Patriots Writing

Patriots Writing

Web Log Purpose

A web log based on the principle that a civilized society deserves democratic government based on integrity. The premise here is the U.S. democracy has effectively been subverted by oligarchical forces which must be opposed with facts and rational thought. (An RSS feed is recommended.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Political Leaders Who Mangle Both Language and Our Sense of Reality

...the more we engage with the Russia story, the less we engage with our lived reality of destruction of democracy in this country.

                                                                               -- Masha Gessen


Certain leaders of the past and present have been adept at using language in an incredibly destructive way.  If knowledge is power, surely the interview conducted at the following link is important.



Our Military Leader Mangles Both Language and Our Sense of Reality 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Is Trump Becoming Irrelevant?


I f so, this would be good news indeed.  But, as Reich admits, he is still dangerous.  More by clicking on the link below.  


(Rapid Reference --)

The Growing Irrelevance of Trump -- Robert Reich

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Why Democrats Are Headed Toward Anemic Results

Many of the e-mails I get are from Democrats expressing various degrees of worry, anguish, and, even desperation.  This is understandable, as the Democratic Party for various reasons is not getting a fair shake in the political game.

Let it be said here, if anywhere:  The Republican Party is now essentially a fascist party.  It has been trending that way for years, but with Our Military Leader (OML) as their winning nominee in the White House, there can really be no doubt.  It is not the fascism of the ovens or the goose-steppers, but it is a form of fascism, i.e., the marriage of government and the profit system through unjust means and unlawful procedures.  (The suppression of African-American votes is illegal.)

The fact that the Democratic Party is unable to say this means their strategy is wrong-headed.  For a strategy based on a serious mis-characterization of the "enemy" is bound to fail.  Thus, the Democratic approach is both mis-directed, and too mild.  Anti-fascism, apart from some unsavory tactics, is now the only wide-spread movement which at least has the characterization of the overall Republic Party right.  And anyone who doubts that overall characterization as need only look at the new Senate nominee coming from the Alabama Republican Party.


http://www.diandsaulbooks.co.uk/the-economy-and-class-structure-of-german-fascism-by-alfred-sohn-rethel-1440-p.asp
http://www.diandsaulbooks.co.uk/the-economy-and-class-structure-of-german-fascism-by-alfred-sohn-rethel-1440-p.asp

Friday, September 22, 2017

In Defense of Anti-Fascism

Rapid Reference:

Anti-fascism should in no way be equated with white supremacy.  Certain politicians are making this connection.  They are wrong. 

In Defense of Anti-Fascism

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How a Citizen Dealt with Criticisms of His Country's Constitution

You may remember from history class the ties of the African nation of Liberia to the United States.  Below is the text of a talk given by a twentieth century citizen of Liberia who was responding to criticisms of his nation's constitution which was largely modeled on the U.S. Constitution.  I find the talk to be pithy and pertinent today.

For there are many who are denegrating our U.S. Constitution for various reasons, some with validity, others without validity.  Before we advocate for the abolition of this or that Constitution or portion of a Constitution, let us be thoughtful and aware of as many ramifications of change as possible.  This talk leads the way.  


****************************


(uncorrected transcript.  Will correct for typos soon. -- PE)



A STATEMENT ON THE LIBERIAN CONSTITUTION
By Tarty Teh
AT THE LIBERIAN CONFERENCE ON PEACE AND DEMOCRACY HELD AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
JULY 13, 1996
WASHINGTON, D. C.
ONE NATION, ONE CONSTITUTION
Being heard is something that people from my neck of the wood value a great deal: because it happens to us so rarely. I have screamed and shouted for a chance to be heard. Even so, I am greatful for the opportunity to be here.

Many hundreds of thousands of Liberians have lost their lives for lesser offenses than what I am permitted to commit here today - speaking my mind freely. Many of the dead were lesser known: still few risked their lives to be heard, and were heard. Dr. Patrick Sayon spoke his mind. He was attacked physically; but he survived. I don't remember anything I agreed with Dr. Sayon about, which is all the more reason I remember him. I remember his passion to be a part of the debate.

The need for a constitution is so organic to the definition of nationhood it ought not to be propped up by further justification, let alone a defense. That was my initial claim, but it has become obvious that enough mischief exists which would doom the constitution if it is not defended. So the next question is; Who is qualified to defend the Constitution? The answer to this question is based still on my initial claim; the need for a constitution is unassailable. That being the case, what one needs is not a bedrock of specialized knowledge in constitutional law, but goodwill, to defend the constitution. My sole and relevant credential is the latter.

Let me say first of all that most of those who are questioning the relevance of the constitution are not doing so from lack of knowledge. No. They are doing so because they count on the perceived stupidity of the majority.

When I first decided that I would accept the assignment for defending the constitution, I thought about all the glory attendant to standing before Liberian scholars and making a speech about something as important as the constitution. Then of course to make sense I thought about drawing inspiration from constitutional scholars by quoting from their work. That would make my own work more scolarly, and who knows, I might get some honorable mention in some quarters about having done something good or maybe great for my country.

Then I realized that, that way lies trouble. Common sense had stood me in good stead all along. I was about to abandon it in vain glorious pursuit of scholarship. I therefore returned to my first premise: The constitution can be defended by anyone with good will.

I also thought about something else. I once defended myself in a auto accident case before a judge in a small claims court. I was up against an insurance company lawyer through whose argument the judge had dismissed more than half of what I thought were good pieces of evidence. Midway in the trial I grew visibly angry and talked about extraneous things like th absence of honesty in the insurance business which has added to the cost of insurance, and that I could have claimed that I was or my wife had been hurt in the crash but hadn't: only asking for the repair of the door of my car and blah blah blah.

All the while the lawyer was shouting "Objection! Objection!" but the judge let me rant and rave. When I was finished the lawyer showed the judge a letter in which I had mislabeled the two intersecting streets at the scene of the accident as proof that her client could not be at fault if I did not even know from which direction he had come.
The only trouble was that the judge had earlier disqualified that piece of evidence at the lawyer's request. So now I asked the judge "Is that the same piece of paper that she would not allow to be introduced as evidence?" To that the judge instructed me. "Mr. Teh, just shouted "Objection!" and you will see what I'll do." And so I objected, and the judge sternly warned the attorney that if she did not behave properly she would be fined.
Needless to say I won, but how? It was through innocence. I did not sound like a lawyer, but I made an honest case. That is the same issue we have here. As I said earlier, I have resisted the temptation to try to turn this into a scholarly dissertation; but I will endeavor to define the constitution from my layman understanding of it. I believe a constitution is a prescription for making laws to safeguard the rights of the citizens. I used the word "prescription" but the constitution also proscribes, that it is lists what should not be done.

That is why a constitution is typically no bigger than a schoolchild's note book. I believe also that those who wrote the constitution counted on our commonsense and principled dedication to understand it. We are only talking about the constitution, not the laws spawned in its name. For that, you need lawyers for sure. That is way beyond commonsense territory. Ask any lawyer.

I am standing here because enough confusion has been injected into the issue of the constitution. This has led to questions like these: Which constitution are we talking about: The 1847 constitution or the 1986 constitution? These questions pretend to speak about the constitution, but they clearly underscore an attitude - a bad attitude. If you want attitude, you will get one.

Now, let's examine each constitution briefly. In the preamble of the 1847 constitution is the phrase "We the people of the Republic of Liberia were formerly citizens of the United States of North America..." As if to underscore the constitution's exclusion of local tribes from its protection, the "democratic" government of Liberia under that constitution sold tribesmen to Fernando Po to earn extra cash for the government. This is not an allegation. Liberia was convicted by the League of Nations for selling its citizens.

Well, some people have argued - and rightly so, I might add - that we should not blame the constitution for what some citizens did, and that those who testified in the League of Nations trial, which forced the resignation of President King and VP Yancy and threatened Liberia with trusteeship, were indeed Liberian citizens very much opposed to their own government's action.

So let us accept that argument for now and visit the 1986 constitution to see the reasons advanced for disqualifying it. Among others, those who were entrusted with upholding its provisions either acted against those provisions or did noting to prevent their violation. That's one of the principal arguments. The only difference I see here is that these latter breaches are deemed egregious enough to consume the 1986 constitution whereas selling thousands of fellow Africans abroad at a discount on a single invoice is considered not bad enough to warrent hte issuance of a new, all-inclusive constitution; namely, the 1986 constitution.
I have noted already that there was s
omething in the preamble of the 1847 constitution which was manifestly unjust to tribal Liberians and that latter actions against tribal people confirmed the contempt for them which the 1847 constitution only implied. I have not sought to achieve some unannounced objectives by sleight of hands; I have said clearly what I believe led to the 1980 coup to end the Americo-Liberian dynasty. I believe there are parallel gripes among the Americo-Liberian population about the preamble of the 1986 constitution.

The only difference is that some Americo-Liberians want to achieve by subterfuge what they cannot bring about legally. What I see as a concern by some is this phrase in the preamble of 1986 constitution:

We the people of Republic of Liberia: Realizing from many experiences during the course of our national existence which culminated in the Revolution of April 12, 1980, when our Constitution of July 26, 1847, was suspended....

That phrase gives credit and legitimacy to the actions taken by Samuel Doe and others which resulted in the destruction of the lives Liberian citizens. Six years after that flash point in our national history, we were writing a new constitution and you would think someone would invest a bit more time and creative energy in groping for some expression that would leave a note of regret for future generations that at this point in our history, a brother killed a brother.

It hurts; but we must face it together.

President William Tolbert, who worked hardest to allow the dynamics of democracy in Liberia, today lies in a watery grave, while external flame burns on the grave of President William Tubman during whose reign Liberia saw the explosion of mineral exploitation, but did nothing to extend infrastructural development to the heartland of Liberia. The longest paved road out the capital during his administration terminated conveniently on his farm.

Back to the Constitution. I had many concerns about the 1986 constitution. I even wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Observer newspaper talking about the constitution's "uninspiring and graceless prose": but my friend here Mr. Kenneth Best consigned that letter to the trash can. Many editors do that you know. And I know editors, believe me. I am one.

So you see, I'm not so innocent when it comes to the Liberian constitution. I wrote my first newspaper article before I graduated from high school. It was titled "Bypassing the Constitution." When the final draft of the 1986 constitution was released in 1983, I was in prison in Belleh Yallah, on suspicion of writing an article in the L.A. Times, critical of the Doe administration, for not believing in witchcraft, for not volunteering to write newspaper articles glorifying the Samuel Doe administration, etc. We the educated prisioners had a contraband copy of that draft. The copy we got had a defect. It had pages 19 through 22 missing, which were compensated for by an oversupply of pages 17-18 and 23-24. It was a binding mistake.

Because Belleh Yallah is almost completely encircled by mountains, night halls a good half hour early there. As prisoners we worked all day and were locked in just as the sun was fading away. But on a cloudless day, a sun ray through a hole in the roof of our cell admitted enough light for me to read at least one article of the constitution before the light beam reached the dark portion of the wall and ceased to give out light even before vanishing at least for a day. Alfred Kulah, Anthony Tapeh, Henry Fumba, Charles Russell, John Marwolo, Frank Chonoweth, David Howard, and I discussed the constitution in the dark cell. Now I do so in the open.

Any protest about the constitution must be stated openly. Even So, no group of citizens, however well educated, have the right to change the constitution or hinder the application of its provisions. A war is no excuse. In fact, the more uncertain we are about the course our social and political endeavor as a nation, the more we should adhere to the constitution. We have but one constitution. We can amend it, have another constitutional convention to replace it; but we cannot return to an old version of the constitution because some people don't like some of its provisions or the administration during which the constitution was written.

With all this talk about whether or not this constitution is good enouth for some Liberian people, you would think it was forced upon the Liberian people or that we have done nothing with it since accepting it as the instrument of political transition. The constitution was not decreed by a conquering army. We had a constitution convention that included all the geographic and political aspects of Liberia. The convention impaneled a National Constitution Commission that was headed, not by tribal figureheads but, by some of the best educated Liberians anywhere. We had our first ever multiparty elections that involved every reqion of Liberia under the 1986 constitution.

Well, I know that there are people who are still hooked on "free and fair" elections as the only yardstick for measuring democracy's painful evolution. You must have an election before you can determine whether one is or isn't free and fair. That is the exercise that successive Liberian administrations avoided from 1847 until we agitated for the constitution, which was delivered barely six years after the coup of 1980.

Now, if we want to make it (as they say in the U. S. Constitution) "more perfect" we have to work at it together. You can't throw out a constitution because you don't like the person who headed the administration during which it was written. Those who seek to decertify any national symbol in order to discredit certain tribes or individuals in Liberia will be exposed and discredited themselves. I have paraded around Monrovia in the hot sun on Matilda Newport Day ceremony as a public school student And Matilda Newport didn't even exist.

The 1986 constitution came about through the efforts of dedicated Liberian. Their work was sanctified by a nationwide referendum which was translated into every speech form in Liberia and voted on in every region of Liberia. I did not hear or read this effort. I was there. I was not in Monrovia. I was in Pallipo, my birthplace. Even my mother voted on the referendum.

Of course the effect of the delay in bringing democracy to the people of the so-call hinterland was evident. My mother, on her hunt for palm wine for me, ran into the band referendum administrators. She gleefully told me on her return to our farm that she had been asked "Which would you rather: The rule of worriors which perpetuates conflict, or the rule of the prist of peace for co-existance and understant?" I was puzzled. Then I remembered hearing on the radio that the referendum was working its way through the interior.

So I told my mother that what they told her was not quite right. I explained the meaning of a referendum as best as I could. When I finished, my mother sighed sadly and thanked me for getting it all messed up in her head. "It sounded so nice the way it was explained to me," she said.
You know, if we took this issue of the constitution to our hungry and embattled people for their opinion, they would vote for anything that we said would bring immediate peace to alleviate their hunger. Not because they are stupid, but because they are vulnerable and we will have victimized the once more by forcing them to take sides in an issue that would not have been raised by people of goodwill.

Thank you.
Copyright © 1996 The Perspective
Material may be downloaded, copied, redistributed, or used for broadcast as long as credit is given to The Perspective and the author(s) of the article(s)

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Biggest Domestic Terror Threat

Rapid Reference

At the link below is an article about a former skinhead who now counsels far-right adherents on how to leave the movement.  And, Christian Piccioli makes clear, it is a movement.  As such it is the biggest terrorist threat in our country today.


Former Skinhead Speaks

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Recently Published Book Details Network of Wealthy Oligarchs

"...as Jane Mayer shows in this powerful, meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system."
                                                                              -- Dark Money.  From the flyleaf 


Oligarchic tendencies are nothing new in America.  But what has come to exist in recent years is essentially a modernized version of the Guilded Age in which exorbitantly rich people ruled America by hook and by crook.

Author Jane Mayer writes about this new network of lassaiz faire  entrepreneurs who have united personal interest with political interest to create a schemata of dominance in the U.S. social and governmental scenes.

I have just begun this book, but am already intrigued, even enthralled.  This is the book I have been waiting for.  I'll have more in coming days.



Jane Mayer






Monday, August 14, 2017

Bank Tellers Are Unionizing

SAID TO BE FIRST EFFORT


Bank tellers at Santander banks in the U.S. have initiated protest actions against the Spanish banking behemoth.  The effort involves both bank employees and customers.

This effort is to be loudly applauded and comes not a moment too soon.


Bank Tellers Unionize

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trump Called Mentally Ill By Former Clinton Advisor

Rapid Reference


Trump Called Mentally Ill By Politician Who Met Him


Our Military Leader can be called many things.  I do not object to the characterization of "mentally ill."   

Friday, August 11, 2017

Resisting Imperialism

The Trump agenda is in very many ways the same agenda as that obtained by the U.S. government for decades -- economic hegemony, if you will.  From the Spanish-American War to the Afghan War the interests of Big Business have been paramount.  The article here helps explain the situation.

Imperialism Can and Must Be Resisted