Anti-Obama backlash: right-wingers broach “secession”

On the heels of talk about forming an an anti-Obama “underground,” the right-wing talk radio set is now broaching actual secession from the union. The liberal blog Think Progress Nov. 25 posted an audio link from a recent broadcast by shock-jock Glenn Beck. Here’s the offending quote:

So the question is, do states have the right to secede anymore? Because it was a compact. It’s not perpetual. In fact, in the Declaration of Independence it says it is our right, it is our responsibility to get away from a government who doesn’t listen to us any more.

Do you even have a right to do that as a state any more? Do you have the right to say, “You know what, you guys are going down a path that I don’t even agree with”? Is that even possible?

“Anymore”? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say states have the rights to secede, and the question was settled rather definitively with the Civil War. As for the Declaration of Independence, the invocation is rather an irony. Many of the grievances enumerated there against King George III apply equally to George Bush. Read for yourself:

The History of the present King [George] is a history of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States… He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance [Homeland Security Department, PATRIOT Act]… He has affected to render the Military independent of, and superior to the Civil Power. [Guantánamo tribunals] He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws [violations of habeas corpus, Fourth Amendment (electronic snooping), separation of powers (Iraq security pact)]; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended legislation: For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us [Northern Command, use of the military for domestic policing]; For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit [Military Commissions Act]… For depriving us in many cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury [declaring citizens “enemy combatants”]… For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences [“extraordinary rendition”]… He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People [Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.]… In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.

Yet Beck didn’t talk about secession under President Bush, or utter a peep of protest against any of these abuses. In fact, he appealed for national unity against terrorism (and the Islamic world generally) in what he called “World War III.” But now that a Black man is going to be president—before he even takes office, Beck is preparing a new assault on Fort Sumter…

See our last posts on the emerging Obama era, the radical right and the politics of secession.

  1. Threats against Obama soar
    Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher has been keeping tabs, and reports his findings on Huffington Post Nov. 15:

    Racial Incidents and Threats Against Obama Soar: Here Is a Chronicle
    Since election day, the number of threats against the president-elect, and racial or violent incidents directed at his supporters, have soared. The Secret Service is concerned, calling it the highest number of threats against a President-elect in memory, but the national media until this weekend have largely ignored the disturbing pattern…

    Some claim that, given the size of this great country of ours, the incidents don’t amount to much or are merely anecdotal. I would argue: The ones we know about may represent only the tip of the iceberg — the ones that make it into the local press. And, yes, they may die down as the country gets used to the idea of a President Obama. On the other hand: They could soar again as that reality nears.

    So let me just briefly list the full range of episodes, which doesn’t even include several cross burnings on front lawns. These aren’t necessarily the worst but they do capture the national flavor/fever. Note that about 2 out of 3 took place in states that Obama won.

    * In a Maine convenience store, an Associated Press reporter saw a sign inviting customers to join a betting pool on when Obama might fall victim to an assassin. The sign solicited $1 entries into “The Osama Obama Shotgun Pool,” saying the money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Obama was attacked. “Let’s hope we have a winner.”

    * In Idaho, the Secret Service is investigating a “public hanging” sign erected by a man upset with the election outcome, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported Thursday. A handmade sign posted on a tree reads “FREE PUBLIC HANGING” written in large letters beneath a noose fashioned from nylon rope. The most prominent name on the sign is “OBAMA,” according to the Bee. “That’s a political statement. They can call it whatever they want, a threat or whatever,” the creator of the sign, Ken Germana, told the Bee.

    * A popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day. The site,, was temporarily off-line on Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming amount of activity it received. One poster, identified as Dalderian Germanicus, of North Las Vegas, said, “I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how ‘messiahs’ come to rest.”

    * From the Orange County (Ca.) Register: “Two gang members pleaded not guilty Thursday to hate crime and attempted robbery charges in connection with the beating of a black man who was trying to buy cigarettes at a Fullerton liquor store.” The two men shouted racial and anti-Obama epithets in the attack.

    * From today’s New York Times: “Two white Staten Island men face hate crimes charges after they were arrested on Friday in the beating of a black teenager on the night that Barack Obama was elected president, the police said on Saturday. The teenager, Alie Kamara, 17, was walking home on Pine Place in the Staten Island neighborhood of Stapleton when several men hit him on the head with a baseball bat and yelled ‘Obama,’ said Aliya Latif, the civil rights director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who was in contact with Alie’s family since the attack and spoke to his mother on Saturday after the arrests were announced.”

    * In Mississippi alone, the American Civil Liberties Union has received more than 10 calls since the staff first reported anti-Obama incidents last Friday, according to the Jackson (Miss.) Free Press.

    * In Midland, Mich., a man dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia walked around toting a handgun and waving an American flag. Initially denying it, the man eventually admitted to police that the display was a reaction to the Obama victory. “[The man] had a concealed weapon permit and was walking up and down the sidewalk in front of a vehicle dealership while some motorists shouted obscenities at him and others shouted accolades,” police told The Saginaw News.

    * Parents in Rexburg, Idaho, contacted school officials this week after they learned that 2nd and 3rd graders on a school bus were chanting, “Assasssinate Obama!”

    * At the University of Texas in Austin, a racist post on Facebook has cost one student his place on the university football team, according to the Houston Chronicle. Buck Burnette, a sophomore offensive lineman for the fourth-ranked Texas Longhorns, was dismissed from the team on Nov. 5 after posting a racist remark about President-elect Obama as his “status” on the social networking Web site. Burnette posted: “All the hunters gather up, we have a [slur] in the White House,” the Chronicle reported.

    * AP reports: “While the world watched a Grant Park celebration heralding the election of the first black U.S. president, some white Chicago police officers committed hate crimes against black residents cheering Barack Obama’s victory elsewhere in the city, attorneys alleged Thursday.” Lawsuits have been filed.

    * At Appalachian State University, the administration has expressed disappointment at the numerous times black students have expressed being harassed in residence halls since the election. The Appalachian, a student newspaper serving the university, also reported conversations suggesting Obama may not be alive in 2009 and a t-shirt seen around campus that reads “Obama ’08, Biden ’09.”

    * Mentioned in the same article, racist comments were discovered at North Carolina State University last week. Spray-painted in university’s free expression tunnel after the election were the phrases, “Kill that n…” and “Shoot Obama,” the Appalachian reported. The NAACP has called for the expulsion of the four students accused of the graffitti, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

    * The Associated Press revealed on Wednesday, “Police on eastern Long Island are investigating reports that more than a dozen cars were spray painted with racist graffiti, reportedly including a message targeting President-elect Barack Obama. The graffiti included racist slurs and sexually graphic references. At least one resident in the quiet Mastic neighborhood told Newsday her son’s car was scribbled with a message threatening to kill Obama.”

    * Employees at Hampel’s Key and Lockshop in Traverse City, Michigan, flew an American flag upside down last Wednesday protesting of the new president-elect, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported. One worker used a racial slur during an interview with the Record-Eagle: “(The inverted flag is) an international signal for distress and we feel our country is in distress because the n—– got in,” said Hampel’s employee Rod Nyland, who later apologized for the comment, according to the Record-Eagle.

    * Authorities in Temecula, Calif., found spray-painted graffiti on a city sidewalk containing a swastika and anti-Obama slogan. And from the Los Angeles Times: “Vandals spray-painted swastikas and racial slurs on a house and several cars in Torrance that displayed campaign signs or bumper stickers for President-elect Barack Obama, authorities said Tuesday. The incidents occurred Saturday night in the Hollywood Riviera section of the city, said Sgt. Bernard Anderson. Four separate incidents were reported the next day, he said. No arrests have been made.”

    * And from Maine: “More than 75 people rallied Sunday against an incident last week in which black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island the day after Barack Obama won the presidential election,” according to the Bangor Daily News.

  2. Secession
    Larry Kilgore won 225,000 votes running as a Texas Secession candiate while Bush was in office. Mr. Kilgore is running for Texas Governor 2010. As you stated in your post the constitution is silent on the issue of secession. Therefore the tenth ammendment whould allow a state to secede. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
    “Texans have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.” Texas Constitution – Article 1- Section 2

  3. “Yet Beck didn’t talk about
    “Yet Beck didn’t talk about secession under President Bush”
    Actually it’s not even january yet, so yeah… he did talk about recession under President Bush

  4. Anti-Obama backlash: right-wingers broach “secession”
    Why can’t you at least be honest? Beck has been screaming about these abuses from every moutaintop for a VERY long time. By the way, George Bush is STILL president, Senator O’Bama has not been sworn in yet – it is irrelevant WHO is president, it matters who will stop these abuses that make people think about their own rights.

    Know the constitution, unite under the principles that formed this country and take the action that will PREVENT the next world war!

  5. Your bias is showing.
    Your bias is showing large dude. If you listened to Beck you would know he said all those things UNDER PRESIDENT BUSH! Your statement this is about Barack Obama is disingenuous and misleading. Beck was saying all these things over a year ago ABOUT GEORGE BUSH! But since that doesn’t fit your agenda, you conveniently ignore that.

    Your “list” comparing GWB with King George III is similarly misleading. If you were to critically look at the FDR administration your could make similar comparisons as well as with the Lincoln administration and many many other Presidents over the years.

    While I’m not a huge Beck fan, at least you get opinion labeled as opinion, not whitewashed as journalism.

  6. Secession comments
    You apparently don’t listen to Glenn Beck’s show. If you did, you’d understand that the comments he made are concerning the government in general. So the “peep” that you claim wasn’t uttered under George Bush is an erroneous statement on your part. The last time I check George W. Bush was still the President and Beck’s comments where made recently weren’t they?

    It doesn’t matter who the person in the executive branch is so stop playing the race card. There is one race and that’s the Human Race. Anyone who believes otherwise I pity. The crazy train is rolling and Joe Public doesn’t seem to care that it’s out of control as long as there are enough X-Box’s on the shelves for Christmas. The Big Government system that has been allowed to fester since the early 1900’s is going to destroy everything America was founded on. Have some guts and address that. Then address the Obama agenda and honestly say that it won’t push us further done the wrong road as the Bush administration has.

  7. the black guy’s bailing out Wall Street
    As Think Progress points out Beck is wondering about succession as a protest against the various Wall Street bailouts, not opposing Obama’s election as implied above. However it is doubtful that Beck would be on the same rant with a Pres Elect McCain.

  8. Actual News
    It would be nice for a change if people who wrote in these blogs actually researched before they came about and slandered anyone wither it be President Elect Barak Obama or someone in the media.

    1. Who in talk radio has ever talk about an Anti-Obama underground?

    2. When we signed the Constitution we did away with the principles of the Declaration of Independence? If a government goes out of control we no longer have the right to peaceably to say we no longer want to be a part of this anymore. Does this leave us that we have to take up arms?

    3. It is true about the comparisons between then and now about George W. Bush vs. the Declaration of Independence and King George vs. the same. However, to say that Glenn has never spoken about recession during the presidency of George W. Bush kinda misses the mark as our current president is still George W. Bush. (The Inauguration of President Elect Obama happens NEXT year) Indeed it was over a year ago that he (Glenn) began to talk about how bad things are with the weasels in Washington at this magnitude.

    So again it would be nice if before you wrote things you would get the facts first.

    1. Responses
      We should have mentioned that the secession comments were ostensibly about the Wall Street bailout, but Glenn was not talking about secession until after Obama was elected and we think that is a pretty clear subtext.

      Sean Hannity spoke about forming a “underground.” Click on the link, that’s what it’s there for.

  9. Secession
    “Nowhere in the Constitution does it say states have the rights to secede, and the question was settled rather definitively with the Civil War.”


    I suppose Ike Turner settled rather definitevely who’s boss when he had to punch Tina to the ground, too. After all, she had make a vow of obedience to him.

    Oh, and the Consitution wasn’t designed to tell the sovereign States what they couldn’t do — it was rather a limit on the powers delegated to the Federal government. That’s why the 9th and 10th amendments were made an integral part of the Constitution.

    Bottom line: NOTHING in the ratification of the Constitution negated or surrendered the rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. NOTHING.

    1. here come the wingnuts
      What is it about a black guy getting elected that all of a sudden has right wing weirdos posting on a progressive blog? States rights arguments take on a lot of rhetoric but end up being about whether the Feds can force civil rights on the south, and, if you’re Ron Paul, about whether the Federal government can enforce environmental regulations. Do you white guys really miss the Confederacy that much? Budget cuts limiting the civil war reenactor after parties?

      ‘surrendered the rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence’

      So you’re worried that the libruls will turn us back over to the British? Taxation without representation may have been cheaper in the long run.

  10. Obama
    Why do allyou leftists insist on referring to Obama as a black man? He’s half white and all raised white. You should be disgusted that he shuns his white heritage.

    1. racist weirdos
      Hangman, huh? You’re a weirdo.
      In America, half black half white equals black. Now be honest, you’d rather he sat in the back of the bus.

  11. Secession Is Constitutional…
    Now wait just a minute. So are you saying that secession would’ve been OK under the presidency of Bush? I mean, since you were comparing him to King George.

  12. Secession from the u. s.
    Anymore?? Answer: Yes, always.

    The Declaration of Independence was a secession ordinance. You know…. ‘WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,…’. So, secession is the primordial American political principle. Without it, there wouldn’t have been a united States.

    The ‘union’, or general government was created by the States via their individual, speaking only for themselves separately as States, ratifications of the compact we commonly call the Constitution. Via the 9th and 10th Amendments, the States made it abundantly clear that what they did not delegate to the general government, they retained. Secession is NOT expressly prohibited by the Constitution. As you say, the document is completely SILENT on the issue. Therefore, it logically follows that it must be one of the unenumerated rights protected by the 9th Amendment and irrevocably retained by the 10th Amendment. This understanding of things was well within the grasp of the people of the founding generation (and some of us yet today). Unfortunately, after 143 years of governemnt school brainwashing and ‘ape’ lincoln deification, the average American moron understands nothing and compliantly accepts the chains of slavery. God help us!!

    As for the so-called ‘civil war’, it settled NOTHING except that a country of 22 million people (the u.s.) could invade, conquer, and subjugate a country of 9 million people (the CSA). As President Davis said, a question settled by violence or in disregard of the law remains unsettled forever. Only the atheist and barbarian holds that ‘might makes right’.

    Finally, we in the League of the South have been advocating
    secession since 1994. We hold the two wings of the one, indivisible, and Marxist party in equal contempt. Barack Obama will change things? My ass!! Look at his actions so far. More of the status quo. It’s time to board the dissolution wagon, folks.

    1. Outer limits of irony
      Being moron-baited by someone who thinks that the Republican Party is “Marxist” is too absurd to warrant comment. You guys understand Marx no better than the US Constitution or American history. But this level of hysterical irony doesn’t come close that of Confederacy-nostalgists refering to US federal power with the highly ill-advised metaphor of chains of slavery. I almost dare to hope that this is satire. Almost.

  13. Secession is a right, not a privlege
    Specifically, it is an inalienable right, as inalienable as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, even if it isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. And I can only speak for myself, but I have been pro-secession from Clinton through GW, to today. I think Obama is a better man the GW, but that doesn’t change the fact that I believe that secession is a fundamental human right, and that those that deny my that right are abusing my human rights.
    And its not just “right-wingers” advocating for secession. There are major secessionist groups in Vermont, Oregon & Washington State, and Hawaii, all three of which are pretty darned “leftist”. A _lot_ of people think the United States of America is broken beyond repair, and wasn’t such great shakes when it was functioning with what ounce of competence it once had. There’s more people thinking that every day. And we will win.

  14. Civil War Settles the Issue of Secession?
    As stated in the Declaration of Independence, the “Creator” of the people is the source of our unalienable rights. If this is true, then it seems the Creator is the only one who can rescind them, not the Union. If the CSA presumed that their unalienable rights could only be preserved by leaving the Union, then what right does the Union have to preserve what God says otherwise. If the Civil War settled the issue of Secession, then the Union is guilty of blasphemy (assuming his powers). Also, if the Civil War settled secession, then the millenia-old argument of free will was settled as well. If a people wish to secede and if another people say no with military might, then where is the free will? And if there is no free will, there is no God? Free will is necessary to shift evil to willing cluprits, not God. What a web we weave, when we believe in castles in the sky.

    1. “Free Will”?
      What about the “free will” of the 3.5 million BLACK SLAVES who constituted 40% of the population of the Confederacy and obviously did not support secession, defecting to the Union to fight their former masters the first chance they got?

      Get lost, cracker.

  15. Confederacy nostalgia goes mainstream
    What a strange historical irony that now it is Southern Republicans who are threatening to secede from an administration of Northern Democrats. From the New York Times, April 17:

    Texas Governor’s Secession Talk Stirs Furor
    HOUSTON — Gov. Rick Perry has touched off a political uproar by expressing sympathy for Texans who want to secede from the United States. His comments have made him a darling of conservative radio hosts, a butt of jokes on television talk shows and a target of criticism from state Democrats.

    Mr. Perry did not actually endorse the idea of Texas’ leaving the Union, but critics say his remarks, after an antitax protest on Wednesday in Austin, came close. Seeking to quell the furor the next day, he told The Associated Press that “Texas is part of a great Union, and I see no reason for that to change.”

    Still, Democrats have pounced on the Republican governor, saying he is stirring up talk of states’ rights and secession, notions that for many conjure the specters of the Civil War, slavery and racial segregation.

    “Talk of secession is an attack on our country,” said Representative Jim Dunnam of Waco, Democratic leader of the Texas House. “It’s the ultimate anti-American statement.”

    It has long been part of Texas folk mythology that because the state was once an independent republic, it has the option of seceding. But historians and law professors say there has been no serious argument since the Civil War on behalf of a legal basis for a state’s secession.

    Like many other Texans, however, Mr. Perry still treats leaving the Union as a possibility.

    “When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “My hope is that America, and Washington in particular, pay attention. We’ve got a great Union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that?”

    Mr. Perry has been aggressively courting conservative voters in preparation for a tough re-election campaign next year against a fellow Republican, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. He has positioned himself as the anti-Washington candidate and painted Ms. Hutchison as a moderate Washington insider. He has attacked the $787 billion federal stimulus program, and last week he endorsed a state legislative resolution championing states’ rights.

    While Republicans have generally declined to comment on Wednesday’s remarks, James Bernsen, a former press secretary to Ms. Hutchison, wrote Thursday in an online column, “He’s just staked his claim to the ‘mad-as-hell constituency,’ just the kind he needs for the primary to pull off a win.”

    State Senator Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, said Mr. Perry had not only opened himself to ridicule but also evoked a time most Texans would rather forget. “Texas has become a hotbed of right-wing political activity,” Mr. Ellis said, “but I think even those folks on the far right think this is over the top.”

    We hope—but the evidence would seem to suggest otherwise. reports that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has weighed in for Perry:

    “This is a governor standing up for his state,” DeLay told an incredulous Chris Mathews [of MSNBC]. “Texas was republic when it joined the union by treaty” — adding that Texans could vote to nullify the treaty forcing the “U.S. Senate” to “kick us out” of the union.

    When Mathews exploded — invoking 600,000 Americans killed in the Civil War — DeLay reassured him that “No, no they can’t secede” but reiterated the legal argument for the state to assert its “sovereignty.”

    We’re reminded of the rank Confederacy-nostalgia expressed in recent years by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, ex-attorney general John Ashcroft, ex-Interior Secretary Gale Norton and other figures associated with the George W. Bush administration.

    Meanwhile, even as they bandy about this kind of rhetoric, Republicans are (as under President Clinton) crying persecution and casting themselves in the unlikely garb of civil libertarians over a Homeland Security Department report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” which was released to local law enforcement nationwide this week. Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee are demanding hearings into the report, asserting that it was released despite objections from Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. (Newsday, April 17)

    1. Secession Generally
      As I have posted elsewhere, you cannot assume that Perry is wrong simply because you see no explicit provision for secession. First, by joining the Union, Texas subjected itself to the entire hierarchy of American legal principles, foremost of which is the organic law of the Declaration of Independence, which explicitly preserves to ALL people oppressed by tyranny the right to withdraw, whether by force at arms or by legal process. Call it by another name if it makes you feel better, but that is secession, and therefore our nation was born in an act of secession.

      Second, the enumerated powers of the federal under the U.S. Constitution do not include any power to compel an unwilling state to remain in the Union. Thus, any power of secession is retained by default to the states and to the people. That is the law.

      Third, your improper inference that the Civil War settled the legal issue is naive and really somewhat disturbing. If it is your contention that Texas v White resolved it legally, that is incorrect. Texas v. White could not address secession with precedential effect because the secession argument was never actually brought before the Court. Any commentary in the opinion on secession is mere dicta, a judicial rant of the winner over the loser, but totally without legal force.

      Or, if you are referring simply to the military outcome, the only arguable effect of the Civil War on secession is to show that states can be brutalized into submission by a militaristic federal unwilling to recognize its own constitutional limitations. That, as I said, is disturbing, because it means that you are willing to accept the premise that might makes right, that we are not a nation of laws but of charismatic personalities, that you do not fundamentally disagree with the coercive political philosophy of some of the worst regimes the world has ever known. Yes, I find that disturbing indeed.

      As for the canard of “secession is racism disguised,” it hardly bears a response, it is so completely without merit. Everyone, regardless of the quantity of melanin in their skin, desires to live according to the values they believe in. It does not matter what is the color of the person who would steal that right, nor does it matter what color they are who would protect it. That right of freedom, while it can be misused, cannot be voided or surrendered, because it is a nonrevokable gift of the Creator given to all people everywhere. If you think race is at the bottom of this, that says more about you than it does about those you misjudge. Treating all criticism of Obama’s policy as racially motivated is just a technique to deflect that criticism and prevent open, honest discussion of ideas. Take a breath, and consider whether the love of freedom and the fear of losing it might be the real reason for the rising talk of secession.

      1. You hate what America stands for
        Not all you cartoon libertarians are bitter racists so I won’t speculate on your own predisposition. I would submit that your ideas about freedom are generally adolescent and ignorant about need for the rule of law. While it is true that some of you idiots were active during the Bush administration, the ‘rising tide’ is basically the far right wing so bitter about the obvious complete failure of their (your?) agenda that they wish they could take the ball and go home.

        If you are so determined to change the country why not start at home and make changes in the area you live in, preferably by electing officials that agree with your aims? But that’s not the problem, is it? The problem is some big bad cartoon Federal Government who imposes it’s will on your cracker local police forces, or maybe levees taxes that you don’t like paying (let’s ignore for the moment that the far right wing areas of the United States receive much more than they pay out from the Federal Government, unlike the the blue urban states). Basically most of you are either Soldier of Fortune phonies who think that firearms make you tough and want to live on a frontier, armchair lawyers who have decided that their property taxes are going to finance the liberals (and their highway programs?), or old school white males who are horrified that you lost the cultural revolution. The hippies won, the futures here. One nation, indivisible … even if a black guy is President.

        You’re all just posing. Want to live under a weak Federal system? Live in Mexico or in a US ghetto for a while and talk shit. You’ll come home to the suburbs in a box.

        Tell you what, if you do secede I’ll bring some city boys down and we’ll take over your pathetic city or suburb state by force of arms, take all the hot chicks and drive around listening to hip hop. Cool? Grow up.

      2. Stupidity Generally
        We agree that “all people oppressed by tyranny [have] the right to withdraw, whether by force at arms or by legal process.” Long live the Republic of New Afrika!

        Your notion that the Tenth Amendment reserves to the states the right of secession is ahistorical bunk. As Mackubin Thomas Owens writes for the (quite conservative, BTW) Claremont Institute:

        In his speech of July 4, 1861 to Congress in special session, Lincoln called this view — that “any state of the Union may, consistently with the national Constitution, and therefore lawfully and peacefully, withdraw from the Union without the consent of the Union or any other State” — an “ingenious sophism.” But Lincoln was not an innovator when it came to this issue. Nearly every statesman from the Founding period on had previously made this point…

        [I]n his reply to [John] Calhoun on Feb. 16, 1833 [over the Nullification Crisis], Daniel Webster observed that the state conventions, including that of South Carolina, did not accede to a league or association when they approved the Constitution, but ratified and confirmed that Constitution as a form of government.

        Andrew Jackson made the same point in his “Proclamation to the People of South Carolina” during the nullification crisis. The Constitution, said Jackson, derives its whole authority from the people, not the States. The States “retained all the power they did not grant. But each State, having expressly parted with so many powers as to constitute, jointly with the other States, a single nation, can not, from that period, possess any right to secede, because such secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a nation…” And Madison, who presumably knew something about the constitutional theory of the American Founding, was horrified by the idea that the coordinate sovereignty retained by the States, as stated in the Tenth Amendment, implied the power of nullification, interposition, or secession.

        So lay off the ingenious sophisms, dude. Constitutional law has been clear on this question at least since 1864, and probably since 1833. Texas v. White is but one example, but you are incorrect that “the secession argument was never actually brought before the Court.” The crux of the defense was that Texas had not been a part of the Union when it sold the federal bonds in question and therefore the high court lacked jurisdiction. Chief Justice Salmon Chase wrote that secession had no legal basis, that the United States is “indissoluble,” and “an indestructible Union.” Another sophism shot to hell.

        Now, if a government becomes intolerably oppressive, the people certainly can exercise their “revolutionary right to overthrow it” (attributed to Abraham Lincoln). Which is why the enslaved Africans of the antebellum South and Confederacy had the right to rise up and overthrow the slavocrat oligarchy—as they finally did in Georgia, emboldened by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in 1864! Now, we’d like to know what such intolerable conditions obtain in Obama’s America that you think justify this kind of extremist talk?

        Which “values” do you think have been served by secession in American history other than slavery? Some of the most oppressive states the world has seen have been secessionist ones—like Ustashe Croatia, which was so enthusiastic in its program of genocide that Hitler had to rein it in! Or the Confederacy—which, sophisms aside, was established for one purpose: to perpetuate the slave system. And whose intellectual inheritors have wielded the related bogus doctrines of interposition and “state sovereignty” in defense of Jim Crow.

        We do not have a blanket opposition to secession in all circumstances, but (as we have argued) the class and political motives underlying secessionist movements must be considered. And your revisionism about the history of secessionism in this continent leads us to suspect the worst.

        Please go away.

        1. Slavery and Secession
          First, no, we will not go away, lest you think it is too easy to edit and abridge the constitutional liberties of those with whom you disagree. I argue to bring about change, not to “eliminate” my enemies, to win a brother or a sister, not to alienate those who are my family. What is your motive?

          As for what severe disabilities the current administration is imposing on my freedom which drives me to consider the virtues of secession, the ensured impoverishment of my great grandchildren under his fiscal policy would be enough, the ensured diminution of my family’s physical safety under his policy of slobbering appeasement would be enough, the ensured intrusion of his swarming staff of healthcare busybodies into my and my family’s right of privacy and choice for life and health would be enough, his willingness to support union thug tactics to suppress legitimate dissent with physical violence would be enough. These horrendous policy directions are WORSE than what inspired our founders to break ties with Great Britain, and you would have me sit by in voluntary silence while these things sweep over us like a tide? I will NOT comply. If we cannot overturn these eruptions of the Marxist utopian psychosis, then we must go where these policies have no force, where we can continue to live as a free people. Secession, legal or not, must remain on the table.

          BTW, do you think King George considered the colonists’ secession from England legal?

          As for Texas v White, I stand by my interpretation. While the Court did rant on and on in dicta about the illegality of secession, it did not actually rule in its ultimate holding that secession per se was illegal, only that the sale of bonds by the Confederate government of Texas was legal. Lack of jurisdiction based on secession was raised on defense, as you say, but an issue raised in a defense and overcome does not in itself establish precedent. It may seem a fine point to you, but this is not a precedential holding with respect to secession. Furthermore, the anti-secession dicta issued by Judge Chase was directly opposed to an earlier holding of true precedential force in Luther v. Borden, where a dispute in Rhode Island over two competing governments was resolved as a political question over which the Court ought not to exercise jurisdiction. The dissent in White raises this point, but the winner-takes-all mentality of the reconstruction majority in White slips by it like it wasn’t there. So who’s the real precedent breaker here?

          Worse still, the anti-secessionist logic of Texas v White is ipse dixit, i.e., asserted but not proved. Judge Chase does not use the Constitution, nor does he deflect at all the force of the Tenth Amendment, in rendering his opinion on that issue. Rather, circumvents the Constitutional logic altogether by turning to language in the Articles of Confederation and to the Preamble of the Constitution to make his best arguments. He had to make that approach because the direct language of the Constitution would not support his theory. Therefore, because he failed to plug into the recognized apex of the legal hierarchy, his logic on secession reduces to mere unproven assertions. Hardly a good basis upon which to deny people the right to insist on their constitutionally guaranteed freedom.

          Furthermore, even if Texas v White could be read as a precedential ruling on secession, a modern case with different facts could overrule it, because it does not coming riding to us on a long succession of well established precedent. It is an outlier, a deliberate creation of the post-war government designed to suppress further discussion of the issue. Individual cases, wherein the Court decidedly poorly, have been overturned. Dred Scott, for example. Or would you uphold that decision over say Brown v Board of Education, just because Scott came first? Just curious…

          As for the quotes you cite, I do not think much of Mr. Lincoln’s view of the Constitution, nor of his unwarranted butchery of civilian populations. Lincoln said this:

          “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

          Is that your position? The “Union at all costs?” Look, I am a native Illinoisan; I was raised to revere Lincoln like everyone else, and have no special sympathy for the South. But now that I am thinking for myself, and looking into these matters for myself, I cannot for the life of me find in the four corners of the Constitution itself any justification for the use of such horrid violence to prevent a peaceful separation of a disaffected state.

          As for Mr. Jackson, apparently he did not confer with Mr. Madison before making his oversimplified assertion that the Constitution is a product of the people as *opposed* to the states. Madison, in a letter to one Mr. Webster, declares the Constitution is a product of the people *as embodied* in the states, thus allowing the consideration of each as appropriate to a given purpose. Putting this in the context of secession, he further asserts that there are two kinds of secession, “at will” versus “for cause.” No thinking person, least of all those who have come to rely on the many benefits of national unity, takes this matter of secession lightly, but the right of the people as embodied in the various states to engage in secession as a means of revolution, according to Madison, remains an option in “for cause” cases.

          As for your resort to a thinly disguised charge of racism against every dissenter to the increasingly oppressive Obama administration, I wonder if you think race motivated the founders to break from Britain. Do you think so? If not, then you admit it is possible for secession to be contemplated for strictly philosophical reasons, and if you admit that, then you also admit it is at least possible you are wrong about the motives of many involved in the present distress. You would do well to open your mind and your ears and actually listen to the concerns that are driving this teapot to a boil. You might get a different impression than the one you are constructing from your own rich but ill-informed imagination.

          1. Slobbering stupidity
            You make a mockery of the very American Revolution whose legacy you claim to cherish by invoking it in this context. You do not have taxation without representation, and (as noted above) those grievances enumerated in Declaration of Independence which persist today were instated by George Bush, and Obama can only be blamed for not undoing them quickly or throughly enough. Your policy disagreements with Obama cannot be considered legitimate cause for rebellion. I don’t know how you can consider Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan or illegal bombardment of Pakistan “slobbering appeasement,” but that is really beside the point. The point is that Obama won fair and square, and he gets to set policy now, within the system of checks and balances. If you don’t like it, organize to vote him out. That’s how it’s done in a democracy, remember?

            On the policy debate tip, I’ll add that you guys had almost 30 years (starting with Reagan) of bellicose adventures abroad and free-market utopianism at home. It gave us 9-11, the Iraq quagmire and near economic collapse. You might want to consider why a majority of We the People decided it was time for something different.

            You can cling to your interpretation of Texas v White, but case law and the judiciary do not, thank goodness. Your opinion on the matter is about as relevant as that of flat-earthers to the science of geology.

            On the Library of Congress website, your Madison letter appears as a footnote to his 1835 “Notes on Nullification” in which he squarely rejected the doctrine. He wrote that “the right of seceding from intolerable oppression…is another name only for revolution, about which there is no theoretic controversy.” He uses the words “intolerable oppression,” not merely “for cause”—a phrase that appears nowhere in the letter. He also warned that secession’s “double aspect” (i.e. “at will” versus of necessity) “is giving it a popular currency here [Virginia] which may influence the approaching elections… It has gained some advantage also, by mixing itself with the question whether the Constitution of the US was formed by the people or by the States, now under a theoretic discussion by animated partizans.”

            I believe he was talking about people like you here.

            I do hold, with Madison, that there may be cases in which secession is justified. Given the failure of the United States to yet provide reparations or even an apology for slavery, I think a case can be made for the Republic of New Afrika. I note you neatly avoided that one.

            I am not “abridging your constitutional liberties” by exercising some quality control on my website. It’s my private property, remember? If the totalitarian socialist Obama government were to mandate that the media run left-wing propaganda, I believe you would be the first to protest. So please don’t make any demands of me. Get your own damn website.

            You are again invited to get lost.

            1. Well, don’t hold back your real feelings ….
              Look, you cannot know who I am or what I believe or what my life experience is, apart from these pixels we exchange between us. I do not wish to insult you, nor do I think insult is a productive way to run a country or a website. Indeed, it is a root cause of why the left, which is positively obsessive compulsive with insult as a tactic, is losing ground in the health care debate. From my point of view, I hope you keep it up; it reinforces why I have no interest in policies of the left. If you didn’t have somebody to insult, you would have no message at all. Think about it.

              As for leaving your website alone, I will consider it. I had no idea this was “your” website. I was merely responding to your post in what I thought was an open discussion, responding to what I still regard as your gross oversimplification of the law of secession, which, BTW, has sources in international law and natural law which no American court decision, however interpreted, can ever trump. I would point out also that Texas v White, to the best of my knowledge, has never been used as precedent for denying a right of secession to any other state, which would really have to happen before we could really know which interpretation the “case law and judiciary cling to.” If there is such a case, I would be delighted to have you point it out to me. Waiting ….

              As for free-markets versus socialism, neither system has ever realized full utopian expression. As a Christian, I do not fully endorse either. I think free markets work best when individuals have good character and genuinely love their neighbor as they love themselves. But free markets don’t need utopia to work better than socialism, because socialism must have complete, dictatorial control to have any chance at all to work. Therefore, it seems unwise to me to trash a system of rewarding each according to their labor, just because fallible human leaders do make some bad decisions, such as Bush’s failure to beat back the political correct subversion of Fannie Mae, which was a major contributor to the current malaise. BTW, if you think I was a cheerleader for Bush, that’s just your cartoon stereotype of conservatism talking. I’m not even Republican.

              So no, just because somebody wins an election does not give them the right to overturn the fundamental nature of the system they inherited. The Constitution is a great system of checks and balances, but it has been so eroded over time that a new assertion of human freedom may become necessary. The checks and balances are not working as they should. Yet the Constitution’s imperfection was recognized by the founders, and that is precisely why they bequeathed to us an inherent right of (revolutionary) secession in the first place.

              Now when I used the term, secession “for cause,” I had hoped you would realize I was simply using analogy to modern terminology to set out more clearly the legal distinction between secession over trivialities versus secession over revolutionary impulses. I obviously failed in that attempt and I do apologize if it confused you.

              But do realize that trashing the free market and the inherent virtues it entails, such as the strong defense of individual freedom and a just reward for individual economic contribution, is sufficient grounds for secession of the revolutionary sort. No, we do not have the exact circumstances of the original revolution. We do not carry muskets and we do not wear three-point hats. And we do have representatives this time, with respect to taxes. But the taxes are worse this time, and the intrusion into our lives and the unjust and massive redistribution of wealth this time are oppressions so egregious the founders could only dimly imagine what we now face. And our so-called representatives? They dun us as mobsters and shills for the insurance companies and they will, they will, they absolutely will put that tax burden on our back because they no longer act as representatives of the people. Rather, they act as minions of the powerful new masters of their respective parties. They lie to us to get elected, and then once in office they obey the dictates of party leadership. If that’s taxation with representation, then hey, maybe I’m the Pope and just don’t know it.

              As for the New Republic of Afrika, sure, go for it. I didn’t respond because I was focused on other issues, but I have no inherent problem with the proposition, abstractly speaking. If I have interests that would be harmed in the implementation, you can be sure I will speak and act to defend those interests.

              As for white guilt, I don’t have it. I am a Christian, and I view guilt as a function of individual wrongs. According to Moses, God doesn’t keep track of guilt past four generations worst case, and the prophet Ezekiel suggests a more general rule of one generation, i.e., the generation that did the wrong is the only one that can pay for the wrong. But if you still really want absolute reparations, do it right. Go back to the beginning of time and unravel all the economic injustices ever done. Oh, but God might be better at that that you or I, so I don’t recommend it.

              But even if I allowed for reparations in principle, I’ve paid my “dues.” My dad spent his whole life trying to break the economic cycle of failure in Chicago’s inner city schools. He was a good, loving man, and he gave his life to reversing the effects of slavery on black culture, creating much wealth and opportunity for wealth that would not have been there without his labor. His reward? Jealousy overtook the parents of those children who were not as successful. They called in Rev. Jackson and Mayor Dailey, they hounded my dad over his skin color, in explicit terms, until he was displaced to a desk job in Chicago, a broken man. The gut-wrenching sorrow of those days was our reward for our contribution. I still believe my dad’s approach was right, to encourage performance by rewarding it. And as a Christian I am under the command of God to love both my friends and my enemies, and I do, as my dad did. So I wish well all those of any color who do their share and benefit accordingly. But please do not ever play the race card with me, especially as a way to justify taking from me what I have justly earned.

              BTW, I have responded to your “Afrika” poser, but you have not responded, unless I missed it, to my poser about Britain: Did King George view the American secession as legal, or not?

              1. Are you quite finished?
                Didn’t think it was my website? Who do you think maintains it, God?

                Texas v. White was cited by the courts in a slew of subsequent litigation over legal tangles left by secession. We remember it because it was precedent-setting.

                You have yet to explain how Obama is “overturning the fundamental nature of the system.” You haven’t even come close. Neither has Glenn Beck or the rest of that vile crowd. Yet they had no problem with Bush’s abrogation of habeas corpus, which is enshrined in 700 years of English Common Law.

                You are the one who brought up “white guilt,” not me. I fail to see what your father’s experiences have to do with the question of reparations for slavery.

                Obviously King George did not view “American secession” as legal, but this is irrelevant to our argument. Go back and study the Madison quote. There is “no theoretic controversy” over revolution against “intolerable oppression.” I’m not going to repeat myself endlessly because you refuse to get it.

                Will you please go away?

                1. Amazing
                  The Constitution is not a national document, therefore states can secede if they want to. Lincoln was America’s most deranged lunatic. People who claim that the Constitution creates a nation, are ignorant hallucinators.

  16. Census worker hanged with ‘fed’ scrawled on body
    The FBI is investigating the hanging death of a US Census worker near a Kentucky cemetery, and a law enforcement official told the AP the word “fed” was scrawled on the dead man’s chest. The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and occasional teacher, was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeast Kentucky. The Census has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, pending the outcome of the investigation. (AP, Sept. 23)

  17. The states created the Constitution
    The states created the Constitution, not the other way around. That means that the states can secede if they want to. As for the “civil war,” I guess you consider that Hitler invading Poland was a “civil war” as well, rather than imperial dictatorship. Nice company you’re in.

    1. Gee, happy Fourth of July to you too
      What is “amazing” is that you ignorant freaks espouse a doctrine that has been discredited for 150 years and act as if it were universally accepted truth. We hate to tell you, but it is the United States of America. Did you happen to see the word “United”? When Sam Adams told the Tories “may posterity forget that you were our countrymen,” he wasn’t talking about Massachusetts. When Nathan Hale said “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” he didn’t mean Connecticut. When the Continental Army veterans hailed Washington as “first in the hearts of his countrymen,” they didn’t mean Virginians. Learn some goddam history.

      In espousing this secessionist and “state sovereignty” jive, you are in the “company” of Jefferson Davis, Lester Maddox, the slavocrats, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow and the lynch-mobs. So spare us the bogus anti-fascism. It is extremely unbecoming.