Monday, September 02, 2013

Sovereignty, Larry Summers, and the Federal Reserve: A Sufi Perspective

The following video is an interview conducted by Jaisal Noor of the Real News Network. The person being interviewed is Greg Palast, and the focus of the piece is, for the most part, Larry Summers -- past: president of Harvard University, Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton, and Director of the United States National Economic Council for Obama -- who is touted to be President Obama's leading candidate to replace Ben Bernanke as the next head of the Federal Reserve.

The interview is good and it discloses important information concerning some of what -- up to now -- has been going on behind the scenes in secrecy ... events that have adversely affected millions of people around the world. Especially significant in this respect is the form of extortion that Palast alleges to have been put into play by, among others, Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, and Timothy Geithner that ties a country's desire for its exports to gain entry into the United States to the small price of opening up their financial systems to all manner of shenanigans such as requiring those systems to accept toxic derivative packages -- and in one way or another all derivative packages are toxic. China made such a bargain with the United States, and part of the collateral damage from that deal was the lost of 2 million American jobs in the automotive parts industry which, in turn, helped to bankrupt Detroit.

I like Greg Palast. He has done some important investigative reporting.

However, I believe that in certain ways Greg is making the same mistake as many other investigative reporters, commentators, and analysts -- such as Chris Hedges, Webster Tarpley, Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, and Paul Jay (all of whom I admire in various ways) -- make. Most (but not necessarily all) of their time and resources are invested in exploring symptoms, and, as a result, they are constantly engaged in trying -- but failing -- to keep pace with the indefinitely large set of choices that keep people ensconced in a system of power have for generating ever new variations on abuses of power.

The analysts, commentators, and investigative reporters will do yeoman's work in uncovering evidence of "high crimes and misdemeanors" concerning this or that official. However, for the most part, such disclosures -- even if they lead to embarrassment, removal from office, arrests, prosecutions, and disgrace -- rarely result in any real changes in the way the system of governance continues to operate.

People are fallible, corruptible, and, all too frequently, very imperfect creatures. One can send a thousand of them to jail or remove a thousand of them from office, and they will be replaced the very next day by a thousand other individuals who are just as fallible, corruptible, and imperfect.

There is a potential way out of the morass in which we continue to find ourselves. The problem is not people, per se, but, rather, the problem is a general failure to understand the nature of sovereignty ... a failure that extends back to the process through which the United States Constitution emerged and the problematic manner in which the Constitution was interpreted and applied by the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial branches of both federal and state governments ever since then.

The vast majority of people -- both in the United States and elsewhere -- do not have a good grasp of the essential character of sovereignty or what is needed to establish, protect, and nurture that condition. They often have very fuzzy ideas about such notions as: freedom, liberty, rights, democracy, equality ... and this condition of mental fuzziness is in no small measure due to the way that political, legal, educational, economic, media, and religious institutions obfuscate such issues and actively prevent people from being able to acquire a clear understanding of those issues that are in their own best interests. [I hope that you will download the free book The Unfinished Revolution which explores all of these issues in considerable detail.]

The problem is not just that the U.S. Constitution is being arbitrarily parsed by vested interests, and in the process, "high crimes and misdemeanors" continue to be perpetrated (and uncovered by commentators, analysts, and investigative reporters), rather, the problem is even more fundamental than that because the Constitution is, itself, an entirely arbitrary exercise in the abuse of power by a group of people who are referred to as 'the Framers' or the 'Founding Fathers' but who, in very self-serving ways, helped ram that document down the throats of people in the thirteen states through a very flawed, manipulative, exploitive, oppressive, and underhanded ratification process.

The Founding Fathers/Framers adhered to a sacred, moral, philosophical, political code known as 'republicanism', which was derived from the historical period known as the Enlightenment. One would be hard pressed to demonstrate how such a perspective is not a violation of the principle set forth in the lst Amendment ... the one which requires that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" -- although I suppose some smart lawyer might point out that the lst Amendment says nothing about prohibiting the Executive and Judicial branches from doing so ... just Congress.

On the other hand -- and quite aside from the issue of whether the Executive and/or Judicial branches have the right to accrue to themselves the capacity to establish a religion of some kind -- pretty much everything the federal government has done over the last 225-plus years has been a violation of the first section of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution which guarantees "to every state in the union a republican form of government" -- that is, a government run in accordance with the principles of republicanism ... which, among other things, means that the federal government can never be judges in its own causes, and, therefore, brings into the question the conduct of the Supreme Court ever since Marbury v. Madison when Judge John Marshall argued, in effect, that the Supreme Court had the right to tell everyone else what the meaning of the Constitution entailed ... and since the Supreme Court is one of the branches of the federal government, I fail to see how such a position doesn't constitute a very clear-cut case in which a part of the federal government is serving as a judge in its own cause.

During the following interview, Greg Palast points out on several occasions that Larry Summers met in private with people to carve out financial and economic arrangements that were not in the interests of the American people -- or people elsewhere for that matter. Greg seems to give the impression in his interview that the only thing which is wrong with Summers' activities is that they were done in secret and, therefore, were not transparent.

I tend to disagree. Summers' activities -- whether, or not, they were secret or transparent -- were inherently problematic because they constituted violations of the spirit and letter of Article 4, Section 4, not to mention the ninth and tenth Amendments. After all, while the Constitution does give Congress the right to regulate commerce, the Constitution says nothing about the right to establish or regulate a financial system of banking and/or investment -- something that would go beyond the power "to coin money and regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin" which is about exchange rates and little more. More specifically, the ninth and tenth Amendments specifically award to the people all rights and powers that have not been specifically enumerated and delegated to the federal government or prohibited to the state governments.

I am not suggesting in the foregoing paragraph that people (independent of government) should be free to set up their own Machiavellian system of financial institutions -- nor do I feel that such 'private' freedom is necessarily consistent with the idea of sovereignty that goes far beyond the quite limited perspective of libertarian philosophy (and you will have to read my free book The Unfinished Revolution to understand why I make such claims). Rather, I am indicating that the federal government does not have the right or power to create such financial institutions or make such financial arrangements.

Even if -- via some Clintonesque parsing of the word "commerce" -- one were to include financial institutions under the heading of regulating commerce, commerce would still have to be regulated in accordance with the requirements of the guarantees contained in Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution. Article IV, Section 4 requires that the federal government cannot, among other things, serve as judges in its own cause. Yet, this is what the implementation of every piece of public policy effectively does -- it gives expression to the federal government serving as a judge in its own cause (i.e., the advisability -- or not -- of instituting public policy). Proposing public policy is one thing (and this the government can do), but implementing public policy is to cross over into territory forbidden by Article IV, Section 4, as well tends to constitute an impermissible incursion into the rights granted in the ninth and tenth Amendments.

Some people try to get around the foregoing difficulties by citing the last paragraph of Article I, Section 8 -- namely, that Congress has the authority or right under the Constitution "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers" (and there are a list of them ... the so-called enumerated powers). However, once again, the "necessary and proper clause" (along with every other clause of the Constitution) must be read in the light of the most essential principle of the Constitution ... one which trumps every other facet of the Constitution, and this is Article IV, Section 4's guarantee of operating in accordance with the principles of the Enlightenment moral philosophy of republicanism ... in effect, only those laws are necessary and proper that can be shown to be consistent with the guarantee of republican government.

Greg Palast indicates that Larry Summers is not an appropriate candidate to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve. While I agree with Greg concerning his assessment of Larry Summers suitability for the Federal Reserve job, I would also indicate that the Federal Reserve, itself, constitutes a 'clear and present danger' to the sovereignty of human beings everywhere, and, as such, should be abolished altogether or reformulated in a way that would serve to help establish, nurture, and protect both individual and collective sovereignty ... things that the Fed does not do at the present time, nor has the Federal Reserve ever done so during its 100 year, or so, history.

Consequently, irrespective of whether one approaches the issue of Larry Summers' activities from the perspective of the U.S. Constitution (which, in all too many ways, is an arbitrary and flawed document but does have Article IV, Section 4 to help provide the ' outline of a clear framework within which central government must operate), or one approaches such issues from the perspective of real sovereignty -- and to which, in many ways, unfortunately, the current U.S. Constitution is antithetical and, in all too many ways, was so from the very beginning -- the idea of seeking to manipulate financial operating systems in skewed and problematic ways is in the interests of only the few ... which is why such financial arrangements were made in private to begin with and why Greg Palast's disclosures concerning Larry Summers and others has its place of importance with respect to highlighting that hidden agenda ... but, perhaps, it is time to move away from discussing the symptoms of the political and economic diseases that affect the world and, instead, begin to rigorously explore the actual nature of sovereignty -- both collective and individual -- for it is only when we truly understand the latter that we will have a chance to focus on something other than the hydra-headed behemoths that abuse power and, unfortunately, seem to occupy so much of the time and energy of various commentators, analysts and investigative reporters ... which is why I would like you to read the free book: The Unfinished Revolution -- we need to change the character of the public discourse and my aforementioned free book is intended to be a step in that direction.


No comments: