A reporter asked Majority Leader Harry Reid how he could justify exempting Nebraska from Medicaid payments forever, in exchange for Sen. Ben Nelson's vote. His reply:

There's a hundred senators here. And I don't know if there's a senator that doesn't have something in this bill that was important to them. And if they don't have something in it important to them, then it doesn't speak well of them. That's what this legislation is all about. (Harry Reid, Dec. 21, 2009, Democratic press conference after cloture vote on health-care bill)

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Democrats insisted on changing the law in Massachusetts to require an election to fill the office of Sen. John Kerry, should he be elected president in 2004. They argued that the people, not the governor, should choose the senator's replacement. Of course, the governor at the time was a Republican, Mitt Romney. Now that the governor is a Democrat, the people should not choose Ted Kennedy's successor; the governor should make the appointment. The duplicity here is despicable.

Democrats went berserk over what they called President Bush's "power grab," but are silent in the face of President Obama's massive consolidation of power. The duplicity here is despicable.

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When the president announced last week that he would “cut out the middleman” and make direct government loans to students, he laid bare his contempt for free enterprise. He is fulfilling a campaign promise by overhauling the system through which he claims, “Private lenders are costing America’s taxpayers more than $15 million dollars every day and provide no additional value except to the banks themselves.”

Consider the philosophy behind his statement. If government cuts out the middleman and performs the service instead, it will be cheaper and more efficient, he reasons. Apply this same reasoning to, say, the entire banking industry. Government’s direct involvement in the banking industry can eliminate all those bonuses paid to greedy executives and profits earned by greedy share holders, and make sure that loans are extended to low-income borrowers whether they qualify or not. Direct government control of the banking business will surely make it fairer and more efficient.

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Last July, Anthony Hervey, an outspoken black advocate for the Confederate flag, was killed in a car crash. Arlene Barnum, a surviving passenger in the vehicle, told authorities and the media that they had been forced off the road by a carload of "angry young black men" after Hervey, while wearing his Confederate kepi, stopped at a convenience store en route to his home in Oxford, Mississippi. His death was in no small part caused by the gross level of ignorance, organized deceit and anger about the War of 1861. Much of the ignorance stems from the fact that most Americans believe the war was initiated to free slaves, when in truth, freeing slaves was little more than an afterthought. I want to lay out a few quotations and ask what you make of them.

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We call the war of 1861 the Civil War. But is that right? A civil war is a struggle between two or more entities trying to take over the central government. Confederate President Jefferson Davis no more sought to take over Washington, D.C., than George Washington sought to take over London in 1776. Both wars, those of 1776 and 1861, were wars of independence. Such a recognition does not require one to sanction the horrors of slavery. We might ask, How much of the war was about slavery?

Was President Abraham Lincoln really for outlawing slavery? Let's look at his words. In an 1858 letter, Lincoln said, "I have declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General Government, nor any other power outside of the slave states, can constitutionally or rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists." In a Springfield, Illinois, speech, he explained: "My declarations upon this subject of Negro slavery may be misrepresented but cannot be misunderstood.

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The victors of war write its history in order to cast themselves in the most favorable light. That explains the considerable historical ignorance about our war of 1861 and panic over the Confederate flag. To create better understanding, we have to start a bit before the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the war between the colonies and Great Britain. Its first article declared the 13 colonies "to be free, sovereign and independent states." These 13 sovereign nations came together in 1787 as principals and created the federal government as their agent. Principals have always held the right to fire agents. In other words, states held a right to withdraw from the pact -- secede.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that in Germany, multiculturalism has "utterly failed." Both Australia's ex-prime minister John Howard and Spain's ex-prime minister Jose Maria Aznar reached the same conclusion about multiculturalism in their countries. British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that multiculturalism is fostering extremist ideology and directly contributing to homegrown Islamic terrorism. UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said the United Kingdom's push for multiculturalism has not united Britons but pushed them apart. It has allowed for Islam to emerge despite Britain's Judeo-Christian culture. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the roots of violent Islamism are not "superficial but deep" and can be found "in the extremist minority that now, in every European city, preach hatred of the West and our way of life."

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Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization and chairman of  Sovereignty International.