Category Archives: Thomas Paine

Remembering the Evils of a Ruling Class

WHERE  HAS  COMMON  SENSE  GONE?

(Remembering the Evils of a Ruling Class)

No. 7

Thomas Paine – July  2009.

We hear a lot these days about the way the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights is being abused. We hear somewhat less about the Declaration of Independence. Have any of us stopped long enough lately to reconsider what these documents were all about and what the circumstances were which led to their development? Do we clearly remember what purpose they were intended to serve? The following may get a little wordy, but I ask you to stay with me for a brief history lesson which will provide some background not normally referenced by historians.

Historians have long plumbed questions related to the genealogy of these important documents and events leading up to their development. They have developed much good information and insight which is unfortunately now little disseminated. The poor excuse for history textbooks furnished to students today would have one believe the American Revolution started coincidentally with the Boston Tea Party and the events at Lexington and Concord Bridge. My understanding is the revolution was actually the culmination of a very long series of events, many of which have become obscure over the centuries. I am no historian, but I will discuss my thoughts about some of the lessons of history and their parallels with the present.

The year 1676 was the year my seven-time great grandfather (an Englishman living in the English Colonies of America) was hung by the English Governor of Virginia Colony. He was guilty of strongly expressing his objections to the way the King’s business was being conducted in Virginia.

He had arrived in America some years earlier, to escape the wrath of Cromwell, after coming down on the wrong side during the recent English Civil War. Seems as though past loyalty and support for the Stuart Monarchs was of no consideration once the Stuarts had wrestled the throne back away from Cromwell who was “protecting” the land. The fact my relative had substantial land holdings and conducted thriving tobacco growing operations, which could be redistributed to those who more readily acquiesced to all of the King’s caprices, apparently did not help his case any.

By now you are wondering what is the point in discussing this long forgotten event? The point is this. This was not a singular event but one of many thrust upon English Citizens by a corrupt and self-indulgent ruling class. It is merely one example of how life, liberty and property can be stripped away at will by corrupt individuals coveting power.

But the king was not all powerful you are probably thinking……why as far back as the year 1215, the year of the Magna Carta, the English Monarch had ceded some of his absolute power and authority to others. True, on the surface, but these others were the

Barons, the select few, who would continue their unholy alliance with the king in order to

maintain and enhance their own power base. They certainly did not believe in the trickle-down theory as relates to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when it came to common citizens. (But the Magna Carta did set an important precedent that would later guide future generations.)

Having power and control over the people was what mattered to them because of the way such power enriched their own lives. Life of others had little value to those in power and they behaved accordingly. Maintaining power was their all consuming objective. A partial outline of English ruling royalty makes interesting reading:

House of:        Lancaster         (1399 …………)

York

Lancaster

York

Tudor

Stuart

Commonwealth ( under Cromwell and son for 6 years)

Stuart              (…………1714)

What can we observe from this? Over a period of 300+ years the monarchy changed hands seven times but only four royal families were represented (really three if one does not consider the momentary interlude of the Tudors). Ultimate power shifted periodically but it was only briefly allowed to elude the control of a tiny group of aristocratic individuals. They destroyed one another as they saw fit, and also many thousands of citizens along the way, to enforce their personal claim of God given rights.

By 1776 the repressive behavior of the English Monarch, against his own English citizens in the American Colonies, could be tolerated no longer. The Declaration of Independence made it clear to all that free men also have rights, given by God. Rights that no monarch or other power, other than God, has the right to usurp. Independence was declared and ultimately achieved after a lengthy struggle. Then followed a constitution for the United States of America along with its’ Bill of Rights, carefully spelling out and limiting the power of a federal government, while granting the citizens and the several states the remaining authority to govern themselves.

How did all of this work out? Pretty well, that is until the Federal Government started to intrude deeper and deeper into the daily lives of citizens, and the citizens did very little to object. Sadly, soon after followed state and local governments once these professional

politicians observed the general population did not strongly object to having their individual rights compromised. The classic slippery slope! How quickly the lessons of history are forgotten.

Flash back to the revolution of 1776. A very significant percentage of the American population wanted to stay under the full control of a repressive governing aristocracy, professing a blind loyalty to the King while feeling insecure with respect to the duties and obligations that come with self-government. Is that where we are today as a country?

Are we willing to continue letting a political ruling class tell us how to think and how to act on every important issue? Do we have so little confidence in ourselves as to believe it is better to leave our liberty and prosperity in the hands of arrogant, self-centered, power hungry politicians, rather than regain self-determination for ourselves? Do we really believe this political ruling class will act in the best interest of the citizens while setting aside their own self-interests?

WHERE HAS COMMON SENSE GONE ?

Today the citizens are being controlled daily by a small group of professional politicians who have virtually stripped the citizens of their individual rights.

Our founding fathers clearly saw the dangers inherent in an all powerful governing class, so they carefully planned for a government controlled by the citizens. Our founding fathers believed that a few good men, of differing backgrounds, elected from time to time from the general citizenry would provide the representative government most in tune with the needs and wishes of the citizens. Our founding fathers understood the danger of a ruling class and they never dreamed the people would be complacent enough allow the government to be taken over by a ruling class of professional politicians. Politicians who once in power would not relinquish that power by choice, and by chance only to another professional politician, who would then covet the power as long as possible until, once again, a professional politician took it away.

Today, our elected politicians have become self-perpetuating at all levels. This was never the intent of our founding fathers and it has been at the expense of the citizens. The same citizens who have been very nearly excluded from the specific benefits government was established to provide. Once again the citizens of this good country have reached a point of departure. They can no longer abide by the destruction taking place to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by our political ruling class.

The time for citizens to act is now! It is long since past time to call to account the ruling class of professional politicians and replace them all with citizens who are more interested in their own country than in their own power.

Do not be misled…….The issue is miscast when it is presented as capitalism against socialism or conservatives against liberals. These are critical and important concepts, for sure, but they are only manifestations of the real problem which is a self-perpetuating ruling class of professional politicians. Some excesses of capitalism are bad but eventually rectified, while the excesses of socialism are self-supporting, self-perpetuating, and not at all self-correcting. Socialism is the tool being utilized, both wittingly and unwittingly, by the political ruling class to gain, maintain and enhance their power over the citizens. Very likely this tool will have its desired effect so long as the general population cannot see a way forward to change the status-quo of a professional political ruling class.

No, the issue at hand is how to deal with those elected officials, of any persuasion, who do not respect the concepts and safeguards for which our founding fathers so diligently fought. Please reread C.S. No. 6 and start to apply some common sense about how to deal with our problem politicians.

T.P.  (2009)

The Irrefutable Case for Term Limits

WHERE  HAS  COMMON  SENSE  GONE?

(The Irrefutable Case for Term Limits)

No. 8

Thomas Paine – February  2010

The reader is encouraged to review C.S. No. 6 and C.S. No 7 before venturing into this current document.

The debate over whether or not political term limits are needed has ranged far and wide. Nearly an equal number of arguments both favoring and opposing term limits has been advanced. Strangely enough, intellectuals of a progressive nature clamoring for all nature of change have been uniformly opposed to the introduction of term limits for the rank and file of our elected officials. They obviously do not see term limits for politicians as constructive change. Conservatives ( non-intellectuals ), on the other hand, have mainly expressed the belief that generalized term limits will never be allowed, so why waste time and energy pursuing a concept which can never gain traction. This conservative opinion is clearly more notion than fact. There are isolated examples of term limits applied to elected officials, primarily at state level. What is lacking is a structured program imposing term limits across the entire political spectrum.

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Governance by Deceit

WHERE  HAS  COMMON  SENSE  GONE?

( Governance by Deceit)

No. 9

Thomas Paine – April  2010

Disclaimer……

All too often, it is the fine print at the bottom of a document that advises the reader of possible errors or omissions in the body of the document that has already been read.  I believe it is best to point out, in advance, which content is knowledge ( supported  by facts ) and which content is notion ( driven by emotion ). I am stating up front that the following contains a significant measure of notion. Such must be so since it attempts to predict the future. Even though this approach differs from my normal approach to subject matter, I believe the point to be discussed is so important it merits an early warning, i.e., warning before the fact, therefore notion.

We, as a nation, have just recently witnessed what has been probably the most inenarrable action by our elected representatives that we are ever likely to see in our lifetime. The merits or demerits of health care reform will certainly be debated well into the future. At this juncture, my wish is not to debate what has already happened, but to sound a clear warning with respect to the lessons that have been learned, by the members of Congress.  Inept leadership has injected them into a show that cannot be rivaled even by Barnum and Bailey. They have learned a lesson with respect to avoiding accountability for their future actions. This is not to say the Congress will behave in a manner more attuned to the interest of the general population. They will instead be much more devious in their approach to contentious issues.  This then requires the average citizen to be more observant of the facts linked to future important issues. Common Sense is all that is required to distill fact from fiction, provided one observes closely the actions of elected and appointed officials impinging on that issue.

What might be the next looming issue Congress decides to address? There are several likely candidate issues, and I will limit this present discussion to one in which I have some background experience.  My instinct tells me the recent announcement of opening up to oil drilling previously closed areas is not the panacea it is purported to be. Why would I say this? Am I becoming cynical and mistrustful of government? Quite possibly the answer is a qualified yes!

Let’s take a few minutes to try and distill some facts from what appears to be complex mix of information and misinformation.

Facts……..

The president has announced offshore areas previously closed to drilling would be opened to exploration.

In order to accomplish this, congress would have to pass a law permitting go ahead, negating the previous ban.

Questions ……..

Why would the president really risk alienating the environmentalist groups which have been among his most staunch supporters?

How were the areas being proposed for opening selected? Can anyone explain the process of selection and who participated?

Why has Energy Secretary Chu been curiously silent on a subject which has been one of his salient areas of comment previously? What about the EPA “cabinet rank” appointee Jackson? Certainly he was in favor of the recent “Carbon dioxide is harmful to your health….” pronouncement from his department. Lest we forget the EPA has stated as one of its prime objectives: “WORKING  FOR ENVIRONMENTAL  JUSTICE”  Whatever that is, since they have yet to define it ! Then there is the Bureau of Land and Minerals Management that has Wilma Lewis ( an outspoken environmentalist) as Assistant Secretary. Don’t forget, the Department of the Interior, under Ken Salizar, holds ultimate dominion over Federal Government lands. His Director of the Minerals Management Service, Elizabeth Bimbaum is not a friend of energy producers. Salizar himself is a graduate in Political Science followed by a law degree. While he practiced law he focused on environmental law. He strongly opposed opening up shale deposits on federal lands to exploration when it was proposed by Bush. Salazar inserted language into an omnibus bill barring the Federal Government from issuing rules providing for potential oil shale production. That law expired in 2008 but Salizar vigorously fought to have it reinstated.

Is it possible the most radical environmentalists, supported by these government officials, will let increased offshore drilling go down without requiring lengthy public hearings followed by literally years of court actions aimed at stopping any effective progress?

Should we believe the present administration in Washington is actually in favor of increased drilling to help support the national debt burden?

WHERE HAS COMMON SENSE GONE !

Notions ……..

If one can believe the accuracy with which the news media has displayed stylized maps purporting to show where the drilling ban could be lifted and if my memory has not failed with advancing years, then the candidate areas being proposed ARE NOT the areas the oil companies believe will contain producible amounts of oil and gas.  The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) covers an expanse of 78,000 square kilometers. Of this 78,000 sq.km. 32,000 have been designated permanent wilderness area. 6,100 sq.km. were previously designated as an area of interest due to possible natural resource value.  This 6,100 sq.km. lies on the western side of ANWR adjacent to Alaska state lands already under oil exploration and production. It is very probable the oil companies are interested  in only some 30 to 50 sq. km. which are geologically similar to the Alaska State lands now producing. While the area shown on news media maps contains very significant amounts of territory, it does not even come close to the area of interest to the oil companies. The same can be said about the indicated territory shown on the Atlantic coast and offshore western Florida. In all fairness it should be said that offshore western Florida was previously thought to contain an amount of natural gas that could hold some interest to the oil companies. With the recent discovery of new and proved reserves of natural gas in shale beds underlying a very significant part of the continental United States, it is unlikely ANY area offshore Florida will generate much drilling interest in the foreseeable future.

Will the words of the oil companies be spun to the advantage of the present administration if the companies state “ We are not much interested in the areas being proposed.”

Then why bother to initiate this discussion at all unless the present administration has more to gain than to lose? How can this be? Once again Congress will do the administration’s dirty work. They will surely propose a bill to allow prospective exploration in the areas of reference, and they will make certain this same bill contains very stringent environmental restrictions, presently known as cap and trade, that have absolutely nothing to do with offshore drilling. “Cap and Trade” will be phased out and these onerous restrictions (read taxes) will be couched in other terminology to obscure its true intent. After having had global warming cum climate change initiatives exposed as composed of many falsehoods, it will be necessary to substantially alter the approach being used while still imposing emission restrictions and increased and even illogical energy taxes on everyone.

The bill will seem to promote one step towards energy independence for the United States, or if not independence then at least a meaningful reduction in imported energy with an attending lessening of the foreign trade deficit. At current oil prices, estimates are more than $29 billion dollars per year in foreign deficit could be eliminated once full production is reached in ANWR alone. While $29 billion may be an insignificant amount to a congress that has started to deal regularly in trillions, it is still a very large number to most of us.

How can anyone in congress vote against a measure supportive of what has been sought so long? Even if trouble in passage arises from those representatives interested enough to read and understand the negative content of the bill, we should all remember that precedent has already been established to utilize the reconciliation maneuver on all matters of interest not just budgetary matters as was the case previously. This will allow congress to insert any additional restrictive or punitive language they wish without open discussion or super majority vote. It is safe to say that a lesson has been learned by congress and that lesson is how to get anything they want through duplicity and rule bending. The Internal Revenue Service is being expanded in order to significantly enhance its enforcement role. Do not be mislead into believing this new enforcement capability will operate through the justice and court system or that it will be limited to issues established by the health care reform act. You have only seen chapter one of a new approach to forced governance by deceit.

So much for the facts, questions and notions, now we must decide as a nation of individuals what to do about a government that operates by deceit as standard procedure. I believe the answer is simple and direct. We need to replace that government and all of its minions in the most expeditious and lawful manner possible.

T.P = 2010