Nov 20, 2011

America Headed for a 'True' Civil War?

Hatred has begun to dominate American media and politics in this day and age. Today you can rarely find a political commentary by a blogger/opinion writer, a news story by a journalist, or a speech by a politician which is not laced with some form of hatred towards the people that person views as their opposition. In fact, people who do not have some form of hatred laced into their speech or writing are ignored or looked at with some form of incredulity by the others in politics or the media.

As a result of this hatred, it is also a natural human reaction (albeit not a moral one) when attacked with hatred, to respond with hatred while clinging ever more strongly to the principles that one believes in, whether they be right or wrong. This leads to polarization of two sides and the disappearance of the middle ground where compromises are made. When polarization occurs, conflict, in some form or fashion, is usually what follows between the two factions.

This attitude of hatred dominating the culture and the public sphere has only been seen once before in American History and it was at one of America’s great crossroads, namely the conflict between the Northern and Southern states in the mid-19th Century.

The underlying hatred between these two geographical sections of America had been slowly growing ever since the nullification crisis between the state of South Carolina and the federal government led by Andrew Jackson in 1832 and 1833. In the 1850s the hatred reached a boiling point with the implementation of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which intensified the tensions between the North and the South by revoking a previous law intended to preserve the balance between the two sections.

The hatred dominated the American political scene until 1860 when the Southern states felt that the nation’s federal government was about to turn against them and so sought to withdraw from the union in order to preserve the ideas and culture which they held to be right. The Northern states, inspired by the resolution of the federal government in Washington D.C. to preserve the union, then sought to impose their culture and ideas on the Southern states by forcing them back into the union through an armed conflict, which they succeeded in winning.

The resemblances between these times and those of the years preceding the War Between the States are many. As mentioned before, the hatred between the two opposing views themselves is the most obvious parallel. Others include the following:

1. The common people from both factions today often complain that the people who represent them in the government generally do not listen to what their constituents really want and are only interested in their own profits and gains. That was a very common complaint of many Northern and Southern people in the 1850s as well. Many felt that they were betrayed by the power-makers in Washington whenever a bill was passed which contained provisions unfavorable to either faction.

2. The disgust and distrust with their government representatives by the Northern and Southern people led to the rise of extremist groups which were labeled as being on the ‘fringe’ of either section, namely the Abolitionists in the North and the Secessionists in the South. Today in America, there are groups labeled as ‘fringe’ on the Right and the Left who rose in response to the claim that those who claim to represent them in the government do not truly do so. On the right the ‘fringe’ group is commonly identified as the Tea Party movement, while on the left the group labeled as fringe is the Occupy Wall Street movement.

3. Much of the talk in political circles concerning the disgust among the common people with their government representatives today raises the prospect of the rising of a new major political party. They also believe that it will rise out of one of these so-called ‘fringe’ groups on the edge of the two main factions, with the prime candidate to host the movement for a new party being the Tea Party movement, which has been actively involved in political campaigns. In addition, one of the major government actions which helped spark the birth of the Tea Party movement was the passage of President Obama’s healthcare act, commonly called ‘Obamacare’. In the 1850s, in response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened land originally slated for Northern settler expansion to Southern settler expansion as well, the Abolitionist movement was energized into helping form a new major political party in the Republican Party.

4. The Secessionists were the ones called for separation of their respective states from the union and later took the matter into their own hands, while respected Southern leaders such as Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, who would eventually end up leading the Southern movement for independence, fought against secession until the movement could no longer be stopped. Today, the leaders of the Left, though radical, do not dare advocate violence in the public eye at this time, but the Occupy Wall Street movement has, in many instances, been calling for a violent change to the social order and has no problem resorting to violence in certain instances.

5. In the 1850s, as relations between America’s two sections deteriorated, the Presidents of the time, namely Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, were seen as very weak and unable to cope with the crisis and so became very unpopular with both North and South. In today’s world, President Barack Obama is seen as unable to handle America’s deteriorating situation and so is rising in unpopularity amongst both the Left and the Right.

There are many more similarities between these two eras in American History, but these six points are the most major similarities which paint a frightening picture of the future for America, especially if the nation’s economy begins to collapse.

In the political realm, the idol the political leaders and their followers worship is power. It was that way in the debates between the Northern and Southern sections of the nation in the 1850s, with both sections fighting for the upper hand on power in the federal government; Similarly today, the Left and the Right fight politically for the power to control the federal government so they can use its law-making abilities to advance their agendas.

When the South felt they had lost the electoral battle for good in the presidential election of 1860, they became willing to listen to the radical calls of the Secessionists and so sought to break away and form their own nation. If either faction in American politics today sees their faction threatened with annihilation by the results of some upcoming election, it would not be out of the realm of possibility for one of the so-called ‘fringe’ groups to call for their faction to resort to force as the only resort to save their side which would lead to an armed conflict for control of the nation’s government which would lead to heavy loss of life and could open the door for the rise of totalitarianism or the complete break-up of the United States as a nation.

Such a conflict between these two factions of American politics would embroil America in a true civil war for the first time in the nation’s history, with two sides fighting, not for the right of one section or faction to break away from the other, but for control of the nation’s federal government. This is a kind of conflict America has never had in its history. The conflict between the Northern and Southern states is remembered in American History under the title of ‘The American Civil War’, but this title is not very accurate and gives a misleading understanding of the conflict which tore through America in the mid-19th Century.

When one more closely examines the definition of ‘civil war’ as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition is as follows: “A war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.” The conflict between the Northern and Southern states was not between opposing groups of citizens of the same country. As the Southern states implemented legal documents in the form of ordinances of secession which separated them from the federal government in Washington D.C., they were not technically members of the same country as the Northern states and so were not engaging in a civil war. This was also recognized, in a way, by the Federal Government and the North, which imposed a blockade of the Southern trading ports instead of declaring them closed, thereby de facto recognizing the Southern states as belligerents and also as an independent national entity.

Therefore, the more accurate title for the war between North and South is ‘The American War Between the States’ as the South simply fought for independence from the North, not for takeover of the federal government or the conquest of the Northern states. So, by these terms, America has never had a true civil war.

However, as the polarization of the factions in today’s America begins to resemble the polarization which took place between North and South in the mid-19th century, it is easy to see that America could be heading, in its not too distant future, for a ‘true’ civil war, where the factions do not fight for separation from each other, but for the power to control the nation as a whole through it’s federal government.

© 2011 New Agora and The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

Ron Paul, Andrew Jackson and the Bank Wars

Dr. Ron Paul has been trying to expose the truth of the Federal Reserve Bank for the last forty years or more and as the 2012 election approaches, the Federal Reserve is fully in the public eye and its every action is undergoing close scrutiny by both the financial institutions and the common people.

What many may not be aware of is that the fight that Dr. Paul is waging against the Federal Reserve was waged by another president of the United States against a similar institution. President Andrew Jackson, who was in office from 1829 to 1837, waged a war to destroy the Second Bank of the United States which handled many similar duties to those handled by the Federal Reserve today - and, most important of all, Jackson won.

The Second Bank of the United States was criticized during Jackson's term for giving out money to politicians and people of power in order to win over their votes on certain issues. Today the Federal Reserve is involved in many similar shady deals as evidenced through the information obtained from it's partial audit. As Dr. Paul so eloquently puts forward "the Fed was providing nearly 90% of its discount window loans to foreign banks! This included making over 70 loans to a bank partially owned by the Bank of Libya."

In addition, a central government bank seems to be have a talent of creating 'booms and busts' in the economy where the economy expands and then sinks into a depression. The Second Bank of the United States had that very problem in the early 1800s. The bank's actions in trying to control the banking industry allowed the American economy to expand following the War of 1812 but then the economy sank in 1819. In addition, in what little information was brought out about the bank through legal action following the economic depression in 1819, it was hinted that there was much fraud and corruption going on, but thanks to the bank's lending policies to wealthy lawyers and politicians, the full scope of the fraud and corruption was never brought out.

Today a similar problem is being discovered in the Federal Reserve's practices. The Federal Reserve is largely blamed for helping create the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession of the 2000s by it's actions in trying to control the banking industry. Many have complained over the Federal Reserve bailing out corrupt and failing banks and businesses and that there is a lack of transparency in the Federal Reserve's actions and lending practices. This has led to the efforts begun by Dr. Paul in 2009 and 2011 to pass the 'Federal Reserve Transparency Act' which would allow a full audit to be done of the Federal Reserve and for their actions to be laid out in the open. The Federal Reserve has fought this Act, claiming they are already audited by a private organization and that the public revelation of the names of those who were borrowing from and associated with the Federal Reserve "would make them feel stigmatized." However, the fight being put up by the Federal Reserve has also led to widespread suspicion amongst many ordinary Americans who are know asking the question: "Are they hiding something they do not want us to know? And if so, what?"

When President Andrew Jackson began his fight against the Second Bank of the United States, many predicted that Jackson's fight against the bank would lose him the Presidency in the 1832 election. Jackson was running for re-election and had vetoed an attempt to extend the Bank's charter which would allow it to keep running as the central government's bank past 1836, when it's original charter was due to expire. Though many had predicted that a veto of the bank charter extension bill would lose Jackson the election, it, in fact, did just the opposite. Jackson defeated his opponents, Henry Clay and William Wirt, by a landslide with a difference of over 300,000 popular votes between Jackson and his opponents. Jackson kept his promise to not renew the bank's charter and in 1836 the charter expired, making the Second Bank of the United States an ordinary private bank. Just five years later, in 1841, the Second Bank of the United States went bankrupt, unable to keep up the practices it had begun when it was supported by the government.

Ron Paul and his supporters should be encouraged by this historical parallel. Like Jackson in 1832, Paul is fighting against a formidable opponent in terms of government power in the Federal Reserve. However, with the rise of the Tea Party movement and the election of Tea Party conservatives who have made the elimination of the Federal Reserve a major topic, such as Senator Mike Lee in Utah, Paul's message is resonating with the common people and is helping his surge in popularity. This is one of the issues which Paul is strongest on, and with the Federal Reserve being blamed for the economic mess the nation is currently in, Paul's statement from the South Carolina debate in May rings true: "My theory is that people vote from their bellies, because it's whether they're hungry or not or have jobs and need things. That's why people vote and we're in big trouble, prices are going up, unemployment is continuing to go up and we have not had the necessary correction for the financial bubble created by our Federal Reserve System and until you allow the correction and the liquidation of debt, you can't have growth."

So, in the end, if History repeats itself, as it so frequently does, then Ron Paul will win the presidency in 2012 because, like Andrew Jackson, he understands the needs and desires of the common people and where the true heart of the economic problem lies, namely at the feet of the central banking system of the United States.

© 2011 The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

Why Mike Brown and Carson Palmer were both wrong

In late October 2011, mere hours and minutes before the NFL trade deadline, the Cincinnati Bengals traded their longtime franchise quarterback, Carson Palmer, to the Oakland Raiders in return for a 2012 first round draft pick and a 2013 second round draft pick that could be converted into a first round pick if the Raiders make a deep run into the playoffs.

The trade came as a surprise to many. However, due to starting quarterback Jason Campbell’s potentially season-ending injury suffered last week, the Raiders seemed desperate enough to pay that high of a price for a disgruntled quarterback who had had a much-publicized falling out with his last team’s owner and had missed all of the 2011 season to date.

What should have been an even bigger surprise was that the Bengals were willing to part ways with the quarterback who had helped them to finally break out of their disastrous losing stretch which had lasted from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Carson Palmer, the No. 1 overall draft pick of the Bengals in 2003, had been credited, along with head coach Marvin Lewis, of finally putting the Bengals back on the path to respectability.

However, relations between Palmer and the Bengals soured in early 2011. The Bengals had won the AFC North division title in 2009 only to have a disastrous meltdown in the playoffs and then an embarrassing 4-12 season in 2010. Palmer decided he had had enough of Cincinnati, so he approached Bengals’ owner Mike Brown and asked to be traded, threatening to retire if he was not.

Brown informed Palmer that, as he had signed a contract through 2014, and in doing so had implied he would play it all the way through, Brown was not going to grant his request. When Palmer sold his Cincinnati home to imply he was serious about his retirement, Brown went and drafted quarterback Andrew Dalton to be Palmer’s heir apparent. As the 2011 lockout ended and a frenzied free agent period began, Brown re-emphasized his decision not to trade Palmer. Palmer’s failure to report to Bengals’ training camp was expected, but his later classless remarks about the Bengals’ organization in response to the team’s decision to release his brother in a roster-trimming move, seemed to portray Palmer as a selfish vindictive individual only truly concerned with his own interests.

Mike Brown finally acquiescing to Palmer’s demands is a move which will likely prove detrimental to the Bengals’ organization in the long run. The move made sense from the perspective that the Bengals as a team really did not need Palmer any longer thanks to Dalton’s strong play and that the Raiders were willing to give the Bengals a king’s ransom in college draft picks to acquire Palmer. However the other perspective, which should be much more important for the organization’s long-term success, says that when someone goes back on a signed pledge in a contract then that person should not be rewarded for his infidelity to his contract.

When Palmer signed his new contract, he pledged to play for the Bengals until 2015. When Palmer requested a trade from Brown, Brown informed him that, as Palmer had pledged to play for the team until 2015, Brown was going to hold him to that promise. For Palmer, that should have been the end of the conversation and he should have pushed on and continued to play for the team he had pledged to play for and known that if Brown thought highly enough of him to want him to stay around, then Brown would provide him with the players Palmer would need to succeed.

For Brown, there were two approaches he should have taken with this situation instead of the approach he ended up taking. First, if he was indeed open to trading Palmer, then he should not have made an adamant stand against trading him and then added to it with the talk of Palmer 'having committed to the Bengals in the contract he signed and I will hold him to it.' Second, if Brown was really and truly committed to not trading Palmer from Cincinnati, then he would have been wiser to let Palmer retire and sit it out until 2015 before attempting to make a comeback. By contrast, Brown, in reversing a stand that had been seen as adamant earlier in the year, seems to be sending a message to the team that anyone who makes enough of a distraction of himself will eventually have their demands met. That could lead to Brown losing control of the team in the sense of anyone taking him seriously. By not giving in to Palmer’s demands, Brown would have shown that the players would need to respect his decisions and that those who did not would be punished accordingly.

As Mike Brown and Carson Palmer now go their separate ways it remains to be seen what will happen to them. Brown seems to be running a team that is surging back into winning ways behind their new franchise quarterback Andrew Dalton. However, now that Palmer has been traded, it will be interesting to see how much control he and head coach Marvin Lewis retain over the players in the locker room and if the fallout from the trade affects the team’s play.

As for Palmer, he finally got his wish, but at the expense of his reputation. Palmer will likely be labeled alongside other quarterbacks in NFL history who rated their own desires higher then the good of their team, such as Jeff George and Jay Cutler. Palmer may also have ruined any chance he has of being listed highly among the legends in Cincinnati sports history by the whole fiasco, not that that seems to matter much to him. Despite the disaster in his first game, Palmer may still do well in Oakland, but with Jason Campbell experiencing a career re-birth in the city, Palmer’s stay will likely be short and, in all probability, he will be looking for work come next March.

© 2011 The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

Ron Paul wins Western Republican Leadership Conference Debate

You would not know it based on the news coverage of the event, but Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) won the October 18, 2011 Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada and probably gave his best debate performance of the campaign to date.

Congressman Paul was forthright in his answers and statements and laid forth his plans and opinions with no reservations. Plus, unlike his earlier debate performances, Paul more carefully explained his positions in such a way so as to make it more comprehensible to the general audience. He also clearly laid forth why the opposing positions of his fellow candidates were not such good ideas in his opinion.

Paul’s biggest moment of the night, however, came when a member of the audience asked the candidates about re-opening the national nuclear waste repository project which had been planned for Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Paul responded “I approach it from a States Rights position: What right does forty-nine states have to punish one state and say ‘We are going to put our garbage in your state!’ I mean thats wrong!” The audience roared its approval of Paul’s answer and also applauded his stance that government had no place handing out money to energy companies and that the free market was the best place for thinkers to solve the problem of nuclear waste.

Paul’s triumph became apparent after his comment on the issue. Governor Romney’s response to the same question about Yucca Mountain was simply: “Congressman Paul is right on that” followed closely by Governor Perry’s response of “Congressman Paul, you are correct when it comes to allowing the states to compete with each other, that is the answer to this!” Paul was the only candidate to receive such responses throughout a debate which saw two candidates nearly come to blows with each other and at least three more candidates lose their tempers at another candidate on the stage. Paul seemed to be an island of calm in a turbulent sea of candidates.

The voters watching the debate could not have failed to notice this. Paul’s forthrightness, calm and the stunning affirmation of his correctness from certain other candidates made the debate a fantastic performance for him. At the Voter Values Conference in Washington DC some weeks ago, Paul commented that “the polls are really not reflective of how well we are doing” and indeed he is doing very well. His money bomb, planned for after the debate, has already raised over two million dollars and is still rising and his grassroots support continues to grow. If Paul keeps up his momentum off this performance, he will be in a position to pull off a major upset in the fast approaching primaries.

© 2011 The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

Christian Ponder to start for the Minnesota Vikings (Finally!)

In an announcement on October 18th, head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings named rookie first round pick Christian Ponder as the new starting quarterback of the Vikings.

The move has been pushed for many weeks by several NFL and Vikings insiders as Donovan McNabb has struggled for the past six weeks to complete his passes and sustain any kind of rhythm on offense.

In addition to McNabb’s struggles, the only consistent parts of the Vikings offense, to date, have been Adrian Peterson’s running, Percy Harvin, Devin Aromashodu and Kyle Rudolph’s big play potential, Michael Jenkins’s catching and Jim Kleinsasser’s blocking. So far this has only been enough to win against Arizona: A game where it may be argued that the defense actually won the game while the offense simply did not lose the game as it did in the first three games of the season.

However, if Ponder plays as well against Green Bay on Sunday as he did in ‘clean-up duty’ against Chicago, the Vikings offense may finally start to look like the well-oiled machine that offensive co-ordinator Bill Musgrave saw flashes of in the pre-season, especially against Seattle and Houston.

Ponder showed quick rhythm and excellent pocket awareness against a ferocious Bears pass rush and at times brought back memories of the two great scrambling quarterbacks of Vikings’ history, namely Fran Tarkenton and Daunte Culpepper. His passes were on target when they could be, and out of the reach of defenders when they could not be. Plus, he seemed to bring a sense of direction to an offense that has been severely stumbling since the regular season began.

Finally, if Ponder’s play helps improve the Vikings’ play, it may influence the state legislature’s battle over a new stadium which is due to start next month as lawmakers fight to keep the team in Minnesota.

© 2011 The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.



My name is Professor Wall and I am the founder and editor of The Subsidiarity Times. This is a news/opinion/education site designed to help everyday Americans learn more about their country and our world, where we came from, where we are going and how we should be preparing for the future. As the founder, I write about almost any topic I am interested in: Politics, NFL Football, Shipwreck Exploration, Disasters, Music, and much more. If I am interested in it, you can be sure I will write about it.

I hope you enjoy this site. I shall endeavor to post when I can.

© 2011 The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.