Walter Mitty's Second Amendment

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    Senior Member Array tbrenke's Avatar
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    Exclamation Walter Mitty's Second Amendment

    Federal Observer Articles - Federal Observer

    Walter Mitty's Second Amendment
    By Jeff Snyder




    Once upon a time, there was a people who inhabited a majestic land under an all-powerful government. Now this government had the resources to control practically every aspect of human existence; hundreds of thousands of "public servants" could access the most personal details of every citizen's life because everyone was issued a number at birth with which the government would track him throughout his life. No one could even work in gainful employment without this number.

    True, the government left certain domains of individual action largely free, particularly matters concerning speech and sex. These activities posed no real threat to the state. When not used to entertain and divert, the power of speech was used principally to clamor for more or better goods from the state, or for "reforms" to make the state work "better," thereby entrenching the people's dependency. And insofar as sex was concerned, well, the people's behavior in this area also really had no effect on the scope of state power. In fact, the rulers noted that people's preoccupation with matters of sexual morality -- whether premarital, teenage pregnancy, adultery, divorce, homosexuality or general "who's zooming who" -- diverted the people's attention from the fact that they were, for economic and all other intents and purposes, slaves.

    Slaves, though, who labored under the illusion that they were free. The people were a simple lot, politically speaking, and readily mistook the ability to give free reign to their appetites as the essence of "personal freedom."

    In that fruitful land, the state took about 50 percent of everything the people earned through numerous forms of taxation, up from about 25 percent only a generation earlier. However, this boastful people, who believed themselves to be the freest on earth, retained the right to keep and bear arms. Tens of millions of them possessed firearms just in case their government became tyrannical and enslaved them.

    In that land, an astronomical number of regulations, filling more than 96,000 pages in the government's "code of regulations," were promulgated by persons who were not elected by the people. The regulators often developed close relationships with the businesses they regulated, and work in "agencies" that had the power both to make law -- and to enforce it.

    The agencies were not established by the government's constitution, and their existence violated that instrument's principle of separation of powers. Yet the people retained the right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government, some day, ceased to be a "government of the people."

    In that land, the constitution contemplated that the people would be governed by two separate levels of government -- "national" and "local." Matters that concerned the people most intimately -- health, education, welfare, crime, and the environment -- were to be left almost exclusively to the local level, so that those who made and enforced the laws lived close to the people who were subject to the laws, and felt their effects.

    So that different people who had different ideas about such things would not be subject to a "one size fits all" standard that would apply if the national government dealt with such matters. Competition among different localities for people, who could move freely from one place to another, would act as a reality check on the passage of unnecessary or unwise laws.

    But in a time of great crisis called the Great Economic Downturn, the people and their leaders clamored for "national solutions to national problems," and the constitution was "interpreted" by the Majestic Court to permit the national government to pass laws regulating practically everything that has been reserved for the localities.

    Now the people had the pleasure of being governed by not one, but two beneficient governments with two sets of laws regulating the same things. Now the people could be prosecuted by not one, but two governments for the same activities and conduct. Still this fiercely independent people retained the right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government, some day, no longer secured the blessings of liberty to themselves or their posterity.

    In that fair land, property owners could be held liable under the nation's environmental legislation for the cleanup costs associated with toxic chemicals, even if the owners had not caused the problem.

    Another set of laws provided for asset forfeiture and permitted government agencies to confiscate property without first establishing guilt.

    Yet the people retained the right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government denied them due process by holding them liable for things that were not their fault. (The Majestic Court had long ago determined that "due process" did not prevent government from imposing liability on people who were not at fault. "Due process", it turned out, meant little more than that a law had been passed in accordance with established procedures. You know, it was actually voted on, passed by a majority and signed by the president. If it met those standards, it didn't much matter what the law actually did.)

    Oh well, the people had little real cause to worry. After all, those laws hardly ever affected anyone that they knew. Certainly not the people who mattered most of all: the country's favorite celebrities and sports teams, who so occupied the people's attention. And how bad could it be if it had not yet been the subject of a Movie of the Week, telling them what to think and how to feel about it?

    In that wide open land, the police often established roadblocks to check that the people's papers were in order. The police -- armed agents of the rulers -- used these occasions to ask the occupants whether they were carrying weapons or drugs. Sometimes the police would ask to search the vehicles, and the occupants -- not knowing whether they could say no and wanting to prove that they were good guys by cooperating -- would permit it.

    The Majestic Court had pronounced these roadblocks and searches lawful on the novel theory, unkown to the country's Founding Forebears, that so long as the police were doing this to everyone equally, it didn't violate anyone's rights in particular.

    The roadblocks sometimes caused annoying delays, but these lovers of the open road took it in stride. After all, they retained their right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government, some day, engaged in unreasonable searches and seizures. In that bustling land, the choice of how to develop property was heavily regulated by local governments that often demanded fees or concessions for the privilege. That is, when the development was not prohibited outright by national "moistland" regulations that had no foundation in statutory or constitutional law.

    Even home owners often required permission to simply build an addition to their homes, or to erect a tool shed on their so-called private property. And so it seemed that "private property" became, not a system protecting individual liberty, but a system which, while providing the illusion of ownership, actually just allocated and assigned government-mandated burdens and responsibilities.

    Still, this mightily productive people believed themselves to live in the most capitalistic society on earth, a society dedicated to the protection of private property. And so they retained the right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government ever sought to deprive them of their property without just compensation.

    Besides, the people had little cause for alarm. Far from worrying about government control of their property, the more immediate problem was: what to buy next?

    The people were a simple lot, politically speaking, and readily mistook the ability to acquire and endless assortment of consumer goods as the essence of personal freedom.

    The enlightened rulers of this great land did not seek to deprive the people of their right to bear arms. Unlike tyrants of the past, they had learned that it was not necessary to disarm the masses. The people proved time and time again thaty they were willing accomplices to the ever expanding authority of the government, enslaved by their own desire for safety, security and welfare.

    The people could have their guns. What did the rulers care? They already possessed the complete obedience that they required.

    In fact, in their more Machiavellian moments, the rulers could be heard to admit that permitting the people the right to keep and bear arms was a marvelous tool of social control, for it provided the people with the illusion of freedom.

    The people, among the most highly regulated on earth, told themselves that they were free because they retained the means of revolt. Just in case things ever got really bad. No one, however, seemed to have too clear an idea what "really bad" really meant. The people accepted the fact that their government no longer even remotely resembled the plan set forth in their original constitution. And the people's values no longer remotely resembled those of their Founding Forebears. The people, in their naiveté, really believed that the means of revolt were to be found in a piece of inanimate metal! Really it was laughable. And pathetic.

    No, the rulers knew that the people could safely be trusted with arms. The government educated their children, provided for their retirement in old age, bequeathed assistance if they lost their jobs, mandated that they receive health care, and even doled out food and shelter if they were poor.

    The government was the very air the people breathed from childhood to the grave. Few could imagine, let alone desire, any other kind of world.

    To the extent that the people paid any attention to their system of government, the great mass spent their days simply clamoring for more or better "programs", more "rational" regulations, in short, more of the same. The only thing that really upset them was waste, fraud, or abuse of the existing programs. Such shenanigans brought forth vehement protests demanding that the government provide their services more efficiently, ******! The nation's stirring national anthem, adopted long ago by men who fought for their liberty, ended by posng a question, in hopes of keeping the spirit of liberty alive. Did the flag still fly, it asked, over the land of the free?

    Unfortunately, few considered that the answer to that question might really be no, for they had long since lost an understanding of what freedom really is.

    No, in this land "freedom" had become something dark, frightening, and dangerous. The people lived in mortal terror that somewhere, sometime, some individual might make a decision or embark upon a course of action that was not first approved by some government official.

    Security was far more preferable. How could anyone be truly free if he were not first safe and protected?

    Now we must say goodbye to this fair country whose government toiled tirelessly to create the safety, fairness and luxury that all demanded, and that everyone knew could be created by passing just the right laws. Through it all, the people vigorously safeguarded their tradition of firearms ownership.

    But they never knew -- and never learned -- that preserving a tradition and a way of life is not the same as preserving liberty. And they never knew -- and never learned -- that it's not about guns.

    American Handgunner, Sep/Oct 1997, reprinted without permission
    ........
    "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -1792, James Madison
    There are always too many Democratic, Republican and never enough U.S. congressmen.

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    Excellent...
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    That's a very good writeup.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

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    Freedom is disappearing before our eyes and we don't even realize it.
    "First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand."
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    Great post...
    "Who is to say that I am not an instrument of karma? Indeed, who is to say that I am not the very hand of God himself, dispatched by the Almighty to smite the Philistines and hypocrites, to lay low the dishonest and corrupt, and to bust the jawbone of some jackass that so desperately deserves it?"

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    The author of the piece posted above wrote:

    "The people accepted the fact that their government no longer even remotely resembled the plan set forth in their original constitution."

    I can't let this one go without a brief comment as the underlying assertion is clearly not correct. Our means for governing ourselves closely follows the founding document with of course some areas where there is contentious disagreement.

    We still have 3 branches of Federal government (and two houses in Congress) and now, as many as 50 states which each largely govern themselves. That is why NY and CA, and Texas and LA are all so different from each other.

    We still can post here without fear as 1A is strongly protected.

    With few exceptions, most of us can still purchase and possess, and go armed with, whatever sort of firearm we wish to. Where there are limitations, they are due to laws passed by legislatures, signed by elected officials, and affirmed by courts.

    The author wrote: "The people were a simple lot, politically speaking, and readily mistook the ability to acquire and endless assortment of consumer goods as the essence of personal freedom."

    It is July 4th weekend, let's show a little more patriotism and optimism, and faith in our government and in our collective selves.

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    On the 4th of July let's understand that to do nothing but celebrate might make this one of the last that we CAN celebrate!
    2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

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    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    It is July 4th weekend, let's show a little more patriotism and optimism, and faith in our government and in our collective selves.
    In which government do you feel we should show more faith in on this 4th of July weekend?

    Are you speaking of the one in D.C. that would prefer we celebrate 'dependence day' next July 4th?


    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson

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    Our governement in all its branches and forms

    Quote Originally Posted by P7fanatic View Post
    In which government do you feel we should show more faith in on this 4th of July weekend?

    Are you speaking of the one in D.C. that would prefer we celebrate 'dependence day' next July 4th?
    Our government in all its branches and forms and units is what I am speaking of. The whole thing, as it is outlined in our constitution.

    Too many here have forgotten or perhaps never learned the phrase Lincoln used-- of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    That is mostly what we have with some notable exceptions where special interest groups dominate the discussion; but these as well are still part of "the people."

    Every last one of you reading this is fully capable of mounting a campaign for a local office and attempting to build that into more. Every last citizen reading this still gets to vote.

    Too often people confuse outcomes that they don't like with a government that is not of the people. We forget, that with 300 million people living here there are innumerable group and regional interests which must be satisfied in one way or another and therefore
    we get, inevitably, laws that don't please large segments of the population, or laws which are the product of excessive and sometimes ridiculous compromise--- at other times are the result of critter's panic and stampede.

    None of this means that ordinary people are helpless. It may mean that the issue we hold dear doesn't get the attention we want or the law we --as individuals--want.

    So, celebrate July 4th with a touch of pride an patriotism. And complain all you want about "the government," secure that by and large our government works exactly as it was set up to work.

    Moreover, laws passed by a legislature (one house of which requires a super-majority), and laws which are then signed by a president elected by a majority, and which later are not found to be lacking by the courts, can't be logically said to not be products of "we the people," through our representatives.

    Complaining, moaning and groaning, are fine. Just don't overlook the fact that the thing is working about as well as it can possibly work in a complex country with 50 individual states, large regional differences in point of view and general outlook, and a huge amount of cultural and religious, as well as ethnic and racial diversity.

    Finally, remember that you as an individual are a tiny part of 300 million people. Your representative is a tiny voice representing a diverse population of about 700,000 of the people where you live.
    Your representative is a tiny single voice in a population of represenatives with The House. Legislation coming out of The House is as representative of the majority wishes as could possibly had.

    Personally I think the whole thing needs some major restructuring for efficiency, but that isn't going to happen, and is a different subject in any case.

    When complaining about taxes, don't forget the benefits those bring us as well.

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    Senior Member Array tbrenke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Too many here have forgotten or perhaps never learned the phrase Lincoln used-- of the people, by the people, and for the people.
    I would say that too many IN GOVERMENT have never learned or forgoten that phrase.
    "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -1792, James Madison
    There are always too many Democratic, Republican and never enough U.S. congressmen.

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    Of by and for the people

    Quote Originally Posted by tbrenke View Post
    I would say that too many IN GOVERMENT have never learned or forgoten that phrase.
    Well, let's just see whether that is true or not.

    Of our recent presidents, and I'm an old guy and will take the license to call all in my lifetime recent:

    Roosevelt-- not really of the people, but performed in many ways as a "traitor to his class."

    Truman--decidedly of very modest background, of the people

    Eisenhower-- very modest background, certainly of the people

    Kennedy--see what I wrote of Roosevelt

    Johnson--decidedly of the people

    Nixon--from very modest background, of the people

    Ford-- an accidental president, but also a self made man
    Carter--maybe a step up from ordinary folks in that his folks had that peanut farm, but on balance of the people

    Reagan-- like him or not, of the people, a self made man

    Bush I -- patrician, hardly can be said to be of the people, but in his favor he served in WWII and did his part.

    Clinton--If you ever have a chance to visit Hope, AR, you will quickly realize that this man came from the very bottom of the socio-economic class and distinguished himself, and certainly was of the people

    Bush II-- see remarks above about Bush I, and take away the stuff about serving well in the military.

    "O"-- it would be hard to imagine anyone being more of the people in the broadest sense of the word and certainly a self-made man.

    Now, having established that most of our presidents came from the people, the next question is did they serve "the people." That is, were they for the people.

    That depends on whose ox got gored by various policies.

    We all too often forget that our own pet issues are not necessarily issues to others. That what we find as individuals is an affront, many others will applaud. You can not please all the people, any of the time.


    It is July 4th weekend. Let's show a little patriotism and optimism about ourselves and our country.

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    Our government in all its branches and forms and units is what I am speaking of. The whole thing, as it is outlined in our constitution
    OK perhaps you can assist me here o great learned one.....Where in the constitution is the federal government granted authority over local education, health care, land use, private companies or for the couple dozen "czars" recently apointed to regulate almost every aspect of our lives. I fail to find any mention of this in Artical I section 8 (the Enumerated Powers Clause) and it would appear to be precluded by the 10th amendment

    To Whit....

    Section. 8.
    Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

    Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

    Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

    Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

    Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

    Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    Amendment 10...

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution (see Artical I Section 8), nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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    Senior Member Array tbrenke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Roosevelt-- not really of the people, but performed in many ways as a "traitor to his class."

    Truman--decidedly of very modest background, of the people

    Eisenhower-- very modest background, certainly of the people

    Kennedy--see what I wrote of Roosevelt

    Johnson--decidedly of the people

    Nixon--from very modest background, of the people

    Ford-- an accidental president, but also a self made man
    Carter--maybe a step up from ordinary folks in that his folks had that peanut farm, but on balance of the people

    Reagan-- like him or not, of the people, a self made man

    Bush I -- patrician, hardly can be said to be of the people, but in his favor he served in WWII and did his part.

    Clinton--If you ever have a chance to visit Hope, AR, you will quickly realize that this man came from the very bottom of the socio-economic class and distinguished himself, and certainly was of the people

    Bush II-- see remarks above about Bush I, and take away the stuff about serving well in the military.

    "O"-- it would be hard to imagine anyone being more of the people in the broadest sense of the word and certainly a self-made man.
    This is a very fine list of opnion you your part. but it means little.
    Where does the humble background of the people above have anything to do weather or not they support the people?

    I fail to see your connection to that.
    as it stands NOW most people do not want socialised medicen, yet it is still being pushed. that is not for the people.

    our goverment debt has never been this high compaired to our GDP (or in dolor amounts), how is that for the people.

    our country was not based on cradel to the grave nanny state. How is that for the people?

    give us at least some relavance for your list.
    "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -1792, James Madison
    There are always too many Democratic, Republican and never enough U.S. congressmen.

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    As it stands now

    Quote Originally Posted by tbrenke View Post
    This is a very fine list of opnion you your part. but it means little.
    Where does the humble background of the people above have anything to do weather or not they support the people?
    Do you think the patricians "support the people?" And what does that mean? We the people are diverse lot. All any leader can do is attempt to do the most good they know how, while being snarked at by those who don't like the program. That is called healthy public debate.

    I fail to see your connection to that.
    as it stands NOW most people do not want socialised medicen, yet it is still being pushed. that is not for the people.
    I think the latest polls show that about 75% of the people want something done to change and improve our present "system." The majority want a public plan put in place. It is disingenuous to suggest that a man who ran on a clear platform of moving toward such a system and won the election, or that a party with a crystal clear majority somehow is pushing a plan that "most" don't want. When you say that, you are really saying that the majority opinion as reflected in the election results is somehow unrepresentative of what the public actually felt at the time of the election. I don't think that is the case, especially given that our present president won the popular vote, unlike either of his two predecessors who did not win by a simple majority of the popular vote.

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    Senior Member Array tbrenke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Do you think the patricians "support the people?" And what does that mean? We the people are diverse lot. All any leader can do is attempt to do the most good they know how, while being snarked at by those who don't like the program. That is called healthy public debate.
    This statment I agree with. A healthy public debate I agree with.
    Where was that on the stimulas package?
    Where was that on the Cap and trade?
    How can there be anything like that on bills that are amended just hours prior to a vote? How can there be anything like this when not a single one of our elected representatives read the bill that they are voting on. (Also during Bush's time, not just the current administration)
    Is this what you mean by “of the people” and “for the people”

    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    I think the latest polls show that about 75% of the people want something done to change and improve our present "system." The majority want a public plan put in place. It is disingenuous to suggest that a man who ran on a clear platform of moving toward such a system and won the election, or that a party with a crystal clear majority somehow is pushing a plan that "most" don't want. When you say that, you are really saying that the majority opinion as reflected in the election results is somehow unrepresentative of what the public actually felt at the time of the election. I don't think that is the case, especially given that our present president won the popular vote, unlike either of his two predecessors who did not win by a simple majority of the popular vote.
    I would agree that 75% want the current system changed.
    That does not mean that 75% want government run socialized medicine.
    Tort reform is what is needed.
    /////////////////////////////////
    AFP: Most in US support govt-backed health care: poll
    Eighty-five percent of respondents said the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, according to the poll.
    ///////////////////////////////////
    Another Incoherent Health-Care Poll in the New York Times - John R. Graham - The Corner on National Review Online
    Another Incoherent Health-Care Poll in the New York Times June 22 2009
    The New York Times poll reported that 72% of a sample of “randomly” chosen respondents (of whom 48% had voted for Obama and only 25% for McCain last November, question #100), said they’d approve of the federal government giving everyone the option of enrolling in a Medicare-like program. Case closed? Not at all.

    Other results suggest that preference for a politically managed health system has dropped since 1993. Back during HillaryCare, 40% of respondents trusted the president, and 42% trusted Congress, to reform health care. Today, the figures are only 39% and 35% (#45).
    ///////////////////////////////////
    The government run Medicate, Medicare and the VA has been doing such a great job that I can understand letting them run the rest of health care also.

    And yes, I know that you can find a poll saying most are in favor of government run health care. The NY Times has such those results. My second link is talking about that large stinking pile.
    "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -1792, James Madison
    There are always too many Democratic, Republican and never enough U.S. congressmen.

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    Replies: 19
    Last Post: April 25th, 2009, 02:44 PM
  5. Walter E. Dellinger III
    By Bill Bryant in forum The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: February 18th, 2008, 06:34 PM

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