TEDDY NAILED IT THEN, NAILS IT NOW

“There once was a time in history when the limitation of governmental power meant increasing liberty for the public.  In the present day, the limitation of governmental power, of governmental authority means the enslavement of the people by the great corporations.”

Theodore-RooseveltTeddy Roosevelt (1913)

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Hillary Clinton to be Indicted on Federal Racketeering

THIS IS A BLOG POST ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MAY 29, 2016 HuffPost blogger Frank Huguenard and censored by the corporate media giant the same day without explanation, either to the author or to other journalists inquiring as to their reason.  With some difficulty it was recovered from their online archives, but without the usual linkage, and my computer became unstable attempting to recover the page.  Here is the archive link: http://archive.is/bERJ6 .  Huguenard has been a regular contributor until, apparently, his reporting came too close to reality. He is also an independent filmmaker.  While I normally only post original blogs, I repost this as a public service in defense of the First Amendment. 

Hillary Dumpty

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a United States Federal Law passed in 1970 that was designed to provide a tool for law enforcement agencies to fight organized crime.  RICO allows prosecution and punishment for alleged racketeering activity that has been executed as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

“Activity considered to be racketeering may include bribery, counterfeiting, money laundering, embezzlement, illegal gambling, kidnapping, murder, drug trafficking, slavery, and a host of other nefarious business practices.”

James Comey and The FBI will present a recommendation to Loretta Lynch, Attorney General of the Department of Justice, that includes a cogent argument that the Clinton Foundation is an ongoing criminal enterprise engaged in money laundering and soliciting bribes in exchange for political, policy and legislative favors to individuals, corporations and even governments both foreign and domestic.

Convict Hillary

James Comey

“The New York Times examined Bill Clinton’s relationship with a Canadian mining financier, Frank Giustra, who has donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and sits on its board. Clinton, the story suggests, helped Giustra’s company secure a lucrative uranium-mining deal in Kazakhstan and in return received “a flow of cash” to the Clinton Foundation, including previously undisclosed donations from the company’s chairman totaling $2.35 million.”

Bloomberg Politics

Initially, Comey had indicated that the investigation into Hillary’s home brewed email server was to be concluded by October of 2015.  However, as more and more evidence in the case has come to light, this initial date kept being pushed back as the criminal investigation has expanded well beyond violating State Department regulations to include questions about espionage, perjury and influence peddling.

Here’s what we do know.   Tens of millions of dollars donated to the Clinton Foundation was funneled to the organization through a Canadian shell company which has made tracing the donors nearly impossible.  Less than 10% of donations to the Foundation has actually been released to charitable organizations and $2M that has been traced back to long time Bill Clinton friend Julie McMahon (aka The Energizer).   When the official investigation into Hillary’s email server began, she instructed her IT professional to delete over 30,000 emails and cloud backups of her emails older than 30 days at both Platte River Networks and  Datto, Inc.  The FBI has subsequently recovered the majority, if not all, of Hillary’s deleted emails and are putting together a strong case against her for attempting to cover up her illegal and illicit activities.

A conviction under RICO comes when the Department of Justice proves that the defendant has engaged in two or more examples of racketeering and that the defendant maintained an interest in, participated in or invested in a criminal enterprise affecting interstate or foreign commerce.  There is ample evidence already in the public record that the Clinton Foundation qualifies as a criminal enterprise and there’s no doubt that the FBI is privy to significantly more evidence than has already been made public.

Under RICO, the sections most relevant in this case will be section 1503 (obstruction of justice), section 1510 (obstruction of criminal investigations) and section 1511 (obstruction of State or local law enforcement).  As in the case with Richard Nixon after the Watergate Break-in, it’s the cover-up of a crime that will be the Clintons’ downfall.  Furthermore, under provisions of title 18, United States Code: Section 201, the Clinton Foundation can be held accountable for improprieties relating to bribery.  The FBI will be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that through the Clinton Foundation, international entities were able to commit bribery in exchange for help in securing business deals, such as the uranium-mining deal in Kazakhstan.

It is a Federal Crime to negligently handle classified information under United States Code (USC) 18 section 1924.  It is a Federal Class A Felony under USC 18 section 798.  Hillary certified under oath to a federal judge that she had handed over to the state department all of her emails, which she clearly did not.  In spite of her repeated statements to the effect that everything that she did with her home brewed email server as Secretary of State was above-board and approved by the State Department,  the Inspector General Report vehemently refutes this claim.  Hillary refused to be interview by the Inspector General’s office in their investigation, claiming that her upcoming FBI interview took precedent but it seems more likely that Hillary is more concerned about committing perjury or admitting to anything that can be used against her in a court of law.

“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary.  At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”

Inspector General Report

Hillary Clinton is guilty of exposing classified documents to foreign governments by placing them illegally on her server, of sending and receiving classified documents and conspiring with her staff to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by avoiding the use of the State Department run servers.  Some of the documents were so highly classified the investigators on the case weren’t even able to examine the material themselves until they got their own clearances raised to the highest levels.

While there is an excellent cast to be made the Hillary committed treasonous actions, the strongest case the FBI has is charging both Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as the Clinton Foundation of Racketeering.  There’s no wonder why it’s taken this long for the FBI to bring forward a recommendation.  The rabbit hole is so deep on this one that it has taking dozens of investigators to determine the full extent of the crimes that have been committed.   Perhaps the most interesting question here is whether or not the FBI’s investigation will be able to directly link The Clinton Foundation with The Hillary Victory Fund.  If this happens, the DNC itself may be in jeopardy of accusations of either being an accomplice or of being complicit in racketeering.”

It should also be noted that investigative reporter H. A. Goodman has reported about the FBI Clinton Criminal Investigation along similar lines on his vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK4myOpw6jY

 

 

Posted in 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Race, FBI Criminal Investigation of Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

WHAT IS A POLITICAL CONVENTION FOR IF NOT TO CHOOSE A CANDIDATE?

Hillary Dumpty

The question of what is the purpose of a political convention may seem a trifle simplistic to modern media pundits, but as three generations of teachers—and Democrats—in my family were want to say, there are no stupid questions; just stupid answers.  So to all the politically savvy “experts” in the media and the Democratic political establishment nationwide, I recommend that you seriously consider—or reconsider—your own answer to this question, as well as my own answer below.

Thomas Nast dead elephant and Donkey over cliff

The GOP is a dying beast but can still do great harm; meanwhile, the Democratic Party establishment seems bound and determined to follow Hillary Clinton over the precipice.  Their convention in July is the place to correct their mistake.

For a number of years, the presidential convention has simply been one giant publicity event, a raucous but essentially meaningless cheerleading rally for the pre-anointed candidate of the respective political party.  We now have a prolonged and incredibly expensive process for selecting a presidential candidate, a process which is neither designed to choose the best possible person for the job, nor even the most electable candidate; and if the current Democratic Presidential nominating process is any guide, it is also not reflective of the wishes of the rank and file members of that political party, but the cynical will of a small circle of political bosses and their financial handlers.  

Traditionally, the purpose of a presidential political convention has been to select a candidate; how the candidate was chosen has varied over the years, but in essence the convention was the medium through which this was done.  Caucus, primary or smoke filled room have all been methods for selecting a suitable candidate; but the purpose has always been to choose the best person for the job, not to acquiesce to the political operative most acceptable to the billionaire class.

 

Hurricane image royalty free

The Democratic Party is traveling straight into the Perfect Storm with #CrookedHillary and can’t see it.  Only the nomination of Bernie Sanders can save the day.

Since the late 1970’s, the leadership of the Democratic Party—the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party of the common man, the working man—has transformed it into a “me too” party, mimicking the Republican Party, perhaps a little less austere and still giving lip service to American workers but in fact undermining them at every turn, but has been gradually abandoning the values of FDR and the New Deal, the very programs and values that had made the Democratic Party the dominant political party for half a century; the programs and policies that had not only reformed a broken economic system, but ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity for most Americans. 

Mind you, the wealthy also benefited from the economic programs of the New Deal, since we are a consumer economy and the more money American workers have, the more they spend. 

The reverse, however, is not true: giving the wealthy undeserved tax breaks and various “corporate welfare” schemes to not result in wealth trickling down to the American worker.  They never have and never will: Trickle Down economics, or whatever label you rebrand it with, is a proven failure and just a con to rob the middle class of their wealth and transfer it to the top 1%.  What is a billion dollars in political contributions when it will return you in 100 billion in tax breaks, government subsidies and assorted outsourcing and off-shoring schemes?

 

Stuffing-The-Ballot-Box

The only way Hillary has gotten the primary wins she has was by out and out cheating.

 

Bernie Sanders portrays himself as a “Democratic Socialist” and that is fine if he wishes to characterize his solid New Deal derived programs and policies in those terms.  Perhaps all these years the Democratic Party should have been more forthright to the American people about all those “socialistic” programs which created wealth and prosperity in this country.  Those programs, and a strong Union movement, created the record postwar prosperity we enjoyed between 1945 and into the 1970’s.  Perhaps then the Repugnican NeoCons would never have gotten to first base with their vile economic voodoo even in the Republican Party. 

 

Now both the GOP NeoCons and the DINO Democrat NeoLibs are attacking Social Security and Medicare as “entitlement programs” that need to be cut to balance the budget.  Even Ronald Reagan laid it out in simple terms that, while Social Security is technically in the Federal Budget, it DOES NOT contribute to the deficit; it is fully funded by the American people and their employers. YES IT IS AN ENTITLEMENT: YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THAT MONEY BECAUSE YOU PAID INTO IT YOUR ENTIRE WORKING LIFE, NOT THE BILLIONAIRES!  However, every American should be aware that over the years Social Security has been raided by the Republicans and some Dems as a giant slush fund to finance Billionaire tax cuts and otherwise unfunded wars (like Hillary’s Iraq War).  So, no Social Security is not “going broke” but the Billionaires and their Congressional toadies have been stealing from the till and need to put the money back,

Reagan Defending Social Security: reagan

Bernie Sanders Defends Social Security

bernie-sanderssmiling

Why is this man smiling? Guess.

However, to learn what the Repugnicans and the NeoLib Democrats have been doing with your Social Security money, listen to this radio show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqxMCjZxXYM

 

Hillary Clinton is a DINO—a Democrat In Name Only—and she and her fillandering husband have worked very hard to transform the Democratic Party in the Republican Light Party.  Even many progressives in the party—and they are fewer every year—are largely afraid to cross the Clinton Crime Family or run too strongly against the NeoLiberal lies that the Clinton organization has made the new party dogma.

 

Delacroix Liberty at the Barricades

aux la barricades in July and take the Democratic Party back from the Oligarchs, America.

 

The Democratic Party needs to get back to its roots; nominate Bernie Sanders, move heaven and earth to get money out of politics and push through financial reforms and all the regulations that were put in place after the “free market” bankrupted America.  The only reason these safeguards were removed was because of sheer greed.  During World War II, FDR proposed a Second Bill of Rights, also known as the Economic Bill of Rights.  Call it Socialism if you wish—but bear in mind the Pilgrims and the Puritans were socialists too and they never heard of Karl Marx.  Karl & Abe Book

 

Needless to say, all the phony trade treaties like NAFTA, the TPP and the upcoming TTIP and some 45 or so other scams to benefit multi-national corporations all need to be repealed and renegotiated into FAIR TRADE plans, where corporations are excluded and American workers benefited.  Then, and only then, can this nation come back from the precipice and begin to return to a prosperous and just society.

 

Unless the Democratic Natonal Convention in July does its true duty and nominate Bernie Sanders as their standard bearer, our nation is headed for an even bigger financial collapse than we experienced in 2008.  Hillary Clinton is a large part of the problem—her and the Republican NeoCons—and it is hard to say which would be worse, her or Trunp.  If Hillary is nominated, there is a strong chance the Democratic Party will go down to defeat; if she wins, it is almost certain she will be impeached.  Whatever vestige of Democracy we have is on the verge of disappearance.  The Democratic Convention can reverse this dangerous situation, but not if it nominates the worst candidate they have had since the era of Boss Tweed.

Hillary vs Bernie on Panama Trade Agreement

 

Posted in 2012 Election News, 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Race, American History, American Socialism, Bernie Sanders, California Primary, Clinton Machine, Clinton News Network, Crooked Hillary, Donald Trump, French Revolution, Hillary Clinton Loses Big, Sanders Wins election results, Socialism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HILLARY, FILLORY AND THE DNC

evil-hillary

Unless you live under a rock and, say, think the thing a basketball goes through is called a “ring” you are well familiar with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her upcoming coronation. Fillory, however, may be less familiar to some.  It is a reference from Lev Grossman’s series of fantasy novels, The Magicians.  Fillory is a magical never never land in this bestseller series which is supposedly the subject of a series of saccharine children’s books.  Fillory and the fictitious children’s books are obviously patterned on Narnia and the book series by C. S. Lewis—an equally insipid magical world.              Fillory-Map_detail-300x177  

However, in Lev Grossman’s adult magic series, Fillory is very real and the creator of Fillory and author of the Fillory books is a child molester.  So Fillory, instead of this wonderful idealistic place, is actually a very dangerous place controlled by a vicious sociopath.  Hmm, now what would Hillary and Fillory have to do with one another, can we guess?  magicians tophat

The narrative that the Clinton’s—mainly Hillary Clinton—have been promoting for over fifteen years that she is a dedicated progressive and reformer, a tireless champion of women’s and children’s rights and other noble causes.  In truth, Hill & Bill are tireless promoters on no one but themselves; whenever she has occupied a political office, Hillary has used it to enrich herself at the public expense, selling votes and influence to the highest bidder; this is in addition to her ruthless grab for power.  Let us be fair about this, were she the CEO of a major corporation, she would have made it tremendously successful and destroyed whatever competition lay in her way. But what may be allowable in the private sector (especially since the government has not enforced the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in nearly half a century) is NOT allowable to a person holding public office.

Hillary Message

Hillary Clinton talks the talk but walks with the banksters and Wall Street oligarchs.

As Senator, she not only voted to invade Iraq but at every opportunity has been an eager war-hawk, adopting all the GOP Neocon’s official lies as her own.  As Secretary of State, she has pushed the Obama administration to intervene in Libya and more recently Syria, both with disastrous consequences; she aided and abetted a military coup in Honduras and has protected that dictatorship from sanctions for their gross human rights abuse—in large part because of her financial dealings with a multi-national company, which is murdering and raping women and children to terrorize the local populace to acquiesce to a mega damn being built on their lands.  You want weapons to suppress democracy in your country or region?  You got it! You want to expand your fracking operations overseas? You got it!  You want to push through trade deals that steal good-paying American jobs and avoid labor, environmental and other laws by outsourcing overseas—why Hillary has pushed through 45 such bad trade deals. 

fracking oil pump

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton actively promoted fracking overseas; her kickbacks from the fracking industry were funneled through the Clinton Foundation and a spider’s web of shell corporations.

Of course, any benefit to a corporation or foreign government comes with a price—but you can discuss the details on Hillary’s private email server, so the public won’t know about the bribery and financial dirt she’s dealing in.

The Clinton Foundation is officially billed as a benevolent organization doing good throughout the world; it is in fact, nothing more that a multi-national slush fund, designed to launder bribes and pay to play payments from, not just corporations, but foreign governments.  Beginning with NAFTA and continuing on with a serious of disadvantageous trade deals designed to enthrone international banks and multinational corporations over the US and other democracies, and roll back environmental laws, safety requirements and labor protections worldwide, while transferring good paying American jobs overseas, where their friends will pay starvation wages and murder anyone who even thinks of organizing a labor union. The tentacles of the Clinton Crime Family are so numerous, so convoluted and so evil, it would be impossible to summarize them in one book, although a number of investigative reporters have tried.Convict Hillary

Having amassed a huge slush fund, the Clintons have spent the last eight years dispersing their largess to the political leaders of the Democratic Party, and even those few who have not been corrupted by their money are too afraid of retribution to openly protest about their corruption of the entire party apparatus.  Yes, Hillary has an enemies list too, a very real physical list, where those who have crossed her or opposed her are judged and graded for their crimes against La Familia.  Stalin would envy the unquestioned control which she exerts over the party stalwarts. 

hillary_queen_usa

In the scheme of things, she was to have had her coronation in 2008, but an obscure freshman senator from Illinois managed to come from behind to steal the crown—I mean presidency—quite unexpectedly.  Hillary was not the popular choice in 2008 any more than she is now; but this time around, she has made sure that her will in the primaries is rigidly enforced, with local party hacks and Hillary minions busily hacking electronic voting machines (easily done by anyone with an 8th grade science education), forged absentee ballots, and assorted last minute voter purges, vote flipping and change of party affiliation.  The evidence of massive vote fraud in Arizona and New York is well documented, but since Hillary’s major contributors include all the major media conglomerates, you will hear ne’er a word on television, the newspapers, radio or much of anywhere else.

 Hillary's boys

Hillary has a 57% distrust rating with the general public, only slightly less than Donald Trump’s; where Bernie Sanders has turned out crowds of twenty, thirty thousand and more fro rallies, Hillary can barely get a thousand or less to show up at her rallies.  Fortunately, CNN and MSNBC are very good at using their telephoto lenses to make a small crowd look big.  Without the massive cheating she has carried out in primaries across the country, she would not be in the nominal lead in committed delegates right now; even so, Hillary has been unable to put away an outsider candidate, who has virtually walked on eggshells during the primaries not engage in personal attacks on Her Majesty, or even much point out her many obvious weaknesses as a candidate—such as the brewing criminal investigations into her use of private emails to mix her work as Secretary of State with international bribery and influence peddling.  Her weakness in the primaries has been abundantly apparent to all but the blind—which apparently includes the DNC.

 

The-Godfather-620x349

Hillary has made the DNC an offer it can’t refuse.  Sooner or later, Hillary is going down; the only question is, will the entire Democratic Party be bought down with her?

So, given her willingness to go to any extreme to cheat and bribe her way to the nomination, Americans can expect the head of the Clinton Crime Family to be nominated. But if the Democratic Party establishment wishes to believe in Hillary’s never never land of Fillory, voters need to be made aware of the evil that lurks in that fantasy land.Corrupt CEO Hillary

Like the delusional land of Fillory, the magical thinking of the DNC and the Hillarybots will, sooner or later be exposed as the delusion it really is.  Whether this is after she has been nominated and her candidacy blows up on the campaign trail, or, if her sabotage of the Republican presidential campaign works (Trump has long been a friend of the Clintons), after she has been elected, she will be almost certainly suffer Congressional investigations for the length of her reign, culminating in her impeachment.

 delusion

Sooner or later the elaborate lie Hillary Clinton has erected will crash down and take the Democratic Party down with her.  When that happens, don’t blame Bernie, his ‘bros’ (or his sis’); blame a corrupt DNC and all the party hacks who went along with her crooked campaign.  For all the Queen’s horses and all the Queen’s IT experts won’t be able to bail Queen Hillary out of jail. 

Hillary Dumpty

Posted in 2012 Election News, 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Loses Big, Syria, Hillary's Foreign Policy Disaster | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DON’T CRY FOR ME EAST L.A.

THE TRUTH IS YOU NEVER KNEW ME…

Hillary as Evita

Her Royal Highness Hillary flew in to Los Angeles today, less to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and more to grab wads of cash from wealthy Angelinos, in between a stop to speak to Hispanics at a local college.  Apparently, because Her Highness carries hot sauce (allegedly) in her handbag, she feels entitled to the Latino vote.

Not all Americans of Hispanic descent welcomed the new Evita Peron to their fair city however.  Several Latin American groups in Los Angeles find plenty not to like about the  former Secretary of State and planned to protest her Cinco de Mayo visit to East Los Angeles College.

Organizers protesting Her Majesty Hillary’s visit include Union del Barrio-LA, MEXA de ELAC and the Los Angeles Brown Beret.  In a communique they “call on the L.A. community to join us this Thursday to tell Hillary that she is NOT WELCOMED in L.A.!”

Organizers called Clinton an enemy of the working class. They also argue that her Central American policies as secretary of state caused death, destruction and deportation.  While Secretary of State, Clinton condoned a coup d’état in Honduras and then refused to take action against the military dictatorship.  Pretending to be for women and children to American voters, Hillary has covered up the gang rape and murder of women and children in the Central American country, in part because a multi-national with ties to the Clinton Foundation wants to build a giant damn on native lands.

The demonstrators plan to gather at Belvedere Park in East Los Angeles at 3 p.m. and then march on the community college men’s gym two blocks away, where Clinton is scheduled to address supporters.

American Evita

 

Posted in 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Race, Bernie Sanders, California Primary, Clinton News Network, Evita Peron, Hillary and the Honduras Coup, Hillary Clinton, Political and Military analysis, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

THOMAS PAINE: PATRIOT & SOCIALIST

590px-Thomas_Paine

Thomas Paine called “The Firebrand of the Revolution,” had strong opinions about Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

The notion that Socialism is a foreign innovation imported into the United States in the twentieth century is a falsehood which is deeply implanted in the modern American consciousness.  We have seen how the Pilgrims and Puritans organized their first colonies on a socialistic basis and that that socialistic structure proved key to their survival in the dangerous early years the two colonies existence.

Let us now finally lay to rest the false narrative of socialism as being  un-American by examining the case of American Patriot and revolutionary, Thomas Paine.

Having grown up in New Rochelle, New York–Paine’s home town during the American Revolution–I was exposed to Paine’s writings at an early age and visited Paine’s cottage to see where he penned many of his most famous phrases.  I even wrote an early essay on the “Firebrand of the Revolution.”

So I have long been familiar with his life and works.  However, until recently I had not grasped the economic aspects of his political ideology. In short, Thomas Paine was not only a Patriot and key figure in the American Revolution, but a Socialist as well.

Thomas Paine was about the closest the Thirteen Colonies had to a professional revolutionary. His pamphlets stirred the American rebels to action and motivated them to stay the course in achieving independence.  His stirring calls to action and evocative phrases still resonate today: “These are the times that try men’s souls,” “The Summer Soldier and Sunshine Patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country,” “The harder the conflict, the more glorious t he triumph.”

But in amongst his calls to action in defense of liberty and independence, he also declaimed against organized religion (especially Christianity) and he also had quite a bit to say about equality—social as well as political.  Of course, at the time of the Revolution, the Church of England was very much a political creature of both the Crown and the upper classes who ruled both England and America.  We forget that it was the dissident Protestant sects in America who were most in favor of separation of Church and State which is enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

The economic aspects of his political philosophy are rarely mentioned in discussions of Thomas Paine today, but they were part of his political philosophy of equality and his ideas about promoting equality are perhaps more relevant today than they were in his day.  If all wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, you inevitably end up with an Oligarchy.  Economic inequality is the enemy of Democracy.  There is no way around that fact.

After the end of the American Revolution Thomas Paine traveled to France to join in the French Revolution  The French call for not just Liberty, but Equality and Fraternity had a strong appeal to Paine—and inherent in Equality and Fraternity is the notion of economic democracy.

french-revolution-kings-execution

An enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution, he nearly lost his head when he began criticizing the revolution’s excesses.

 

To be fair and balanced (as it were) we should note the Mr. Paine was well surnamed, for at various times he made himself a royal pain to his fellow revolutionaries, both in the America and France.  He criticized George Washington at one point and when he saw the French Revolution start to devolve into the Terror, he began criticizing some of the French revolutionaries and he came close to getting his neck shaved by Madame Guillotine.  Not surprisingly Paine once quipped that, “he who dares not offend cannot be honest.”

Paine concentrated much of his social democratic ideas in a pamphlet called “Agrarian Justice.”  It was written in the winter of 1795-96, but he held off publication for a time, due in part to the war between France and England.  What apparently motivated him to go ahead and issue his essay was the verbal diarrhea of an Anglican Bishop who thought to answer his work The Age of Reason; the smug cleric entitled it “The Wisdom and Goodness of God in having made both Rich and Poor.”  The title of the pamphlet outraged Paine, who pointed out that God “made only male and female, and he gave them the earth for their inheritance.”

I think we still have far too many people today who still believe that their wealth is somehow due to God rewarding them for their virtue and that, conversely, poverty is God’s punishment for the unworthy.  As Paine pointedly note, economic inequality is mainly a condition mainly due to man’s injustice towards their fellow humans.  As Paine put it, “instead of preaching to encourage one part of mankind in insolence . . . it would be better that priests employed their time to render the general condition of man less miserable than it is. Practical religion consists in doing good: and the only way of serving God is that of endeavoring to make His creation happy. All preaching that has not this, for its object is nonsense and hypocrisy.”

But I digress.  In his pamphlet, Paine pointed out that poverty and want are not the natural state of man.  Paine illustrates this by giving the example of Native Americans of his day, whose tribes held all their land in common and enjoyed an egalitarian lifestyle: “The life of an Indian is a continual holiday, compared with the poor of Europe; and, on the other hand it appears to be abject when compared to the rich.”

HomePage6

It was Paine’s premise that “the earth, in its natural, cultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race. In that state every man would have been born to property. He would have been a joint life proprietor with rest in the property of the soil, and in all its natural productions, vegetable and animal.”  However, because of the rise of civilization, which he noted was usually a product of the sword, the land was divided and subdivided so that now a handful of producers have possession the soil and its bounty.

Paine argues that the air, earth water and land are a common patrimony of all humanity and that only the improvements to the land as a result of civilization are actually private property.  Beginning with the invention of agriculture, “the common right of all became confounded into the cultivated right of the individual,” Since it is impossible to separate the improvements from land itself, he proposed instituting what he called a ground rent on the propertied class.

From this single tax on land he proposed to funding payments to the landless to help equalize the disproportion between rich and poor.  Beginning at the age of fifty and over, an annual stipend of £10 per annum was to given to everyone, regardless of economic status.  Fifty is what at that time he considered the average life expectancy.  Also, when anyone reached the age of twenty-one they would automatically be given a lump sum of £15 Sterling, “as a compensation, in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance.” This would, he hoped, help give them their start in life.  A payment would also be made to those who became disabled or were infirmed and unable to support themselves sufficiently to make a living.  These payments, he emphasized, were not charity but a right—a universal right—and would be paid out regardless of whether the individuals were rich or poor.

To modern ears, Thomas Paine’s proposal for “Agrarian Justice” may not seem so radical, but in its day it most certainly was—which is why it was never instituted, either in Europe or America.  Bear in mind, in Paine’s day the Industrial Revolution had only just begun and land was still the primary measure of wealth and power.  In fact, not just wealth and social status, but voting rights and office holding were also dependent on the possession of land, even in the United States.

The other side of the equation in Paine’s plan was the taxation.  The improvements to the land would not be taxed, just the value of the land itself.  The “land rent” of 10% was a once time assessment for a direct descendant inheriting property, although higher for “indirect” descendants.  When that owner died in turn, an additional assessment was made.  Paine estimated that the effective turnover in property would be about every thirty years, so that over time any concentrations of property and wealth would gradually be equalized, or at the least the extremes of wealth and poverty minimized.  People would work still for their daily bread, but the extreme want and misery that existed would be eliminated.

Many aspects of Paine’s Agrarian Justice sound similar to our Social Security Insurance program begun by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930’s, although Social Security consists of an equal contribution between employee and employer and does nothing to fight inequality and the creeping Oligarchism of modern American politics.  In recent years even Social Security has come under incessant attack by reactionary politicians and the billionaires who bankroll them.

Paine’s Agrarian Justice resembles another American Socialist’s ideas.  Henry George, writing during the period when big business and monopolies were taking over the economy and the political establishment, penned Progress and Poverty in 1879.  He advocated a Single Tax on land as a cure for the growing disparity between rich and poor similar to Paine’s tax.  George, however, wrote in an industrial age and had a more elaborate political and economic program than Paine’s, and which also included proposals such as having all utilities being publicly owned and a secret ballot for elections.  Many of George’s criticisms of industrial society remain relevent, although his Single Tax solution found less favor among both socialists and economists.

Whether or not one believes Thomas Paine’s Agragrian Justice would have been a practical means of achieving social and economic justice, he remains a notable early American Socialist and Patriot, whose ideas remain a cornerstone of American political philosophy.

Hero Patriot and Paine in the Butt

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FLASH: Hacker ‘Guccifer’: “I Got Inside Clinton’s Server”

The Romanian hacker who first exposed Hillary Clinton’s private email address is making a bombshell new claim — that he also gained access to the former Secretary of State’s “completely unsecured” server. “It was like an open orchid on the Internet,” Marcel Lehel Lazar, who uses the devilish handle Guccifer, told NBC News in an […]

via Breaking News: Hacker ‘Guccifer’: I Got Inside Hillary Clinton’s Server — 3CHICSPOLITICO

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