A Blunder of the US Constitution

A Blunder of the US Constitution
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The US Senate was indeed a unique social engineering invention. Its function was to allow each state to represent its own interest in Congress. So each state, by its own legislative process, elected or appointed its own person to serve as senator for a six-year term in Washington D.C. Note that neither the public had a direct say in the selection of the senator nor could the national capital appoint such a person. The decision was made at the state legislature. Thus the senate countered the populist mindset in the House of Representative, which was elected by popular vote. The founding fathers recognized that democracy in its purest form could give rise to a mob mentality, and the Senate—by being state-focused and having a longer term to think past the next election—was regarded as an important check-and-balance to both the House and the President. No other nation had a concept like this at that time. 


Then in 1912, the 17th amendment to the US Constitution passed. This allowed the senators to be elected by popular vote from citizens of the state. The selection responsibility had been taken away from state legislatures.


With this change, it became easier for Congress to set up national programs for issues that more related to state rights as defined by the constitution. For example, the federal government would offer a financial incentive to all states to adopt a national program. The state was free to accept it or reject it, but if it was rejected, the money did not flow into the state coffers. Governors and state legislatures were more often than not accepting of these funds. But when they accepted, they also had to alter their state-run programs to fit the mandate of the federal program. As such, the states lost much of the advantage to implement local solutions for local needs, which is what the founding fathers had envisioned. Hence, there was an indirect erosion of state rights and responsibilities after senators become popularly elected. Senators lost their focus for state rights because they were now more inclined to work towards the electoral success of their political party. Maintaining that division of federal and state responsibilities became blurry.

To many “state rights” advocates, the 17th amendment was a serious mistake. And they are quick to paint the motivations of the amendment as a conspiracy to deliberately move authority, responsibility, and control away from the state capitals to Washington D.C.

But what these advocates fail to admit is that there were problems with the selection of the senators themselves prior to 1912. For example, a senate seat could be given to a loyal party worker who really had no “brand name” with public (in other words, patronage). Or it could be given to a political rival of the governor just to keep the rival away from local politics. And a few senators treated their appointment as a six-year vacation, not really doing much in the senate. And there were a few reported incidents of senators offering cash for their six-year term of office. And sometimes, a state legislature would not be able to agree on an appointment, leaving the state unrepresented in Senate deliberations and votes. In essence, the position of the senator was losing credibility in the eyes of the public on several fronts. There was a building political pressure to make a change. When Oregon chose its senators based on popular vote in 1908, the rest of the country followed quickly, including the 17th amendment. Whether USA was made better or worse because of the 17th amendment is, of course, a matter of debate.

If one disagrees with the real reasons for the 17th amendment, then we should conclude that the Constitution failed on six counts:

  • Prior to 1912, the constitution did not produce the quality of senators to assure the public of a credible system of governance. Had the public viewed senators with trust and respect, the 17th amendment would not have happened.
  • The constitution allowed an amendment that was contrary to the original structure of the American government; i.e. the senators being chosen by a different yet credible electoral process than by popular vote.
  • State rights were eventually usurped to a significant degree, which can be attributed, to a large part, to senators changing their focus.
  • Despite more than a century since 17th amendment had passed, the mistake cannot be fixed.
  • The two political parties do not want the senators to be more independent of the party and thus will not champion this cause.
  • Despite a strong political pressure to go back to the original intent of the constitution, it is difficult for any non-partisan movement to force a repeal or replacement of the 17th


If the constitution was and is indeed a well working document, then some, if not all, of these six counts should not be there.


Or just maybe we should conclude that electing senators by popular vote and reducing state rights were  good changes, meaning the constitution worked extremely well in this regard.


But we can’t have it both ways: the constitution is finest system of governance humanity can ever invent, but the 17th amendment was an extremely grave mistake.



Cullen Writes Added Jan 1, 2019 - 1:41pm
The European Union opted for a similar make up to the original U.S. Congress. 
There is an EU Parliament which is populated in a similar way to the U.S. House of Representatives. And there is an European Commission where each member state gets a single delegate to go and represent the interests of their nation (which I'd argue is "like" the original U.S. Senate, except the U.S. Senate got 2 delegates from each member state). 
It seems that today a lot of the gridlock in Congress is caused by the Senate. It's a redundant law-making body. Laws (bills) are supposed to be written in the House of Representatives. 
It's funny that many countries in the world don't have an "upper house" or if they do (like the House of Lords in England) it's almost completely a rubber stamping body. So that many Western democracies, if they want to enact a social change like abortion or make gay marriage legal, the Parliament (lower house) has a vote in favor, and it's signed into law by the executive (who has veto power but VERY rarely exercises it).
The Queen of England, for instance, has veto power over laws and occasionally does veto a law. But as a result of this, she's often consulted before the Parliament votes to ensure this doesn't happen. And 99% of the time it doesn't happen. 
It seems to me that the system in the U.S. has gone off the rails. It only ever "seemed" to work properly in the post WWII era when Democrats controlled all branches of government (if you accept that stance that Eisenhower wasn't really a Republican...he had the full confidence of FDR to prosecute WWII in the 1940's as Supreme Allied Commander, and FDR promoted him up from an aide in the 1930's to this level during the war...FDR was pretty far left for the time...looks like the two men saw eye to eye). 
And Nixon had his hands full with Vietnam, going to China, taking the U.S. off the gold standard before the French crashed the economy, and Watergate. 

Thus, the first "real" Republican president who could enact any real change since the 1920's was Reagan--the point when most people today mark the U.S.A. government as going down the rails. But that's par for the course. From the 1930's to the 1980's you had an anomaly, I'd argue where the Dem's or "little Democrats" like Eisenhower controlled all branches of government. 
Cullen Writes Added Jan 1, 2019 - 1:49pm
It's funny to me that in the British system, you have an executive that is granted vast powers and who mostly doesn't exercise them. That's probably because of the history of the monarch losing his head or simply being ousted from power who doesn't get along with Parliament. 
Or the House of Lords respecting the will of the people from the lower house of Parliament. 
But in the U.S. system, you have individuals like presidents or judges or bodies like the Senate constantly assuming MORE power than the constitution grants them and clearly OVERRIDING the will of the people for political reasons. 
Is that because of a lack of people losing their heads in U.S. history for overstepping their bounds? 
TexasLynn Added Jan 1, 2019 - 1:53pm
Dave, I like the post but don't necessarily agree with your conclusions; though most of what you wrote is factual.
The founding fathers did indeed intend for the states of have much more power than they do today.  And they did put in place mechanisms to better ensure this.
But... Essentially, we have strayed from that original intent, sometimes very gradually and sometimes in great leaps (like with the 17th Amendment).
You point out that Senators were once chosen by the state legislatures to remove at least one step from the popular vote, but I note that the state legislatures themselves were elected by the people of the state, so their voice still held great sway in the matter.
You also point out that the quality of Senators was lacking before the 17th Amendment was inacted, but have you seen the quality of Senators post 17th Amendment?  I'll resist the inclination to start naming names (historical and present).  But I proffer any system will have its problems.
Where we disagree is in your conclusion... "But we can’t have it both ways: the constitution is finest system of governance humanity can ever invent, but the 17th amendment was an extremely grave mistake."
You seem to imply that if any problems, or these specific problems, exist then the system that allowed them can't be the finest system.  Not true.  The fallacy of this conclusion is that the lack of perfection (which will never exist in any man-made system) equates to not good or not the best.  A system can indeed be the finest, the best, the pinnacle of human accomplishment and yet... not be perfect... not solve all problems... and have man-induced mistakes and inadequacies.
The Constitution is indeed the least effective governing document ever ratified in human history... EXCEPT for all the rest.
FacePalm Added Jan 1, 2019 - 1:55pm

The Founders left room to correct mistakes(or update the Constitution) via Article V procedures, so they certainly didn't consider the Constitution for the united States to be the finest system of governance humanity can ever invent; Jefferson said as much below:
“What county can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that its people preserve the spirit of resistance?”
---- Thomas Jefferson
That said, i agree with your premise that the 17th Amendment was a mistake; it simply facilitated the following:
"The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."
-- Alexis de Tocqueville[Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel, le Comte de Tocqueville] (1805-1859) French historian
...albeit, in this case, the federal government bribes the states with "money" created out of thin air, debt instruments which have the effect of making all Americans little more than chattel slaves - and worse than slaves, but also debtors, which is, i believe, a far worse problem than the 17th.  As Thoreau noted:
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."
-- Henry David Thoreau(1817-1862)..
...though i would up the number by a factor of a hundred, that is, a hundred thousand hacking at the branches to one striking at the root of the evil.  Far too many are satisfied with form over substance, i.e. making noise about "doing something," but never actually doing anything.
But the debt-money paradigm has swept the entire planet, just as the globalists intended; now, they have the whole world in their debt, and by trickery/deception, to boot.  It is, in fact, the "beast that deceived the whole world."

Cullen Writes Added Jan 1, 2019 - 2:23pm
It's funny that when Obama was elected president, you had a single open Senate seat (Obama's former) that had to be filled and the Illinois governor was caught on tape saying he'd give it to whoever gave him a million dollars. 
My understanding is back in the days before the 17th amendment, the 'party boss' in charge of the state legislature could name the senator and force everyone to vote for him / her. So you had a single guy (the speaker effectively) putting a senator into place for 6 years. Apparently people of the time thought that wasn't working well. 
Dino Manalis Added Jan 1, 2019 - 2:38pm
 It's a constant struggle between federal and state powers and rights, the European Union should be organized comparably to give member states greater leverage in the organization.
Doug Plumb Added Jan 1, 2019 - 3:52pm
The Romans had a senate. The senate is to ensure that new laws do not break existing laws and satisfy the requirements of the common law.
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 1, 2019 - 7:12pm
Interesting article Dave.  Keep in mind that the Progressive movement was started to curtail the power of the extremely wealthy from the incredible influence that they had in both state and the federal legislatures, and one of those was hindering federal restrictions on monopolistic behavior. The purpose was that the senators, being elected by state legislatures, could be bought by campaign contribution to state legislators. A senator elected by a popular vote took away some of the legislative power of the robber barons.
As with much legislation, the context of the legislation is an important consideration, and the purpose was to curtail the power of the robber barons.
Dave Volek Added Jan 1, 2019 - 10:26pm
I'm not that familiar with the EU constitution, so I shall refrain from commenting.
But I would say that the US Congress is deadlocked more because the Representatives and Senators are voting the party line rather than what is best for their conscience, their electoral district, or their state. And the party line is mostly about opposing and/or obstructing whatever the other party is doing. 
Ironically, I watched a PBS documentary two nights ago about Queen Victoria. According to the documentary, she was instrumental in bringing famine relief to Ireland, when the British parliament was content to let the Irish starve. Although she had no presence in parliament, she subtly used her veto privileges to get some action in the right direction. 
I was in Czechoslovakia in 1992. This country opted for a presidential position with no legislative powers. When the two halves separated, each keep its version of the president. Not having any real teeth, one would think the president as impotent. But this freed the presidents to speak their minds, and they said things that needed saying. They actually had more influence than their constitution allowed. 
30 years ago, the Canadian Senate was seen as cushy job for political hacks--who rubber stamped nearly all legislation. After it was discovered that one senator spent most of his year in the Caribbean (while drawing an upper-class salary), the Canadian public became more cognizant of the workings of the senate--and were really ticked off. Reforms were made, senators are much harder workers, and the institution has more credibility than it did before. In a way, Canada recently had its own version of the 17th amendment, albeit a lot less dramatic and not so much legalese. Senators are still appointed by the prime minister's office, but they are more likely to come from a non-partisan background, having accomplished something in life. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 1, 2019 - 10:37pm
Just to make myself clear, I am not an enemy of the constitution. The early Americans enhanced a system concocted by the British. The rest of the world learned many good things from the Americans. 
My point is that it is showing signs that it is becoming less effective for the 21st century. As more of the citizenry no longer accepts the validity  for the institutions and the people elected or appointed into the institutions, all the history (factual or mythologized) around the constitution will not hold the country together. 
USA and all other nations need to reorder their system of governance. 
Churchill's quote that democracy is the worst possible system except for all the rest is repeated in your post. It is time to create a system that is indeed better. 
I believe USA will lead the way again. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 1, 2019 - 10:41pm
Face Palm
But the debt-money paradigm has swept the entire planet, just as the globalists intended; now, they have the whole world in their debt, and by trickery/deception, to boot.  It is, in fact, the "beast that deceived the whole world." 
Then the constitution has failed again! 
How many more signs will be needed before ordinary Americans decide to start something new? 
Dave Volek Added Jan 1, 2019 - 10:57pm
My understanding of American history is that at least half the senators were somewhat credible people and served their state reasonably well. But there were far too many scandals, and minority of senators were creating a lot of bad press, tarnishing the credibility of the senate itself. And this minority was not under a lot of party discipline.  
The 17th Amendment was a band-aid solution. And it contributed to an erosion of state rights. 
Nations have always struggled with allowing their provinces to have some "rights." Both Canada and the USA formally delineated these rights as a possible solution to this struggle. But I would say that we Canadians have provincial programs that would be better served nationally and national programs that would be better served provincially. Somehow the two entities seem to work things reasonably well, but I suspect there are a lot of inefficiencies because neither side wants to lose power.  
While provinces always want to maximize their own rights on the federal stage, they are very reluctant to grant rights to municipalities. Any city, town, or rural district can be dissolved at any time in the provincial legislature. 
I point this out because humanity still has a strong need to dominate others who are lower on the pecking order. 
I don't know much about the Roman senate, so I shall refrain. 
I also heard that the US Senate was modeled somewhat after the Iroquois Confederacy of that time. Others may know more. 
The robber barons did play into the 17th amendment. It took about three decades before the public got pissed off enough to bring the 17th amendment into being. 
A. Jones Added Jan 1, 2019 - 11:38pm
But there were far too many scandals, and minority of senators were creating a lot of bad press, tarnishing the credibility of the senate itself. 
It's no different today. So it seems the 17th Amendment has been ineffective. Perhaps the erosion of states' rights was the actual, tacit, purpose of that Amendment.
FacePalm Added Jan 2, 2019 - 1:27am
Your Canadian government is quite complicit in the world monetary debt-system, too; what do you say to this guy?
"Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nations laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile."
-- William Lyon Mackenzie King(1874-1950) Prime Minister of Canada, 1935
Or of the following?  Do you favor a world currency of debt notes, as well?
   In May 1999, economist Judy Shelton suggested the dollarization of North America to the US House Committee on Banking and Financial Services. Others have likewise been examining currency options for the continent, and the momentum towards a new regional economic system binding Canada, the US, and Mexico has grown in intensity.  
   But how do regional monetary blocks play into a Single Global Currency? Morrison Bonpasse, President of the Single Global Currency Association (SGCA), a group of economists working towards a world currency, answers that question, “The monetary unions of the twenty-first century, and those which survived the twentieth, are the milestones on the path to the future, and to the Global Monetary Union.”
   Bonpasse elaborates on this point further,  
“Thanks to the success of the European and other monetary unions, we now know how to create and maintain the 3-Gs: a Global Monetary Union, with a Global Central Bank and a Single Global Currency.”
  “The world is ready to begin preparing for a Single Global Currency, just as Europe prepared for the euro and as the Arabian Gulf countries are preparing for their common currency. After the goal of a Single Global Currency is established by countries representing a significant proportion of the world’s GDP, then the project can be pursued like its regional predecessors.” 
     Simply put, the regional model becomes the steppingstone to a one-world currency. However, the problem of nationalism prevails. Discussing this “problem,” Bonpasse writes,  
   “The task can be stated quite simply: how to move from the current 147 currencies to 1. Developing the political will to overcome the residual strength of nationalism is the major challenge for the movement to a 3-G world. As with the implementation of the euro, the economics and politics of monetary union are inextricably bound together; and the logic of both point toward the 3-G world.
The question now is not whether the world will adopt a Single Global Currency but When? and How smooth, inexpensive, and planful OR rough, costly and chaotic will the journey be?” [Italics and capitals in original]  
In sum, then, the problem of debt notes far exceeds the parameters of the Constitution for the united States, so attempting to blame it for the debt-money world system is disingenuous, at best...and doing so in no way addresses the true issue, the true root of the evil.
TexasLynn Added Jan 2, 2019 - 8:41am
Dave V >> Just to make myself clear, I am not an enemy of the constitution.
Or more precisely, you’re not an enemy of the people it currently covers.  You do think it failed and you would like to see it replaced.  I'm OK with that.  We're all entitled to our opinions.  I certainly agree with you that failures have occurred, we just disagree on where to lay the blame.
Dave V >> The early Americans enhanced a system concocted by the British.
I'll only take slight exception to that; given the Magna Carta, but what the founding fathers did was new, radical and unheard of at the time.  It did nothing less that push human society forward by leaps and bounds for the next several hundred years.  That's all. :)
Dave V >> The rest of the world learned many good things from the Americans.
Yep... (see above)
Dave V >> My point is that it is showing signs that it is becoming less effective for the 21st century...
And here, again we must part ways.
Let's say you own a car and the dam thing's a lemon.  Nothing works right; the stereo, heater, air conditioner, the dam thing will barely make it down the road.  You open you glove box, pull out the owner's manual glance through it and discover you’re not following any of the directions.  (For example, you put it in L1 instead of D(rive) when you want to go somewhere).
What's the solution?  Hint... it's not write a new owner's manual.
Dave V >> USA and all other nations need to reorder their system of governance.
Well, I won't speak for all other nations, but the USA does not need a new owner's manual.
The problem isn't with the Constitution it's with the people falling further and further away from it.
Dave V >> Churchill's quote that democracy is the worst possible system except for all the rest is repeated in your post.
I do have a few axioms of truth that I repeat; that being one of them.  In this case it gets directly to the counterpoint I am making.  Capitalism and the US Constitution are not perfect (because nothing man has a hand in can be); BUT both are better than ALL the other alternatives.
Dave V >> It is time to create a system that is indeed better.
I know your pushing your own system, and I greatly respect the effort you have and continue to put into that.
I personally (from our discussion) see two fatal flaws that would prevent me from considering it...
1) It doesn't acknowledge the ideals of unalienable rights.
2) It relies heavily on the goodness of men and their best intentions.
Dave V >> I believe USA will lead the way again.
Then you have more faith that I do.  We are Rome all over again.  I wouldn’t put our chances at turning this around above 2%.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 9:56am
One of the reasons of dividing the Senate, was not only to keep the federal body from unlawfully usurping the power of the States, but also to keep the damnable bastahds in the District of Corruption too busy fighting amongst each other to accomplish anything else. I would wholeheartedly agree that the seventeenth needs to be repealed, but I would only start with that. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 2, 2019 - 10:01am
Dave V., that was a great and accurate description of the history of the Senate.   Yes the 17th amendment was the product of progressives of both parties and just before it those progressives violated the taxing principles of the founders.   The founders were totally against income and steep progressive tax.   Progressism is actually imported from Europe as the rich invaded the continent.  Many marriages saved the land gentry of England including Churchill family.  Those that returned to America including the Roosevelt family.  They only re-enforced their desire to get government to build barriers to prevent mobility.  Their interest was to pass their wealth to the inheritors for generations.  They saw how Europe was capable to retain the class based society by embracing democratic socialism, Fabian in England.  A Fabian revolution has been in process ever since.  
I have a different view of the first generation of American progressives, the children of the Robber Barons.  Jeff Jackson you say, "Keep in mind that the Progressive movement was started to curtail the power of the extremely wealthy from the incredible influence that they had in both state and the federal legislatures, and one of those was hindering federal restrictions on monopolistic behavior. " 
Like other children, Robber Baron children rebelled against the hippocratic of their parents, and they embraced the Fabian approach.  Whittaker Chambers had worked in the American Communist underground for most of the 1930s says, "New Deal was far more than a reform movement. It was “a genuine revolution, whose deepest purpose was not simply reform within existing traditions, but a basic change in the social, and, above all, the power relationships within the nation.” . . . Thus men who sincerely abhorred the word Communism, in the pursuit of common ends found that they were unable to distinguish Communists from themselves, except that it was just the Communists who were likely to be most forthright and most dedicated in the common cause. . . . It was not a revolution by violence. It was a revolution by bookkeeping and lawmaking. In so far as it was successful, the power of politics had replaced the power of business. This is the basic power shift of all the revolutions of our time. This shift was the revolution."  http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2010/05/22/whittaker-chambers-the-new-deal-as-revolution/
Note that Chambers before Congress in 1948, testified in the landmark Alger Hiss case and House Committee on Un-American Activities.
The failures of the Senate is not really that different before and after the 17th Amendment.  The biggest loss is that states are now vassals of the Federal government.  The 17th Amendment in effect ended the major principle of balance which is Federalism.   That the next lower level of government which has it's own self interest will be the best constraint to prevent a power grab.  The principle should be applied to the bicameral state legislatures with the counties being their next lower level of government.  California, Illinois, and New York government would be totally altered if the state senate contained county representatives.
Convention of States effort to employ the drafting of Amendments by the states calling for a convention to address specific problems has a dozen states lined up in about three years of effort.  The 17th repeal is on their list of problems.   I think both the state legislature, governor, and popular vote component in choosing a Senator would be the best balance.  For example the candidates are put on the ballot by approval of the legislature and they can recall.  However; citizen votes choose a senator from the list and no confidence choice exist. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 11:45am
Face Palm
About 20 years ago, I took an economics course that had some basic lessons of monetarist economics. I was a bit bewildered and never really understood this topic. But I still found it fascinating in that a slight change in interest rates or money supply or factoring could affect millions of people.  And governments with a central bank do have a few tools to justify deficit spending that even the world's biggest corporations cannot use. I would analogize monetarist economics similar to loading a bulk freighter with wheat. The wheat must be evenly applied across the ship; filling up the stern or bow first will have consequences. I have put monetarist economics  on my bucket list of "things to study".
Is Canada complicit is some sort of economics union? Probably. Our federal bank is independent of Parliament. I suspect these Canadian monetarist bankers are discussing affairs with monetarist bankers from other nations, probably with very little oversight.  
Is this good or bad? I'm not sure. I doubt it very much the average politician understands monetarism any better than I do. Giving our elected officials the controls is like handing over a 18 wheel truck to a 16 year who just got his learners permit to drive a car.
I recall reading a paper that for every international transaction that uses American $ as the medium of exchange, the American economy gains a little bit---even if the USA has very little to do with the transaction. So there is a vested interest in keeping he American $ as the world currency. I think the USA would oppose an international currency for that reason alone.
But I think we are heading for an international currency. Maybe in 50 years. I just hope the masters of this social change are more concerned about the welfare all the world's people, not just the richest 2%. I don't think western democracy can deliver on that.
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 12:43pm
What's the solution?  Hint... it's not write a new owner's manual.
I'm glad you brought up a car analogy. I had the privilege of riding in a Ford Model T. While it was great to experience history, I would not want to spend a lot of time in this car. It was neither comfortable nor well-performing; I much prefer my 1995 Corolla. The only advantage that I could see of the Model T is that an average guy can repair it.
I liken the US Constitution to the Model T: good in its day, but not something for today. We can repair it all we want, but it is still a Model T.
The problem isn't with the Constitution it's with the people falling further and further away from it.
A constitution (of any nation) should rise above the people. If we can blame the "bad" people, then the constitution is really not containing those people to work within it. We might as well be in an oligarchy.
1) It doesn't acknowledge the ideals of unalienable rights.
You have brought up this point before. There is no such thing as unalienable rights, as something defined by God. For example, the New Testament has all sorts of references to slavery. Jesus never championed against this social construct. Slaves who became Christians still served their master. And hopefully slave owners who became Christian treated their slaves well (and I believe many did in those first centuries). But there is nothing inalienable about "freedom from slavery". It all depends on the time and place in history. Rights are what the state gives to its citizens. If the state does a good job in assigning rights, it will prosper.
Other than introducing this TDG concept, I leave the early TDG builders to develop their own "humanistic principles". If these principles do not resonate with the public, the TDG will not go anywhere. In other words, the TDG will start with zero in terms of its "bills of rights," then work up from there.
2) It relies heavily on the goodness of men and their best intentions.
My experience in party politics that even the most principled people in this profession have to compromise those principles---if they want to be elected. This is just the nature of western democracy.
If we want to remove this impediment, then we have to design a new system.
And yes, I believe there are enough good people with the best of intentions out there. Many of them will not enter party politics or stay with party politics for too long. It's hard on principles.
We are Rome all over again.  I wouldn’t put our chances at turning this around above 2%.
On one hand, you believe the constitution is all USA needs, yet you give its chance of future success at around 2%. I'm not understanding this logic at all.
The 17th amendment did not come out of thin air. If it is indeed a grave mistake and the constitution allowed that mistake to happen, then the constitution is not working well. If you can blame the certain people or social movements, then that is a sign the constitution is not working well.
An effective constitution should rise above the people.
One of the better examples is the recent Canadian federal election. The prime minister, Steven Harper, was sitting high in the polls and called an election to his advantage (which is allowed in our constitution). Something happened in the election campaign, and the Canadian voters chose another political leader. Mr. Harper graciously stepped aside. In another time or place, a leader like Mr. Harper would either not have called an election or rigged the election or fought the results tooth-and-nail. But Mr. Harper abided by the constitution of Canada. He did not try to bypass it.
Western democracy--with its constitutions and traditions--is an amazing process for creating social order. The TDG will be a substantial improvement over western democracy, just as the American model was a substantial improvement over the British model.
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 1:08pm
When I was politically active, I recall an anecdote that the Montana legislature was only allow to sit for a few days each year. The idea was to prevent the legislature from passing too many laws. Maybe the three columns of power in Washington (House, Senate, and President) was designed for the same reason. But then, again the president was given the power of executive order, so that kind of threw out the "keep-up-the-conflict" reasoning.
When I was motorcycling in Montana many years ago, there were no speed limits on the highways. People drove as fast as they wanted. I enjoy my motorcycle, but I don't like putting myself in stress. I kept my bike at 65 mph, enjoying the scenery and wind. I was the slowest guy on the highway. Fortunately, there was not much traffic on my trip.
Three summers ago, we went on a little vacation to Great Falls. Speed limits are now posted at 80 mph. Most people were driving at that speed, so I suspect that actual enforcement was kept at that speed.
Then I passed a sign that reminded motorists that 100 people had been killed on Montana highways in the first half of the year. I did a little math. 100 motor vehicle deaths is probably where Alberta was at, but Alberta has four times the population as Montana. What gives?
Alberta's speed limits are about 70 mph. Maybe that reduction in speed had something to with the lower rate traffic deaths per capita when compared to Montana.
Unfortunately, I cannot agree with you that keeping our legislatures not legislating is any kind of solution to a better society. Laws need to be monitored, updated, and changed as society changes. If anything I have learned on WB is that USA, when compared to Canada, is terrible at making such updates.
And very few laws get it right the first time. So when a new law is finally struck in the USA and proves to be ineffective, Americans are forced to deal with it for 20 or 30 years. 
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 1:12pm
The constitution failed only because the people allowed it to be usurped. The seventeenth was only one of a great many attacks on it. 
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 1:14pm
Do you need a law to stop an attacker from attacking your family? Where do you obtain the right to defend yourself and your family? Or do you believe that government should be the only one that is allowed to intervene? Where does government get granted this right from? 
Government is by nature, coercion and force. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 2, 2019 - 1:32pm
I understand the state right concern, but I side with the progressives here. Surprise! I see the problem with delegates. The German constitution is a lot like the soviet republic idea of Karl Marx and Dave has taken a page or two from it and I can tell from experience that it does not work.
The more accountable an office holder is to a direct public vote the better the results. I think that one must protect state rights by insisting on the responsibilies of the state vs. of the federal organs.
State matters should never be decided in Washington, no matter if through delegates or through the House. Contrary to the original idea, the Senate has taken a different role today and should be considered a federal organ only. Let the states be the states.
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 1:33pm
Thank you for thoughtful response. I don't know much about the Fabian society, but when I did some reading a while back on the Fabians, I recall this joke from a long-ago issue of Mad Magazine:
The definition of a liberal is an author who writes a book about how the rich exploit the poor, the book sells extremely well, and the author starts looking for tax loopholes.
I'm not sure where the progressive movement started, and I'm having trouble seeing the connection with the robber barons. I recall in the 1820s, the British parliament debated the advantage of giving children from poor families some basic education. Some politicians seriously believed that such children were incapable of learning how to read, so there was not much point in trying. But schools were set up for poor families anyways. And a generation later, Britain had a more vibrant society because of the increased literacy. In particular, more workers were able to follow written instructions for working in the industrial age. That's the earliest sign of progressivism I have found.
As I have already stated in an earlier comment, the 17th amendment was a band-aid solution: the public were losing their faith in their system of governance and had to be placated. Those minority of senators who were very corrupt pre-1912 caused a lot of damage to what I would call a unique electoral process. As a believer of tiered governance, I believe the 17th amendment was a mistake for the loss of tiered elections. And the solution to fix this structure should have been a few more tiers, which should have prevented a lot of the corrupt activities.
The Convention of States is an interesting movement, and time will tell. One lesson of the 17th Amendment is that about three decades were required to effect the change. The CoS will likely need the same time frame. But if it leaves the political party in place, it will not have accomplished much. 
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 1:45pm
"Contrary to the original idea" ... BINGO! And therein lies the problem.
"But schools were set up for poor families anyways. And a generation later, Britain had a more vibrant society because of the increased literacy."
Just guessing here, but I think the industrial revolution may have had a little bit to do with that. 
Ryan Messano Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:15pm
Boom, great article Dave!!  I completely concur and agree, thank you!
TexasLynn Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:16pm
Dave, I appreciate the back on forth.  We're just going to have to agree to disagree and sometimes fervently.
Disagreement I: "...good in its day, but not something for today."
I believe there are certain things (especially ideals) in this world that are timeless.  The ideals established in the U.S. Constitution (especially the Bill of Rights) fits that bill.
Disagreement II: "the constitution is really not containing those people to work within it."
The purpose of a governing document is not to "contain" a people.  The goodness or faults will always be key.  They will bring out the goodness or flaws of the system that document creates.  And all systems will contain both.
Disagreement III: "There is no such thing as unalienable rights, as something defined by God."
This is the big one...
Dave V >> Rights are what the state gives to its citizens. If the state does a good job in assigning rights, it will prosper.
No concept ever conceived has caused more misery and death than that one.  Stalin, Mao, and a host of other tyrants have always laid that as the foundation of their secular states. 
To your assertion, those states did a horrible job of assigning rights, and yet "prospered" in terms of giving their creators exactly what they wanted (power) for a very long time.  Those states prospered... at the expense of the people by "containing" them.  And all it costs was millions dead and millions more in slavery and misery.
So, we can choose between the state as the god to gives and takes rights... versus...
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
And contained in those three rights are freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and freedom of protection.
And the whole purpose of government is "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Any system that does not recognize unalienable rights is too dangerous to even be toyed with IMO.  I'll never even consider it.
Dave V >> Jesus never championed against this social construct.
No... Jesus had much bigger issues to deal with; like salvation and eternity.  Knowing human nature, He knew there would always be human subjugation of one kind or another.  His message was much bigger (you can be reconciled with God for eternity through Me).  He did not waste his time trying to demand humanity change its nature. It would be like telling a stone it needed to not fall to the ground when you drop it.
Disagreement IV: "And yes, I believe there are enough good people with the best of intentions out there."
We fundamentally disagree on basic human nature.  IMO (and that of our founding fathers) Men overall will always seek their personal benefit and ambition over the good of others.  It's not right, it's not fair... it's just the nature of man. 
Any good system of governance must take that nature into account and seek to check it... to balance it.
Any system of governance that believes a different nature exists is doomed to fail.  For example, the belief in a different nature (than men will work for the good of the whole) is THE fatal flaw of socialism and communism.
TexasLynn Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:17pm
Disagreement V: The Constitution is why we only have a 2% chance of survival.
This isn't a disagreement so much as my inability to get my point across as to why we are likely doomed.
Dave V >> On one hand, you believe the constitution is all USA needs.
No... The Constitution (framework encompassing founding principles) is One of the things we need.  A good and moral people would be another.  There are, of course, server factors.
When I say we have a 2% chance of survival, I'm saying there is about a 2% chance the American people return to the founding principles we were given.  There is a 98% chance we won't and will continue to slouch into Gomorrah.
The Constitution is NOT the reason we're dying... it's the one life preserver we have.  We'll either use it or perish.
Dave V >> The 17th amendment did not come out of thin air.
I don't see your logic.  We agree the 17th amendment was a grave mistake... but one grave mistake does not equate to total failure or a time to chunk the whole thing as you suggest.
Have you ever made a big mistake in your career?  Did they take you out back and shoot you for it?  Did they fire you and make sure you never worked again?  Your conclusion that the whole is rotten because of one, or even several failings is erroneous.
It seems to me you so badly want people to embrace your system your looking for any excuse to declare any and all existing systems obsolete and flawed (starting with that of the USA.  Your goal is not honest evaluation, it’s to tear down so as to replace with what you want.  To you, the Constitution is simply an obstacle in your way.  The stability of the existing structure is immaterial to your motivation and argument. 
You seek to promote by tearing down.  I would suggest that if you can't promote your system by convincing people of its own merit, you're not going to have much success.
I've told you the two reasons why I would not consider it.  You told me one (inalienable rights) is all in my head; and the second (human nature being selfish) won't come into play.
OK... fair enough; we'll agree to disagree.  BUT part of that disagreement equals I will defend our system our founding principles, our Constitution as still being mankind's last, best, chance.
Nothing personal.
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:17pm
Pre-1912, the American public saw the Senate as a place where a lot of corruption occurred. If faith in the system was to be retained, changes were warranted. The solution was the 17th Amendment.
The American people wanted these changes and were putting pressure to make the change! The constitution had an amendment formula; it was properly applied. There was no usurping.
If the people cannot make such as change in this way, then there is no point to the amending formula. 
If the pre-1912 senators were behaving in the best interests of their state, the 17th amendment would not have happened.
Were Senators significantly less corrupt after 1912? My sense of American history says so. But I think Thomas might be a better person to ask.
If you still disagree, then explain how USA could have settled its impasse over the corruption of the Senate.
Ryan Messano Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:21pm
Agree with Texas, that government governs best which governs least.  I'm convinced the 16th, 17th, and 19th Amendments were all grave errors.
TexasLynn Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:23pm
Ryan Messano >> Boom, great article Dave!!  I completely concur and agree, thank you!
You understand Ryan, that Dave's argument is that because of these grave errors, the whole of the US Constitution is outdated and should be trashed?
Ryan Messano Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:26pm
Sorry, Texas, wishful thinking on my part.  I thought Dave was seeing the light.  My mistake.  Gave him the BOD, after the title, let me revise that.  I completely concur that the 17th Amendment was a grave mistake, but that the Constitution was a fantastic governing document, the finest the world has ever seen. 
Ryan Messano Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:29pm
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:33pm
Thank you for taking this topic in another useful direction.
The founding fathers saw the importance of tiered, indirect elections. The President and Senators were elected by this process. The House was by popular vote, which served as a great bell weather to the Senate and President about the public sentiment towards their government. Today, all three bodies are elected by popular vote, thereby mitigating much of the advantage of the tiered indirect method. 
The Soviet system also used a version of tiered democracy. However, there are quite a few differences:
1) In the soviet system, only party members were allowed to vote, usually meaning there was an elite consisting of 5% of the population. In the TDG, all citizens are allowed to vote, but there might be a few exceptions such an prison inmates. 
2) The party members were required to buy into a particular ideology to gain party membership. The TDG will allow all ideologies, religions, economic classes, etc. to vote.  
3) Elections in the soviet system were often rigged, as competing factions aligned to get their own people at the lower levels. 
4) Publicly criticizing government was forbidden in the soviets. In the TDG, citizens do have the freedom to bring up concerns about their government. 
Soviet=TDG, that just does not add up.
Next thing is I'll be accused of trying to engineer a mass genocide of Canadian because I believe public health care is the way to go. Isn't that what all socialists do?
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:43pm
"The American people wanted these changes and were putting pressure to make the change!"
You seem to be confusing the will of the politicians with the will of the people. That is akin to saying that the American people "wanted" the federal reserve. 
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 2:45pm
You may note in many of the founding documents, that the republican form of government was mandated only at the state and national level, though people were free to establish their own form of government at the township level. Thus, the "communist invasion" of Texas in the middle eighteen hundreds, and the creation of many different other forms of governance at the local levels ... where the people could directly hold their government to account. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 3:36pm
My sense of history is that the corrupt senators were all over the front pages of the American newspapers from 1870. And it seemed nothing was stopping them.
I say public pressure was instrumental in the 17th Amendment. You suggest it was a deliberate conspiracy to reduce state rights. Let's agree to disagree.
I always find it amazing that a middle-sized jurisdiction is often battling a large jurisdiction for more rights. Yet when a small jurisdiction wants more rights from the middle-sized jurisdiction, the latter is reluctant to give any power or control to the former.  
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 3:48pm
"My sense of history is that the corrupt senators were all over the front pages of the American newspapers from 1870. And it seemed nothing was stopping them."
You are correct here too, put in place by the robber barons of the day. No surprise there. The point that seems to be missing is that they ... and not saying they were honorable by any stretch ... but they prevented the federal government from overstepping its bounds in many respects ... despite ensuring that the federal government would grossly overstep its bounds when they wanted something. 
"I always find it amazing that a middle-sized jurisdiction is often battling a large jurisdiction for more rights. Yet when a small jurisdiction wants more rights from the middle-sized jurisdiction, the latter is reluctant to give any power or control to the former.  "
And correct again, which is why the nation was established with the true seats of power being at the local level as I have evidenced. County Sheriff as one example, being the only ones duly elected directly by the people. 
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 3:49pm
The farther away the government is from the people it rules, the more oppressive it becomes. 
FacePalm Added Jan 2, 2019 - 3:53pm
Dave Volek-
i didn't see your answer to the question of whether you support the continued use of debt-notes as money, or if you'd prefer a more honest system, instead.
Have you ever read Plato's "The Republic"?  If not, you should.  An honest reading of it would swiftly reveal to you the many failings of democracy, for there is but little virtue in the opinions of the majority; a tyranny of the majority is no less a tyranny because most "approve."
It can certainly be said that Constitutions exist fundamentally to PROTECT minorities from majority opinions.
To me, the biggest flaw of the American Constitution is the inability of the People to hold their alleged public servants to account for any and all betrayals of their Oaths of Office, just like judges hold litigants/witnesses to account for lying under oath in their courtrooms.
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 4:01pm
As I have stated at least twice, the 17th amendment was a band-aid solution to a serious problem. It would have been nice for the thinkers of those times to figure out how to make the tiered election work well enough to find competent senators, but the advocates for direct democracy won the day.
In Canada, cities, towns, and rural districts have--legally speaking--no rights. There is a no provision in the Canadian constitution for these smaller jurisdictions. They exist only at the whim of the provincial governments.
Generally speaking, the provinces set up a rulebook for these smaller jurisdictions and leave them alone to fix their own potholes. But the veto power is always around the corner.
Despite this lack of entrenched rights, cities, towns, and rural districts do grow and prosper and provide great places to live.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 2, 2019 - 4:11pm
"As I have stated at least twice, the 17th amendment was a band-aid solution to a serious problem. It would have been nice for the thinkers of those times to figure out how to make the tiered election work well enough to find competent senators, but the advocates for direct democracy won the day."
What they did, was to put the power in the hands of the people. The people forfeited that right and forsook the constitution to their own detriment. What happened at the State and Federal level should have had very little impact at the local level. The powers of the Federal system are few and well defined ... getting them to remain within those bounds was where the States screwed up, and the local people giving up their rights to the state put them in pretty much the same boat. When the whole kit and kaboodle of the state was absorbed into the national system, the local people were pretty well just buggered by a different master much farther away and by and large unaccountable to the people being ruled rather than served. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 2, 2019 - 4:24pm
Dave V., the children of the Robber Barron's were sent to Europe to get an education and our university system hired European trained professors. You said yourself the progressives set out to constrain the robber Barron with anti trust and not applying anti trust to unions. Teddy Roosevelt was one of those progressives.
The late 1800's a few time a state only had one Senator because the divided houses of the State legislature couldn't choose one or the governor chosen candidate could not get approved.
The results of amendments drafted and by 3/5 of states and approved by 3/4 will return power back to the states and limit the federal government. That is the expected outcome because state's self interest is independent of the party in control. They want control of their own budget and way of doing things, not be vassals. Revolutionary war happened because of the alignment of colony self interest from the abuses of the British government.
I second TexasLynn Jan 2, 2:16pm I. For II: The founders said that without honorable representatives no government can work. We have corrupt people serving there own self interest, becoming wealthy. The reason for a limited federal government is to prevent this. The courts is just if not more corrupt so we have no checks in place.
For III: I like TexasLynn's answer and would add. Unalienable rights, individual freedom to choose, and the right to the results of ones own labor are the foundation of salvation theology the core of Judaeo-Christian civilization which is the free enterprise economic foundation also.
For IV totally agree. For V The results of the Convention of State effort to get the states to draft Amendments. If this happens then the nation will survive. I give it a 25 to 40% chance of happening.
For V see above. Again I agree that I do not see your logic Dave V..
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 2, 2019 - 4:38pm
I think that the founding fathers were wrong about the tiered indirect voting. The benefit of the electoral college is not that there is a layer of people changing the popular vote. Its strength is that less populated regions have a bigger say and don't get as much depleted over the long run (urbanization).
What the founding fathers tried to avoid, namely tribal mob rule, is better achieved by seperation and limitation of power. The elites are just as susceptible to ideology and mood swing as the general public. I would even submit that they are more likely to be fickle.
The powers are seperated along branches, different responsibilities for states and the federal level and unalienable individual rights no other entity may encroach on. To prevent that one fickle mob oppresses the rest (tyranny of the majority) debate is open und diverse, a diverse market of ideas is accessible to everybody, and the time for a leader is limited by election dates and absolute term limits.
To put it differently, if a fickle mob were to be stopped, the best way to go is to make a high office an uncomfortable place that people only hold for a short time so as to realize his ambitions, the campaign promises. The ficklety of the people should not matter because of the determination it takes to hold the seat. The ideal is the Sword of Damokles dangling over the head of all high-up decision makers. Tiers between the electorate and them make the swords blunt and give them their own armour and weaponry (with growing office time political groopies form a weapon for the ruler, a threat to freedom in and of itself).
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 4:50pm
I'm not well versed in detail of the history as you. I just cannot see the connection between the robber barons and the progressive movement at that time. I would have to study this topic some more to agree or disagree with you.
Local solutions for local problems is indeed the best way to go for many things. Schools is one of those things. Education is the domain of the provinces, and I would say that school boards are getting too much direction from the province.
To me, having limited federal government often means the the corruption is more at the state or municipal level. This is not the solution we are looking for.
The trouble I find with the American-style "inalienable rights" is that they were not very defined throughout history and even today in much of the world. I really can't understand at how these rights were always there, but were somehow taken away--at least until the Americans came. Probably another WB article for you or Lynn to explain.
As you know, I am against political parties. I could explain this further, but it might be better to read my book. It's not a quick topic.
ChetDude Added Jan 2, 2019 - 5:34pm
The problems lie in the goals that create/design the processes...
USAmerica is not a democracy because those who owned the country designed a framework to preserve and defend the wealth and privileges of themselves, their Class, the few against the needs of the many.
The 8000 year struggle against Dominator Hierarchies has been a Class War.  The wrong class is still winning.
Cullen Writes Added Jan 2, 2019 - 6:32pm
Robber barons bought off government to let them run everything (Rockefeller, Carnegie, etc...) in the Gilded age / turn of the 20th century.
The progressive movement sought to force government to work for the people again (and to provide various public spaces and public works). And it sought to force the extremely rich to pay for them. This was successful because the progressives of the time only wanted stuff we'd consider normal, access to hospitals, public parks, a FDA, making products safe (listing ingredients), workplaces safe, labor laws, etc...
Implicit in this movement was the idea that the Robber barons had bought off the members of the Senate and the 17th amendment would give control of the Senate back to the people. 
TexasLynn Added Jan 2, 2019 - 6:50pm
Dave V >> Soviet=TDG, that just does not add up... Next thing is I'll be accused of trying to engineer a mass genocide of Canadian
I never said that Soviet or tyranny equals TDG; or that Dave himself seeks mass genocide.  I simply stated that the ideal that the state is the ultimate power that creates and distributes rights is a foundational principle found in the worst of tyrannies.
If the TDG shares that trait... OK... it's just something to be aware of.
Dave V >>  I really can't understand at how these rights were always there, but were somehow taken away--at least until the Americans came.
Those rights were always there, just not always recognized by men.  It was this revelation that was key to the great American experiment.  It was this revelation that ushered in hundreds of years of liberty, freedom and prosperity; not just for us, but the world.  It was this revelation that allowed for the defeat of the fascist/socialist, and communist that threatened mankind.
Cullen Writes Added Jan 2, 2019 - 7:18pm
I think the idea of inalienable rights has become tricky. Everything is a 'right' today. 
Do you have a right to a marriage (to anyone you feel like)? What if the other person you feel like you have a 'right' to doesn't want to marry you? 
Do you have a right to an abortion? 
Do you have a constitutional and God-given right to privacy (to practice contraception)? 
Do you have a right to a press pass at the White House? 
Do you have a right to a custom-made wedding cake made by a person that doesn't want to make it? 
Cullen Writes Added Jan 2, 2019 - 7:19pm
Next up is the right to a biological child by men (who can't get a lady). 
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 9:58pm
I read a Rockefeller biography some years back. I was amazed at what an astute businessman he was. Most things he did were legal; he just plied his power of market share to eliminate competition and leverage his negotiations from suppliers and customers. Most people in business aspire to do just that. 
I have a new article for WB about alienable rights brewing between my ears, Stay tuned.
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 10:11pm
A lot of these rights were negotiated between men as we matured as western nations. We were probably guided by various belief systems, but when it came time to put ink on paper, it was men who figured them out. 
For example, many medieval cities (especially in Holland) had rights for criminals and their victims. A convicted criminal could find sanctuary in a city or section of city. He was allowed to rent a room and find a job. He was not allowed to leave the sanctuary until he made amends with the victim and/or his family. If he left the sanctuary before that, the family was allowed to hunt him down and enact their own justice. These were the rights for those times and places. Are they inalienable? I don't know. We don't practice them now for we have moved on--rightly or wrongly--to other ways. 
Sorry, I jumped the gun a little bit on my genocide thing. I was listening to Jordan Peterson last fall. He has lots of good thing to say, but then he equates socialism with inevitable genocide. I didn't mean to imply that you are of the same ilk.
Ryan Messano Added Jan 2, 2019 - 10:32pm
Cullen: Robber barons bought off government to let them run everything (Rockefeller, Carnegie, etc...) in the Gilded age / turn of the 20th century.
Not that simple.  Rockefeller was a very moral man, I recommend his book, Titan, an excellent biography on him.  Never danced, taught Sunday School, never drank, did not gamble, and unlike modern Americans, wasn't wasting time on social media, hellivision, Hollyweird, porn, or psychotropic drugs.  Carnegie was an altruistic philanthropist whose generosity is still around today in many of the 2,500 libraries he gave away, each costing him the average equivalent of $550,000 in today's dollars.  They realized you don't give people money, homes, food, and housing, you give them the means to work themselves out of poverty.  The lazy and power hungry left looks at this as cruelty. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2019 - 10:56pm
I wouldn't put Rockefeller or Carnegie in the saint category.
I got to know two businessmen who built their companies from nothing. One trait they had in common was an uncanny ability to push their employees, suppliers, and customers to the edge of the cliff, but not over. While this trait is good for business, it is also not a trait that I would say defines a great Christian. 
The philanthropy of these two industrialists just might be their way of seeking salvation or forgiveness after being so ruthless in business. 
Ryan Messano Added Jan 2, 2019 - 11:19pm
Not necessarily saints, Dave, we are agreed, however they severely limited their vices.  It takes discipline to accumulate the wealth they had. Carnegie grew up desperately poor and had to drop out of the fifth grade to work to support his family.  How anyone can knock a poor child who worked their way up with sheer industry is unconscionable.  Carnegie was giving to the poor long before he became wealthy.  And if he came from desperate poverty and worked his way up, he shows that any of us can.  The only thing holding any of us back, is our own lack of faith and hard work.  I speak from experience.  I dropped out of high school, and worked hard, avoiding many vices, to be able to gross nearly $500k when I was only 34.  I grew up on welfare, the oldest of 18 children.  So I don't appreciate people calling me or these two greedy.  Rockefeller grew up with an alcoholic father who beat his mother and cheated on her, while leaving for long stretches.  Many on the left simply do not understand the whole picture but want to condemn situations they haven't taken the time to research.  Same goes for the Founders. The left is so quick to criticize them, when 90% cannot intelligently discuss their lives or values. 
In business, industry succeeds. There is a maxim, from Solomon that is so true.  'In all labor there is profit, but in the talk of the lips, there wanteth not penury'.  The Bible also says the righteous will not be begging.  It's very true.  You'll never find me a righteous person who works hard who is desperately poor.  But, the left often wants to ignore the choices that land people in hard spots, and demand that they be given things they do not deserve. That is wrong. 
Case in point.  There was a business meeting in my church, Dave, and a woman, who had been a member for 30 years, and had 15 children, most of them grown, asked the church for help with her rent, which was $1,500.  The church said no, and it was well they did.  They said her husband had been watching television for decades and not working, which he had been and his own children said it.  They said the church has given her money for food many times over the years, which we did, I personally brought over groceries and had given her my car for free when she had cancer.  So, they said they would not give her the money, but they would give her a room to stay in if she got evicted, until she had time to get on her feet financially. She did not like it and got up and walked out, but she still attends. Love does not always give people what they want, but it always gives people what they need. 
Cullen Writes Added Jan 3, 2019 - 1:34am
The robber barons competed with each other to see who could control the most. Then became so hated (and came to see it) that they competed with each other in old age to see who could become the greatest philanthropist. But they weren't always giving away money. 
Rockefeller was a complex man because he tithed to his church his whole life but was an incredibly shrewd and ruthless business man for much of his adult life too. My understanding is his father was a con man / salesman who left the family for long stretches (and sold miracle tonic that cures all ills at one point) and his mother was a devout Christian and little John managed to take the most prominent characteristics of both. 
FacePalm Added Jan 3, 2019 - 2:16am
So, Dave-
Not going to answer the question about whether or not you support continued use of debt-notes as money?
Ward Tipton Added Jan 3, 2019 - 2:23am
Nor will he address the right to defend oneself and one's family, though at least he is reasonable in his discussions. There is a lot to be said for that. Sadly, like many people I think, when one is so heavily invested in an idea, it is difficult to see faults that others may see. Kind of like how we ended up in the mess we are in now. Bigger, more distant government will never be a viable solution for anything other than slavery ... and in any world where governments are the grantor of rights ... count me out. 
FacePalm Added Jan 3, 2019 - 2:43am
i noticed he had a question about how the unalienable rights were poorly defined, so again, i have a reference for him, though i suspect he'll not read it:
Thomas Paine's "The Rights of Man.
There are others, as well.  Most of these were called "natural rights," and were based on observations of "Nature and Nature's God," for example that every creation has a means of self-defense inherent to the creature in question, but man has the near-unique ability to devise weaponry for self defense, hence the unalienable right to keep and bear arms, a gift from Our Creator, and neither any man nor body of men.  In this information age, it is disingenuous, at best, to claim ignorance of natural rights.
But yes, for those who have an affinity for the atheist position, it is virtually mandatory that they accept that "governments give" Rights...but they don't. 
This may be discerned from the verbiage of the Unconstitutional 14th Amendment, which mentions "privileges and immunities," and the push to create ever-more "federal citizens" who have - whether knowingly or not - exchanged their Natural, God-given Rights for these "privileges and immunities."  The latter, being the gift of gov't agents, can be withdrawn or denied on any whim, can't they?
Ward Tipton Added Jan 3, 2019 - 2:57am
And routinely are, as is private or personal property ... occasionally accompanied by loss of life to those being initially otherwise denied of their basic rights. 
FacePalm Added Jan 3, 2019 - 4:38am
Well, yeah.
"The ultimate ownership of all property is in the State: individual so-called "ownership" is only by virtue of Government, i.e., law amounting to mere user; and use must be in accordance with law and subordinate to the necessities of the State.”
~ Senate Document No. 43 73rd Congress 1st Session. (Brown v. Welch supra)
(You own no Property because you are a slave. Really you are worse off than a slave because you are also a debtor.)
What we have settled for, in our ignorance, are "Certificates of Title," which aren't true titles; they convey "ownership interest," but no true ownership.  They're "certificates," not "titles."  If anyone has "paid off their mortgage" and has received their "deed," i'd strongly suggest that the deed-holder go over that doc, with a microscope, if need be, looking for the word "owner" anywhere.  Won't find it on a "Title in Fee Simple."  All you get with one of those is "tenancy rights," which can be sold, transferred, or willed - but never ownership.
Same deal with the vehicle title; TRUE title is allegedly conveyed via the "MCO," or "Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin," and the "Certificate of Title" again only conveys "ownership interest."  The MCO is held by the State where the sale took place.
Both of these examples lead me back to Jefferson and the DoI:
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
--- Thomas Jefferson
And what kind of despotism?  Here's a prescient clue-by-four:
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to then Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, 1802
So Americans weren't taught; the banksters bided their time and promoted partying, drug and alcohol use, the reduction of the importance of family, hatred of intelligence/learning, and lulled the People to sleep before robbing us all.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 3, 2019 - 6:36am
Nah. They were robbing us long before that. Just not so large scale or wholesale as they are these days.
Dave Volek Added Jan 3, 2019 - 11:27am
Thank you for your very thoughtful response. I have to agree with most of what you said in that post. The more people can stay away from vices, the more positive outcomes they will have in their life. The tone used in your response is forthright and honest. It was also not too condemning, although some will take it as such.
And your response was going into an important direction: it is not politically correct--in too many social circles--to be making the points you are making. Far too many people believe their own particular vice does not affect their life performance, so they don't want to be reminded of their failings. I don't have a solution to this paradox other than trying to be a good example. Hopefully a few people will catch on. When we are trying to change a culture, that is all we can do.
Giving help is indeed a two-edged sword. I won't say if your church made the right call or not, but you people were closer to the situation than I.
While there are always a few rags-to-riches stories out there, most people coming from a poor background really don't have the tools to take on this life journey. Just keeping a basic job is a challenge enough. And some people are too damaged to do even that. They may have been damaged by an overindulgent state, but more often they have experienced some serious life trauma that they need to recover from. It is hard to recover from an abusive childhood. And just because one person manages to do that does not mean others can easily walk the same path. Everyone's life journey is different; we should not be too quick to judge.
I often wonder at super performers, like Rockefeller, if they too have had some undealt with trauma that making lots of money is their medication. While I admire Rockefeller's business acumen, from what I have read, I don't have the respect for him as a person. His philanthropy did not outweigh all the people he bulldozed over as he built Standard Oil.  
Dave Volek Added Jan 3, 2019 - 11:36am
Not going to answer the question about whether or not you support continued use of debt-notes as money?
The question is a little vague for me. And as I have said before, my understanding of monetarist economics is limited.
But I do understand Keynesian economics well enough to comment. Yes, the government should issue debt in tough economic times to build various civic project to keep people employed. Then when economy turns around, the extra tax revenue should go to pay off that debt. In theory that should work. In practice, politicians don't do the "paying off debt" part in good times very well. 
After 2008, all western countries have been playing with funny money to finance their deficits. As best as I can figure out, there are new federal banks 100% owned by the government. The government gives these banks the charter to create money, and the banks then loan it back to the government. When the government pays the interest and principle, it is only paying itself. Go figure!
Dave Volek Added Jan 3, 2019 - 11:52am
To answer your questions about inalienable rights, I think that can go in all sorts of directions. I have a relative who stormed the schools anytime her teenage daughters got into a little trouble. It was never the daughters' fault, and my relative was only using her inalienable right to defend her family. I say she went over the top. But my relative has rights.
If we are talking about firearm ownership, I have been on another of Ward's articles. I partook in firearms/hunting for a couple of years in my younger life. It was interesting, but I drifted away.
There might be 10 to 20 burglaries in my home town of 14,000 people a year. The burglars are usually smart enough to wait for everyone in the house to leave. So not only is there a small chance of my house being burglared, there is a smaller chance of it becoming a violent burglary. 
If I decide to defend myself from this small chance, I would need to buy a pistol, get trained for that pistol, and maintain my skills to be effective with that pistol in the very small chance of a burglar breaking into my house when I'm still in it. Then when I add in that despite whatever training I have, an encounter with a burglar is still an unknown quantity. Things could get worse for me and my family if I start shooting. So I have made the choice not to bring firearms for defensive (or any other purpose) into my home. 
This does not mean I want to take other people's rights away. If you want to arm your house with firearms, are competent in their usage, and have them stored such that an average five-year old can't handle them, then go for it! In fact, I encourage you. The burglars usually don't know which houses have guns or not, and I am a free rider on your efforts. Works for me!
FacePalm Added Jan 3, 2019 - 12:44pm
If governments issued the debt-notes, that could be acceptable; Jefferson, in fact, recommended it:
“If a nation can issue a bond it can issue a bill. The element that makes the bond good also makes the bill good. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets money brokers collect twice the amount of the bond plus interest. Whereas the bill pays nobody but those who contribute directly in some useful way. The people are the basis for the government credit. Why then cannot the people have the benefit of their own credit by receiving non interest bearing bonds? It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30 million in bonds and not $30 million in currency. Both are promises to pay: But one fattens the usurers and the other helps the people…”
~Thomas Jefferson
Lincoln put Jefferson's idea into reality:
"The government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credits needed to satisfy the spending power of the government and the buying power of consumers. By adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity."
-- Abraham Lincoln(1809-1865) 16th US President
The problem is, of course, that the government does not issue the credit; privately-owned interests do, mostly foreign ones represented by the Federal Reserve system, which DOES charge immense sums of interest.
John Wilkes Booth was a member of the "secret" Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn," a front-group for international banksters; here's how THEY felt about the Greenback of Lincoln:
"Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power and chattel slavery destroyed. This, I and my European friends are glad of, for slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of the laborers, while the European plan, led by England, is that capital shall control labor by controlling wages. This can be done by controlling the money. The great debt that capitalists will see to it is made out of the war, must be used as a means to control the volume of money. To accomplish this, the bonds [government debt to the bankers] must be used as a banking basis. . . . It will not do to allow the greenback, as it is called, to circulate as money any length of time, as we cannot control that."
-Hazard Circular 1862
Source: Quoted in Charles Lindburgh, Banking and Currency and the Money Trust (Washington D.C.: National Capital Press, 1913), page 102
"If this mischievous financial policy, which has its origin in North America, shall become endurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous without precedent in the history of the world. The brains, and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That country must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe."
~Hazard Circular
Source: London Times 1865
The first thing Lincoln's VP did was recall all the greenbacks, once Johnson became president.
LBJ did the same thing to JFK's "US Treasury Notes," the "silver certificates.  This was not accidental or incidental.  The Treasury notes were competing against the FRN's, and the international banksters couldn't have that...
Dave Volek Added Jan 3, 2019 - 1:43pm
Face Palm
I admit that I just don't know enough to understand the monetarist economics. I don't think you do either.
Whether all these "notes" (or whatever other financial gizmos) were moral or ideologically sound, the world seemed to still work out OK, despite the occasional recession.
Something shifted drastically after the 2008 recession. To me, it all  sounds like a Ponzi Scheme, but maybe the wizards know what they are doing. So any references to JFK or Lincoln are totally irrelevant in these new times. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 3, 2019 - 2:42pm
I agree and would like to add about alienable rights to TexasLynn 1/2/6:50pm  <<Those rights were always there, just not always recognized by men.>> not recognized by government.  Men, a good percentage, are responsible individual and not members of the government's tribe, the collective.  These individual never forgot their alienable rights and the fact that through out history all tyrannical tribal governments had to deal with revolution is the proof.  
My I point out that the middle class in America exploded in size because of the industrial revolution reaching America after the Civil War.  The Robber Barron were only a very small part and visible part of the actual free market system explosion.  They were the few that obtained monopoly status when to do so was difficult.  They stood out.  And they did use power of all types to suppress competition including buying off government.   The anti-trust laws addressed some of the unfair practices that the power of money purchased.  Those Robber Barron's did not see these practices as unfair.  
We were the China of the period.  The conditions for workers in America and the opportunities were better then in any other nation in the world.  That is why immigration created an influx.  So all the stories of the poor treatment of labor by the Robber Barron and other industrialist of the period need to be compared to the other choices that workers had.  The immigrants were not foolish in voting with their feet to come to America.  
We know from personal experience that no advertising campaign can in the end hid the ability or lack there of from the consumer.  Self interest is the driving force of consumers and immigrants and the communication channels will provide the true facts to interested people.   Ryan M. is correct that industrialist were serving their self interest which included also serving the self interest of the laborers and customers which includes local community interest also.
Dave Volek Added Jan 3, 2019 - 4:26pm
You are very right that despite the terrible working conditions of 1850 to 1900, many workers saw their plight as an improvement of where they were before. You and I really need to be thankful to be living in these times and places. Life was so hard for much of the world's population.
The question that needs to be asked is: "Are conditions still improving for the working classes?". If not, then we have the seeds for a revolution.
FacePalm Added Jan 3, 2019 - 4:54pm
No, Dave, references to Jefferson, Lincoln, and JFK are entirely relevant, for they show a way out of the debt-slavery imposed on Americans - and the entire world - by international banksters in pursuit of their totalitarian nightmare world of the NWO/OWG tyranny.
Ever hear this quote?
“The refusal of King George III to allow the colonies operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money-manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the Revolution.”                                                                              
~Benjamin Franklin
Or these?
"The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks."
-- Lord Acton[John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton] (1834-1902), First Baron Acton of Aldenham
“Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money and control credit."
― Sir Josiah Stamp - president of the Bank of England in the 1920’s and the second richest man in Britain
"The whole profit of the issuance of money has provided the capital of the great banking business as it exists today. Starting with nothing whatever of their own, they have got the whole world into their debt irredeemably, by a trick.  This money comes into existence every time the banks 'lend' and disappears every time the debt is repaid to them. So that if industry tries to repay, the money of the nation disappears. This is what makes prosperity so 'dangerous' as it destroys money just when it is most needed and precipitates a slump.  There is nothing left now for us but to get ever deeper and deeper into debt to the banking system in order to provide the increasing amounts of money the nation requires for its expansion and growth.  An honest money system is the only alternative."
-- Frederick Soddy(1877-1956) British author, professor, Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1921
“This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial Banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the Banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible, but there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied very soon.”
― Robert H. Hemphill (Credit Manager of Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta, Ga.)
So, until today, had you ever heard of the concept of an "honest money system"?
If you'd like to know more about the financial history of the world, you may wish to start with a viewing of The Money Masters, then watch some recommended vids, as well...like "Confessions of an Economic Hitman."
After all, the tiered voting system you want will never work unless it's a voluntary association of free men; economic slaves are subject to force.
Lindsay Wheeler Added Jan 3, 2019 - 9:41pm
Dave's very first sentence, "The US Senate was indeed a unique social engineering invention."
The "senate" is a very very OLD institution!  It is NOT, NOT, NOT a unique engineering invention!
The "senate" comes from the Latin "senix"  which means Old Men! What do Old Men have that young men do not have?  
The "Senate" is the seat of Wisdom!  That institution was NOT, NOT, NOT invented by the Romans but by the Doric Greeks in their Republics. Their upper body in the Greek was "gerousia", which is Doric Greek for OLD MEN.   The Sabines brought that institution to the Latins!  So the Senate IS NOT, NOT, NOT a unique social engineering invention. 
What the FFofA did was **** reconfigure **** it. The Senates of the ancient Republics and that of the House of Lords was the seat of the Aristocracy!  It always has been. The FFofA rejected the Old Order, rejected Aristocracy and created a pseudo-senate made up of representatives from the states!
It is all here laid out what a true republic is and what false republics are: The Classical definition of a republic
America is a Failed state. it is gone. And yes the 17th Amendment is one of the causes of the downfall of America. America's federalism ended on the day it was passed. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 3, 2019 - 10:01pm
Thanks again for your quotes. The banking system has been under a lot of suspicion almost since it started. In "The Merchant of Venice", Shakespeare shows his contempt for banks and banker.
You are bringing me back to that economics course. A lot of people (and I used to be one of them) believe that banks only loan to the limit of their deposits. They make their profit on the spread between savings and loan interest. That is just not how it works. Rather the deposits are converted into multiples of loans; for example $1 in deposits give the bank the right to issue $5 in loans. This is called factoring and is one of the sources of  money supply and the bank's factoring rate is set by the central bank.  
You mentioned honest banking several times with not much detail. To many, factoring seems dishonest, so let's start there. If we were to go to $1 in deposits = $1 in loans, then the entire banking industry would change. There are six banks in my town. Without the factoring, there would be a lot less profit. Maybe one bank might survive to serve my rural community. And with little competition, that bank would probably not serve very well. 
But you may have other ideas on honest banking. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 3, 2019 - 10:14pm
"Invent"? "Re-configure". It's mostly semantics. But I do appreciate the FF innovative thinking towards the initial American Senate. 
I am in favor of tiered indirect elections. The FF set up the election of both the president and the senators in this way. It was a great loss when all three bodies are popularly elected.
And FF also put the amending process  mostly in the hands of the states. Another good move. 
As for the Greeks, their version of democracy was possible because most of the citizens could spend all day on affairs of governance because all the work was done by slaves. I'm not sure there is much the 21st century can learn from the Greeks. 
USA is far from a failure. There is a movement called Confederation of States that is outside of Congress. It just might gather momentum in the next decade. 
And I have my own version of democracy: one without political parties--------which is what the FF wanted.  
Lindsay Wheeler Added Jan 3, 2019 - 11:41pm
A True Republic is NOT a democracy! Democracy is the worst form of government. A True Republic is Mixed government. 
Democracy is the Rule of the Vulgar class, the Banausos, the ones devoid of education and stature. 
There is no such thing as the "Greeks". The Spartans were Doric Greeks, The Doric Greeks of Crete and Sparta did NOT have democracy. 
When an inquisitor asked Lycurgus why he didn't start a democracy, he replied, "Begin, my friend, and set it up in your family first". 
FacePalm Added Jan 3, 2019 - 11:42pm
For me, an honest money system revolves around specie - that is, precious metal of specific weight and purity, like was defined in the 1792 Coinage Act.
You see, in order to truly "buy" something, you must give value for value.  Gold and silver coin represents not only the precious metal, but also the large amount of labor necessary to extract it, smelt it, purify it, and coin it.
With debt notes, you can only "discharge" debt, not "pay" it.  Perhaps this citation may help clear things up:
"There is a distinction between a 'debt discharged' and a debt 'paid'. When discharged, the debt still exists though divested of it's charter as a legal obligation; during the operation of the discharge, something of the original vitality of the debt continues to exist, which may be transferred, even though the transferee takes it subject to it's disability incident to the discharge."
-- Stanek vs. White, 172 Minn.390, 215 N.W. 784
Paper money is a receipt for what makes it good; it is a dollar BILL, that is, a Bill for a dollar.  Real dollars are defined as in the 1792 Coinage act, that is, an ounce of silver modified by certain specified alloys in order to increase it's longevity. 
Perhaps another citation may help a bit more:
“Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants – but debt is the money of slaves.”
Norm Franz, author of “Money & Wealth in the New Millennium: A Prophetic Guide to the New World Economic Order.”
The unincorporated private banks headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, certainly understand this principle, for any debts they have between themselves are paid with gold coin, usually French francs. 
And would you like to buy into the Federal Reserve system?  Better bring items of intrinsic value with you - gold, silver, oil, platinum, palladium, precious stones - because if you try to buy in with FRN's, they'll laugh at you, no matter how many you present.
With FRN's, as noted in the Stanek v. White decisions, you may only legally "discharge" debt - you can't PAY it.
This information can be paradigm-shattering; after all, once you grasp the situation, you'll realize that unless you received substance for your labor(say, a crock pot in exchange for mowing a lawn), you've never been truly "paid" your entire life - and if you never bartered for anything(or given gold or silver coin for it), you've never "bought" anything, either.
But Keynes certainly understood what he was doing:
"If, however, a government refrains from regulations(taxes, my note) and allows matters to take their course, essential commodities soon attain a level of price out of the reach of all but the rich, the worthlessness of the money becomes apparent, and the fraud upon the public can be concealed no longer."
-- John Maynard Keynes(1883-1946) British economist
Source: The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1920, page 240
Would you like to tell me what "fraud" Keynes is referring to, here?
But if you take the time to watch "The Money Masters," you'll gain a much greater understanding, for:
"The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith(1908- ) Canadian-born economist, Harvard professor
Source: Money: Whence it came, where it went - 1975, p15
This may be why the course you took on economics theory didn't clear up much.
Lindsay Wheeler Added Jan 3, 2019 - 11:44pm
In chapter six of your book, you write: "The signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, which has been regarded as the hallmark of western democracy, was not a straightforward process to build a better society."
My God, what education do you have??????? Please. The Magna Carta was NOT about democracy, you bloomin' idiot! The Magna Carta was about the Aristocracy. From the Magna Carta onward to Tudor England, England was a Republic, a True Republic!  With a House of Lords and the Commons.   Mixed Government, A True Republic. 
Democracy is Nihilism.
Jim Stoner Added Jan 4, 2019 - 12:29am
Wow, a Lindsay Wheeler sighting!  Happy 1219! 
Dave Volek Added Jan 4, 2019 - 11:11am
Face Palm
I shall put "The Money Masters" on my research list. You have intrigued me.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 4, 2019 - 11:15am
For any kind of reformation of the current morass, an economic AND financial overhaul are both imperative ... meaning an understanding of those systems and the way they work would be imperative. The mess we have started long before 2008. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 4, 2019 - 11:32am
You are not the first to disparage the use of "democracy". Unfortunately, it has become synonymous with various forms of government that use elections to select political leaders. For example, Canada is usually called a "democracy." Legally speaking, it is a "constitutional monarchy". Yet it behaves very much like a "republic."
The Greeks--Athenian, Spartan, Doric, whatever--built their systems of government around a large slave economy. While this may be interesting from a historical perspective, the Greeks have very little that is useful for us today----unless we want to go back to slaves.
The Magna Carta was the beginning of western democracy. Most historians regard it as a very important development for humanity. It might have been the inspiration for the English parliament 400 years later, but it did not lay out the structure for that parliament.
The main point of the original article can be summarized as:
Many Americans consider the 17th Amendment a big mistake. But since the 17th Amendment was created within the rules of the constitution and had ample popular support at the time, the constitution itself must be faulty.
Other readers to this thread got this point even if they did not agree with it.
Rather than discuss the point, you went an an ad hominem attack on my character and supposed lack of education. 
If you can't change your approach, I shall put you on my list of "WB contributors to ignore."
And if I am truly the fool you think I am, you have freedom to ignore me.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 4, 2019 - 12:25pm
Do you know the game "Chinese whispers"? It is what tiers and delegation do to a constitution.
Dave Volek Added Jan 4, 2019 - 12:45pm
No idea of what you are talking about. Please elucidate!
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 4, 2019 - 2:56pm
What people want on the bottom has a hard time to make it to the ears of the decision makers on the top, when there are too many councils in between that claim to represent the lower tiers.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 4, 2019 - 3:00pm
Perhaps a better way of explaining it would be the examples used by many corporate interests ... line fifty people up in a row. Write down a sentence for the first person in line and have him repeat it to the next person in line. By the time it comes out the other end, it has nothing to do with the sentence that started off. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 4, 2019 - 3:15pm
With very few words, you are bringing a new concept that is worthy of a lot of discussion.
If we analyze the senators before and after 1912, I would say neither were as responsive to the pubic as the public would have liked. However, the pre-1912 senators should have been responsive to the state legislature, not the public. That was how the senate was designed in 1791.
After 1912, supposedly the senators were more responsive to public consultation. But I would say most citizens are still not satisfied. There are several reasons for this, and maybe it might incite a new article.
FacePalm Added Jan 4, 2019 - 3:30pm
I shall put "The Money Masters" on my research list. You have intrigued me.
Your willingness to do so speaks well to your character.  If you go back to the post where i mentioned it, there's a link to the video up on youtube.
Another one you may wish to view is entitled "America: From Freedom to Facism," by Aaron Russo(now deceased).  He also refers to the bankster's influence/control over, but mostly America.  Best i recall, he doesn't much go into their influence over world events.
"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender" is a Proverb, and this explains why Meyer Amschel Bauer(Rothschild) would write, "Give me control over a nation's money supply, and i care not who makes it's laws."  One who controls the money supply controls the government, and through it, the People.
What surprised me when i began to research this issue is just how hip the Founders were to their schemes, for example James Madison, given the title by historians of "Father of the Constitution," wrote:
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
(not bad, from memory, eh?)  Note that he didn't write "obtain," but "maintain," too.
But men cannot be free while forced to avail themselves of the compelled "benefit" of using debt-notes to acquire goods or services; their very use of them keeps them enslaved, and ignorant of their status AS slaves, they and their children, forever, or as long as the "debt and death" paradigm obtains.
Lindsay Wheeler Added Jan 4, 2019 - 4:16pm
The Magna Carta was created BY THE  Aristocracy!  The Magna Carta was demanded by the Aristocracy of England---not by the hoi polloi.
The product of the Magna Carta was the Commonwealth of England. Cicero in his bood De republica says that a Democracy can NOT be commonwealth!
Democracy does NOT rest on the Rule of Law---but on the General Will!  Rousseau said that and Aristotle said that!
"Democracy is the road to socialism." Karl Marx

"Democracy is indispensable to socialism." Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"Modern Socialism is inseperable from political democracy." Elements of Socialism, (1912) pg 337.
"The view that democracy and Socialism are inwardly related spread far and wide in the decades which preceded the Bolshevist revolution. Many came to believe that democracy and Socialism meant the same thing, and that democracy without Socialism or Socialism without democracy would not be possible." Socialism, Ludwig von Mises, pg 67.

"The Western democracy of today is the forerunner of Marxism which without it would not be thinkable." Adolf Hitler as a young man watching the Social Democracy marches in Vienna. (Mein Kampf, pg 78. Manheim translation, Mariner paperback)
Democracy is Socialism!
Dave Volek Added Jan 4, 2019 - 4:46pm
Face Palm
Well, I've started the video. At 3.5 hours, it will take some time to work through. While it is a bit dated and seems to warrant a tin-foil wearing conspiracy, I'm intrigued. I was surprised that USA's central bank is privately owned.
Since you seem knowledgeable on this topic, would you know if Canada's central bank is also privately owned? 
Thomas Napers Added Jan 5, 2019 - 4:01am
It doesn’t matter if Senators are voted by popular vote or selected by state legislators.  Either way, the Federal Government can enact programs and provide cash to pay for those programs.  If a state doesn’t follow the program, it doesn’t get the cash. 
I agree with your criticism of tying cash to Federal programs.  It does erode state rights and it is a blunder of the Constitution.  Where we disagree is that you think the 17th Amendment caused the blunder and I don’t think the 17th Amendment has anything to do with the blunder. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 5, 2019 - 9:55am
My sense of American history is that the national programs into jurisdictions of the state were created after the 17th Amendment. I think the 17th Amendment made the intrusion politically easier, the intrusion may still have happened without the amendment. 
We have a similar situation in Canada. Federal and provincial powers were formally and legally spelled out in 1867 with the British North America Act, which ironically gave no rights to municipalities. This arrangement continues today. But there is considerable conflict between the feds and provinces as the country has changed a lot since 1867, and neither side wants to give up any control (regardless of the political parties in power). Somehow they bandage up those conflicts so things get done in the short term. And the federal government often creates national programs in jurisdictional arenas of the provinces in the same way as the US. 
To my thinking, a federal system is not the best. National/provincial/municipality areas of authority and responsibility should adjust with the times and work for the best interests of the citizens. The key is for the national governments willingly  let go of responsibilities that could be done better at the lower levels.
monorprise Added Jan 5, 2019 - 3:27pm

Prior to 1912, the constitution did not produce the quality of senators to assure the public of a credible system of governance. Had the public viewed senators with trust and respect, the 17th amendment would not have happened.

That in itself is debatable, even today senators buy their seats and are often just as lazy and corrupt.
This behavior is more a result of their unaccountably with 6 year terms than how they are selected.
Before 1912 however they did a far better job of protecting the division of power in the Federal system which was their primary propose.

The constitution allowed an amendment that was contrary to the original structure of the American government; i.e. the senators being chosen by a different yet credible electoral process than by popular vote.

The Constitution didn't allow anything it was overthrown by the Government bound by it who as they continue to do to day simply chose to reinterpret its restriction as to render them moot.
Article 5 of the U.S. Federal Constitution contains 2 exceptions to the Amendment power:
"provided that no amendment"
1: "made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article;"
2: "that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."
Requirement #2 clearly requires unanimous consent to take from the state its equal suffrage in the Senate.
State governments no longer have suffrage in the senate their people have been given direct control of the senators.  That 17th amendment was not ratified by all 50 state legislators.

State rights were eventually usurped to a significant degree, which can be attributed, to a large part, to senators changing their focus.

This is true which is why the 17th amendment was such a disaster for the overall constitutional system.  Gaining the power to vote for senator cost us the power to vote with our feet as individuals.

Despite more than a century since 17th amendment had passed, the mistake cannot be fixed.

It would be politically difficult mostly because our people have not even basic civic knowledge thanks to our perhaps deliberately failing public schools.  Its up to us who  understand the checks and balances of the system to remind them.  
That said one of the consequences of the loss of our state's representation in the senate has been the increasingly lawless Federal 'court' systems arbitrary law making on a case by case basis.  This is a far more immediate threat to our liberty than the institutional change which help enable it.

The two political parties do not want the senators to be more independent of the party and thus will not champion this cause.
Despite a strong political pressure to go back to the original intent of the constitution, it is difficult for any non-partisan movement to force a repeal or replacement of the 17th

Both of theses are true statements of our failing educational system that has left our population with little to no civic knowledge.
edinmountainview Added Jan 5, 2019 - 6:07pm
Very interesting article and comments following.  Perhaps we will see the Senate (and the rest of the government) cleaned up soon and forced to work.  After President Trump was elected, a lot of the seated Senators chose to not seek reelection.  
Semper Fi
Ward Tipton Added Jan 5, 2019 - 6:22pm
It is a happy thought, but reminds me of an old joke. "I'd knock the shit out of him, but what could anyone do with the pair of shitty shoes that would be all that was left!?" 
If the swamp was ever really drained, would there be enough left to rebuild? Would we be subject to outside influence when we were busy rebuilding internally? I doubt anyone would be foolish enough to invade if even the Japanese were dissuaded ... and others who believe, contrary to the teaching of Patton, that the object really is to die for your country ... but these days, you just never can tell. 
FacePalm Added Jan 5, 2019 - 11:23pm
Good on you for starting The Money Masters. 
i have a quote collection(as should be obvious by now), and i'd often pause the movie and painstakingly transcribe citations i didn't previously have, as when arguing these points, i like to be able to support them so that it at least appears that i'm not insane, or that if i AM, that there were ancestors who were equally so.
As to who owns Canadian banking, my focus at the time was not on our northern neighbors, so i didn't do too much investigation until at your instigation; turns our that the Bank of Canada is indeed foreign-owned or controlled, especially by the Rothschild dynasty; you may or may not be aware of Nathan Rothschilds influence upon the UK, but the following citation should give you a clue-by-four:
"I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire, ... The man that controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire.  And I control the money supply.''
-- Baron Nathan Mayer Rothschild(1777-1836) London financier, one of the founders of the international Rothschild banking dynasty
If you've been unaware of his machinations in re: Wellington v. Napoleon, you're likely to soon find out.
In addition, i found this (websearch of "canadian banks foreign owned"):
List of Rothschild owned-or-controlled banks
and this:
History of the Bank of Canada
...this one doesn't go in to the banking industry's overarching aims or methods, but it does have a pictorial of former heads of that bank, and a bunch of more disreputable-looking crooks i haven't seen outside a mug book.  One should always keep in mind that knowledgeable bankers are well aware they're perpetrating a fraud upon their customers, ergo the reason to cultivate an air of respectability and trustworthiness.  Earlier in the thread, i posted a citation from one of your fellow Canadians to the point about losing control of the issuance of credit notes...which is almost word-for-word what the father of the banking dynasty wrote.
One more item: eventually, you're likely to discover that much like Vatican CIty, the City of London - the "financial district," as it were - is essentially it's own country with it's own laws, border guards, and etc.  Their power extends to the corners of the earth, as does the power of the Vatican.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 6, 2019 - 2:16am
If I remember correctly, the only central banking efforts that do not belong to the banksters are ... surprised? Also part of the "Axis of Evil" ... though the Russians and Chinese are making inroads with BRICS ... Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 6, 2019 - 11:49am
I find the 17th amendment a wrong turn for America, but for different reasons than most people here. I believe tiered, indirect elections are the best way to select our leaders. The founding fathers were really on to something important, yet that aspect of their thinking has been put aside. With the Sentate and the President being more or less elected by popular vote, the USA has indeed became more of a "democracy" than a "republic" (if we are to use the pure definitions of these two terms.)
The movers and shakers prior to 1912 should have sought to repair the problem with a different version of indirect elections rather than its replacement. 
I'm from Canada and my son has been taking a fair amount of civics as part of his history classes. Hopefully something is absorbed, but he is one of those kids who will have reading, writing, and rithmatic forced into him. Unfortunately whatever civics American children get seem to cast the founding fathers are near gods and the constitution as infalliable. I encounter a lot of Americans who think this way. 
As I say to many political thinkers on the internet:
1) There is no political messiah out there to save us. 
2) We cannot expect reform until we get rid of the political parties. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 6, 2019 - 11:53am
I got through about 1 hour of the documentary. Should finish the rest by the end of the week. I am already formulating a new WB article around it. 
I kind of gathered you had gathered quotes and stored them somewhere. In other words, you weren't doing original research just for me. But good on you for thinking ahead. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 6, 2019 - 12:13pm
Just read your links. In the BofC webpage, they say:
Soon after the Bank opened, a new government introduced an amendment to the Bank of Canada Act to nationalize the institution. In 1938, the Bank became publicly owned and remains so today.
Yet the other link says the Bank of Canada is owned or managed by the Rothchilds.
Anyways, I now understand where I had acquired the "fact" that central banks are publicly owned. Whether or not the Canadian Central Bank  is indeed an arm of the federal government is a bit of a moot point of the American and English central banks are not.
I went to the Wikipedia article for "Federal Reserve". The article implied that it is both private and public, but really didn't nail the structure down. It did say that the FR puts back a significant amount of its profits into the US Treasury, but it's not hard to conjecture sinister motivations if there is a strong private component. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 6, 2019 - 6:23pm

Monoprise (1/5/3:27pm) my opinion is that the 17th Amendment did not improve the quality of senators so it only ended Federalism by eliminating the check and balance of the next lower level of government. <<Prior to 1912, the constitution did not produce the quality of senators to assure the public of a credible system of governance. Had the public viewed senators with trust and respect, the 17th amendment would not have happened.>>   The end of federalism as resulted in an explosion of the national government so that it is in every aspect of local laws.  The commerce clause and the 14th amendment have be so abused that the founders would not recognize the USA.  

FacePalm Added Jan 6, 2019 - 11:07pm
i know you already have a great deal on your plate insofar as your research, but "The Creature From Jekyll Island"(a Second Look at the Federal Reserve) by G. Edward Griffin is another invaluable history lesson.
In 1911, there was a very secret meeting at an island off the coast of Georgia, where roughly 1/3 of the wealth of the entire planet was represented.  There, the idea for a new Central Bank for America was devised and shortly afterward, made into reality, in Dec. of 1913, at the behest of a Nelson Aldrich, a tool of the banksters, after most Congressmen had gone home for their Christmas break.  The "Federal Reserve" is neither federal nor has it any reserves, and is precisely as federal as federal express.  i'd like to share another citation with you which indicates how they got their money:
These statements were made during hearings of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, September 30, 1941. Members of the Federal Reserve Board call themselves "Governors." Governor Marriner Eccles was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board at the time of these hearings:

Congressman Patman: "How did you get the money to buy those two billion dollars worth of Government securities in 1933?"
Governor Eccles: "Out of the right to issue credit money."
Patman: "And there is nothing behind it, is there, except our Government's credit?"
Eccles: "That is what our money system is. If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn't be any money."
Congressman Fletcher: "Chairman Eccles, when do you think there is a possibility of returning to a free and open market, instead of this pegged and artificially controlled financial market we now have?"
Governor Eccles: "Never, not in your lifetime or mine."
-- Marriner Stoddard Eccles(1890-1977) US banker, economist, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve (1934-48)
Source: during hearings of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, September 30, 1941
This is support for the Frederick Soddy citation supplied earlier; another interesting character to investigate would be Congressman Louis McFadden, who had quite a few incisive and instructional things to say about the federal reserve system; he was poisoned after at least 2 assassination-by-bullet attempts failed.
"Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are US government institutions.  They are not... they are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the US for the benefit of themselves and their foreign and domestic swindlers, and rich and predatory money lenders.  The sack of the United States by the Fed is the greatest crime in history.  Every effort has been made by the Fed to conceal its powers, but the truth is the Fed has usurped the government.  It controls everything here and it controls all our foreign relations.  It makes and breaks governments at will."
-- Louis McFadden(1876-1936) US Congressman (R-PA) (1915-1935), Chairman of House Banking and Currency Committee. Poisoned in 1936.
Source: June 10, 1932
Dave Volek Added Jan 7, 2019 - 8:47pm
I have finished the documentary. Expect a WB article soon, mostly positive about the documentary.
FacePalm Added Jan 7, 2019 - 10:53pm
Nice job to finish The Money Masters.  As always, though, i'd recommend not trusting a single source, but to verify the info from other, unrelated places.  Lots of disinfo agents around.
Earlier, you wrote this:
In 1938, the Bank became publicly owned and remains so today.
Then you went on to reiterate the other website's info that the Rothschilds own or control it.
But the typical MO of these international banksters is to lend virtually unlimited amounts to various countries, then bankrupt the country in question when they cannot repay, then become the "receivers in due course of the bankruptcy(ies)," then dictate how those governments will tax their people(and other things).  That's how the banksters "get the whole world in their debt...by a trick." 
So this is how the one site can quite truthfully say that the Bank of Canada is "publicly owned," but if the public itself is owned(and debtors) they are parties to the bankruptcy, whether aware of it or not.  It's the same in America...and every other industrialized country on earth.  "The hand that gives is above the hand that takes."
Here is a link in re: the other owner(s) of Canada's bank.  By now, you may recall the movie mentioning the Bank of International Settlements, HQ of the unincorporated commercial banks in Basel, Switzerland, yet affiliated with the Rothschild cartel.
Dave Volek Added Jan 8, 2019 - 11:38am
Thank you for that link. As an Albertan reasonably familiar with my province's history, I was aware that the rise of the Social Credit party was popular with its "funny money" theories. I was not aware of how deeply rooted were the motives of the Social Credit economic policies. Historians tend to dismiss the early Social Crediters as "whacky economists". And eventually Social Credit bought into the system, and abandoned their original theories that got them elected in the 1930s. 
One thing that really got me with the documentary was how much more the politicians and the public were knowledgeable of this issue than we are today. It was a hot political topic.
A few years back, I tried to explain the factoring of the money supply to a well educated colleague--and he would not believe me! 
I've got my WB article about half written up. My toddler son is thwarting my plans to finish.
FacePalm Added Jan 12, 2019 - 1:18pm
A man's gotta have priorities - and sons don't come around often, and neither do the days of childhood last long(except to the toddler).
i'm certainly in no rush at all.
But yes, i've often run across people whose cognitive dissonance makes them literally ANGRY if you dare tell them a truth they're not prepared to hear.
There is a Proverb that reads: "Reprove a wise man, and he will love you; a fool will only hate you for the wisdom of your words."
When reflecting upon this passage, it occurred to me that when attempting to reach through long-held beliefs, it may be an effective strategy to first, compliment your hearer on his sagacity, his wisdom, his insight, his understanding, his ability to perceive things hidden from most(and other forms of buttering-up, as long as they're at least partially sincere).  THEN, give 'em the straight info.

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