May. 25, 2010 7:39 am
- Isn't the Texas school board reinventing America as the Puritan nation of the Salem witch trials?
- The Oil Spill: Has the privatization of Government failed Obama and us?
- Has the economic disaster reached the point where corporate monopolies and rich guys are starting to worry?
- Please name one company that doesn't use public services for their existence and therefore exist outside the realm of public law?
- Bumper Music:
- School Day, Chuck Berry.
- Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, Paul Simon.
- Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
- My Old School, Steely Dan.
- Rich Girl, Gwen Stefani.
- I Wanna Be Rich, Calloway.
- The Twilight Zone, Marius Constant.
- One More Day, Derek James.
- Fireflies, Owl City.
- Grand Canyon, Dmitriy Lukyanov (you need to search for it) (with additional sounds by Jacob).
- Democracy, Leonard Cohen.
- 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: “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.” -- James Madison.
- 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." "
- 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."
- Amendment I of the United States Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- Clip: Alan Greenspan, September 2007, C-SPAN, Book TV:
We pay the highest skilled labor wages in the world. If? we would open up our borders to skilled labor far more than we do, ah, we would attract a very substantial quantity of skilled labor which would suppress the wage levels of the skilled because we skilled are being essentially subsidized by government meaning our competition is being kept outside the country
- Clip: Jimmy Carter televised "Crisis of Confidence" Speech on July 15, 1979.
"The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them. Moreover, I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000.
What I have to say to you now about energy is simple and vitally important. Point one: I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation.
The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980s, for I am tonight setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half by the end of the next decade -- a saving of over 4-1/2 million barrels of imported oil per day."
- Clip: Father Coughlin, around 1935.
And therefore choosing right instead of might, choosing to be on the side of justice instead of on the side of modern capitalism with its intermingling with socialism and communism. I stand before you tonight to warn you, careless of what the future holds for me, that this relief that has failed to relieve by pounding off its taxation, by doubling its assessment upon on the payrolls of the nation, by finding its way into the grocer's shop ? ? ? as your food. This relief that lives upon us suckers taking from the people very penny they own is due to crumble and fall before one year from this April. You think you know whhat depression is, all there's a law of compensation and there's an accounting to be held, an accounting that shall make the depression of 1929 seem as a prosperity when it breaks upon you.
- Reagan Campaigns for Truman in 1948.
"This is Ronald Reagan speaking to you from Hollywood. You know me as a motion picture actor but tonight I'm just a citizen pretty concerned about the national election next month and more than a little impatient with those promises the Republicans made before they got control of Congress a couple years ago.
I remember listening to the radio on election night in 1946. Joseph Martin, the Republican Speaker of the House, said very solemnly, and I quote, "We Republicans intend to work for a real increase in income for everybody by encouraging more production and lower prices without impairing wages or working conditions", unquote. Remember that promise: a real increase in income for everybody. But what actually happened?
The profits of corporations have doubled, while workers' wages have increased by only one-quarter. In other words, profits have gone up four times as much as wages, and the small increase workers did receive was more than eaten up by rising prices, which have also bored into their savings. For example, here is an Associate Press Dispatch I read the other day about Smith L. Carpenter, a craftsman in Union Springs, New York. It seems that Mr. Carpenter retired some years ago thinking he had enough money saved up that he could live out his last years without having to worry. But he didn’t figure on this Republican inflation, which ate up all of his savings, and so he's gone back to work. The reason this is news, is Mr. Carpenter is 91 years old.
Now, take as a contrast the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, which reported a net profit of $210 million after taxes for the first half of 1948; an increase of 70% in one year. In other words, high prices have not been caused by higher wages, but by bigger and bigger profits.
The Republican promises sounded pretty good in 1946, but what has happened since then, since the 80th Congress took over? Prices have climbed to the highest level in history, although the death of the OPA was supposed to bring prices down through "the natural process of free competition". Labor has been handcuffed with the vicious Taft-Hartley law. Social Security benefits have been snatched away from almost a million workers by the Gearhart bill. Fair employment practices, which had worked so well during war time, have been abandoned. Veterans' pleas for low cost homes have been ignored, and many people are still living in made-over chicken coops and garages.
Tax-reduction bills have been passed to benefit the higher-income brackets alone. The average worker saved only $1.73 a week. In the false name of economy, millions of children have been deprived of milk once provided through the federal school lunch program. This was the payoff of the Republicans' promises. And this is why we must have new faces in the Congress of the United States: Democratic faces.
This is why we must not only elect President Truman, but also men like Mayor Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis, the Democratic candidate for Senator from Minnesota. Mayor Humphrey at 37 is one of the ablest men in public life. He's running against Joe Ball, who was a member of the Senate Labor Committee, helped write the Taft-Hartley law. The Republicans don't want to lose Ball, and are spending a small fortune on his campaign. They've even sent [Thomas] Dewey and [Earl] Warren to Minneapolis to speak for him. President Truman knows the value of a man like Hubert Humphrey in the Senate, and he has been in Minneapolis too, campaigning against Joe Ball. Mayor Humphrey and Ball are the symbols of the political battle going on in America today. While Ball is a banner carrier for Wall Street, Mayor Humphrey is fighting for all the principles advocated by President Truman; for adequate low cost housing, for civil rights, for prices people can afford to pay, and for a labor movement freed of the Taft-Hartley law. I take great pride in presenting my friend from Minneapolis, Mayor Hubert H. Humphrey, candidate for United States Senator."
- Member of the day was ottomine, who won a copy of "Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back" for blogging on the daily blog:
"Am requesting votes and help. The question of the day for our regional newspaper The Independent in Grand Island, NE is -- Should Nebraska adopt an illegal immigration law similar to the one in Arizona? The vote as of now is 497, 84% yes, 16% no. We have an active tea (baggers) party in the area and would like to see a more rational response to this poll. One member from St. Paul. where we are from, was on televison news program and called Spanish Americans "wet backs". Please help if you can." Here's the site - http://theindependent.com