Flipping Coins
Flipping Coins is a blog concept where the left and the right of the political spectrum have a place to express their views in an intelligent and civil manner. Contributors to Flipping Coins will be Max Atlas, who will blog the Conservative viewpoint and Ernest Oliver, who will blog the Liberal viewpoint.
Monday, July 31, 2006
The Coin Flip: What is Legacy of President Bush?
This installment on the "Intellectual Conservative" prompted this discussion.

Heads: The Bush Legacy: #1 With A Bullet!

Historically, depending on who is doing the research, a few Presidents have been labeled the ‘worst ever’. The bottom top five are usually Harding, Buchanan, Hoover, Andrew Johnson and Nixon. Even Clinton has been the target of a bottom five contender, but at least when he lied no one died.

In order for our man Bush to make the bottom five, someone has to come out. I’ll pick Hoover. Hoover may have received a bum rap for not reacting strong enough to the economic collapse that has defined his presidency; but that’s another blog.

Bush, in my opinion, not only breaks the top five, he squarely plants himself in the number one spot in which no President may ever topple. I will give Bush the benefit of the doubt on his actions after 9/11. I quite frankly cannot imagine what any President would or would not have done after the attack. One thing is for certain though, Iraq did not attack us, Bin Laden did. Going after Bin Laden in Afghanistan was the right thing to do, invading Iraq was not.

Not only is Bush the most unpopular President in history who stole an election, he continues to by-pass rule of law, trial by jury, international laws, hacked away at state powers and transferred them to Washington, transferred wealth from middle class to the rich, run national debt up by more than 7 trillion, pandered to the extreme religious right, started an illegal war in Iraq, created a low-wage economy, trampled upon individual rights and continues to deny living persons a better tomorrow. About the only thing he did right was sign the Prescription Drug Plan.

Hey, all this in about six years. Even all the previous bottom five Presidents combined didn’t do this much damage to our great country.

George Bush’s legacy will haunt this country for decades and decades to come while our children bear the burden of debt and future body counts in mid-east countries due to gross mismanagement domestically and worldwide.

- Ernest Oliver

Tails: The Bush Legacy: Un-conservative

The very name of George W. Bush draws darts of fury from Democrats and the left wing of American politics. They believe that he “stole” the election of 2000, and has ever since driven America toward isolationism with the Iraq War policy. He and his cabinet are caricatures of criminals and villains when described by the left. As a conservative, I find that the left should truly love him, and that if anyone should believe that this President has betrayed his country, it should be those on the right. The legacy of President Bush, history will show, will have the readers of history scratching their heads in wonder at why his opponents hated him so much when he governed just as they would have wanted him to.

President Bush has grown government more than any other president in history. He created the Department of Homeland Security. He created more bureaucracy with the addition of the Director of National Intelligence. Not only has the bureaucracy grown, but so has spending.

Not only has spending grown in defense, the one area that conservatives believe that spending should increase, but domestic spending is out of control. According to this report , non-defense spending under President Bush has grown 35.7%, the largest increase in spending since LBJ and his Great Society policies. And President Bush’s policies are the stuff that would make LBJ proud.

President Bush allowed Senator Ted Kennedy basically write his education bill, the “No Child Left Behind” act that draws the ire of the NEA and other liberals. He promoted and succeeded in passing through the legislature a prescription drug plan for Medicare while talking out of both sides of his mouth about Social Security reform, which never came to fruition. His insistence on an amnesty clause for illegal aliens already in the U.S. in an immigration reform package is along the lines of Jimmy Carter policy. And, like LBJ, he didn’t see a spending bill he did not like.

Conservatives, like myself, took our lumps and held our tongue when much of the above was happening. We voted faithfully for the republicans, helping to insure a majority in the House and Senate, believing that we would soon see a shift from the ever-increasing incremental creep of government and loss of liberty back to the ideals of Jefferson and Madison. I only wish that President Bush had challenged us in the street, as Aaron Burr did Alexander Hamilton, and shot us dead. It would have been a lot less painless than the constant turning of the knife in our back for the last six years.

-Max Atlas
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The Coin Flip: The Brady Bill: Is It Right For America?
This link will direct you to the text of the Brady Bill, which is relevant to this discussion.

Heads: The Brady Bill: A case study in legislative failure

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.

Those words ARE the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The last four words of the Amendment are very important ones…’shall not be infringed.’ Infringed, according to dictionary.com, means to transgress, or exceed the limits of; violate. And that is exactly what the Brady Bill has done and continues to do to the 2nd Amendment.

The Brady Bill is precisely what happens when liberal emotions, instead of common sense, runs amuck. Passed in November of 1993 by almost strict party line voting behind a liberal House and Senate, the Brady Bill snipped off a very important part of the 2nd Amendment.

But 2nd Amendment was not the only Amendment that was broken by the Brady Bill. The 10th Amendment states; 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. The States never had a say so in the legislation. Undue financial burdens were put on every single State to fund operations for the Brady Bill.

Aside from violating the 2nd and 10th Amendments, the Brady Bill has never saved one person from dying from a gun shot. The Brady Bill has not once stopped anyone from robbing a store with a firearm. The Brady Bill has never stopped a criminal from obtaining a firearm illegally.

According the Justice Department, since the Brady Bill was passed, over 45 million background checks have been run on individuals seeking to buy a firearm. Of that number, 976,000 (about 2%) of those people were turned down from purchasing a firearm. The statistics show that normal, law-abiding citizens are the ones buying firearms.

Washington D.C. is just one example of many where the Brady Bill and other gun control measures has been a dismal failure. D.C. continues to be, year after year, one of the worst cities for dangerous crimes. States and cities that are more relaxed in concealment and carry laws are the ones with the lowest levels of murder and violent crimes.

Bottom line: Criminals pay no attention to gun control laws. Law abiding citizens are the ones who are penalized when their freedoms, guaranteed by the Constitution, are stripped away by emotional liberals.

- Max Atlas

Tails: The Brady Bill Is Common Sense

The Brady Bill has definitely helped in keeping our city streets safer from violent crime. The Brady Bill prohibited the sale and ownership of assault rifles possessing firepower greater than our police forces could afford. The bill also prohibited the sale of guns to children. And it also opened the door for better tracking of handgun ownership to aid in the solving of violent crimes. How anyone could argue against these common sense efforts is beyond me.

First of all, why should anyone need semi-automatic or automatic weapons? Who hunts game, or whatever people hunt these days, with an AK-47? The only purpose for those types of guns is for killing, and not for food. Why should anyone, even for protection, need a gun like an AK-47? Each gun listed in the exceptions is very efficient in the art of killing as well.

Secondly, how could anyone argue that guns should not be sold to children? For what purpose would a child require that a gun be sold to them? Furthermore, for what purpose would a child need possession of a gun at all? Use some common sense, Hestonfreaks.

And prior to the Brady bill, the police could only trace a handgun to the licensed seller. With background checks, handguns have less of a chance making into the hands of criminals. The only shortfall to this provision of the bill is that the waiting period does not apply to the purchase of ALL guns.

The fact of the matter is that guns have been at the center of the destruction of many lives. According the Brady campaign, more than 9 children per day were killed in gun related incidents in 2000. Over half of domestic violence-related murders are caused by guns. And having a gun in the home makes you 22 times more likely to be unintentionally shot. Many more facts exist to support the need for stricter gun control laws. But common sense should speak to us that guns=violence. What other conclusion could you sensibly come to?

-Ernest Oliver
Monday, July 24, 2006
The Coin Flip: Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Research
This article from the Boston Globe details relevant facts for this discussion.

Heads: First Presidential veto shows the hypocrisy of Bush

Despite huge bipartisan support in Washington and throughout the country, President Bush took the opportunity to use the veto pen for the first time on what could have been a significant step forward in saving lives. In vetoing the Stem Cell Research Bill, President Bush has taken hope away from millions of Americans suffering from horrible diseases, taken a giant step backward in the US’s lead globally in science and biotechnology and has sent a strong message of moral hypocrisy.

I find it completely insane that Bush would never veto a single pork filled bill or single budget bill but would cut down a life saving bill that was supported by his own colleagues. Even anti-choice republicans like Bill Frist and Orin Hatch supported the bill that holds the potential cure for diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis and even severe spinal cord injuries.

The veto is just one more reason why top scientists are leaving this country in droves to European and Asian countries where the governments there will fund these experiments. Why? Competition of course. In a world where biotechnology is increasingly becoming one of the top priorities, the US will soon find itself left behind in the scientific community.

The President has shown his hypocrisy when it comes to the value of life. Ironically, he claims to be pro-life, but yet as science has shown great promise to make the quality of life better for millions of Americans who are already alive, he fails those same Americans in what may be the only swoop of his veto pen.

- Ernest Oliver

Tails: President Bush Was Right by Vetoing the Stem-Cell Research Bill

Although I can think of many previous bills that President Bush could have vetoed, he was nevertheless right to veto the Stem-Cell Research Bill. He was right because the Stem-Cell bill was 1) unconstitutional; 2) unethical; 3) against the culture of life in America.

The Stem-Cell Research bill was like a lot of bills being floated and even passed by Congress: unconstitutional. The Constitution of the United States explicitly states the powers given to the Federal government; funding research experiments is not one of those powers. Any such bill should be left to be hashed out by the individual states, according to the 10th amendment.

This bill also lacks ethics. Embryos are fertilized eggs that have grown to a certain stage of development. Embryos are not only potential life, but are life. It only stands to reason that, even in a Petri dish, non-living organisms do not grow. The only thing that stands between the embryo and its viability is a womb in which to develop to its full potential. And, the legalizing of allowing the government to fund this research opens the door to a market for embryo production.

This bill also cuts against the grain of American culture. Contrary to popular belief, America, the great melting pot, does have its own distinctive culture. Part of this culture is a culture of life. In our Declaration of Independence, the first unalienable right noted is Life. Without life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not possible. The government sanctioning of stem-cell research runs contrary to this cultural value.

Research of stem cells by private firms is already in progress, whether we agree with it or not. And, anyway, let’s face it, since when has government involvement ever led to the efficient discovery of anything. At any rate, the government should not be funding stem-cell research.

- Max Atlas