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Thomas Jefferson, the American Mind, and the Cosmic System PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 05:26

On May 26, 1776, John Adams – who represented Massachusetts at the Second Continental Congress – wrote exultantly to his friend James Warren that “every post and every day rolls in upon us independence like a torrent.” Adams had reason for rejoicing, for this was what he and others had hoped and worked for almost since the Congress had convened in May of the previous year. It helped, to be sure, that George III had proclaimed the colonies in rebellion, and this encouraged the Americans to take him at his word. Later, George Washington proceeded to drive General Howe out of Boston. This demonstrated that Americans need not stand on the defensive, but could vindicate themselves in military strategy quite as well as in political.

However exciting to some, America was going through the difficult process of being born. In any event, the stage of history was being set. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced three resolutions calling for independence, foreign alliances, and confederation. Some wanted unity and voted to postpone the final vote for three weeks. This allowed time for debate and for the hesitant and fainthearted to come over or step out. In the meantime, Congress appointed a committee to prepare a “Declaration of Independence.” This committee consisted of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson had come to the Continental Congress the previous year, bringing with him a reputation for literature, science, and a talent for composition. His writings, said John Adams, “were remarkable for their peculiar felicity of expression.” In part because of his rhetorical gifts, in part because he already had a reputation for working quickly, in part because it was thought that Virginia – as the oldest, the largest, and the most deeply committed of the states – should take the lead, the committee unanimously turned to Jefferson to prepare a draft declaration.

 
Big Business Getting Something for Nothing PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by David S. D’Amato   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 05:37

In early June, as a prelude to an expansive study of the Fortune 500 due later this summer, Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) published an analysis of “the current corporate tax debate.” Anarchists oppose taxes on principle as an exalted form of theft, but the fact that the most profitable firms in the country aren’t paying up raises other important questions.

Arguing that the “tax code has ... become overburdened with loopholes, shelters, and special tax breaks,” CTJ’s study demonstrates that 12 of America’s largest companies currently pay, in effect, a tax rate of negative 1.5 percent. That means that some corporations – among them Boeing – are in fact making money through the tax system as it is currently operating.

 
Bankrupt Nations Try (and Fail) to Stop the Future PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Simon Black   
Monday, 30 May 2011 05:34

Debt is slavery ... or at least indentured servitude of the worst kind. That looming mortgage, the high-interest credit-card debt, the short-term car loan – these are the forces that keep people from breaking free and taking action.

Ironically, debt begets more debt. According to FinAid, the average U.S. student-loan debt for a four-year-private-university graduate is nearly $36,000, and $24,000 for a public university. Throw in that first car loan and maybe a mortgage, and suddenly you’re staring at hundreds of thousands of dollars in demoralizing claims on your future income.

At this point, most people figure: Hey, I’m already in debt up to my nose; might as well get in up to my eyeballs and buy a new plasma screen on credit.

 
Strauss-Kahn: As Sleazy as the IMF in General PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by David D’Amato   
Thursday, 26 May 2011 07:45

Since the embattled former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, occupies the headlines with some consistency as of late, it seems as good a time as any to note the perfectly legal crimes the IMF perpetrates daily.

Established by the world’s most powerful states as an agency of empire, the IMF is an inflationary machine designed to make cash all too accessible for the West’s corporate titans. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are the radix of the IMF, having hosted the Bretton Woods conference of nations in the wake of World War II. That summit, conceived to reconfigure the global financial system for the demands of the post-war framework, positioned the United States as a global hegemonic authority.

If America’s corporate neocolonialism was to function, then the “developed” world would need an effective way to funnel money to its new outposts, the countries that would host its subsidiaries and sweatshops. The loans, of course, were – and have ever since been – channeled to infrastructure projects that dilute currencies and cheat the taxpaying common man to benefit a handful of oligarchs.

 
The Changing Face of the Police and the Death of the Fourth Amendment PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 05:07

The Fourth Amendment, which assures that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,” was included in the Bill of Rights in response to the oppressive way British soldiers treated American colonists through their use of “Writs of Assistance.” These were court orders that authorized British agents to conduct general searches of premises for contraband. The exact nature of the materials being sought did not have to be detailed, nor did their locations. The powerful new court orders enabled government officials to inspect not only shops and warehouses, but also private homes. These searches resulted in the violation of many of the colonists’ rights and the destruction of much of the colonists’ personal property. It quickly became apparent to many colonists that their homes were no longer their castles.

Fast-forward 250 years and we seem to be right back where we started, living in an era of oppressive government policies and a militarized police whose unauthorized, forceful intrusions into our homes and our lives have been increasingly condoned by the courts. Indeed, two recent court decisions – one from the U.S. Supreme Court and the other from the Indiana Supreme Court, both handed down in the same week – sound the death knell for our Fourth Amendment rights.

 
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