For once, here is a germane Davy Crockett historical ethics note that has nothing to do with the Alamo. The episode is relevant to the recent vote-buying Hail Mary by President Biden, using tax-payer funds to deliver a large monetary gift to those who took on a financial obligation, derived its benefits, and were complaining that requiring them to pay their debts was “unjust.” It comes from an essay published in Harper’s Magazine in 1867, first flagged by the Foundation for Economic Education in 2008, and today by Instapundit.
A bill was taken up in the House of Representatives appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer, and several impassioned speeches had been made on the bill’s behalf. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Rep. Davy Crockett (D-Tenn) rose to speak. He said,
“Mr. Speaker–I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.
Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”
The bill, which up until that point had been considered a cinch to pass overwhelmingly, was voted down. Later, the Harper’s piece claims, Crockett was asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, and replied by telling the story of a man who told him he would not vote for him again because he had voted for a Treasury pay-out of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children as a result of a recent fire in Georgetown. The man, as Davy told it, explained in part,
“‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. …The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man…while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other…So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better…
Crockett claimed that he replied,
“‘Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.”
1. Wow, the battle over which Democratic big city mayor is the biggest walking disaster is a tough one…but my money is on Muriel Bowser of D.C. Being a Democrat, she has embraced dictatorial pandemic restrictions on students—besides, those masks send a message of fealty to Big Sister—and recently declared at a press conference that no alternative options, including virtual learning, would be available for students banned from attending school due to the District’s vaccine mandate. Unvaccinated children could not get a public school education. “We’re not offering remote learning for children, and families will need to comply with what is necessary to come to school.”
This kind of draconian vaccination requirement can be defended when the disease at issue is polio or smallpox; it is ridiculous when the target is the Wuhan virus and its relatives. Bowser, however, had not thought things through, as is typical for her. Over 40% of black children ages 12-17 are not vaccinated, according to city data. In contrast, about 90% of white students are vaccinated. First Bowser denied the statistics—she is a Democrat, after all. (We’re not in a recession either.) Then she realized that this was the black activist’s friend, “disparate impact.” That makes all the difference, of course. The African- American mayor who directed that a giant BLACK LIVES MATTER be painted on a city street quickly made a U-turn: if “her people” were going to be affected, obviously the policy was wrong.
2. If Joe Biden was truly interested in the welfare of the nation, he would take a unifying and collaborative stance in his public statements, avoiding divisive rhetoric, and actually follow through on his promise not to fan the flames of hyper-partisanship while demonizing his political opposition. This would, of course, involve among other things condemning anti-democratic rhetoric from allies like the Governor of New York. But the President lacks the character, common sense, integrity, patriotism and courage to do that, so he now makes statements like he made last week, telling a group of reporters, “What we’re seeing now, is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy. It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the – I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”
What is “semi-fascism”? What is “extreme MAGA philosophy”? Apparently the gratuitous racism label isn’t working as well as it once did, thanks to over-use, so “fascist” is the new insult du jour. This all occurs as Biden’s administration plots to imprison his most likely adversary in a re-election bid. Meanwhile, his addled and barely coherent paid liar, Karine Jean-Pierre, babbled when challenged about Joe’s statement, “I was very clear when laying out and defining what MAGA Republicans have done, and you look at the definition of fascism, and you think about what they’re doing in attacking our democracy, what they’re doing in taking away our freedoms, wanting to take away our rights, our voting rights, I mean, that is what that is.”
Facts Don’t Matter, in other words. Just fling unsupportable accusations into the air, and hope they generate enough fear, hate and anger among the gullible, ignorant and biased.
What a despicable way to lead a nation.
3. And speaking of the incompetent Ms. Jean-Pierre...CNN’s Don Lemon exposed her shallowness on his show. (Apparently Don is going to try to be a journalist for a while after getting the message from Brian Stelter’s overdue firing.) “What exactly is semi-fascism, Karine?” Lemon asked.
“The American people have a choice in front of them and the President laid that out very clearly, very powerfully tonight. When you look at what Democrats are doing and what they are delivering, and what they have done, Don, in less than two years, which is lowering costs on prescription drugs, lowering the energy costs, making sure that we have this historic legislation to really deal with [the] climate crisis. All of these things are important,” Jean-Pierre told Lemon.
The administration has not “lowered energy costs” at all; they are just lower than the earlier increased energy costs Biden’s policies triggered. Of course, the “historic legislation” will not have any effect on climate change whatsoever.
Lemon asked once more what Biden meant by “semi-fascist.” Once again Jean-Pierre tried to duck. “I am… I was just about to get to your question. I really was… You brought me on the show for a reason. And I have to talk about,” she said. Lemon, aggravated, said “I understand that, I just have limited time with you… I just want to make sure that we get all the answers.”
“Well, by having this back and forth, we are actually taking away from the time. So here we go,” she said. “So what we’re seeing from Republicans and what we have seen from Republicans these past several years is that they are attacking our democracy. They are taking away our freedom. And they are trying to put on the chopping blocks Medicare and Social Security. That’s what we are seeing, and it’s being done — if you look at the Republican Party, it is being done by this element, this MAGA element of the Republican Party. And that is what we are trying to prevent. That’s what you heard from the president today,” Jean-Pierre told Lemon, running out the clock.
Oh. Attacking democracy how? She really defaulted to the “scare the old folks” mantra about the mean GOP wanting to get rid of Medicare and Social Security, which has been a part of Democratic play book since at least the 1980s. Translation: “I got nothin’.”
What kind of person listens to such utter drivel and thinks, “You go girl!”?