that turns the trick, as has been amply illustrated in the lives of our “robber barons.” But whether efficiency or ruthlessness or perhaps both together are operative in any particular case, the result for the community is in the end economic.

In order to mitigate or prevent the disastrous results of anarchic Capitalism in some important field, capitalist governments sometimes put into effect a species of planning for an entire industry. In most European countries the telephone and telegraph are publicly owned and operated, and in several the railways as well. Then, too, there are public planning schemes in existence over particular localities. A good example of this is the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which is exploiting the power resources of the Tennessee basin on behalf of the population of the vicinity, much to the chagrin of the private utility companies. These types of piecemeal planning, however, no matter, how well they may work in the sectors allotted to them, cannot go far in solving the economic problems of a country as a whole.

It is characteristic that the most far-reaching schemes of public planning under Capitalism should be for profit, or for profit and war. The so-called planning of the New Deal during President Roosevelt’s first term was directed, especially in agriculture, toward decreasing production in order to bring back profits by making goods scarcer and prices higher. While the Great Depression was still ravaging the United States, the NRA (National Recovery Administration) and the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration) nobly cooperated, through planned destruction, with the usual haphazard destruction for profit by individual capitalists. Those were the days when almost over-night a fourth of the cotton crop was ploughed under, the wheat acreage reduced by 20 per cent and five million pigs destroyed. The AAA, doing its best under the circumstances to rescue the American farmer by boosting the price level, actually paid bonuses to all the producers who participated in this wholesale sacrifice to the capricious gods of capitalist economics.

During the Great War, America, and more than half the nations of the earth as well, carried out planned destruction on an even larger scale. Not only did this war planning entail the shooting away into nothingness of billions and billions of dollars worth of goods in the form of munitions; even the food, clothing and other supplies for the military and naval forces were for the purpose of enabling millions of men to engage in the entirely unproductive function of fighting to the death millions of other men. In order to wage war more efficiently, the American Government proceeded to co-ordinate in some measure the economic life of the United States by setting up the War Industries Board, the War Trade Board, the Shipping Board, the Fuel Administration, the Food Administration and the Railroad Administration. Since the railroads under private management could not stand the added strain of war conditions, the Government took them over entirely and administered them on a unified basis. Unhappily, today again, the bulk of the planning that is going on in capitalist countries is for belligerent purposes. This is especially true of the Fascist Powers Germany, Italy and Japan in each of which the whole economy has for a number of years been on a war basis. As these Fascist states push farther and farther their present aggressions and prepare for new ones, they are forcing the democratic Capitalisms to introduce ever more extensive planning for the object of armed self-defense.

This brief review of the limited planning that takes place under Capitalism shows how far removed it is in aim and scope from Socialist planning. Planning under Socialism is for use, not profit, for increasing production, not decreasing it, for peace, not war. And it demands as an absolute prerequisite the socialization of production and distribution. For as long as private capitalists retain possession of a country’s natural resources and transportation facilities, of factories, farms, banks and all the rest, they have the power to throw out of gear the best-laid of Plans. It is common knowledge that even with the minor public controls established under Roosevelt’s NRA, the American capitalists, long before the law was declared unconstitutional, constantly sabotaged, dodged and defied the Act. But Socialist planning puts a finish to that unending tug of war, so characteristic of Capitalism, between the Government, supposedly representing the public in general, and various business interests jockeying for control of it and determined to carry out whatever profit promising policies seem most advantageous. Under Socialism, politics and economics are thoroughly integrated.

The socialization of economic activity which I have in mind, however, does not necessarily entail either nationalization by the federal government or ownership by state or city governments. Many industries, under Socialism the national government will certainly take over; many other economic concerns, less far-reaching in their ramifications, state or city governments will own and operate. But besides all this, there will be a broad sector of enterprise which is socialized yet not governmental. It will be advisable to run some industries through the instrumentality of Public Corporations, which will be subject to control by the government planning authorities, but largely independent in their administrative work. In the non-governmental class will also be collective farms and fisheries, and indeed almost the whole of agriculture; co-operative societies for production and distribution; and much of journalism, art and culture in general.

This means that there will be a sizable number, running into several millions, of independent individuals not on the pay-roll of any governmental concern. These will include a large proportion of the handicrafts-men, farmers, fishermen, inventors, teachers, authors, journalists, actors, artists and intellectuals. They will make their living by working in such organizations as I have just mentioned; or by selling their products or services to such organizations, to public agencies or to other individuals. So, in the Socialist state there will be plenty of room for freelance workers of every type.

Socialist planning differs from any sort of capitalist planning, lastly, in that it is not confined to special localities, industries or periods of time, but is continuous and nation-wide. A genuinely planned economy demands not only that all individual businesses in one industry, whether it be concerned with hats, shoes, sugar, coal or anything else, be consciously coordinated, but that each industry as a whole, including the prices of its products and the wages and working hours of its employees, be coordinated with every other industry as a whole. Think of the increase in efficiency and the decrease in waste that would result from planned coordination among America’s big energy-producing industries: coal, gas, oil and electric power. Such coordination, however, could reach its high point only when there was complete coordination also among the industries to be served. For only when we know how much energy is required throughout the whole country, and where and when, can we accurately gauge how much coal, how much gas, how much oil and how much electric power should be made available in a given period and in a particular locality.

Again, it is obvious that there is so much overlapping in the field of transportation among railways, boats, buses, trucks and airplanes that the situation cries out for unified planning. But it is not possible to separate transportation from the things to be transported. A plan for coordinated transportation implies a plan for coal and steel, farm products and finished goods, just as a plan for all these things definitely implies a plan for transportation. And of course all of agriculture must be carefully correlated with all of manufacture. The flow of foodstuffs to the cities must be coordinated with the flow of manufactured goods from them. The needs, of the farmers must be estimated. Our steel plan, for example, must take into consideration the demand for tractors, combines and other agricultural machinery; and our agricultural plan the particular food requirements of the heavily laboring steel workers.

Likewise there must be a well-worked-out plan for wholesale and retail trade, linking up these two main branches of distribution all along the line with industry, transportation and agriculture. The shops in town and city, the restaurants, the warehouses, the gasoline stations and other such distributive units all come into the planning picture here.

Since the planning I envisage covers the entire socio-economic scene, it naturally extends into the fields of health and recreation, of education and culture. Socialism is particularly concerned to bountifully provide all the different activities and services in these realms with the necessary equipment and other economic prerequisites. The educational plan of the country, moreover, must be always closely interrelated with the economic plan, so that there may never be a lack of the needed technicians, scientists and other experts nor a deficiency of suitable employment opportunities for graduating students. Finally, the entire economic and cultural life of the country must be carefully correlated with finance under one vast, unitary budget that takes in all branches of industry and agriculture, of commerce and trade and extra-economic endeavor.

This completes, in outline form, the picture of the great National Plan which Socialism sets in motion, a Plan which brings into the economic and social affairs of any country that adopts it a closely knit unity, a smoothly functioning team-work, among all the myriad enterprises and individuals involved, making each one count for infinitely more and lifting the collective achievement to new and unheard-of heights.

Because of its controls over production and distribution, currency and capital investment, prices and wages and hours, Socialist planning is able to overcome totally and permanently the central capitalist difficulty of lack of purchasing power. As more and more goods come out of the factories, wages go up throughout the land or prices decrease or the working day grows shorter. To take care of the increased turnover in commodities, currency may, depending on its velocity of circulation, be expanded. Since there are no capitalists to appropriate a large proportion of the value which the people produce, the full instead of only the partial value of their labor returns to them in one form or another. Thus, the unceasing abundance of goods is matched by an unceasing abundance of purchasing power. And this results in that depression-defeating, prosperity-ensuring balance between production and consumption, supply and demand, which every orthodox economist and capitalist has fondly dreamed of seeing Capitalism itself attain.

The United States and other capitalist nations are only as rich as the amount of goods that can be sold for a profit during any given period. But Socialist planning makes a country exactly as rich as its entire productive capacity during any period. This is why I say without hesitation that Socialism, in terms of sheer economic efficiency, is sure to far outstrip Capitalism. Since finance is the most important single element in Socialist planning and more crucial, if anything, than in a capitalist economy, a fact which ought to give some slight consolation to capitalist bankers, I want to discuss the subject in more detail. In a Socialist state the banking system operates under and administers an all-embracing Financial Plan for the nation as a whole. This Financial Plan is the counterpart of the Material Plan and translates all the production and distribution schedules of the latter into dollar units. The dollar is the common denominator in which the various aspects of the National Plan can be accurately expressed and clearly related to one another. The Financial Plan and the Material Plan are, in effect, two versions of the National Plan and each serves as a check on the other.

The Government Treasury Department, together with the State Bank and its numerous branches, acts as a great central pool for the national income. This it does not only through taxation of Socialist business concerns and of individuals, but also through receiving a substantial share of whatever surpluses the different businesses, including those involved in foreign trade, succeed in accumulating. A considerable portion of such surpluses, however, are retained locally by the factory or other unit earning them and are used collectively for expansion, improvements or social benefits connected with the same enterprise. The Government also raises a certain amount of capital through savings banks and through the flotation of public loans, which continue to be necessary during the first stages of Socialism.

The surpluses or “profits” which economic enterprises build up under Socialism have a very different status and play a very different role from what we have been accustomed to expect under Capitalism. They are, in fact, mainly a book-keeping device. Socialist business is run, as I have said, not for the sake of making profits, but in order to provide goods and services to the community. The most convenient process of accounting and of distribution, however, demands the mechanism of buying and selling, of money and prices. Furthermore, identifiable “profits” are necessary so that our Socialist planners can set aside a certain proportion of the nation’s income in order to meet depreciation and obsolescence and, above all, in order to expand the means of production. Soviet Russia, for instance, put into social savings for such purposes an annual average of one-third its total income during the first two Five-Year Plans, a feat which stands out all the more owing to the fact that capitalist economists have always argued that a Socialist government would act like a reckless spendthrift and could not possibly exercise the foresight and intelligence to accumulate capital.

Whereas under Capitalism money and prices control the output of goods, under Socialism it is the output of goods that controls money and prices. Money is on a goods standard, not a gold standard. No real need exists for the latter unless to make the initial transition from Capitalism psychologically easier in the minds of the people. There can be no such thing as financial bankruptcy unless the supply of commodities proves inadequate; the value of the currency does not depend on any gold reserve, but on the quantity and quality of goods that nationwide planning has made available. Money ceases to be a commodity in itself, as under the capitalist system. It simply serves as the recognized unit of economic measurement and exchange, a function that some medium will have to perform in any future stage of society.

The most obvious advantage of a Socialist financial system is that it enables the public authorities to distribute and re-distribute the nation’s capital resources according to the needs of the entire economy. The surpluses acquired in one sector of business can be transferred to other less developed and less lucrative branches of economic activity. This is analogous, on a national scale, to the various allocations within the huge budgets of some of the bigger capitalist corporations. Under Socialism a number of enterprises, particularly in the sphere of education and social services, will continue to show financial loss, perhaps permanently. And there will also be deficits in the industrial field, especially when some great new project is getting under way.

Socialist financial planning requires that there be an ordered flow of capital investment all along the line in place of the slap-dash, haphazard methods prevalent in capitalist countries today. Instead of overinvestment in some directions and under-investment in others, with crisis-causing disproportions as the certain result, Socialist planning ensures a balanced and even distribution of capital resources, that is, social savings, in the directions most useful and important. It would be inconceivable, for example, for vast quantities of capital to go into the building of palatial homes, yachts and other super-luxuries for a small class of the economically privileged while millions of families lived
in houses beneath even a minimum standard of decency.

It would also be inconceivable for socialized capital to go into the production of things clearly harmful to health and well-being such as noxious drugs, patent medicines and deleterious foodstuffs for which there might be unintelligent and perverse demand. It would be impossible, too, for capital to create manufacturing plants and services that would be continually duplicating one another, ruining one another through cut-throat competition, spending huge fortunes in misleading advertising, and inundating a locality or even the entire country with a bewildering flow of practically identical goods. The huge sums of money and the very large personnel involved in speculative activities in commodities, in land, and in stocks and bonds would also become a thing of the past. And, alas for the gamblers of high finance, that symbol of Capitalism at its worst, the stock market would be no more.

The perfect synchronization between savings and capital investment that Socialist planning makes possible is one of the weightiest arguments in its favor. Since the decision of how much and where and when to save and the decision of how much and where and when to invest rests in the hands of the Planning Commission and the Government, there is no danger that these important decisions will be at odds with each other as they so often are under Capitalism. The unplanned capitalist method means that two sets of different people, frequently with conflicting interests, save and invest as they see fit, with the result that the relations between saving and investment are always becoming maladjusted. Either savings cannot find an outlet in profitable investment or needed investment cannot find sufficient savings to put it across. In either case economic troubles are the outcome.

Under the financial system I have been outlining, every producing and distributing unit in the country has an account in the central State Bank or one of its branches. And it is the duty of each bank to check up on the use of the credits, long-term, short-term or emergency, which it issues at any time. It must make certain that the automobile factory, for instance, to which it has advanced a certain amount of credit, actually produces the motorcars called for by the Plan and supposedly made possible by the credit. The factory has the obligation of giving the bank definite reports on definite dates showing how it is
fulfilling its program. If the bank discovers that the credit is being wasted or used inefficiently, it will at once stop further credits until the matter is cleared up, even instituting a special investigation if necessary.

Thus, under Socialist planning, the banks become the watchdogs of the whole economy by carrying on what amounts to a constant audit of all business enterprises. They act as the vital link between the various sets of plans drawn up on paper and the fulfillment of these plans in terms of concrete goods and services. Their vigilance means that there can be no let-down on the part of either management or workers in a concern without the whole personnel being called to task.

In this function the banks are aided by a system of accounting which penetrates into every nook and cranny of economic activity. Socialist accounting, organized on the strictest basis, aims to cut production costs and to attain the greatest possible results for the least possible expenditure. Book profits enter again into the picture here as a partial test of whether or not a plant is being operated efficiently. So the idea sometimes advanced that, under Socialism, extravagant executives will fling away heedlessly and without restraint the financial resources of the community is merely a caricature.

Furthermore, besides the checks and balances inherent in the technical set-up of Socialist planning, there is always the control exercised by the people themselves through regular democratic procedures. At established intervals they can approve or disapprove of the planning schemes in effect or proposed by electing representatives and officials committed to carrying out the popular will. And at all times they can bring pressure to bear by criticisms and suggestions through public meetings, the organs of opinion, individual or organized lobbying, and other such processes of democracy. Of paramount importance in this connection will be the role of the trade unions, to which virtually all working persons will presumably belong. There is nothing, then, in the nature of Socialist planning which prevents it from being administered in a thoroughly democratic manner.

One can easily imagine some of the big public issues which are almost certain to emerge in the natural course of collective economic planning. Since the standard of living under Socialism goes steadily up, the question will arise as to how the people can most benefit from the increasing wealth. Shall our planners put the emphasis on raising wages continually or on providing more and better free services like libraries, parks and public concerts? How much of the national income shall be saved for the purpose of new capital construction? And in this connection will the time come when the population will prefer to stabilize the standard of living at a certain point and concentrate on enjoying the consumers’ goods producible at that level rather than to continue with vast expansion programs? For under Socialist planning there is no categorical imperative, as under Capitalism, for an economy to keep on expanding indefinitely.

This particular issue might well develop in relation to the matter of the average annual working time. In order that more leisure be secured, one political party might advocate reducing the work-day by a third or augmenting the number of holidays or cutting the age of retirement to fifty; another party might call for the maintenance of existing work-time schedules and for a mighty increase in production which would lift the standard of living to even greater heights. Or another burning issue might come to the fore, once the necessities of life had been provided for everyone, over whether to stress the provision of cultural as distinct from material goods and services.

The exact planning techniques which I have been describing will certainly not be used in all stages of Socialism nor in all countries adopting the new system. For it is crystal clear that each nation will use somewhat different methods, adapting Socialism to its characteristic traditions, political institutions and degree of economic development. It would be foolish to imagine that if central planning were introduced in China at the same time as in the United States, it could be put into effect by precisely the same measures or at the same rate. Indeed, there will be plenty of differences even between two countries both as highly evolved industrially as

END NOTES: It is important to keep in mind that this was written in 1939 just before WWII.  Some adjustments were made to the socialist agenda as a consequence of the War, however, the basic goals remain the same today. I chose this for our first article on the progressive mind because I have witnessed during my lifetime many parts of its agenda being proposed or actually put in place by progressive Presidents and unconstitutional bureaucracies.

1. Corliss Lamont, You Might Like Socialism (1939) Modern Age Books, New York.

2. Great War= World War I

3. In 1939 dollars

Teddy Was A RINO

Hat tip to, FreakingNews.com

President Obama invoked the name of Theodore Roosevelt at a fundraiser Friday in Burlington, Vermont, saying, “previous Republican presidents wouldn’t recognize today’s GOP”. Actually, Teddy Roosevelt would feel right at home in today’s Republican Party, being the second RINO to win the Presidency and providing the model for RINOs of the future. After the 1892 election, when the People’s Party gained major victories in American politics, carrying five states in the general election and winning numerous state and local contests nationwide, both the Democrat and Republican Parties embraced a number of socialist-populist ideas from the People’s Party platform .

Republican William McKinley won the 1896 Presidential election over Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan. However, McKinley’s Vice President, Garret Hobart, died of a heart ailment in 1899 and he chose Theodore Roosevelt, the recently elected Governor of New York, as his running mate in 1900. The McKinley-Roosevelt ticket won the 1900 election, again defeating the Democrat, Bryan in a landslide. Just six months after taking office for his second term, McKinley died as the result of an assassin’s bullet on September 14, 1901. He had been shot a few days before while attending the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, New York.

Roosevelt finished the remainder of McKinley’s term and ran for and won reelection in 1904. Roosevelt was a popular President, partly because of the hero status he had gained by his prior exploits in Cuba, leading a Calvary regiment, the “Rough Riders”, during the Spanish-American War, and partly because of his enthusiastic support for the populist-socialist policies that were in vogue at the time. Roosevelt chose not to run for another term in 1908 and his handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, easily won the election of 1908.

Roosevelt soon became dissatisfied with the more moderate progressive policies of Taft and determined to run against him in 1912. Failing to gain the support of the Republican Convention for his candidacy, Roosevelt withdrew from the party and ran on the Progressive Party ticket, a party he formed after being rejected by the Republicans. All four parties in the 1912 election ran progressive candidates, Taft on the Republican ticket, Roosevelt on the Progressive ticket, Wilson on the Democrat ticket and Debs on the Socialist ticket. Taft and Roosevelt split the Republican vote, giving the Presidency to Wood Wilson.

Two of the four progressive era Amendments to the Constitution were ratified by the states during Wilson’s first year in office; the Sixteenth Amendment, authorizing Congress to levy a graduated income tax, first proposed by Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto in 1848, paving the way for the realization of the long-term socialist goal– the redistribution of income; and the Seventeenth Amendment requiring that Senators of each state be elected by popular vote, rather than by the State Legislature. This Amendment reversed a decision that was thoroughly debated and decided by the Framers during the Philadelphia Convention. The Seventeenth Amendments fulfilled the progressive-socialist goal of a more direct democracy, while at the same time, setting the stage for the future disregarding of the Tenth Amendment by Congress.

The progressive Republican Presidents at the turn of the twentieth century established the pattern for the RINOs of the future and would feel right at home in the Republican Party of today. Most Republicans have a difficult time identifying the RINOs among them because they consistently confuse the words Republican and republicanism. Republican is the name of the political party. Its primary goal is to win elections and protect the incumbency of its elected officials. Republicanism refers to the philosophy of governing espoused by the Founding Fathers and the Framers of the Constitution.

Republicanism differs markedly from democracy. Democracy refers to the rule of the majority and is easily manipulated by demagogues and charlatans. Democratic governance was both despised and feared by the Founding Fathers and the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The word “democracy” appears nowhere in our Founding Documents and was only used during the debates at the Philadelphia Convention in a derogatory sense. Republicanism refers to a government composed of representatives chosen by the people, accountable to the people, and operating under the rule of law. In America, the Constitution is the “Supreme Law of the Land” and all laws incompatible with it are illegitimate. All elected or appointed officials in the U.S. are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution.

The word RINO is an acronym for “Republican In Name Only” and is used to denote those elected officials who run on the Republican Ticket but once in office reject the principles of republicanism. Their role in the political system for the past hundred years has been to act as enablers of the addiction to socialism, endemic in the Democratic Party. The RINOs of the early progressive era would be quite comfortable in the modern Republican Party of today, which seems to be dominated by RINOs at the upper levels of the Party establishment.

Obama got this one wrong, as he usually does. However, he does inadvertently depart from his customary litany of falsehoods and swerve into an obvious truth now and then. He did so at another fundraiser in Portland, Oregon on the same day, when he said, “You know, the idea you would keep on doing the same thing over and over again, even though it’s been proven not to work — that’s a sign of madness”. If you are surprised by Obama’s candor in describing the socialist policies of the Democratic Party, or his sudden insight into his own mental processes, just remember the old adage “even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”

Social Capitalism

I have struggled for two weeks to get this posting out. Even as I write, I cannot reconcile exactly where I should stand on the issue of supporting businesses that absolutely offend my sensibilities as a consumer. The genesis of this posting began when I read about all of the companies that pulled their advertising from the Rush Limbaugh Show. I am not here to defend or support what Rush Limbaugh said,  (he can do that himself), only that he has the right to say whatever he wants. What struck me as appalling was the speed and efficiency in which the left was able to mobilize to bring Rush down. We all know, or should know, the progressives have entire organizations dedicated to listening to conservative voices, waiting for the perfect moment to be offended so that they can snuff out free speech they disagree with.

I must say that I was quite awestruck by the fact that a minority of people, 20% liberal if we go by the latest Gallup survey I could find, could force companies into action despite the fact that 42% of Americans identify themselves as conservatives in that same poll. (Apparently 38% of the people have no idea what they believe in, will not take a stand and they’re called moderates.) With self-righteous indignation I was angered by the fact that companies like Carbonite and ProFlowers.com would acquiesce so quickly to such a small group of people and while I don’t have the purchasing demographics for these companies, I almost have to believe that there are more people purchasing their products and services on the recommendation from a Beck or a Limbaugh or a Levine than the left could ever muster up the support for. (Full disclosure: I tried Carbonite based on one of these recommendations – it didn’t work for me – and I give my wife a box of Sheri’s Berries, a subsidiary of Provide Service which owns ProFlowers, every year, again based on one of these recommendations.)

The original intent of this posting was to point out the fact that these 26 or 27 companies had made a choice. In the name of social Marxism, they would cave to this small but highly vocal group despite the fact that people that label themselves as conservatives are the actual majority of the population. I intended to point out the fact that they could get away with this because we, as conservatives wouldn’t do a damned thing about it. This was going to be a rallying call to all conservatives that believe in the free markets and our freedom of speech to get out there and vote with your purchasing power and call these companies up and let them know that you will not do business with a company that has zero regard for you and what you believe in. All I needed was a few days to think about the best way to articulate how we can make a real difference by supporting other businesses that care about all of their customers. We would take on the defense of our causes by employing the lefts’ tactics. Saul Alinsky would not be remembered if his tactics did not work. And then the wheels started falling off in my thinking….

I believe in capitalism. Not the crony-capitalism of the General Electric / General Motors variety, but true free market capitalism. And while I stand firm on what I’ve previously mentioned, I can’t say that I’m for using the progressive tactic of calling for boycotts every time I disagree with someone. (Note: To be fair, I just found out that some conservatives are also looking at the tactic in the research of this article.) I’m not even sure how effective boycotts are, when they’re actually implemented. Off of the top of my head I do not recall hearing of a boycott that was truly effective in hurting a business’s bottom line. But then again, it’s hard to measure the effectiveness of what a boycott can actually do when any group of fifty people can call, claim they were offended, threaten a boycott and meet their goal of suppressing freedom of speech in the name of tolerance. (Don’t spend too much time thinking about that last sentence; it’s mind numbing when you do.)

However I do believe in personal responsibility when it comes to making purchasing choices but even this has significant downside. I pride myself for the fact that I refuse to pay money to HBO because of what Bill Maher spews out about people – specifically conservative women and people of faith. He has the right to be on cable and say whatever he wants and I have the right not to support the company that supports him. It is hard for me to understand why anyone that calls themselves conservative would pay HBO for their services so that HBO can pay Bill Maher for his services so that Bill Maher can donate one million dollars to a progressive super-PAC. This is an easy case for me to make because there are several choices out there for watching movies and while I do have some movie channels, I rarely watch movies anyway.

What about products this author really likes? I’ll apply the same logic to ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s has some of the best flavors put in pints and they’re everywhere and easy to get. But according to an ABC News story, founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are giving money to the Resource Movement Group, a group designed to fund this year’s Occupy Wall Street protests. Their website openly supports everything I’m against. Using the same argument as delivered in the previous paragraph, every time I purchase a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, I’m paying Ben and Jerry to support and advertise for the OWS movement. So much for “Pistachio Pistachio” and “Everything But The…”. The argument for voting with your wallet remains as sound as ever but the practical application of that argument can be very difficult when the purchasers’ choice is to accept a product of lesser quality. I apologize in advance to the fans of Haagen-Dazs. I made the switch but they’re really not the same.

I’ve “war gamed” these issues with several different people over the past couple of weeks and the conversations ranged from, “whatever we do doesn’t make a difference anyway” to “well, if you’re going to stop buying Ben and Jerry’s, you should stop buying Unilever products as well since they own them”. If this is the case, I’ll need more time to get rid of my Lipton iced tea. I really don’t know what the “answer” is. My next jeans purchase will not be Levi’s. My next pint of ice cream will not be Ben and Jerry’s. My wife will get something that’s not Sheri’s Berries next Valentines Day. But is it even possible to stop doing business with every single company that pulled their advertising from the Rush Limbaugh show to make the point that we are the majority and respect the freedom of ideas – even if we don’t always agree with those ideas?

20% of the population has figured out a way to set the agenda for the entire country. They set the tone and decide what the rest of the country is allowed to say and how they are to say it. I read somewhere that Vladimir Lenin was able kick off the Russian Revolution with 10% of the population. We might want to figure this one out.

Authors Note: In my research for this posting I read a little about the history of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. It is one of the greatest capitalism stories I have ever read all the way to the point that they even won the title of U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year, awarded by President Regan. And yet they support the anti-capitalist movement. Figure that one out.

Greece – The Canary in the Coal Mine

By now, just about everyone is aware that Greece has issues. But what’s a bit appalling is how little we know about what is really happening with that country. The knowledge most people have boiled down to two points; Greece has run out of money and the people there are rioting in the streets. However if one digs a little deeper, you’ll realize that Greece is essentially no longer a sovereign country – it is a country led by a technocrat and more or less owned by the EU and ECB. Before I get into the implications of what that means, let’s first go through the brief history of how Greece got to where it is today.

Between 1999 and 2008, Greece’s real GDP was hovering between 3-4% while their debt percentage hovered in and around 100% until 2008 where it stood at 113% during the global recession. In 2009, the newly elected Prime Minister George Papandreou came into office and soon after revises the country’s budget projections, indicating the government had been understating its deficit for years. That year Greece’s debt percentage shot to 129% and is currently standing at 173% projected. After several credit downgrades in 2009 and 2010, Papandreou agrees to implement harsh austerity measures in exchange for $152 billion in loans from the European Union and the IMF. Riots ensue as the Greek population does not want to give up anything. Despite Greece meeting the austerity requirements of 2010, credit ratings continue to be downgraded so Greece pushes through another set of highly unpopular austerity measures June 2011 to qualify for a second bailout package for $157 billion in loans. Shortly after this, the Greek parliament agrees to new highly unpopular taxes, cutting public sector jobs, decreasing public sector wages, decreasing pensions for high-income workers and scaling back collective bargaining rights.

In addition to this very brief recent history, it is also important to note how Greece got to this point in the first place. Ironically, it began 30 years ago Papandreou’s father Andreas began building an unsustainable civil service in order to continue winning elections. Additionally, Greece had spent the last few decades erecting social safety nets producing cradle to grave benefits such as government healthcare, a generous welfare system and a retirement age of 61, (social security). In fact, the entitlement mentality is so firmly entrenched in Greek society, the population there does not understand anything else and seems perfectly willing to give up its’ national sovereignty while devolving into a cesspool of pain and misery grasping at the last reed it can find while drowning. And because they have no basis for understanding true freedom and liberty, they are willing to live through the degradation of their country in the hopes that things might magically get better. Here are a few of the things that are going on in Greece that are getting very little press in the US.

  • After the collapse of the socialist party in November 2011, an interim prime minister, Lucas Papademos was sworn in to lead Greece through the economic crisis. Papademos is a technocrat and was previously vice president of the European Central Bank. (Could you imagine Ben Bernanke being sworn in as interim President?)
  • Having lost its fiscal independence, Greece is now required have the permanent presence of a Eurogroup Task Force with strong onsite monitoring capabilities. (In other words, it’s their money and they have the right to manage their money. Who owns the bulk of the US debt?)
  • This EU presence will ensure that state revenues will flow into a segregated escrow account for state revenues.
  • The Greek constitution will be amended to ensure that priority will be given to serving debt payments. This includes the right for European banks to seize Greece’s gold reserves, 111.6 tons.
  • Public sector salary cuts are so deep and because they are retroactive to November 2011, up to 64,000 workers will have to work without salary for a month and some may even be asked to return money.

There is far more to the Grecian condition than what I can post in this blog but the point is obvious. Greece’s socialistic experiment has been a complete and utter failure and from a practical perspective, they are no longer a sovereign country. And despite all of this, Greece is virtually assured to default anyway, only now with zero gold reserves.

Socially, the Greeks are feeling completely hopeless and are turning bitter towards the EU and specifically Germany. There are riots and lootings in the streets. Well dressed Greeks have been reported rummaging through the garbage for food. Clinics that were set up to service the immigration population in Greece have seen a 22% jump in the domestic population. And still, they’re clinging on to an idea that didn’t work – hoping against hope that it will all just go away

Understanding what is happening in Greece is essential when looking at our current economic situation. From a GDP perspective, the US is in a worse economic condition than Greece but we have the ability to print money. However, eventually every country will have to pay back the debt that they owe and Greece gives us a better understanding of what can happen when we fail to make the tough choices today. We cannot afford our current social programs and Obamacare begins to hit its stride in full in 2013. That means higher taxes and still more debt. Despite what’s lacking in our current healthcare system, Obamacare literally means the destruction of economy.

We have an opportunity this year to elect real leaders that will face our issues head-on. We need to repeal the healthcare bill and we need to seriously manage the scaling back of all of our social programs – social security, Medicare, food stamps, etc. We either face up to our issues with honesty and determination, or we will wake up one day and realize our country isn’t even ours anymore.

The Republican Plan for Surrender

In a CNN interview on Tuesday, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Republican slogan, “repeal and replace”, for the fall campaigns.  He goes on to say, “…we’re going to remind the American people of that in the future and hopefully we’ll be able to repeal the most egregious parts of this [health care bill] and replace them with things we could have done on a bipartisan basis much earlier this year.”

“Repeal and replace” is a catchy slogan and no doubt it will catch on with the American people.  What is overlooked is that it is, in the final analysis, a slogan for surrender, the surrender of our liberty, the surrender of our Constitution, and the surrender of our future.  As we have pointed out in previous blogs, “Fixing Health Care”, and others, the federal government has no authority over America’s health care –period. The so-called “general welfare clause”, “the elastic clause” or the “commerce clause” does not give them that authority and neither does any other.

In order for progressivism (American socialism) to succeed, it must first destroy our Constitution. It has been working toward that end for over a hundred years and in the last year; it has all but finished the job.  All it needs now is for the Republican Party to cooperate in its destruction by attempting to “play nice” and come up with a “bi-partisan” solution for our current perceived health care crisis.

After over a century of watching progressives chip away at our Constitution and therefore our liberty, most of us still have not figured out their method of operation.  At one time, we were a Constitutional Republic.  Today, after passage of the health care bill, we are a progressive (American socialist) oligarchy.  We did not go from republicanism to progressivism overnight. We got to where we are today one-step at a time, one compromise after another.  The time for compromise and “bi-partisanship” has passed. Today it is victory or defeat.

We have been attempting to exist in a middle ground between progressivism and capitalism for generations, all the while knowing that the two are mutually exclusive. That middle ground is fast disappearing and there is no longer any ground on which to stand. Progressivism is a cancer on our body politic. It is eating away our economy, our liberty, our Constitution and our children’s future. It can no longer be tolerated by any American who loves our country and our way of life.

Our only hope for the future is elected officials that will take seriously their oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic”. Replacing an unconstitutional Democratic plan with an unconstitutional Republican plan may slow down our demise, but it will not replace the liberty we have lost.  We can no longer afford to vote for a candidate simply based on his or her party label. We have to make it clear to every politician, if they want our vote they will have to support the Constitution without reservation.  That is the only constitutionally mandated duty an elected official has.

Article VI makes the first duty of all officials in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal, as well as the state governments, the support of the Constitution. We are a Republic, not a Democracy.  In a republic, it is the law that rules, not the will of the people, majority or otherwise.  The law for our government is the Constitution of the United States; it trumps the political ambitions of politicians, the opinions of judges, and the self-serving desires of the people until it is replaced by revolution, anarchy, or lawful amendments.

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The Dual Agenda of Barack Obama

minute-man-2-lithoDuring November, December and into January following the election of Obama to the office of President, conventional wisdom among the conservative and moderate elite was that Obama would govern from the center.  During the first few weeks of his administration that began to change to a “hope” that he would move to the center from the far left position he began with, as he gained more experience and heeded the advice of those with a better understanding of how our system works.

Millions of American voters, ignoring Obama’s resume of socialist activities and his lack of a resume in governing, were caught up in the historic importance of electing our first black President.  Closing their eyes to reality, they projected their desires into Obama’s carefully crafted rhetoric, hearing what they wanted and rejecting or denying the clear evidence of his intentions.

The Obama agenda that is emerging before our eyes can in no way be called centrist.  Instead, it is following in the patterns established over the past century and a half by international socialism.  The continuing optimism concerning Obama’s ability to govern a free society demonstrates a lack of understanding of both Obama and socialism.  Even those who disagree with his policies insist they are not really socialist.  Socialism takes on many forms depending on the culture on which it is imposed.  The single characteristic that makes socialism, socialism is the redistribution of wealth and income.  That is the litmus test.

Obama is the face of the socialist movement in America.  He is not the socialist movement. The real socialist movement is composed of the environmentalists, academics, media elites, and the Democratic Party leadership.  With the passing of each news cycle Obama appears to be more a pawn of the movement rather than its leader.  His agenda and the movement’s agenda are identical and interchangeable.  That agenda is two-pronged.

First is the destruction of free-market capitalism to be replaced with a centrally planned, government run economy.  By hyping the current temporary downturn in the up and down cycles of capitalism and capitalizing on the propaganda war directed against President Bush for the past eight years an opportunity has been created for an expansion of regulatory control over the economy never before seen in American history.  As Rom Emmanuel says, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.

The second prong of the socialist agenda is the dismantling of the traditional American culture as a “melting pot” and replacing it with a fragmented society based on class envy and class warfare that is easier to control from Washington.  The cornerstone of this agenda is the destruction of the family unit by promoting unwed motherhood, welfare dependency, and redefining the meanings of marriage and family.  The further fragmenting of our culture is carried out through immigration policies, multiculturalism, bilingual education and the importation of millions of illegal immigrants.

If you want to understand better the future Obama has in store for you read the next article by Jeffery Folks printed in the March 15th, edition of American Thinker.  It contains the most vivid first hand account of the destructive nature of socialism I have read in a long time.

My Socialist Past
By Jeffrey Folks

Anyone who has lived inside the demoralized, unproductive, gray prison of a communist state, as I did in the mid-1980s, knows to what depths of impoverishment the egalitarian fantasies of socialism inevitably lead. They lead to decades of frustrated poverty and lifetimes of untreated illness culminating in early death. I remember the columns of death notices for men and women in their forties and fifties that appeared in the local newspaper. Gradually I learned to associate those death notices with the lack of fresh foodstuffs, the travesty of state health care, and the pervasive demoralization of an enslaved population drowning itself in cheap alcohol and cigarettes.
Read More…

Fairness Doctrine 2.0

minute-man-2-lithoPresident Obama is the most tightly scripted President in history, partly due to the relatively new technology of the teleprompter.  The teleprompter is vital to the Obama image because he is an excellent reader and a lousy orator.  The few times his handlers have allowed him to speak in public without a teleprompter his rhetoric has been filled with pauses, “uhs”, “ahs”, “umms” and clichés as he casts about in his mind for words that will convey the “official” populist message without revealing his true intentions.

Looking at his rise from obscurity to the most powerful office on the globe in less than four years could cause those of a conspiratorial nature to think of him as a “Manchurian Candidate”.  However, I am not given to conspiracies.  I look rather to trends brought about by the collective influence of thousands and sometimes millions of individuals making up a political or social movement.  There is no doubt that we have been trending toward socialism since the advent of the “progressive movement” at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Obama is simply the culmination of that movement.

The problem for Obama and his socialist supporters is that Americans are overwhelmingly center right conservatives with a visceral aversion to socialism.  That being the case, his challenge is to get his agenda firmly into place before the American people fully realize what he is doing.  To accomplish this it is imperative that his supporters control the flow of information.  That should be an insurmountable obstacle in a nation whose Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.  Such is not the case, however.

Presidents and Congresses have cooperated throughout our history to find ways of getting around the First Amendment and control the flow of information.  John Adams, our second President and a dedicated big government Federalist used the threat of an unpopular war with France to call for, and get, the “Sedition Act of 1798”.  This, less than a decade after the Bill of Rights was ratified by the states.  Article Two of the Sedition Act says,

“And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or publishing, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.”

Fortunately, the Sedition Act had a “sunset clause” calling for it to expire at the beginning of the next Presidential term, March 3, 1801.  Thomas Jefferson won the 1800 election and immediately pardoned everyone who had been convicted under the unconstitutional law.  Other administrations, including those of Lincoln, Hoover, Roosevelt and others have attempted to limit free speech to one degree or another.

The most far-reaching Act in terms of its effects today came during the roaring twenties.  Between Congress’ first attempt to regulate broadcasting in 1912 when radio transmissions were mostly used in communicating between ships and shore and the mid-twenties radio became popular with the public.  Then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover controlled broadcasting.  Anyone could obtain permission to broadcast over any frequency chosen by Hoover by simply mailing a post card to the Secretary.

By 1926, there were 15,111 amateur stations, 1,902 ship stations, 553 land based stations for maritime use and 536 broadcasting stations.  The chaos created by overlapping signals and the complaints they caused among the public made it obvious that some type of control over the use of the airwaves was necessary.  The Attorney General’s office issued a decision in 1926 stating that the Radio Act of 1912 did not give the Secretary of Commerce the authority to assign wavelengths.  Consequently, Congress passed the Radio Act of 1927 establishing the Federal Radio Commission.

The new law was intended to bring order out of the chaos that existed in radio broadcasting at the time.  However, politicians could not resist the temptation to set guidelines as to what could or could not be broadcast over the airwaves. In crafting the new legislation, they revived the spirit of the Sedition Act but did not give it the same specificity in terms of what was or was not acceptable. Fearing what they perceived as the potential of radio to be the means of calling for radical political or social reform, Congress gave the RFC authority to determine when broadcaster were not operating their stations according to “the public interest, convenience and necessity”.  The threat of withholding licenses or not renewing them kept most stations in line.

The ’27 law was revised in 1934 creating the FCC and expanding the licensing powers of the government.  In 1945, the FCC established the “fairness doctrine” requiring broadcasters to provide equal time to all sides of controversial issues.  The result was that broadcasters simply avoided the airing of controversial issues.  In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled the FCC was not required to enforce the fairness doctrine since it was an FCC regulation and not a statute.  Under the leadership of President Reagan the doctrine was dropped.

Since the abolition of the fairness doctrine created the conditions allowing for the rise of conservative talk radio, most conservatives expect there to be an attempt by the Obama administration to bring it back.  In reality, some form of the fairness doctrine is essential to the Obama agenda.  The so-called “mainstream media” including the broadcast TV networks, NPR, PBS, and most national newspapers have been willing propagandists for the liberal and socialist wings of the Democratic Party for decades.  In addition, the most heavily funded Internet sites are those promoting the liberal/socialist agenda.

With the exception of the Fox News cable network, talk radio provides the only mass opposition to the Obama agenda with up to fifty million listeners, twenty to thirty million of them also being listeners to Rush Limbaugh.  President Obama has said he has no interest in reviving the fairness doctrine.  That’s a pretty good indication that he is working behind the scenes to bring it about.  Actually, his administration has launched a two-pronged attack on talk radio, utilizing both Congress and the tested and proven tactic that worked so well against President Bush, demonization.

A concerted effort has been launched over the past month or so to marginalize and destroy the creditability of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the best known of conservative talk show hosts.  Similar efforts have been directed against Ingraham, Beck, Hewitt, Reagan, Gallagher and others.  While the talking heads and scribblers in the mass media are carrying on this campaign, Congress is preparing the way for legislation to give it more control over the airwaves.

Last week Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) attached an amendment to the DC Voting Rights Act, another unconstitutional Bill, calling for more “diversity of ownership” and “localism” in radio broadcasting.  Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mi) has called for Senate hearings, requiring station owners to explain their programming practices.  “I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else – I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves.”  Stabenow said.

Other Congressional leaders on record as approving of some form of information control over the airwaves, include Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Harry Reid (D-Nev), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and, of course Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, among others.  The latest U.S. Senator to fall in line with the liberal/socialists in Congress concerning the idea behind the fairness doctrine is Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa.  Last week he told liberal talk show host Bill Press, “We gotta get the fairness doctrine back in law again.”

Talk radio is both the number one threat to the Obama agenda and the number one channel for conservative’s ability to successfully oppose it.  It is imperative that we protect our freedom to express our political opinions freely without censorship by government; otherwise, we can look forward to the wholesale loss of all our freedoms.