Wednesday 18 November 2009 show notes

  • Guests:
  • Topics:
    • How much more damage are we going to let Reagan's monopolistic policies inflict on this nation?
    • While the American economy goes to hell in a hand-basket – is Goldman Sachs handing out shiny dimes?
    • Spiritual warfare for homeschooled teenagers? … got patriarchi?
  • Bumper Music:
  • Today's newsletter has details of today's guests and links to the major stories and alerts that Thom covered in the show, plus lots more. If you haven't signed up for the free newsletter yet, please do. If you missed today's newsletter, it is in the archive.
  • Quote: "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science." -- Albert Einstein.
  • Article: Obama: Too much debt could fuel double-dip recession.

    "President Barack Obama yesterday urged China to strengthen its currency as tensions over exchange rates and trade broke through a carefully orchestrated show of co-operation between Washington and Beijing.

    Mr Obama made his comments after a three-hour meeting in Beijing with President Hu Jintao, during which both leaders pledged to work together on pressing international issues.

    However, the US president also joined in the growing chorus of international voices calling on China to allow the renminbi to appreciate.

    “I was pleased to note the Chinese commitment made in past statements to move toward a more market-oriented exchange rate over time,” he said at a joint appearance with Mr Hu. Such a move would “make an essential contribution to the global rebalancing effort”. "

  • Article: Moses Didn’t Write The Constitution by Thom Hartmann.

    " "Hope springs eternal," wrote Adams of the preachers trying to take over government. "Eight millions of Jews hope for a Messiah more powerful and glorious than Moses, David, or Solomon; who is to make them as powerful as he pleases. Some hundreds of millions of Mussulmans expect another prophet more powerful than Mahomet, who is to spread Islamism over the whole earth. Hundreds of millions of Christians expect and hope for a millennium in which Jesus is to reign for a thousand years over the whole world before it is burnt up. The Hindoos expect another and final incarnation of Vishnu, who is to do great and wonderful things, I know not what." "

  • Article: Moses Didn’t Write The Constitution by Thom Hartmann.

    "Thomas Jefferson was perhaps the most outspoken of the Founders who saw religious leaders seizing political power by claiming religion as the basis of American law to be a naked threat to American democracy.

    One of his most well known quotes is carved into the stone of the awe-inspiring Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny imposed upon the mind of man."

    Modern religious leaders who aspire to political power often cite it as proof that Jefferson was a Bible-thumping Christian.

    What's missing from the Jefferson memorial (and almost all who cite the quote), however, is the context of that statement, the letter and circumstance from which it came.

    When Jefferson was Vice President, just two months before the election of 1800 in which he would become President, he wrote to his good friend, the physician Benjamin Rush, who started out as an orthodox Christian and ended up, later in his life, a Deist and Unitarian. Here, in a most surprising context, we find the true basis of one of Jefferson's most famous quotes:"

    "DEAR SIR, – … I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten," Jefferson wrote, noting that he knew to discuss the topic would add fuel to the fires of electoral politics swirling all around him. "I do not know that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum [the angry poets] who are all in arms against me. Their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened.

    "The delusion …on the [First Amendment] clause of the Constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists.

    "The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, and they [the preachers] believe that any portion of power confided to me [such as being elected President], will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough too in their opinion."

  • Article: The Founders Confront Judge Moore by Thom Hartmann.

    "Of greater concern to the Founders, though, was the naked power grab religious leaders were trying to pull off by claiming that America's system of jurisprudence was founded in their religious system, and that therefore they should be able to insert themselves into the secular halls of political power. The claim was made so often and so loudly (and believed by the more gullible of the masses), that several of the Founders thought it necessary to refute it in detail. Jefferson was probably the most methodical, as was so often the case on constitutional matters.

    In a February 10, 1814 letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, Jefferson addressed the question directly. "Finally, in answer to Fortescue Aland's question why the Ten Commandments should not now be a part of the common law of England we may say they are not because they never were…" Anybody who asserted that the Ten Commandments were the basis of American or British law was, Jefferson said, mistakenly believing a document that was "a manifest forgery."

    The reason was simple: British common law, on which much American law was based, existed before Christianity had arrived in England.

    "Sir Matthew Hale lays it down in these words," wrote Jefferson to Cooper, "'Christianity is parcel of the laws of England.'"

    But, Jefferson rebuts, it couldn't be. Just looking at the timeline of English history demonstrated it was impossible: "But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first Christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here, then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it….

    "We might as well say that the Newtonian system of philosophy is a part of the common law, as that the Christian religion is," wrote Jefferson. "…In truth, the alliance between Church and State in England has ever made their judges accomplices in the frauds of the clergy; and even bolder than they are." "

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