"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ghosts of Reason

Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.

War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.

The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both.

No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will, which is to direct it.

In war, the public treasuries are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them.

In war, the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed; and it is the executive brow they are to encircle.

The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.

-James Madison

Friday, May 15, 2009

Brand Obama

Its been a spell since I've really sat down and gave our new President any serious thought. I know that seems rather odd coming as it does from one who's take on Barockstar has been decidedly negative almost from day one, but the truth is he was so transparently not the agent of change he professed to be that I haven't experienced the deflating letdown that some on the left are now suffering as their hero reveals his inner Imperial Centrist. My hopes just weren't high enough to be let down in the first place. Having said this I must admit that, like most Americans, the swiftness and severity of the economic collapse has taken me by surprise but Obama's reaction to it has been a true revelation.

Let's bury any illusions that he has merely inherited this mess from the Bush administration since he was instrumental in twisting congressional arms last October in order to pass the 700 billion dollar TARP blank check for the reckless speculators now looting the Treasury with the help of his key appointments from the financial sector like Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Bush appointee to the Federal Reserve Ben Barneke. No, Obama owns this now and his policies thus far have demonstrated unequivocally that Wall Street represents his primary constituency. 13 trillion in taxpayer obligations thus far have been committed to the very insolvent institutions who's greed and recklessness cratered the world economy yet still there are those who remain entranced by what Chris Hedges calls the Obama Brand.

When you add to this Team Obama's escalation of the Af-Pak War and commitment to indefinitely occupy Iraq one wonders what more will it take to break the "change" spell that's got so many "progressives" swooning this late in the game.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Who's minding the store?

Not to worry folks, though nine trillion dollars (so far) in taxpayer loot has disappeared into the coffers of insolvent banks declared "too big to fail" your highly motivated federal "regulators" are on the case: