Monday, December 14, 2015

Resurrecting the Boston Sunday Globe

I know I had put it to rest; however, "on Sunday [evening], reality set in. It all sounds good, but.... (what does it mean for every man and women on the planet?)"

As I was going through the Arts section looking for a spoiler I found this on the back page:

"Darwin Ellis of Books on the Common in Ridgefield, Conn., recommends “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government” by David Talbot (Harper): “Nearly 50 years after his death, former CIA director Dulles is unmasked as the backstage manipulator of US policy (foreign and domestic) from the Cold War up to his skillful defense of the highly suspect Warren Commission report. Those who scoff at conspiracy theories might have a change of mind after reading this book of more than 600 pages.” 

It's the pick of the week, and for some reason it leaves me sullen seeing such a thing in the Globe after all the pooh-poohing of such things.

While speaking of "conspiracy" theories:

"The Constitution requires inequality" by Richard Kreitner   December 13, 2015

Believe it or not, the Constitution [was] crafted by the richest and most powerful Americans of their day to perpetuate their own control over the government and economy.

In late 1786, a farmer and veteran of the Revolution named Daniel Shays led an armed insurrection of debtors and veterans in the hills of Western Massachusetts. Objecting to an onerous regime of taxes and confiscations the state imposed to pay its creditors, the rebels marched through the countryside, threatening the new federal arsenal at Springfield and shutting down courthouses to stop foreclosure proceedings. Bankers and merchants in Boston — the same parties who owned the state’s debt — lent Massachusetts more money to put the insurrection down.

Mortified by the threat to their wealth and power, the elite sought to reconfigure the government more to their liking, and to ensure that such an outburst of popular sentiment couldn’t happen again.

As schoolchildren learn — and adults often forget — the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was only tasked with amending the Articles of Confederation, the document that had governed the breakaway Colonies since 1781. The convention wasn’t supposed to rewrite them entirely. The progressive historian Charles Beard, whose influential “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution” was the first work to reveal the class-based nature of our founding charter, stated the matter plainly when he called it a coup d’etat.

Contrary to what many assume, the Constitution was never subjected to a popular referendum, but to the votes of state ratifying conventions that were themselves largely elected by only white propertied males; indeed, only about 150,000 Americans elected delegates, out of a population of some 4 million. With the goal of persuading New Yorkers to elect pro-Constitution delegates to the state’s convention, James Madison, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, wrote a series of 85 essays under the pseudonym Publius that were published in local papers between November 1787 and August 1788 under the title, The Federalist. Madison’s most famous contribution, Federalist No. 10, is widely acclaimed for its idea that factions of citizens with disparate interests should be balanced against one another in order to create a republic that would neither succumb to what John Adams called “tyranny of the majority” nor lose its responsiveness to the people as it grew larger in stature and scale.

Yet despite the attention Federalist No. 10 has received from political scientists, it ought to be much better known among all who favor a more equal distribution of wealth, because it explains how our political system, often described as rigged, has in fact been rigged from the start.

“Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens,” Madison writes near the beginning of the essay, gesturing, as he does throughout The Federalist, to the fallout from Shays’ Rebellion, “that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”

That majority, it slowly becomes clear, are the debtors and small landowners, those more recently designated the 99 percent. “The diversity in the faculties of men,” Madison explains, leads to different “rights of property,” and this difference represents “an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests” in the political community. “The protection of these faculties is the first object of government,” he adds.

The main purpose of the new Constitution, then, was to preserve inequalities among individuals and the inequalities in the distribution of property among them. “Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society,” Madison observes. Ever had it been, and ever under the Constitution would it be. The division of wealth and political power, between the haves and the have-nots, between (as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan has put it) the makers and the takers, was to be carefully maintained. For Madison, in Federalist No. 10, the question was how to do so while at least nominally “preserv[ing] the spirit and the form of popular government.”

For starters, Madison suggested, put some distance between the people and the levers of actual power. The implication is clear: Settle disputes between the people and the elite by making the elite the representatives of the people. Madison even suggested that perhaps such an arrangement would render “the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people . . . more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves.”

Today, many people argue that campaign finance reform is the primary reason the wealthy so thoroughly control the government. But a careful reading of Federalist No. 10 ought to disabuse them of that notion. According to Madison, representative government is superior to democracy — a form of government, he says, that is “incompatible with . . . the rights of private property” — because it filters the public will through the medium of allegedly disinterested leaders. For the founders, only the rich were truly above corruption by “partial considerations.” The same argument has been somewhat less eloquently stated in our own time by noted political theorist Donald Trump.

In a speech at Liberty University in September, Bernie Sanders observed that the country “was created, and I’m sorry to have to say this, from way back, on racist principles.” Historians are divided over that assertion, yet the result was a surprisingly intelligent and elevated debate on an important question about the fundamental meaning of democracy in America, a phenomenon all but absent from our politics for decades.

It is long past time to reconsider a related but different question, one that dominated national political conversation in the earliest days of the republic: To what extent does the government serve the interests of the wealthy who created it? Or, put another way, given the now almost universally acknowledged fact that the government serves the interest of the wealthy, to what extent is that a function not of how the intentions of the founders have been perverted but of how they have been fulfilled?

A careful reading of Federalist No. 10 shows that the problem may not be the Constitution, but the Union itself. “Extend the sphere,” Madison wrote, “and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests. You make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens.” What kind of majority is he referring to, and which rights? Madison is clear. If a national government were constituted, he told his readers, “A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property” — precisely the demands of the Massachusetts rebels — “or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it.”

Sanders and his supporters can rage all they want against a system that benefits the rich at the expense of the rest, but that system has ingeniously safeguarded itself against genuine reform. Even if he were to win the Democratic primary and the general election, Sanders would have to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” the very document that has, as he so often puts it, rigged the system. In addition to being speculators, slavers, and philosophers, the founders were also comedians: The requirement to recite the presidential oath is in the Constitution itself....


It's a good article as far as it goes and it mentions some salient points, but there is no mention of the unconstitutional Federal Reserve and its impact (it was Congress that was given the power to coin and regulate money; they turned it over to the private banks for which there is a charge of interest).

RelatedHow to fix inequality

No mention of corporate welfare either from what I saw, but that's our $y$tem.

So what side of the political divide are you on?

"What truly conservative foreign policy looks like" by Stephen Kinzer Globe Correspondent  December 13, 2015

.... Liberals have an expansive, optimistic view of what they can achieve in the world. They see themselves as a force for good and can be tempted to crash into other countries to “help” them toward “modernity.” Liberalism contains within it a sense of evangelical mission, which sometimes leads to we-know-best arrogance.

Wow. 20 years ago I was a liberal even if antiwar.

Conservatism, by contrast, is a live-and-let-live ideology. By nature it is prudent, careful, and restrained. Conservatives do not believe that any country can solve the world’s problems or is called to do so. They want to leave other nations alone, not remake them. That makes restraint in foreign affairs an essentially conservative doctrine.

Wow. I'm a conservative.

Why, then, do so many self-proclaimed conservatives vote for lavish defense budgets, favor maintaining hundreds of military bases around the world, and support foreign wars?

The Empire based on the military-industrial complex and Zionist control of Congre$$.

It was not always so....

In the United States, people who call themselves liberal and those who call themselves conservative share the interventionist impulse. Liberals have good reason. They are by nature teachers and improvers. Conservatives, however, must reject the essence of their creed when they support aggressive foreign policy and the wars that come with it.

I've done that.

The liberal-conservative consensus that shapes our approach to the world embraces both major political parties, most of the press, and the multinational economy. It leads to foreign policy that is not simply interventionist, but utopian, visionary, millennarian. Setting out to remake nations and entire regions, seeking to implant our version of democracy in distant lands, deposing governments and imposing others in their place, springing to the rescue of people we consider oppressed — these are breathtakingly radical projects. They more closely resemble Trotskyism.

Yeah, the lies that lead to mass-murdering wars and destruction are all based out of altruism and not control of resources and supply lines (creating breathtaking amounts of war refugees).

As for springing to the rescue of oppressed people, the Palestinians are still waiting. 

By helping to push the United States into ambitious nation-building projects, mainstream conservatism [has] abandoned their movement’s founding principles. A true conservative looks dubiously on foreign intervention....

Looks like I'm a "true" conservative, whatever that means.


I'm told Rand Paul is my only option.

"Hundreds of people demonstrated in central London to protest Britain’s decision to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria. Demonstrators marched Saturday from the BBC Broadcasting House to Prime Minister David Cameron’s Downing Street office. Britain’s Parliament voted earlier this month to sanction the airstrikes as part of a US-led coalition.

Cameron has argued that the airstrikes will strengthen Britain’s security by degrading the Islamic State forces responsible for attacks in Paris, Beirut, and elsewhere. Opposition Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Cameron of rushing to war, but 66 Labor lawmakers voted with the Conservative government.

In a separate development.... Burundi could be slipping back into civil war."

Time to put today's posts to rest.