Sunday, July 25, 2010

GDAE Podcast Episode 32

Common Interests on the Left & Right - Part III

  • Left & Right Populists: The American Populist movement of the 1800s with Jim Hightower (Bill Moyer's Journal).
  • Left & Right United: The Tenth Amendment with Michael Boldin (Mother Jones Magazine).
  • Green Economy: Energy efficiency and jobs (Demand Side Podcast).
  • MUSIC: Brazilita, a sweet little version of the song Brazil.

Play Episode 32 from this page:

Click to Download Episode 32.

Listen to Part II in the series, Episode 31:

Listen to Part I in the series, Episode 30, (20-minute abridged version):

Previous Episodes & 60-Sec Promo:
GDAE Podcast 60-Second Promo

GDAE Podcast Episode 30 April 30, 2010 - Common Interests on the Right & Left
GDAE Podcast Episode 29 March 31, 2010 - Right Left Populist Unity?
GDAE Podcast Episode 28 March 7, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 27 February 21, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 26 February 7, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 25 January 19, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 24 December 31, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 23 November 29, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 22 November 11, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 21 October 18, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 20 October 9, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 19 September 27, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 18 September 16, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 17 August 31, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 16 July 30, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 15 June 17, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 14 June 10, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 13 May 22, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 12May 5, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 11 April 24, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 10 April 9, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 9March 28, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 8 March 15, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 7 March 1, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 6 February 17, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 5 February 6, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 4 January 24, 2009

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Desperate Establishment?

As we hear that the Obama Justice Department reached settlement with Goldman Sachs, there are many reactions. My reaction is that the establishment is feeling desperate, fearful of a teetering capitalist system that cannot tolerate the implications of an honest judgment.

Goldman Sachs designed an investment package of subprime mortgage loans that was highly likely to fail, invested in its failure, but sold it to others as a good investment. They get caught, and by most accounts by analysts who understand these things, the record Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) penalty of $550 million is well below the $1 Billion that was expected as a baseline for settling this fraud case. But you don't have to take the word of the analysts, the reaction of Wall Street was a sigh of relief expressed in terms of a rise in Goldman's market value that greatly exceeded the penalty amount.

This is just one example of many in which the establishment's fear of a teetering economic system has led to tepid, dishonest policy. The inability for the Washington establishment to consider a single-payer system is another example. We're told that there simply wasn't the political will, and that the insurance and other health related industries were "too strong." I suspect the real reason is that the capitalist economic system is too weak to endure a transition from the current inefficient, paper-pushing health care system to a more efficient one.

I'm sure there are many other examples.

Cross-posted on GDAEman Blog


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Establishment Slap-down of Torture Investigations

Recently, on this blog, we've talked about the principled left and right uniting to challenge the power of the establishment. Some are wary of this notion.

However, the left & right members of the establishment do this all the time, often without being deliberate about it. A classic example is how the Democratic and Republican parties cooperate to exclude third parties by creating legal barriers to entry and other tactics, like exclusion from national presidential debates.

And, when the left and right wing establishment figures are both guilty of similar crimes, they tag-team to protect each other. I suspect we're seeing this happen with torture.

The myth is that George Bush dragged the nation across the line into the dark world of using torture. His only difference was one of degree and of admission. The reality is that torture has been used in the past under presidencies of both parties. The dirty wars of the 1970s & 1980s, for which the Salvador Option of the Iraq war is named, is a classic example; the CIA was deeply involved in those civil wars of the oligarchies against their own people who were demanding more democracy (threat of communism was mostly just an excuse for the violence against the people*).

The idea for this blog post came to me when I heard** that the Obama administration had appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate human rights lawyers who had uncovered CIA involvement in torture during the Bush administration (See: Fitzgerald "Irony" or "Poke-in-the-eye"?). Fitzgerald was made famous for investigating the Bush administration's outing of CIA asset Valerie Plame.

Can't have the rif-raf getting too close to the truth on torture.

* Side Note: Another myth about torture is that it is solely used as part of the interrogation process. The reality is that it is used to strike fear and suppress the opposition.


Mother Jones Magazine, July/Aug, 2020.


Monday, July 19, 2010

The Right, the Left and the 10th Amendment

File this one under "Establishment gets Nervous when Left & Right Unite on 10th Amendment."

The July/August 2010 edition of Mother Jones magazine has a short piece entitled "If at First you Don't Secede," but what catches your eye is the cartoon graphic of three guys standing arm in arm. The guy on the far left, the placement is no mistake I'm sure, is a hippy with a head-band, long hair, goatee, rainbow tie-dyed shirt who is giving the peace sign. The guy on the right, is a jug-headed, broad-shouldered, buzz-cut with a ball cap on wearing camo pants, a T-shirt with the rattle-snake & "Don't tread on me" holding what looks like an M-16 machine gun with a scope. .... and who is that between them? A native of Wisconsin named Michael Boldin, founder of the California "Tenth Amendment Center."

OK.... A lefty peace-nic, a hard-core right-winger and this guy in the middle. LOOKs like grist for the thesis that GDAE Podcast has been exploring the past couple of months.

Mother Jones describes Boldin as being inspired by the likes of Michael Moore and a reader of .... Mother Jones magazine. He got politically active as an opponent of Bush's invasion of Iraq. Now Michael Boldin is finding common cause with people on the right.

The brief July/Aug Mother Jones piece describes Boldin giving a talk at a conservative convention in Georgia last February celebrating the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution. That's the one that simply says that if the Constitution didn't give a particular power to the federal government, then it either resides with states or the people: That is, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people."

It's worth saying that drilling down to the US Constitution is a recurring theme of the Left/Right thesis being explored by this podcast. That's because discussions about the fundamentals often lead back to the foundational law, that is, the US Constitution or state constitutions.

So, Michael Boldin gives this speech in Georgia that exposes run-away power at the federal level, some of it wielded by corporate agents that have wrested control of the levers of government I might add.

In his talk, Boldin shares the famous story of a depression era farmer who was ordered by the US Government to destroy 12 acres of grain in violation of a federal government cap on grain production. The grain production cap was intended to help stop the plummeting grain prices by restricting supply .... that basic supply & demand economics thing. The concept was logical, but the federal government's implementation was a bit over-zealous in the case of Roscoe Filburn after whom a famous Supreme Court decision is named.

The Supreme Court sided with the federal government... Michael Boldin argues that this Supreme Court decision conflicts with the 10th Amendment. My view of this is that the Supreme Court is a creature of the elite establishment, an establishment that inclines toward both royalist and corporate elements... the contemporary term for "royalist" would be "Executivist," i.e., those who promote giving power to the executive... the president. It's the same bloodline as the people who sided with the British crown, or if not the "British" crown, an American crown rather than a president who's powers were "checked" and "balanced" by other power centers.... like the people acting through the House of Representatives.

So, as an agent of the establishment, it isn't a surprise that the the Supreme Court sided with the establishment in the Filburn Depression era case. This general insight about the Supreme Court is a shared view among the left & right wing people in the thesis I'm exploring. I wouldn't say, however, that there is agreement on this particular issue of Filburn, but it is a topic where principled people on the left and right can discuss and learn from each other in a civil way that has important connections with other issues that need to be debated.

During his talk, Michale Boldin said,

Whether it's marijuana, gay marriage, health care, the size of your toilet.... We demand adherence to the Constitution, every time, every issue, no excuses, no exceptions!

Apparently the crowed gave a nice 'round of applause for that line.

Interviewed right after his talk, Boldin was pumped-up saying,

I was actually able to say the words "gay marriage" in Georgia and no one booed.

Mother Jones reports that "A woman in a militia T-shirt came over to compliment him. After she walked away, Boldin shook his head, saying

I don't even know how to touch that one.

I know how to touch it. It's just another validation of the the left/right thesis ... there is a hunger for honesty among active Americans on the left and right... an honesty that exposes the wealth and power hoarding of a small minority of Americans... an honesty that exposes the way this minority successfully rigs the system that they like to call a democracy. That hunger for honesty is going to expose the likes of Glenn Beck and many others when the sleeping giant of the principled right and left leaning Americans re-discover that they actually have a lot of things in common.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Corporate Charters Should Not be Contracts

So what? Who cares about "corporate charters" in the first place? BOOORRINGG !

True, but imagine a world in which we the people had control over corporations. Under our thumb. Whoa!

Corporations have power to literally get away with murder, because so much of their "rights" are protected by the US Constitution, among other defining laws. An example is that the US Supreme Court determined, in Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 (1819), that a corporate charter is a "contract." This gives corporations contract powers that, like "property rights," are protected by the US Constitution.

The government (read "the people") are not allowed to meddle in the private affairs of contracts. This corporate contract shield is greater than the corporate shield that limits liabilities of the humans running and profitting from the corporate shell wrapped around a "business" enterprise... more likely these days a scam called a business.

Corporations are chartered to exist by states. These states, like Delaware, or some Caribbean nation, want the tax revenues that come with issuing corporate charters. That's because corporations make their headquarters in the place that issues their charter. So, to attract "business," states and Caribbean nations compete with each other to issue corporate charters. To attract wanna-be corporations, there is a race to the bottom in how lax their charters can be to benefit corporations. These states write corporate charters that are very favorable to corporations, but not favorable for we the people.

For example, lax charters can help corporations hide records from the public, making it almost impossible for the public to even know what a corporation is doing, let alone influence that activity if it is damaging to society.... like that never happens.

In sum, corporate charters, which give birth to corporations, are protected by the US Constitution as a "contract," which gives corporations way too much power. We need to re-define corporate charters to be something less than a contract.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dismalcrats and Corupliklans

The GLH Blog reminds us of Cindy Sheehan, the on-going wars, the status of the peace movement and the entrenched establishment. We're reminded of how Cindy Sheehan has been shunned by

liberals too tethered to the Democrats [who] are ignoring her or resenting her for speaking out against politicians, like President Obama, who go against the values and policies supported by grassroots Democrats.

After lamenting the way outspoken progressives are mistreated by calculating Democratic Party bloggers and others, he points out what a lot of people know, both liberal and conservative, because they are living it:

Meanwhile, the brunt of suffering under the healthcare system and the crap economy is being inflicted on the middle class and the poor. The rich are doing fabulously well. The Democratic politicians are doing precious little [to] change this.

The Dismalcrats and Corupliklans are driving the principled people from both parties. Tea party aside, I'm becoming convinced that principled people on the Left & Right are joining forces, by necessity, to challenge establishment corruption of our democratic institutions. It's already happening:

Among other things lately, I've been working on a series of audio podcasts about the Left & Right joining forces. Check'em out on "GDAE Podcast":

Part 1: (20-min abridged) Part 1: 20-min abridged podcast

Part 2: Part 2: 30-min podcast


I know it's an out-moded term, "podcatching," but it captures the essence of "subscribing" to a podcast. But, there are many ways to "catch" podcast. Check out How to Subscribe to a Podcast if you're curious.


Godless Liberal Homo Blog: Cindy Sheehan Asks: Where Have All The Peaceniks Gone?