Monday, July 6, 2009

Stealth Move On Wall Street. Green Lighting Israeli Attack On Iran. The Left Failing On Afghanistan And No One Will Take A Stand.

Stealth Move On Wall Street. Green Lighting Israeli Attack On Iran. The Left Failing On Afghanistan And No One Will Take A Stand.

When are self-styled “Progressives” and rationalizing “Centrists” going to Wake up to the fact that if they don’t become ardent liberals and radical activists; that they are cowardly collaborating failures in perpetuation of the suffocating status quo. They might as well become Foxian Republicans and card carrying Neocons.

They are talking, screeching and squawking do nothings providing nothing more than a dominant Mother-In-Law setting the stage for someone one else’s divorce and failed life? When the hell are they going to be ready to fight rather than piss ant logic every excuse why we all should be patient and continue to do everything over and over again that has failed to change the direction of this country. I am growing ill from observation; deaf to listening to polite mediocrity and convenient politically correct protestations and chest beating. Damn it stand up and fight…literally!

In Football parlance Wall Street has run and end around play leaving Congress to call an off sides on the play and set the record straight via regulation. If you thought we got here in our current mess via the path of secrecy and manipulation; they have written the script for a return engagement…and that’s not rhetoric; it’s fact!

Flag thrown by Danielle Kleinman!

In Ohio If It’s Not For Free; we don’t want it…Police, Fire, Education; we want to be a zero tax state! Just say NO to everything!

Taibbi: New Secrecy Rule Lets Goldman Sachs Control Stock Prices Unmolested By Public Scrutiny

By Daniel Tencer, Raw Story. Posted July 6, 2009.

The new rule means the public will no longer be able to tell if large investment banks are manipulating the stock market for their own gain.

The New York Stock Exchange quietly announced last week that it would end its practice of requiring companies to report all their program trading – a move that helps shield large investment banks, particularly Goldman Sachs, from public scrutiny.

The new rule means the public will no longer be able to tell if large investment banks are manipulating the stock market for their own gain, says Matt Taibbi, the journalist whose Rolling Stone article on Goldman Sachs’ role in asset bubbles over the past century has rocked the financial world.

According to previous NYSE rules, any company that carried out program trading – essentially, large computer-automated trades worth more than $1 million – had to report the trades to the NYSE, which then made the information publicly available.

But, under new regulations (PDF) published last week, that requirement has been removed. (Below Quote lead)

“The purpose of this Information Memo is to advise all member organizations that the New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE”) will be decommissioning the requirement to report program trading activity via the Daily Program Trading Report (“DPTR”), which was previously approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”).1 The last trade date for which member organizations will be required tofile the DPTR with the Exchange will be July 10, 2009 and therefore the last required date to submit the DPTR will be July 14, 2009.”

“Member organizations are reminded that they are required to have adequate policies and procedures, including written supervisory procedures, reasonably designed to ensure proper identification of activities that constitute Program Trading and compliance with all reporting requirements of Program Trading activity as discussed in this and prior Information Memos. This requirement applies to all program trading activity submitted through a member organization’s mnemonics, including as direct market access or sponsored activity. Failure to have an adequate supervisory system in place may result in disciplinary action.”

That is as Lame a dodge as you can get. Let’s just ask ourselves: “How did we get into this “Managed Depression”?)

“The NYSE announced that it will no longer be releasing its weekly program trading data,” Taibbi wrote in a blog posting. “This is quiet obviously a move designed to make it even more impossible to track what’s going on in the NYSE and shield, in particular, Goldman Sachs.”

Tabbi argues that the move is designed to protect investment banks from bloggers who are exposing the companies’ stock market manipulations. Goldman Sachs is singled out because the investment bank’s share of principal NYSE trading has gone from 27 percent at the end of 2008 to fully 50 percent of trades in recent months.

Blogs such as Zero Hedge have been using NYSE data to argue that Goldman Sachs now has an almost unfettered ability to control stock prices.

Responding last week to news of the NYSE’s rule change, Zero Hedge argued:

The NYSE has taken action to make sure that nobody will henceforth be able to keep track of the complete dominance that Goldman Sachs exerts over the New York Stock Exchange. This basically ends our weekly Program Trading updates disclosed every Thursday indicating that Goldman has singlehandedly captured all of NYSE’s program trading.

Taibbi’s article on Goldman Sachs’ long history of involvement in asset bubbles and crashes can be found here.

Expose: Declares Goldman Sachs Behind Every Market Crash

Biden: U.S. Won’t Stand In Way Of Israel On Iran Nukes

The vice president says the Jewish nation has to do what’s in its best interest as a sovereign nation, but the U.S. does too, and those two interests may clash if Israel goes after Iran’s nuclear sites.

WASHINGTON – Vice President Joe Biden seemed to give Israel a green light for military action to eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat, saying the U.S. “cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do.”

Israel considers Iran its most dangerous adversary and is wary of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who just won a disputed re-election. He repeatedly has called for Israel to be wiped off the map and contends the Holocaust is a “myth.”

Israel and the U.S. accuse Iran of seeking to develop weapons under the cover of a nuclear power program. Iran denies that.

“Israel can determine for itself – it’s a sovereign nation – what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else,” Biden told ABC’s “This Week” in an interview broadcast Sunday.

“Whether we agree or not. They’re entitled to do that. Any sovereign nation is entitled to do that. But there is no pressure from any nation that’s going to alter our behavior as to how to proceed,” Biden said.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it prefers to see Iran’s nuclear program stopped through diplomacy but has not ruled out a military strike.

“If the Netanyahu government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice,” Biden said.

Asked about Biden’s comments, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday the U.S. position on Iran and a military strike involves a “political decision.”

“I have been, for some time, concerned about any strike on Iran. I worry about it being very destabilizing, not just in and of itself but unintended consequences of a strike like that,” Mullen said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“At the same time, I’m one that thinks Iran should not have nuclear weapons. I think that is very destabilizing,” he said.

While most experts are in agreement that there’s a good chance Iran could have a usable nuclear bomb sometime during his presidency, President Barack Obama told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday, “I’m not reconciled with that.”

A nuclear-armed Iran, Obama said, probably would lead to an arms race in the volatile Mideast and that would be “a recipe for potential disaster.” He said opposing a nuclear weapons capacity for Iran was more than just “a U.S. position” and that “the biggest concern is not simply that Iran can threaten us or our allies, like Israel or its neighbors.”

Israel is also concerned about Iran’s close support for two of its most committed enemies, Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Obama said in May, after his first meeting with Netanyahu at the White House, that the Iranians had until year’s end to get serious about international talks on curbing their nuclear ambitions. “We’re not going to have talks forever,” he said.

But Obama sees movement on Israeli-Palestinian peace as key to building a moderate Arab coalition against Iran, while Netanyahu says dealing with the Iranian threat must take precedence over peacemaking with the Palestinians.

Most experts believe that wiping out the Iranian nuclear program is beyond the ability of Israel’s military. In 1982 the Israeli air force destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in a lightning strike. But Iran’s facilities are scattered around the country, some of them underground.

Biden was asked in the interview that if the Israelis decide they need to try to take out Iran’s nuclear program, would the U.S. stand in the way militarily?

“We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do,” the vice president replied. “Israel has a right to determine what’s in its interests, and we have a right and we will determine what’s in our interests.”

(As usual continues its role in elections and legislative endeavors and misses the boat on Big Broad issues!) When are self-styled “Progressives” and rationalizing “Centrists” going to Wake up to the fact that if they don’t become ardent liberals and radical activists; that they are cowardly collaborating failures in perpetuation of the suffocating status quo. They are talking, screeching and squawking do nothings providing nothing more than a dominant Mother-In-Law setting the stage for someone one else’s divorce and failed life?

The “left” and the US military offensive in Afghanistan « Dr Nasir ...
By sudhan
Since the election of Obama, the “left” web site has completely ignored US foreign policy, lending tacit support to the continued occupation of Iraq and the escalation in Afghanistan. For its part, the Nation magazine has ...
Dr Nasir Khan -

The “left” and the US military offensive in Afghanistan

The American military is in the midst of a major offensive in Afghanistan, aimed at wiping out opposition to the US occupation in the country’s southern Helmand province.

Some 4,000 US Marines, along with 600 members of the Afghan Army, are participating in the drive to gain control of areas with populations deeply hostile to the American occupation.

As the New York Times reported last Friday, Helmand Province has become the center of popular resistance to US-NATO forces and their puppet government in Kabul. The newspaper noted that the “mood of the Afghan people has tipped into a popular revolt in some parts of southern Afghanistan,” where people have “taken up arms against the foreign troops to protect their homes or in anger at losing relatives in airstrikes.”

This makes it clear that the large-scale US offensive, the first major ground operation to be launched as part of the Obama administration’s escalation of the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is aimed not simply at killing Taliban fighters, but at terrorizing and repressing the civilian population.

Coincident with the US operation in Afghanistan, the Pakistani government is stepping up attacks along its border with the country. On Sunday, Pakistani fighter jets killed at least six in an attack in North Wazeristan, which followed a US drone attack late last week that killed 15.

Employing Orwellian language, a British military spokesman said over the weekend, “The main aims of the operations are to extend security throughout the areas so as to allow the local population to enjoy a normal life and take part in the forthcoming elections free from intimidation and violence.” Similarly, US military officials have claimed that the purpose of the offensive, which will see US forces remain in areas that have been “cleared,” is to “protect” the Afghan population.

These are euphemisms for an intensification of counter-insurgency tactics that will include targeted assassinations, greater military violence against civilians, checkpoints, identity checks and searches, and widespread arrests of anyone suspected of involvement in resistance.

The Marines in Helmand will utilize the methods employed by the US military in Iraq. Most of the units and many of the officers and soldiers were involved in US operations in Anbar, a center of Sunni Arab resistance to the US invasion of Iraq.

The Obama administration is carrying out a new war crime in Afghanistan.

The offensive has underscored the role of the so-called “left” in the US. The Obama administration has become a vehicle for a wide variety of middle-class organizations that opposed the war in Iraq to swing behind the foreign policy of the American government.

Neither of the principal organizations involved in planning US protests against the Iraq war—United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and ANSWER—are planning any demonstrations to denounce the Obama administration’s escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nor, for that matter, are they preparing any opposition to the continuation of the Iraq occupation.

These organizations and the ex-radical and liberal groups that comprise them have largely transformed themselves into advisory agencies for Obama—counseling certain policies that would preserve US interests or help sell continued war and occupation to the American people.

UFPJ has written nothing on the current offensive. It’s latest entry on Afghanistan, some two weeks old, calls on supporters to “Demand an Exit Plan for Afghanistan.” It supported a measure (which eventually failed) in the US House of Representatives that would have provided billions more in funding for Iraq and Afghanistan in exchange for an “exit strategy” to be submitted to Congress. Not only would the measure have allowed for the escalation, it would not have required the fig leaf of an exit “plan” for another six months.

Since the election of Obama, the “left” web site has completely ignored US foreign policy, lending tacit support to the continued occupation of Iraq and the escalation in Afghanistan.

For its part, the Nation magazine has been silent on the offensive in southern Afghanistan. There is not a single article related to Afghanistan linked on the front page of its web site. The same is true of the Huffington Post. From these publications, one would have no idea that the US is engaged in a brutal military offensive.

To the extent that one finds criticisms among these layers, they are entirely of a tactical character. In an earlier editorial published in the Nation (“Don’t Escalate in Afghanistan,” February 4, 2009), the magazine cautioned that more US troops would only increase popular hostility. “Adding 30,000 troops might be enough to keep the government from falling in the short term, but it will not be nearly enough to wage the kind of counter-insurgency some Obama advisers advocate,” it wrote. “For that, some military experts estimate, we may need as many as 600,000.”

“It is doubtful that even a major counterinsurgency could succeed,” the Nation cautioned. Making clear the standpoint of its criticisms, the magazine concluded, “Afghanistan is called ‘the burial ground of empires’ for good reason”—i.e., a new quagmire in the country could prove disastrous for US imperialist interests.

Iraq as well has largely dropped out of the pages of the Nation. What commentary there is presents Obama’s partial withdrawal of troops from the cities as a great step forward for the anti-war movement—even though 130,000 US troops remain and the administration has made clear that it intends to keep tens of thousands of troops in the country for years to come.

None of these groups or publications say anything about the real interests behind the Afghanistan occupation. For them, this is the “good war.” The claim that it is intended to defeat the Taliban and defend the Afghan people is accepted without question.

Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda—the original rationale for the war—have largely been dropped as an issue by the media and the political establishment. The real interests involved—preserving US interests in the oil and gas rich Central Asian region—are ignored.

There is a parallel between the reaction of the self-styled progressives and “left” organizations to Afghanistan and their universal support for the US-backed destabilization campaign in Iran. These groups immediately fell into line behind the US-backed “green revolution” and the sections of the Iranian bourgeoisie that are at its head.

The winding up of anti-war protests by these groups is the logical outcome of their political perspective. From the beginning of the US war in Iraq, they sought to channel popular opposition behind the Democratic Party, opposing any independent mobilization of workers and youth against the war. When the Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 election and proceeded to back Bush’s war policy, they largely ended their protest efforts.

The coming to power of the Obama administration—which in all its policies, domestic and foreign, is carrying out the basic interests of the corporate and financial elite—has completed the process. It has helped reveal the fundamental social divide between middle-class politics and a socialist movement based on the independent interests of the working class. It has underscored the fact that much of the “left” criticism of Bush centered on tactical issues or superficial characteristics of the administration. With the new president in office, this social layer has made its peace with imperialism.

Opposition to imperialism can come only through the independent mobilization of the working class against the American ruling elite and all of its political parties and representatives. The perspective of the working class must begin with the demand for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US troops and an end to all US military operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

Hundreds in Canton for Tea Party

No Ships Boarded By Night. No Scones. Just People Craving Change.

By Jewell Cardwell | Beacon Journal staff writer

CANTON: Sunday's event in downtown Canton had all the trappings of an outdoor concert — folks in lawn chair and children stretched out on blankets.

But this audience was more interested in a message than music.

Participants call themselves fiscal conservatives. They say they're sick and tired of being sick and tired of government waste, taxes and spending.

They gathered — several hundred strong — in the grassy Kresge Lot downtown to celebrate a Tea Party.

Tea, in this case, is the acronym for Taxed Enough Already.

That was the battle cry at the event, which was billed as a rally for folks to turn up the heat on their federal, state and local elected officials.

Many dressed in patriotic colors; others, in military camouflage. Some carried protest signs with slogans including, ''Impeach Everyone Who Signed the Stimulus Bill,'' ''Keep Your Change, I'll Keep My Dollars'' and ''Choose Liberty, Not Tyranny.''

Dennis Harbert of Massillon — dressed as Benjamin Franklin — said he was protesting ''the out-of-control spending and the rush toward socialism.'' Harbert and his wife, Nona, run a home church.

Sylvia Jones of Medina said she attended ''because I'm sick and tired of both sides not following the rules anymore.''

''Whatever happened to people's rights?'' she asked.

Jones criticized last month's passage in the House of Representatives of an Obama administration-backed energy bill aimed at curbing global warming with ''cap and trade'' limits on carbon emissions.

''What baffles me,'' she said, ''is how Congress can vote on something they never read.''

Newly elected U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, D-Alliance, voted for the bill and came in for much criticism at the Tea Party.

Carolyn Roadruck of Orrville said she attends as many of the Tax Day Tea Parties, which kicked off nationwide around the April 15 federal tax deadline, as she can.

''I feel we're going in the wrong direction with our policies,'' she said. ''I want government out of our lives yesterday.''

Roadruck attacked what she called unfair taxes that reduce ''the ability of people to dream, prosper and take chances.''

''My husband has small businesses and we're going to be hurt by the policies put in place,'' she said. ''I'm here for my children's future.''

Several elected officials addressed the crowd.

State Rep. Josh Mandel, R-Lyndhurst, said he came to the Tea Party to ''take back America to where our founding fathers wanted it to be.''

Mandel, a 31-year-old former Marine who served two tours in Iraq, said he plans to run for state treasurer.

Also speaking was Frank LaRose Jr. of Akron, who plans to run for the state Senate.

Jason Wise, organizer of the local event, said Stark County was in the vanguard of the movement and would be the only area stop Sept. 9 for the Tea Party Express, a nationwide bus tour.

Free Thought Manifesto: A Charade Called U.S. Troop Withdrawal
By Cavalier Zee
This blueprint for a global Pax Americana was authored by Dick Cheney who was Bush's vice president from 2000 to 2008, Donald Rumsfeld, who was Bush's Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defence Secretary and other ... Yet, Bush and his hawks were spared of impeachment. Perhaps, in the post-9/11 political order, presidents are given a licence to mislead the American people. It was only a few months before Bush was elected to office that President Bill Clinton ...
Free Thought Manifesto -

The Washington Monthly
By Steve Benen
There are plenty of progressive organizations and institutions --, Democra cy for America, Service Employees International Union, Progressive Change Campaign Committee -- pressuring Democratic members on meaningful reform. ...
Political Animal -

DOES OBAMA WANT ACTIVISTS TO BACK OFF?.... The Washington Post's Ceci Connolly reported over the weekend that the White House is aware of the pressure Democratic lawmakers are under from progressive organizations on health care, and the president is on the members' side.

President Obama, strategizing yesterday with congressional leaders about health-care reform, complained that liberal advocacy groups ought to drop their attacks on Democratic lawmakers and devote their energy to promoting passage of comprehensive legislation.

In a pre-holiday call with half a dozen top House and Senate Democrats, Obama expressed his concern over advertisements and online campaigns targeting moderate Democrats, whom they criticize for not being fully devoted to "true" health-care reform.

"We shouldn't be focusing resources on each other," Obama opined in the call, according to three sources who participated in or listened to the conversation. "We ought to be focused on winning this debate."

It seems more than likely that the president really did deliver this message to Democratic lawmakers, and I'm sure they appreciated it.

But I'm not sure if the story should be taken at face value. There are plenty of progressive organizations and institutions --, Democracy for America, Service Employees International Union, Progressive Change Campaign Committee -- pressuring Democratic members on meaningful reform. If the White House wanted the groups to pull back, the White House would ask the groups to pull back.

Instead, we're hearing that lawmakers -- who'd prefer not to receive the pressure -- received supportive comments from a sympathetic president about those mean ol' activist groups leaning on members to do the right thing. As Ezra Klein noted, that makes sense as a strategy: "It looks like Obama is semi-publicly defending the congressional Democrats whose votes he'll eventually need. That, obviously, is what Obama needs to do. But that's different from seriously putting the screws on, say, the unions attacking restive centrists."

Right, and there's very little evidence to suggest the White House is doing anything to pressure those applying the pressure, beyond saying nice things to members of Congress about how awful it must be to feel so much pressure.

Think about this way: freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D) of North Carolina was against a public option. MoveOn started leaning on her pretty aggressively, and soon after, Hagan reversed course. Maybe the timing was coincidental, maybe not.

But aside from reassuring support on a conference call, why would Obama seriously want MoveOn and its allies from helping him achieve his goal?

For what it's worth, the progressive groups involved in the fight responded to the WaPo article by saying they're not pulling back at all. I wouldn't be too surprised to learn that a whole lot of staffers in the West Wing are delighted to hear it.

Who in the hell do we think we’re kidding? Who do we really think we are moving to fight for Americans? Stop it please; stop it!

Reflections on the Declaration of Independence: From a Crisis of U.K. Constitutionalism in the Americas to a Global Constitutional Crisis in Honduras

The 4th of July is traditionally used as a day to celebrate the first formal acknowledgment of a rupture within a nation state, one that led to violent separation and the recognition of the autonomy of one territorial unit from out of what had been an integrated territorial kingdom, formed in a manner that was conventional for the time.

But those who celebrate have always been cautious in the way in which the focus of the event is directed. And that, in part, is because unconstrained by a vigilant elite serving as mediators and interpreters of the document, the Declaration of Independence can easily spill its banks and serve as a basis for unruliness of all kinds.

It has as easily served to justify the secession of the short lived Confederate States of America as it has for the revolutionary change in the constitutional settlement of 1789.

See Larry Catá Backer, Some Thoughts on the American Declaration of Independence and the Irish Easter Proclamation, 8 Tulsa Journal of Comparative &International Law 1 (2000).

It has been used to advance the cause of constructing plural societies where different communities live in equal dignity as well as the cause of separation of communities living side by side based on these very differences.

See Larry Catá Backer, Kosovo: A Threat to China and Russia; a Great Benefit to Israel, Law at the End of the Day, March 14, 2008. And it has been a source of reflections on rule of law.

The Declaration of Independence is, in fact, a protean document,
whose thrust can serve those with the will and the fortitude to see things through. It has come to serve as a proxy for all sorts of endeavors. It quickly lost its historical ties to the context in which it was fashioned. And within several generations it, unfortunately, has even lost its necessary connection with political revolution. But let us look back for a moment. I think you will find the words of Frederick Douglas in 1852 have, like a resounding bell ringing, relevance for thought today.

Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions. Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart."

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you, that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation (Babylon) whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin.

Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!"

To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs and to chime in with the popular theme would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.

My subject, then, fellow citizens, is "American Slavery." I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing here, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July.

Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity, which is outraged, in the name of liberty, which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery -- the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate - I will not excuse." I will use the severest language I can command, and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slave-holder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some of my audience say it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother Abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more and denounce less, would you persuade more and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slave-holders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of these same crimes will subject a white man to like punishment.

What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments, forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read and write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then I will argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver, and gold; that while we are reading, writing, and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants, and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators, and teachers; that we are engaged in all the enterprises common to other men -- digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave -- we are called upon to prove that we are men?

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? That he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to understand? How should I look today in the presence of Americans, dividing and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom, speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively? To do so would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What! Am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood and stained with pollution is wrong? No - I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman cannot be divine. Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may - I cannot. The time for such argument is past.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation's ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.

What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mock; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.

Go search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Frederick Douglass - July 4, 1852- Speech on the 4th of July, 1852 Sponsored by the Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester, New York.

The Declaration of Independence thus has become more than a mere pronouncement. It has been transformed, much like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights centuries later, into a legitimating framework for political action and the constitution of its communities. It is now the revolutionary crucible within which constitutional orders are tested, as well as the normative foundation for reordering political settlements.

It's methodological and legitimating essence, however, is not moral or ethical. It is not found in its normative manifesto, the ambiguous but nicely worded and often quoted sentence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Declaration of Independence para. 2.

Rather, it is better understood in its closing:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. Declaration of Independence para. 32.

It is with this in mind that it might be useful to consider the Honduran Revolutions. I say two revolutions because the expulsion of former President Zelaya masked the complexity of the revolutionary situation in Honduras immediately before his translation outside the country. Both revolutionary movements are transnational in character. Both, though steeped in local desires, are also to a great extent a creature of and captive to the desires and impositions of the community of nations aligned in various camps. On the one hand there is the revolution slyly instigated by the recently removed and now former president of Honduras, Mr. Manuel Zelaya. As representative of the executive power of the state, and of the people, he sought, through use of the extra constitutional tactics of increasingly popular mass democratic politics to insinuate himself in power by reforming the state to suit his purposes.

The Zelaya Revolution would subvert the Honduran constitutional order by rejecting the constitutional order's fundamental norms and replacing them with a system that would dramatically increase his power in a new constitutional order. But like many new Latin American leaders, he has suggested the traditional constitutional order is not worth keeping, and that irrespective of its language and its embrace of fundamental norms deemed irrevocable, neither can stand in the way of the popular will exercised whenever it can be mobilized for the purpose. See, e.g., Latin America: Coups and Constitutions, BBC News On Line , June 30, 2009.

Mr. Zelaya planned to hold a non-binding public consultation on 28 June to ask people whether they supported moves to change the constitution. . . . Mr. Zelaya's critics said the move was aimed at removing the current one-term limit on serving as president, and paving the way for his possible re-election. The consultation was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court and Congress, and was opposed by the army. . . . Mr Zelaya sacked the head of the armed forces, who refused to give logistical support for the 28 June vote. The Supreme Court overruled him, saying the army chief should be reinstated. When Mr Zelaya insisted the referendum would go ahead, Congress voted to remove him for what it called "repeated violations of the constitution and the law", and the Supreme Court said it had ordered the president to be removed from office to protect law and order. Q&A: Crisis in Honduras, BBC News On Line, July 5, 2009.

But what appears benign on it surface acquires a more complex dimension when considered in context. First, the political context was ambiguous. "Despite his centre-right credentials, the former businessman moved Honduras away from its traditional ally the US, winning the support of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other leftist leaders. . . . Publicly backed by such leftists as Mr Chavez, Bolivian President Evo Morales and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Mr Zelaya began to lose the support of his own party."Profile: Hondura's Manuel Zelaya, BBC News Online, July 2, 2009. He began imitating his mentors, raising the spectre of authoritarianism in the face of the difficult problem of drug trafficking and poverty in Honduras. "In May 2007, Mr Zelaya ordered all of the country's TV and radio stations to carry government propaganda for two hours a day, accusing them of giving his government unfair coverage. In August 2008, he took Honduras into the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (Alba)." Id. On ALBA, see, Larry Catá Backer and Augusto Molina, Cuba and the Construction of Alternative Global Trade Systems: ALBA and Free Trade in the Americas, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2010 (forthcoming).

Second, the constitutional issues were serious and Mr. Zelaya's actions subject to varying characterizations, not all of them benign. While it appeared unproblematic for Mr. Zelaya to seek to test the will of the people by public consultation or other means, under Honduran constitutional law, that effort, when ordered by the President in his official capacity, raised potentially serious constitutional issues. Whatever one thinks of its value in a constitutional order, the people of Honduras had bound themselves to a specific provision that appeared to cover Mr. Zelaya's conduct:

ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Vicepresidente de la República.

El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño desus respectivos cargos y quedarán inhabilitados por diez (10) años para el ejercicio de toda función pública. (""No citizen who has already served as titular head of the Executive Power can be President or Vice-President of the Republic. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years."")

It is possible to suggest that the Honduran Constitution has provided that where a person seeks to change the provision of the Constitution dealing with the term of the President, that action itself results in and imminent and self executing removal from office--not at the instance of the legislative or judicial branches, but by operation of law. The only task for whether the legislative or judicial branch would be to determine that in fact, Mr. Zelaya had proposed such a reform. And that is precisely what the legislature did on the basis of the findings of a special commission constituted for the purpose of investigating such violation.

Moreover, the Honduran Constitution provided for a particular method of constitutional amendment, and made certain constitutional provisions inviolate--that is not subject to ordinary constitutional amendment.

ARTICULO 373.- La reforma de esta Constitución podrá decretarse por el Congreso Nacional, en sesiones ordinarias, con dos tercios de votos de la totalidad desus miembros. El decreto señalará al efecto el artículo o artículos que hayan de reformarse, debiendo ratificarse por la subsiguiente legislatura ordinaria, porigual número de votos, para que entre en vigencia. Artículo interpretado por Decreto 169/1986

ARTICULO 374.- No podrán reformarse, en ningún caso, el artículo anterior, el presente artículo, los artículos constitucionales que se refieren a la forma degobierno, al territorio nacional, al período presidencial, a la prohibición para ser nuevamente Presidente de la República, el ciudadano que lo haya desempeñadoba jo cualquier título y el referente a quienes no pueden ser Presidentes de la República por el período subsiguiente.

Taken together, it might have been possible to construe Mr. Zelaya's action as a movement to the effectuation of an unconstitutional reform of the constitutional order. Such a move, in the context of the political actions taken before June 28, 2009 and potentially sanctioned by something that appeared to manifest the will of the people in a pseudo-plebiscite might appear as a subversion of the constitution and actions sufficiently serious to warrant the invocation of procedures in the legislative and judicial branches for the equivalent of impeachment and removal.

Mr. Zelaya was not just an ordinary president going about his ordinary business. He was working diligently to undo the Honduran constitution in a way that was at best provocative and at worst illegitimate. Left to his own devices, Mr. Zelaya appears to have been playing fast and loose with the Honduran political system. The consequences ought to be a matter of Honduran law, determined by those democratically elected or appointed for the purpose. And those determinations would have to be made by the Honduran legislature and judiciary in accordance with Honduran law.

On the other hand there is the revolution of the Congress and the Courts, also representing the people of Honduras, in their legislative and judicial authority. The proponents of the Juridico-Legislative Revolution would subvert the Honduran constitutional order by the methods chosen to "save" it.

They removed Mr. Zelaya and ordered the military, acting as the domestic police force, to physically effect that removal, on the grounds that Mr. Zelaya had betrayed his oath to uphold the constitution and maintain the integrity of the constitutional system on which the state was founded.

The impeachment and removal were effected in summary fashion--the Congreso de Diputados met in session to consider a hastily put together report of a special commission, which determined that the President had violated his duties.

Then they immediately voted to remove the President.

The Honduran Constitution provides, among the powers of the legislature, the following: (Sp. Reading required)

In addition, the Honduran Constitution includes self protective provisions against its illegitimate modification.

But these provisions do not suggest either removal or expulsion from the nation. And, indeed, the Constitutional oversight of this function has disappeared. See Honduras Constitution of 1982, Art. 205:15 (which vested impeachment powers in the Congreso de Diputados and was abrogated in 2003).

On the other hand, the extensive provisions treating the responsibility of the state and its servants, Honduras, Constitution of 1982, arts. 321-327, might provide abasis both for the removal of President Zelaya and for the positive obligation of the Congreso de Diputados do actively remove him from office on a finding of violation of Mr. Zelaya's "constitutional promise" (Honduras Constitution art. 322).

But this is a stretch as well, since the thrust of the provisions are meant to protect against administrative overreaching and damages resulting there from. It also appears to contemplate judicial rather than legislative action. (see id., art. 326). But there are relevant provisions--For example, Article 323 prohibits any state functionary, civil or military, from carrying out illegal or criminal orders. It is possible that the removal was the way in which the legislature, in its wisdom, determined to avoid complicity with Mr. Zelayo's illegal acts (and determined to be illegal by the legislature and Judiciary). On the other hand, the provision cuts both ways, and it might have serve to inhibit the military from putting Mr. Zelaya on a plane.

In the absence of a satisfactory internal resolution of these constitutional issues, the internal dispute has been removed to the court of international opinion. And it is here that things get interesting. Both camps have accused the other of instigating a "coup" and thus violating the core parameters of the constitutional order of Honduras.

Both are right, to some extent, but both are also wrong. This is not a set of coups designed to overturn the rule of law. Instead, these are maneuverings to either replace or retain the current constitutional order.

And in that contest both sides have sought to manipulate legitimate constitutional process and meaning so much that they would, each in their own way, tear the Honduran system to pieces. Thus, I do not share the globally generated sympathy for Mr. Zelaya in his almost stereotypical and pathetic role as an opportunistic and underhanded manipulator of fundamental changes in the Honduran constitutional order for his own benefit, and the benefit of his masters abroad. There is a case to be made for the legitimacy of his removal within the Honduran constitutional framework.

But neither do I find much that is sympathetic in the actions of the Congress and judiciary. Their own fidelity to the Honduran constitution, as they maneuvered to save it, evidences a singular lack of respect for its integrity. These branches of government did not invoke the processes for removal of a president acting lawlessly.

Rather, they determined that this must be so and without more removed him from the country. Am arrest and trial might have been more in accord with the rule of law as set forth in the Honduran constitution. But that was not forthcoming. One cannot pick and chose what is worth saving in rescuing the constitutional order from attack, even from attack by the man holding the presidency.

Mr. Zelaya has appeared to have won the propaganda war in the combat between Executive, legislature and the judiciary. And, indeed, the theatricality of his position, as well as of those Latin American leaders who sought to exploit it for their own purposes, has delighted the press in the developed world.
Honduras to Stop Zelaya Plane, BBC News On Line July 5, 2009.

Mr Zelaya says he will fly back to the country from Washington, arriving between 1300 and 1400 local time (1900 - 2000GMT). "I ask all farmers, residents, Indians, young people and all workers' groups, businessmen and friends... to accompany me on my return to Honduras," he said in a taped statement sent to media outlets. "Do not bring weapons. Practice what I have always preached, which is non-violence. Let them be the ones who use violence, weapons and repression." Mr Zelaya says he will be accompanied by the leaders of Ecuador and Argentina. It has also been suggested that officials from the Organization of American States could go with him.

It is not clear, though; whether these dramatics are meant for the manipulation of opinion through media interventions or refer to actual plans to physically return ot Honduras. See, e.g., Manuel Zelaya asegura que regresará a Honduras el próximo jueves, el, June 30, 2009 (suggesting a return on Thursday in the company of the Secretary General of the OAS). Whatever the outcome of this "human shields" strategy or its legitimacy as something other than extra legal maneuvering, there are more remarkable events. Among the more significant has been the way in which a president, losing popular support at home, has, by the theatrics of simultaneous Revolutions also managed to mask complicated constitutional issues that deserve some exposition. "The BBC's Stephen Gibbs, in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, says Mr Zelaya, whose popularity in Honduras had been plummeting in recent months, has garnered impressive support since his exile. " UN Backs Honduran Leader's Return, BBC News Online, June 30, 2009.

More remarkable still has been the way the ignorant have marched fearlessly into judgment on the constitutional issues involved. And by pronouncing on the nature, character and issues involved
within Honduras, lend legitimacy to determinations with respect to which they have neither competence (in all its senses nor jurisdiction), as well as to their actions outside that state.

Even Obama and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez have found themselves in rare agreement over the issue - with both declaring that his expulsion was illegal. " UN Backs Honduran Leader's Return, BBC News Online, June 30, 2009.

Yet the call to lofty ideal and emotion, to the emotive stance of the Declaration of Independence, seems to have prevailed. And more to the point, the critical understanding of that document has come into play. Both Mr. Zelaya and the rest of the constitutionally legitimate government of Honduras who stand in opposition to him, have decided to "pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor" to their respective causes.

This is no longer a matter of constitutional law but one of international power.

In this, the course of the Honduran Revolutions follows that of its American predecessor, whose completion changed decisively when it was transformed from an internal issue of the nature of the constitutional order of the governmental system presided over by the King in Parliament in Westminster to an international dispute over the legitimacy of control over defined territorial units.

This time, it was not a matter of persuading the French monarch and wooing its aristocracy and intelligentsia, but of wooing the international political community, global civil society and its shills, and the global media that appears to have made all the difference.

And indeed, without much of a glance at the complicated internal rule of law issues that brought the two Revolutions to a head, the international political community has quickly taken sides.

"The United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution calling for the reinstatement of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Mr Zelaya's expulsion by the army on Sunday has been criticized in Europe, Washington and Latin America as a coup." UN Backs Honduran Leader's Return, BBC News Online, June 30, 2009. In addition, the Organization of American States has moved swiftly to seek the return of Mr. Zelaya and apparently the continuation of his brand of revolutionary struggle. Americas Group Suspends Honduras, BBC News On Line, July 5, 2009. This last was affected without a nod to its irony. "The OAS approved suspending Honduras by 33 votes to zero, with Honduras itself not voting. It was the first time the organization had taken such a measure since Cuba was suspended in 1962, when it allied itself with the USSR." Id. And, like France in the 1770s, the international community has done so for a variety of reasons few of which are related at all to the internal conflict that brought either the removal of Mr. Zelaya, or the undoing of the Honduran constitutional order (whichever prevails).

In the end, there is very little that is Honduran about the ultimate result of those Revolutions. That question will be decoded by forces outside of the state and serving the geo-political, ideological and strategic interests of others. Post modern sensitivity developing nations has produced a variety of post colonialisms form the left and the right and from the developing and developed centers of power. For it is less than clear that Venezuela and its allies, in this situation, have not been using their former master's tools as effectively as they once bitterly complained they had been used against them. And masking national interests behind international organizations does little to veil the continuing managerial aspirations of the developed world, now more appropriately clothed in the values of the day.

I do not mean to suggest support for one or the other version of the recent Honduran Revolutions; neither do I mean to suggest that one or the other side is in the right. I do mean to suggest, however, that those issues no longer matter, at least as the Revolutionary movements have become internationalized, and that this is an old pattern, which reflection on the American Declaration of Independence reminds us with some force. It appears that the lessons of the American Declaration remain aspirational, supra national and ultimately grounded in power., though not necessarily in the power of the people directly involved (except perhaps as useful props).

Whether there is much room for Honduras within it, either way, remains to be seen. But what appears clear is that, whatever its current form, there appears less change than one might imagine in the dynamic of aspirations and global relations that marked the world which gave us the American Declaration of Independence.

And that brings us to the most interesting transformation of the American Declaration of Independence--its renewed connection with constitutionalism, now in its manifestation as transnational constitutionalism. See, Larry Catá Backer,
God(s) Over Constitutions: International and Religious Transnational Constitutionalism in the 21st Century, Mississippi Law Review, Vol. 27, 2008; Larry Catá Backer, From Constitution to Constitutionalism: A Global Framework for Legitimate Public Power Systems, Penn State Law Review, Vol. 113, No. 3, 2009. It appears that the American efforts to create a basis for restraining constitutional excesses, put in place after 1945 has borne fruit. Traditional nationalist constitutionalism looks inward for its ideology as well as its yardstick for measuring others. Transnational constitutionalism looks to the common constitutional traditions of the community of states buttressed by international norms and organizations.

Constitutional Law is no longer a matter for the people of the state subject to its strictures. Instead, the international community now appears to have a say. That, at any rate seems to be the case with respect to small states, against which action may be undertaken without much risk of retribution. The constitutional crisis in Honduras reminds us both that the community of nations now has reached consensus on the substantive principles it can invoke when it seeks to intervene in managing the constitutional actions of any of its members, and that, as the Founders knew, constitutional legitimacy is, ultimately, a matter to which its adherents must "pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor"

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