Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Daisy commercial of 1964


The little girl, so sweet and innocent she can’t even count. Segue into a nuclear countdown and certain annihilation! What is the implication? Staying home OR voting for Goldwater is a vote for something terrible!

Note the use of mirroring of the counting, and the juxtaposition of innocence and evil. Also note what ISN’T said.

Excerpts from Paine’s Common Sense

From the Gilder Lehrman site:

“I know not,” John Adams wrote in 1806, “whether any man in the world has had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Thomas Paine.” After enduring many failures in his native England, Paine (1737-1809), whose father was a Quaker, arrived in Philadelphia in November 1774 bearing invaluable letters of introduction from Benjamin Franklin. By far the Revolution’s most important pamphleteer, Paine exerted enormous influence on the political thinking of the revolutionaries. His pamphlet Common Sense, which sold as many as 150,000 copies in the year after it was published in January 1776, demanded a complete break with Britain and establishment of a strong federal union. It was also a powerful attack on the idea of monarchy and hereditary privilege: For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others forever…. [A king is] nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang. Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.

In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense…. I have heard it asserted by some, that as America has flourished under her former connection with Great-Britain, the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But even this is admitting more than is true; for I answer…that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power taken any notice of her. The commerce by which she hath enriched herself are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe.

But she has protected us, say some…. We have boasted the protection of Great Britain, without considering, that her motive was interest not attachment…. This new World hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe…. As Europe is our market for trade, we ought to form no partial connection with any part of it. It is the true interest of America to steer clear of European contentions, which she never can do, while, by her dependence on Britain, she is made the make-weight in the scale of British politics. Europe is too thickly planted with Kingdoms to be long at peace, and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin, because of her connection with Britain….

There is something absurd, in supposing a Continent to be perpetually governed by an island…. No man was a warmer wisher for a reconciliation than myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April, 1775 [the day of the battles of Lexington and Concord], but the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharaoh of England for ever; and disdain the wretch, that with the pretended title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter, and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul…. Where, say some, is the king of America? I’ll tell you, Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the royal brute of Great Britain…. So far as we approve of monarchy…in America the law is king….

A government of our own is our natural right…. Ye that oppose independence now, ye know not what ye do: ye are opening the door to eternal tyranny…. There are thousands and tens of thousands, who would think it glorious to expel from the Continent, that barbarous and hellish power, which hath stirred up the Indians and the Negroes to destroy us….

O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the Globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.

Quotes by Enlightenment Thinkers

“Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” – Second Treatise on Government, John Locke

“Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a “property” in his own “person.” This nobody has any right to but himself. The “labour” of his body and the “work” of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that Nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state Nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it that excludes the common right of other men. For this “labour” being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for others.” – Second Treatise on Government, John Locke

“In the state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the law.”- The Spirit of Laws, Baron de Montesquieu

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.” – The Spirit of Laws, Baron de Montesquieu

“Every man having been born free and master of himself, no one else may under any pretext whatever subject him without his consent. To assert that the son of a slave is born a slave is to assert that he is not born a man.” – The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something and none has too much.” – The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“What, then, is the government? An intermediary body established between the subjects and the sovereign for their mutual communication, a body charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of freedom, both civil and political.” – The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Now, now my good man, this is no time to be making enemies.” – Voltaire (on his deathbed in response to a priest asking him that he renounce Satan.)

“In default of any other proof, the thumb would convince me of the existence of a God.”– Isaac Newton

“God created everything by number, weight and measure.” – Isaac Newton

“Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind as that, though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together the difference between man & man is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he. For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself.” – Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes

Links about the Mayflower Compact

Go here to see the text, from the Avalon Project at Yale University:

For more information about the Pilgrims:

The Electoral College makes it official

The Electoral College met on December 17 and officially cast their ballots for president:

Better Daisy Commercial

George Wallace and Robert Kennedy Campaign Ads from 1968

Wallace had been the governor of Alabama who had “stood in the schoolhouse door” to try to prevent the enrollment of African Americans at the University of Alabama (remember Forrest Gump?). He famously exclaimed “Segregation Now! Segregation Tomorrow! Segregation Forever!” He ran for president on a “states’ rights'” platform in 1968. Here is his campaign commercial:

Notice what his implications are without flatly coming out and stating his support for segregation, the right of protest, etc.

Compare this with the campaign ads for Robert Kennedy:

What is emphasized by Kennedy?

Preparation for chapter 17

Your text spent three chapters interrupting the flow of the narrative. Notice that it is now picking up the story where it left off in chapters 13 and 14 after our sidetrips into economics, culture, and the slave system. Make sure you review what was going on with the British, with Texas, and with Oregon in previous chapters to help you understand chapter 17. The pages you will want to review are: pp 265-267 and pp. 295-298. Make sure you note treaties and agreements from that time period.

Also, you might want to brush up on what exactly the Whig party held as its core beliefs. Pages 290-292 and 298-301 will help explain some of the politics in chapter 17. For some reason, the book suddenly left off its discussion of the Whigs and William Henry Harrison at the end of chapter 13 and now picks it up again at pages 396-97.

Summer Pell Grants cut this year

As we discussed in class, one of the ways that the budget was cut by $40 billion in the first years of the Reagan administration was through cutting Pell Grants. These are GRANTS of money to needy students for college tuition, which means they do not have to be paid back as a loan would be. This morning the news was that this program will be cut for the upcoming summer semester as part of the budget deal that was signed a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the story:

Figuring out how to pay for college is the bane of most college students’ existence. Many rely on loans, grants and scholarships to pay for their schooling. One financial aid option that a large number of students rely upon may not be an option in 2012. In President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal, summer Pell Grants are on the chopping block.

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income students seeking higher education. As in many other need-based government programs, like Welfare, family income is examined, and the amount of funding given to the student is accordingly divvied out.

The Pell Grant Program expanded just last year to allow students to use two Pell Grants per year – one for summer and one for the regular academic year – in an effort to lift graduation rates. Since there is no proof of any increase, and since the nation is in a deficit, the administration decided the addition was superfluous.

The proposal was made in response to the House Republicans’ legislation to cut the maximum allowable award from $5500 to $4500 for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which ends in September. The Obama budget for 2012 would keep the maximum award at $5500 but cut summer funding instead.

Students would still have the option of using their Pell Grants for summer classes, but they would then not be able to use Pell Grant funds to pay for tuition during the regular school year…..

For more information on Pell Grants, To find out if you are eligible for a Pell Grant or other federal assistance, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at

Here is the link to the article from the Post-Dispatch today:

And here is analysis from the NYT on why the President would agree to this:

Links about Fascism and political specturm

This site has a nice summary of fascism:


Here is a fun site about the political spectrum: (Thanks Alex!)