We the People and Other Nonsense

Lack of leadership plus the demagoguery of politicians mixed with an incurious citizenry is a toxic brew that today is corroding that sacred Document, the covenant between The People and its government. Financial greed, an additional catalyst unimagined by the Founding Fathers, acts like a marinade, softening and weakening that covenant, rendering it a mushy, irrelevant pulp. No matter how carefully that sacred Document is preserved in a museum, its words are but scratches of ink, empty promises, if it is not a living and active covenant between The People and its Government.

We ought to have known, I suppose, that a document crafted in the 18th century for a small, white, male-dominated agrarian society, would not fully address the needs of a 21st century People. Oh, of course it has been amended several times, rectifying issues that the Founding Fathers either did not imagine or were afraid to include. Yet, these sage men could not have envisioned both the naivete of The People nor the guile of the agents of the Government that would come to define this concordat some 220 years later. Nor the noxious influence of money upon that sacred trust.

Take, for example, the current dilemma of the high price of gasoline. For the foreseeable future, the vast majority of our citizens will be driving gasoline-driven vehicles. Additionally, the many trucks that deliver our goods and services will be oil-powered as well. The reality is that our nation will depend on oil for many more years until alternate sources of power replace that archaic fuel source.

Enter the political demagoguery of those we have elected to office. House Republicans have crafted a ‘Drill Baby Drill! bill cleverly disguised as the “Consumer Relief for Pain at the Pump Act.” President Obama, joining in on the ruse, proclaimed his “Drill Baby Drill” sham in his Saturday address, fully aware of the 2012 election and his perceived impotence in controlling the price at the pump. Doubly disgusting!

As the GOP members of Congress are greatly dependent upon reelection contributions from the Petroleum Industry, they are tied like slaves to their masters rather than to The People whom they swore to defend. The President, likewise, is acting solely to enhance his reelection chances rather than serving The People he swore to defend.

Did Madison, Franklin,  Jefferson,  Adams or Hamilton ever suppose that a president or a House of Congress would be in cahoots in fooling The People so thoroughly?  Or would they ever have suspected that The People would have become so incurious that such a charade could be perpetrated on them so easily? Or that some of The People would, perhaps mindlessly, aid and abet this ruse? Or that the Highest Court of the Land would mandate a corporate body the same Constitutional rights as a person?

Of course not. That kind of nonsense surely was never considered by the set of idealistic men who wrote that precious and unique document. The ideals set forth on that now yellowed and brittle piece of paper have, in many ways, become as obsolete as the feather quill used in its writing. Greed, personal enrichment and narcissism along with the intertwining of business interests in with government.

Depressing.  Quite depressing.

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23 thoughts on “We the People and Other Nonsense

  1. As I read the history of the American Independence Movement, I see that it was something which was rather half-baked from the beginning.

    First off, it missed the elephant in the room, which was that by having a war with one of the largest military powers in Europe, it would need money and supplies. Both of which the colonies lacked. The US raked up large amounts of debt and printed money which basically became worthless (“not worth a continental”).

    The other elephant in the room was slavery combined with all the talk of liberty, freedom, and inalienable rights. That is a complex issue that seemed to have gotten glossed over to cause problems for future generations.

    The real people who ran the show were the rich, white men in the colonies who disliked the rich white men who were loyal to the crown.

    The real “People” were mere pawns in this play. Easily swayed by hollow slogans that sounded good, they followed like Pavlov’s dog

    The result was a mess culminating in Shays’ Rebellion which was one of many catalysts to the Constitution. Yet some thought that the messed up regime under the Articles of Confederation were just dandy.

    Ultimately, the whole thing ended up being a mess whether it was under the Constitution or the Articles of Confederation.

    Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

    We got fooled again!

  2. “Did Madison, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams or Hamilton ever suppose that a president or a House of Congress would be in cahoots in fooling The People so thoroughly? Or would they ever have suspected that The People would have become so incurious that such a charade could be perpetrated on them so easily? Or that some of The People would, perhaps mindlessly, aid and abet this ruse? Or that the Highest Court of the Land would mandate a corporate body the same Constitutional rights as a person?”

    You know, M_R, they may well have. They were very suspicious of political parties, and the evils you write of are found in the political party system. Jefferson, especially, feared political parties. Yet, he and Madison, in their opposition to Hamilton and Adams, provided the impetus for political party development. As to Franklin, I am not that clear…Yet we know he believed in union of thought and purpose. He also cautioned in these words: “You have a Republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

    Another indication may be found in the Alien and Sedition Act under Adams to silence Jefferson and his adherents.

    Another indication is with Chief Justice Marshal and the famous Marbury vs. Madison case…which confirmed the constitution as the supreme law of the land and the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws of Congress and the President constitutional or unconstitutional…The losers rejected decisions based on sectional interests and, to be sure, on who was gaining in power by the decision.

    What did Jefferson and Madison recommend as the answer to the accumulation of power?

  3. Guys, what is three to four billion dollars, in a deficit of $14 TRILLION?

    We need to get focused on the real issues or poroblems…..

    Just think of what is happening as I write this. The Army Corps of Engineers is opening gates on a dam on the Mississippi River in Louisiana to relieve possible flooding in Baton Rogue and NO. Yet, that will wipe out homes, businesses,and crops in tens of thousands of acres. You should take interest in this stat, M_R, the corn crop here in MS and LA is already 24 inches high, it is going to be totally wiped out. We are talking about 200,000 acres, guys. Yes, that is 200,000 acres! The result? Well, its billions of dollars. The figure I am hearing right now is $30-40 Billions in losses. Farm unemployment in these southern States from MO South will escalate. Moreover, my friends this area is still reeling from past hurricanes, like Katrina, Tornadoes, and floods associated with the heavy down pours during the devastating storms of the past couple of months. Think of the disease that will develop from unclean water and all the people just getting a little scratch as they work in dirty flood water and becoming infected and having to seek help in emergency rooms. It’s not just the “bible belt” that will be affected, M_R. The cost of gasoline will rise because of the use of corn in ethanol (stupid idea, oops another ag subsidy), as well the cost of food because of the use of corn syrup. When are we, meaning the country, going to come to grips with the real problems?

  4. Have to run to the store now…need to get some mix and potato chips so I can hunker down watching Fox and the Huckabee Show to watch his announcement on his presidential aspirations at 8, edt. It will be a great “show” as he attacks Washington and issues his claims that trickle down economics will solve all our woes, that real Americans don’t want their businesses taxed because they make the real money for this country and are the employment engines that no government progam can equal….Watch all his play on the rising gas prices….Low corporate prices will restore the benefits of capitalism…..

  5. Oh, have ya’ll seen the rachel maddow promo where she poses with the Hoover Dam in the background… Thats one of the best answers of why there is a strong central government, don’t you think?

  6. And, not to be outdone is O’Donnell promo on immigration which makes the point that it is immigration which has made the United States the great country it is, and to stop immigration is to serious compromise the future greatness of the U.S. My great-grand parents came from Ireland and Germany.

  7. Laci writes, The real “People” were mere pawns in this play. Easily swayed by hollow slogans that sounded good, they followed like Pavlov’s dog

    Hmm. Sounds like today’s political propaganda, but today’s is honed by professionals and ‘sent’ to The People through a vast array of media in a constant barrage of mind-altering babble, easily soaked up by disgruntled people hoping for a ‘solution’ to their misery.

    UptheFlag says, the point that it is immigration which has made the United States the great country it is, and to stop immigration is to serious compromise the future greatness of the U.S.

    Do you mean those we ought to let in those ‘foreigners’ with dark or swarthy skin, odd hair and false religion? Or the American-looking northern Europeans? You know that ‘the other’ doesn’t sit too well with a certain segment of our population.

    Here’s a hoot- Some hillbilly bumpkin living in a ‘hollar’ in the Appalachian wilderness doesn’t want any ‘Chinamen’ or “A-rabs” or “Moo-slums” into ‘their’ country. Imagine that. Perhaps we cold make an even trade? Better yet, 5 bumpkins for one A-rab?

  8. UptheFlag quotes Franklin, “You have a Republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

    I’m betting that Franklin was cautioning about the return of a monarchy because he feared that The People were not capable of governing themselves. Surely he never ‘dreamed’ of a collusion between senators and business concerns at the expense of The People. Or did he?

  9. The Right is selling this country to a few wealthy individuals who own or more properly control the assets of corporations. They are no longer accountable to shareholders – despite the best efforts of legislation like the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform legislation (http://penigma.blogspot.com/2011/05/even-their-owners-shareholders-need.html#more). Every step the Right takes, and far too many on the left as well, is to sell this country to those few people in exchange for campaign contributions, either directly or indirectly.

    PEOPLE no longer matter, in the aggregate. ONLY money matters, if we are not careful. I don’t think we’ve reached the tipping point yet, but we’re closer than is safe.

    Maybe we will get lucky and the Tea Party will see how their grass roots movement was hijacked by astro-turfing business, and they might come to their senses.

    We need to take back this country for real live human flesh and blood people, not legal fictions masquerading as people.

    I lie that quotation, from Franklin, UptheFlag! Beautifully apropos.

  10. Unfortunately, Dog-Gone, the Dodd-Frank bill does not replace FDR’s Glass-Steagle Act. Until M_R’s arch-strawman, Sen. Phil Graham, with the collusion of President Clinton, repealed Glass-Steagle, the Glass-Steagle Act prevented the banking and Wall Street financial manipulations under Pres. Bush which caused the near collapse of the United States financial system. We need to remember that both Dodd and Frank are banking and investment companies “friends”. Indeed, Dodd had to resign his Senate seat while working on the Bill because of the large amounts of Wall Street money weighing down his pants. Where did that money come from? Yep, from you and me! All Dodd-Frank has done is to make us feel good that Congress and the President did something to prevent 2008 from happening again. However, this is not the case. The real issue is the uniting of banking with investment financing; that is what Glass-Steagle forbade, not Dodd-Frank. The economy is still pregnant as hell under Dodd-Frank! Democrats in collusion with bankers and Wall Street, just dressed up in a different way….

    You are right on when you write, “We need to take back this country for real live human flesh and blood people…” I agree whole heartedly with that comment. My question, though, is how much time do we have to do that?

  11. QUESTION: M_R et al, how do we distinguish the difference from a grass roots movement and a populist movement?

  12. “We got fooled again!”

    I have to disagree, LACI, with that comment. If we look back to 1787, the Constitution is a very progressive document, and in essence remains so in 2011. It established a secular federal government with free periodic elections.
    There is no “Defender of the Faith” clause in the U.S. Constitution!

    The new United States was ungovernable under the Articles in many facets. You write, LACI, “The other elephant in the room was slavery combined with all the talk of liberty, freedom, and inalienable rights.” But, you know what?
    The Founders debated that issue. Indeed, in Section 9 under Article I, the Constitution forbids the continuation of the slave trade after 1808. I believe that this is about 25 years ahead of Great Britain ending its slave trading. Moreover, it was Britain that saddled the country with the slavery issue. Slavery was a condition that the new country inherited from that noble mother country. While other slave trading nations did nothing until much later, the Founders addressed the issue and ended slave trading long before other countries did. The Constitution was ahead of its times. The British Government had years of evolvement ahead before it became the democracy that it is today…British democracy was still waiting on its founding fathers, namely, Gladstone, Disraeli, and George.

    1. Possibly, but the real problem was that the two problems of Militarism and Slavery were to cause problems for the new republic.

      The Hndwriting was on the wall for slavery with Somersett’s Case (1772) which was widely taken to have held that slavery was illegal in England:

      The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory: it’s so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law.

      Note that this came 3 years before slaveowner Patrick Henry made his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech.

      While there were founders such as Benjamin Rush who were anti-slavery, far more were slave holders. The question was debated, but the Institution of Slavery remained up until the Civil War, whereas Britain ended it beginning with William Wilberforce’s Slave Trade Act 1807 which abolished the slave trade in the British Empire. It was not until the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 that the institution finally was abolished.

      The Constitution was still elitist (note the Impeachment of Samuel Chase), yet there was the popular element that reached its apogee with Jacksonian Democracy. Yet there are ways to thwart popular elections (closed primaries, “two party system”, and the electoral college).

      And despite England’s being a country with a state religion, there is more freedom for the religious minorities with a “Jewish Prime Minister”, Muslim Lords, etc.

      The US needs to catch up on its promise, yet it is becoming less f a democracy.

      I’ll neglect the military issue for the time being, other than to say the founders did not intend for the US to be the World’s Policeman.

  13. mud_rake,
    You brilliantly state the evil effects of our ?marination” by big business. Thomas Jefferson warned about the rise of corporations and how they thumbed their nose at government even back then. The rise of the power of corporations has led to the corrupt and ineffectual state of our government today. The fact that the 1886 Santa Clara County and 2011 Citizens United Supreme Court decisions – the absolute WORST and most ill-conceived decisions ever made by that body – have expanded the rights of a business bloc to equal those of individual, voting citizens, is shameful and downright WRONG!

    The corporation is the WORST and most devious organization structure ever devised by humankind. It is a deadly malignancy now killing its host, the government of the American nation. We are now starting to see how it has turned a once vibrant democracy into a rigid, UNdemocratic plutocracy which will enslave all but the very wealthy.

    Thanks to corporations and our very arrogant, bought-out, and corrupt Supreme Court, our best days are rapidly being stolen from us and are disappearing altogether. A new economic Dark Age is descending upon us.

    We DESPERATELY need a modern-day Teddy Roosevelt or Harry Truman to save us, but such a person is not yet in sight…HELP!!!!!!!.

    1. Thank you, Jack, I neglected to mention how Citizens United has brought corporate money into the US Election process. This process is so long and expensive that it blocks popular candidates from running. Thus, the people who end up running are corporate stooges.

      Again, far from what was intended.

      But, my thesis was that the War for Independence was a short sighted event that has ended up being counterproductive in the long run. It was a revolt against monopolist practises, yet large conglomerates now run the country.

  14. The United States has had and does today many Jews in public life, not just one. Jacob Javits, Mayor Bloomberg, A number of Supreme Court Justices and they can checkmate any President, Charles Schumer, Metzenbaum of Ohio. Look, if a Catholic can be elected President, so can a Jew.

    Now, what black man has become king of England or even a prime minister? I accept that the United States political system has problems, but what other western democracy has ever elected a black man as its leader? To be sure, we had slavery, so did other western countries. But you know what, we have one hell of selling national story; a legitimate story! Why is the United States still THE PLACE where the world wants to come? Why are NYC, MIAMI, SEATTLE, San Fran, L.A., and San Diego still attracting more people than any entire European country? I’m sick and tired of this British holier than thou attitude. While the United States has profound problems, we don’t need to throw the baby out with the dirty water. We have never done that, and my hope we rise to the occasion again and come up with a plan of renewed committment to the betterment of our citizens, to form that “more perfect union”!

  15. UTF, some people “missed the memo” you’re talking about.

    Case in point, I was in Ford’s Theatre in WDC, the place where Lincoln was shot and sort of between the Capitol and White House. There was an exhibit on “Jews in the Civil War” some idiot wrote a comment along the lines of “Anyone who is not a Christian can’t be a good US citizen.” Others proclaim the US a Christian Nation.

    The fact that the US is a New Nation seems to demonstrate that it has youthful folly and has forgotten the lessons of its parent nations. In fact, it has done a wonderful job of forgetting its own history and totally rewriting it. The debt caused by defending the colonies during the French and Indian Wars. During the war, the British national debt nearly doubled, rising from £72,000,000 in 1755 to almost £130,000,000 by 1764. Post-war expenses were expected to remain high because the Bute ministry decided in early 1763 to keep ten thousand British regular soldiers in the American colonies, which would cost about £225,000 per year. The primary reason for retaining such a large force was that demobilizing the army would put 1,500 officers, many of whom were well-connected in Parliament, out of work.This made it politically prudent to retain a large peacetime establishment, but because Britons were averse to maintaining a standing army at home, it was necessary to garrison the troops elsewhere.

    Stationing most of the army in North America made strategic sense because Great Britain had acquired the vast territory of New France in the 1763 peace treaty, and troops would be needed to maintain control of the new empire. The outbreak in May 1763 of Pontiac’s Rebellion, an American Indian uprising against Anglo-American occupation and expansion, reinforced the logic of this decision. Some older accounts claimed that Pontiac’s Rebellion prompted the decision to garrison 10,000 troops in North America, but the Bute ministry had already made the decision before Pontiac’s uprising.

    The Bute ministry decided to station troops in North America, but it was George Grenville—who became prime minister in April 1763—who had to find a way to pay for this large peacetime army. Raising taxes in Britain was out of the question, since there had been virulent protests in England against the Bute ministry’s 1763 cider tax, with Bute being hanged in effigy. The Grenville ministry therefore decided that Parliament would raise this revenue by taxing the American colonists. This was something new: Parliament had previously passed measures to regulate trade in the colonies, but it had never before directly taxed the colonies to raise revenue.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

  16. To be sure, the colonists benefitted from the British in the French and Indian War. But, we have to remember that the French and Indian War in the colonies was a part of the Seven Years War. England was engaged in a European war for empire. The Seven Years War was a world wide war, fought on seas around the globe. It was fought not only in America and Europe, but in the West Indies, Africa, and the Philippines. It was Englnad and Prussia against France, Spain, Austria, and Russia and fought primarily in the Germanies led by Frederick the Great. With her navy, England fought the war on the seas around the world and subsidized Frederick with huge sums of gold.
    This was a war for global empire, and under William Pitt England won. In the Colonies the French were completely defeated and England gained all of Canada and all the area from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River. Many of the French in Canada were then forceably moved to Louisiana, where they are now known as Cajuns who number 1,000,000 Americans now.

    As Laci points out the British were left with a large debt from the war. Since the colonies received a large contribution with the eradication of the French and their constant incitement of the Native Americans to murder and scalp American colonists, the English believed taxes on the colonies to help defry the cost of the defense were just. However, the colonists were not good children to Mother, and they no longer needed Mother as Mother had vanquished the frontier enemy, the French and the Indians. This war paved the way for American Independence……

    1. So, they decided to get into a war with mother and ran up a massive debt.

      And the War for Independence wasn’t an international one? Ever look at the makeup of the trooops at the Siege of Yorktown–hell of a lot of froggies on the battlefield.

      Do you think the Colonies could have beaten the British on its own? It needed a lot of help.

      The fact that they didn’t have an adaquate form of government led to a state of anarchy. This anarchy was stopped for the time being by the Constitution, but it left the precedent that there is “a right to rebel” in the minds of some.

      In others, there was a dislike for standing armies, yet the Constitutional safeguards against a large military establishment have been forgotten and subject to misinterpretation (see previous paragraph). The US has neglected the lesson of war and has been willing to fight imperialist wars of its own (e.g., Mexican-American and Spanish-American) which have led to a change of national character.

      Again, people seem to have missed the memo on that one.

      How much of the current US budget is spent on the military?

  17. UTF, I thought you were a historian.

    You should know that there was a significant amount of Colonists who supported continuing the Union called Tories. Surprisingly, even soome Patriots supported Union, the most famous being Benedict Arnold, but others would have preferred to have not had a war with Britain.

    Andf not all Tories were against Independence.

    In fact, Most Tories moved to Canada where there was an eventual break with Britain.

    The issue was that the break with Britain was due more to a buildup which would lead to a loss of face if either side gave way–to the loss of both sides.

    Neither side “won” the War for Independence. In fact, I think the US lost in the long term since the war was precipitous and not well planned out. Everything since then has been patch work.

    In fact, the US isn’t fighting the US Civil War or The War for Independence (The First US Civil War)–It’s fighting the English Civil War.

  18. “Neither side “won” the War for Independence. In fact, I think the US lost in the long term since the war was precipitous and not well planned out. Everything since then has been patch work.”

    A patch work, lol…C’mon Laci, England would be saying “Seig Heil” if it was not for FDR and the United States. If anything, the patch work has been the British Commonwealth theory of former empire. England cann’t fight herself out of a wet paper bag without NATO or the United States funding the operation….

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