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Bennett Calls for Imperial Presidency

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Bill Bennett, racist, gambler, failed drug czar and, incredibly, author of something called The Book of Virtues, has gathered up his impeccable credibility and attacked the Pulitzer committee for awarding journalism prizes for reporting on secret CIA prisons and domestic eavesdropping.

The reporters, Bennett said, “took classified information, secret information, published it in their newspapers, against the wishes of the president, against the request of the president and others… I don’t think what they did was worthy of an award — I think what they did is worthy of jail.”

Bennett is — one can only hope — no longer taken seriously by most Americans. But his outburst is worthy of note because it is a slip of the tongue that betrays the real attitudes of the Bush Right. With all their talk of liberty and democracy, in their pickled little hearts they actually believe in an imperial presidency.

Bennett’s phrasing was not accidental. The day journalists are beholden to the “wishes of the president” is the day we no longer have a free press. And the Republican Right doesn’t believe in a free press. How can there be a fourth estate when there’s only one estate — the executive, all-powerful and impervious to criticism?

First Bill Bennett revealed the Right’s core racism by suggesting that crime would go down if all black babies were aborted (also cf. sweet, grandmotherly Barbara Bush’s post-Katrina comments); now he’s betraying its true, only halfheartedly hidden, monarchical ideal. Nicely done, Mr. B.

Appropriately, White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s resignation this morning included the kowtowing due an executive who conceives himself as, in his own words, “the decider”: “I have given it my all, sir, and I have given you my all, sir.”

Indeed. Bush’s imperial attitude has been evident for years. But with everything he’s attempted going horribly wrong, the American public is waking up to it.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.
  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    There are some parts of this that are a little much, but there’s at least one absolutely perfect point:

    The day journalists are beholden to the “wishes of the president” is the day we no longer have a free press.

    Beautiful.

  • Bliffle

    Can we assume that Bennett follows his own imperial dictum and , thus, that all his gambling, failing, race-baiting, etc., are according to the presidents wishes?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Jon, no political leader anywhere believes in a “free press,” unless he is the editor of the paper trying to sell papers.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Try telling that to Silvio Berlusconi, Ruvy…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Chris,

    I’d be happy to. But why should he listen to a scribbler from Jerusalem?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Besides, Chris, Berlusconi is the owner of several papers, and TV stations, trying to make money.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    no political leader anywhere believes in a “free press”

    Cynical but alas more true than false, Ruvy. They do usually pay lip service, though. In this sense, one could think of the Bush Administration as less hypocritical than most.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    There ought to be a reasonable middle ground here. Bennett is probably correct that the SOURCES who leaked classified information to these reporters ought to be jailed. The reporters, however, did not sign on for secrecy and are only doing their jobs. So give them the pulitzers and give their sources a jail cell.

    That aside, your other comments are mostly laughable. To still be riding Bennett for racism and trying to apply that to the entire right is just a cheap and groundless smear tactic. Next you’ll be comparing Bush to Hitler.

    As for an imperial presidency, that sounds like a damned fine idea. It’s the job of the president to do what he can to rule relatively autocratically and it’s the job of Congress and the Courts to stop him. That dynamic of conflict and competition is what makes our system work.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    You can’t compare Bush to Hitler: Hitler was a lot smarter than W. Better edumacated, too. And certainly a better public speaker.

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    Bennett is probably correct that the SOURCES who leaked classified information to these reporters ought to be jailed.

    No, he’s not correct. The sources were acting because the regular channels in their agencies that were supposed to be available for agents to report wrongdoing were in effect nonexistent. These sources were acting their consciences.

    That aside, your other comments are mostly laughable.

    But you’re the only one who seems to be laughing. What does that tell you?

    To still be riding Bennett for racism and trying to apply that to the entire right is just a cheap and groundless smear tactic. Next you’ll be comparing Bush to Hitler.

    Leaving aside your passive-aggressive Hitler evocation (you brought him up, I didn’t), I’m “still riding” Bennett because with the passage of time people tend to forget why certain public figures lost their credibility in the first place. Bennett is the laughable one – yet he’s still afforded a place to spew his idiocy, and, I guess, someone must be listening to him.

    As for an imperial presidency, that sounds like a damned fine idea. It’s the job of the president to do what he can to rule relatively autocratically and it’s the job of Congress and the Courts to stop him. That dynamic of conflict and competition is what makes our system work.

    Well, that’s certainly an interesting interpretation of checks and balances. I thought it was the job of the president to carry out the laws enacted by Congress reflecting the will of the people. But what do I know? I only studied American history. You must be privy to some higher code not available to the rest of us.

  • Steve

    I’m with Dave on this one. Anyone who says Bennett is a racist based on his comment about black babies obviously doesn’t know the context of his remarks, and therefore should not be making a comment on that issue! Would the articler like that if someone did that to him, I wonder??

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    Steve: actually, before posting this I went back and reviewed the context of Bennett’s “black babies” comment very carefully. The comments demonstrated a belief that blacks are more likely to commit crimes because of something inherent. If that’s not racist, I don’t know what is.

  • http://chantalstone.blogspot.com chantal stone

    I’m going to have to agree with comment #12…why specify “black” babies in the first place, unless he had something against black People.

  • MCH

    “Next you’ll be comparing Bush to Hitler.”
    – Dave Nalle

    No, because Hitler actually served his entire tour of duty in the military, without deserting.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    No, Jon. The context clearly shows that Bennett is aware that statistically more crime is committted by blacks. That’s it. He chose to state it that way in order to shock and get people to think about it, and perhaps went too far.

    And MCH, now that you’ve come out saying that Hitler was a great guy don’t you think it’s finally time to rethink your priorities?

    Dave

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Statistically, more crimes are committed by whites in the U.S. than any other group…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Not relative to the percentage of the population, UAO. Blacks are 12.5% of the population and commit 26% of the crimes.

    Dave

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    We’ve been down this road before.

    It is a fallacy to claim “blacks commit 26% of crimes” for three simple reasons:

    1) Crime statistics are not kept by the government or any state that breaks down crimes into the perpetrators’ races, so any number that purports to be that total is completely false and fabricated.

    2) “Black” cannot be defined any more than “White” can.

    3) A black guy, white guy, and Asian guy rob a bank together; which race gets credit for the crime.

    There is no statistic that measures crime by race. 26% is nonsense, based on nothing. Pity you’d use something as proveably false to further a point.

    I heard 72% of all right wing rhetoists enjoy smelling their own farts in the bathtub; only 38% of blacks do.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    uao: thanks, you said it better than I could have.

    Dave: I stand by my interpretation of Bennett’s original comments, and here’s why:

    First of all, here’s the Bennett quote: “…if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down…” Bennett hastened to add that he was not advocating such a thing and that it would be a horrible thing to do.

    The context of the discussion was a purported cause and effect relationship between increased abortions and decreased crime (not race-related). In a strictly logical sense, and in context, Bennett, who opposes abortion, was making a reductio ad absurdum or slippery-slope argument, saying that if you justified an increased abortion rate by saying that it results in reduced crime – in other words, the ends justify the means – then what was to stop you from saying that since blacks (according to Bennett) commit more crimes, black babies should be aborted specifically?

    But the underlying assumption there is racist, whether Bennett realized it or not. Leaving aside the question of whether blacks do or not commit crimes in out-of-proportion numbers, the simple fact is that a baby is a baby is a baby. Perhaps a baby born into poverty or a broken family is more likely to become a criminal (although I have seen reports to the contrary). But that is in no way related to the race of the baby. We are not contrasting inner-city youths with trust funders and Ivy Leaguers. We are just talking about babies.

    I think Bennett’s actual logic was that if you aborted more babies born into certain socioeconomic circumstances you’d end up with a reduced crime rate years later. That may or may not be true. But referring to “black babies” was incidental to the point he was trying to make – unless there is an underlying racial bias. Hence we must assume one.

  • RedTard

    uao,

    Perhaps you should check your own facts and drop the spouting leftist propaganda.

    “Crime statistics are not kept by the government or any state that breaks down crimes into the perpetrators’ races, so any number that purports to be that total is completely false and fabricated.”

    I suppose the FBI, who reports these statistics for violent crimes, is totally fabricated or a front group for the KKK.

    “‘Black’ cannot be defined any more than ‘White’ can.”

    Good, let’s get rid of racial preferences, the NAACP, and Jesse Jackson and go back to a colorblind society. Also genetic tests are over 99.5% accurate at matching a person’s self described race with genetic markers indicating their ancestry. Race exists, it can be genetically verified, of course I wouldn’t let facts get in the way of a good rant.

    Blacks commit more violent crime per capita, end of story. If you weren’t living in a bubble of idiocy and had actually gotten out into the world and got some experience instead of spouting left wing garbage you might have the chance to actually learn a thing or to.

  • Dave Nalle

    UAO, do you find that just straight-out denying reality makes you feel better or something?

    The Department of Justice compiles crimes from all the different law enforcement agencies and includes racial data, which is recorded at the time of arrest. The FBI also keeps an extensive database of crimes which includes racial information.

    Your claim that data on this subject doesn’t exist is just plain wrong, or else wilfully ignorant.

    I’m quite willing to consider reasonable arguments on what those statistics mean, but to deny the existence of them is ludicrous.

    Dave

  • Dave Nalle

    Dave: I stand by my interpretation of Bennett’s original comments, and here’s why:

    Jon, so long as you agree that what you’re putting forward is your interpretation then I can’t really argue with you. There’s no question that his statement could be perceived and interpreted in the way which you have. I think it’s clear that his intent was not to be racist, but to make a point about the unacceptable nature of certain actions. If anything the statement was anti-racist, but you can choose to see it in a different light if that serves your purposes or makes you feel more comfortable.

    Dave

  • MCH

    “And MCH, now that you’ve come out saying that Hitler was a great guy don’t you think it’s finally time to rethink your priorities?”
    – Dave Nalle

    That’s not what I said, Nalle. I said that unlike Bush, Hitler completed his military service without deserting.

    I realize that as a control-freak and manipulator this must be difficult, but don’t put words in my mouth.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    so long as you agree that what you’re putting forward is your interpretation then I can’t really argue with you

    Yes, it’s my interpretation, based on what I think lay behind what he said. Not being in his mind – and recognizing that we don’t even know everything that’s in our own minds – it can only be that.

    It was interesting reading back over this whole brouhaha, though – Bennett seemed to defend himself in every way one could think of, except by actually explaining the reasoning that led him to make his reductio ad absurdum argument in the first place. Or maybe he did, but I didn’t see it in my quick research. Probably, rightly or wrongly, he considered the American public too dim to follow it. Maybe he learned his lesson from the first time and figured he could only get himself into more trouble if he tried to honestly explain himself.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    Race exists, it can be genetically verified

    Actually, RedTard, there’s a lot of scientific debate about this. I’ll just quote Max Hocutt from the Independent Review. He criticizes various challenges to the concept of race, but says: “Racial distinctions do not cut very deep in explaining human variability.” That’s something on which I think most scientists do agree.

  • RedTard

    “Racial distinctions do not cut very deep in explaining human variability”

    True, but neither do the hair colors but they are good at differentiating people. The shortest way to tell Spike Lee, Russell Crowe, and Jackie Chan apart would be by race. This issue has been beat to death on another thread.

    In the end it depends on how you set up the debate. If you consider race as simple exterior physical characteristics that show ancestry it’s verges on absurdity to argue that those characteristics don’t correspond in certain groups. If you view race as having all sorts of deeper meaning then it’s easy to label your opponent as racists. Since everyone knows that racists are never right, you can simply dismiss their arguments and declare yourself the victor.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Redtard: The FBI does not keep statistics of crime by race. Post the FBI stats from a government website with a link right here, if you think I’m mistaken.

    And they can’t; most crimes commited in the US are never reported, and many crimes are commited by mixed-race persons, multiple persons of differing races, etc.

    I won’t even go into why there is no such thing as race because that’s a whole different argument, and I don’t want to sidetrack anyone.

    I’ll just stick with the facts.

    Anyone who claims blacks commit 26% of US crime is lying to you.

    Because there are no statistics like that kept, by the FBI or anyone else.

    Dave:

    An “arrest” does not equal “commited a crime”, you ought to know that.

    If you wish to cite incarceration statistics, then go ahead, but you’re chainging your postulation; you were talking about crimes committed, not the make up of the prison population.

    And the prison population is not reflective of actual crimes commited by any race. Only a small fraction of those who commit crimes actually spend time in prison.

    Don’t accuse me of “ignoring reality”. You have no stats to back up your claim, because none exist.

    Show me any source from a government or law enforcement agency that supports your 26% claim.

    I have all day…

  • Dave Nalle

    I realize that as a control-freak and manipulator this must be difficult, but don’t put words in my mouth.

    I wish I could put good sense in your head, but that being impossible I do what I can.

    Dave

  • Dave Nalle

    UAO, you’re making a semantic argument to try to deny facts. That doesn’t cut it. Redefining peoples race and arguing that there are unreported crimes or that arrests or convictions don’t truly represent crime, are cop-outs and doesn’t change the basic facts which I’ve stated and which I absolutely CAN provide links for.

    As for the crime database being of arrests, that’s true. But since the conviction rate for blacks is substantially higher than it is for whites, as is the incarceration rate, what I’ve done by posting the stats on arrests is give the most conservative statistic. If we were to use convictions or prison population then the stats would go even more overwhelmingly to show black crime as disproportionate to their population.

    The fact is that any reasonable person can only look at the statistics on crime and conclude that black crime is higher per capita than for any other ethnic group. That’s the only sane way to look at it.

    I’ll post the links you wanted shortly. They’re on my other computer.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Arrest Statistics by Race, compiled from all law enforcement agencies including the FBI:

    For sentencing comparisons and incarceration rates I refer you to this study from the University of Massachusets which draws on data from The Sentencing Project.

    In that study they find that 8.5 times as many blacks as whites are incarcerated, adjusted for the relative size of the two populations.

    This does NOT in fact say anything at all about race as a factor in crime. There’s no evidence to suggest that one race is inherently more criminal than another. The second site I linked to is one which discusses this high rate of black crime and incarceration as a societal problem rather than a race issue. The fact is that more blacks live in environments where poverty and crime are endemic problems. If white people live next door to them their crime rates increase as well, so it’s the circumstances not the race.

    Dave

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    No Dave, I’m making a common sense argument(demanding reality, not ignoring it) to prevent you from misusing statistics to support a non-fact.

    You have given me arrest statistics.

    That is not what I asked for, and not what you claimed with your 26% comment.

    You said:

    Blacks are 12.5% of the population and commit 26% of the crimes.

    No, blacks represent 26% of persons arrested for crime. There’s a significant difference.

    But okay, let’s look at your arrest statistics.

    Now stay with me through the next part:

    1) If we are talking about crime (and reality), then we need to consider all crime.

    2) These statistics do not include all crimes committed, as the majority of crimes go unreported, and a significant percentage of crimes that are reported still result in no arrests. So we are looking at statistics that cover a mere fraction of all crime.

    3) An arrest does not equal guilt.

    4) Again, how are they defining races?

    Now, here’s why I care about this, and argue a point that isn’t semantic:

    These numbers are not only incomplete, they are misleading. Because you have to remember, persons are arrested under “suspicion” of commiting crimes, and only a percentage are actually charged.

    Here’s the problem: using the numbers as you do assumes all arrested parties are guilty.

    It is well-known that police are more likely to arrest a black or group of blacks than a white or group of whites when a crime has occured. While this isn’t true for every cop in every area, for the most part, few dispute this.

    Which already renders the numbers useless. All your numbers prove is that blacks get arrested a lot; it doesn’t address whether or not they are guilty of the crimes they are arrested for.

    Incarceration records are even more suspect as any kind of indicator beyond the State’s willingness to incarcerate people.

    I’m not claiming blacks and whites commit the same number of crimes, or that blacks are better than whites, or anything like that.

    But before you throw out numbers profiling an entire race of people, the numbers had better reflect a truth about what you are saying.

    These don’t; that’s why I object.

  • RogerMDillon

    “No Dave, I’m making a common sense argument”

    uao, that might explain the trouble you are having getting Nalle to understand.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    UAO, I’m using the only numbers which there are or CAN be to assess crime in our society. If you want to throw out the entire discussion because you think the criminal justice system is flawed, that’s fine, but I have at least some confidence in it. And when the rate of arrests and the rate of incarceration both indicate a trend, I see no reason not to believe it.

    All you’re doing here is rejecting the evidence because of an unsubstantiated belief which you hold with zero evidence whatsoever. I at least have some evidence.

    Dave

  • http://secondvibe.blogspot.com Q Bit

    Trying to inject common sense in the right wing folks is just a waste of time. Primarily because they don’t have the right sense to begin with and embody everything that are provably against basic principles of humanity.

    Not that the right wing ppl are necessarily bad – they are worse for their core ideas are simply rotten beyond redemption.

    It makes me wonder why is it so difficult for some people to distinguish the right from wrong… .. tell me why.

  • Bennett

    “I at least have some evidence.”

    Right. And even if it’s worthless, skewed, or doesn’t back your numbers, hell, trot it on out.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Bennett, are you seriously saying that the Justice Department, Census Bureau and FBI are producing numbers on crime which are ‘worthless and skewed’? Do you have a better source for this stuff you’d like to suggest, because I’ll use it. As for not backing my analysis, my analysis comes FROM the numbers, not the other way around. If the facts didn’t back me up I wouldn’t take the position at all. It’s not like I have a stake in it. I’m not Bill Bennett and I don’t have any particular affection for him. ll I’m doing here is defending the truth.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    Dave: “As for an imperial presidency, that sounds like a damned fine idea. It’s the job of the president to do what he can to rule relatively autocratically and it’s the job of Congress and the Courts to stop him. That dynamic of conflict and competition is what makes our system work.”

    A striking statement: I’m assuming this is rhetorical hyperbole on your part, perhaps to ameliorate the shock value of ‘imperial’. I think it’s clear that the Founders did NOT intend that the three branches of government be engaged in a sort of Cage Match death struggle for ascendancy. Rather, that government functions were divided into 3 departments: passing laws, enforcing laws, and assuring legal consistency among laws, especially the Constitution. Government is not a football game where one cheers for ones favorites, after all. We are citizens of One Nation, United, and our success will depend more on cooperation than upon competition and conflict which lead to victory, defeat, submission, and, ultimately, slavery.

  • gonzo marx

    it appears that a single guiding Principle set down by the Founders in our American Covenant is oft overlooked in these discussions…

    “We the People…”

    why is it so difficult for some to comprehend that those Words sum up the simple fact that our governments ONLY task is to serve and protect “the People”?

    how it does that is the function of the various Branches, which are set up to have clearly defined Responsibilities in their Service….but it IS for those Representatives to Serve the “People”…NOT their own interests, ideologies or campaign contributers and lobbyists…

    a crucial distinction, IMO

    Excelsior?

  • RedTard

    uao,

    Here is your link to offenders by race on murder FBI Crime Statistics 2004

    A quick summation:

    Blacks: 5608
    Whites: 5339
    Unknown: 4717

    Whites killed by blacks: 522
    Blacks killed by whites: 228

    (more than double in raw numbers in favor of blacks killing whites, who are the hateful racists again?)

    1) It’s moronic to argue that murders are underreported.

    2) Even if every single solitary unsolved murder were commited by a white person + the stupid assertion that 20% of blacks convicted of murder were based on planted evidence and racist juries, blacks would still be more likely to commit murder.

    Blacks commit more murder, period. Also, check out the stats on hate crimes, guess who commits more of them. Hint: It’s not whites.

    What you have is a case of willful ignorance. You don’t want to know the truth because it doesn’t fit your preconcieved notions. You cleave to your ideology as much as any ‘fundie’ even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

    I see your side bring up the ‘race isn’t real’ bullshit every time some statistic like this comes up, how come you never remember that when affirmative action is being mentioned?

  • RedTard

    “We must realize that our Party’s most powerful weapon is racial tension. By propounding into the consciousness of the dark races, that for
    centuries have been oppressed by the Whites, we can mold them to the program of the Communist Party…In America, we will aim for subtle victory. While enflaming the Negro minority against the Whites, we will instill in the
    Whites, a guilt complex for the exploitation of the Negroes.” – Israel Cohen 1913

    Almost a hundred years later and everything is going according to plan. Now I am starting to understand why people think it is a jewish conspiracy. Can’t blame them for seeing the writing on the wall though.

    Race hatred is the foundation of the American left. Your own leaders were writing about it 100 years ago. Without your ‘victims’ you guys would never come close to winning an election. You need race hatred becuase you don’t have facts and logic to back your ideas.

  • ss

    I apologize for dragging this back to race, but I was looking over the number of arrests by race linked above. I couldn’t help but notice the arrest rate (per capita) for drug offences showed the exact same trend as arrests for other offences.
    That trend being blacks are about three times more likely (based on % of total population) to be arrested than whites.
    Maybe I just went to a really bad all white, solidly middle class, small town high school, but…
    Does anybody here honestly believe that drug use among blacks is THAT much more pronounced then it is among whites?
    At my high school by senior year at least a fifth of the students used marijuana on the way to school once a week or more. We had an outbreak of kids OD’ing on jipsom seeds. We had a kid set fire to his parents house after huffing gasoline. Eventually (pretty quickly, really) you got used to seeing the ‘preppie’ kids, the ones people just assumed didn’t get high, getting high at a party. My neighbor sold marijuana to a teacher (I saw his daughter pick some up and say it was her for father). I heard of another teacher smoking marijauna at a party with kids who’d graduated a year before.
    Then I went away to college, and found out it probably wasn’t just my high school that was like that.
    So the question then becomes…
    If balcks aren’t using drugs at three times the rate of whites, but they are getting arrested at three times the rate…
    How many other categories of crimes might this also apply to?

  • ss

    Oh, I guess Red beat me to it.
    Fuck I don’t want whites to feel guilty. I’m white and I don’t feel particularly guilty.
    I just want people to ask themselves honestly, in your own youth, and on into your early twenties, did you violate a law or two. Or maybe three. Were they most likely to be drug laws?
    Do you think it was any different for young blacks?
    They seem to get arrested at a much higher rate though.
    What is going with that, and if it is a bias, how do we fix it?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I’ve read through these comments rather carefully. After having lived in the United States for a number of decades I can say a few things without fear of being wrong.

    1. It is not particular fun being black in America.

    2. Blacks are viewed as criminals and potential criminals by whites who fear them.

    3. Blacks are arrested more often than whites for the same crime. Lots more blacks serve time in jail than their percentage of of the population appears to warrant.

    4. Blacks are feared as the hated “them”. Many times in New York, I’ve seen cabbies refuse to pik up blacks, no matter how well they were dressed, because they were black.

    From where I sit, being black by iself is running a greater risk of having to deal with the criminal justice system in the Uited States.

    On the other hand, there is a culture of rejection of perceived “white” values among young blacks in the States.

    Thus, many of these blacks have contempt for whites. They have contempt for whites and for their police, and for their institutions.

    Is this right? Is this wrong? Who am I to say?

    It isn’t for me to assess blame or to point fingers. But racial hatred is a cross Americans have to bear, and deal with. And frankly IMHO, numbers and statitics do not tell the story accurately.

  • gonzo marx

    and most of this Thread doesn’t even touch upon the original Posts title of an “Imperial Presidency”

    fascinating

    distract, distort, deny and destroy

    Excelsior?

  • RedTard

    GM,

    Read the three words after the title.

    Bill Bennett, racist.

    Who’s using the 4 d’s again?

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    My calling Bennett all those names was to suggest why he lacks credibility. Not every one of his failings is necessarily directly relevant to my main point about the imperial presidency.

  • Dave Nalle

    I think it’s clear that the Founders did NOT intend that the three branches of government be engaged in a sort of Cage Match death struggle for ascendancy.

    Bliff, I was basically paraphrasing John Adams, whose view of the three branches of government was basically exactly that idea of a Cage Match death struggle.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    now REd…you know i think better of you than that…my apologies if you had the perception that it was aimed at you

    rather more at both the original Post and some of the commentary

    my exception is in comment #40 where you say
    *Race hatred is the foundation of the American left.*

    as we have discussed in other places, i tend to disagree with your assertation on this particular point…and part of that stems from our differences in definitions as concerns political terminology as well as the assertation you profess that somehow some kind of “left” conspiracy is intending to promote these kinds of disharmonies

    all well and good, we seem to comprehend each other’s differences here…

    my repetition of those 4 d’s is about politicians and their handlers in general….yes i do nail the Rovians in specific many times, but the context of my earlier comment was a blanket statement…not aimed at one “gang” or the other

    but both

    hope that helped

    Excelsior?

  • troll

    I for one am for the unending ‘death match’…then maybe we ordinary people could get on with life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and out of the chaos build service bureaucracies from the ground up and a legal system based on equal justice rather than unequal income

    I hate government involvement in much of anything…government workers at all levels forget too fast just who is working for whom

    into the cage with the lot of them – !

    troll

  • Dave Nalle

    I think it’s clear that the Founders did NOT intend that the three branches of government be engaged in a sort of Cage Match death struggle for ascendancy.

    Bliff, I was basically paraphrasing John Adams, whose view of the three branches of government was basically exactly that idea of a Cage Match death struggle.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    “paraphrasing”? Isn’t that another word for misrepresenting?

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    No… it’s not. But I’m curious, Dave, what you were paraphrasing. Certainly nothing in Adams’s “Thoughts on Government.” What then? My admittedly rather mushy recollection of Adams’s writings leaves me with the impression that he was neither the “secret monarchist” some claimed him to be, nor an advocate of branches of government feuding like cats.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Bliff, blow me.

    Jon, it’s a quote preserved in his minor writings, in this case from a letter written in 1775 to the Massachusetts state convention on how to write a Constitution and form a government. He wrote:

    “A legislative, an executive and a judicial power comprehend the whole of what is meant and understood by government. It is by balancing each of these powers against the other two, that the efforts of human nature towards tyrranycan alone be checked and restrained, and any degree of freedom preserved in the constitution.”

    The concept was also held strongly by other founding fathers. Jefferson wrote:

    “the powers of government should be so divided among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.”

    And John Jay who was the first Chief Justice said basically the same thing:

    “In my opinion, those three great departments of sovereignty should be forever separated, and so distributed to serve as checks on each other.”

    I agree that Adams was not a secret monarchist. In fact I think the claim is ridiculous. But the ‘feuding like cats’ argument is just a colorful description for what he and most of the sensible founders believed in, which was setting the three branches of government in competition so that if one of them ever became excessive in its exercise of power the other two would cut its legs out from under it.

    The descriptions given above sound good, but in practice, characterizing that relationship as a ‘cage match death struggle’ or ‘dueling cats’ is certainly not far from the mark.

    Dave

  • MCH

    “Bliff, blow me.”
    – Dave Nalle

    Whoaa!! Now there’s the old Dave Nalle we all love to hate. So it is true a leopard can’t change its spots…