Friday, January 25, 2013

Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln By: Edward Steers Jr.

Another great book on Lincoln and the assassination.  Although to me, the best book on Booth, the plot and the assassination is by far "American Brutus" by Michael W. Kauffman, this book comes in easily at 2nd with a lot more emphasis on the conspiracy and dispelling the other theories. 

The book claims that John Wilkes Booth was a "white supremacist".  Although this may be so, Steers infers that this is why Booth hated Lincoln.  However when we look at the definition of 'white supremacist', we see the following:

"a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races". - Merriam-Webster dictionary

"I am not now, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social or political equality of the white and black races. I am not now nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor of intermarriages with white people. There is a physical difference between the white and the black races which will forever forbid the two races living together on social or political equality. There must be a position of superior and inferior, and I am in favor of assigning the superior position to the white man." - Abraham Lincoln.  
Based on Lincoln's own words, it is obvious that both Booth and Lincoln were "white supremacists".  Even more damning than his own words, was Lincoln's actions.  Lincoln is known for his colonization efforts where he wanted to send all freed blacks out of the country.  This is known as today as the "Not in my backyard" syndrome. 

I know that I am critical about Lincoln and his actions, but I have read quite a bit of books on the subject and find that normally his assassination washed away his tyrannical actions.  Although I believe his fate was not right, I do believe that history as well as Hollywood has done a disservice to us by white washing (no pun intended) his actions.  Anyone that has done any kind of research on Lincoln knows that he was a a corporatist and believed in cronyism, tariffs and big central governments.  His emancipation proclamation freed no one, as it only pertained to the southern states, to the four slave states still controlled by him, not so much. Ironically, Lincoln said "History is not history unless it is the truth" yet so much about his past is not true.

The book is extremely well researched and was somewhat of a page-turner even for me that has read about the subject time and time again.  The greatest part of the book is how the author dispels the the Lincoln Conspiracies even though some of the arguments are a bit weak.  I recomment this book to any Lincoln scholar (those who insist on his deification as well as those that see him for his actions and are able to put aside his assassination).

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; Book Club Edition edition (November 1, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0813122171
ISBN-13: 978-0813122175

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Two Presidents Are Better Than One: The Case for a Bipartisan Executive Branch by David Orentlicher

The book was has an interesting view.  It obviously promotes the plural executive concept.  This is not a new concept although I have never seen other books that cover it as this one.

I must admit, it was an interesting read.  The book covers the idea that two presidents would be better since the idea is to have two presidents from two parties.  The book is extremely thought out and well written.

However my opinion is as follows:  Our current system was designed in a way that keeps the government in check.  It has not worked not because of the design but the way we the people have allowed the courts to legislate from the bench and the Constitution to be usurpted with organization such as the EPA that were designed in a way that is outside the reach of the President and are not held responsible.  These organization should not operate outside the reach of Congress and the President.  I believe that if we fix the outrageous interpretation of the Constitution and remove the power from the 3 branches as well as forbid them from setting up autonomous systems that is outside of public scrutiny and approach, the system would go back to its working order. This is the way to do this.

1.  Change "We the People" in the preamble to "We the States"
2. Change Article VIII "To regulate Commerce among the several States" 
    should be changed to "To keep commerce regular..."
3. The 10th should the word "Expressly"
4. Repeal 16th Amendment
5. Repeal 17th Amendment

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: NYU Press (March 11, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0814789498
ISBN-13: 978-0814789490

Monday, January 14, 2013

Disturber of the Peace: The Life of H.L. Mencken By: William Raymond Manchester

I must admit, I never knew who H. L. Mencken was until I saw some memes on Facebook with his quotes.  It piqued my interest.  He was a man that spoke his mind even when it was politically or socially "incorrect".

Second generation American of German descent; I use the previous term in that way because I consider those who emigrate to this country and adopt it as their own, should not hyphenate their name.  Son of a cigar maker, Mencken did not want to follow his father's footsteps.   Henry loved to write and aside from a short time trying, and failing to run the cigar business, he finally got a chance to write for a paper.

Henry, as he went by as a child, took on his "H.L." moniker at an early age when his father got him a printing press for Christmas and in the process of setting it up, his father broke many of the lower case letters.  He liked how it looked and it stuck.

Mencken was a clever pundit, academic, critic and author.  He was a voracious reader and was reported to have read upwards of 300 pages in one night on a regular basis.  He always read lying down.

He was ruthless in his criticism towards religion (Christians), politicos as well as social/communists.  I know some may not like him, and that is fine, however I love his wit and although I could take some of his quotes to be offensive, I enjoy and respect others free speech. Mecken was the 1920's version of Larry Flynt meets Bill Maher meets Howard Stern.  Hated by many and respected by few.

If you like Mencken, this is a good book to read.  I enjoyed it.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (1951)
Language: English
ASIN: B0007DW4Z4

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Freedom Answer Book: How the Government Is Taking Away Your Constitutional Freedoms By: Andrew Napolitano

The Freedom Answer Book is a great book by one of today's true free thinkers.  Andrew Napolitano (The Judge), once again shows his intense knowledge of the Constitution, its original intent, as well as the way today's government has grossly misinterpreted it to our determine. 

In this fairly short book (272 Pages), the Judge asks the questions we the people should be asking.  This book is vignettes of Constitutionaility in the form of question and answer.  The answers are concise, well documented and referenced.  The Judge, being a stalwart supporter of the Constitution, and being a mouthpiece for neither side of the two party dictatorship we have today, delivers equal crushing criticism to all without any concern for political party association or political correctness.

The chapters cover everything from freedom of speech to  what to change in the Constitution and everything in between.  It has a great detailed discussion about Natural Law v. Positive Law, a subject that is ever present in all of Napolitano's books.  It shows how the constant desire to move away from Natural Law recognition to the more progressive, Positive Law has been one of, if not the biggest cause of the problem with this country today.

The Judge references case law where the Legislative Branch has far exceeded it original intent and how such legal blunder affected us at the moment as well as how its effects have carried on well beyond their time to continue to harm us today. 

I may have a bias view of this book.  Politically, Napolitano is one of political heroes. I am often asked what role I would like for him to play in politics today, frankly, I wish I clone him to have in in every branch of government.  I would love to see him appointed to the Supreme Court

The best part of the book is in the "Conclusion".  Napolitano goes over what the states need to do.  With a Constitutionl amendment change the following:

1. Change "We the People" in the preamble to "We the States"
2. Change Article VIII "To regulate Commerce among the serveral States"  
    should be changed to "To keep commerce regular..."
3. The 10th should the word "Expressly"
4. Repeal 16th Amendment
5. Repeal 17th Amendment

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400320291
ISBN-13: 978-1400320295

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Oliver Twist By: Charles Dickens

First real experience with Dickens.  The story was great.  A definite classic.  Oliver is challenged from the moment he is born.  He is orphaned and is sent to a workhouse in England where he lives a dreaded life the appears to get worse and worse.

The book has some colorful characters that today would probably not be allowed to be printed which says a lot for our society.  We have regressed and instead of evolving into a more open society we have gone the opposite way.  Definitely a book to read. 

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 600 pages
Publisher: Collector's Library; New edition (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1904633080
ISBN-13: 978-1904633082

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery By: Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, Jenifer Frank

Interesting book, Interesting concept.  The book covers the "complicity" of the Northern states in slavery and the slave trade.  Its funny to read history and even today, if you are from the North you have extra credit because the South has a black cloud (no pun intended) hanging over their heads.  The truth is the North benefited from slavery at every step of the way. 

The book covers the financial benefits to the North from the moment of the trade and bringing in the slaves as well as the output from the crop and finally financially in the banking industries of the north.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 15, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345467833
ISBN-13: 978-0345467836