Our Evolving Constitution: An Endless Summer of Love

Forty-five years ago the “Summer of Love” began with a San Francisco rock concert that drew thousands of students and dropouts determined to change society with their childlike visions of peace and freedom.

They succeeded. And the Constitution hasn’t been the same since. Its 225th birthday this week has been a time to honor our beginnings, but also a moment to remember these past decades of phenomenal change, and to ponder what lies ahead.

Since our social revolution in 1967, in case after case, the individualism of so-called “hippies” has been tested, debated, vilified and celebrated. In the end, that movement forged new, broader meanings for liberty second only to what the Civil War wrought.

Even though the freedom to be different was essentially written into the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, it took rock ‘n’ roll, flower children and a divisive war to make “doing your own thing” a legal movement that is as inexorable and controversial today as when it started.

The Summer of Love was the season that activated the largest generation of teen-agers in the nation’s history, the baby-boomers. Children of middle-class parents with enough money to send them to college, they had the time and the inclination to rebel.

What was born that summer did not end with the ’60s. Proving again that freedom, once loosened, is not easily contained, the love children prompted Americans to rethink their own assumptions about what was decent and acceptable. Once-ridiculed trappings of the counterculture — health food, rock music and longer hair — became part of mainstream America.

As the public has grown more tolerant of unconventional lifestyles, the courts have stretched the Constitution beyond tightly defined freedoms of speech, political association and religion. Judges have been persuaded to uphold unorthodox behavior they once would have forbidden. Today, advocates for same-sex marriage are gradually winning in the courts and in state legislatures, thanks in part to what began in the Summer of Love.

Our Secret Amendment

The spirit of constitutional evolution is embedded in a provision that, strangely, has never really been cited as controlling authority in a Supreme Court case: the Ninth Amendment. It says,

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Written by James Madison, the Ninth Amendment was passed by Congress with little debate in 1789 and was ratified easily by the states as part of the Bill of Rights. Since then, the courts virtually ignored it, perhaps fearing its open-ended invitation to change.

Still, in a 1965 opinion, the Supreme Court frankly stated,

“The language and history of the Ninth Amendment reveal that the framers of the Constitution believed that there are additional fundamental rights, which exist alongside those fundamental rights specifically mentioned” in the Constitution.

So-called “strict constructionists” argue that the Constitution should only be applied as the founders specifically intended. But in the Ninth Amendment its authors were telling us otherwise, that they knew they had not thought of everything, and they encouraged us to expand our rights as we see fit.

Indeed, our nation’s founders were much more modest about their handiwork than those who now insist their original intent must be revered and applied without any adjustment.

“Nothing human can be perfect,” said Pennsylvania delegate Gouverneur Morris, who wrote the final draft of the Constitution. “Surrounded by difficulties, we did the best we could, leaving it with those who come after us to take counsel from experience, and exercise prudently the power of amendment.”

As American history unfolded, constitutional change became constant. The nation has approved 16 amendments to the Constitution since the Bill of Rights was adopted.

Judicial interpretation has been used much more often. The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution in thousands of cases, often reversing its previous rulings or giving bold new meaning to neglected phrases in the document.

Even former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, considered a stalwart of strict construction, once praised the Constitution’s evolving nature.

“Change is the law of life, in government as well as in other matters,” Rehnquist said. “There is no reason to treat our present Constitution with an ark-of-the-covenant mentality. Two hundred years from now, our present-day Constitution may well seem to our descendants to have many shortcomings which were not apparent to us.”

The Chief of All Justices

Even the Supreme Court’s power to interpret the Constitution stems from an exceedingly liberal reading of the document. Some would say it was simply made up, having no basis in the Constitution’s words.

Today, we take it for granted that the Supreme Court can strike down laws that it deems unconstitutional. But that was not considered legally possible until more than a decade after the Constitution’s adoption, when a Virginia frontiersman invented a new role for the judiciary.

“It is, emphatically, the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is,” wrote Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury vs. Madison, an 1803 Supreme Court opinion that forever changed American constitutional law.

Marshall, a western Virginia woodsman and Revolutionary War hero, had persuaded his fellow justices to declare a federal law unconstitutional, even though the Constitution specifically gave that power to no one.

In assuming a right to decide what the Constitution means, Marshall, then 48, created a legal principle that reached well beyond his 34 years at the helm of the Supreme Court. His work underlies momentous rulings issued generations later, such as the orders in the 1950s to desegregate public schools.

“Marshall had the wit and courage to make the most of his opportunity,” said former Chief Justice Warren Burger in a London speech in 1972. “He was the Great Chief Justice on our side of the Atlantic. How could there have been a greater one?”

It was during his Revolutionary War years that Marshall saw a need for strong central government, a lesson he remembered on the court as he engineered ways to strengthen federal powers.

At age 21, Marshall served with Gen. George Washington during the miserable winter at Valley Forge, when the loosely knit Colonies nearly bungled their bid for independence. Even though clothing, food and ammunition were plentiful, the lack of centralized authority kept the supplies from reaching the soldiers.

Seeing this handicap led Marshall later to write an opinion expanding the power of the federal government to control transportation networks.

Marshall’s career as a leading federalist began soon after the war. He debated Patrick Henry, the most eloquent anti-federalist, in favor of ratifying the proposed Constitution.

Washington offered him several jobs in the new government, including those of attorney general and minister to France. Marshall declined in favor of making money to compensate for his family’s losses in the war.

He spent only two months in law school, but his natural skills as a tactician and an incisive speaker made him one of the country’s highest-paid lawyers, earning more than $5,000 a year. Not intrigued by the philosophical debates of his more educated contemporaries, he preferred the thrill of arguing real cases.

Even so, a few potential clients were put off by Marshall’s eccentricity. Shunning the powdered wig and satin breeches favored by most lawyers, Marshall wore plain linen clothes and bundled his hair in a ponytail. A bit absent-minded, he sometimes misplaced important court documents, and his eyes wandered during conversations that bored him.

Marshall’s financial success eventually allowed him the luxury of public office. After stints in the Virginia Legislature and the U.S. Congress, he became minister to France under President John Adams.

As Adams prepared to leave office, the post of chief justice became vacant for the fourth time in 12 years. The Supreme Court was not considered a very important branch of government in its early days, and few were interested in serving on it.

Adams knew that this time he needed a strong federalist in the job — someone devoted to a strong central government. Thomas Jefferson was taking over the presidency, and as a staunch anti-federalist he could be expected to weaken much of the federal power gained by Washington and Adams (although he turned out to be far more friendly to power once he had some).

Adams turned to Marshall. In his third year of office the new chief justice entered a showdown with Jefferson in Marbury vs. Madison. Although Marshall’s invention of the court’s right to interpret the Constitution escaped immediate notice by the press and public, Jefferson was enraged.

Jefferson warned that letting the court decide what the Constitution means would make the document “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the justices.” He believed that each branch of government “has an equal right to decide for itself what is the meaning of the Constitution in the cases submitted to its action.”

With the Marbury decision, Marshall began the practice of issuing written opinions. During his next three decades on the court, he often pleased the federalists by using interpretation to expand many powers granted to the federal government under the Constitution.

The jurist’s immeasurable contribution to federalism led Adams to call his appointment of Marshall “the pride of my life.”

It is arguable whether Marshall’s disdain for the social pretensions of his contemporaries means he would have been a hippie in 1967, but there is no doubt that his legacy – creating the Supreme Court’s power to interpret our Constitution – helped make the Summer of Love the law of the land.

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
— Benjamin Franklin

152 thoughts on “Our Evolving Constitution: An Endless Summer of Love”

  1. you’ve got to give a little, take a little
    that’s the story of our constitution
    a glory of love

    you’ve got to win a little, lose a little sometimes too

  2. A separation of church & state issue in Texas news. Cheerleaders writing Psalms on banners that the football players run through and onto the field. It’s a public school.

    Obviously, in a small town there is little diversity at all, but especially of religious affiliation.

    I can’t imagine them supporting non-Christian, religious displays at school events.

    However, if they want to go there, I think it seems disrespectful to break through a banner with those blessings on them.

  3. Ahhh…my introduction to constitutional law and separation of powers comes back to say hello. Thanks, Craig. And the change that has occurred since 1967 really does bear noting. Unfortunately, it will also bear noting, the change that has occurred since 9/11/01 that has rolled back privacy we had before and arguably has weakened the 9th amendment and the 14th and the privacy rights that Harlan and White argued were protected by those amendments by passing ironically named laws without the nicety of actually addressing it.

  4. Excellent, pogo and craig.

    I hope the hippies make a comeback over the neocons.

  5. At the end of the last thread mqw correctly noted the beginning of what could signal a sea change in the world economy. There have been warnings of a move from reliance on the dollar as the standard currency for world commodity exchanges for a couple of years – Stansbury Research has been touting its prediction that this would occur for about that period, urging people to put their investments in gold and silver rather than in the stock market.

    As anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows, mqw & I don’t agree about much. We do agree about the import of the China-Russia crude exchange announcement.

    I have no idea whether there will be any mass exodus from the dollar as the medium of world exchange – neither do I have any idea whether there is any currency that is positioned to replace it – there is none strong enough to do that that I am aware of. But that shift is an important one.

    That said, there is an argument that the mass exodus from the dollar in oil commodity exchange will not occur because of the respective levels of production and consumption of the largest countries – the US, China and Russia being in the top 5 for both categories, with the US being the largest consumer by far at 22/6% of world production and china at 9.9%. IOW, our bargaining power is greater because of the volume we buy. But that, like everything, is subject to change.

  6. Delving a little further into this Russia – China oil deal, I can’t see the Russian, Chinese or European currencies becoming the world’s reserve currency – in fact the Russian currency isn’t even an option at Forex – none of them are strong or stable enough to supplant the dollar, although the dollar’s strength has dropped relative to the Chinese, European and British currencies this month.

    All that said, nobody knows what will happen with this issue, and as far as I have heard neither candidate has addressed this or the underlying problem (aside from bromides about reducing the debt – which IMHO has nothing to do with the Russia – China deal).

  7. Jeez Craig,
    Another beautifully written piece that leaves me speechless (literally) — and that’s not easy to do.

    MQ and Pogo. Thank you both for taking a very difficult subject to understand (at least for me – the economic crisis), and making it easier to understand.

    I’m hoping that should have read: a ‘possible’ economic crisis (although it feels like we’re already in a free-fall).

    … off I go for most of the day. Have a good one.

  8. — neither do I have any idea whether there is any currency that is positioned to replace it —

    pogo, might this potential new replacement come to us by he who controls the e-commerce format?

  9. poobah, pogo was right about a future for you professoring at your neighborhood law school. most institutions would be delighted to have a visiting celeb. also good way to get paid vacations to winter in florida (uf, fsu, stetson law etc.)

  10. Pogo: Gold & Silver are BAD investments. If you want to protect yourself from unpredictable financial events, “globally diversify” your investments. You can do this easily through any mutual fund company such as Vanguard or Fidelity.

    They both have a variety of “global” funds that combine stocks and bonds, public and private, from every major economy on Earth.

    This is the “portfolio” strategy; you don’t try to predict what investments will do well…you just spread your money around. Some investments won’t do well, but some will. You would be “betting” on the entire world economy and your earnings would match the global economic growth rate.

  11. taegan’s political wire this morning:

    New York Daily News: “Nielsen has finished compiling the ratings from all the networks that covered the conventions, right down to C-Span, and a higher percentage of the total TV universe tuned in to Biden than to anyone else…..

    a nascar like thing probably hoping to see a fiery crash

  12. Great history lesson, Craig. We take our system of government for granted and it’s easy to forget that it didn’t just spring into existence, as is. It evolved and is still evolving.

    One of the best arguments for voting for Obama is that if we get ONE MORE right-winger on the Supreme court they will dismantle every positive change that has occurred in the USA over the last 100 years.

  13. Randy Newman is weighing in on the presidential election, and he’s playing the race card through a song he wrote called “I’m Dreaming.”

    The piano tune features the refrain: “I’m dreaming of a white president.” It is full of satirical, sarcastic – and signature – Newman anecdotes about someone who votes for the president because he is white.

    Newman, who is white, is openly supporting President Barack Obama. He says he wants the public to find comedic relief in the song, but to also know he’s serious about his thoughts that racism is well and alive in the world – and in the current presidential race. He called racism “the great issue of this country.”


  14. Nash, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not suggesting anyone buy gold and silver – and I haven’t bought them. I just mentioned that Stansbury is suggesting it – and they make it easy for you to buy it through them of course. Your diversified portfolio advice is what I get from my financial adviser, and he’s a pretty bright guy who has done very well for a few of my friends (I haven’t been with him long enough to say he’s done the same for me).

    And your 9:28 post is my mantra. I believe I posted almost exactly the same thing about 8 months ago.

  15. Newman did the same thing decades ago with “Short People” and “Rednecks”. It’s a continuing theme with him to let the prejudiced speak to make their prejudice obvious to the listeners.

  16. ah… summer of love… incense and peppermints… who cares what games we choose… little to win, and nothing to lose…

    patd… thanks for posting the Newman video… as someone slightly under 5ft… I adored “Short People”.

    Craig… another winner of a column…
    I hope your plea for wanting to get paid doesn’t mean that Current is in trouble… but it don’t look right.

  17. Pogo:

    re: Gold & Silver. These are classified “speculative commodities.” They don’t EARN anything, as stocks (earning dividends) and bonds (earning interest) do. The only way you can earn with gold and silver is to (theoretically) buy them when they are cheap and sell them when they are expensive. You have to pay a transaction fee both times, which cuts into your earnings.

    But the real problem is, how do they increase in price? The only way the price goes up is if other investors buy them (anticipating that that the price will go up). Speculative commodity investors then become victims to the phenomena of the “speculative bubble.” As the price goes up, more speculators buy them. The bubble expands and expands, until eventually it “pops.” This happens when the price increases slow down, stop, and then the price drops like a rock as everyone tries to sell at once. Most investors suffer losses. Many lose their life savings.

    As an investment, speculative commodities have long been known as a “scam,” marketed by con artists. The way to make money on gold and silver is to sell them to dupes, not to invest in them.

    The classic case of the operation of a “speculative market” in economics in the “Great Tulip Bubble,” which took place in Holland in 1637. You can read about it here on Wikipedia… (It’s a fascinating story).


  18. Things you might not know unless you watch Stephanie Miller

    Ann Romney had a meltdown –and practically shook her finger at the 47%

  19. I grew up in 50s and got to see personally, how things changed in the late 1960s. People who are too young to have seen that just don’t know how incredible the change was, and how fast it happened. Consider just the clothing.

    When I was in high school (mid 1960s) we still had a STRICT 1950s era “dress code” in place. Girls had to wear skirts or dresses, which had had to come down to the top of the knee.(No miniskirts, and No slacks.)

    Guys had to wear dress slacks and dress shirts. No jeans. no sneakers, no boots, no t-shirts, no polo shirts.

    For boys, your hair could not touch the collar of your shirt in the back.

    I came back a couple of years after graduation and my high school looked like Woodstock.

  20. Heck ,
    Don’t pay any attention to what I say , I’m just an uneducated towboat pilot , that’s true , never made through tenth grade , ran away from home at 15 ,
    probably wouldn’t guess it , but I have a problem with authority figures telling me what to do and think .

  21. Nash

    We could do a whole time travel thing with the Way Back Machine. Check out Retronaut for images of the 50s and 60s to see the differences in all sorts of categories.

  22. You might want to pay attention to what the big boys are doing , you know the rich that get richer while the rest of us get poorer
    They know how the game is played , because they invented the game

    In a recent interview on CNBC, billionaire investor Jim Rogers — another star — offered some context as to what may be coming. Warning Americans to prepare for “financial Armageddon,” he said the coming economic catastrophe will likely hit sometime after the upcoming U.S. elections. That is because German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama, he explained, will both be facing voters soon and would prefer to maintain the appearance of normalcy — at least until then.

    “The Americans and the Germans — they want to do everything they can to hold the world up until after the next election,” Rogers explained during the interview, adding that the world is “drowning in too much debt” and that the solution was obviously not the creation of even more debt. After the elections, considering the wild money printing by central banks and the out-of-control government spending, “it’s going to be bad,” Rogers added.

  23. Data compiled by analysts based on Soros’ most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that during the last quarter, his American fund sold more than a million shares of the big financial companies with a value of almost $50 million. During that period, Soros Fund Management also more than doubled its position in the SPDR Gold Trust to nearly 900,000 shares.  

    “When a major global player with direct ties to the White House, Wall Street, and the banking system starts off-loading stocks and starts stacking gold, it suggests a very serious market move is set to happen,” observed commentator Mac Slavo, a generally pessimistic analyst who follows financial news closely and has long predicted unprecedented economic chaos.

  24. Another billionaire investment legend, John Paulson, who successfully predicted the sub-prime meltdown and made a fortune in the process, also added a significant amount of gold to his already-gold heavy hedge fund portfolio — an increase of more than 25 percent in the last quarter worth some $700 million, regulatory filings show. Paulson’s largest holdings are in the SPDR Gold Trust, and Bloomberg reported that almost half of his U.S.-traded equities are now tied to bullion.  

  25. Hmm, how would John Marshall have ruled on Citizens United? After all he was a damn the administration, forward looking, jurist.

  26. Corey, my wife hated it when I ran for elected office. It is so much like any seriously contested campaign that you see on TV, just the scale is different.

    Neither Romney nor his wife want for him to be president; to me that is obvious in everything they do and say and how they do it. But, they are committed to it and the only ways out are illness or a loss at the polls.

  27. I see no viable alternative to the dollar as the world’s de facto currency.

    Certainly, for all the reasons Prof Nash enumerated, commodities are lousy investment vehicles for non-professional speculators.

    He commended Fidelity and Vanguard as mutual fund management firms that have well-diversified portfolios of funds suitable for peoples’ life savings. I agree.

    I’ve also commended Berkshire Hathaway, which has many of the characteristics of a mutual fund, as a sound investment vehicle. Because of the age of the principal officers, it requires more attention.

    But, unless I was hiding liquid assets in foreign banks like some 1-pcters, I most certainly wouldn’t consider gold or diamonds.

  28. MQW, you could be right, and so could Stansbury & Soros. I’m great at predicting the past – the present less so and the future – well, I’m really lousy at that. Gold started the year at 1600, is at 1775 now (close to its peak this year), has risen to close to 1800 and dropped to just under 1550. It peaked around 1825 2 years ago and has been up and down since. It would have been a great investment from 10 years ago, a really good investment from 5 years ago, and a lousy one from 2 years ago. Two years from now???? Ask Nostradamus.

  29. Flatus

    I disagree — I think they both want him to be president more than anything –but they aren’t used to playing by rules that can’t be bent by money and entitlement

    They are not used to playing fair

  30. I’m not telling anyone to buy gold ,
    You can’t eat gold ,put in the car and get to work ,
    It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it

    But it is a clear indicator of the value of the dollar ,
    And it’s saying the dollar is going down ,
    Which means the middle class and poor are loosing their purchasing power , inflation is coming and it’s already in the cards

  31. Katherine,
    They want for him to be Chief of State. After the election he would need to find a technocrat to manage the front office and to keep the VP in check.

  32. mqw
    If I was to put the family Rolls-Royce on the block, would the price it fetched be a proxy for the value of the dollar? I think not.

    In my opinion, what you see in the pricing of gold, is a speculative bubble. If I was twenty years younger I would probably sell it short.

  33. Well Flatus
    Explain how the fed creates money from nothing ,
    explain how they are implementing QE3
    40 billion , that doesn’t exist ,
    Poof , now it exist and the fed buys 40billion a month in mortgage backed securities indefinitely

    Come on now educate us , you have a degree in economics ?
    Educate us

  34. well… I can’t do anything with this money debate except read it… it is interesting.

    Here’s another great Christian Science Monitor cartoon
    I hereby dedicate it to mqw…

  35. mqw,
    That’s neither here nor there. The real problem is businesses sitting on hordes of cash. Until they get that cash in the hands of customers, our 47% is going to be stuck. The Fed action is an effort to get spendable cash down to a level where people in the 47% will, in fact, spend it. Hopefully, that will kick things loose at the big business level.

    Oh shucks, my degree isn’t in economics, it’s in finance.

  36. Hilarious Sarah Silverman video nails voter suppression (warning: lots of dirty words, but sure gets the message across)..

  37. Ok a degree in finance , My mistake
    That’s the best explanation you have ,
    It’s neither here or there ?

    If the fed wanted the 47 percent to have the newly created money , couldn’t they just give the 47 percent the newly created money ?

    QE3 is another back door bailout for the banks to unload their bad paper ,” mortgage backed securities ”
    Remember who owns the fed ? That’s right the banks ,
    The banks get the newly created money ,
    And send the bill to the American public in the form of inflation ,
    Biggest effing scam in history

  38. thanks, craig, i needed that. hope it gets picked up by jon stewart, bill mahar, kimmel, leno and the rest of the real news media. hope too that the voter suppression drive really backfires and succeeds only in inciting the rabble to turn out in big numbers.

    btw, seems like it would be easier, more efficient and cost less to go the finger in the purple dye way.

  39. ok, mqw, so what’s your point? what’s your solution? go back to bartering? repeal the fed? burn down the banks? or just continue to rail at the skygods and cry in our beers.

  40. Okay, in three paras before I take my nap. The Fed sells notes to the lowest bidder. That’s how they get their cash. Right now our credit is extremely good so we can borrow money at extremely favorable rates.

    Essentially, that money is force fed to banks with instructions to lend it on secured mortgages. That, in-turn, takes pressure off of consumers enabling them to reenter normal commerce as their credit is restored.

    Consumers buy, inventories drop, orders are placed, manufacturing hours are increased, new hires are added, etc., etc.. General financial health of communities is improved as business climate improves.

  41. There are several things ,
    First is educating the public to what is really going on

  42. That was funny ,
    If that worked , why didn’t QE 1 and 2 work ?
    They already created 2.6 trillion since 08

  43. Patd ,
    In order to understand what the fed does , why it was created and who created it , you will have to go all the way back to 1913

  44. First is educating the public to what is really going on

    mqw, okay. now what?
    take for example the russia china deal. we know about it. now what do we do?
    we as you and me.
    we as a country.

  45. who cares how many bernankes can dance on a pinhead, nor who that pinhead is or from whence he comes. the question is what is to be done? any suggestions other than the unprintable?

  46. pat, anyone who listens to Sirius/XM and the commercials knows that the answer to what do we do is as the old saying goes….When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

  47. okay. now what?

    For starters: Increased oversight, a simplified tax code, disassociation between policy makers and market-makers, increased regulation of derivatives markets, restructuring corporate bankruptcy law…

    Feel free to add.

  48. Of course the problem is ably pointed out by you, Pat – OK, so now what do we do? If Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, etc. can’t figure out what to do to correct all this, what is the average dimwit like me supposed to make of and do about the economic crisis that is foretold by a Russia-China crude oil deal that isn’t based on the dollar – now that I know about that deal – buy Yuan Renminbi? Buy gold? Invest in diversified funds (as suggested by Nash)? Maybe buy Russian oil and sell it to China? Actually, I think instead I’ll take Mrs. P out for a drink and dinner until someone tells me how I can manage avoiding the cliff.

  49. Our economic system is by design, not accident. If it’s so complicated that no one but a small handful can understand it, and therefore exploit it, how about we change it? A novel idea, I know.

  50. if Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, etc. can’t figure out what to do to correct all this, –pogo

    not that they can’t….

  51. Hey pogo… I’m with you. We’re going over to friends tonight for a nice dinner and going out to a local playhouse to see a comedy. We will probably laugh our asses off and have a great time… without a thought to Russia selling the Chinese oil… or is it visa versa…

    anyhoo… there’s always getting scared shitless… divesting all our assests (except the house)… and stuffing the mattress… methinks we’ll pass on that one though… 😉

  52. The Chinese and the Russians have a long history of peaceful, trusting, bilateral relationships. And, let’s start trading plutonium and soy sauce.

  53. IeC – like THAT’S gonna happen.

    OK, I found something on the economic armageddon. The source of the prediction and mqw’s words from the prior thread, Pastor Lindsey Williams.

    He is a fav of Alex Jones. Alex is an Obama hater who describes himself as a libertarian and paleoconservative and has been described as a right wing christian conspiracy theorist. He puts out a couple or 3 or 4 films a year – most of which are pretty much predicting the fall of America. A couple of titles I really like: “Fall of the Republic: Vol. 1, The Presidency of Barack H. Obama” and “Police State IV: The Rise Of FEMA”. Without Jones, the good pastor would still be relatively unknown I’m wagering.

    Oh, and not that it matters much (or probably needs to be pointed out), but Jones and Scott’s radio programs and websites are anything but mainstream.

  54. thanks, champ, for the 2:57 starters. weren’t some of those addressed in the dodd-frank legislation (whose rules will be worked on and beat down by new uber-lobbyist pawlenty)?

  55. “Your devotion to volunteer fire departments is very sane, too, Eliot, for they are, when the alarm goes off, almost the only examples of enthusiastic unselfishness to be seen in this land. They rush to the rescue of any human being, and count not the cost. The most contemptible man in town, should his contemptible house catch fire, will see his enemies put the fire out. And, as he pokes through the ashes for remains of his contemptible possessions, he will be comforted and pitied by no less than the Fire Chief. There we have people treasuring people as people. It’s extremely rare. So from this we must learn.”

    -Thus Spake Kilgore Trout in God Bless You Mr. Rosewater by Vonnegut.

    Book of the Week

  56. flatus, like this colorful description about the sino-russo relationship:

    Chinese-American international energy consultant Edward Chow once said that the Russian-Chinese energy relationship isn’t a marriage, but rather “a series of bad dates.” As far as their energy relationship goes – also keeping in mind the two rather extreme types of relationship of ‘honeymoon’ (1950s) and ‘divorce’ (1960s and 1970s) between Beijing and Moscow – the whole Sino-Russian strategic partner can be described with this kind of metaphor.


  57. Quantitative easing (QE) is an unconventional monetary policy used by central banks to stimulate the national economy when conventional monetary policy has become ineffective. A central bank implements quantitative easing by buying financial assets from commercial banks and other private institutions with newly created money, in order to inject a pre-determined quantity of money into the economy. This is distinguished from the more usual policy of buying or selling government bonds to keep market interest rates at a specified target value. Quantitative easing increases the excess reserves of the banks, and raises the prices of the financial assets bought, which lowers their yield

  58. Miss Rosewater was our kindergarten teacher. She taught us how to make butter by shaking heavy cream in a Mason jar. Many of us hadn’t had butter because it was rationed and very expensive.

  59. Disdain for Workers

    Needless to say, the G.O.P.’s disdain for workers goes deeper than rhetoric. It’s deeply embedded in the party’s policy priorities. Mr. Romney’s remarks spoke to a widespread belief on the right that taxes on working Americans are, if anything, too low. Indeed, The Wall Street Journal famously described low-income workers whose wages fall below the income-tax threshold as “lucky duckies.”

  60. Our economy is not in bad shape at all. All we need to do is…

    (1) force the damn Republicans to accept tax increases on the rich, and on corporations,

    (2) then spend the money on infrastructure & education.


    (3) Regulate the damn banks to keep them from making speculative investments where, if they lose, they have to be “bailed out” to keep the financial system from collapsing.

    Finally, (4) make Krugman Secretary of the Treasury and
    (5) throw Geithner in a federal prison.

  61. Bill Clinton: Obama’s Other Running Mate
    By Scott Conroy

    “This is a practical country,” Clinton told Jon Stewart. “We have ideals, we have philosophies, but the problem with any ideology is it gives the answer before you look at the evidence, so you have to mold the evidence to get the answer that you already decided you’ve got to have. It doesn’t work that way. Building an economy, rebuilding an economy, is hard, practical, nuts-and-bolts work.”

  62. watch listen and learn
    The question why do they hate us


  63. make Krugman Secretary of the Treasury and

    Now, I’m not thrilled with the cult-of-personality that is developing around Krugman, but i do agree that academicians and genuine civil servants should be overseeing and regulating the securities and related industries, rather than former and current industry insiders and executives, mostly from Goldman Sachs, it seems. It isn’t that complicated people, snap out of it! Our system lets the same people make the game, make the rules, and play the game… no wonder they cheat it, that’s human nature.

    Thank you for my sole thumbs up, Patd. I guess I gotta mock republicans to get some appreciation around here; that’s too easy!

    Thank goodness for Patd. Thank you, Goodness.

  64. From a regulated-capitalism perspective: siphoning wealth out of and then hoarding money from the national economy should be discouraged through disincentives, with the converse being true, also. If the new robber-barons of hedge funds and equity firms spread their wealth around instead of hiding it, they wouldn’t be as detrimental to society as a whole as they are now. Meanwhile, smoking a joint is still illegal. Go figure.

  65. He is a fav of Alex Jones

    Dude, Jones is a fear-monger who profits from the practice, but if your (you being the holder of an advanced degree, I’ve deduced) only proposed solution is to throw your hands up and wish for the best, then don’t fault MQ for trying to figure stuff out when he admittedly isn’t even a high-school graduate. You should be thanking him. Thank you, MQW, for stimualting debate. I would humbly suggest you don’t lose your sense of humor that I used to enjoy! Enough from me for the day.

  66. Every President since Nixon has championed the need for a comprehensive national energy policy.
    To date the net effect of that has been the creation of the Strategic Oil Reserve, and a good slogan.(drill baby drill)

    Had this country used the intervening years to become energy independent as we could have and should have,the joke would be on the Russians and Chinese. We wouldn’t give a tinkers damn what currency they used to trade oil. :sad:

  67. I respect pogo, and others here, and appreciate their contributions, and if I challenge them, it’s only because I know they can handle it. I don’t want to be construed as setting a precedent for hostilities between commentators: that’s just silly.

    Back to my chores…

  68. Poor Mittens — Potholesaplenty — one of Mittens favorite surrogates has jumped ship. I guess he really needed a job…and didn’t want to work for Mittens at Bain.

    What will Romney do now? He’s done in presidential politics.

  69. Nemo,


    I participate here not because I am one of the sheep, but rather because I live in an area that is crimson.
    An area where the current President of the United States is considered the black, Muslim, foreign born devil incarnate. It is believed without reason and without regard to the consequences of such thought.I live in an area where anyone with a progressive bone in their body is considered to be suspect at best and traitor at worst.
    I require no one here to do my thinking for me, but it is refreshing to know that there are people who share my feelings. This does not make me or anyone else a member of the ‘flock’.
    If you wish to see credentials, and degrees, and education used to bludgeon participants just check out some other sites where even something a minor as an error in punctuation will make the offender the object of scorn and ridicule by those who consider themselves superior because of their curriculum Vite.
    They could be described as arrogant, intolerant and insular, personally I just refer to them as ‘assholes of the fifth magnitude’, I know of no one here that fits that description.
    Yes, many of us share some common beliefs. Among those is the belief that republican/conservatives, have made a conscious decision to be part of the problem rather than be part of the solution, and those wage earners, the 47 percent, have gotten the shaft, while those at the top have reaped rewards beyond their wildest imagination.Recent history would suggest that, that proposition has more than a little merit.
    There are a number of free thinkers here and they come from all walks of life.They have the experiences and,yes education to see many sides of a single issue or proposition.They can and do disagree vehemently, but their disagreements are seldom personal.
    Your 8:57 PM was an unwarranted and unfounded blanket indictment of many here.
    I found it to be both unfair and offensive.
    Quite frankly, I was surprised,and disappointed.


  70. Nemo
    It’s cool , me ,pogo , xrep and the gang go way back
    It doesn’t sound like it sometimes ,
    But actually we are big buddies , lol

  71. ‘assholes of the fifth magnitude’, I know of no one here that fits that description

    jace, that’s cause we tmixers are all superb masters of disguise wrapped (or rapt) in the cloak of civility.

  72. Ah, ba ba ba ba barbara ann
    Ba ba ba ba barbara ann

    Oh barbara ann, take my hand
    Barbara ann
    You got me rockin and a-rollin
    Rockin and a-reelin
    Barbara ann ba ba
    Ba barbara ann

    Laissez les bons temp rouler!

  73. we are poor little lambs who have lost their way

    bah! bah!

  74. a pre-emptive apology: please forgive any blog offense i make or will make today. please do not take anything i say or will say personally.

    btw, go ‘noles!

  75. Patd,

    RE. your 7:01 AM. LOL

    I always thought they were wrapped in a cloak of toilet tissue. 😉

  76. Mittens paid more tax then required so he wouldn’t make a liar in public out of himself

    did he forget that he had said ..if I paid more in income tax then required then I shouldn’t be president.

    I had the world’s best bar food appetizer at the hideway…aka George and Angie’s. It must be a kind of low-rent rumaki but so much better — a tater tot- topped with a slice of jalapeno, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried –don’t really need the cheese sauce they serve with it. We shared the order but here’s how good they are I’ve been thinking about going by myself.

    I only apologize for my red wine posts, or should that read (red whine)? Jace

    we have blonde wino…you could be rojo wino at certain times

  77. did he forget that he had said ..if I paid more in income tax then required then I shouldn’t be president.

    kgc, good catch.

  78. KGC,

    Perhaps in the future I will simply end my previously mentioned posts, with the initials ‘rwp’ there by indicating that I may not be at my level best at that particular moment. I must say however that an occasional glimpse of the world through burgundy colored glasses never hurt anyone. 😉

  79. well… in honor of Patsi… I ain’t apologizing…
    Patsi used to complain about how in her opinion, we were way too much of an apologizing society. I say what I mean… and even if I don’t… I live with it.

    rojo wino…. now there’s a label I could easily live with… :smile:

  80. renee, sorta like mitt’s comment this past may:

    I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.

  81. patd… yeah… kinda…
    except…. I usually remember exactly what I said… 😉

  82. RR,

    Not so fast.

    I was just beginning to feel comfortable with that moniker. 😆

  83. Patd,

    I thought congress critters only apologized when they got caught with young interns. 😈

  84. I have read and pondered a great number of opinions on the russia-commieChina oil deal, and its implications for the new international trading currency.

    I conclude where I began in the 1979 oil crisis, feeling that all the various arguments here and in the Mainspring media end up supporting my old position.

    Oil IS the international currency, a dirty, liquid, black gold standard, against which the values of other currencies can be measured.

  85. Renee, Pat,
    Awe, you ladies are so practical and sound..Ha, its why i long for more woman in government..

  86. Xrep
    Thanks , you just made my point I was trying to get across all day yesterday ,Grain is a currency also ,

    So now we can look at how the dollar is holding up against those currencies , not very well
    And with the federal reserve policy of forever expanding the money supply , the dollar will only go down in value
    And that affects the poor and middle class the most
    Naturally the politicians will be inclined to borrow even more to help those in need
    Which will require even more creation of money , causing more devaluation of the dollar

    Well you see where this is headed

    The only the thing they could to counter that trend is raise interest rates ,’contract the money supply ”
    But that would put a stake in the heart of the economy
    Causing more pain for the poor and middle class

  87. Flatus,

    When we were kids we had a two tier economic system. Much of our weekly outlay went in pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters, halves, and dollars. Twenties, fifties, and hundreds were a big deal, and I never saw a Madison outside of the Museum at the Mint.

    Today we also have a two tier system. We ignore coinage as a nuisance. For small change expenses, like getting willard to make a few speeches, dollars are nice. For real money, a hundred long February delivery oil contracts are fine. I think long February corn and wheat ought to be good too. All a man like MQW needs is a seat on the exchange and his own bank to be secure.

    I would have shorted gold @ $1,600/oz, if I’d had any money to gamble. I counted my pennies and came up $1.19 short. I’m still on that earlier lower tier.

  88. “Guys had to wear dress slacks and dress shirts. No jeans. no sneakers, no boots, no t-shirts, no polo shirts.”-Nash@ 11:01am

    Na. In the Spring and Fall we wore cotton tans with black ties. In the Winter we changed to wool khaki trousers with buttoned coin pockets.

    If the surprise locker inspection disclosed that you didn’t have a rifle, you were in deep trouble.

  89. No one ever checked for bullets, although we had a big fireworks scandal in my freshman year.

  90. XR
    mqw should consider buying a barge or two of his own cargo, if he hasn’t already. Now there’s an education in markets.

    Speaking of education, I had my foundation courses in economics 53-years ago at Kenyon. Mechanical pencils were still high tech. And smoking in the classrooms was fine.

  91. Once-ridiculed trappings of the counterculture — health food, rock music and longer hair — became part of mainstream America.

    Also I would add :
    Green energy
    The belief that consumerism , doesn’t make one “happy”
    A deeper understanding of nature
    Pot smoking

  92. 1962 Middle Class Adult Party Bevs:
    Scotch (J&B or Cutty) or Martinis. Also, The Bloody Mary and the Screwdriver for people who didn’t like the taste of booze.

    2012 Middle Class Adult Party Bevs:
    Wine (Chardonnay or Merlot) or Spring Water.

  93. Spring water?

    Pretty good with Scotch, or so I’m told.

    Mostly I drink tap water, but I wish to Hell I had invented bottled water. Damn, why didn’t I think of that? 😕

  94. Whether the commodity is gold, grain or oil, if those trading in them were ever required to take physical possession of them rather than paper, the luster would come off of commodity trading rather quickly. 😉

  95. MQW,

    Dems. don’t talk about civil liberties anymore.
    It is just too inconvenient. Too many of them voted for the Patriot Act.

    Why aren’t you in bed? 😉

  96. Well actually , just sittin here, in st Louis harbor ,
    Smaller harbor boat and deck crew adding barges to tow ,
    We’ll be ready to go southbound after while

  97. The Big Change

    Gone : Rotary to Key Pad, Key Lock to e-Lock, Hi Fi and Tape Recorders to cds to mp3,

    Detroit, Ma Bell, A Political Compromise On The Hill,
    President Ngô Đình Diệm and Ambassador Lodge, Phone Booths, The Friday Night Fights, Elm Trees

    Transitions : russia and the UK are Great Powers –> commieChina is the other great Power

    Sensitivity and Assertiveness Training

    Still Making Life Miserable: fidel castro and the koch family

  98. MQW,

    I worked for a few short years for a land reclamation company.
    Normal day was 5:00 AM to 8 or 8:30 PM.
    Liked it better than any job I have ever done..

    Not sure what that says about me. Probably that I haven’t done much. 😉

  99. Lol, no nothing unusual about that , that’s the way all tow boats operate , forward watch , after watch
    Six on , six off , till you get off and go home , someone else replaces you and takes up where you left off

  100. “Mostly I drink tap water, but I wish to Hell I had invented bottled water. Damn, why didn’t I think of that?” – Jace @ 12:33 EDT

    Have you seen Hershey ads lately? They’re losing on the chocolate bar front, so their new schtick is to sell air bubbles wrapped in chocolate.

    We all knew it would come to this – buying our air from a corporation, but who thought Hershey’s would lead the way?

  101. Question.

    If life begins at 40, and I’m 57, does that make me a teenager? 😕

  102. XR,

    I have said for years that if we built a car that ran on tap water, we would end up sending our water payments to Exxon. $3.55 a gallon, 2 cent a gallon discount for cash.

    Hershey just beat them to it. Go figure. 😉

  103. XR, Very well then, we will leave MQW to look after things.


    keep a sharp eye. 😉

  104. “Six on , six off , till you get off and go home , someone else replaces you and takes up where you left off”

    That’s great if you live in St. Louis, what if you live in NOLA? 😉

  105. MQW,
    You have the night watch, sleep has overtaken me.

    Perhaps you can rouse CBob. 😉

  106. Company rents rental cars for crew change , or flying is optional , I don’t fly anymore , no way to treat a paying customer ,

  107. Nemo
    I’ve never found any more info about that 17 year old girl that was on obama’s kill list ,
    I guess they got her , Makes you wonder how we got to this point as a nation , when the president and a small group of advisers can order the execution of a girl in the remote regions of Yemen ” I assume ” because they deem her to be a national security threat,
    Another time ,another place we would probably consider her a heroine , fighting , against all odds the evil oppressors
    A national security threat to the united states of by god America , with it’s 700 billion dollar defense budget, the army , navy ,air force ,marines , coast gaurd, national gaurd , the CIA , FBI , NSA , border patrol , customs agents ,
    That would almost be funny , if it weren’t so sad and pathetic

  108. MQ,
    It’s been such a privilege being able to see you outshine so many people that consider themselves experts.

    “To conquer evil, we became evil
    Insuring it’s victory”

  109. http://craigcrawford.com/2012/09/21/our-evolving-constitution-an-endless-summer-of-love/#comment-298654

    Good Morning all, Chloe,
    Ha, in looking back over the thread, the so-called offending post of yours finally appeared and i thoroughly enjoyed it. You made so many fine points in your post its hard to pick out one but for me the theme of your post is everyone regardless of education or degrees has something valuable to contribute here and i see no harm in reminding us all of that. I know years ago when i started posting here i felt very inadequate. As a lunch bucket Dem assembly line worker it was very challenging and not very welcoming. I’m also sure many people that lurk don’t post because they may not feel they can measure up..I mean Solar is a perfect example of that. So again i feel you reminding us is a good thing.
    Oh and i didn’t view your post as a personal attack, as you were just responding to a poster from many threads ago.

    “I should have never come back.”
    Of course you should have come back and if you did there’s hope others will too..I mean we got Champ back, which is simply amazing, ha stick around there’s more good things to come..

  110. The Son Also Sets

    The billion-dollar Republican campaign should be sweeping the floor with the deflated President Obama after four years of 8 percent-plus unemployment. Yet it is curdling. The little donations have dried up; how long before the big money follows?

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