Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Perspective: Two great essays

Here are two excellent essays that place our current economic tug of war - Wall Street vs. The American Taxpayer - into an interesting, pre-historical perspective.

Always on the lookout for a glimpse of what historians might one day say about us, I find each of these stories interesting in different ways, for different reasons.

The first essay places our anger and defiance into a historical perspective before it has (likely) even reached its peak. The second discusses the 'why' behind the fact that Clinton seemed so strangely like each of his Republican predecessors; and perhaps explains why Democrats have completely forgotten their traditional party platform.

From Talking Points Memo: Robert Reich discusses angry populism:

The Almost-Done Deal, and the Era of Angry Populism, by Robert Reich:

Angry populism has always been a potent force in American politics. And now, with wages dropping, jobs insecure, fuel and food and health-insurance costs soaring, and millions of homes in jeopardy -- and what's perceived to be a massive tax-payer bailout of some of the richest people in the land -- angry populism is about to explode. McCain has already tried to cast himself as an angry populist, even though he still wants to give the very rich a bigger tax cut than George W. gave them, and cut taxes on big corporations (oil companies alone would reap $1.2 billion a year under McCain's plan). Barack Obama, whose plans for middle-class tax relief and affordable health care will genuinely help America's middle and working classes, has been expressing more indignation lately on behalf of them. But anger doesn't come as easily to Obama as it does to McCain -- even though McCain seems quite ready to aim his anger anywhere and everywhere.

Democrats should be angry populists, given their traditional role of protecting and championing the underdogs in American politics, and especially considering the absurdly wide gap that's opened up between the rich and everyone else. But in recent years Democrats have ceded the mantle to Republicans, who now mimic the faux populism of Sean Hannity and other right-wing talk show demagogues. (The recent maneuvering in the House over the bailout bill is really over this. House Democrats are getting the same angry mail that House Republicans are receiving, and don't want to be seen as lending their support to this ugly bill without Republicans signing on.)


And in this excellent commentary in McClatchy News, by Michael D. MacDonald, we are introduced the 'Neoliberal Era;' just in time to watch it crash and burn:

Commentary: Government by Goldman Sachs comes to end

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — As we watch market values plummet and politicians debate — at last — the proper relationship between government and finance, an era in American history is ending. It wasn't understood as an era during its time, and it never had a name. Its name, though, was on the tip of our tongues: It was the Neoliberal Era.

Neoliberalism began with Ronald Reagan and continued for 27 years through George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, and it rested on one fundamental principle: Financial markets, which are knowing, efficient and flexible, should have more power to decide public policy than democratic governments do.

Neoliberals disagree with one another on numerous issues. They even differ on the particulars of the role that government should play in making public policy. But they agree on the primacy of financial power over government.


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