My Blog List

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Campaign against the 7th Amendment right to trial by Jury

I believe that the right to a Jury trial in Civil trials is a fundamental right that ought to be up to the discretion of the litigants and not the judges. And I believe that the 7th Amendment establishes that right. I also believe that it is our Justices and Legislators who are infringing on that right by denying people access to Jury trials, illegally reducing their findings of fact on Jury awards, and using "standing" arguments to deny due process in civil proceedings.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Jury Trials, Judicial Tyranny and the Seventh Amendment

I believe that people have a 7th Amendment right to a jury trial in civil proceedings if they wish it and that the case for that is established in the history of Common Law and the creation of the 7th amendment.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Food Hubs and Transportation

Our system is vulnerable to interruptions. It is especially vulnerable to interruptions in food supply. Currently we import food from as Far away as China and Chile, India and Africa. That's okay. But what happens if our traffic gets disrupted? What happens when in some future moment there is a massive drought in the West and the wells run dry? We can feed and electrify our lands now. The concepts are there. All that is needed is the execution. One of the projects I'm working on is supporting DC's efforts to create food hubs. this blog entry is based on that effort:

Food Hubs and Food Security

The following image is from a brochure on Food Hubs in DC by Sabine O’Hara:

And she writes:

"Food security demands a diversified food system that includes urban communities as locations for food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste reduction/reuse. The Urban Food Hubs concept of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) tests the feasibility of small-scale urban food systems that include these four key components."

It's possible to produce food everywhere, and set up means to get it to everyone.

"The heart of the CAUSES Urban Food Hubs are high efficiency food production sites that utilize bio-intensive, aquaponic, and hydroponic production methods. Co-located with these urban food production sites are commercial kitchens that serve as business incubators and training facilities for food processing and nutritional health related activities. Given their location in urban neighborhoods, the Urban Food Hubs also focus on waste reduction and reuse through composting, water management, and related approaches to minimizing pressure on urban land and infrastructure systems. In addition to improving food security, the Urban Food Hubs thus also contribute to job creation and urban sustainability in its economic, social/cultural, and environmental/physical dimensions." [www.thesolutionsjournal.org]

The goal here is to encourage a system that is fair to both cities, that are often currently food deserts and to rural areas that are usually money deserts, subject to abusive extraction and constant looting, and yet could be in a symbiotic relationship with the cities were it not for our centralizing organizations.

At one private Grocery chains acted like Food hubs. But conglomeratization and buyouts have led to them failing in that role. In my area Giant has become a giant company operating out of Holland. Safeway also a conglomerate. And they aren't even interested in serving under-served areas. They mostly seem to compete for the same yuppy upper middle class neighborhoods.

We obviously need an alternative, and reformed, system. And I'm working with friends to build one.

From Her Article: Key Concepts

  • Food security demands a diversified food system that includes urban communities as locations for food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste reduction/ reuse.
  • The Urban Food Hubs concept of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) tests the feasibility of small-scale urban food systems that include these four components.
  • The Urban Food Hubs are centered on high efficiency food production systems including bio-intensive, aquaponic, and hydroponic production, commercial kitchens that serve as training facilities, and business incubators.
  • In addition to improving food security, the Urban Food Hubs contribute to job creation and urban sustainability in its economic, social/cultural, and environmental/physical dimensions.
Further Readings:
http://www.thesolutionsjournal.org/
Got Food? How Local Food Systems Can Build Resilience for Turbulent Times
Safeway:
"AB Acquisition LLC, and Safeway completed a merger that created one of the largest food and drug retailers in the country, with over 2,200 stores in 33 states and the District of Columbia, and employing approximately 265,000 people. With Safeway stores in 19 states"
http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/Our-Story.page

Using the Post Office to Organize for Democracy

In 2013 I introduced the idea of "Organizing Communities Around the Post Office" based on some readings (among them "the Kings Best Highway") about the early networked Post Office the US colonies had in New England before we became a country. At that time the Post Office was networked in a way similar to how our current internet is organized. Around that time I started realizing that our country needs a third force in addition to State Governments.

The national dialogue acts like our choice is between centralizing power in National Corporations, centralizing it in a Federal Government or centralizing it on States and Counties. But those are false choices. But A genuine equitable "third way" requires empowering boroughs, towns and cities as well as State Capitals or county seats. Centralization without these attributes is by it's nature "private, separate advantage" [tyranny].

It needs a healthy "polity"; cities, towns and counties in addition to States and the Federal Government. And power needs to be distributed in a manner based on the principle of "subsidiarity" -- but as it should apply in a Republican context: Local affairs controlled locally with Republican forms replicated locally. [See article on Republican Principles]

The reason we need this is that while the country is more robust if we are integrated both globally and locally. If both local governments and central governments are robust and resilient then they can aid each other in need, and provide checks on each other when folks get "consumed by their passions" and start going down a wrong path. A Genuine Democratic Republic replicates Republican forms while dividing up the responsibilities, down to the smallest possible unit of government. We are stronger together not just nationally but also locally when we are organized well.

I have a lot more to say about this. But it wouldn't require any constitutional changes to elect Post Masters and/or use them to organize fair elections, city and town participation in local governance, and local participation in control of our networked energy and communications systems. All it takes is restoring some of the ideas we had in our Colonial times. Having a post office should be a right for local communities. And local control over local communications and transport should be a right within a networked framework. We do that and our system will function a lot better.

Further Reading:
Organizing Communities Around the Post Office: http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2013/12/organizing-communities-around-post.html
http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-kings-best-highway.html
http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2012/08/definitions-related-to-democratic.html

Friday, July 24, 2015

Georgia Avenue Business Improvement District & Development Corporation Non-Profit Organization

I've got a friend named Michael Jackson. Joe Orlow and I met him while I was trying to help Joe get his Farmer's market product sales going. He in turn is friend with some other folks in my old home of NW DC including Andre Carley who is a Neighborhood representative and Toussaint Tyson. He's trying mightily to improve things in his neck of the woods for all the people who live in DC (and of course generally) and the DC area. Anyway, he's working to get Georgia Avenue designated a commercial corridor and to that aim he and his colleagues have created Georgia Avenue Business Improvement District & Development Corporation Non-Profit Organization, or GABIDDC.

"Michael Jackson started GABIDDC. Michael has been a community activist for many years. He also teaches at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Michael picked the upper corridor of Georgia Avenue to work on as far as improving business there. He formed GABIDDC to pull together the many threads of his activism: working with youth to train them and find them employment, inviting businesses into the city, and promoting academic research that will lead to tangible results as far as increasing employment and attracting businesses." [http://gabiddc.blogspot.com/2015/06/welcome.html]

Also: https://gabiddc.wordpress.com/contact/

Some of my other friends have connected to him and I'm trying to help him, from my distant (semi) retirement at the 55 mile mark of the Great Chesapeake and Ohio Tow Path and former canal, once known as Berlin, then Smoketown and now known as Brunswick. I don't have much to say except most of my help so far has been volunteer stuff. We are pushing a health/medical readiness effort connected to disease outbreaks. We are getting ready for the DC Fair....[https://dcstatefair.wordpress.com/] On Saturday September 12 2015

DC having a Fair???? Yes!

Yes, amazingly Amazingly:

https://dcstatefair.wordpress.com/event-details/

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In order for all lives to matter, black lives have to matter

I think Hillary is starting to get the message of the "black lives matter movement." But I'm not sure that my former Governor O'Malley and Bernie understood what was going on. Looking at the tape I thought they were being Breitbarted by Republicans. But what the "Black Lives Matter" folks are doing, is what we all should be doing. Indeed it's what Bernie Sanders has been doing on the Liberty and Economic Justice issues around our Privateering Financial vulture so-called "capitalists."

In order to get what we want we have to be loud and let folks know loudly that our agenda needs to be on the agenda. But I can understand where they are coming from having watched the insane police and political responses of my fellow white folks in Ferguson, New York, Cincinnati, etc... It's pretty obvious that we need some major changes in Policy, Training, Discipline and Culture in our society still.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

If the DNC rigs the primaries they risk the Election

Dear Ms Wasserman Schultz

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
 

I am a Democrat. That means I'm closer to being an independent voter than most folks who style themselves an "independent." I love the history of this party and it's ties to Jefferson and Madison. I even love the darkside of our party and our ties to Andrew Jackson. 1828 was his year. I love Andrew Jackson as a populist. He too fought a rigged financial system. He also engaged in some of the darkest behavior of our history with the Indian Removals he instigated. Our country has always had to push from the bottom to have any democratic features in this Republic, and the natural tendency of our purported leaders is oligarchy. We call our party "democratic" because that is what we are about. And in our system that means choice in the primaries. The Daily Kos is running an article accusing you of rigging the election towards Hillary Clinton.

I don't believe that allegation. I think maybe you just need some help organizing a strong primary challenge in order to vet our candidates. If it were true that you were trying to rig the primary, then it would be incredibly stupid. The Reason Bernie Sanders is in this race is that there has been a sea change in the consciousness of the Democratic Rank and File and a lot of us, even those of us who love Hillary and Obama, know that this country needs more than to simply run a slightly better alternative to the fascism of the Cons. We don't need to be deprogrammed from the Con Artists in the GOP, but many of us are outraged at the continuing behavior of Wall Street, the Revolving door among our officers, Citizens United, Spying and the unwillingness of law enforcement to prosecute our biggest criminals on Wall Street while they go after School Teachers for downloading music from public websites. Now I understand that a lot of Democratic funding comes from Wall Street. But it is in the interest of Wall Street to obey the law, and it is in our survival interest to start reigning them in and getting them to pay for their privileges, or they will succeed in bankrupting our country. They already have ruined the lives of a lot of us. And we are angry and demand change. This is not a season for Triangulating or glad-handing. We want real change.

A 50 state strategy is a start. We need a 3,144 Counties and 19,509 Cities,towns and villages strategy. And right now we need to be sponsoring robust primaries in all our states so that the people can thoroughly vet our candidates. If there is anyway I can help I'd love to. It's a gargantuan task. But that is where real democracy is. It's when the people rule, when we step up.

What you can't do is a sloppy primary.

2016 and Fighting Wall Street

I looked at your website. No mention of Wall Street and our issues with them. Also You should be talking about our Infrastructure and how we need to rebuild it. Also, when I click on "2016" I want to see our candidates first. Not a really poor quality set of graphics on the evils of the GOP. I'm looking at the DNC because I want to know who among our leadership is standing for the people, for reforming Wall Street, preventing another financial meltdown, rebuilding our infrastructure, etc.... I think most people entering the site are looking for information on what we are going to do in 2016, not the dark side of our unhappy opponents. Maybe a Tab that says "Democrats in 2016" and "What we Face" might work better. It needs a list serve, and to be more closely integrated with the State Websites. And we need to facilitate democracy in our party.

Project Ivy

Project Ivy is a page right now. I'd really like to see it as a portal to 3,144 Counties and 19,509 Cities and more closely integrated with the State Democratic party orgs. You've got a webpage to the various Democratic State Organizations. That needs to be integrated. Each of them should have a website, two way communications, a database, and the ability to query candidates. If you could get hold of the team that runs Obama's website it would help.

Each of them should have people on hand to get out the word. We need to make our party more democratic. I know we really want to win in 2016. But process matters as much as outcome. We can do it Ms Schultz. I know most of us love Hillary, but we should be listening to Bernie. His plank expresses a common theme. If I can help I will.

I guess we Dems are going to have to fight to get our plank out there. For now I'm taking Bernie's plank as a starting point. Please consider adopting it as the Dem Plank. We'll be following your efforts and whether you (and Hillary) do.

Further Reading

http://www.democrats.org/the-latest
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/07/17/1403055/-DNC-Accused-of-Rigging-Debate-Schedule-to-Benefit-Hillary-Clinton#

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Privateers give a broadside to the Greeks

Nobody was surprised by what is happening to the Greeks. It's happened in one way or another to country or state after state, around the world. Since the end of official colonialism, the central powers may be less likely to send in troops everywhere, but the use of central banking, exchange rates, and trade power has been used over and over again to shift the debts of corrupt officials and corrupt bankers to the general publics of the countries they are looting. The Germans, the Japanese, the Chinese and even the Russians have, mostly, traded their military Uniforms for Uniform Suits. It's not outright war anymore. It's "just business" -- with the model as the Godfather.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review of Salon Article "5 Billionaires Who are Making Life Miserable for Ordinary Americans"

I started reading the Article "5 Billionaires Who are Making Life Miserable for Ordinary Americans," by Dave Johnson from Alternet, and I thought I'd see the usual suspects. But from the looks of it there are a lot more than 5 billionaires trying to turn the USA into an Oligarchy. His article points to 5 people who are not the Walton's or the Koch Brothers. The article demonstrates that we have hundreds of Billionaires whose idea of our Republic is an oligarchic Republic. It looks like Billionaire Tom Perkins is speaking for his fellow Billionaires!:

“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” Perkins said. “But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”

And it seems like these Billionaires are working to make this a reality. The list of Miscreants in the Salon Article are:

Billionaires:
1) Pete Peterson
2) John D. Arnold
3) Charles Munger Jr.
4) Tom Perkins
5) Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and others

There are a lot more than 5 persons. It seems like venal and perverse billionaires have become legion. Hundreds? They seem to be in every State of the Union, and their gatherings with the Koch Brothers or the other factions are chauffeured events; usually secret. It's no wonder our Democracy is in trouble. They seem to have taken the Powell memo as a declaration of war on the USA. Essentially they are running their own revolution. The Salon Article gives detail on only 5 of them, but it has links to more information. So when we talk of the Koch's takeover, we are really talking about a group of sometimes aligned oligarchs pushing different issues for self aggrandizement using politics to buy power and influence.

Here are some highlights for those who might not click on the link:

1) Pete Peterson’s deficit/debt scare campaign and his ongoing effort to gut Social Security and other entitlements.

Pete Peterson is the pointman on the effort to privateer and eliminate social security:

"Leading every list of billionaires pushing an issue is billionaire Pete Peterson and his forever war on government doing things to make our lives better, especially Social Security. Peterson leads the list because of reports of his pledge to spend $1 billion on his pet issue."

And that is one billion this year. Think of it! The Koch's have pledged to spend a billion electing candidates across the country who reflect the beliefs of this group. But you can better believe that Pete Peterson's ads will coordinate with those of the Kochs and the others. They all share hostility to the idea of democracy. They really are disciples of Tom Perkins. The article continues:

"Have you ever heard anywhere that the budget deficit and national debt are a problem? You can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine, turn on the radio or TV, or listen to any politician from the so-called “center” to the far right without hearing that, and the reason is Pete Peterson and his money."

The Salon Article includes a video of Pete Peterson in video:

https://youtu.be/Rui5m_DRdvg

But what Pete Peterson is running a hoax. Social Security's only threat is from Pete Peterson.

Some of the front groups in the Pete Peterson list is;

"Peterson and his money are a big part of the backing for the
"Concord Coalition,
"Fix the Debt,
"The Can Kicks Back,"
the Comeback America Initiative,
the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget,
the Moment of Truth Project,
the Committee for Economic Development,
America Speaks plus contributions to many other groups."

And the article notes:

"As Michael Hiltzik worded it in Unmasking the most influential billionaire in U.S. politics at the LA Times, “The shame of Washington… comes from the fact that almost every organization promoting the grand fiscal bargain in which those programs will be on the table has accepted, somewhere and somehow, money from Pete Peterson.”

At least Pete Peterson doesn't hide his numerous front groups like Koch brothers and their "kochtopolis". His looks more like a pyramid:

http://www.salon.com/.../5_billionaires_who_are_making.../ and

And Source Watch

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Portal:Fix_the_Debt
 

Our Real Problem is in the Trade Deficit and War Mongering

Meanwhile our real debt problem is in our trade deficit and war-mongering. As the Salon Article also notes:

"Meanwhile the country’s real deficit problem is our trade deficit, especially with China. The trade deficit is the measure of jobs and factories moving out of the country. Fixing this deficit just happens to create jobs, lift wages and repair our economy."
"If you are hearing about how terrible the budget deficit is and how it is so important that we all make sacrifices in order to bring that deficit down, it’s Pete Peterson ‘s money talking. Too bad there is no billionaire pushing us to fix the trade deficit."

Too bad they are all exploiting it using Wall Street Arbitrage tricks and offshoring.

 

Public Pensions

 

2) Billionaire John D. Arnold’s attack on public-employee pensions.

If the Kochs are point people for stealing elections and the Tea Party/GOP takeover of State after state, and Pete Peterson is the point man on cutting Public Pensions, John D. Arnold runs point on the Far Right's attacks on the pension system. They've already systematically looted private, University and public pensions across the country but it seems Arnold sees his mission as to end the rest. David Sirota has done work on this one. "David Sirota showed how the Pew Charitable Trusts was working in partnership with (and funded by) Arnold." The findings in Sirota’s report included this:

"Finding: Conservative activists are manufacturing the perception of a public pension crisis in order to both slash modest retiree benefits and preserve expensive corporate subsidies and tax breaks."

The primary source for the money and movement on this is Arnold.

"David Sirota showed how the Pew Charitable Trusts was working in partnership with (and funded by) Arnold. The findings in Sirota’s report can be read at this link "Plot against Pensions" [http://ourfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Plot-Against-Pensions-final.pdf]

So if you were expecting a pension from your police or fire job. If that gets done away with you can thank John D. Arnold. Remember that name, friends, especially if you are in law enforcement.

They are attacking every single source of information and influence in the country. Even Sesame Street!

The Wolf of Sesame Street: [http://pando.com/2014/02/12/the-wolf-of-sesame-street-revealing-the-secret-corruption-inside-pbss-news-division/]
And more about PBS under John D. Arnold's influence:
http://ourfuture.org/.../discover-the-network-out-to...

As Dave Johnson notes:

“These corporate/conservative organizations are very good at manipulating the media and public opinion — it is their purpose. Their “experts” are well paid and always available to talk to reporters, appear on TV and radio shows and write articles and opinion pieces for newspapers, blogs and for their network of similar organizations. Their “reports’ and “studies” reach the conclusions that fit the strategy, and are crafted to sound just right. And there are so many of them! The result is development of “conventional wisdom” about what is going on in our society. This is why that conventional wisdom more and more reflects the corporate/conservative line.” [Also: discover-the-network-out-to...]

3) Charles Munger Jr. (near-billionaire and son of a billionaire) wants to control California

I hadn't heard of Munger (He's mostly California's problem). I think that Dave profiled him because he's typical of those billionaires who are based in their home cities and have a perverse loyalty to the GOP and country club of those places. There are a lot of local politically active billionaires whose focus is more local politics, like Munger.

 

4) Perkins -- see above

 

What Matters about Perkins is that his statement might have sounded like a Joke, but when you take these billionaires in tandem it's not funny anymore. Indeed they could be cutting their own throats in the long run. David quotes Igor Volsky from Think Progress:

“The nation’s growing gap between the rich and poor has become a full-blown crisis, with the top 1 percent of families experienced a 278 percent increase in their real after-tax income from 1979 to 2007, while families in the middle 60 percent saw an increase of less than 40 percent. A large body of research suggests that high inequality leads to lower levels of representative democracy and a higher probability of revolution, as poorer citizens become convinced that the government is only serving and representing the interests of the rich." [http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-one-billionaires-idea-give-rich-people-more-votes-already-works]

Another recent study showed that our elected officials pretty much ignore public opinion. What they do pay attention to are campaign donations. And the poor can't donate anything so the strategy of the rich is to eliminate the middle class that the features of Democracy depend on. Perkins is "already getting what he wants." And we arent':

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” https://represent.us/action/theproblem-4/"

And the reason is that politicians do as their campaign donors do. And the country does as the media tells them to do. And the media is influenced (if not outright slaves to) these billionaires and those citizens who pay them. For a few hundred bucks a local crook can buy a politician. For a few billion our billionaires have decided to buy out the country.

5) And then there are the Supposedly Liberal Silicon Valley boys

Then there are Silicon Valley billionaires Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and others pushing low wages for people who work for them. This one frosts me because I worked "figuratively" in the extended silicon valley and the Government heavily subsidized it's creation. Then the moguls who took advantage of Wall Street money to monopolize key pieces of software and connectivity started working on us. Pensions? We never had them. We had 401K's and IRAs, and initial promises of employer matching that were never kept. And now these folks have the stones to go to Congress and say they have to hire abroad rather than tap into the pool of unemployed software engineers and skill in this country. It's a transparent effort to enslave all of us. And taken together, it's pretty clear we are fighting oligarchy.

And this article didn't even include the Koch Brothers, Adelson or the legions of other folks in Florida and Nevada, Chicago and New York -- and scattered throughout the country, who are pursuing similar agendas.

Further Reading

http://www.salon.com/2014/02/20/5_billionaires_who_are_making_life_miserable_for_ordinary_americans_partners/
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Portal:Fix_the_Debt
The Wolf of Sesame Street: [http://pando.com/2014/02/12/the-wolf-of-sesame-street-revealing-the-secret-corruption-inside-pbss-news-division/]
http://www.concordcoalition.org/
Dave Walker is a Pete Peterson Shill on Video:
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=david+walker&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=E299D178EB0C851E71E7E299D178EB0C851E71E7

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Lioness

I was wondering where the lioness went.
Now I know.
I hadn't seen you stalking your foes
Nor sunning yourself in green trees.
I was afraid you might be ill or wounded.
and that life might have brought you to your knees.
But I needed not worry about you at all.
 
I was wondering where the Lioness went.
Now I know.
You didn't leave the war
Nor did you let go of the scent,
You didn't stop stalking Your enemies,
or run away from your duties.
But you sought a quiet place
to make a statement of hope for us all.
 
I was wondering where the Lioness went.
Now I know.
You made a statement of love with your mate.
And chose to step away from confusion and hate.
To find a quiet warm place, well protected and safe.
Where you could exercise your faith
and give birth to a child of great hope.
And in the process maybe save us all?
 
I was wondering where the lioness went.
Now I know
She emerges from her quiet dark lair
With a little lion cub at her side.
No lioness would ever run and hide.
Unless it was important to you.
In nurturing the future
and living in the present.
You do what is important to do.
 
Thank God for people with the courage inside,
to carry on from the heart for the future.
I have no doubts this cub will one day run and play
And take her place in the great game of life.
 
Christopher H. Holte, July 10, 2015
Thinking of my friend Christine Dillon Strickland and her daughter -- and her granddaughter.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Anyone surprised that Exxon knew about climate change in 1981?

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981. Funded climate change deniers to manage the information.

Alternet reports:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/exxon-knew-climate-change-1981-email-says-it-funded-deniers-27-more-years?sc=fb
 

The Pirate

The Pirate cares not
for the dying sailors
as the ship he sank
Sinks below the Sea
 
What he may rue
is not the slick from the ship,
but that it sank
before he could loot it.
 
Christopher H Holte, 7/9/2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Cons Lament

There but for life's hard knocks go I:
In hateful ignorance sure of my righteousness
living in my sty
 
I'd still be:
Armed with ignorance, warring on all
who might prevent my inevitable fall!
I'd be standing behind my wall!
Of Armed Ignorance and fear.
confidently ignorant
 
If it were not for merciful lessons
I'd be confident my earthworks don't stink
And that I would profit
From what others drink
I'd still be brewing a putrid brew
And share it for others to drink too.
Oblivious that there but for fortunes arrows;
Go I too.
 
Christopher Hartly Holte, 7/7/2015

Star Haiku

Saving up the daylight
Storing up the sun.
What a wonder the stars are
when the day is done.

Not 3 lines, not 5,7,5 syllables either.

Haiku:

Daylight storing sun.
Such a Wonder have become!
Stars, When day is done.

Going Greek on the Whole World

Turning the World into Greece

While I was writing my last post ["TISA mroe scary than TPP]I did a search for Ben Beachy and the wikileaks articles and I got 10 pages of ads. I had to spend about 10 minutes getting past google and refine my search terms to get an actual search. Wonder why? It's probably because Google, Netflix, Bing, Microsoft, etc... are writing TISA. Anyway here is the text of the public citizen News Release with my comments:

http://www.citizen.org/documents/press-release-tisa-leak-july-2015.pdf

It would be helpful if policymakers acted with some recognition that the 2008-2009 financial crisis actually occurred. It shouldn’t be hard. In the United States alone, nearly $20 trillion in wealth was lost, between lost output and lost home equity; unemployment peaked at 10 percent; millions of families lost their homes. The situation was worse in much of the world, with severe problems continuing in many countries, notably in Europe."

On the contrary the interests who are writing TISA with the support of revolving Door Trade Representatives learned from the Financial Meltdown that they can get away with three part frauds:

First stage is to use the money supply and advertising to turn some commodity (such as real estate) into a leveraged bubble. Sell debt with promises of riches by making people think they are buying homes, businesses, or going to make a lot of money.
Second Stage, use financial derivatives to bet against those people achieving their riches.
Third Stage, foreclose on the poor rubes who bought into the first stage of the Fraud.

They are using this method in country after country to practice a sort of financialized neo-liberalism. Instead of:

"Learning from the crisis means not repeating the deregulatory and non-enforcement mistakes that led up to it. Yet a secret international trade agreement, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), threatens to adopt and impose a global financial deregulatory standard."

The Service Industry doesn't see the meltdown as a mistake. It was a highly successful swindle that left the swindlers billionaires. The only thing the financial services industry and it's little toys (companies owning telephone, internet, roads, bridges, infrastructure, software, etc...) have learned from the financial meltdown is that burning off real wealth by mixing it with paper wealth is a great way to acquire assets and shift ownership of real wealth to themselves while punishing victims such as homeowners in the USA or little colonial enterprises like Greece.

Almost nobody guilty went to jail. No billionaires were forced to return their treasure, the chests were buried in offshore beaches and pirate havens, for later retrieval and now they have a tried and true method to extract wealth from all over the earth and accumulate power to themselves. They can do all this, and then come in and pose as saviors, piling on more debt by loaning people their own money at interest to pay the interest on the money they were loaned at interest that they couldn't pay before. They can enslave a few politicians and use them to enslave the whole world. That is the lesson this industry learned. And TISA is another round of laws that will provide all the loopholes they need to keep doing this cycle til they can declare themselves a world aristocracy formally.

Rubin and his disciples, playing the left and Friedman, Greenspan and his disciples playing the right, perfected this sort of privateering corrupt regulation in the name of de-regulation starting in the 70's. In a free-booting world you can bet on anything. Exchange rates, whether businesses will fail, etc... and if you are savvy you can make money from other folks money and other folks failure. Even better people will welcome you as a savior when you spread the money around. When a person is desperate for money they will take any terms on a loan. And when you are unscrupulous you can always find public officials to Greece, especially if you can saddle the public with those loans. Banks loan people their own money and they are grateful for it. But the key is, to get laws changed and make it all nice and legal. TISA will be a letter of Marquee for modern piracy worldwide just as de-regulation provided such letters for Enron and even crazier frauds..

"Our analysis of a leaked version of the draft agreement, along with a draft annex on financial services, identifies threats to rules and policies ranging from limits on overall bank size to consumer protections, from prophylactic protections against new speculative financial instruments to limits on transfers of personal financial data."

Of course.

"It is unimaginable that such an agreement is under negotiation while the global economy is still recovering from the most severe crisis since the Great Depression, and while Greece and other countries are still reeling from developments related to the crisis."
"Yet, thanks to the publication of the TISA texts by WikiLeaks, we know that such negotiations are in fact underway."

Once you understand that the giant banksters got away with it. It is not only imaginable, but not a surprise at all.

"Post-crisis, the United States and countries around the world have tightened their domestic financial regulations, imposing somewhat tougher restraints on Wall Street and financial centers around the world. TISA is an effort by Wall Street and its global counterparts to undo those positive steps in a forum absolutely closed to the public."

Actually the United States has had trouble implementing reforms. And with TISA they won't be able to.

"To analyze the TISA text is to see that negotiators are ignoring the lessons from the financial crisis, and to see how vital it is to shine a light on the secret TISA negotiations. These leaks show that it is imperative for TISA negotiators to suspend their efforts, publish all texts under negotiations and not resume until there is a proper public debate about their radical deregulatory maneuvers."

The "New World Order" is not the Right Wing or Left Wing fantasy. Just international piracy involving Kochs, Republicans, and the wealthy of all advertised ideologies; and it works through trade agreements like TISA.

Common Dreams is reacting to a News Release from Public Citizen:
http://www.citizen.org/documents/press-release-tisa-leak-july-2015.pdf
Read the Article at Common Dreams:
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/07/02/tisa-leaks-part-deux-more-evidence-concerted-attack-democracy?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/policy-making/analysis/sustainability-impact-assessments/assessments/
Previous post: [http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/tisa-even-more-scary-than-tpp.html]

TISA even more scary than TPP

The Trade In Services Agreement (TISA)

The Trade In Services Agreement is designed to "fix" some problems with previous trade agreements from the Point of view of the corporations involved. The Service Coalition Board says about it [https://servicescoalition.org/negotiations/trade-in-services-agreement] in their "What is TISA section;

"The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) is the most promising opportunity in two decades to improve and expand trade in services. Initiated by the United States and Australia, the TISA is currently being negotiated in Geneva, Switzerland with 51 participants that represent 70 percent of the world's trade in services."

Privateering on an International Level

But that says very little. The reality is that, as always, the devil is in the details. And the details are of more neo-liberal ideology seeking to give impunity and immunity to international corporations by shifting governing powers from local government to these for the private, separate gain public corporations.

"As WikiLeaks puts it, the regulations together create "international legal regime which aims to deregulate and privatize the supply of services—which account for the majority of the economy across TISA countries."

This is privateering on an international level. Treaties like this are pirate treaties promising to turn the World Trade Organization into the Confederate Corporations of the World. That might be an improvement over the current chaotic oligarchy but it is the institution of hierarchical oligarchy and the institutionalization of wealth and power into rulership. It won't end war or solve hunger, but it will give more power to the already powerful for their separate enjoyment as they fly over the rest of us.

Common Dreams, an Anti TISA Website reports:

"As with Wednesday's documents, Thursday's batch of texts reveals 'a concerted attempt to place restrictions on the ability of participating governments to regulate services sectors, even where regulations are necessary to protect the privacy of domestic populations, the natural environment or the integrity of public services,' WikiLeaks declares." [http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/07/02/tisa-leaks-part-deux-more-evidence-concerted-attack-democracy?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork]

The website goes on to list initial negotiating companies, but the says:

"TiSA is based on the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services ( GATS ), which involves all WTO members. This means that if enough WTO members join, TiSA could be turned into a broader WTO agreement and its benefits extended beyond the current participants." [http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/tisa/]

Common Dreams alleges that:

"the corporate aim [is] to use TISA to further limit the public interest regulatory capacity of democratically elected governments."

They then quote Ben Beachy:

"TISA would expand deregulatory 'trade' rules written under the advisement of large banks before the financial crisis, requiring domestic laws to conform to the now-rejected model of extreme deregulation that led to global recession."
—Ben Beachy, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

What is TISA?

The services in question "relate to regulation of financial services, e-commerce, telecommunication, and maritime transport." These are powerful public services, many of which are within the public realm and are vital services that are also natural monopolies. They have to be regulated or they tend to be run as feudal kingdoms.

De-regulating them would put some of them back in the state they were in the 19th century and would allow 19th century style impunity and immunity for newer services like e-commerce and telecommunications, both of which are extensions and modernizations of the concept behind the Post Office and have traditionally been associated with the Post Office and been so important and powerful that they demand their own organ of government out of reach of both legislature and post office under normal circumstances. Deregulating them creates a power that is part of rule and gives it to private individuals, establishing kings.

The Euro folks said:

"Like any other trade negotiations, the TiSA talks are not carried out in public and the documents are available to participants only." [http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/tisa/]

Like with TPP I've been hoping that the Wikileaks were premature and the allegations were going to be proved false but it seems that the secrecy that is still around TISA should be a warning that the allegations are liable to be true. Nobody goes to such extremes to hide a treaty unless there is something sketchy about it. This sort of thing goes all the way back to the Jay Treaty, which the Washington Administration tried to keep secret because they knew it would infuriate many Americans.

...more on this in my next post "Going Greek on the Whole World" [http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/going-greek-on-whole-world.html].

Common Dreams is reacting to a News Release from Public Citizen:
http://www.citizen.org/documents/press-release-tisa-leak-july-2015.pdf
Read the Article at Common Dreams:
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/07/02/tisa-leaks-part-deux-more-evidence-concerted-attack-democracy?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/policy-making/analysis/sustainability-impact-assessments/assessments/

Bed is Good

Sleep, is the filing cabinet for life:
organizing our dreams;
settling our cares.
Sharing our fears with the past.
 
Sleep, is where we put away yesterday;
Store what is worth keeping
Stow away what we can't carry.
And dump it in the ocean of chaotic things.
 
Awake, we can live another day.
 
Christopher H. Holte 7/7/2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

Privateering on Higher Education

A Review of Christopher Newfield's "From Master Plan to No Plan - The Forty Year assault on the Middle Class."

Source: Facebook article
[https://www.facebook.com/WorldTruthTV/photos/

It's hard to believe but we almost achieved the goal of free higher education for qualified students. All that changed in the 60's. A deliberate multi-pronged attack on the middle class was launched then. And the centerpiece of this pirate attack was a privateering attack on the very notion of Free Higher Education. Substituting for free education was a system of loan guarantees that pretended to guarantee loans for students, but were designed to guarantee profits for investors and saddle students with debt. The changes weren't by accident. In a review by Aaron Bady and Mike Konczal titled From Master Plan to No Plan -- the Slow Death of PUblic Higher Education encapsulates the message in Christopher Newfield's book.

They note that Ronald Reagan ran for Governor in 1966:

"...after running a scorched-earth campaign against the University of California, Reagan vowed to “clean up that mess in Berkeley,” warned audiences of “sexual orgies so vile that I cannot describe them to you,” complained that outside agitators were bringing left-wing subversion into the university, and railed against spoiled children of privilege skipping their classes to go to protests" ... "it was the University of California at Berkeley that provided the most useful political foil, crystallizing all of his ideological themes into a single figure for disorder, a subversive menace of sexual, social, generational, and even communist deviance." [Dissent Magazine Review]

Reagan vowed to cut taxes. He claimed that cutting taxes would counter-intuitively increase revenues. And he went after Higher Education with a vengeance. Reagan's program was Nationwide. It involved a paradigm shift from the Right Wing of the country. Where previously they'd supported notions of equality. They now saw equality as dangerous. Reagan's policies marked a shift in policies from free education for poor and middle class to:

cutting "state funding for higher education, laid the foundations for a shift to a tuition-based funding model, and called in the National Guard to crush student protest, which it did with unprecedented severity. But he was only able to do this because he had already successfully shifted the political debate over the meaning and purpose of public higher education in America. The first “bums” he threw off welfare were California university students. Instead of seeing the education of the state’s youth as a patriotic duty and a vital weapon in the Cold War, he cast universities as a problem in and of themselves—both an expensive welfare program and dangerously close to socialism. He even argued for the importance of tuition-based funding by suggesting that if students had to pay, they’d value their education too much to protest."

Essentially, in the propaganda of the Reagan years Students were parasites, welfare queens and needed to be disciplined. Essentially this was preliminary to the theme we have now of the middle class as "takers." But it also was part of a program of abusive lending laws that eventually made education loans difficult to impossible to discharge in bankruptcy, starting with legal changes in 1998 that made Federal loans non-dischargeable and completing with changes in 2005 that applied those changes to private loans. [student-loan-debt_b_1403280.html]

Thank the Gypper

So, if you don't like the fact that a decent education now costs even more at a State College or University than some private ones, thank the Gipper and his allies in the GOP. This was their plan.

This was win/win for the Cons.

1. It transfers wealth gained from any increased productivity from students back to the coupon clipper investor class.
2. It puts ex students in hoc to the loan officers, which restricts their horizons post college to for profit activities so they can pay back their loan. This limits the pro-bono, volunteer and mission centered type work to those occupations that subsidize the loans.
3. It makes private education on a parity with public education and drives up prices for both -->funneling money to investors and administrators.
4. And yes it dumbs down people by scaring them, thus shutting off the pre-frontal lobes and reducing their willingness to employ those analytical abilities they worked so hard to cultivate.
5. It discourages people from pursuing a higher education, protecting the futures of otherwise undistinguished kids of privilege
6. It made it easier to bully academics and to replace academic officers with faceless administrators by shifting the focus of universities from educating students to raising funds and dealing with budget cuts.

More To the Story

There is much more to the book than a discussion of how the Republicans privateered higher education. It's also about how the Far Right dominated and conquered academia. It's worth reading. And the reality is that we middle class folks know the value of a public education, and if government officials abandon us, we've looked elsewhere:

"For-profit education flooded the market only after the state began to abandon its responsibility to create sufficient institutional capacity in the public system. The problem is not government action, but inaction. As the government gave up its Master Plan responsibility to educate California students, the for-profit sector expanded to fill the demand."
Sources and Further reading:
SALLIE MAE Timeline [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sallie_Mae]
From Master Plan to No Plan: [https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/from-master-plan-to-no-plan-the-slow-death-of-public-higher-education]
You can Read Newfield's book here: https://selforganizedseminar.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/newfield_unmaking_public_univ.pdf
This Huffingtonpost article on the history of Student debt confirmed my memory:
[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fred-bauer/student-loan-debt_b_1403280.html]
This article was sparked by a post by Dejan Kostic at "World Truth TV":
https://www.facebook.com/WorldTruthTV?fref=photo
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ684842.pdf

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hamilton on Money

Wonky warning

Hamilton was trying to solve an impossible problem. On page 62 of "Washington's Circle" the author notes:

"Finances were the government's biggest problem as trickling revenue allowed an already mountainous public debt t ogrwo while accumulating interest, all in arrears. The amounts were terrifying. The States owed a total of $21 million...country owed almost $12 million in foreign loans. The central government owed it's own citizens a whopping $42.5 million." ... "In sum, the total of $75 million could be calculated in modern worth at about $2 trillion in purchasing power but as much as $30 trillion in labor value." [page 62, "Washington's Circle"]

And this with a national population less than a tenth of what it is today the USA had a deficit that in modern money wouldn't be much different from our entire GDP. The problem Hamilton had to solve was greater than what we face.

In Hamilton's collected works, he was applying an expertise he'd developed from shortly after he retired from the military when he wrote a bank plan and sent it to Robert Morris. The problem he identified then had only grown since then (see Hamilton's Bank Plan from 1781). This article presents his writings on money:

On The Establishment Of A Mint

Communicated to the House of Representatives, January 28, 1791. [From Volume 4 of his collected works]

 

Hamilton broke his arguments down into 6 parts:

1st. What ought to be the nature of the money unit of the United States?
2d. What the proportion between gold and silver, if coins of both metals are to be established?
3d. What the proportion and composition of alloy in each kind?
4th. Whether the expense of coinage shall be defrayed by the government, or out of the material itself?
5th. What shall be the number, denominations, sizes, and devices of the coins?
6th. Whether foreign coins shall be permitted to be current or not; if the former, at what rate, and for what period?

Hamilton's vision couldn't be any clearer. He was ahead of his time. Of the founding fathers his understanding of the subject of finances was unparalleled. In answering basic questions he is setting for guidance for this country that we've done well to follow.

 

What ought to be the nature of the money unit of the United States?

 

He starts his exposition by discussing the history and weights of the standard "dollar" "piece of 8" from Spain and it's evolution into the money used by American Colonies. He starts by noting that the dollar reflects the relative scarcity of Gold in relationship to Silver:

"The difference established by custom in the United States between coined gold and coined silver has been stated upon another occasion to be nearly as 1 to 15.6."

Coins of Gold and Silver should reflect their relative scarcity.

And this also answers question two. He suggests that neither Gold nor Silver be established as the "standard". But he makes an almost surprising statement on whether one or the other should be preferred. He is famous for preferring the Gold Standard, where Congress preferred the more abundant silver standard. He then makes a surprising statement:

"Contrary to the ideas which have heretofore prevailed, in the suggestions concerning a coinage for the United States, though not without much hesitation, arising from a deference for those ideas, the Secretary is, upon the whole, strongly inclined to the opinion, that a preference ought to be given to neither of the metals, for the money unit. Perhaps, if either were to be preferred, it ought to be gold rather than silver."

Again he's referring to Gresham law. If we make an internal standard of gold coins (or silver coins) those gold coins become reservoirs of value and get driven out of circulation. He's been quoted by gold bugs as wanting a gold standard over a silver standard. But his opinion is more nuanced than that:

"The inducement to such a preference is to render the unit as little variable as possible; because on this depends the steady value of all contracts, and, in a certain sense, of all other property. And, it is truly observed, that if the unit belong indiscriminately to both the metals, it is subject to all the fluctuations that happen in the relative value which they bear to each other. But the same reason would lead to annexing it to that particular one, which is itself the least liable to variation, if there be, in this respect, any discernible difference between the two."

If the dollar is tied to either Gold or Silver, then fluctuations in the price of those commodities will affect the value of the dollar, and not in a positive way. But more important than the circulation of coin was it's value as a backing for notes circulated:

"But bank circulation is desirable, rather as an auxiliary to, than as a substitute for, that of the precious metals, and ought to be left to its natural course. Artificial expedients to extend it, by opposing obstacles to the other, are, at least, not recommended by any very obvious advantages. And, in general, it is the safest rule to regulate every particular institution or object, according to the principles which, in relation to itself, appear the most sound."

Hamilton Advocating for Paper Money

Hamilton was not advocating exclusive use of coins.

"In addition to this, it may be observed, that the inconvenience of transporting either of the metals is sufficiently great to induce a preference of bank paper, whenever it can be made to answer the purpose equally well."

Bank Paper is a term that includes paper money.

3d. Sound Money and the proportion and composition of alloy.

He wants sound money, yes, but he's talking about something more advanced than money as a precious commodity. He explains

"But, upon the whole, it seems to be most advisable, as has been observed, not to attach the unit exclusively to either of the metals; because this cannot be done effectually, without destroying the office and character of one of them as money, and reducing it to the situation of a mere merchandise; which, accordingly, at different times, has been proposed from different and very respectable quarters; but which would, probably, be a greater evil than occasional variations in the unit, from the fluctuations in the relative value of the metals; especially, if care be taken to regulate the proportion between them, with an eye to their average commercial value."

The Key to Sound money is whether the money is backed by goods and services.

Not a Gold Bug

But Hamilton understood the importance of providing sufficient currency for trade and commerce rather than focusing too much on Gold versus Silver. In this sense he anticipated issues that would come up years later as "Gold Standard" advocates bitterly contested "Silver Standard" advocates. He understood, long before Friedman became famous for it, the importance of using money and notes to make sure people have enough currency to buy and sell and engage in commerce:

"To annul the use of either of the metals as money, is to abridge the quantity of circulating medium, and is liable to all the objections which arise from a comparison of the benefits of a full, with the evils of a scanty circulation."

4th. Uniform Weights and Measures: Whether the expense of coinage shall be defrayed by the government, or out of the material itself?

Hamilton is talking about universal weights and measures. He doesn't seem attached to any particular solution. But he advances that the values be uniform. When answering the question of how much seignorage the government ought to receive. And he notes:

"It is sometimes observed, on this head, that, though any article of property might, in fact, be represented by a less actual quantity of pure metal, it would nevertheless be represented by something of the same intrinsic value. Every fabric, it is remarked, is worth intrinsically the price of the raw material and the expense of fabrication; a truth not less applicable to a piece of coin than to a yard of cloth."

He then notes that the value of money is related as much to the wealth and good name of the country, it's government and its ability to pay its bills. Thus money is not to be considered raw material/bullion but analogous to "fabric":

"The fact is, that the adoption of them as money has caused them to become the fabric; it has invested them with the character and office of coins, and has given them a sanction and efficacy, equivalent to that of the stamp of the sovereign. The prices of all our commodities, at home and abroad, and of all foreign commodities in our markets, have found their level in conformity to this principle."

This was a step along the way to fiat money. But most importantly money should have a standard measure so that it can be relied on:

"The foreign coins may be divested of the privilege they have hitherto been permitted to enjoy, and may of course be left to find their value in the market as a raw material. But the quantity of gold and silver in the national coins, corresponding with a given sum, cannot be made less than heretofore, without disturbing the balance of intrinsic value, and making every acre of land, as well as every bushel of wheat, of less actual worth than in time past."

There are some who would argue with this position, but the principle is incontrovertible. Money is used for trade and as such it has to measure the value of the thing it is traded for. And this is especially true if a country lives in trade with it's neighbors:

"If the United States were isolated, and cut off from all intercourse with the rest of mankind, this reasoning would not be equally conclusive. But it appears decisive, when considered with a view to the relations which commerce has created between us and other countries."

Fiat money in the context of the revolution would have had trouble surviving without the ability to trade for gold and silver.

5th. What shall be the number, denominations, sizes, and devices of the coins?

Following from his argument, he wanted to keep the US Dollar approximately equal to money already in circulation. To make it easier to use, more familiar to use and to regulate value. He concludes money should:

"continue to represent in the new coins exactly the same quantity of gold and silver as it does in those now current; to allow at the mint such a price only for those metals as will admit of profit just sufficient to satisfy the expense of coinage."

6th. And this also answered #6 about foreign money.

Of course:

" withdrawing it from those of foreign countries, and suffering them to become, as they ought to be, mere articles of merchandise."

Hamilton defines our money:

He suggested the following coins:

One gold piece, equal in weight and value to ten units, or dollars.
One gold piece, equal to a tenth part of the former, and which shall be a unit, or dollar.
One silver piece, which shall also be a unit, or dollar.
One silver piece, which shall be, in weight and value, a tenth part of the silver unit, or dollar.
One copper piece, which shall be of the value of a hundredth part of a dollar.
One other copper piece, which shall be half the value of the former.

Man that would be cool.

Bills of Exchange

Hamilton escoriated bills of exchange, paper money, on the grounds that it was usually used as a means to avoid paying bills and favor debtors over creditors. For example he wrote how:

"Rhode Island, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Georgia, making paper money a legal tender for the debts of those creditors; which, it is known, sustained a very great depreciation in every one of those States. These very serious and compulsory interferences with the rights of the creditors" [Vol 5]

So his opposition to paper money, was based more on the basis of the soundness of the underlying sureties and quality of the money produced.

The facilitating of pecuniary remittances from place to place—
"But much good would also accrue from some additional provisions respecting inland bills of exchange. If those drawn in one State, payable in another, were made negotiable everywhere, and interest and damages allowed in case of protest, it would greatly promote negotiations between the citizens of different States, by rendering them more secure, and with [159]it the convenience and advantage of the merchants and manufacturers of each." [Vol 4]

That is enough for this post.

Sources and Further Readings:
Online Library of Liberty: The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 4
More on Alexander Hamilton:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRBhaKZGEVA
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/06/who-was-alexander-hamilton-militarism-high-finance-and-checking-the-democracy.html
LaRouche group on him (actually a very good article!):
http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2015/eirv42n19-20150508/03-41_4219.pdf

Post Script.

I started this post months ago and had to pause due to other concerns. I'm glad I put it on pause because I didn't like my introduction. Now the post makes more sense because I was able to find another source to quote for the introduction and put the piece in the context of the year that he wrote his Report on Manufacturers. I'm also finding discrepancies between people's writings. Someone gave credit for the 1781 bank proposal to Robert Morris, but it's in Hamilton's hand then and so the biographer skipped over Hamilton's service to Morris. It's a minor discrepancy, but a similar one I just discovered on the subject of fisheries as Jefferson and Hamilton seem to have exchanged letters on the subject. Possibly they read each other's letters and might have acted on them had they not started squabbling like they did more and more as Washington's first Term finished. By the Second Term Jefferson left government and Hamilton soon followed. Hamilton won his arguments with Jefferson because he'd done his homework and because the Republicans were reacting to a scapegoat. Hamilton was not a saint. He was an elitist. But so were they. And he was not a monarchist and he cared about this country more than he cared for his personal aggrandizement.

What's missing from the Constitution

Question: What is missing from the Constitution?

It's weird how the media, especially the History Channel and related, have been focusing on the Washington Administration and the fight between Hamilton and Jefferson, because I've spent the last several years thinking about them too. It's like our collective Zeitgeist is looking for the cause of an illness. It turns out we have the equivalent of a tick bite. Something that started small and soon infected the whole country. The fact is that Jefferson, the architect of our vision of who we are from the Declaration of Independence, and Hamilton, architect of our federal and economic system with Jefferson's friend Madison, started fighting like School-children while serving our First President George Washington. With the result that two parties were created who have been busy sabotaging and fighting each other off and on ever since.

Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" [declaration_transcript]

The fight was actually fought at two levels. Among the elites it was a fight over "assumption" and gradually morphed into other fights as the people involved tried to recruit support from ordinary citizens. The Jeffersonians called themselves Republicans and claimed to be defending democracy. The Federalists wanted a strong Federal Government and were focused on the USA having a strong economic system. Jefferson allegedly wanted an "agrarian society."

Hamilton's vision was Union and the constitution. He wanted a strong Federal Government that could develop itself into a stable economy and defend itself. Hamilton's party came to be known as the Federalists.

But Jefferson mischaracterized the Federalists as wanting a Monarchy. And the Federalists made it sound like the Republicans were Jacobins trying to impose Direct Democracy. The elites feared direct democracy. And even the Federalists feared actual monarchy. Their initial differences were small. The Federalists were centered on the growing centralized cities. The Republicans were centered on the frontiers and countryside. The Towns in New England gravitated to the Republican cause too. Hamilton's vision was mostly an urban vision of industry and technological advance. But both these people had a pretty much similar vision even with regard to slavery. Both wanted to end slavery. It could have been done. The North had slaves too in the 1790s. New York:

"Slavery was important economically, both in New York City and in agricultural areas. In 1799, the legislature passed a law for gradual abolition. It declared children of slaves born after July 4, 1799 to be legally free, but the children had to serve an extended period of indentured servitude: to the age of 28 for males and to 25 for females. Slaves born before that date were redefined as indentured servants but essentially continued as slaves for life."

That the south didn't end slavery was more tied to their social hierarchy and plantation aristocracy than the ideals of the Founders or party politics. That we never arrived at the "mixed system" that Madison talked of in Federalist 39. The Genteel Aristocrats of the Republicans never completely accepted the raucus and non-deferential politics of their followers. The South was culturally attached to it's nobility. That was true for Jefferson, who hated open conflict with people and thus preferred to fight via proxies. And it was true for George Washington, whose attachment to the Federalists was in part driven by his believing that citizens should know their place, respect their elders and if they don't like a set of policies vote differently in the next election. It was also true for Madison and even more so for subsequent leaders of the aristocratic elite from the South (and North to a degree too). And the reason was the conflict between plantation style government and "politan" or democratic town government. For example, Madison, despite opposing Hamilton's centralizing policies, never fully backed the "Democratic Societies" that he helped spark the creation of because:

"He could not accept intense localism. Southerners, especially influential Virginians, had been unacquainted with the raucous and sometimes unruly democracy of town meetings." [page 334 of "Washington's Circle"]

They also crafted a constitution that explicitly left out even reference to terms like "metropolitans", "towns" or local government. In the South the Constitution would reflect their existing State and County hierarchy. A hierarchy where Judges were virtually kings, and the legislators dominated by planters. Elites from the North secretly admired this framework because it gave the elites veto power over local government. For:

"They Framed the Constitution from an idealized reverence for representative government. In their world, government was made orderly by educated elites who wielded authority wisely and were appreciated by their inferiors." [Washington's Circle pg 334]

And the Northerners, being of equally upper class origins were perfectly happy to leave principles of local rule, local representation and local government out of the Mix. They supported Hamilton's vision of a powerful Federal Government because:

"The effort to install idealized, deferential democracy on the nation exasperated New Englanders who were well acquainted with the temper and tone of the town meeting. [Aristocratic] New Englanders accordingly opposed high levels of such "democracy" in representative government, and they became high Federalists for reasons other than affinity with Alexander Hamilton's economic programs." [ibid page 334]

Aristocrats, North and South were inclined to see:

"The People were indeed a great beast, they said, and when newspapers became virulent and popular opposition violent, even some southerners gradually agreed." [ibid page 334]

Some Southerners, including George Washington, felt the same way. This is part of the reason that the House of Representatives was designed in a way that made gerrymandering and other abuses easy. And why the Senate represented the States in a way that gives as much power to states with small populations as to giant states or great cities with populations that dwarf them.

If Hamilton was like Dr. Frankenstein crafting the constitution out of his dream of a strong country that could defend itself and be wealthy. A lot of the parts came from his Igor Madison whose idealized version of democracy led to a government with all the internal fighting of a New England Town Meeting, but failing to adequately adjudicate the interests of towns and cities.

Answer: What is missing from the Constitution is the Assembly

When Jefferson, Madison, Washington and the High Federalists up north, supported Hamilton's version of Federalism they were doing so because they'd seen the kitchen and they didn't like the rough and tumble of politics that actually considers all views. They had envisioned democracy as being idealized, genteel and people as knowing their place. But they were soon to find that the idea that, even in the south the common folks knew their place and were content to be slaves, or serfs, poor white trash or overseers, or to live in poverty while toiling for masters -- was an illusion. What was missing from the Constitution was respect for the right of people to local democracy. They heard the declaration and realized that by "all the people" it implied hair dressers and horse drivers, pile drivers and even servants; Even Black servants. And once the cat was out of the closet the federalists/Republicans and their descendent organizations were never going to put it back in the closet. Even the people living on a plantation have an inalienable right to be governed with "consent of the governed". Those rights are our unalienable rights. Not just the rights of the Right people. What is missing from the constitution is the enfranchisement of people in their settlements. The expansion of democracy at the local level. The plantation, the factory, those are all governments too.

Anyway, this is a piece of a larger narrative, but I wanted to share it with you today.

Happy July Fourth from our imperfectly constituted country.

To this day conservatives quote these authors as if they were God. And they were brilliant.

Sources and Further Reading

Washington's Circle:
http://www.amazon.com/Washingtons-Circle-The-Creation-President/dp/1400069270
Further reading on our current financial mess:
http://billmoyers.com/content/six-films-on-the-financial-crisis/