George Washington's Providence

In America we seem unable to resolve the proper Constitutional relationship between religion and our political life. We think we know what the founders intended: “separation of church and state,” “a wall of separation,” the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. But this issue is far from resolved. Reagan did not attend church enough for some Americans, Romney’s Mormonism was an issue, and some take issue with Obama and Reverend Wright. Raymond Lorber’s first book, “George Washington’s Providence,” explores the unique relationship between Washington’s belief that his God would protect him and his military and political triumphs in a style that is both scholarly and accessible. Ray’s book gives us access to Washington’s many letters and other writings that offer us an understanding of Washington where most other writings fail. Most of us have wondered what qualities separated our founders from those who followed them. This book provides the answer, at least insofar as Washington is concerned.

How Washington Invented the Presidency

The Constitution provides a framework for the American presidency. When the founders wrote it, the concept of an elected chief executive did not exist anywhere on earth. That position was created in 1787. When George Washington was elected as our first President, he had to build the office from the ground up. What he created and how he did it is a remarkable story, as Harlow Giles Unger describes in his new book “Mr. President; George Washington and the Making of the Nation’s Highest Office.” Listen in as Bob and Harlow explore the presidency as imagined by the founders, as created by President Washington, and changed (for the better or for the worse) by presidents since the founding. What are the lessons to be learned by tracing the presidency from Washington to Obama?

Is The Media Weakening Democracy?

Thomas Jefferson famously commented that given the choice between a government without newspapers and newspapers without government, he’d prefer the latter. The Founders felt freedom of speech to be so important that was embodied as the first of the Bill of Rights amendments to the Constitution. Ten years later, John Adams, whose love of America was second to none, signed the Sedition Act, which criminalized any public criticism of him or the Congress. Tension between government and a free press has never gone away. What is the role of the media in democratic life today? Is it truly, as Edmund Burke observed the “Fourth Estate,” having almost as much influence as elected officials? Has the consolidation of media into a few mega-corporations been compromised objectivity? Did objectivity ever even exist? Ben Swann, award willing journalist, blogger, new anchor and television host gives his insider views on the controversial role of the media in public life today.

I Want My Cheetos!

James Madison considered food regulation “little short of madness.” When France tried to ban the eating of potatoes, Jefferson noted that such a ban allowed fallible leaders with their own prejudices to employ “coercion” over the French diet. Does this sound true to you, Mayor Bloomberg? The reach of governmental regulation extends right into our gullet, dictating what we are allowed to eat. Salt? Absolutely not. Sugar? No way. Raw milk? Don’t be silly. Jayson Lusk, professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University and author of “The Food Police,” will join Bob this Sunday with a menu of outrageous and scientifically unjustifiable laws and regulations which will enrage you… and help you plan your next meal. You’ll learn that your stomach is not your own. Don’t miss it.

Where is Everyone Going?

In the past 15 years, California’s high tax burden caused 340,000 (mostly) high earners to go to other states like Nevada where they can keep more of their earnings. Is there a pattern? You bet there is. Americans are “voting with their feet” more than ever before. Not just pro golfer Phil Mickelson who makes a pretty penny, but average wage earners. Where do they move from, where do they go …and why? Travis Brown has studied this extensively and he authored “How Money Walks,” the definitive study on which states are winning or losing the competition for taxpayers and businesses and what the results tell us. Join Bob and Travis to celebrate federalism in operation, just as the founders envisioned.

Free Speech- There is No America Without It

In the opinion of the Founders, no right is more worthy of protection than the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, providing freedom of conscience and the right to speak one’s mind. Yet those in power find themselves threatened by those who exercise this right and government becomes tempted to limit speech, which is our most essential right for maintaining a free society.   The First Amendment is under attack on our college campuses, of all places. Speech codes pervade. Censorship is rampant. Politically incorrect views are banned. And these are the institutions which will produce tomorrow’s voters and tomorrow’s leaders! Greg Lukianoff, President of the Foundation of Individual Rights (“FIRE”), is a leading expert on the subject, and his book “Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate” is a must read. In this encore episode, he joins Bob to discuss his findings. After listening to the show, you’ll think twice about making that contribution to your alma mater.

Should Discrimination Be Compelled?

What has happened to the color-blind society Reverend King dreamed about? Where is the meritocracy that is presumed to be part of our ethos? Do the children of wealthy successful minority parents deserve preferences in education or government contracting merely because they are minorities, resulting in prejudice against low income and disadvantaged whites? Or is affirmative action, in all its ugliness, just another form of stealth income transfer? The last remaining pocket of discrimination in our country is practiced by government itself. Enough already. In this episode, Bob is joined by Ralph Kasarda, Staff Attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation. Ralph is a front line warrior in the fight against governmental sponsored discrimination, taking on the States of California and Hawaii and the US Department of Transportation. Isn’t it time to honor our founding principle – “All men are created equal?”   Bob also reviews the lessons of Election Day. Do voters compromise their self- interest by voting at all (answer is clearly “yes”)? Does the best candidate ever win or does the process itself prevent that? The Founders were no great fans of democracy. Were they right? What are the lessons of the first Tuesday in November 2012 and what is the most significant, most long lasting effect of the election? What is the most positive result of the election (you’ll never guess)? All tomorrow.

Was The Ratification of the Constitution A Mistake?

For almost four years, Bob has been speaking about his uncompromising admiration for the work of the Founders. They drafted the Constitution and in getting it ratified by the colonies, created the United States of America. James Madison, George Washington, John Adams and their colleagues were above reproach. However, Bob has recently been drawn to the arguments of the Founders, of equal stature, who opposed Ratification. The arguments of those “anti-federalists” seem more compelling than those of the supporters of the Constitution. Who was right, especially given where the country is today? Hard question.   In this episode, Tom Fleming joins Bob to discuss this intriguing issue. Tom is perhaps America’s greatest historian and most prolific writer on the subject of early American history. This show cannot be missed.

How Could The Founders Have Gotten This So Wrong?

Alexander Hamilton described the federal judicial system as “the weakest of the three branches of government.” However, the unelected nine Supreme Court justices have “legislated” hundreds of overwhelmingly powerful laws. To name a few, they have granted abortion rights, eminent domain and mandatory minimum wage.   Even the worst of our federal judges hold their jobs for life. They can be appointed in a rigged process unrelated to merit and despite incompetence, laziness or some other collection of human frailty, they will never be removed.   This Sunday at noon, Bob will explore the worst and yet the most powerful branch of government – the judiciary. Join Bob and meet Robert Yates, the Founder you’ve never heard of, yet one who opposed the Constitution and understood what most of the other Founders did not.   The good news is that Bob has a cure for the judiciary’s shortcomings. The solution is one which the Founders would embrace, the politicians will love and bad judges will fear. It took 230+ years, but Americans will get a fair shake in court. Don’t miss this show.

It’s not the Deficit, Stupid

The talking heads and political pundits are up in arms over the deficit.  Should they raise taxes, reduce spending or both?!   Would cutting entitlements solve the problem?   They’re all missing the point.  The battle today is a battle of monumental importance and it is over nothing less that the direction of our civic life for the next hundred years.  We must redefine the relationship between citizens and government before we can move forward.   When the Founders created this country, they fulfilled their mission of creating a nation that would stand the test of time.  America has lasted much longer than any of the naysayers believed possible.   But now there is stagnation and we need to decide which direction we are going in.  The fight today is about far more than money.  Money is only a code word, a placeholder, for the real issue of individual freedom vs. government domination.  In this episode, Bob is  joined by Dave Shellenberger: radio guest, prolific blogger and Libertarian commentator.  Together they explain these issues in way no other media has even tried to do.