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Aug-02-2009 15:50printcomments

Op Ed: WHY Political Pandering
Damages Democracy So Deeply

Seductive Subversion Seeks Private-Gains Goal.

Betsy Ross

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Political pandering is today particularly prevalent precisely where it should never appear without solid precedent taken from national, reliable non-political sources -- in open-dialog channels on the the Internet.

Its major damage to our American democracy is becoming so obviously dangerous that it is demanding probing examination by all of us deeply concerned about the consequences for a democracy determinedly built on principles of honest, open --and thus democratic-- dialog by our Founding Fathers.

Did they have their own very-personal deep and desperate confrontations and conflicts ? Anyone who has ever even skimmed The Federalist Papers knows the inevitable answer to that one.

In fact, some very consequential confrontation was even known to be deadly --as in Hamilton’s duel with a longtime competitor, sometime colleague, and combatant on formation of foundation American political principle.

We do not today go so far as the deadly duels of the past... but pander provides a provisional substitute. It presents the probabilities of “killing off the opposition” --no matter the cost in reasonable, rational and resolving good faith discussion based on fact.

THAT approach is skillfully built on fancy furbelows which conceal and confuse the very foundations needed for open, honest democratic decision: Checkable, testable flat-out FACT ! Facts fall away to allow reversal of reality, deep and distinct distortion by linguistic means, and even perversion via paid-for pretense.

Predetermined patently-disproven “political principle” is carefully re-cogitated and skillfully restated to conceal its revision of deeply-held, long-tested American values and beliefs.

The only rational, reasonable rebuttal possible for such prevalent --now profound-- attack on deeply-held American view and value for honest, open democratic dialog is what we use constantly at Salem-News: Simple “see with own eyes” to check; and then “evaluate with own mind” to test --with resort to further sources and search if YOU find it necessary.

SO what’s “pandering” ? How does it occur as weapon used to distort tried-and-found/true honest and open political principle ? The definition is deceivingly simple: “Pander: (as in "gratify") v. : yield (to); give satisfaction to ...” (There are additional meanings, too: apply them as YOU see they fit for depravity of pander-perpetrated !) Applied to politics, the act of pandering demands knowing distortion --and often perversion-- of value and principle.

Does that really happen in American politics ? You betcha... it has been in-built, openly-stated, absolute action-sought attitude and the controlling determination for what can and often will be done. Its unavoidable, extremely damaging consequences can be seen, every day, on nearly every demanded action by our politically-chosen Congress --as well as in most State Legislatures.

The consequential damages and delay to what can, should, and now MUST be done, to return to what the Founders intended our leaders to do as their sworn duty, must again be accomplished: To act in the commonweal, not only in final decision but in all steps moving and measuring and manipulating and managing to get there.

Many millions of Americans have come to distrust and even to deny that particular and peculiar aspect of what the Founders found so promising and potentially productive in their original invention, long lauded in every land and political climate worldwide.

Multiple and now hardly-muted dangerously damaging affects and effects of overwhelming political pandering --seeking essentially the biggest and best benefits for the wealthy vs the workers-- have brought on the extremely debilitating damage-impacts broadly now felt by far too many Americans about every aspect of our tattered, torn and distressed democracy.

Pandering is perpetrated by both political parties via their overly-dedicated and often mis-led, as well as purposely mis-informed, advocates, defenders and sometimes well-paid hit-men hired to do the dirty work. Ostensible leaders simply stand back....if not above....the resulting bloody distortion of true democratic discussion --meant to lead to reasonable, rational decision devoted to the commonweal by our Founding Fathers. “WIN by whatever means” --at any cost of true American political principle-- has been the way of the most wily party partisans ever since the seminal and subversive emergence of early party-loyalty.

That’s demonstrated most definitively in the Presidential election of 1800, pitting Federalist against anti-Federalist, with highly consequential final-decision forced to fortuitous conclusion by then/weak pattern and protocol untried --and thus untested-- in any prior American election situation.

“Finally, a secret deal changing a single vote gave Jefferson the White House” --and its repercussions have resonated ever since, shaping and often distorting what our Founders first initiated as “an experiment in democracy”. (See ref. to “Adams and Jefferson” in Reader’s Note.) Let there be absolutely no question re the extreme value of open, honest, democratic dialog itself. That’s the heart and some feel the soul of what democracy is, and the driving force that makes it what it can become.

But for only-possible honest-usage of open channels now massively multiplied by technology, there must also be sure and certain action to protect, preserve, and project the integrity of what is contained in content, shaping both citizen understandings and final citizenoriented full and forceful democratic decision.

When we manipulate, “manage” --even reverse the obvious reality-- to fit and tailor fact for personal preference in such otherwise perfectible democratic dialog, we thoroughly damage, surely distort, and may even pervert the entire process by so doing. Inevitably, process and progression since 1800, driven by the immutable involvements brought upon us by many means and methods --surely including these massive impacts we now feel every day from digital delivery and rapid response to every passing condition-- now demand of us careful, highly considerate concern on how we use what is blessing-or-curse --depending on what we CHOOSE to DO With All of It !!

Careful cogitation is the continuing component we must now put into place to protect, preserve and project this operational tool as we both deserve and definitely MUST NOW DEMAND. Competent, compassionate, effective and ethical public statement demands absolutely no less, in these instant-response channels reaching millions the moment the statement is made.

Both our democracy and our own interests within it demand no less if we are to continue that experiment the Founders first set forth for all of us.


At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bango, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.

Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for tenyears.

He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 560 written since then.

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Henry Ruark August 7, 2009 1:35 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Do you, too, miss any kind of detailed, documented, solid factual response to what I now see as perhaps "overwhelming" rebuttal of ongoing distortion and perversion from unowho ?? Favorite cartoon shows woman character from Middle Ages without her always-carried club. She finds hissing snake, clubs it to fatal end...with caption "Wham ! Wham ! Wham" Final frame captioned: "Words are wondrous weapon". Inescapable truth is that holds true only when the words themselves are true, too.

Henry Ruark August 7, 2009 12:47 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Here's another,deeply revealing, "see with own eyes" from an indisputable national reliable source known for his "That's the way it is..." coverage of complex issues: Republicans Propagating Falsehoods in Attacks on Health-Care Reform By Steven Pearlstein Friday, August 7, 2009 As a columnist who regularly dishes out sharp criticism, I try not to question the motives of people with whom I don't agree. Today, I'm going to step over that line. The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems." ------------ Then Pearlstein depicts in devastating detail the reality involved in Gopster drive to create "Waterloo" for President Obama...ending with Pearlstein's declaration that what they richly deserve is their own resonating return to still another Waterloo all their own --as in Iran/Contra by Reagan, Watergate by Nixon, Iraq by Bush, and "torture by edict" by Cheney.

Henry Ruark August 7, 2009 11:31 am (Pacific time)

To all: Here's another "see with own eyes" re type, tone, terrible consequences of perversion at town meetings nationally. No objection to dissent OR to peaceful, lawful, and Constitutional demonstration, not depriving others of their right to free speech by use of violence by paid-for thugs. Please note complete absence of press reports showing and citing reform advocacy by any violent measures whatsoever --so far !! It's getting ugly out there. All across the country, right-wing extremists are disrupting congressional town-hall meetings with venomous attacks on President Obama's plans for health care and clean energy. • Last night in Tampa, Florida, a town hall meeting erupted into violence, with the police being called to break up fist fights and shoving matches. A Texas Democrat was shouted down by right-wing hecklers, many of whom admitted they didn't even live in his district. One North Carolina representative announced he wouldn't be holding any town-hall meetings after his office began receiving death threats. And in Maryland, protesters hung a Democratic congressman in effigy to oppose health-care reform. --------------- Follow link for more deeply distressing detail. MoveOn is nationally known and recognized as reliable source, with proven record far more acceptable to many millions than Far Right can provide.

Henry Ruark August 7, 2009 10:57 am (Pacific time)

To all: Fifty years of demanding work as solidly professional communications consultant have taught me at least one fully incontrovertible "fact of life". ALL concerned on any issue or problem are in one of only three possible categories: 1.UN-informed;2.Mis-informed and 3. Malignly Distorting,often Perverting, what is solid established fact, well proven and substantially documented. That was basic theme from my "four gentlemen from VA" in early-on Indiana University pioneering coursework on the intricacies and techniques of propaganda analysis. (Checkable fact -go to it !) Strength of that simple set of unmistakable, unavoidable, very useful characteristics is the also very simple fact of easy checkability for each one via standard-query pattern, as often used herein. These three have nothing at all to do with any possible false concept of overweening elite status, or of superior self-characterizing of any kind whatsoever. That has no possible profit for personal application since so entirely obvious and thus self-damaging! ( age 91) It can only and always apply as strong tool to determine accurate assessment of those clearly involved in both cogitation and consequent comment here, among other demanding uses for any working communications consultant. Dead give-away in ANY such comment is (Example) response to probing query to show 35-year prior experience cited as current reason for obviously erroneous and thus distorting Comment. OR (Example) completely obvious use of same-words, same-ideas, same-tone, same signalling content overall, taken totally from self- described Far Right or other destructive clearly "negative nattering" sources. ("See with own eyes" easily on Internet; then "evaluate with own mind" if capable.) No matter other seductive wrapping/words-used, reality strikes rapidly through such fog for those who know enough and how to seek it out. (YOU can easily learn too !) Those findings are shared here simply,only,always to support and strengthen the open, honest, democratic tone and overall impact of this S-N channel. S-N and this channel so set up for that fine purpose by Editors Tim and Bon, knowingly demanding open, honest, and democratic usage by all who benefit from this strong application of honest First Amendment rights --the very heart of the "conversation constitution any democracy". (Supremes action on the responsibilities demanded by First Amendment cited here on numerous occasions.) Cogitate and consult your conscience, if any there be available, for each and every comment --on that clear basis. If you still do not fully understand, seek further easy explanation and Supremes documentation by request to Tim with full ID and working phone...I'd be delighted to converse with any reader, on return from trip pending later today 8/7/09.

Henry Clay Ruark August 7, 2009 9:25 am (Pacific time)

To all: Here's highly pertinent, relevant "see with own eyes" lead on report by Alterman, nationally recognized reliable media observer: Think Again: The Mainstream Media Opens the Door to Hate By Eric Alterman One could go on and on about the birther case and the egregious refusal of CNN to take responsibility for the poison it is introducing into our political system via Dobbs’ dissembling, but there’s a larger point here: This kind of behavior is hardly limited to CNN. These are supposed to be the responsible gatekeepers of our system. And they are selling naked racism, sexism, and xenophobia. What’s more, they are doing so at a time when much of the Republican Party is basing its appeal on exactly this kind of exclusionary message, designed to imply that only white men can legitimately hold powerful office in the United States." ----------- See full report for further excruciating detail, in full support of Op Ed: "Pandering".

Henry Ruark August 6, 2009 7:16 pm (Pacific time)

To all: As matteer of public record here, please note Vaughan has never responded to any one of several pointed and thus revealing questions meant to present opportunity for open, honest declaration of affiliation with church or other organization espousing views he inserted in quotes, proven to be erroneous and both hurtful and damaging to open, honest, democratic dialog here. Either his teaching experience, and perhaps even his high school learnings, open to question here since he himself referre to them, are with and involved inextricably with church doctrines, including disrespect for the secular decision made by the Founders --OR they are NOT. IF his intention was open, honest, and honorable in such comment, he should have no problem whatsoever in open, honest, honorable answer to similarly characterized query right here in public for all to see. Anyone disagree with that conclusion ? If so, speak up with reasons for further open dialog from which we may share and learn even more about WHY some here feel they must conceal their obvious affiliations. We are all in this together in an open, honest, democratic situation which demands our own similar behavior if it is to defend itself vs those who have constantly tried to defy, deny, and defeat what the Founders left to us to defend. They were every one human, as unavoidably on record in many ways; but also wise and prescient, as proven by their wit, wisdom and will in the way and the words they applied to shape and support our Constitution and Bill of Rights as well and wisely as they indubitably did achieve --else it would never have now attained the international acceptance and high credibility it has already achieved, and will so continue depending on how well we do defend it now.

Henry Ruark August 6, 2009 6:05 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Here's "see with own eyes" from Alternet, nationally recognized reliable channel: AlterNet Right-Wingers Are Stirring Up Xenophobia to Swiftboat Health Reform By Joshua Holland, AlterNet Posted on August 4, 2009, Along with death and taxes, a third thing of which one can be certain is that conservative politicians will exploit Americans’ concerns about illegal immigration to rally opposition to any policy that might help ordinary working people. The specter of unauthorized migrants sucking hungrily from the public teat is a tried-and-true method of turning people against their own interests. We heard the narrative used to attack the stimulus package, federal aid to needy families, housing assistance and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). Forget about how these measures might impact their constituents -- lawmakers told us they had to oppose them to prevent hard-working Americans from being forced to subsidize foreigners who had broken the law. It fits neatly within the larger right-populist memes that fuel much of the immigration debate -- an out-of-control government that doesn’t only fail to uphold the law, but also, unimaginably, offers benefits to "illegal aliens" that are denied to ordinary Americans. So it was inevitable that the unsettled and emotionally charged issue of immigration would be used as a cudgel against health reform. And it has -- not only by the usual motley crew of factually challenged pundits and radio hate-jocks, but by a number of conservative lawmakers. It is nothing short of a Big Lie. The bill passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee says: "Eligible individuals are citizens or lawfully admitted permanent residents of the U.S." In the House, a section of the Tri-Committee bill titled "NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS," states unequivocally: "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States." As the saying goes, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. Yet the facts haven’t prevented Republicans opposed to Democrats’ health proposals from claiming the opposite to be true." -------------- The rest details other intentionally distorted and perverted information now busily peddled at the cost of billions extracted as profits from healthcare industry. If you wish to attack well proven fact, address your comments to Alternet.

Henry Ruark August 6, 2009 5:49 pm (Pacific time)

Vaughan: Now you are talking somewhat differently, perhaps due to further cogitation caused in part from dialog here. Please continue with friend Daniel as he has indicated he is at work on further insights and source-search. Between you two and others here we may begin to build the solid values of dialog sought originally, rather than the surface-level feelings so very prevalent, as you yourself do point out. Unfortunately, pending unavoidable trip demands my absence, so must simply hold tight until I can turn again to dialog-depth here, without some of the depravity so well demonstrated so often with so little to back its perverted feeling-tone and distorted disarray of seriously damaged fact. That remains purpose of Op Eds here: To create insightful and thought-provoking dialog. Demonstratively we have now succeeded, at least for this ongoing very painful issue of political pandering, now well established as concept sure to become unavoidable in future dialog here.

Daniel Johnson August 6, 2009 4:39 pm (Pacific time)

Brian: As I research this area, I am learning some quite amazing things. I'm going to put it together in an article over the next few days and when you see it, we can start the discussion again. Thanks for taking part.

Henry Clay Ruark August 6, 2009 3:30 pm (Pacific time)

To all: This obviously NOT my day...the partial comment wass meant to correct error in stating Ferlin's new biog. was for Lincoln. It is actually very penetrating study of Washington, continuing the humanizing examination to which I referred earlier. Sorry, friends, but rapid remediation only shot left for "stupid" error --in itself, albeit inadvertently, perhaps a bit humanizing, too...!! ??

Henry Ruark August 6, 2009 1:37 pm (Pacific time)

(COMMENT contined, inadvertently sent...) Review values stand correct, but apply to his modern assessment of Washington. Hastening to prepare for Op Ed hiatus during short trip, no possible other explanation for "stupid" error here,except new biog of Lincoln coming soon, too, from same order-source.

Henry Ruark August 6, 2009 1:03 pm (Pacific time)

In strong words from others able and qualified to speak: "The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities"--- Sophocles and "Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them" ---Edward R. Murrow

Henry Ruark August 6, 2009 12:38 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Continuing up-to-date modernizing examination of leading lights in American history continues with John Ferling's new biography of Lincoln, destructor of longtime curse of slavery --after 250 years, still an issue with some few citizens stranded on distorted and perverted 18th Century myth set afloat for economic reasons, then, and still used for that obvious purpose, too. Generation-old h.s. and later teaching-content are hardly worthwhile in today's 21st Century overwhelming new developments at more rapid pace than ever before in history. My automatic-order copy of new Ferling not arrived, but reviews clearly indicate his trained-historian continuance of factual examination and pragmatic evaluation of American leadership, as in Colonial era coverage already cited here. IF one is to evaluate and make public statement of the result, it pays to be well and truly informed, per latest possible authoritative writers specializing in the issues. That is for all an ethical necessity, for flancers it is economic fundamental for any appeal to rational, reasonable readership --or client in any consultant relationship. For those serious readers seeking further reliable data on party development and near-fatal disintegration, here's Lurie "Party Politics": ISBN: 0-8128-2754-6.

Henry Ruark August 6, 2009 11:11 am (Pacific time)

To all: For those unaware of these two upcoming struggles in the Supreme Court, perhaps intense response to V's comments may need further explanation, now clearly provided: STORMS ON THE HORIZON: Two major First Amendment cases await Sotomayor when she steps into her new chambers at the Supreme Court. The first is Citizens United v. FEC, a campaign finance case. Although Citizens United was originally scheduled to be decided this summer, the Court ominously ordered the parties to brief whether a landmark precedent limiting the influence of corporate money in politics should be overruled. Sotomayor's record strongly suggests that she will support robust campaign finance regulation, but her five conservative colleagues appear poised to declare longstanding bans on corporate money in politics unconstitutional. Should the conservatives get their way in Citizens United, it could be the end of meaningful campaign finance regulation. Similarly, the Supreme Court has teed up an important church-state separation case that could free the Roy Moores of the world to fill America's landscape with taxpayer-funded monuments to their personal religious beliefs. In Salazar v. Buono, the justices will consider whether a cross erected in the middle of a federal land preserve can be challenged under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. For years, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the key fifth vote upholding the Constitution's ban on government endorsements of religion. With her gone, it is likely that this ban will be whittled away into non-existence." ------------------------- Both pending cases have close, obvious ties to V's quoted-words statements here, thus requiring fully detailed response and challenge Please also note original Comment here supplied fully detailed citation from award-winning trained historians, among numerous other Op Ed documentation.

Brian Vaughn August 6, 2009 11:04 am (Pacific time)

Daniel Johnson I have never considered the Founding Fathers as anything other than men. Though I would add many of them were some of the bravest people I have heard of; they literally put it all on the line. Over the years there has been a steady decline in teaching our students about America's early history, and I imagine in foreign countries, if even taught, it is probably very limited and maybe even inaccurately skewed. I make that assessment based on my empirical observations over the years. Of course we have those who are impervious to empirical evidence. That's why I suggest, once again, a slow careful reading of the Declaration of Independence, which for the critical thinking individuals, acknowledges who these mere men were and their uncanny insight and foresight into the social sciences of human behavior. We Americans are so very fortunate to live in a republic. If we do have one of the most dysfunctional governments on the planet as you suggest, then do you have a list of superior governments that we can critique? Maybe we can apply their methods to ours? Regarding your view on our gun ownership and how Americans view their 2nd Amendment, the below poll says that 77% of us feel this 2nd Amendment means "private gun ownership" v.s. for "militia use." "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty teeth." by George Washington. The NRA is very powerful and it is very difficult to debate their data, for example showing those areas that have CHL's are far less dangerous than area's that violate the 2nd Amendment. Think Heller decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding their view of Washington DC's illegal gun laws restricting gun ownership. What is critical about these types of polls, is determining how familiar the respondents are with gun data. The more informed, then generally their recognition of not needing more onerous gun laws. Accurate information seems to be the key in all things. As far as town hall meetings, we have 435 congressmen and 100 senators, plus their staffs, and if they do their jobs, then they can get out and talk to lots of the folks. Not to mention other communication processes we have to inform them of our views and concerns. Do they listen to the majority of us? It appears not, so we have the election process to weed out the incompetents. Does that always work? No. Something better? Maybe term limits coupled with sanctions that forbid them from becoming lobbyists when they leave office. I also read a wide variety of opinions from economists about taxes and other similar matters, several who have Nobel's and other scholarly awards. Many contrasting views from these experts. A few are easily dismissed as over the top.

Henry Ruark August 6, 2009 9:46 am (Pacific time)

BV, DJ: Yrs here well appreciated, and rightfully (lower-case!) honored, since they clearly show cogitation and ref. to renewed, extended further study --purpose of Op Ed. Re ancient curriculum content you cite, friend BV, that's what it is: Ancient, obviously, by your own words. Massive more recent research and extended further study has lead to broader, deeper full understandings, far less than making FF gods, rather making them much more human --as in all three of my refs. already cited. See esp. Lurie, classic study of disintegrating damage done by political party dollar-denigration for decades and now at climax re current corporate-contribution and lavish laid-on loot by tribes of lobbyists surrounding our Congress 500-1 now. (For full detail, see prior Op Eds re S-N Archives.) Then there is your own quoted-words writ you wrote re separation of church and state and malign freedom-and-liberty threat by government deleting textbook content for its own purpose --patently NOT TRUE ! That's why I challenged your level of professional teacher education and actual classroom experience from which you can surely cite exampls and facts; now shown to be out-dated, as I suspected. SO: DO YOU support secular status re FF, as stated in Constitution, or NOT ? If NOT, that reveals your political stance rapidly. Do you still contend there is or was governmental control extended to both texts and curriculum ? IF SO, please cite "see with own eyes" statement from fully trainded, well-published and authoritative historians OR educators. If you cannot OR do not,that reveals open, obvious intent here, for any rational reader. Otherwise, you should now, ethically, clearly, withdraw these very disturbing refs. as Far Right political-pandering propaganda, already cited here intermittently. As former educator, that ethical decision should surely now occur to you, agreed ?? If NOT agreed and acted-on, that, too, is most revealing, right out here in public eye. Re points by DJ on failures of governance in U.S., cannot agree more, as past Op Eds clearly demonstrate as well as private exchanges. Missing in both from you, for me, is depiction of clear failures by our citizens due to ennui, apathy, and obvious citizen-allowed,most deeply damaging growth in corporate depredations, and desperate lack of powers we still hold via the VOTE...with current Congress and past 40 years of distortion, perversions and predations as immutable and overwhelming example, obvious to all who will but "see with own eyes", per citations given with all Op Eds or available on request, with full ID and working phone, to Editor Tim. Conclusion: "We has met the enemy --and he is US" --as in U.S. May also be true in our northern neighbor, Canada ?? Again, that's repetition of constant theme in many prior Op Eds-- all with professional multiple sources and available documentation. That level of documentation is still missing here from either of you, even though agreement happily now extended for some of your content. Personal declaration is good stance and start, but always demands further support from specialists and full authority, true for mine own words as well as yours. Consequence of continuing dialog remains clear: I stand unperturbed on facts related in Op Ed, as "informed opinion" thus solidly achieved here. Your mutual participation adds greatly to impacts here for further, fuller cogitation by all readers --for which I exstend my true appreciation and thanks.

Daniel Johnson August 6, 2009 1:02 am (Pacific time)

I respectfully disagree with your treating the FF as demigods, which they weren't. The system of checks and balances were set up to REDUCE government power and make it hard to do things. It worked. Best on the planet? The US governmental system is one of the most dysfunctional on the planet. The majority of Americans favour some sort of curb on gun ownership, but can it be passed? Not with the power of one lobby group, the NRA. So much legislation can be stopped by the dictatorial power of committee chairmen who decide what can and can't go forward. Filibuster is another. If one senator brings up the topic, then the legislation under consideration will likely die as it is and if it comes back will be seriously diluted or weakened. Consider the pathological tax system. Are billionaires THAT MUCH better than you that they EARNED those obscene fortunes? Not at all. A corrupt political system had made it possible for them to KEEP the money, while you're lucky to get a tax deduction on your health care premiums. If you can get healthcare. Paul Krugman in his Aug 2 column wrote: "Even before the crisis and the bailouts, many financial-industry high-fliers made fortunes through activities that were worthless if not destructive from a social point of view." I could go on. If you disagree with me please REFUTE any of my points. I don't mind learning new things.

Daniel Johnson August 6, 2009 12:06 am (Pacific time)

Anonymous at 414 was me. Obviously forgot to put my name in.

Brian Vaughn August 5, 2009 7:27 pm (Pacific time)

My previous post is based on American history curriculum that I received in high school and is quite similar to what I taught to high school kids over 35 years ago. Reading the Declaration of Independence, carefully, can be quite illuminating, even for those who have difficulty accepting the wisdom and uncanny foresight of our Founding Fathers who clearly did not want to have a continually power amassing central government which we can see is happening today. That is why they designed a Republic with checks and balances. Currently we are in the process of seeing how well those checks and balances work. Very intense emotions are at play all across America, this is the best government system on the planet, and I am very optimistic that we will do the right things for America. Also, sunlight is the best disinfectant when it comes to exposing the usurpers and their little Santa helpers.

Anonymous August 5, 2009 4:14 pm (Pacific time)

Brian Vaughn, re your 727am post: If you look at the Federalist Papers (and I have) as well as what the FFs said in other contexts, one concept that never arose because it was in no one's worldview was this: What do we do when the population gets BIG, like 100, 200, 300 million. Numbers like that were so far in the future as to be unimaginable. Well, that was then and this is now and America is saddled with the task of trying to run a country of 300 million on principles designed for small, local, populations. For example, I have to laugh (sadly) at how Americans have meetings with politicians and call them "Town Hall Meetings" as if the rural, post-revolutionary society were still a reality. Get a grip.

Henry Ruark August 5, 2009 11:41 am (Pacific time)

Vaughan: Yrs re British history tied to American Revolution is precise example of personal interpretation. I note particularly you do NOT answer any of challenging questions, nor do you provide any of what should be multiple solid trained historian interpretation --as in three refs. already cited here on

Henry Ruark August 5, 2009 8:23 am (Pacific time)

To all: Do believe open statement of WHO he is and WHY he wrote as he did from Vaughan will now reveal --unavoidably and very destructively of any remaining credibility-- from whence he cometh with such language defiling and denigrating the basic tenets of our Constitution. IF he dares question the concept of "separation of church and state", and continues to insist on "government schools", clearly assuming a control that has never existed in fact due to common school concept relying on LOCAL school boards chosen democratically, he must openly show rational, reasonable foundation for those values --defeated long ago by the Founders in their own longterm studies set forth in The Federalist Papers. We await any open, honest and democratic further dialog from that one, here and now, open to still further examination and challenge by other serious thinkers at any time, too. Again, "see with own eyes, then evaluate with own mind" applies to these words, too.

Henry Ruark August 5, 2009 8:14 am (Pacific time)

Hanby: Yours re belief in any trust in any statement by anyone is either completely naive and nonsensical or intentional to cover clear perversion. That is known here as clear "political pandering" to conceal obvious errors and deficiencies not supported by fact. That's what documentation provides, from those who have made professional study and long experience their way of life, providing essential support for many others: As in doctor, nurse, teacher, and ethical entrepreneurs. Many authorities recognize widely varying interpretation of our historic "sacred documents: the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Founders explored all then- possible philosophies and the long history of governance in their own historic record, The Federalist Papers, for their own consensus to create those documents. Thus they invented the wise governance pattern we now know shaped in such highly flexible ways that our wit, wisdom and will can still allow us to fit them to 21st Century demands-- while retaining their wise and witty approach emphasizing their own will for essential principles, left to us as our historic legacy. It is that intriguing strong flexibility which has made these documents the standard throughout the world while retaining the basic principles preserving and projecting freedoms and liberties, surrounded by the inevitable responsibilities and restrains demanded also: ineclding First Amendment rights to free speech with its own responsibilities for full accountability based on solid facts-of-the-case at hand. Perhaps you can learn now from seeking out some of the innumerable accurate accounts and wise summaries, by trained and dedicated historians, of what those documents really mean. They are intended for all, demanding understanding and acceptance from all, too. Distortion and perversion for malign political purposes is in itself a kind of subversion and sabotage, now coming to be so recognized by many millions led astray for far too long. To adamantly insist on only YOUR OWN intepretation is to defy, deny, and damage their meanings --but never to defeat them wisely applied by those others who do understand, and continued dedicated to what the Founders wisely --and wittily-- proposed, still open to our consensus of will power from all who know.

Brian Vaughn August 5, 2009 7:27 am (Pacific time)

Daniel Johnson what is usually not recalled is the long list of enumerated grievances that make up most of the text of the Declaration of Independence. The Founding Fathers explained how intolerable an absolutist and highly centralized government in faraway London had become. This distant government violated the personal and civil liberties of the people living in the 13 colonies on the eastern seaboard of North America. In addition, the king’s ministers imposed rigid and oppressive economic regulations and controls on the colonists that was part of the 18th-century system of government central planning known as mercantilism. "The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States,” the signers declared. At every turn, the British Crown had concentrated political power and decision-making in its own hands, leaving the American colonists with little ability to manage their own affairs through local and state governments. Laws and rules were imposed without the consent of the governed; local laws and procedures meant to limit abusive or arbitrary government were abrogated or ignored." But what was at the heart of many of their complaints and grievances against King George III were the economic controls that limited their freedom and the taxes imposed that confiscated their wealth and honestly earned income. The fundamental premise behind the mercantilist planning system was the idea that it was the duty and responsibility of the government to manage and direct the economic affairs of society. The British Crown shackled the commercial activities of the colonists with a spider’s web of regulations and restrictions. The British government told them what they could produce, and dictated the resources and the technologies that could be employed. The government prevented the free market from setting prices and wages, and manipulated what goods would be available to the colonial consumers. Everywhere, the king appointed various “czars” who were to control and command much of the people’s daily affairs of earning a living. Layer after layer of new bureaucracies were imposed over every facet of life. “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance,” the Founding Fathers explain. So DJ it is worth remembering that what we Americans are celebrating every July 4 is the idea and the ideal of each human being’s right to his life and liberty, and his freedom to pursue happiness in his own way, without paternalistic and plundering government getting in his way. The Founders made these truths unambiguously in their own words. Read them if and when time permits.

Henry Ruark August 4, 2009 6:40 pm (Pacific time)

D.J. Yours right on the money re "the way it really was" then. One point: What Adams worked hard for, controversially vs Jefferson's group, was "strong central government"...not the concept we have now of "big", but clearly indicative of the stand-it-on-its-head changes subsequently developing via politica; party evolution in this nation affecting both and far from ended even today. That was main reason for my challenge to obfuscation in these comments, with citation from award-winning historian's book documenting mine, only to be first admitted by B.V. -- ("I'm surprised")-- but then denied a bit later. On rapid language analysis, this one turns up qualities of arrogance, superiority and overall contempt...another reason I treated it as shown, with no response, as you will notice. Example: "Sadly, beginning in the mid-20th Century, our "government" schools removed the ideas of liberty from the nation's textbooks, largely under the guise of a counterfeit idea of "separation of church and state," and the citizenry is uninformed as to the difference between tyranny and liberty. Today, with all modern means of communication, Americans possess little understanding of threats to their liberty and, thus, risk losing it to charlatans whose only goal is power." Note particularly the odd choice of quoted-language, in itself clearly characterizing both the intention and the perpetrator, for anyone familiar with educationally oriented propaganda content. For anyone claiming to be an educator with advanced degree, or even a history buff quoting Tocqueville, that is arrogant distortion via personal (perhaps professional) interpretation of realities which occured in education then as natural, normal part of development. It raises hackles on neck of any trained educator since it is initiation of concepts now extremely useful for Far Right attack on educational funding at any level and on the whole institution of education now even more dependent on the local school board --as it should be. Its origin should be plain to rational, reasonable readers by simple check to see what group or cabal or sect would wish to make that work. Perhaps that'll help explain my intensities in seeing such particularly distorted stuff here,as still further proof of the ongoing Far Right ideological attack underway in every possible channel now.

hanby August 4, 2009 6:00 pm (Pacific time)

Pretty clear to me, go do your own research and draw your own conclusions. Who needs to provide extensive documentation and links to suggest that process? I sure don't see why unless you simply don't want people to read what the Founders said about the dangers of big government and a democracy v.s. a republic.

Daniel Johnson August 4, 2009 4:38 pm (Pacific time)

BV, you write: "I assure one and all, none of them ever wrote that they wanted another large central orientated government to live under. Simply by reading the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights should clearly convince those that would deny that glaring reality. I always informed my students, as my professors constantly reminded me, never apply current values/mores with what was going on in the past. Too frequently people will do that, even some with advanced degrees." And yet, perhaps unwittingly, you're doing the same thing yourself. The concept of "Big Government" was not something the FF could even have imagined in small town, rural and frontier society. Their big fear was govt tyranny, specifically King George III. Don't forget, they wrote before the Industrial Revolution was really underway and lived in a world of kerosene lamps, muskets, horsedrawn carriages and wagons, three masted sailing ships, etc.

Henry Ruark August 4, 2009 4:31 pm (Pacific time)

B.V.: Your honeyed words a bit sticky without some documentation or link to an authoritative voice we can recognize. Given the large number of references on Internet, seems strange you continue to obfuscate issue here. Easy to claim much while showing no evidence whatsoever so await your links, your full ID as per mine in Staff, or some other reasonable and more authoritative statement than moreofthesame...which reminds all here of past 8 years of similar honeyed words ending in debacle when disarmed and unstickified. What's degree levels, where obtained, years of experience, at what scholastic situations, in what location, with which professors ? Are you or not an historian, published somewheres ? If so, where, what, in what format, with what content ? My stuff laid out for all to see and check, any time, in any way. That's fair start, in light of my modest squib in Staff. IF you have credibility, sir, never hesitate to display it...that's first step in any civilized conversation carried on in good faith, which is what open, honest, democratic action here on S-N sets out do do ? Do you have any quarrel with what we've done so far ? My attitude and approach is on-the-line; what does yours seem, when reviewed ?? !! In short:Put up or shut up.

Brian Vaughn August 4, 2009 2:49 pm (Pacific time)

As a former educator myself before I moved on to another career quite some time ago, my suggestion that doing the research process oneself greatly enhances the learning process. Too often people go get some abbreviated version of an event and use someone elses interpretation, which may not be what your individual interpretation would be by doing your own grunt work. The Federalist Papers have always been a great source of inspiration for me, but as I wrote earlier, it is the individaul writings by our founders that provides the greatest insight into their world view perspectives. I assure one and all, none of them ever wrote that they wanted another large central orientated government to live under. Simply by reading the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights should clearly convince those that would deny that glaring reality. I always informed my students, as my professors constantly reminded me, never apply current values/mores with what was going on in the past. Too frequently people will do that, even some with advanced degrees.

Henry Ruark August 4, 2009 12:54 pm (Pacific time)

B.V.: Agree re resort to "original words". May I ask which edition of The Federalist Papers you have familiarized self with ? Please cite it by title, authors if summary, date and ISBN --then we can really check it out. Re FedPapers, with two advanced degrees in education and 40 working years in all levels of communication, I still find it hard/going and rely on two summaries, from opposing points of view. Re history texts, which do you suggest ? Name yours on hand, with same informing data mentioned above. Perhaps you might care to quote, too, with page-numbers for checking, as done here routinely. Do you ever dare to venture into any by Zinn ? Might help to clear your head to experience his approach and detailed documented data. Perhaps you might also provide answer to my query whether you are trained historian, with publication record ? I am not,but my bona fides as analytic writer (demanded for Op Ed initiation) firmly on public record, for all to "see with own eyes" AND check, too. Have been for something over MILLION WORDS published here in S-N alone. Where's your publication record, open to public response in good faith by those who operate at that level. If any factual question, ID self to Editor in full with working phone, and we can continue dialog without depriving others of what has become senseless provocation wasting both time, space and attention here. Thank you for your somewhat obscured insights and your continued odd approach to professional documentation of statements.

Henry Ruark August 4, 2009 10:14 am (Pacific time)

To all: Here's "see with own eyes" Edit-excerpt from major daily,Courier-Journal in Louisville. Note clear conclusion the Gates incident should never have happened --another way of stating it is surely pandering for political purposes: (Excerpt: "Mr. Gates, particularly after returning from a long and doubtless tiring trip from China, may have been rude and angry. Or perhaps he wasn't; the record on that is disputed. But the key point is that it is not illegal to be disrespectful to police or other authority — impolite and ill-advised, perhaps, but not illegal. "The Cambridge police department's contention that its officers acted appropriately is inconsistent with the city's decision to drop charges of disorderly conduct. Mr. Gates was arrested, handcuffed and held for four hours. If he was not charged with an action that could be prosecuted, there was no basis for any of that to happen. "All of which makes it peculiar that the President has been subjected to so much criticism for coming to the defense of Mr. Gates. Mr. Obama regrets that he said the police acted "stupidly," and he has backed off from that characterization. But it would be hard to argue with his view that this was a situation in which "cooler heads needed to prevail." "Moreover, the President's broader and more important point — that racism "still haunts us," despite "incredible progress" in race relations — is a valid observation as well. And while many political commentators were surprised that Mr. Obama entered this particular fray, it must be remembered that his own election as the nation's first black president is often cited as evidence that the country has entered a "post-racial" period. ------------------ In retrospect it's impossible to contend this incident was NOT "political pandering", seized upon by Obama enemies for malign machination meant to damage his Presidency, with no real intention to clarify or conciliate on racial issue.

Brian Vaughn August 4, 2009 9:30 am (Pacific time)

HR those are fair references you provided, but for those who want to make their own scholarly approach to history and the Founders time period, it is always far superior to read their own words. Doing the research to find these sources also provides an excellent learning experience. Certainly you must be aware of the famous quote by Thomas Jefferson, which can easily apply to all professions, except for those who want to detour others: "There is not a truth existing which I fear or would wish unknown to the whole world." Brilliant words for all to reflect on.

Henry Ruark August 3, 2009 5:27 pm (Pacific time)

To all: For serious readers, "see also" AMERICA: A Narrative History";George Brown Tindall,David Emory Shi;Norton;4th Ed.,l997. ISBN 0-393-97063-9 The Brief Edition (l200 pp!) is standard survey course text since 1964 in 500 colleges, universities worldwide. Mine is tattered, readable, full of notes and other ref. and PARTY POLITICS: Why We Have Poor Presidents;Leonard Lurie; Stein, Day;1984. ISBN 0-8128-2754-6 As freelance writer averse to starving, one soon learns to be well informed for any published "opinion", and to keep full list of sources,too.

Henry Ruark August 3, 2009 4:34 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Reviewing dialog with D.V. indicates we have here a fine example of "informed opinion" vs personal feeling-tone, with further example in links and citations on one hand with nothing but personal words on the other. For me,to so state anything publicly with no authority except own words is to fall into trap of "political pandering" already obviously damaging our open, honest, democratic dialog in many essential theatres where wise decision is formulated. Cannot but recall famous Oregon editor, faced with recalcitrant re editorial who vehemently stated: "And THAT is MY opinion !" -- to which Editor replied: "No, sir, in our shop we call that a belly-button one. Everybody has one, and they are all worth about the same."

Henry Ruark August 3, 2009 3:19 pm (Pacific time)

B.V.: Your dissent needs relay to the two authors I cited, both esteemed, honored historians noted for objective analysis of this period. Do you rate right up there, too ? You wrote: "Adams words are new to me". I honor your words but they are YOUR words, with no reason for us here to accept them vs honored historians. Mine were cited directly from the book. Happens I can relay to them since touched base long ago (years !) with both; see below. You also write that no Founder would agree with new, different demands resulting in enlarged and enlarging government. With that I must disagree as they were all probing, curious and well established as professionals and scholars with time spent in sharing and learning by dialog, resulting in The Federalist Papers. You may alter your view, too, when you have consulted both Ellis and Ferling. Perhaps it might take the many other distinguished refs. I used. Full list available. Re "what Founders wrote" as "misinterpreted by historians" there again we must allow for your human differences in all aspects of life experience and special historian training --which surely leaves most of us listening to the specialists with professional reputation on the line. OR are you, indeed, another professional with comparable production and publication ? All the more so since there are, as you must know, widely varying interpretations of precisely the same words, phrases,points and language construction in the document. You DID write:" some historians have grossly misinterpreted them." THAT is pure personal judgment, sir, out of place for objective statement re honored historians. Can you cite any authoritative link ? Which is why I used so many refs.; which I CAN cite, and do so here for "evaluation with own mind" by ANY reader, and I assume all can do so, which your words seem to show in doubt for you. Re "old books" ref. my own interest in this period long ago led me to some of those you mention,perhaps other than you read. Care to list some of yours, for serious readers ?? Have been reading ever since 1937, moved by 5th/6th history I had to teach, and did NOT know !!! DID start with old texts, too, since my home was only blocks away from teacher-training institution with large professional text library. My continued good fortune during very "checkered career" amazes me, but details here are simple provable facts.

Brian Vaughn August 3, 2009 1:36 pm (Pacific time)

I am uniformed in a lot of things, but also informed in a great deal in regards to the Founders and that time period. To read your suggested reading will not provide me with anything objectively new that would alter my info on John Adams and the below quote of his I used. Thanks anyway. Adam's view on a strong central govenment is a new one to me, especially considering he put everything on the line to break away from one. Currently we have a movement underfoot to create a constantly growing central government (many decades now) and there is not one Founding Father who would agree with that movement. I also suggest that if one has the time and opprotunity, read what the Founders wrote in their own words, then you will be absolutely amazed at how some historians have grossly misinterpreted them. Also if you can locate very old history books, early 1900's, or late 19th century all the better, to inform yourself about how our country came to be. This was a very literate time period and makes for facinating reading coupled with a rich and bountiful insight for those up to the task.

Henry Ruark August 3, 2009 1:27 pm (Pacific time)

To all: See mine to B.V. re John Adams. Re his previous comment, I puposely neglected to add that in his time John Adams was ostensibly a "conservative" --in defiance of their current stance re "strong central government". Thus we have here quote exemplifying early beginnings of that insistence on assorted principles shown in Vaugan's early one, vs stance-then of his chosen quotee... Was that "pandering" ? For Adams probably NOT --for the current tribe of either stripe will leave it to reader's own cogitation and evaluation. Times change, and parties provide precisely the proven vehicle for whatever works as overall "principle" --along with close connection to any and all funding sources. From personal reporting experience, I've been amazed at the rapid reversal found in GOP especially, most notable currently for the complex, completely devastating collapse basically from the poisonous portions of badly distorted "conservatism".

Henry Ruark August 3, 2009 1:12 pm (Pacific time)

B.V.: Your quote from John Adams extremely pertinent, within his time. As for all quotes, meaning depends very largely on the surrounding situation. He was "strong central government" (see citation) advocate, and his meaning depends on timing and precise placement in long discussions then. Have you read "Adams and Jefferson", cited here ? If NOT you remain (forgive!) uninformed, sir, and will find answers in that book better than mine in this limited space. Another to "see w/o/e" is "American Creation"; Joseph J.Ellis; Vintage: 2007. ISBN: 978-0-307-27645-2 Yr thoughtful participation truly appreciated.

Brian Vaughn August 3, 2009 11:59 am (Pacific time)

The Founders have always been a rich source of inspiration for me, and the below quote seems to be right on for our current situation: "nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the penshioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, lusury, foppery, selfishness, meanness and downright venality swallow up the whole society." - John Adams

Henry Ruark August 3, 2009 8:19 am (Pacific time)

D.J et al: You wrote: "...too many cooks spoil the broth." That's concealed heart of precisely what Founders felt was deadly to democracy: The concept of single-person or very-few ruling all others. Founders dialoged concepts to death (no pun !) via deep exploration of philosophers, history, shaped representative democracy. With three parts,(Legislative, Executive, Judicial) each opposing others for rapid actions by the good reasons you state. BUT by representation we at least CHOSE OUR OWN COOKS, by election !! (With essential rule: Majority governs - via informed/citizen decisions.) When you must cook for more coming millions, one cannot do the job to suit ALL human tastes. (Which is why our own Constitution's statements are so profoundly flexible yet are proven basically profound,too) We in desperate decades then following allowed intensely desperate deficiencies to be interposed, at demands of hoi polloi despising, defeating Founders' vision and deeper understandings...beginning with corrupt(ed) party system. THEN via unavoidable mission ("Manifest Destiny") we built huge nation, home to millions fleeing elsewhere, with inevitable consequences. Rest is unfortunate history, which (forgive me !) we Americans understand better than those not now 250-years impacted, even via yr own failures there. BUT 21st Century now upon us, with payoff for ensuing ennui, apathy, politically perverted decisions delayed. SO we either "Put Up OR Shut UP !" -- Making system work that is, making democracy finally live up to Founders' concepts. We can start by reshaping corporate charters to demand basic purpose originally: To serve commonweal. "If it ain't human it don't buy politics !" We can move ahead by reforms in healthcare, education, and choice by reshaped electoral system...already under way, delayed by perversions. Cannot rewrite whole book here, but that's sure start on yours, well as for our own, already underway. We CAN and will DO IT,either peacefully, democratically OR by Second American Revolution, with clouds well gathered here already... We WON First ONE --we CAN and WILL win Second One, too.

Brian Vaughn August 3, 2009 7:13 am (Pacific time)

For any possible chance to formulate a possible second revolution to enhance the living conditions of our people we must educate them about their true heritage and what has been taken away from them thus far. It was not just the founding leaders who were well-informed about their constitution and approaching threats to its protections. By the Year 1830, when the French jurist Tocqueville traveled America, he wrote admiringly of the citizenry, observing that even the backwoodsman was far more well-read and informed than those in other parts of the world, and that they understood their Constitution, and had with them a Bible and a newspaper. Sadly, beginning in the mid-20th Century, our "government" schools removed the ideas of liberty from the nation's textbooks, largely under the guise of a counterfeit idea of "separation of church and state," and the citizenry is uninformed as to the difference between tyranny and liberty. Today, with all modern means of communication, Americans possess little understanding of threats to their liberty and, thus, risk losing it to charlatans whose only goal is power.

Daniel Johnson August 2, 2009 10:56 pm (Pacific time)

Hank: What I am about to write is the basic outline for a piece I've been thinking about. Maybe now I won't have to write it. The point is that too many cooks spoil the broth. And, as Clark said in my quote, government is set up (here as well as there) to prevent any substantive changes to the status quo. We have a serious democratic imbalance here in Alberta. City people are underrepresented compared to rural voters. There are currently 83 members of the Legislative Assembly. The answer the politcos are coming up with is not to reduce the rural seats but increase the number of seats in the cities. Add more jabbering voices. I know there are 100 senators and, I think, 538 representatives in the US federal system. That's far too many to ever come to reasonable agreement on almost anything. And yet, who of them would vote themselves out of a job? To make democracy work is clearly a formidle job, just on my couple of comments so far.

Henry Ruark August 2, 2009 8:17 pm (Pacific time)

Friend Daniel et al: Yr points insightful and probing...but also known here and taken into account,perhaps not so stated but happens many Op Eds prior have emphasized same basics. STILL believe wit, wisdom, will of American people, with solid reconsideration...and perhaps some updating of both protocol and national working patterns,too...can do the same job in 21st Century. Wonderful working and wise wording of Constitution gives room for that, per many others than myself. That's long recognized and well documented by better writers. BUT heavy impacts of "WIN in ANY way, at ANY cost", via pandering and political subterfuge and subversion, demands we now "fly straight and carefully" in public discussion, abandon "anon" and single/name non-ID refuge for irrational, irresponsible, and impossible imposition of so- called "political principle", long ago dead and perverting essentially wise insightful guidance of our Founders. Yr participation appreciated and moretocome as honorable and intense dialog welcomed. That's WHY I wrote what I stated: To motivate meaningful and hopefully massively full- strength cogitation on HOW to do what's NOW DEMANDED in this 21st Century. Should we start with radical revision of parties ? Or perhaps provide practical reform and funding for surely demanded reforms of election and voting, at all levels ? OR set new strongly enforced control of emoluments and all funding sources, surely thus capturing and killing off the lobbyist legions ? What do YOU ALL think ? AND why DON'T YOU both THINK and ACT ? Confidentially, there ain't much more time to do so...see what my friend D. says re a Second American Revolution. Do YOU think we can even begin to control what will be sure to roll, then ??? In 1776 we had strong, determined, devoted Founding Fathers who spent some years getting fully ready --by dialoging after research with every possible solid source, including world- famed philosophers, historians and all others they could discover.

Daniel Johnson August 2, 2009 6:23 pm (Pacific time)

Hank: I just found another quote to support my point. In 1964 Senator Joseph S. Clark published "Congress: The Sapless Branch". He said: "The trouble with Congress today is that it exercises negative and unjust power to which the governed, the people of the United States, have never consented...The heart of the trouble is that power is excercised by minority, not majority rule." He goes on to say that "Our forms of government are heavily weighted against any kind of action, and especially any that might alter significantly the status quo. It takes too many units of government to consent before anything can be done." This is why, if health care reform is actually passed, it may be so watered down and weakened that it might not be much of an improvement, at all. This is because, while the majority of Americans may want it, the majority of private health insurers do not. In Congress, money talks.

Daniel Johnson August 2, 2009 5:49 pm (Pacific time)

America was founded as an "experiment in democracy". It's long past time to declare the experiment a failure and start over. I've come to the conclusion that a Second War of Independence is needed. This time it's not against a tyrannical British government but against an even more tyrannical Corporate America. And this time around, Americans need to set up a government that can work. It's not widely recognized that the American sytem was set up INTENTIONALLY to be difficult to work. The Founders feared the British tyranny and wanted to make sure the government they set up could never become too powerful. That may have been a good idea in a day of muskets, buggy whips, three masted ships and kerosene lamps, but...To believe that some of the ideas set out in the Constitution are forever immutable is to have your head in the sand. That wonderful Constitution recognized slavery, and denied universal suffrage, both by race and gender. America--time to move on and join the 21st century.

Henry Ruark August 2, 2009 5:28 pm (Pacific time)

To all Reader's Note grew so numerous I deleted its 30+ references. Here's book named: "Adams and Jefferson: The Tumultous Election of 1800"; John Ferling; Oxford UP;2004. ISBN: 0-19-516771-6 Others via request to Editor with full ID, working phone; fee $25.

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