BookTV: Mark Updegrove, “Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency”
“Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency” — Mark Updegrove
“LBJ” with Mark Updegrove, Rob Reiner & Woody Harrelson
Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency
Published on May 11, 2012
Mark Updegrove, named “one of the country’s best historians” by CNN, is director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. He discussed his book, “Indomitable Will,” which provides a portrait of LBJ through the stories and recollections of those who were with him everyday during his presidency. The session was moderated by Terri Garner, director of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
This footage has been provided by the Clinton School of Public Service. The Clinton School of Public Service is the only school in the nation to offer a Master’s Degree in public service. It is located on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The Clinton School’s Distinguished Lecture Series are speakers whom speak at the Clinton School, and can be attended by the general public through reserving a seat. More about the Clinton School of Public Service can be found at the link below;
An Intimate View of the Indomitable LBJ
LBJ: The 36th President of the United States
36 Lyndon Johnson
PBS LBJ Part 1
Presidency of LBJ
LBJ Documentary “The Great Society”
LBJ: From Senate Majority Leader to President, 1958-1964
How LBJ Mastered the Senate: The Most Riveting Political Biography of Our Time (2002)
The Most Riveting Political Biography of Our Time: The Definitive Portrait of LBJ (2002)
How Did LBJ Make His Money? The Disturbing Story of His Political Rise and Corruption (1990)
The Open Mind: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power, Part 1 of 3.
The Open Mind: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power, Part 2 of 3.
The Open Mind: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power, Part 3 of 3.
The Open Mind: Lyndon Johnson – ‘Master of the Senate’
The Open Mind: Lyndon Johnson – ‘Master of the Senate’ Part 2
The Open Mind: On History, Biography, Literature… and Robert Caro, Part 1 of 2
The Open Mind: On History, Biography, Literature… and Robert Caro, Part 2 of 2
How to Write a Great Biography: Authors Explain the Secrets to Success (1999)
Q&A: Robert Caro – Part 1
Published on May 7, 2012
Pulitzer prize winning author and historian Robert Caro discusses his newly released biography of Lyndon Johnson entitled “The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power.” This is his fourth book in the Johnson biographical series and Caro promises a fifth and final book in the future. The period covered in the book is from 1958 until early 1964.
Q&A: Robert Caro – Part 2
Robert Caro: Understanding Power (Full Length Version)
The Art of Political Power, with Robert Caro and William Hague
LBJ Versus The Kennedy’s: Chasing Demons
Death of LBJ as it broke
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency
||Mark K. Updegrove
||Crown Publishing Group
|March 13, 2012
Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency is a biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson by Mark K. Updegrove, published in 2012.
Indomitable Will is a compilation of original interviews, personal accounts and recollections of individuals who knew, worked with and for President Lyndon Johnson during his five years as President of the United States. Sources include the Reverend Billy Graham, Carl Bernstein, Liz Carpenter, George H. W. Bush, Walter Mondale, Harry Middleton, Rose Kennedy, Gerald R. Ford, Helen Thomas, Ted Kennedy, and Bill Moyers, who served as White House Press Secretary in the Johnson Administration.
The book focuses on the extensive legislation passed during Johnson’s Presidency and includes photographs, transcripts from his telephone conversations, and previously unpublished documents.
The author is a Presidential historian who has written two additional non-fiction works based on the lives of American Presidents: Baptism by Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office in Times of Crisis (2009), and Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House (2006).
- http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20120520/PC1201/120529960/1003/updegrove-chronicles-the-course-of-lbj-s-remarkable-presidency-in-indomitable-will May 20, 2012
- http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Stories-offer-unique-perspective-of-LBJ-3516320.php May 19, 2012
- http://blog.laptopmag.com/enhanced-indomitable-will-e-book-reveals-the-true-lbj May 9, 2012
- http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/books/20120427-lyndon-b.-johnson-biography-sympathizes-with-the-36th-president.ece April 27, 2012
- http://www.eyeonbooks.com/interviews/mark-updegrove-indomitable-will/ April 26, 2012
- http://www.kansan.com/news/2012/apr/24/other-side-lyndon-b-johnson/ April 24, 2012
- http://livingthedream.org/2012/04/07/ltd-podcast-mark-updegrove-author-of-indomitable-will-lbj-in-the-presidency/ April 7, 2012
- http://www.statesman.com/life/books/lbj-books-offer-different-takes-on-nov-22-2289605.html April 7, 2012
- http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/books/article/LBJ-oral-history-holds-surprises-3427962.php March 23, 2012
- http://www.buffalonews.com/entertainment/gusto/books/book-reviews/article766335.ece March 19, 2012
- http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2012/02/cruel-to-be-kind-lbj-behind-the-scenes/ February 28, 2012
Mark K. Updegrove (born August 25, 1961) is an American author, historian, journalist, television commentator, and director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, Texas.
Early life and education
Updegrove was born outside Philadelphia in Abington, PA, on Aug. 25, 1961. He attended high school in Newtown, PA, at the George School, which honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2015. He attended Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a Bachelor of Arts in economics in 1984.
Updegrove spent much of his early career in magazine publishing, including serving as manager of Time Magazine in Los Angeles; president of Time Canada, Time’s separate Canadian edition and operation; and, publisher of Newsweek.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
Since October 2009, Updegrove has served as the fourth director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Mark Updegrove at The Vietnam War Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2016. Photo by Jay Godwin.
Under Updegrove’s direction, the library partnered with the Aspen Institute on Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50, in Washington, D.C, in April 2015, and in November 2015, partnered with WETA-TV, on In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of American Creativity, which aired on PBS, to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Early in his tenure at the library, Updegrove oversaw the $11 million renovation of the library’s core exhibits on Lyndon Johnson and his administration, which opened in December 2012.
Updegrove’s December 2014 Politico article, What ‘Selma’ Gets Wrong, ignited a controversy over the portrayal of Lyndon Johnson as an obstructionist on voting rights in the film Selma, touching off a debate about the importance of accuracy in films based on historic events. In January 2015, Updegrove addressed the issue on CBS’ Face the Nation.
In 2013 and 2015, Updegrove taught The Johnson Years for Liberal Arts Honors students as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas at Austin. He has spoken extensively at numerous colleges and universities, museums, presidential libraries, and other public speaking forums.
- Destiny of Democracy: The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library (University of Texas Press, 2015)
- Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency (Crown Publishers, 2012)
- Baptism By Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office During Times of Crisis (St. Martins Press, 2009)
- Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House (Lyons Press, 2006)
The Years of Lyndon Johnson
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Years of Lyndon Johnson is a biography of Lyndon B. Johnson by the American writer Robert Caro. Four volumes have been published, running to more than 3,000 pages in total, detailing Johnson’s early life, education, and political career. A fifth volume will deal with the bulk of Johnson’s presidency. The series is published by Alfred A. Knopf.
Book One: The Path to Power (1982)
In the first volume, The Path to Power, Caro retraced Johnson’s early life growing up in the Texas Hill Country and Washington, D.C.. (Caro moved to these areas for months to interview numerous people who knew Johnson and his family.) This volume covers Johnson’s life through his failed 1941 campaign for the United States Senate. This book was released on November 12, 1982. It won the 1982 National Book Critics Circle Award. It was a finalist for the 1983 National Book Award, hardcover autobiography or biography.
Book Two: Means of Ascent (1990)
In the second volume, Means of Ascent, Caro detailed Johnson’s life from the aftermath of Johnson’s first bid to his election to the U.S. Senate in 1948. Much of the book deals with Johnson’s bitterly contested Democratic primary against Coke R. Stevenson in that year. The book was released on March 7, 1990.
Book Three: Master of the Senate (2002)
In the third volume, Master of the Senate, Caro chronicles Johnson’s rapid ascent in United States Congress, including his tenure as Senate majority leader. This 1,167-page work examines in particular Johnson’s battle to pass a landmark civil rights bill through Congress without it tearing apart his party, whose southern bloc was anti-civil rights with the northern faction more supportive of civil rights. Although its scope was limited, the ensuing Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first such legislation since the Reconstruction era. The book was released on April 23, 2002. It won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, the 2002 National Book Award for Nonfiction, the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, and the 2002 D.B. Hardeman Prize.
Book Four: The Passage of Power (2012)
In the fourth volume, The Passage of Power, Caro covers Johnson’s life from 1958 to 1964, the challenges Johnson faced upon his assumption of the presidency, and the significant accomplishments in the months after Kennedy’s assassination. The 736-page book was released on May 1, 2012. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award (2012; Biography), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2012; Biography), the Mark Lynton History Prize (2013), the American History Book Prize (2013) and the Biographers International Organization‘s Plutarch Award (2013). It was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction (2012). It was selected as one of Time magazine’s Best Books of the Year (non-fiction #2).
In November 2011, Caro estimated that the fifth and final volume would require another two to three years to write. In March 2013, he affirmed a commitment to completing the series with a fifth volume. As of April 2014, he was continuing to research the book.
Themes of the series
Throughout the biography, Caro examines the acquisition and use of political power in American democracy, from the perspective both of those who wield it and those who are at its mercy. In an interview with Kurt Vonnegut and Daniel Stern, he once said: “I was never interested in writing biography just to show the life of a great man,” saying he wanted instead “to use biography as a means of illuminating the times and the great forces that shape the times—particularly political power.”
Caro’s books portray Johnson as alternating between scheming opportunist and visionary progressive. Caro argues, for example, that Johnson’s victory in the 1948 runoff for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate was achieved through extensive fraud and ballot stuffing, just as Johnson had lost his 1941 senate race because his opponent stuffed the ballot boxes more than Johnson. Caro also highlights some of Johnson’s campaign contributions, such as those from the Texas construction firm Brown & Root; in 1962 the company was acquired by another Texas firm, Halliburton, which became a major contractor in the Vietnam War. Despite these criticisms, Caro’s portrayal of Johnson also notes his struggles on behalf of progressive causes such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Influence of the series
Politicians in particular have responded most strongly to The Years of Lyndon Johnson:
- Tom Daschle, a former Senate majority leader, once told the newspaper Roll Call after reading Master of the Senate that “I think the thing you learn from reading that magnificent book is that every day, this body makes history.”
- Walter Mondale, a former US vice president, described Master of the Senate as a “superb work of history.”
- Gordon Brown, a former British prime minister, said of the series: “It’s a wonderfully written set of books. The stories are quite breathtaking … These books challenge the view of history that politics is just about individual maneuvering. It’s about ideas and principled policy achievements. That’s what makes it one of the great political biographies.”
- William Hague, a former British Conservative Party leader and foreign secretary, nominated Means of Ascent as the book he would most like to have with him on a desert island, in the BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs. He later wrote: “I explained that it was the best political biography of any kind, that I had ever read. I said it conveyed more brilliantly than any other publication what it really feels like to be a politician … When a fourth volume finally completes the set, this will be nothing short of a magnificent history of 20th century America.”
- Michael Howard, another former Conservative Party leader, encountered the series after swapping houses with Caro for a holiday. He said, “For Caro, writing a biography is writing a thriller—in Johnson’s case, a Western. You can’t stop turning the pages. He doesn’t like Johnson, but the facts are there so you can make your own judgments. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power. 1982. Alfred a Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0-679-72945-3). xxiii + 882 p. + 48 p. of plates: illus.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent. 1990. Alfred a Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0-679-73371-X). xxxiv + 506 pp.
- Caro, Robert A., Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. 2002. Alfred a Knopf Inc, New York. (ISBN 0-394-72095-4). xxiv + 1167 pp.
- Caro, Robert A., The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. 2012. Alfred a Knopf Inc, New York. (ISBN 0-375-71325-5). 736 pp.
- Jump up^ “National Book Awards – 1983”. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- Jump up^ “National Book Awards – 2002”. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-20. (With acceptance speech.)
- Jump up^ “Recipients of the D. B. Hardeman Prize”. LBJ Foundation. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Jump up^ Kakutani, Michiko (April 29, 2012). “A Nation’s Best and Worst, Forged in a Crucible”. New York Times.
- Jump up^ John Williams (March 1, 2013). “Robert A. Caro, Ben Fountain Among National Book Critics Circle Winners”. New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- Jump up^ Staff writer (April 19, 2013). “Announcing the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winners”. LA Times. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- Jump up^ Jennifer Schuessler (February 20, 2013). “Another Prize for Robert Caro”. New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Jump up^ “Biographers International Organization, The Plutarch Award”.
- Jump up^ “National Book Award Finalists Announced Today”. Library Journal. October 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Jump up^ Associated Press (November 1, 2011). “APNewsBreak: Caro’s fourth LBJ book coming in May”. CNSNews.com. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Jump up^ Erik Spanberg (March 8, 2013). “Catching up with award-winning LBJ biographer Robert Caro”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Jump up^ Patrick Beach (April 5, 2014). “Caro, LBJ biographer, is hard at work on book No. 5”. Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Jump up^ Barbara Stone, ed. (1999). “The Round Table: Fiction, Biography And The Use Of Power”. Hampton Shorts. Water Mill, N.Y.: Hamptons Literary Publications. IV. ISBN 0-9658652-2-3.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c “Reviews”. http://www.robertcaro.com. Robert A. Caro. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Official website of Robert Caro
- Booknotes interview with Caro on Means of Ascent, April 29, 1990
- In Depth interview with Caro, April 7, 2002
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Caro about the writing of his fourth volume, January 4, 2009
- Part one of C-SPAN Q&A interview with Caro about the finished book, The Passage of Power, May 6, 2012
- Part two of C-SPAN Q&A interview with Caro about The Passage of Power, May 20, 2012
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Allan Caro (born October 30, 1935) is an American journalist and author known for his celebrated biographies of United States political figures Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson.
After working for many years as a reporter, Caro wrote The Power Broker (1974), a biography of New York urban planner Robert Moses, which was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century. He has since written four of a planned five volumes of The Years of Lyndon Johnson (1982, 1990, 2002, 2012), a biography of the former president.
For his biographies, he has won two Pulitzer Prizes in Biography, the National Book Award, the Francis Parkman Prize (awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that “best exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist”), two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the H.L. Mencken Award, the Carr P. Collins Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, the D.B. Hardeman Prize, and a Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Life and career
Caro was born in New York City, the son of Cele (née Mendelow) and Benjamin Caro. He “grew up on Central Park West at 94th Street. His father, a businessman, spoke Yiddish as well as English, but he didn’t speak either very often. He was ‘very silent,’ Caro said, and became more so after Caro’s mother died, after a long illness, when he [Caro] was 12.” It was his mother’s deathbed wish that he should go to the Horace Mann School, an exclusive private school in the Riverdale section of The Bronx. As a student there, Caro translated an edition of his school newspaper into Russian and mailed 10,000 copies to students in the USSR. He graduated in 1953. He went on to Princeton University, where he majored in English. He became managing editor of The Daily Princetonian, second to R.W. Apple, Jr., later a prominent editor at The New York Times.
His writings, both in class and out, had been lengthy since his years at Horace Mann. A short story he wrote for The Princeton Tiger, the school’s humor magazine, took up almost an entire issue. His senior thesis on existentialism in Hemingway was so long, Caro claims, that the university’s English department subsequently established a maximum length for senior theses by its students. He graduated cum laude in 1957.
According to a 2012 New York Times Magazine profile, “Caro said he now thinks that Princeton, which he chose because of its parties, was one of his mistakes, and that he should have gone to Harvard. Princeton in the mid-1950s was hardly known for being hospitable towards the Jewish community, and though Caro says he did not personally suffer from anti-Semitism, he saw plenty of students who did.” He had a sports column in the Princetonian and also wrote for the Princeton Tiger humor magazine. He was a Carnegie Fellow at Columbia University and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
Caro began his professional career as a reporter with the New Brunswick Daily Home News (now merged into the Home News Tribune) in New Jersey. He took a brief leave to work for the Middlesex County Democratic Party as a publicist. He left politics after an incident where he was accompanying the party chair to polling places on election day. A police officer reported to the party chair that some African-Americans Caro saw being loaded into a police van, under arrest, were poll watchers who “had been giving them some trouble.” Caro left politics right there. “I still think about it,” he recalled in the 2012 Times Magazine profile. “It wasn’t the roughness of the police that made such an impression. It was the—meekness isn’t the right word—the acceptance of those people of what was happening.”
From there he went on to six years as an investigative reporter with the Long Island newspaper Newsday. One of the articles he wrote was a long series about why a proposed bridge across Long Island Sound from Rye to Oyster Bay, championed by Robert Moses, would have been inadvisable, requiring piers so large it would disrupt tidal flows in the sound, among other problems. Caro believed that his work had influenced even the state’s powerful governor Nelson Rockefeller to reconsider the idea, until he saw the state’s Assembly vote overwhelmingly to pass a preliminary measure for the bridge.
“That was one of the transformational moments of my life,” Caro said years later. It led him to think about Moses for the first time. “I got in the car and drove home to Long Island, and I kept thinking to myself: ‘Everything you’ve been doing is baloney. You’ve been writing under the belief that power in a democracy comes from the ballot box. But here’s a guy who has never been elected to anything, who has enough power to turn the entire state around, and you don’t have the slightest idea how he got it.'”
The Power Broker
Caro spent the academic year of 1965–1966 as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. During a class on urban planning and land use, the experience of watching Moses returned to him.
They were talking one day about highways and where they got built…and here were these mathematical formulas about traffic density and population density and so on, and all of a sudden I said to myself: “This is completely wrong. This isn’t why highways get built. Highways get built because Robert Moses wants them built there. If you don’t find out and explain to people where Robert Moses gets his power, then everything else you do is going to be dishonest.”
To do so, Caro began work on a biography of Moses, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, also a study of Caro’s favorite theme: the acquisition and use of power. He expected it would take nine months to complete, but instead it took him until 1974. The work was based on extensive research and 522 interviews, including seven interviews with Moses himself, several with Michael Madigan (who worked for Moses for 35 years); and numerous interviews with Sidney Shapiro (Moses’s general manager for forty years); as well as interviews with men who worked for and knew Moses’s mentor, New York Governor Al Smith.
His wife Ina functioned as his research assistant. Her master’s thesis on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge stemmed from this work. At one point she sold the family home and took a teaching job so Robert would be financially able to finish the book.
The Power Broker is widely viewed  as a seminal work because it combined painstaking historical research with a smoothly flowing narrative writing style. The success of this approach was evident in his chapter on the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, where Caro reported the controversy from all perspectives, including that of neighborhood residents. The result was a work of powerful literary as well as academic interest.
The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Following The Power Broker, Caro turned his attention to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Caro retraced Johnson’s life by temporarily moving to rural Texas and Washington, D.C., in order to better understand Johnson’s upbringing and to interview anyone who had known Johnson. The work, entitled The Years of Lyndon Johnson, was originally intended as a trilogy, but is projected to encompass five volumes:
- The Path to Power (1982) covers Johnson’s life up to his failed 1941 campaign for the United States Senate.
- Means of Ascent (1990) commences in the aftermath of that defeat and continues through his election to that office in 1948.
- Master of the Senate (2002) chronicles Johnson’s rapid ascent and rule as Senate Majority Leader.
- The Passage of Power (2012) details the 1960 election, LBJ’s life as vice president, the JFK assassination and his first days as president.
- In November 2011, Caro announced that the full project had expanded to five volumes with the fifth requiring another two to three years to write. It will cover Johnson and Vietnam, the Great Society and civil rights era, his decision not to run in 1968, and eventual retirement.
Caro’s books portray Johnson as a complex and contradictory character: at the same time a scheming opportunist and visionary progressive. Caro argues, for example, that Johnson’s victory in the 1948 runoff for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate was only achieved through extensive fraud and ballot box stuffing, though this is set in the practices of the time and in the context of Johnson’s previous defeat in his 1941 race for the Senate, the victim of exactly similar chicanery. Caro also highlighted some of Johnson’s campaign contributions, such as those from the Texas construction firm Brown and Root; in 1962 the company was acquired by another Texas firm, Halliburton, which became a major contractor in the Vietnam War. In addition, Caro argued that Johnson was awarded the Silver Star in World War II for political as well as military reasons, and that he later lied to journalists and the public about the circumstances for which it was awarded. Caro’s portrayal of Johnson also notes his struggles on behalf of progressive causes such as the Voting Rights Act, and his consummate skill in getting this enacted in spite of intense opposition from Southern Democrats.
Among sources close to the late president, Johnson’s widow Lady Bird Johnson “spoke to [Caro] several times and then abruptly stopped without giving a reason, and Bill Moyers, Johnson’s press secretary, has never consented to be interviewed, but most of Johnson’s closest friends, including John Connally and George Christian, Johnson’s last press secretary, who spoke to Caro practically on his deathbed, have gone on the record”.
Caro’s books have been published by Alfred A. Knopf, first under editor in chief Robert Gottlieb and then by Sonny Mehta, “who took over the Johnson project – enthusiastically – after Gottlieb’s departure in 1987.” Gottlieb, five years Caro’s senior, suggested the Johnson project to Caro in 1974 in preference to the planned follow-up to the Moses volume, a biography of Fiorello LaGuardia that was then abandoned. The ex-President had recently died and Caro had already decided, before meeting with Gottlieb on the subject, to undertake the Texan’s biography; he “wanted to write about power”. Gottlieb has continued as editor of Caro’s books since leaving Knopf and excerpted Volume 2 of the Johnson biography at The New Yorker when he was editor in chief there.
For his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Robert A. Caro has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award for the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, and has won virtually every other major literary honor, including the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Art and Letters, and the Francis Parkman Prize.
In October 2007, Caro was named a “Holtzbrinck Distinguished Visitor” at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany but then was unable to attend.
In 2010, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama, the highest award in the humanities given in the United States. Delivering remarks at the end of the ceremony, the President said, “I think about Robert Caro and reading The Power Broker back when I was 22 years old and just being mesmerized, and I’m sure it helped to shape how I think about politics.” In 2011, Robert Caro was the recipient of the 2011 BIO Award given each year by members of Biographers International “to a colleague who had made a major contribution in the advancement of the art and craft of real life depiction.”
Caro has described his wife, Ina Caro, as “the whole team” on all five of his books. She sold their house and took a job teaching school to fund work on The Power Broker and is the only person other than himself who conducted research for his books.
Ina is the author of The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France (1996), a book which Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called, at the presentation of her honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from The City University of New York in 2011, “the essential traveling companion… for all who love France and its history.” Newsweek reviewer Peter Prescott commented, “I’d rather go to France with Ina Caro than with Henry Adams or Henry James. The unique premise of her intelligent and discerning book is so startling that it’s a wonder no one has thought of it before.” Ina frequently writes about their travels through France in her Paris to the Past blog. In June 2011, W. W. Norton published her second book, Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train (2011).
The Caros have a son, Chase, a disbarred lawyer, and three grandchildren. Chase Caro was sentenced to 2.5 to 7.5 years in prison by County Court Judge Susan Cacace after pleading guilty to grand larceny. Caro has a younger sibling, Michael, who is now a retired real estate manager.
Pop culture references
In The Stepford Wives (2004), Nicole Kidman‘s character attends a book club meeting with the Stepford wives and attempts to discuss the third volume of Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson, but the group chooses to review a book of Christmas crafts.
In the last episode of season one of the U.S. TV series House of Cards, a copy of The Passage of Power can be seen lying on the desk of protagonist Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey).
In the television series The Simpsons, the episode “Treehouse of Horror XVI” features the character Lisa seen reading Master of the Senate in the vignette “Bart A.I.” Caro later guest-starred on the episode “Love Is a Many-Splintered Thing“.
- Caro, Robert A., The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. 1974. Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0394480767). ix + 1246 pp. + xxxiv pp.: illus.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power. 1982. Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0394499735). xxiii + 882 p. + 48 p. of plates: illus.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent. 1990. Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York. (ISBN 0394528352). xxxiv + 506 pp.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate. 2002. Alfred A. Knopf Inc, New York. (ISBN 0-394-52836-0). xxiv + 1167 pp.
- Caro, Robert A., The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power. 2012. Alfred A. Knopf Inc, New York. (ISBN 978-0-679-40507-8). 752 pp.
- Zinsser, William Knowlton (ed.), Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-48617-3
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Segment 1: Democrats Go Nuclear And Eliminate 60 Vote Filibuster Rule — Videos
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Senate Votes To Change Filibuster Rules In Place Since 1789 – Invoking So Called “Nuclear Option”
The Nuclear Option: The Filibuster “Power Grab” in the Senate
Recent attention on what many believe to be a dysfunctional Senate has focused the national debate squarely on the institution’s complex parliamentary rules of procedure. Specifically, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced plans to consider a legislative manuever known as the Nuclear Option to change the rules of the Senate in order to curtail the use of the filibuster and facilitate the confirmation of President Obama’s judicial and executive nominees. The filibuster allows senators to speak for as long as they wish, on any topic they choose, unless three-fifths of the Senate votes to end debate by invoking cloture. Opponents of the Nuclear Option argue that it is a power grab because it allows Senate majorities to circumvent the regular order and change the rules of the Senate with a simple majority vote over the objection of Senate minorities. This, proponents argue, inevitably undermines deliberation. The result is an errosion of one of the fundamental roles of the Senate. Join us as we debate and discuss the filibuster, proposed rules changes, and the traditional role of the United States Senate in the legislative process.
Reid, Democrats trigger ‘nuclear’ option; eliminate most filibusters on nominees
The partisan battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years took a historic turn Thursday, as Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare.
Saying that “enough is enough,” President Obama welcomed the end of what he called the abuse of the Senate’s advise and consent function, which he said had turned into “a reckless and relentless tool” to grind the gears of government to a halt.
While “neither party has been blameless for these tactics,” Obama said in a statement to reporters at the White House, “today’s pattern of obstruction . . . just isn’t normal; it’s not what our founders envisioned.” He cited filibusters against executive branch appointments and judicial nominees on grounds that he said were based simply on opposition to “the policies that the American people voted for in the last election.”
“This isn’t obstruction on substance, on qualifications,” he said. “It’s just to gum up the works.”
The rule change means that federal judge nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has long been required to end debate and proceed to an up-or-down majority vote to confirm or reject the nomination.
The change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations. But the vote, mostly along party lines, dramatically alters the landscape for both Democratic and Republican presidents, especially if their own political party holds a majority of, but fewer than 60, Senate seats.
[Follow our live blog for the latest updates.]
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of a power grab and suggested that they will regret their decision if Republicans regain control of the chamber.
“We’re not interested in having a gun put to our head any longer,” McConnell said. “Some of us have been around here long enough to know that the shoe is sometimes on the other foot.” McConnell then addressed Democrats directly, saying: “You may regret this a lot sooner than you think.”
He added later: “The solution to this problem is at the ballot box. We look forward to having a great election in 2014.”
In his remarks at the White House, Obama called the use of the filibuster over the five years of his tenure “an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress that’s prevented too much of the American people’s business from getting done.” Saying that the tactic has blocked bipartisan compromises, prevented qualified people from filling critical posts and stymied legislation to create jobs and limit gun violence, he said: “It’s harmed our economy, and it’s been harmful to our democracy.”
“A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the result of an election is not normal, and for the sake of future generations, we can’t let it become normal,” Obama said.
“So the vote today I think is an indication that a majority of senators believe, as I believe, that enough is enough,” he said. He added: “The American people deserve better than politicians who run for election telling them how terrible government is, and then devoting their time in elected office to trying to make government not work as often as possible.” He did not take any questions after his remarks in the White House briefing room.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned Democrats against the rule change on Wednesday, saying that if the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority, Republicans would further alter the rules to include Supreme Court nominees, so that Democrats could not filibuster a Republican pick for the nation’s highest court.
Reacting to Republican criticism after the vote, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called the move “a huge step in the right direction” and denied that it somehow broke Senate rules.
“The Senate broke no rules,” he said in a floor speech. “We simply used the rules to make sure that the Senate could function and that we could get our nominees through.”
The vote to change the rule passed 52 to 48. Three Democrats — Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) — joined 45 Republicans in opposing the measure. Levin is a longtime senator who remembers well the years when Democratic filibusters blocked nominees of Republican presidents; Manchin and Pryor come from Republican-leaning states.
Levin denounced both Republicans and Democrats in a floor speech after the vote. He said GOP obstruction of Obama’s nominees has been “irresponsible” and “partisan gamesmanship.” Republicans “are contributing to the destruction of an important check against majority overreach,” he said.
But Democrats have used the filibuster in the past, and “changing the rules by fiat” means that “there are no rules” in the Senate any longer,” he said. “Today we are once again moving down a destructive path,” Levin said.
Infuriated by what he sees as a pattern of obstruction and delay over Obama’s nominees, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) triggered the so-called “nuclear option” by proposing a motion to reconsider the nomination of Patricia Millett, one of the judicial nominees whom Republicans recently blocked by a filibuster, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The Senate voted 57 to 40, with three abstentions, to reconsider Millett’s nomination. Several procedural votes followed. The Senate parliamentarian, speaking through Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the chamber’s president pro tempore, then ruled that 60 votes are needed to cut off a filibuster and move to a final confirmation vote. Reid appealed that ruling, asking senators to decide whether it should stand.
The Democratic victory paved the way for the confirmation of Millett and two other nominees to the D.C. appeals court. All have recently been stymied by GOP filibusters, amid Republican assertions that the critical appellate court simply did not need any more judges.
Under its new rules, the Senate subsequently voted 55 to 43 Thursday afternoon to move ahead with Millett’s nomination. Two senators voted present.
Senate rules still require up to 30 hours of debate on the Millett nomination. So a final confirmation vote on the nomination is expected to be held in mid-December after the two-week Thanksgiving recess.
[Read: What the Senate change means.]
Many Senate majorities have thought about using this technical maneuver to get around centuries of parliamentary precedent, but none has done so in a unilateral move on a major change of rules or precedents. This simple-majority vote has been executed in the past to change relatively minor precedents involving how to handle amendments; for example, one such change short-circuited the number of filibusters that the minority party could deploy on nominations.
Reid has rattled his saber on the filibuster rules at least three other times in the past three years, yielding each time to a bipartisan compromise brokered by the chamber’s elder statesmen. But this time, no deal emerged.
The main protagonists for the rules change have been junior Democrats elected in the last six or seven years, who have alleged that Republicans have used the arcane filibuster rules to create a procedural logjam that has left the Senate deadlocked. Upon arriving in 2009, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said, he found that “the Senate was a graveyard for good ideas.”
As he recounted in a speech this week, Udall said, “I am sorry to say that little has changed. The digging continues.”
[Read: The hist ory of this fight.]
Reid’s move is a reversal of his position in 2005, when he was minority leader and fought the GOP majority’s bid to change rules on a party-line vote. A bipartisan, rump caucus led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defused that effort.
At the time, McConnell was the No. 2 GOP leader and helped push the effort to eliminate filibusters on the George W. Bush White House’s judicial selections. Eight years later, McConnell, now the minority leader, has grown publicly furious over Reid’s threats to use the same maneuver.
Democrats contend that this GOP minority, with a handful of senators elected as tea party heroes, has overrun McConnell’s institutional inclinations and served as a procedural roadblock on most rudimentary things. According to the Congressional Research Service, from 1967 through 2012, majority leaders had to file motions to try to break a filibuster of a judicial nominee 67 times — and 31 of those, more than 46 percent — occurred in the last five years of an Obama White House and Democratic majority.
Republicans contend that their aggressive posture is merely a natural growth from a decades-long war over the federal judiciary, noting that what prompted the 2005 rules showdown were at least 10 filibusters of GOP judicial nominees. To date, only a handful of Obama’s judicial selections have gone to a vote and been filibustered by the minority.
However, many Republicans, weary from the third rules fight this year, seemed to have adopted a resigned indifference to this latest threat, as opposed to the heated rhetoric in mid-July when the issue last flared up.
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Casablanca – As Time Goes By
Marriage Redefinition Sought at SCOTUS Fails, Debate Continues
Ryan Anderson discusses what the Supreme Court got wrong in its marriage decisions—but why the proponents of same-sex marriage failed to achieve their goal of a court-imposed nationwide redefinition. One thing is clear: the debate about marriage will continue, now more than ever.
The morning after two important—and troubling—Supreme Court decisions in the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases, here’s the lay of the land. The important takeaway: The marriage debate is every bit as live today as it was yesterday morning…and that means it’s time to redouble our efforts to stand for marriage across America. Some key numbers following the decisions:
50 The number of states whose marriage laws remain the same after the Court’s marriage decisions.
38 The number of states with laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. That includes California, where the scope of today’s Prop 8 decision beyond the specific plaintiffs will be the subject of ongoing debate and, most likely, further litigation.
12 The number of states that can now force the federal government to recognize their redefinition of marriage. The Court struck Section 3 of DOMA, which means that it must recognize same-sex marriages in states that redefine marriage.
1 The number of sections of the Defense of Marriage Act struck down yesterday (Section 3). Section 2, which ensures that no state will be forced to recognize another state’s redefinition of marriage, is still law.
0 The number of states forced to recognize other states’ redefinition of marriage.
The important news you may not be hearing is that the U.S. Supreme Court did not redefine marriage across the nation. That means the debate about marriage will continue. States are free to uphold policies recognizing that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, so that children have a mother and a father.
States will lead the way even as we work to restore clear marriage policy at the federal level. And in the states, support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman remains strong.
Still, the Court should have respected the authority of California citizens and Congress.
On DOMA, the Court did not respect Congress’s authority to define marriage for the purposes of federal programs and benefits. The Court got federalism wrong.
On Proposition 8, the citizens of California who voted twice to pass Prop 8 should have been able to count on their Governor and Attorney General to defend the state’s constitution. That’s what democratic self-government is all about.
Now more than ever, we need to make it clear why marriage as the union of a man and a woman matters—for children, for civil society, and for limited government. As citizens, we all need to be prepared to make the case for marriage. That’s why we at Heritage have worked with allies to produce a booklet called “What You Need to Know about Marriage.” Download your free copy at TheMarriageFacts.com.
Jay Sekulow Spoke with Glenn Beck: SCOTUS Decision on DOMA & Prop 8
Breaking Down the Court’s Prop 8 and Doma Rulings | Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
Wall Street Journal Legal Editor Ashby Jones breaks down the Supreme Court’s Prop 8 and Doma rulings, and what the decisions could mean for same-sex marriage going forward.
Supreme Court strikes down key part of DOMA, dismisses Prop 8 case
America : Supreme Court shoots down DOMA and Prop 8 within the U.S. (Jun 26, 2013)
Rush Limbaugh: Scalia was right when he warned repeal of sodomy laws would lead to gay marriage
Glenn Beck and Rand Paul DOMA Reaction: Gay Marriage Rulings Will Lead To Polygamy, Zoophilia
The Five Reacts To Supreme Court’s DOMA And Prop 8 Rulings ‘This Is A Huge Conservative Victory’
Dr. Jeffress Discusses the SCOTUS DOMA Decision on The O’Reilly Factor (6/26/13)
DOMA Struck DOWN – Justice Scalia’s Hypocritical Rage Quotes
Andrew Sullivan: Gay People Like Glenn Greenwald Can Now Come Back, and Jesus Was Thrilled Today
Sally Kohn Battles Fox Panelist Over SCOTUS Ruling: How Does My Right To Marry Affect You At All?
Fox News contributor Sally Kohn today reacted to the Supreme Court ruling that her partnership and the unions of many other people across the country deserve equal protection under the law. She said that this is the latest step in the United States’ attempts over history in “striving towards making a more perfect union,” adding that in the United States, you can’t just pass a law “solely for the purpose of discriminating.”
Kohn thought it was smart for the Supreme Court to lean on the states rights argument, which she said conservatives would be cheering had this been literally any other political issue. Fellow panelist Ryan Anderson found it contradictory that the Supreme Court would take make such a significant ruling for states rights in the DOMA case, yet dismissed the California Proposition 8 case in which the people actually voted to decide how to define marriage in their state. He argued that the government’s business in getting involved in marriage is to promote marriages that can produce children, hence the definition of marriage being one man and one woman.
Kohn told Anderson that he can make “excuses” but the fact is laws passed just to discriminate are wrong. She also pointed out that the ruling is also significant due to the marriage benefits that gay couples can now get. Anderson shot back that the Supreme Court didn’t exactly say that state bans against gay marriage are unconstitutional, and reaffirmed that the California ban “tells the truth about marriage.” Kohn said, “I’m a little confused as to how my right to marry affects Ryan at all, unless we’re getting married, Ryan.”
Headline: Supreme Court rules DOMA is unconstitutional
Watch Rep. Bachmann and Others Speak Against DOMA Ruling
Moments After DOMA Ruling – Gay Activists Promise to Push Gay Marriage Nation-Wide
Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA | WSJ WorldStream | Supreme Court DOMA Ruling
Mixed Reactions to Supreme Court Decisions
Supreme Court strikes down DOMA
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court strikes down a federal provision denying benefits to legally married couples. For more CNN videos, visit our site at http://www.cnn.com/video/
Edith Windsor, who filed the original case that could upend the Defense of Marriage Act, says just getting the case to this point is a kind of victory.
“We’ve made a huge step forward and a huge difference in how people look at us,” she said. “And so, it’ll happen. Another year if not now.”
It was the death of Windsor’s life partner, Thea Clara Spyer, that led to the case.
Theirs was not a fleeting romance — the women were together 42 years sharing ups and downs, laughs and tears. They also shared what they’d earned together, including from Windsor’s job as a programmer with IBM and Spyer’s work as a psychologist.
FRANK SINATRA – STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT – LIVE
Frank Sinatra – My Way (Live in London 1971)
The Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA. Here’s what you need to know
By Dylan Matthews
The Supreme Court today struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law signed by President Clinton that defined marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of federal law.
The decision was 5-4, with the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy — who also wrote the court’s historic gay rights decisions in Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas. Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and John Roberts all filed dissents. Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia’s dissent, and joined Alito’s in part, while Roberts joined Scalia’s in part. Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Kennedy’s majority opinion.
Here’s what you need to know.
What was the actual case about?
United States v. Windsor concerns Edith Windsor, who was widowed when her wife Thea Spyer died in 2009. Windsor and Spyer were married in 2007 in Canada after being partners for 40 years. Windsor was forced to pay $363,053 in estate tax on Spyer’s estate, which she argues she would not have to pay if she had been Spyer’s husband. Thus, she claims, the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents her from being considered Spyer’s spouse for the purposes of federal taxes, literally cost her $363,053.
How did it get here?
The Obama administration has declined to defend DOMA, and so the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), a standing organization in Congress, took over the law’s defense at the instruction of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in June that DOMA’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman lacked a rational basis, and ordered damages of $363,053 paid to Windsor. In October, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals concurred, with a panel ruling 2-1 for Windsor. Then the Supreme Court considered it. Here are the arguments in the case:
What issues did the Court have to decide on?\
Three. The first was the equal protection issue. The second was whether the fact that the executive branch agrees with Windsor means that there isn’t a real controversy in this case, meaning the court doesn’t have jurisdiction. The third was whether BLAG would be harmed by DOMA being overturned, and thus whether it has standing to defend the law (a friend-of-the-court brief by Harvard professor Vicki Jackson argues that even Congress doesn’t have standing, and even if it did, BLAG wouldn’t).
Justice Kennedy’s ruling held that the court had jurisdiction in the case, effectively ruling that there was a real controversy and that BLAG had standing to defend the law. His ruling was solely based on his judgment that DOMA violates the equal protection clause.
What does this mean for gay couples?
It depends on what area you’re talking about. “What section 3 of DOMA does is that it performs a find and replace of every instance of ‘spouse’ or ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ appears and changes it so that it’s “opposite sex husband” or ‘opposite sex wife’,” says Rita Lin, a partner at Morrison and Foerster in San Francisco who argued Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management, another DOMA case. “The effect is going to vary based on which of the thousand-plus statutes or regulations are affected.”
There are some clear-cut cases. It seems pretty clear that legally married same-sex couples where one member is employed by the federal government are entitled to spousal benefits, just the same as any other married couple. For other legally married couples who don’t live in states where same-sex marriage is recognized, there’s some question as to whether the “state of celebration” or “state of residence” matters. Usually, the former is the standard used, meaning a marriage is valid if it’s valid in the state it was celebrated. That would mean most legally married same-sex couples, regardless of where they live, are entitled to spousal benefits.
Other areas, like tax law, may require additional rule-making before same-sex couples are treated equally. “Some operate just based on policy, without getting into a regulation or statute, so those can be modified very quickly,” Tara Borelli, an attorney at Lambda Legal who was also a counsel in Golinski. ”Others require rule-making.” And others require statutory changes. Borelli notes that Social Security will probably have to be changed by Congress for same-sex couples to be treated equally.
This does open the door for bi-national same-sex couples to be treated equally under the law. That means that comprehensive immigration reform probably need not include a provision specifically tailored to making sure bi-national partners of same-sex couples can get visas automatically, the same as opposite-sex partners. As Paul Smith, a partner at Jenner & Block and arguably the leading gay rights litigator in the country (he won Lawrence v. Texas, overturning state bans on gay sex), told me, “My understanding is that the elimination of DOMA would by itself mean that all bi-national married couples would have the same rights, whether same sex or not.”
Background Articles and Videos
Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas (Dale Carpenter)
n 2003 the Supreme Court struck down America’s sodomy laws in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. In Flagrant Conduct, a work nine years in the making, Dale Carpenter challenges what we thought we knew about the case. Drawing on dozens of interviews, he analyzes the claims of virtually every person involved. Carpenter first introduces us to the interracial defendants themselves, who were hardly prepared “for the strike of lightning” that would upend their lives, and then to the Harris County arresting officers. He charts not only the careful legal strategy that Lambda Legal attorneys adopted to make the case compatible to a conservative Supreme Court but also the miscalculations of the Houston prosecutors who assumed that the nationâ€™s extant sodomy laws would be upheld. Dale Carpenter clerked for Judge Edith H. Jones of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and blogs frequently for The Volokh Conspiracy. Charles Lane is the author of The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction.
Geoffrey R. Stone of the University of Chicago Law School says, “Dale Carpenter’s Flagrant Conduct does for Lawrence v. Texas what Richard Kluger’s Simple Justice and Anthony Lewis’s Gideon’s Trumpet did for Brown v. Board of Education and Gideon v. Wainwright. It tells the story of a profoundly dramatic and important Supreme Court decision in a way that brings to life the stakes, the participants, the justices, and the drama of the constitutional controversy. It is a landmark achievement.”
Lawrence Vs. Texas (2003) – Opinion (Kennedy) – Supreme Court Of The United Sates Of America
Justice Kennedy delivering the opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the case John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner v Texas 02-102 (2003). The court found that a Texas law classifying consensual, adult homosexual intercourse as illegal sodomy violated the privacy and liberty of adults to engage in private intimate conduct under the 14th amendment. Kennedy is joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer, while O’Connor wrote a separate concurrence. Justice Scalia wrote a dissent, which is joined by Rehnquist, Thomas. Thomas also wrote a separate dissenting opinion.
Lawrence Vs. Texas (2003) – Dissent (Scalia) – Supreme Court Of The United Sates Of America
Lawrence v. Texas
Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court. In the 6–3 ruling, the Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in thirteen other states, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory. The Court overturned its previous ruling on the same issue in the 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, where it upheld a challenged Georgia statute and did not find a constitutional protection of sexual privacy.
Lawrence explicitly overruled Bowers, holding that it had viewed the liberty interest too narrowly. The Court held that intimate consensual sexual conduct was part of the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Lawrence invalidated similar laws throughout the United States that criminalized sodomy between consenting adults acting in private, whatever the sex of the participants.
The case attracted much public attention, and a large number of amici curiae (“friends of the court”) briefs were filed. Its outcome was celebrated by gay rights advocates, who hoped that further legal advances might result as a consequence.
Legal punishments for sodomy often included heavy fines and/or life prison sentences, with some states, beginning with Illinois in 1827, denying other rights, such as suffrage, to anyone convicted of the crime of sodomy. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several states imposed various eugenics laws against anyone deemed to be a “sexual pervert”. As late as 1970, Connecticut denied a driver’s license to a man for being an “admitted homosexual”.
As of 1960, every state had an anti-sodomy law. In 1961, the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code advocated repealing sodomy laws as they applied to private, adult, consensual behavior. Two years later the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took its first major case in opposition to these laws. Most judges were largely unsympathetic to the substantive due process claims raised.
In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the Supreme Court struck down a law barring the use of contraceptives by married couples. In Griswold for the first time the Supreme Court recognized, at least for married couples, a right to privacy, drawing on the Fourth Amendment’s protection of private homes from searches and seizures without a warrant based on probable cause, the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process of law, and the Ninth Amendment’s assurance that rights not specified in the Constitution are “retained by the people”. Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) expanded the scope of sexual privacy rights to unmarried persons. In 1973, the choice whether to have an abortion was found to be protected by the Constitution in Roe v. Wade.
In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the Supreme Court heard a constitutional challenge to sodomy laws brought by a man who had been arrested, but was not prosecuted, for engaging in oral sex with another man in his home. The Court rejected this challenge in a 5 to 4 decision. Justice Byron White’s majority opinion emphasized that Eisenstadt and Roe had only recognized a right to engage in procreative sexual activity, and that long-standing moral antipathy toward homosexual sodomy was enough to argue against the notion of a “right” to sodomy. Justice Blackmun, writing in dissent, argued that Eisenstadt held that the Constitution protects people as individuals, not as family units. He then reasoned that because state intrusions are equally burdensome on an individual’s personal life regardless of his marital status or sexual orientation, then there is no reason to treat the rights of citizens in same-sex couples any differently.
By the time of the Lawrence decision, nine states—Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia—still banned consensual sodomy without respect to the sex of those involved, and four—Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri—prohibited same-sex couples from engaging in anal and oral sex.
Arrest of Lawrence and Garner
On September 17, 1998, John Lawrence, a gay 55-year-old medical technologist, was hosting two gay acquaintances, Tyron Garner, age 31, and Robert Eubanks, 40, at his apartment on the outskirts of Houston. Lawrence and Eubanks had been friends for more than 20 years. Garner and Eubanks had a tempestuous on-again off-again romantic relationship since 1990. Lacking transportation home, the couple were preparing to spend the night. Eubanks, who had been drinking heavily, left to purchase a soda from a nearby vending machine. Apparently outraged that Lawrence had been flirting with Garner, he called police and reported “a black male going crazy with a gun” at Lawrence’s apartment.
Four Harris County sheriff’s deputies responded within minutes and Eubanks pointed them to the apartment. They entered the unlocked apartment toward 11 p.m. with their weapons drawn. In accordance with police procedures, the first to arrive, Joseph Quinn, took the lead both in approaching the scene and in later determining what charges to bring, if any. He later reported seeing Lawrence and Garner having anal sex in the bedroom. A second officer reported seeing them engaged in oral sex, and two others did not report seeing the pair having sex. Lawrence did not acquiesce to the police. Instead he repeatedly challenged the police for entering his home. Quinn had discretionary authority to charge them for a variety of offenses and then to arrest them or not. When Quinn considered charging them with having sex in violation of state law, he had to get an Assistant District Attorney to check to the statutes to be certain they covered sexual activity inside a residence. He was told that Texas’s anti-sodomy statute, the “Homosexual Conduct” law, made it a Class C misdemeanor if someone “engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex”. The statute, Chapter 21, Sec. 21.06 of the Texas Penal Code, had been adopted in 1973 when the state revised its criminal code to end its proscription on heterosexual anal and oral intercourse.
Quinn decided to charge Lawrence and Garner with having “deviate sex” and to arrest them. In the opinion of the author of the most detailed account of the arrests, Quinn’s decision was likely driven by Lawrence’s verbal abuse, along with some combination of Quinn’s negative response to homosexuality, the fact that Lawrence was white and Garner was black, and the false gun report. In the separate arrest reports he filed for each, he wrote that he had seen the arrestee “engaged in deviate sexual conduct namely, anal sex, with another man”. Lawrence and Garner were held in jail overnight. At a hearing the next day, they pled not guilty to a charge of “homosexual conduct”. They were released toward midnight. Eubanks pled no contest to charges of filing a false police report. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail but released early.
Prosecution and appeals
The gay rights advocates from Lambda Legal litigating the case convinced Lawrence and Garner not to contest the charges despite their innocence and to plead no contest instead. On November 20, Lawrence and Garner pleaded no contest to the charges and waived their right to a trial. Justice of the Peace Mike Parrott found them guilty and imposed a $100 fine and court costs of $41.25 on each defendant. When the defense attorneys realized that the fine was below the minimum required to permit them to appeal the convictions, they asked the judge to impose a higher penalty. Parrott, well aware that the attorneys intended to use the case to raise a constitutional challenge, increased it to $125 with the agreement of the prosecutor.
To appeal, Lawrence and Garner needed to have their cases tried in Texas Criminal Court. Their attorneys asked the court to dismiss the charges against them on Fourteenth Amendment equal protection grounds, claiming that the law was unconstitutional since it prohibited sodomy between same-sex couples, but not between heterosexual couples. They also asserted a right to privacy and that the Supreme Court’s decision in Bowers v. Hardwick that found no privacy protection for consensual sex between homosexuals was “wrongly decided”. On December 22, Judge Sherman Ross denied the defense motions to dismiss. The defendants again pled “no contest”. Ross fined them $200 each, the amount agreed upon in advance by both sides.
A three-judge panel of the Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals heard the case on November 3, 1999. Their 2–1 decision issued on June 8, 2000, ruled the Texas law was unconstitutional. Justice John S. Anderson and Chief Justice Paul Murphy found that the law violated the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment to the Texas Constitution, which bars discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. J. Harvey Hudson dissented. The Court of Appeals decided to review the case en banc. On March 15, 2001, without hearing oral arguments, it reversed the three-judge panel’s decision and upheld the law’s constitutionality 7–2, denying both the substantive due process and equal protection arguments. Attorneys for Lawrence and Garner asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest appellate court in Texas for criminal matters, to review the case. After a year’s delay, on April 17, 2002, that request was denied. Lambda Legal’s Harlow called that decision “a major abdication of judicial responsibility”. Bill Delmore, the Harris County prosecutor who argued the case, called the judges “big chickens” and said: “They have a history of avoiding the hot potato cases if they can.”
Consideration by the Supreme Court
In a petition for certiorari filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on July 16, 2002, Lambda Legal attorneys asked the Court to consider:
1. Whether the petitioners’ criminal convictions under the Texas “Homosexual Conduct” law—which criminalizes sexual intimacy by same-sex couples, but not identical behavior by different-sex couples—violate the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws?2. Whether the petitioners’ criminal convictions for adult consensual sexual intimacy in their home violate their vital interests in liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?3. Whether Bowers v. Hardwick should be overruled?
On December 2, 2002, the Court agreed to hear the case. Lambda Legal coordinated the submission of sixteen amicus curiae briefs to complement their own brief. Submitting organizations included the American Bar Association, the American Psychological Society, the American Public Health Association, the Cato Institute, the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of history professors, and a group of religious denominations. An op-ed in support by former Sen. Alan Simpson appeared in The Wall Street Journal on the morning scheduled for oral argument. The attorneys for Texas did not control the amicus briefs submitted in support of their position. Two were by noteworthy scholars, Jay Alan Sekulow and Robert P. George, while the remainder represented religious and social conservatism. Several, including that of Liberty Counsel, depicted homosexuals as self-destructive, disease-prone, and promiscuous. The states of Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah advised the Court that unlike heterosexual sodomy, homosexual sodomy had “severe physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences”.
At oral argument on March 26, 2003, Paul M. Smith, an experienced litigator who had argued eight cases before the Supreme Court, spoke on behalf of the plaintiffs. Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, then a candidate for the U.S. Senate, refused to have his office take the case. Charles A. Rosenthal, District Attorney of Harris County, represented the state. His performance was later described as “the worst oral argument in years”, but some believe his lack of preparation reflected his lack of enthusiasm for the statute he was defending.
On April 7, 2003, Sen. Rick Santorum referred to the oral arguments in Lawrence when asked his views on homosexuality:
We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose…. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything…. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created…in Griswold…
On June 26, 2003, the Supreme Court released its 6–3 decision striking down the Texas statute. Five justices held it violated due process guarantees, and a sixth, Sandra Day O’Connor, held it violated equal protection guarantees. The opinion overruled Bowers v. Hardwick and implicitly invalidated similar sodomy statutes in 13 other states.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion which Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer joined. He wrote: “The petitioners [Lawrence and Garner] are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” Kennedy reviewed the assumption the court made in Bowers, using the words of Chief Justice Burger’s concurring opinion in that case, that “Condemnation of [homosexual practices] is firmly rooted in Judeao-Christian moral and ethical standards.” He reviewed the history of legislation that criminalized certain sexual practices, but without regard for the gender of those involved. He cited the Model Penal Code’s recommendations since 1955, the Wolfenden Report of 1963, and a 1981 decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
He endorsed the views Justice Stevens had outlined in his dissent in Bowers and wrote: “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today. It ought not to remain binding precedent. Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is overruled.” The majority decision also held that the intimate, adult consensual conduct at issue here was part of the liberty protected by the substantive component of the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process protections. Holding that “the Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual”, the court struck down the anti-sodomy law as unconstitutional.
Kennedy underscored the decision’s focus on consensual adult sexual conduct in a private setting:
The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution. It does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor filed a concurring opinion in which she offered a different rationale for invalidating the Texas sodomy statute. She disagreed with the overturning of Bowers—she had been in the Bowers majority—and disputed the court’s invocation of due process guarantees of liberty in this context. Rather than including sexuality under protected liberty, she used the equal protection argument and struck down the law because it was directed at one group. O’Connor maintained that a sodomy law that was neutral both in effect and application might be constitutional, but that there was little to fear because “democratic society” would not tolerate it for long. O’Connor noted that a law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples would pass the rational scrutiny as long as it was designed to “preserv[e] the traditional institution of marriage” and not simply based on the state’s dislike of homosexual persons.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissent, which Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas joined. Scalia objected to the Court’s decision to revisit Bowers, pointing out many decisions from lower courts that relied on Bowers that might now need to be reconsidered. He noted that the same rationale used to overturn Bowers could have been used to overturn Roe v. Wade, which the Justices in the majority in Lawrence had recently upheld in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Scalia also criticized the majority opinion for failing to give the same respect to stare decisis that three of those in the majority had insisted on in Casey.
Scalia wrote that if the court was not prepared to validate laws based on moral choices as it had done in Bowers, state laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity would not prove sustainable.
He wrote that:
Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct…. [T]he Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed.
He cited the majority opinion’s concern that the criminalization of sodomy could be the basis for discrimination against homosexuals as evidence that the majority ignored the views of most Americans:
So imbued is the Court with the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously “mainstream”; that in most States what the Court calls “discrimination” against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal.
He continued: “Let me be clear that I have nothing against homosexuals, or any other group, promoting their agenda through normal democratic means.” The majority’s “invention of a brand-new ‘constitutional right'”, he wrote, showed it was “impatient of democratic change”.
Justice Thomas wrote in a separate dissent that the law the Court struck down was “uncommonly silly”, a phrase from Justice Potter Stewart’s dissent in Griswold v. Connecticut, but he voted to uphold it as he could find “no general right of privacy” or relevant liberty in the Constitution. He added that if he were a member of the Texas legislature he would vote to repeal the law.
President Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer refused to comment on the decision, noting only that the administration had not filed a brief in the case. As governor, Bush had opposed repeal of the Texas sodomy provision, which he called a “symbolic gesture of traditional values”. After quoting Fleischer calling it “a state matter”, Linda Greenhouse, writing in The New York Times, commented: “In fact, the decision today…took what had been a state-by-state matter and pronounced a binding national constitutional principle.”
The Lambda Legal’s lead attorney in the case, Ruth Harlow, stated in an interview after the ruling that “the court admitted its mistake in 1986, admitted it had been wrong then…and emphasized today that gay Americans, like all Americans, are entitled to full respect and equal claim to [all] constitutional rights.” Prof. Laurence Tribe has written that Lawrence “may well be remembered as the Brown v. Board of Education of gay and lesbian America”. Jay Alan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice has referred to the decision as having “changed the status of homosexual acts and changed a previous ruling of the Supreme Court… this was a drastic rewrite”.
Peter LaBarbera, a senior policy analyst of the anti-LGBT group Culture and Family Institute, later president of the anti-LGBT organization Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, said that the end result of Lawrence v. Texas was “like the Roe v. Wade of the homosexual issue”. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called the decision “deplorable”.
Columbia Law Prof. Katherine M. Franke, in an analysis of Lawrence that appeared in June 2004, criticized its “domesticated” conception of liberty that failed to present “a robust concept of freedom”. She contrasted it with the language of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which discussed “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life”. Lawrence‘s emphasis on geographical privacy, in her view, described a circumscribed form of liberty and failed to develop the court’s evolving assertion of the right to autonomy and personal independence. Its assumption, based on nothing in the record, that Lawrence and Garner were in a relationship and had a personal bond leaves open the court’s view of their right to express their sexuality or fulfill erotic desires. She noted how a Kansas court in Limon v. Kansas read Lawrence to allow far greater punishment for engaging in same-sex activity with a minor than different-sex activity with a minor. She terms this “the legal enforcement of heteronormative preferences”. The decision in Limon was later reversed, in part on the basis of Lawrence.
A few months later, on November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry. Though deciding the case on the basis of the state constitution, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall quoted Lawrence in its second paragraph: “Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.”
Upon rehearing Williams v. Pryor after Lawrence, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Alabama’s ban on the sale of sex toys. Facing comparable facts, the Fifth Circuit struck down Texas’s sex toy ban holding that “morality is an insufficient justification for a statute” and “interests in ‘public morality’ cannot constitutionally sustain the statute after Lawrence“.
Lawrence invalidated age of consent laws that differed based on sexual orientation. The day after the Lawrence decision, the Supreme Court ordered the State of Kansas to review its 1999 “Romeo and Juliet” law that reduces the punishment for a teenager under 18 years of age who has consensual sexual relations with a minor no more than four years their junior, but explicitly excludes same-sex conduct from the sentence reduction. In 2004, the Kansas Appeals Court upheld the law as is, but the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously reversed the lower court’s ruling on October 21, 2005, in State v. Limon.
Subsequent federal and state case law has been quite explicit in limiting the scope of Lawrence and upholding traditional state regulations on marriage, expressly allowing a marriage-procreation link. (See Standhardt v. Superior Court ex rel County of Maricopa, 77 P.3d 451 (Ariz. App. 2003); Morrison v. Sadler, 821 N.E.2d 15 (Ind. App. 2005); Hernandez v Robles (7 NY3d 338 2005).) In Muth v. Frank, 412 F.3d 808 (7th Cir. 2005), the Seventh Circuit declined to extend Lawrence to cases of consensual adult incest, although it did say that Lawrence v. Texas was “a new substantive rule and […] thus retroactive”. The case was distinguished because parties were not similarly situated since there is in the latter case an enhanced possibility of genetic mutation of a possible offspring.
In Martin v. Ziherl, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled the state’s fornication law unconstitutional. In the Holm case a polygamist attempted without success to use Lawrence to overturn Utah’s laws banning these polygamous relationships. The Supreme Court refused to hear his plea. The Connecticut Supreme Court rejected an argument based on Lawrence that a teacher had a constitutional right to engage in sexual activity with his female students.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the last court of appeals for Courts-Martial before the Supreme Court, has ruled that Lawrence applies to Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the article banning sodomy. It has also twice upheld prosecutions under Article 125 when applied as necessary to preserve good order and discipline in the armed forces.
Judge Vaughn Walker cited Scalia’s dissent in his decision in Perry v. Brown that found California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
The level of scrutiny applied in Lawrence
Justice Scalia and others have noted that the majority did not appear to apply the strict scrutiny standard of review that would be appropriate if the Lawrence majority had recognized a full-fledged “fundamental right”. He wrote the majority, instead, applied “an unheard-of form of rational basis review that will have far-reaching implications beyond this case”.
Nan D. Hunter has argued that Lawrence used a new method of substantive due process analysis, and that the Court intended to abandon its old method of categorizing due process rights as either “fundamental” or “not fundamental” as too restrictive. Justice Souter, for example, argued in Washington v. Glucksberg that the role of the Court in all cases, including unenumerated rights cases, is to ensure that the government’s action has not been arbitrary. Justice Stevens has repeatedly criticized tiered scrutiny and prefers a more active judicial balancing test based on reasonability.
Lower courts have read Lawrence differently on the question of scrutiny. In Lofton v. Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a state law barring adoption of children by homosexuals, holding explicitly that Lawrence did not apply strict scrutiny. In Witt v. Department of the Air Force, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Lawrence applied intermediate scrutiny.
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The Real West – The Guns That Tamed The West
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The Real West – Ten Most Wanted Outlaws
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“…The Quock Walker case was actually a series of judicial cases that successfully challenged the legality of slavery in Massachusetts, based on the 1780 state constitution. Although chattel slavery continued to exist in Massachusetts, the Quock Walker decision indicated that it would no longer be supported by the state courts. This was one of the first times in the country that a written constitution was applied directly as law.
In 1781, Quock Walker (also referred to Quok, Quacks, Quaco, Quack, Quork, and Quork Walker) escaped from Nathaniel Jennison and took refuge on a farm belonging to Seth and John Caldwell. Walker and his parents had been purchased by the Caldwells’older brother in 1754. When the elder Caldwell died, Walker had become the property of his widow, who later married Jennison.
Walker was captured by Jennison and his friends, severely beaten, and forced to return to the Jennison farm. A few days later, he filed suit against Jennison for assault and battery. Jennison countered by filing suit against the Caldwell brothers for interfering in the use of his property, arguing that they had enticed Walker away for their own benefit.
In the first case, Quock Walker v. Jennison, the jury found that Walker was “a Freeman and not the proper Negro slave” of Jennison, and awarded Walker 50 pounds in damages (he had asked for 300). Jennison lost his appeal when he failed to appear. In the two decades leading up to the Walker case, juries had found in favor of slaves who sued for freedom on the basis of contracts with their masters.
The jury in the second case, in contradiction to the first verdict, decided in favor of Jennison and awarded him twenty-five pounds, a decision that was reversed by the Supreme Judicial Court on appeal. In the appeal of Jennison v. Caldwell, the Caldwells’ lawyer did not argue on the basis of the state constitution; he said that slavery was a violation of the laws of nature and of God.
In the final case, Commonwealth v. Jennison, the defendant was indicted and charged with assault and battery against Walker. The Attorney General argued that Jennison had attacked a free man, based on testimony that Jennison was aware that Walker’s former master had promised him freedom once he reached the age of 25, a promise that was renewed by the widow. Jennison’s lawyer argued that the 1780 state constitution did not specifically prohibit slavery.
In his instructions to the jury, Chief Justice William Cushing held that the constitution granted rights that were incompatible with slavery; the jury found Jennison guilty of assault and battery.
No opinion was ever written in the case, nor was it set down in the law reports. It was, however, widely discussed. Although historians credit the case with abolishing slavery, some at the time attributed abolition in Massachuseets to the weight of public opinion. John Adams considered the abolition of slavery to be “a measure of economy.” In fact, the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 was never amended to specifically prohibit slavery. …”
Charge of Chief Justice Cushing
“…As to the doctrine of slavery and the right of Christians to hold Africans in perpetual servitude, and sell and treat them as we do our horses and cattle, that (it is true) has been heretofore countenanced by the Province Laws formerly, but nowhere is it expressly enacted or established. It has been a usage–a usage which took its origin from the practice of some of the European nations, and the regulations of British government respecting the then Colonies, for the benefit of trade and wealth. But whatever sentiments have formerly prevailed in this particular or slid in upon us by the example of others, a different idea has taken place with the people of America, more favorable to the natural rights of mankind, and to that natural, innate desire of Liberty, with which Heaven (without regard to color, complexion, or shape of noses–features) has inspired all the human race. And upon this ground our Constitution of Government, by which the people of this Commonwealth have solemnly bound themselves, sets out with declaring that all men are born free and equal–and that every subject is entitled to liberty, and to have it guarded by the laws, as well as life and property–and in short is totally repugnant to the idea of being born slaves. This being the case, I think the idea of slavery is inconsistent with our own conduct and Constitution; and there can be no such thing as perpetual servitude of a rational creature, unless his liberty is forfeited by some criminal conduct or given up by personal consent or contract . . . .
Credit: Civil Rights and the Black American A Documentary History, edited by Albert P Blaustein and Robert L. Zangrando, published by Washington Square Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1968
Quock Walker, also known as Kwaku or Quok Walker (b. 1753 – d. unknown), was an American slave who sued for and won his freedom in June 1781 in a case citing language in the new Massachusetts Constitution (1780) that declared all men to be born free and equal. The case is credited with helping abolish slavery in Massachusetts, although the 1780 constitution was never amended to prohibit the practice. It was the second state after Vermont to end slavery. Vermont became th 14th State in 1791, but had abolished slavery in its formation as a Republic in 1777 before joining the Union. By the 1790 federal census, no slaves were recorded in the state.
Quock Walker was born in Massachusetts in 1753 to slaves Mingo and Dinah, who were believed to be of Ghanaian origins. He is believed to have been named Kwaku in Ghanaian, for “boy born on Wednesday”, a traditional day-naming practice among the people. The following year, the entire family was bought by James Caldwell, of the prominent Caldwell family of Worcester County. Quock was promised his freedom at age 25 by Caldwell. Caldwell died when Quock was ten, but his widow renewed the promise to free the boy and promised him freedom at age 21. The widow Mrs. Caldwell married Nathaniel Jennison in 1763 and died about 1772, when Walker was 19.
When the time came for Walker’s promised manumission, Jennison refused to let him go. In 1781, Walker, then twenty-eight, ran away. He went to work at a nearby farm belonging to Seth and John Caldwell, brothers of his former master. Jennison retrieved him and beat him severely as punishment. Soon after, Walker sued Jennison for battery, and Jennison sued the Caldwells.
By the mid-18th century, enslavement of Africans had become common practice in Massachusetts. A 1754 census listed nearly 4500 slaves in the colony. Abolitionist sentiment had been growing, especially as the philosophical underpinnings of independence and democracy became common parlance in the colony. While Massachusetts had derived wealth from the Triangle Trade, its merchant and mixed economy was not dependent on slave labor to the extent of southern states.
There were three trials related to these events, two civil and one criminal. These took place during the American Revolutionary War, when language about the equality of people was in the air and after the new Massachusetts constitution had been passed in 1780. The civil cases were : Jennison v. Caldwell (for “deprivation of the benefit of his servant, Walker”), apparently heard and decided first, and Quock Walker v. Jennison (for assault and battery), both heard by the Worcester County Court of Common Pleas on June 12, 1781.
In the first case, Jennison argued that Caldwell had enticed away his employee Walker. The court found in his favor and awarded him 25 pounds. The Walker case was opened by the attorney considering the question of whether a previous master’s promise to free Walker gave him a right to freedom after that master had died. Walker’s lawyers argued that the concept of slavery was contrary to the Bible and the new Massachusetts Constitution (1780). The jury voted that Walker was a free man under the constitution and awarded him 50 pounds in damages.
Both decisions were appealed. Jennison’s appeal of Walker’s freedom was tossed out in September 1781 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, either because he failed to appear or because his lawyers did not submit the required court papers. The Caldwells won the other appeal; a jury concurred that Walker was a free man, and therefore the defendants were entitled to employ him.
In September 1781, a third case was filed by the Attorney General against Jennison, Commonwealth v. Jennison, for criminal assault and battery of Walker. In his charge to the jury, Chief Justice William Cushing stated, “Without resorting to implication in constructing the constitution, slavery is…as effectively abolished as it can be by the granting of rights and privileges wholly incompatible and repugnant to its existence.” This has been taken as setting the groundwork for the end of slavery in the state. On April 20, 1783, Jennison was found guilty and fined 40 shillings.
Aftermath of the trials
The state never formally abolished slavery until the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. Legislators were unable or unwilling to address either slave-owners’ concerns about losing their “investment”, or white citizens’ concerns that if slavery were abolished, freed slaves could become a burden on the community. Some feared that escaped slaves from elsewhere would flood the state.
The Massachusetts Supreme Court decisions in Walker v. Jennison and Commonwealth v. Jennison established the basis for ending slavery in Massachusetts on constitutional grounds, but no law or amendment to the state constitution was passed. Instead slavery gradually ended “voluntarily” in the state over the next decade. The decisions in the Elizabeth Freeman and Quock Walker trials had removed its legal support and slavery was said to end by erosion. Some masters manumitted their slaves formally and arranged to pay them wages for continued labor. Other slaves were “freed” but were restricted as indentured servants for extended periods. By 1790, the federal census recorded no slaves in the state.
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Stop Spending Our Future – The Crisis
The Story of Spending
Smoke and Mirrors on Spending Cuts
Spending Restraint, Part I: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton
Deficits, Debts and Unfunded Liabilities: The Consequences of Excessive Government Spending
The National Debt Road Trip
How To Balance the Obama Budget
It’s Simple to Balance The Budget Without Higher Taxes
National Debt- How Much Is A Billion Dollars? Dave Walker
Obama: I’m Willing to Compromise
We Cannot Bind a Future Congress
GOP: We Need a Balanced Budget Amendment
Obama: We don’t need a balanced budget amendment
A Balanced Budget Amendment: The Path to Fiscal Sanity
The Time is NOW – Balanced Budget Amendment
Senator Lee Introduces Cut, Cap, Balance Act as a Sensible Solution for Raising the Debt Ceiling
Our Troubling Tax System
Barack Obama will raise Capital Gains Taxes…even if it means less tax revenue!!
Ron Paul & Judge Napolitano on FOX News 03/10/11
The FairTax: It’s Time
Lugar Cosponsors the FairTax
Herman Cain on Taxes
Flat Tax vs. National Sales Tax
Ron Paul – THE FAIRTAX REVOLUTION
Mike Huckabee – What is the “Fair Tax?”
Fair Tax Panel with Grover Norquist on FOX Business
Ron Paul Opposes Raising Debt Limit
Bachmann Stands Strong Against Raising Debt Ceiling
Milton Friedman on Libertarianism (Part 4 of 4)
How To Amend The U.S. Constitution
How To Amend the U.S. Constitution
Cut, Cap & Balance! Senators Paul, Lee and Vitter want a Constitutional Amendment
Cut, Cap and Balance…A Great Way To Keep Our Debt From Overtaking Our Future
Ron Paul Ad – Conviction Not Compromise
Ron Paul Will Beat Obama In 2012
I agree with Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann that the National Debt ceiling should not be increased.
I support and have signed the cut, cap, and balance pledge.
Only if both the balanced budget amendment and FairTax bills are passed with a provision repealing the income tax 16th Amendment would I support the raising of the National Debt ceiling by an amount not exceeding $2,000 billion.
This would require the Democratic Party in both the House of Representatives and Senate to vote for this and the President signing these bills.
Barring this, the President needs to start informing nonessential government employees that their jobs have been terminated.
The priorities for Federal Government outlays should be as follows:
1. Interest on the national debt
2. Social Security
3. Medicare and Medicaid
5. Department of Treasury
6. Department of Justice
7. Department of State
8. Department of Defense (60% of total budget outlays) with salaries of military personnel on active duty paid first.
The above is about 65% of total government expenditures or outlays.
The Federal government should start selling all of its real estate asset and gold to make up any shortfall in tax revenues.
The remaining Federal Departments need to be closed and only operations that are absolutely essential should continue operating.
It should take a minimum of two to five years to have the necessary 38 states ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment and an Amendment repealing the income tax 16th Amendment to the Consitution to the United States.
Until these amendments are ratified the U.S. Federal Government budget should be balanced and the income tax replaced by the consumption tax–The FairTax.
The Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 should not exceed $3,000 billion not the proposed $3,500 billion Republican budget which has a deficit of nearly $1,000 billion.
Congress should balance the budget starting in Fiscal Year 2013 at $ 3,000 billion or less.
Time for the House of Representatives to call President Obama’s bluff.
The American people want Federal Government spending to be drastically cut and all U.S. Federal Government budgets balanced starting no later than Fiscal year 2013.
The American people want all Federal Government taxes to be replaced with a national retail consumption sales tax on all new goods and services–the FairTax.
The FairTax should go into operation on January 1, 2013 at the latest and would replace all Federal Government taxes including income, payroll, gift and estate taxes.
The time has come to call the President’s bluff.
If the Democrats vote against this, then the American people will blame them for shutting down the Federal Government.
Background Articles and Videos
Legendary investor Jim Rogers- “Ron Paul is the only politician that has a clue”
|Summary of Outlays, Revenues (Receipts), Deficits, Surpluses Fiscal Years 1980-2010(Nominal Dollars in Millions)
||Deficits (-), Surpluses
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE
STAR – TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE
TABLE 1. SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS)
ACCOUNTING DATE: 06/11
PERIOD RECEIPTS OUTLAYS DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-)
+ ____________________________________________________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________
OCTOBER 135,293 311,656 176,363
NOVEMBER 133,563 253,850 120,287
DECEMBER 218,919 310,329 91,410
JANUARY 205,239 247,873 42,634
FEBRUARY 107,520 328,429 220,909
MARCH 153,358 218,745 65,387
APRIL 245,260 327,950 82,689
MAY 146,794 282,721 135,927
JUNE 251,048 319,470 68,422
JULY 155,546 320,588 165,043
AUGUST 163,998 254,524 90,526
SEPTEMBER 245,207 279,813 34,607
YEAR-TO-DATE 2,161,746 3,455,949 1,294,204
OCTOBER 145,951 286,384 140,432
NOVEMBER 148,970 299,364 150,394
DECEMBER 236,875 315,009 78,134
JANUARY 226,550 276,346 49,796
FEBRUARY 110,656 333,163 222,507
MARCH 150,894 339,047 188,153
APRIL 289,543 329,929 40,387
MAY 174,936 232,577 57,641
JUNE 249,658 292,738 43,080
YEAR-TO-DATE 1,734,033 2,704,557 970,524
U.S. Federal Government Budget Receipts and Outlays
Totals Include On-Budget and Off-Budget Amounts
From Coolidge To Obama, In Billions of Dollars
||Percent of G.D.P.
|William J. Clinton
|William J. Clinton
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Prior to fiscal year 1977 the Federal fiscal years began on July 1 and ended on June 30. For example, John F. Kennedy assumed office on January 20, 1961, but the FY 1961 budget was prepared by the Eisenhower Administration.
In calendar year 1976 the July-September period was a separate accounting period (known as the transition quarter or TQ) to bridge the period required to shift to the new fiscal year.
The Fiscal Year begins on October 1 of the previous year. For example, Fiscal Year 2012 begins on October 1, 2011. For this reason, budget years appear to not correspond with a president’s administration. For example, Barack H. Obama took office in January 2009, but the FY 2009 budget was prepared by the Bush Administration.
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“. . . accused men are always the most attractive.”
The Trial 1/5
The Trial 2/5
The Trial 3/5
The Trial 4/5
The Trial 5/5
“The Court wants nothing from you. It receives you when you come and it dismisses you when you go.”
“The whole art of Kafka consists in forcing the reader to reread.”
~Albert Camus, “Hope and the Absurd in the Works of Franz Kafka”
Background Articles and Video
The Trial (1962) Trailer
Anthony Perkins in CABIN FEVER ( The Trial )
Anthony Perkins and Romy Schneider LOVE SCENE ( The Trial )
Anthony Perkins VS Orson Welles : Attractive Guilt
The Most Fortunate and Unfortunate of Men
“…Kafka’s success may be measured by his presence in popular culture as well – almost every student knows the story of the guy who turns into a bug, and Kafka is one of the few writers to be truly a “household name.” Indeed, he has become the embarrassed father of the word “Kafkaesque.”
It’s a strange adjective, one supposed to express the feeling that something in our great mechanical city is simply not right. In the curvature of the letters we find a labyrinthine line of desks, where the sacred names of people are stamped, shoved into drawers, and forgotten. Somewhere, maybe behind the word or above it, is a distant law telling us that this isn’t the way things should be; but we, unfortunately, are stuck in the middle of it, perhaps between the a and the e, wondering where we’re to go and laughing at our situation – just to be able to laugh at something.
What makes matters even more hopeless is that “Kafkaesque” is so overused, it has become a cliché to talk about how the word “Kafkaesque” is a cliché. When, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Ark of the Covenant gets “filed” in a warehouse in Washington DC, we can make ourselves look smart by turning to each other and saying, “Hmmm . . . very Kafkaesque.” And when we find out that the men in black in The Matrix are machines dressed up like pale CIA desk-jockeys, we can dance in circles and sing, “It’s just like Kaaaaaafka….” When we get lost in a maze of tax forms, read about the latest dictator executing people who haven’t done a thing, or just wake up feeling guilty and paranoid, we can tap our copies of The Trial and mutter, “Yup, it’s all in here.” The concept has become so overdone that the word “Kafkaesque” means practically nothing . . . and isn’t that nothing so very Kafkaesque?
Whether we like it or not, Kafka has become an indelible part of our culture. His insecurities are what self-help books have been trying to brush beneath the carpet. His sense of humor shows us how comically mistaken we are. His spiritual quest is ours. The problems he faced in his life and illustrated in his work are the same that we must face today. In Kafka, we have the heart of our humanity beat down into a few slim volumes. It might be beneficial to find out what we’re all about. …”
“…Franz Kafka (German pronunciation: [ˈfʁants ˈkafka]; 3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) is one of the most influential fiction writers of the early 20th century; a novelist and writer of short stories whose works, only after his death, came to be regarded as one of the major achievements of 20th century literature.
He was born to middle class German-speaking Jewish parents in Prague, Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The house in which he was born, on the Old Town Square next to Prague’s Church of St Nicholas, today contains a permanent exhibition devoted to the author.
Kafka’s work—the novels The Trial (1925), The Castle (1926) and Amerika (1927), as well as short stories including The Metamorphosis (1915) and In the Penal Colony (1914)—is now collectively considered to be among the most original bodies of work in modern Western literature. Much of his work, unfinished at the time of his death, was published posthumously.
The writer’s name has led to the term “Kafkaesque” being used in the English language. …”
“…The Trial (German: Der Prozess) is a novel by Franz Kafka, first published in 1925. One of Kafka’s best-known works, it tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime never revealed either to him or the reader.
Like Kafka’s other novels, The Trial was never completed, although it does include a chapter which brings the story to an end. After his death in 1924, Kafka’s friend and literary executor Max Brod edited the text for publication.
The Trial was filmed and released in 1962 by director Orson Welles, starring Anthony Perkins (as Josef K.) and Romy Schneider. A more recent remake was released in 1993 and featured Kyle MacLachlan in the star role. In 1999, it was adapted for comics by Italian artist Guido Crepax. …”
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Law & Jihad with Andrew McCarthy
Rush Limbaugh: Interview with Andrew C McCarthy Part 1
Rush Limbaugh: Interview with Andrew C McCarthy Part 1
Michael Savage and Islamic Terrorism
Background Articles and Videos
Long before the devastation of September 11, 2001, the war on terror raged. The problem was that only on side, radical Islam, was fighting it as a war. For the United States, the frontline was the courtroom. So while a diffident American government prosecuted a relative handful of “defendants,” committed militants waged a campaign of jihad-holy war-boldly targeting America’s greatest city, and American society itself, for annihilation.
The Jihad continues to this day. But now, fifteen years after radical Islam first declared war by detonating a complex chemical bomb in the heart of the global financial system, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy provides a unique insider’s perspective on America’s first response.
McCarthy led the historic prosecution against the jihad organization that carried out the World Trade Center attack: the “battalions of Islam” inspired by Omar Abdel Rahman, the notorious “Blind Sheikh.” In Willful Blindness, he unfolds the troubled history of modern American counterterrorism. It is a portrait of stark contrast: a zealous international network of warriors dead certain, despite long odds, that history and Allah are on their side, pitted against the world’s lone superpower, unsure of what it knows, of what it fight, and of whether it has the will to win.It is the story of a nation and its government consciously avoiding Islam”s animating role in Islamic terror. From the start, it led top U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to underestimate, ignore, and even abet zealots determined to massacre Americans. Even today, after thousands of innocent lives have been lost, the United States averts its eyes from this harsh reality. …”
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“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
-U. S. Constitution, “Amendment II”
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
Do Americans Have A Right To Personal Self-Defense? pt.3 Senator Coburn Judge Sotomayor Hearing
Suzanna Gratia Hupp explains meaning of 2nd Amendment!
“…On October 16, 1991, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, yelled “This is what Bell County has done to me!”, then opened fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. During the shooting, he approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents. Hupp had actually brought a handgun to the Luby’s Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle due to the laws in force at the time, forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. According to her later testimony in favor of Missouri’s HB-1720 bill and in general, after she realized that her firearm was not in her purse, but “a hundred feet away in [her] car”, her father charged at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him, only to be gunned down; a short time later, her mother was also shot and killed. (Hupp later expressed regret for abiding by the law in question by leaving her firearm in her car, rather than keeping it on her person. One patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to escape. Hennard allowed a mother and her four-year-old child to leave. He reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being cornered and wounded by police.
Reacting to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law allowing Texas citizens with the required permit to carry concealed weapons. The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the Luby’s massacre and both of whose parents were shot and killed. Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush and became part of a broad movement to allow U.S. citizens to easily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. …”
Why We Have Our 2nd Amendment Rights In The USA.mov
cnn lou dobbs – sotomayor on the second amendment
Sonia Sotomayor’s Second Amendment Stance is Slippery and Evasive; No gun rights allowed?
Sessions: Concerns about Sotomayor and the Second Amendment
Senator Tom Coburn With AG Nominee Holder on 2nd Amendment
Eric Holder Attacking The Second Amendment To Help Mexico?
Obama Pushes Anti-Gun Treaty
I Love Lucy- Wicked City Women
Background Articles and Videos
Sotomajor on Whether Citizens Have A Right to Self Defense- “I don’t know”
By Brian Darling
“…Coburn asked if the right to gun ownership was fundamental and Sotomayor answered with a dodge. Sotomayor redefined the term fundamental right to mean, “but it doesn’t have the same meaning that common people understand that word to mean. To most people, the word by its dictionary term is critically important, central, fundamental. It’s sort of a rock basis. These meanings are not how the law uses that term when it comes to what the states can do or not do.”
Sotomayor redefined “fundamental” to mean “that Amendment (the 2nd Amendment) of the Constitution incorporated against the states.” Therefore, one does not have a fundamental right to self defense with a firearm, according to Sotomayor, because the Supreme Court has yet to incorporate that explicit recognition in the Constitution of a natural right of all men and women. Agreed, that one could argue that the Sotomayor definition of “fundamental” is arguable, yet it was non responsive to Senator Coburn’s direct question. A wise nominee can contort and justify prior decisions, yet why can’t this nominee say if she believes that the 2nd Amendment is arguably a fundamental right for all Americans. Most Americans believe that their right to self defense and the right to own a firearm is fundamental, as did the Supreme Court in the landmark Heller case which held that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right.
questions and answers tell the story better than I can. Please read and draw your own conclusions:
Coburn: Let me follow up with one other question. As a citizen oThe actual f this country, do you believe innately in my ability to have self-defense of myself — personal self-defense? Do I have a right to personal self- defense?
Sotomayor: I’m trying to think if I remember a case where the Supreme Court has addressed that particular question. Is there a Constitutional right to self-defense? And I can’t think of one. I could be wrong, but I can’t think of one.
Generally, as I understand, most criminal law statutes are passed by states. And I’m also trying to think if there’s any federal law that includes a self-defense provision or not. I just can’t.
What I was attempting to explain is that the issue of self- defense is usually defined in criminal statutes by the state’s laws. And I would think, although I haven’t studied the — all of the state’s laws, I’m intimately familiar with New York.
Coburn: But do you have an opinion, or can you give me your opinion, of whether or not in this country I personally, as an individual citizen, have a right to self-defense?
Sotomayor: I — as I said, I don’t know. …”
Do Americans Have A Right To Personal Self-Defense? pt.1 Senator Coburn Judge Sotomayor Hearing
Do Americans Have A Right To Personal Self-Defense? pt.2 Senator Coburn Judge Sotomayor Hearing
Do Americans Have A Right To Personal Self-Defense? pt.3 Senator Coburn Judge Sotomayor Hearing
SESSIONS: Puerto Rican Legal Defense Education Fund
Every gunshot from the Deathwish movies (Part 1/2)
Every gunshot from the Deathwish movies (Part 2/2)
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- SEC Chairman Cox
McCain says fire SEC chair
Bush Announces Bailing Out Wall Street
President George W. Bush stands with Rep. Christopher Cox, his nominee for Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thursday, June 2, 2005, in the Oval Office. Said the President of the Congressman,
“The whole history of the development of popular institutions is a history of continuous struggle to prevent particular groups from abusing the governmental apparatus for the benefit of the collective interest of these groups.”
~Friedrick A. von Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Volume 1, p.6.
Senator McCain owes an apology to SEC Chairman Chris Cox for saying he would fire him because he betrayed his trust to the American people.
Trying to scapegoat Chris Cox as the person responsible for the collapse of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the financial problems related to mortage securities is reprehensible.
It is the Congress that has failed the American people.
First, Congress encouraged highly questionable mortage home loans to people that would not normally qualify.
Second, Congress compounded the problem by not adequately exercising oversight of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the agency that regulated them.
Senator McCain knows who is responsible and so do we–it is the elected representatives and Senators in Congress.
As to the financial firms that now are being bailout, let them all fail.
American taxpayers should not bailout those firms.
Heads, the American elites win if the investments are profitable and the executives get bonuses and politicians receive campaign contributions.
Tails, the American people lose if the firms are bailedout and the investment losses are “socialized” by increasing the national debt of the United States.
This is exactly the problem and it starts in Congress and crashed on Wall Street and the American people pick up the bill.
These failing firms leveraged themselves to the hilt and they must pay the price for their recklessness and lack of prudence.
Liquidate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an orderly manner.
The government should not be in this business at all.
Bad loans are and were encouraged by Congress for both home mortages as well as college student loans.
Stop pandering to crowd and do your homework Senator.
Better yet call for criminal investigations of the politicians of both political parties that encouraged this nonsense and got paid off in campaign contributions.
Then go after the executives in the financical services firms including hedge funds that benefited from naked short selling.
Then run some ads on the issue.
Great ads Senator! Congratulations, you are now on target–fire away!
Enough Is Enough
Better yet, announce that Mitt Romney will be your Treasury Secretary and let him loose on this issue.
Regulations are not a substitute for responsible and accountable management.
Compassionate Conservatism, also known as Socialism, killed Fiscal Conservatism.
Fiscal Conservatism RIP September 19, 2008
The American people get Rick Rolled.
Time for a Second American Revolution!
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
~William Shakespeare, King Henry the Sixth, Part II, (Act IV, Scene II)
“Although I profoundly believe in the basic principles of democracy as the only effective method which we have yet discovered of making peaceful change possible, and am therefore much alarmed by the evident growing disillusionment about it as a desirable method of government, much assisted by the increasing abuse of the word to indicate supposed aims of government-I am becoming more and more convinced that we are moving towards an impasse from which political leaders will offer to extricate us by desperate means.”
~Friedrich A. von Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty
Background Articles and Videos
“”The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the President and has betrayed the public’s trust. If I were President today, I would fire him.”
Wow. “Betrayed the public’s trust.” Was Mr. Cox dishonest? No. He merely changed some minor rules, and didn’t change others, on short-selling. String him up! Mr. McCain clearly wants to distance himself from the Bush Administration. But this assault on Mr. Cox is both false and deeply unfair. It’s also un-Presidential.
Take “naked” shorting, in which an investor sells a stock short — betting that it will fall in price — without first borrowing the shares he is selling from an investor who owns them. The SEC has never condoned the practice, and since 2005 it has clamped down on short selling in any stock that shows evidence of naked shorting. The SEC further tightened its rules against naked shorting just hours before Mr. McCain excoriated Mr. Cox for doing nothing.
The rules announced Wednesday will increase penalties and close loopholes that exempted broker-dealers from the rules against naked shorting. They also make it clear that deliberately selling short a stock whose shares cannot be borrowed is fraud under the Securities Exchange Act. That’s all to the good, we suppose; fraud is fraud. But regular short selling is not fraud. It adds valuable information to the market about what investors believe to be the price direction of a stock. Demonizing short-sellers as a band of criminals, or barring short-selling outright in financial stocks, as regulators in the U.K. did Thursday, removes information from the market.
Then there’s Mr. McCain’s tirade against the “uptick rule,” a Depression-era chestnut that investors could only short stock after a rise in that stock’s price. The SEC staff studied the effect of the uptick rule on prices for years, in a controlled experiment involving thousands of stocks. It found the rule had no effect. Other studies, including those that examined the uptick rule’s effect on stocks disclosing bad news, also found that it “protected” no one. The SEC’s permanent staff has long supported repeal and the SEC’s commissioners voted to do so unanimously in June 2007. …”
“…In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution. He’ll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000.”
The Rescue Mission
By the Editors
“…With his call for the creation of such an agency, McCain is finally on the right track. His harangues against boardroom greed and vague calls for more regulation were not adequarte for the moment. We were dismayed to hear him attack short-sellers in his speech Thursday. Short-sellers were among the first to blow the whistle on firms that gambled recklessly on home prices.
For allegedly failing to crack down on short-sellers, McCain also called on Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Chris Cox to resign. We will always admire Cox for his achievements in Congress. But as SEC chairman, he granted exemptions that allowed the big five investment banks to play fast and loose with their capital requirements. As a result, three of those five banks no longer exist. If they and they alone had to deal with the consequences, this wouldn’t be a problem. But these institutions grew too big to fail, and now taxpayers are on the hook for $29 billion worth of Bear Stearns’s bad assets. McCain is right to demand that the chief regulator during a financial crisis be held accountable, even though he is wrong about the reasons why.
Compared to McCain, Obama’s speeches on the financial crisis have offered little substance. McCain seized the opportunity Thursday to point out that Obama’s planned tax hikes would come at the worst possible time for the fragile U.S. economy. So far, that economy has weathered the storm admirably thanks to relatively low tax rates. McCain’s tax plan is obviously more pro-growth than Obama’s, but it needs more middle-class relief to have real mainstream appeal.
A mortgage trust of the sort McCain has proposed looks increasingly like the least bad option for taxpayers. Congress should act on this idea before it adjourns for fall — before taxpayers become the unwitting owners of any more troubled financial firms. …”
SEC chairman rebuke distances McCain from Bush
“…”Chris Cox is the most capable person I’ve ever known,” James C. Miller III, director of the Office of Management and Budget in the second Reagan White House, told The Washington Times. “I wish Senator McCain would focus on the getting President Bush’s other appointees to the SEC confirmed by the Senate.”
“…Mr. Miller said Mr. Cox had been forced to operate without other Senate-confirmed members of his commission for some time. “Chris heads a commission, not a dictatorship, and for a time was without a quorum for a long time,” he said.
One Republican official managed to defend Mr. McCain and Mr. Cox.
“It shows McCain is not afraid to take on fellow Republicans at any time,” said Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee member and former California Republican Party chairman. “On the other hand, I don’t see how Chris Cox is responsible. …”
Congress Lies Low To Avoid Bailout Blame
BY TERRY JONES
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
“…Until now, Congress has been surprisingly passive. As Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid put it, “no one knows what to do” right now.
Funny, since it was a Democrat-led Congress that helped cause the problems in the first place.
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently barked “no” at reporters for daring to ask if Democrats deserved any blame for the meltdown, you saw denial in action.
Pelosi and her followers would have you believe this all happened because of President Bush and his loyal Senate lapdog, John McCain. Or that big, bad predatory Wall Street banks deserve all the blame.
“The American people are not protected from the risk-taking and the greed of these financial institutions,” Pelosi said recently, as she vowed congressional hearings.
Only one problem: It’s untrue.
Yes, banks did overleverage and take risks they shouldn’t have.
But the fact is, President Bush in 2003 tried desperately to stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from metastasizing into the problem they have since become.
Here’s the lead of a New York Times story on Sept. 11, 2003: “The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.”
Bush tried to act. Who stopped him? Congress, especially Democrats with their deep financial and patronage ties to the two government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie and Freddie. …”
“…In the name of diversity, banks began making huge numbers of loans that they previously would not have. They opened branches in poor areas to lift their CRA ratings.
Meanwhile, Congress gave Fannie and Freddie the go-ahead to finance it all by buying loans from banks, then repackaging and securitizing them for resale on the open market.
That’s how the contagion began.
With those changes, the subprime market took off. From a mere $35 billion in loans in 1994, it soared to $1 trillion by 2008.
Wall Street eagerly sold the new mortgage-backed securities. Not only were they pooled investments, mixing good and bad, but they were backed with the implicit guarantee of government.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac grew to become monsters, accounting for nearly half of all U.S. mortgage loans. At the time of their bailouts this month, they held $5.4 trillion in loans on their books. About $1.4 trillion of those were subprime.
As they grew, Fannie and Freddie grew heavily involved in “community development,” giving money to local housing rights groups and “empowering” the groups, such as ACORN, for whom Barack Obama once worked in Chicago.
Warning signals were everywhere. Yet at every turn, Democrats in Congress halted attempts to stop the madness. It happened in 1992, again in 2000, in 2003 and in 2005. It may happen this year, too.
Since 1989, Fannie and Freddie have spent an estimated $140 million on lobbying Washington. They contributed millions to politicians, mostly Democrats, including Senator Chris Dodd (No. 1 recipient) and Barack Obama (No. 3 recipient, despite only three years in office).
The Clinton White House used Fannie and Freddie as a patronage job bank. Former executives and board members read like a who’s who of the Clinton-era Democratic Party, including Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelick, Jim Johnson and current Rep. Rahm Emanuel.
Collectively, they and others made well more than $100 million from Fannie and Freddie, whose books were cooked Enron-style during the late 1990s and early 2000s to ensure executives got their massive bonuses.
They got the bonuses. You get the bill.”
Analysis: Washington’s Trillion Dollar Wall Street Bailout
“…Is a bailout necessary?
Look, the financial system probably couldn’t take another week like the one we just went through. Stocks plunging, credit markets freezing. As economist Robert Brusca puts it, “The proposed US government rescue plan comes at the end of a week of almost unprecedented turmoil on world financial markets amid a crisis of confidence in banks.”
The government had to get ahead of the curve and quit reacting on a case-by-case basis. If you look at banking crises in Japan and Sweden, for instance, all roads eventually led to a government bailout with taxpayer money at risk. The rule in these cases seems to be the sooner, the better. If you want more evidence, markets around the world and here in the United States are soaring on this news. Strategist Richard Bernstein of Merrill Lynch, in a research note, says the bailout plan is “an opportunity for the government to solve the on-going problems through one system-wide solution.” …”
“…As long as we have markets and humans there will be bubbles, whether in stocks, homes, Beanie Babies, tulips, or whatever. But as far as the housing/credit bubbles go, I think it could have been avoided. Alan Greenspan cut rates too low and left them there for too long, creating an extreme financial situation that Wall Street tried to profit from. Uncle Sam also fed into that market distortion by making greater homeownership a national goal, using both tax policy and the regulation like the Community Reinvestment Act to, essentially, push capital into homes. And were regulators as tough as they could have been? Obviously not. …”
The Mother of All Bailouts = The Death of Fiscal Conservatism
“…Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson just wrapped up his press conference announcing the Mother of All Bailouts. He said a “bold” approach was needed to achieve “stability” in the market.
Let me translate that.
“Bold” = Massively massive, taxpayer-funded rescue.
“Stability” = Privatizing profits and socializing losses on a scale we have never seen before in our lifetimes.
I have had it with Pollyanna conservatives who continue to parrot the “fundamentals of the market are great!” line.
The fundamentals of the market suck. The fundamentals of capitalism have been sabotaged.
Yes, yes, crony Democrats are to blame for much of how we got here. You don’t need to recite all the talking points back to me. I’ve been writing about the Fannie/Freddie debacle for years.
But it is September 19, 2008. And this is a Republican White House presiding over the Mother of All Bailouts. Every step along the way since stimuluspalooza began last summer, we’ve heard that every bailout step was just a one-off. Each step was supposed to calm the markets. Each new government intervention and allocation of taxpayer dollars was supposed to achieve “stability.” Each new package of goodies rewarding irresponsible behavior and bad financial decisions was supposed to prevent new ones. …”
“…John McCain has just demonstrated his vulnerability as a presidential candidate. Speaking from prepared remarks at an Iowa rally today, he said that he would fire Chris Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This outburst demonstrates McCain’s ignorance, his impetuousness and his vindictive streak. Not bad for one remark.
McCain blames Cox for creating open season for “short sellers,” speculators who bet that a stock may go down. It’s true that short sellers helped to sink financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, and that they are now attacking the stock prices of the two remaining big investment banks, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. It is also true that last year Cox made short selling easier. But McCain’s threat to fire the SEC chairman is still outrageous.
The most basic reason is that a presidential candidate should not go about publicly pressuring the chairman of a regulatory agency. Government agencies are supposed to be professional and technocratic. They are not supposed to be political footballs. The more politicians brow-beat agency bosses, the less their technocratic decisions will be respected. McCain is damaging the machinery of government, dragging it into the mire of partisan discord. This is not consistent with his image as a good-government crusader.
Next, McCain’s comment is outrageous because his view of short sellers is crass. Betting that a stock will go down is just as legitimate a way to make money as betting that it will go up. Short sellers help to deflate bubbles before they get too much air in them. They dig into the books of companies and frequently are the first to blow the whistle on fraud. In normal times, at least, short sellers help markets to price stocks as they should be priced, thereby promoting the allocation of scarce capital to the firms that use it best. When Cox abolished a roadblock in the way of short sellers last year, he was doing the right thing.
John McCain singles out a fellow Republican for blame in Wall Street meltdown
“…McCain did note that the chairman is a presidential appointee, though he avoided mentioning the particular president who put in office the fellow he so disdains. But other omissions were more telling.
Aside from not naming the chairman — Chris Cox (above) — McCain neglected to tell his cheering audience that this benighted public servant brought a sterling, and solidly Republican, resume to his job when he assumed it in August 2005. Cox was a one-time legal aide in Ronald Reagan’s White House who, staring in 1989, represented an affluent House district in California for many years (its core was Newport Beach). In Congress, he was a major player in formulating GOP policy, including a generally hands-off regulatory approach to business that McCain also advocated.
Here’s more on Cox’s background: After whisking through the University of Southern California in three years, he earned both a master’s in business administration and a law degree from Harvard. While still in the House, the Almanac of American Politics wrote that his “intellect and range of interests are impressive.”
Cox was confirmed for the SEC post on a voice vote — with nary an objection heard — by the Senate. The chamber’s members included McCain and Barack Obama (though we do not know whether either were on the floor at this moment).
No reaction yet from Cox to McCain’s attack on him. But boy, wouldn’t we love to know who he ends up voting for later this year (maybe he’ll pass on the presidential part of his ballot). …”
Six in 10 Oppose Wall Street Bailouts
But majority of Americans support the government helping people stay in their homes
“…A new Gallup Poll, conducted March 24-27, shows that 6 in 10 Americans oppose the federal government taking steps to help prevent major Wall Street investment companies from failing.
Never Sell America Short
We’ve been through worse, and we can fix what ails us now.
By Larry Kudlow
“…A gathering consensus also seems to be forming around a new version of the Resolution Trust Corporation, which effectively disposed of bad savings-and-loan assets in the early 1990s. A new RTC could purchase underwater assets that proliferate through the financial system and are clogging the credit and loan arteries of our banks.
We clearly are in an emergency moment. But the government should opt for smart regulatory action rather than broad-based interference that could stifle the free economy. On Thursday afternoon, as rumors spread that Paulson was talking President Bush into a new RTC, the stock market soared 400 points. That’s what I call an endorsement.
The pessimists are now talking about the end of capitalism or a permanent decline of America. I don’t believe that for one moment. Specific regulatory reforms can get us out of this fix. And most of all, policymakers must maintain the low-tax, low-inflation, open-trade formula that has propelled this nation’s economy and produced so much prosperity for so long.
I say, never sell America short.”
Exposing Naked Short Sellers; Stopping Manipulative Traders
Senator Tester questioning Cox
Does Short-selling Need the SEC’s Oversight?
Ackman on Short Selling
SEC Chairman Cox on Naked Short Selling Anti-Fraud Rule
Naked Short Selling LEGAL from 2005 till this week?! P1
Naked Short Selling LEGAL from 2005 till this week?! P2
SEC Extends Short Selling Limits
Naked Short-Selling Ban Ends Tonight; Abusive Trading?
SEC Revs Up Short-Sale Crackdown – March 6
Jeremy Siegel on Bear Stearns, the Rate Cuts and Inflation
Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage Crisis.
Deconstructing the Subprime Crisis
Joseph Gyourko on Fannie, Freddie, and the Housing Bust
Franklin Allen on Past Crises
Franklin Allen on Lessons from the Subprime Crisis
Susan Wachter on Securitizations and Deregulation
Wall Street’s Day of Reckoning: The Fannie & Freddie Bailout
Housing Bailout For Deadbeats Gamblers Liars Thieves
Part 1 – Exposing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Origins
New York Investing meetup organizer Daryl Montgomery discusses the origins of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the first episode of a multi-part series. The New York Investing meetup is an organization of 1800 independent traders and investors that provides unbiased stock market education and analysis. We also have a blog,”The Helicopter Economics Investing Guide” which can be found at: http://nyinvestingmeetup.blogspot.com
Part 2 – Exposing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Origins
Part 3 – Exposing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Origins
Part 4 – Exposing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Origins
Part 5 – Exposing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Origins
Patrick Byrne and Don Harrold – Part One
Patrick Byrne and Don Harrold – Part Two
Patrick Byrne on Naked Short Selling
Bud Burrell on FSN about short selling, hedgefunds …P1
Bud Burrell on FSN about short selling, hedgefunds …P2
Bud Burrell on FSN about short selling, hedgefunds …P3
Bud Burrell on FSN about short selling, hedgefunds …P4
Bud Burrell on FSN about short selling, hedgefunds …P5
Bud Burrell on FSN about short selling, hedgefunds …P6
Rush On Franklin Raines
Hey Barack, Who’s Franklin Raines
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (commonly known as the SEC) is an independent agency of the United States government having primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry/stock market. The SEC was created by section 4 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (now codified as 15 U.S.C. § 78d and commonly referred to as the 1934 Act). In addition to the 1934 Act that created it, the SEC enforces the Securities Act of 1933, the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and other statutes.
The SEC is composed of five commissioners, of which no more than three can be from a single political party. Currently the SEC commissioners are; chairman Christopher Cox (R), Kathleen L. Casey (R), Troy A. Paredes (R), Luis A. Aguilar (D) and Elisse B. Walter (D).[1
SEC Biography: Chairman Christopher Cox
“Christopher Cox is the 28th Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was appointed by President Bush on June 2, 2005, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on July 29, 2005. He was sworn in on August 3, 2005.
During his tenure at the SEC, Chairman Cox has made vigorous enforcement of the securities laws the agency’s top priority, bringing ground breaking cases against a variety of market abuses including hedge fund insider trading, stock options backdating, fraud aimed at senior citizens, municipal securities fraud, and securities scams on the Internet. He has assumed leadership of the international effort to more closely integrate U.S. and overseas regulation in an era of global capital markets and international securities exchanges. He has also championed transforming the SEC’s system of mandated disclosure from a static, form-based approach to one that taps the power of interactive data to give investors qualitatively better information about companies, mutual funds, and investments of all kinds. In addition, as part of an overall focus on the needs of individual investors, Chairman Cox has reinvigorated the agency’s initiative to provide important investor information in plain English.
For 10 of his 17 years in Congress, Chairman Cox served in the Majority Leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was Chairman of the House Policy Committee; Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security; Chairman of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security; Chairman of the Select Committee on Homeland Security (the predecessor to the permanent House Committee); Chairman of the Task Force on Capital Markets; and Chairman of the Task Force on Budget Process Reform.
In addition, he served in a leadership capacity as a senior Member of every committee with jurisdiction over investor protection and U.S. capital markets, including the House Energy and Commerce Committee (as Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee); the Financial Services Committee; the Government Reform Committee (as Vice Chairman of the full Committee); the Joint Economic Committee; and the Budget Committee.
Among the significant laws he authored were the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which protects investors from fraudulent lawsuits, and the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which protects Internet users from multiple and discriminatory taxation. His legislative efforts to eliminate the double tax on shareholder dividends — the subject of a thesis he authored at Harvard University in 1977 — led to the enactment in May 2003 of legislation that cut the double tax by more than half.
‘Serious Times’ For Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac’s New Regulator
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
“…”These are very serious times for the mortgage market,” James B. Lockhart III, director of the nascent Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, said in an interview after briefing more than 400 employees at a meeting in the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington. “We [will] need more people, not less.”
President Bush created FHFA this week when he signed a sweeping housing rescue bill into law. The agency merges three existing federal entities into a new, tougher regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency will also oversee the nation’s 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, which, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were chartered by Congress to improve the nation’s housing capacity.
FHFA combines the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OHFEO), which has been overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with the Federal Housing Finance Board, which regulates the home loan banks and a small unit of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Authority over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been greatly expanded. Lockhart, the director of OHFEO, became the head of FHFA when the president signed the housing bill Tuesday morning. Bush can now nominate a new director of FHFA and ask the Senate to confirm him or her to a five-year term. But congressional observers don’t expect any change at the top until a new president takes office next year.
The existing employees of the three agencies will be formally transferred to the FHFA no later than July 30, 2009. But Lockhart said that is likely to happen much sooner, perhaps this fall. …”
Federal Housing Finance Agency
“…The Federal Housing Finance Agency is an independent federal agency created as the successor regulatory agency resulting from the statutory merger of the Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB) and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), absorbing the powers and regulatory authority of both entities, with expanded legal and regulatory authority, including the ability to place government sponsored enterprises into receivership or conservatorship.
The enabling law establishing the FHFA is the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008, which is Division A of the larger Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Public Law 110-289, signed on July 30, 2008 by President George W. Bush. One year after the law was signed, the OFHEO and the FHFB shall go out of existence. All existing regulations, orders and decisions of OFHEO and the Finance Board remain in effect until modified or superseded. James B. Lockhart III, the director of OFHEO, is the director of the new FHFA.
On the day of the law’s signing, James Lockhart stated: …”
Conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
“…On September 7, 2008, FHFA director Lockhart announced he had put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the conservatorship of the FHFA. The action is “one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades”. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson , appearing at the same press conference, stated that placing the two GSEs into conservatorship was a decision he fully supported, and said that he advised “that conservatorship was the only form in which I would commit taxpayer money to the GSEs.” He further said that “I attribute the need for today’s action primarily to the inherent conflict and flawed business model embedded in the GSE structure, and to the ongoing housing correction.”.
In the announcement, Mr. Lockhart indicated the following items in the plan of action for the conservatorship:
- On September 8, 2008, the first day of the conservatorship, business will be conducted normally, with stronger backing for the holders of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), senior debt and subordinated debt.
- The Enterprises will be allowed to grow their guarantee MBS books without limits and continue to purchase replacement securities for their portfolios, about $20 billion per month, without capital constraints.
- As the conservator, the FHFA will assume the power of the Board and management.
- The present CEOs have been dismissed, but will stay on to help with the transition.
- Appointed as CEOs are Herb Allison, for Fannie Mae and David M. Moffett for Freddie Mac. Allison is former Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch and for the last eight years chairman of TIAA-CREF. Moffett is the former Vice Chairman and CFO of US Bancorp. Their compensation will be significantly lower than the outgoing CEOs. They will be joined by equally strong non-executive chairmen.
- Other management action will be very limited. The new CEOs agreed it is important to work with the current management teams and employees to encourage them to stay and to continue to make important improvements to the Enterprises.
- To conserve over $2 billion annually in capital the common stock and preferred stock dividends will be eliminated, but the common and all preferred stocks will continue to remain outstanding. Subordinated debt interest and principal payments will continue to be made.
- All political activities, including all lobbying, will be halted immediately. Charitable activities will be reviewed.
- There will be financing and investing relationship with the U.S. Treasury via three different financing facilities, to provide critically needed support to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the liquidity of the mortgage market. One the three facilities is a secured liquidity facility which will be not only for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and also for the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks that FHFA also regulates. …”
Naked short selling
“Naked short selling, or naked shorting, is the practice of selling a stock short without first borrowing the shares or ensuring that the shares can be borrowed as is done in a conventional short sale. When the seller does not then obtain the shares within the required time frame, the result is known as a “fail to deliver.”
In the United States, naked short selling is covered by various SEC regulations. In 2005, “Regulation SHO” was enacted to curb the practice, requiring that broker-dealers have grounds to believe that shares will be available for a given stock transaction, and requiring that delivery take place within a limited time period. As part of its response to the crisis in the North American markets in 2008, the SEC issued a temporary order restricting fails to deliver in the shares of 19 financial firms deemed systemically important. Effective September 18, 2008, following the the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by Lehman Brothers, the SEC made permanent and expanded the rules to remove exceptions and to cover all companies.
Some commentators have contended that despite existing regulations, naked shorting is widespread and that the SEC regulations are poorly enforced, although the SEC has denied these claims. However, the SEC and others have also defended the practice in limited form as beneficial for market liquidity. Its critics have contended that the practice is susceptible to abuse, can be damaging to targeted companies struggling to raise capital, and has led to numerous bankruptcies.
“…Extent of naked shorting
Regulators downplay the extent of naked shorting in the US. At a North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) conference on naked short selling in November 2005, an official of the New York Stock Exchange stated that NYSE had found no evidence of widespread naked short selling, and alleged “fear mongering that there’s this rampant naked shorting that’s gone unregulated.” Of all those that do not, 85% are resolved within 10 business days and 90% within 20.
Cameron Funkhouser, NASD senior vice president of market regulations, noted that although companies have alleged stock manipulation through the Berlin stock exchange, the NASD has seen not one instance of naked short selling [on the Berlin stock exchange]”. An official of the SEC said that “While there may be instances of abusive short selling, 99% of all trades in dollar value settle on time without incident.”
The SEC’s short selling FAQ also cites common misconceptions about the practice, such as the belief that naked shorting causes “phantom” shares to enter the market, as one source of confusion over the practice’s market effect. Naked short selling, the SEC said, would not increase a company’s shares outstanding shares nor result in “counterfeit shares.” Short seller David Rocker contended that failure to deliver securities “can be done for manipulative purposes to create the impression that the stock is a tight borrow.” In such a situation, the failure to deliver would be on the part of “longs,” not “shorts.”
Statistics on failures to deliver securities are sometimes used as evidence of naked short selling in specific stocks. However, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated in January 2008 that “fails-to-deliver can occur for a number of reasons on both long and short sales. Therefore, fails-to-deliver are not necessarily the result of short selling, and are not evidence of abusive short selling or ‘naked’ short selling.”
However, Robert J. Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs, has claimed that naked short selling has cost investors $100 billion and driven 1,000 companies into the ground. Ralph Lambiase, head of the Connecticut Securities Agency and the NASAA, declared his disappointment at how the industry was handling the issue as a whole.
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