Gun's don't kill people. People with guns kill people.


"No body could have done a better job than Obama, with the economy he was handed —including me!" —Bill Clinton—

Friday, February 17, 2012

Separation? There is no separation—I don't see no stinking separation!"

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Thomas Jefferson wrote the following in a letter to the Baptists in Danbury CT: ... "I contemplate with sovereign [absolute] reverence [respect]—that act of the whole American people—which declared that their legislature should—'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,'—thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

In The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Humphery Bogart's character Dobbs—challenges the bandit's leader, Gold Hat—who is trying to steal his gold with this now famous exchange:

Dobbs: "If you're the police where are your badges?"

The Bandit Gold Hat: "Badges? We ain't got no badges.

We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"

That scene seems appropriate on so many levels in the debate of women's health issues—in particular though I refer specifically to Rick Santorum's blatant dismissal of the First Amendment and "the wall of separation between church and state."

I can see him challenging that the words: "Separation of church and state" are not there in a literal sense and therefore there is no such separation implied.

"Separation? There is no separation—I don't see no stinking separation!"

Santorum argues that the actual words "separation of church and state" do not exist in the Constitution and that [his] religious values and beliefs are the guiding principles upon which he decides the matters of legislation and public policies—his only concession is that the "government" should not interfere with, him or his church citing the second half of the First Amendment clause on freedom of religion—prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

I have heard that same fallacious argument before—uttered by, Christine, "I am not a witch," O'Donnell, during a debate—at a Widener University Law School—with Democratic candidate Chris Coons. The debate centered around teaching "creationism" in public schools—which is a pseudo-scientific theory touted by Ultra Right Christian Conservatives—as a suitable alternative for the theory of evolution.

When Coons said that the Constitution prohibits the teaching of religious doctrine in public funded schools, O'Donnell defiantly shot back—"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state? Coons calmly responded: "the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion.", O'Donnell asked with a challenging tone in her voice:"You're telling me—that's—in the First Amendment?"

You could actually hear an audible gasp of disbelief from the audience of law professors and law students, stunned at her ignorance. What has been a widely held basic principle of law—upheld by the Supreme Court—totally escaped her.

Like most Ultra Right Fundamentalist who read the bible literally O'Donnell sees everything in black and white making her incapable of understanding anything even remotely shaded by the nuance of language.

Clearly Santorum's own ignorance of the first part of that same clause—"shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"— allows his blindly simpleminded reasoning to negate—the concept of—that "wall of separation"— a wall which he clearly does not see, understand, or even acknowledge. But which thankfully does exist.

Again ignorant of the historical context Santorum ignores the fact that many of America's founding fathers fled Europe to escape state religions that imposed their beliefs on others to the point of death. They were not ignorant of that fact. Why would anyone of sound mind re-impose or even leave open the door to such an abhorrent thought—as a state that could be swayed by superstition and irrational blind faith as a basis for laws that were neutral in their application.

I wonder how quickly Santorum would see "the wall"—of which he seems ignorant—if his Christian beliefs were jeopardizes by the emergence of another faith that became the plurality held view.

PREMISE: There is a diversity of religions in America. At this time Christianity holds a plurality. Which begs the question: If a faith other than Christianity became the plurality—for arguments sake lets say Islam—would he accept the influences of Sharia law—as he so readily proposes—that [his] Christian values and narrowly held views—should be included in public policy and legislation?

Of course Santorum's head would spin 360 degrees and he'd vomit pea soup in vehement opposition at the very suggestion—which begs the question—If Islam is not acceptable as a guide for governance—why is Christianity or any other faith?

Of course the answer is that none of them should ever be the basis for deciding legislation or public policy except in the broadest terms possible. E.g. While thou shalt not kill is a view that is enshrined in many faiths—it is also a commonly accepted human taboo out side of religion as well—making it universally held view. Whereas stoning a woman for adultery is not—making it inappropriate for the basis of American law. Just like birth control or abortions that are religious beliefs that should never be enshrined in American law!

Yet that is exactly what is happening in America—laws that violate human rights and ignore the Constitution such as Virginia's new "personhood law" that is an astounding repudiation of the Constitution. Regressive laws are being enacted—based solely on religious precepts that are not universally held—98% percent of women use birth control including Catholic women. Who is this law aimed at? What benefit does it provide society as a whole and who is harmed by them?

We all would abhor Sharia law—that would cut off a man's hand or stone a woman for adultery—so are we to accept— Santorum's equally—extremely narrow held views on women's reproductive rights—to the point of forcibly raping her with an intra-vaginal ultra sound when she seeks an abortion? That is the height of stupidity, making GWB look like a genius by comparison.

He claims that because the actual words were not spelled out [so that he could understand them] that they are not implied—one needs only look at the words of the original author—Thomas Jefferson when he wrote in a letter to Baptists: ... "I contemplate with sovereign [absolute] reverence [respect]—that act of the whole American people—which declared that their legislature should—'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,'—thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."[added to help Santorum understand the essence of the quote]

To any but the most obtuse the meaning is clear—the Government cannot establish a state religion—and in the obverse—the Government shall not in any way prohibit individuals or groups from the practice of his or her religion.

What is lost on Santorum who must be reading at a fifth grade level and who's reading comprehension is equally suspect is that—unlike fundamentalist Christians who read the bible and interpret it literally as a matter of faith—the Constitution was written in broad inclusive manner of that period and used a different syntax and idiom—[the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in the language of that period]—than the modern day idiom. And needs to be read with an understanding of that fact.[added to help Santorum understand the essence of the idea]

If Santorum and the religious, socially, conservative, right prevail in including such issues as "birth control" and "abortion"—which are narrowly held religious viewpoints—into legislation—that the vast majority of Americans do not believe in or practice—they would by default constitute an "establishment of religion" by imposing those religious viewpoints on others thereby negating individual rights.

What Santorum fails to grasp is that—"his freedom to practice his religion without interference from the state"—also includes the opposite and more compelling idea—which is—"my freedom from the imposition of—his—religion by the state on me." Which maybe even Santorum can understand, but I doubt it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

PART 6: Dear Mike: "A Series of Letters from the Left to the Right

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Commentary: On December 2, 2011 I was excoriated by a young "conservative" named Mike, who wanted to give me a hiding for my communist views on "unregulated" capitalism. He called me or more precisely my views "ridiculous" I'll let you decide who is ridiculous. His tirade was quite lengthy so I am publishing my response in 9 parts as "A series of letters from Left to Right: Dear Mike Since his attack was full of vitriol I have taken off the gloves as I see no point of entertaining his bombastic rhetoric. Parts 5-9 are in-response to the object of his real distain—my post called "Adam Smith Re-examined."

I have color coded my blog post that he critiqued in red—his critique in blueand my response to his critique in black.

This is Part

"A Series of Letters from the Left to the Right: Dear Mike

On the Causes and Nature of Rebellion

The current plutocratic class are waging a dangerous war that they cannot win by economic subjugation—sheer numerical superiority will win out as it has countless times before in human history—the French Revolution and our own revolution were violent reactions to the masses being repressed by the ruling class.

The French Revolution was a bunch of anarchists and wanna-be tyrants seizing an opportunity to commit mass murder and subjugate a people. Fortunately, the movement collapsed when people got sick of the bloodshed, but their revolution was nothing like our own.

Let them eat cake ! Off with their heads!

Yea there was no thought given to the grinding poverty and oppression by those wanna be tyrants. Nothing ever came out of French Enlightenment and French Revolution—that was worth a shit like say: François-Marie Arouet — 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the his nome de plume Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poetry, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws with harsh penalties for those who broke them. Source: Wikipedia

Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Émilie du Châtelet) whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions. Voltaire Famously wrote, "I may disagree with your views, but, I will defend with my life, your right to express them." a line that was quoted so frequently by Americans of the day that many American's think that an American wrote it. Source: Wikipedia

Or, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's who's social contract theory states that governments draw their power from the governed, its 'sovereign' people (usually a certain ethnic group, and the state's limits are legitimated theoretically as that people's lands, although that is often not, rarely exactly, the case), that no person should have absolute power, and that a legitimate state is one which meets the needs and wishes of its citizens. These include security, peace, economic development and the resolution of conflict. Also, the social contract requires that an individual gives up some of his natural rights in order to maintain social order via the rule of law. Eventually, the divine right of kings fell out of favor and this idea ascended; it formed the basis for modern democracy, (including our Declaration of Independence) Source: Wikipedia

Which were (also) the foundation for French the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen which was adopted 26 August 1789[1], by the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée nationale constituante), during the period of the French Revolution, as the first step toward writing a constitution for France. It was prepared and proposed by the Marquis de Lafayette.[2] A second and lengthier declaration, known as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793 was later adopted. Source: Wikipedia

The concepts in the Declaration of the Rights of Man—come from the philosophical and political principles of the Age of Enlightenment, such as individualism, the social contract as theorized by the French philosopher Rousseau, and the separation of powers espoused by the Baron de Montesquieu. As can be seen in the texts, the French declaration is heavily influenced by the political philosophy of the Enlightenment, and by Enlightenment principles of human rights, some of which it shares with the U.S. Declaration of Independence which preceded it (4 July 1776). Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, was at the time in France as a U.S. diplomat,[3] and was in correspondence with members of the French National Constituent Assembly. James Madison's proposal for a U.S. Bill of Rights was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on 21 August 1789.[4][5] Source: Wikipedia

I am a bit fuzzy on American history but, didn't they send some dude named Lafayette**—who went to war for us—help blockade Cornwallis at Yorktown—which was the final nail in decisive battle of the Revolutionary War.

Yea—other than that man, those French—what a bunch of losers. Yea I am totally with you there Mike. Frickn' French anarchist!

**In the American Revolution, Lafayette served as a major-general in the Continental Army under George Washington. Wounded during the Battle of Brandywine, he still managed to organize a successful retreat. He served with distinction in the Battle of Rhode Island. In the middle of the war he returned to France to negotiate an increase in French support. On his return, he blocked troops led by Cornwallis at Yorktown while the armies of Washington and those sent by King Louis XVI under the command of General de Rochambeau, Admiral de Grasse, and Admiral de Latouche Tréville prepared for battle against the British. Source: Wikipedia

But like you said: but their revolution was nothing like our own.

Ya we all all sang Yankee Doodle and got along just fine.

Nobody got hurt during "our Revolution". People weren't hunted down tarred feather and burned alive, hung, without trial and left to rot as a warning, shot, hacked to death or murdered—out of shear hatred. Loyalist American's didn't butcher Patriot Americans or vise versa. There was no blood feuds between the two. There was no blood lust at all—which is why it has been described by historians as America's first Civil War! Not to mention the real Civil War over the question of slavery that erupted into a bloody rebellion—killing 620,000 or 2% of the population at the time
[Today that would be the equivalent of 6.25 million people]—over the issue of subjugation of a whole class of humans*.

How many people got killed during the Reign of Terror again—40,000 maybe 50,000? Ya what a blood thirsty bunch of wanna be anarchists.

To quote you: "Fortunately, the movement collapsed when people got sick of the bloodshed."

*I am sorry they were only three quarters human.

And like you say—our Revolution has evolved way better than theirs. We were way more "enlightened" and evolved—ya, we mass murdered 2-3 million American Indians to steal their land and exploit its natural resources. And—now we get to elect our wanna be dictators and tyrants—a "small" government controlled by a few rich capitalists who buy every pre-selected congressman they can. Throw in some well paid jack booted storm troopers to keep those Occupy leeches in line, kind of like Syria or Libya—you can barely tell the difference when you watch on TV. Ya then we undermined the fourth amendment with illegal eavesdropping to cast a wide net—called it "the war on terrorism" to scare the shit out of the easily duped** to toe the party line—we called torture "enhanced interrogation", held people indefinitely without trials—screw habeas corpus—whatever that means. Now we just gotta start getting rid of people who aren't like us, we'll have marginalize them—call them names like: socialist, communists, liberals, the leeches, the mentally retarded, queers, fags, anyone with weird religious beliefs—you know all those evil inferior mud people... Ya we are way, way, way better!

On the other hand having lived a long as I have it sounds a lot like the makings of fascism to me. Or as Mussolini called it Corporatism.

But then we tried that already—it didn't work out very well for 26 million people.

To quote someone who understood the vagaries of human nature: **"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

Just in case you are unaware of the technique of starting a phony war that kills tens of thousands—the scenario goes something like this:
GWB: Lets bomb the shit out Saddam, some payback for him dissn' my daddy.
DBC: We need a reason, other than a no-bid contract for Haliburton—how about WMD's
GWB: What the hell are WMD's
KCR: Sir that stands for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
GWB: I did not know that!
PDW: Sir we could tell people he's buying up yellow cake for uranium enrichment.
GWB: I didn't know you could make bombs outta cake. Make it happen.
KCR: Sir, its CIA they have an Afgan POW they want to question for information about Osama. Something about torture, what should I tell them?
GWB: Who the hell is Osama? Who cares about him? Are we still looking for him? I thought I disbanded the team at CIA that was looking for him?
DBC: Stop saying torture—its "enhanced interrogation" the United States does not torture.
KCR: Sir they are saying it maybe against the Constitution.
GWB: The Constitution? It's just a g-damn piece of paper.
DBC: Who's going to sell this load of crap about Iraq?
GWB: Get Colin to do it. He's got credi-believability.
DBC: People will believe anything he says. But don't tell him he's got to look convinced himself.
CLR: What if people object and ask why we are going tho war with Iraq?
DBC: Damn it! Just Call em traitors! Cowards! Commies I don't care.
GWB: Good meeting fellas. See yall when I get back from the ranch next month.
KBR: Sir you just got back last week—you were there for a month.
GWB: So what? I'm the Decider in Chief damn it. I don't mind tellin ya'll this
"war on terror is hell on me."

Part 5c: Dear Mike: "A Series of Letters from the Left to the Right"

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Commentary: On December 2, 2011 I was excoriated by a young "conservative" named Mike, who wanted to give me a hiding for my communist views on "unregulated" capitalism. He called me or more precisely my views "ridiculous" I'll let you decide who is ridiculous. His tirade was quite lengthy so I am publishing my response in 9 parts as "A series of letters from Left to Right: Dear Mike Since his attack was full of vitriol I have taken off the gloves as I see no point of entertaining his bombastic rhetoric. Parts 5-9 are in-response to the object of his real distain—my post called "Adam Smith Re-examined."

I have color coded my blog post that he critiqued in red—his critique in blueand my response to his critique in black.

Due to length I needed to subdivide Part 5 into three separate responses 5a-5b-5c

This is Part 5c

On the Purpose of Capitalism and Private Property

Adam Smith said:”Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that (the interests) of the consumer.” He was just as concerned for the welfare of the consumer as he was for the “job creators” He understood what the “masters of the universe” don’t—commerce is a societal contract and that mutual benefit must be shared.

Exactly. Producer A produces something that will benefit Consumer B, such as an iPod. A wants to be paid for producing an iPod, and B wants to listen to Twilight audiobooks on the subway. So B gives some money to A, and A gives an iPod to B. Both are happy with the exchange. B created jobs by paying for an iPod and can now listen to Twilight everywhere she goes. A can take the profits from selling an iPod, provide a livelihood for his employees, and start developing a brand-new iPod to sell to A next year.

The interests of both parties have been satisfied, and both consider themselves better off. The mutual benefit has been shared.

If they are unhappy with the exchange, they can refuse to do business with each other in the future, renegotiate the terms of their next exchange, or take it to the courts if the situation warrants.

BUT – that does not mean that Previously Uninvolved Party D should somehow benefit from this exchange. Just because B bought an iPod doesn’t mean D gets a free iPod, nor does D deserve a cut of A’s profits when he in no way contributed to the development, production, distribution, or retail of the iPod. D would be a thief if he snuck into A’s office and took some of A’s cash.

Dear Mike,

You've missed my point from the beginning—I have no quarrel with Capitalism—per se—if that were the way it worked in the real world.

It doesn't, it has been corrupted—because every human endeavor at some point becomes corrupt—ironically, by the very same foible, greed, Smith was trying to harness for the benefit of society—he was wrong—it needs to be "regulated" in all instances.

His original argument was for "unregulated" capitalism as it pertained to "domestic" markets which were much smaller in his time, where you knew who you were doing business with. On a larger scale it ceases to function.

How do you make a sovereign country like China behave? They agreed to abide by the rules of the WTO, yet continue to abuse or ignore them and manipulate their currency in their favor and refuse to enforce labor laws—to which they agreed.

Now days you call for technical assistance for a product you buy at a local retailer, but, you get somebody in India who doesn't understand you or you, them. You get shoddy products that don't work and are put through a telecommunications labyrinth that is designed to make you give up trying to get what you paid for by waiting on automated phones designed to frustrate you and make you go away. In a global economy: your simplistic model falls apart.

D deserves no share of A and B’s exchange.

Are you equating D as the government who is "stealing" or is D the unwashed mass of leeches that the government showers with largess like food stamps for single mothers. Or maybe tax subsides to oil companies?

And yet you agree with Smith that the government has a legitimate right to tax—when you said:[quote]Which is fine, and our federal government was originally designed with a very fair and progressive taxation system. Unfortunately, we are no longer following it. [unquote]

So if the government has a right to ask for some of their money back—(for the moment— fair tax system aside)—and they then help the poor because the people that elected them voted for it—that's not OK?

When Social programs were passed they were passed by a majority on the left and the right who supported them. President Eisenhower a respected Republican President said:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

He also said:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, l952-----

Unfortunately at times it seems greed, selfishness and stupidity will win the day!

On the issue of taxation he [Smith] said:”The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state. The expence of government to the individuals of a great nation is like the expence of management to the joint tenants of a great estate, who are all obliged to contribute in proportion to their respective interests in the estate.

Again you said: [quote]Which is fine, and our federal government was originally designed with a very fair and progressive taxation system.[unquote] Which is in complete agreement with one of the two main points that my post makes. The other is the need for regulation, which is the primary function of government, as stated by James Madison, in the Federalist as a rationale for the need of government.

Which is it—they are thieves—as you stated previously—or—Does the "government of the people" have the right to tax in proportion (progressive) to respective abilities (to pay) and then determine how the money is allocated according to elected representatives of the people? This is rhetorical—the only answer is yes to the latter.

As for regulation—Madison one of the greatest thinkers of the American Revolution said one of the primary functions of government—indeed the underlying necessity for government—was to "regulate factions" (special interests) who would trample the rights of others. Who is right—the free market Capitalist deregulators—or James Madison? The answer is the latter, we are a democracy not an plutocratic oligarchy.

He (Smith) also said: “As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed,

Hey – just like those Occupy Wall Street leeches! They want stuff without paying for it!

Projecting your distain to deflect the essence of the quote is—excuse the phrase—total bullshit: Smith was talking about landlords and "private property" one of the tenants of the twisted version of modern "unregulated" capitalism—not OWS leeches. He was speaking against the dangers of private ownership of land especially natural resources.

POINT: The Kings of our common history owned everything and considered the population within their domain as slaves who could not own anything. They were not even allowed to hunt in the king's forests to provide sustenance. It was this injustice that we fought against, but, seem unable to keep from repeating, ourselves.

POINT: Today's King's are the rich who claim to "own" everything "even the natural resources" of the earth which they did not create and cannot replace when they have exploited them to exhaustion.

and demand a rent even for its natural produce.” Does that sound like the modern oil barons who exploit the “commonwealth of the Nation and take enormous profits and are also rewarded by our government with tax subsidies on top of their exploitive profits?

Hooray, I hope Weber is advocating for the repeal of the Ethanol subsidy.

Smith's reference to natural produce does not refer to corn. However, I do advocate for the elimination of all NON-essential tax subsides for corporations. I do see that investments—for future technological advancements, education, the continued prosperity of our Nation and vital to our security and defense—are needed.

And with it, end the wind farm subsidies, solar panel subsidies, fluorescent bulb subsidies, and so on and so forth.

See above

As an aside, I have to wonder if Weber has ever seen the breakdown of the price of gas — how much goes to state and federal taxes, vs. how much the oil barons keep, and of the latter, how that cost is broken down between transportation cost, refining cost, labor cost, etc,

Unless you know about, forced pooling, leasing multiple non-contiguous tracts, warranted title rights, skimming, short counting, manipulation of pricing, unlimited water rights, slant drilling, confusing small print contracts meant to obscure bad faith deals,"government subsides, and a hundred other dishonest ways oil producers use to "maximize " profits.

Did I mention I own land in the Bakken Basin of North Dakota's richest oil fields, but other than that I don't know squat about it. Thanks for asking?

to see exactly how much is profit?

I know something you apparently don't—the Koch brothers, Hess, Exxon, Shell, are not hurting from narrow profit margins. In fact they are at this very moment in the process of buying "our" representational democracy with their profits.

Or does he just assume that all $4 per gallon goes straight to an oil baron’s pocket?

Your sarcastic condescending assumption is incorrect.

As an aside, the oil companies aren’t “exploiting the commonwealth of the Nation” — the oil fields don’t belong to the nation, they belong to the people who bought the land and mineral rights, who invested in the exploration and discovery, who paid for the development of the field, who built the rigs and extraction equipment, who employed all the workers, who removed and refined the oil,

Jefferson in a letter to Madison said:"The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on." Jefferson on Politics & Government: Property Rights

Jefferson also said:

Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. --Thomas Jefferson

...and on the same subject Franklin said:

All the Property that is necessary to a man is his natural Right, which none may justly deprive him of, but all Property [beyond his needs are] superfluous to such Purposes [to sustain him] is the property of the Public who, by their Laws have created it and who may, by other Laws dispose of it. --Benjamin Franklin

For the most part they (oil companies) lease minerals rights— they are not interested in holding and paying taxes on land, especially, when they have extracted all of the oil. Furthermore, unlike human rights, property rights—are civil rights and are a "construct" designed by the rich to give them the appearance of legitimacy. They are social definitions; they exist as long as the society is willing to enforce them. If enforcement is missing, they cease to exist. The reasons for changes might be market conditions, popular sentiments, scientific knowledge, new technologies, lobbying, or legal battles. Biotechnologies are already having profound effects on how we organize property rights for natural resources. Resource rights change as our understandings and sentiments change.

If companies, individuals, groups, or the state are not managing and stewarding resources in sustainable ways, their authority should be openly and vigorously challenged.

Civil rights are social inventions, and society can abrogate them. Attempts by capitalist to privatize water is a prime example. People that want the right to exploit the worlds resources common to all need to be stopped.

And civil rights are open to litigation. As an example—America when dealing with Indians developed the theory of "Manifest Destiny" to steal Indian lands and abrogate treaties which it violated every few decades so they could steal more land. Many tribes have sued over lost tribal lands and have won settlements.

You are wrong, the oil companies are doing exactly that, they lease "mineral rights"—on private and government land—(that's why they can't drill in ANWR or National Parks or America's Continental Shelf)—at a price of pennies per acre at—a fraction of real vale—and they are subsidized by taxpayer dollars to do so—and they ARE exploiting the common wealth of the nation—to say otherwise is utterly dishonest. As an aside they already have paid leases on millions of acres of public lands that they are not drilling on, which begs the question—why not?

and who delivered it to the happy consumer.

And who's happy about 4 dollar or 5 dollars a gallon gas— are you smoking something?

To claim otherwise is to be utterly dishonest. And this is why, in tin-pot dictator nations like Venezuela where the oil fields are stolen from those who invested so much of their own capital and lives in developing them, and given to “the Nation,” “oil barons” quickly give up trying to find and develop new fields because they know it will be stolen. Development stops, and shortages occur.

Poor misunderstood oil barons boo-hoo!

Does that sound like bankers who get money created from nothing and given to them for free while they profit from it by inflating the cost to borrow it?

Which is exactly why the Founders mandated in the Constitution that nothing but silver and gold should be the money of the nation, defined the specific weights and purities to be used for the various denominations, and mandated the death penalty for any officer of the Mint who would debase the currency. Returning to Constitutional money would solve the corrupt banking system immediately. It would also greatly reduce the size and scope of the federal government because they couldn’t fund all their illicit activities.

Do I sense a half-hearted agreement? Wow finally something we kind of, sort of, agree about.

Monetary reform.

Problem. There is no gold left in Ft. Knox and there isn't enough gold in the world to fund the entire world economy at least not without hyper inflating its value, which would make it as useless as the anchor for currency as tulip bulbs. Besides paper is easier to carry around and shit like that. Which is why paper money was substituted in the first place—whether its backed by gold or not.

And when you get right down to it—what is gold—it's really just a metal—like heavy, heavy dirt, with some other binders in it, and you can't eat it or get warm from burning it. Maybe we could substitute sea shells strung on string. Or, maybe tulip bulbs— will—make a come back.

POINT: The "gold standard" is dead because it is no longer useful in a global economy. It like the buggy whip —it has come and gone, and while it served its purpose at one point in time its dead for a reason.

POINT: I used to ask my grandmother who was born in 1886 if she missed "the good old days"—as a child I held them up as a rather romantic era. She looked at me with some surprise and said: "They were terrible why would I miss them?"

FINAL POINT: I do agree. It's time for a sea change in rethinking the monetary system and how it operates in today's world economy, but, NOT by going back to an era that has come and gone.

But then, that's what any creative, forward, out of the box thinking progressive, would say.

Commentary: Dear Mike, By his own definition Smith's theory—is amoral—in the sense it does not recognize either benefit or harm caused by its application—that, however, does not excuse the person that subscribes to it, and acts on it—from acts that are immoral or unethical—and in fact—it begs—that an effort of extreme caution be taken to guard against that moral hazard.

The idea that because A owns a commodity—e.g. water—that is life sustaining and withholds it from D because B can pay for it and D cannot and therefore D dies—is repugnant. And is in all instances a depraved response that needs to be challenged and guarded against.

As I watched the Republican debates one instance in particular stood out, when Ron Paul responded to Wolf Blitzers question about a 30 year old was dying and uninsured, and the crowd shouting out—"let him die"—much like the mobs in ancient Rome calling for the blood of the vanquished. Or the mob that yelled "crucify him."Are these the same self righteous Ultra Right Conservative Christians who claim to be the arbiters of "Christian" orthodoxy and Conservative ideology—"Is this a case of Conservative Christians being right? Or, the Conservative Christian Right gone terribly wrong? Its certainly is not the Christianity I was taught and still believe in.

Christ's entire message says if I can help someone and refuse to help them and that person dies as a result of my inattention—I might as well have murdered him. Failing to act without compassion or remorse is the only unforgivable sin.

The claim that faith alone saves—is false. It is love and compassion that saves us. It binds us together as a people. Love of country love for one another. When ever I see hatred towards others expressed in political terms I am reminded of Christ's words, "if you say you love god and hate your neighbor you are a lair." Our loving "acts" towards our fellow human's matter, they show that we understand the message of Christ. It's not the acts in and of themselves—its the motivation.

Consequences of our actions matter especially when they have dire consequences for those around us. That is the case for—and the absolute necessity of—strict regulations and it begs our tireless and scrupulous enforcement.

For example a century of regulations guarding against moral hazard were sweep aside or trivialized—in the financial sector of of our economy—to the determent of all but a handful that benefitted from their capricious moral turpitude. Recently in the news I heard that dozens of homeless froze to death during the last blizzard I wondered how many were dispossessed in the recent economic downturn.

Their so called "free market" no rules capitalism were an excuse—to act—with cupidity and without compunction for the effects of those actions. The Republican mantra for "personal responsibility" is a joke in the face of the disaster they caused and their attempt to blame the victims of their depraved indifference..

The love of money numbs the conscience like an opiate numbs the body and mind. Hence the truism "love of money is the root of all evil". You don't have to be a religious person to know right from wrong, but you have to be sociopathic not to recognize the difference and act without remorse for the consequences.

As for taxation, Adam Smith said: "Pay your fair share"

Christ said: "Render unto Caesar."

James Madison said: "Regulate em!"

Jefferson said: the earth is common stock for men to labor and live on.

Franklin said: No man should take more than he needs.

What's good enough for them is good enough for me.

Sincerely yours, a devout statist, defender of the faith and the Constitution.

End of Part 5c