WHITHER FEDERALISM?

Reading around the Internet and happening upon Real Clear Politics, History, was Taking Federalism Seriously “explaining the major themes that define the American mind.”

This article is Bogus and Bull. The articles relies on Alexis Tocqueville who toured the United States in the early 1830s and wrote a book, Democracy in America. Old Alexis was here 30 years before the American Civil War and 35 years before Amendments 13, 14, 15 were added to the American Constitution. On an institutional level Tocqueville knew American democracy and government, not. His book may be of sociological interest.

Amendments, 13, 14 and 15, changed federalism as Tocqueville or anyone observing earlier knew it. Anytime an amendment has a paragraph, usually at the end, providing, The Congress shall have the power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article, federalism is weakened or eliminated and a grant of authority and power is given to the Federal government.

Real Clear Politics should stop deceiving itself and its readers.

CENTURY OF STRUGGLE

Eleanor Flexner and Ellen Fitzpatrick

RECOMMENDED

This excellent history also serves as a text book on women’s movements from 1800 to 1920. Various women appear depending upon their achievements and strides in given fields: education, professions, doing social work and efforts in politics.

Women knew of their time, society and opponents. In many ways in the early Twentieth Century suffrage became a white woman’s movement because joining with African American women would distract from immediate goals. Readers should infer that race was always boiling, and misdirected efforts for a long time were employed to keep a lid on that issue. Yet, efforts and activities of African-American women were duly noted through out the text. One drawback there was little or no women’s movement in the ante-bellum south. Indeed, African American women were usually the persons making any effort.

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century a woman in middle age returned to America and found leadership of the women’s movement stale. Idioms, concepts and imagination came from days of yore, using the older language. She joined the leadership and things changed. Yet, a women in her later fifties a decade later did not want to be the lead in specifics surrounding suffrage. Youth was necessary to use its energy and do the work. [A sudden shift: Many delegates going most of the work of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, like Madison, were in their thirties and early forties. Older men were respected and considered elders.] Century of Struggle makes that notation in passing. It’s a youth movement. Most of the country wanted suffrage – expect opposing interests: liquor, bars, manufacturing and Americans whose principles of democracy were rotten to the core.

It should be observed in the 1960s and early 1970s African American women had to choose between Civil Rights and the then current Women’s Movement. On the Left women had to chose between supporting male leftists in their communities and their own interests as women and as human beings. Part of that divergence of their stories is reflected in literature of African-American women of the 1970s.

THE NEW EMPIRE

Walter Lefeber

RECOMMENDED

Written 60 years ago, this book is remarkably prescient. The story of American business, government and policy from 1860 to 1898 begins with the policy makers, non-government or one-time government employees writing to advise the United States government how to conduct foreign affairs to make the most of business opportunities.

STOP! At one time America had competent diplomats amongst its politicians. Benjamin Franklin in Paris was the best. John Adams was not bad, but certainly not as good as his son, John Quincy Adams.

One hundred years after relying on experts or shills e.g. the old wise men who decided and advised fighting in Vietnam, the policies of experts has not changed. Wilson had his Colonel House and indecision. FDR had inexperienced wise guys making horrendous decisions before and during World War II, etc., etc., etc.. The Reagan administration took advice from Adam Ulam, preeminent Harvard Professor (Soviet expert) who did not want to be on-top. Ulam wanted to be on-tap, giving advise when asked but the responsibility of decision making was on the politicians.

The New Empire ably marches readers through 25 years of American business and diplomatic history – Hawaii, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and eastern Asia. Many one-time hot-spots have sensible historical passages devoted to them; sources are fact and resource-rich e.g. American policy on a canal in Nicaragua and Panama.

Professor LaFeber tells the history straight, not editorializing much about outcomes from adverse, poor or hurried decisions.

BROTOPIA

EMILY CHANG


This lengthy piece of journalism chronicles deeds and misdeeds against women in administration, electrical engineering, software programmers, games and venture capitalism, all in Silicon Valley. When each set of acts occurred is not always in the text. The book lacks an index and a bibliography.
A value of the text is in ANTITRUST analyses. Author-Chang outlines the market and some forces affecting technology. An obvious “barrier to entry” is the adolescent male manias discouraging technology, innovation and competition. Most persons and businesses in the first paragraph hold and promote after hours sex gatherings – cuddle puddles – compelled sex because women have to join (not be a voyeur) or be absent. Women were degraded or dismissed whether they were involved (easy reputation) or not present (not one of the boys).
Little incidents can trigger antitrust analyses. Women were not excluded because they had abilities but because they had standards and scruples. This party coercion and settings approach criminality. Indeed, before there were Antitrust Laws in the nineteenth century, competitors frequently committed crimes against each other to gain advantage and to suppress businesses of competitors. Silicon Valley seems no different.
Brotopia becomes much more interesting when reading takes the subject beyond specific incidents into a comprehensive understanding of the greater picture.

BOTTLE SHOCK

Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, Rachael Taylor Every performance is excellent.

I had no idea whether this story is true – Chateau Montelena was about to go under at the time it won first prize for its Chardonnay at the Judgment of Paris, 1976. The truth may have made a better story, but for the film these facts fit well.

The scenery (miles of vineyards) is authentic. Having bought, drank, aged in storage, and sold wine, the movie is a delight to see as much activity, enthusiasm and dedication to growing, crushing, aging, bottling and selling wine. Wine perfection is a slow process. This movie does not show all that time. The tasting in Paris took wine near the end of the aging stage into bottles, and tested one wine against another.

One point should not be overlooked, which the movie shows. Many French wines fit the delicacy and exquisiteness of France’s culinary output. The movie shows Americans make wine that go with hamburgers, fried chicken and guacamole.

SMALL TOWN SATURDAY NIGHT

Chris Pine, Bre Blair

This is a terrific film about showing the unhappy steps needed to choose the pursuit of happiness. In a small-town crooner and song writer (Pine) wants to go to Nashville for happiness and prosperity. He has lived in the small place, Prospect, his entire life and has ties there, including a thriving romance with Blair. Pine will take Blair and her child with him.

She gets last-minute cold feet, wondering if leaving is the best move. Ex is a deputy sheriff, who is Pine’s subordinate in the Sheriff’s Department.

The writing and scenes describes many small town lives in a cadre of characters, glimpses of incidences, days all the same in a known environment, hours seem repeated and familiar, every day feels the same for each person. Residents know and appreciate that anyone with talent must leave e.g. the meeting between Pine and the Ex in the final scene: Take care of Bre and the kid. Put the town on the map.

A lot of is going on in the 36 hours that the film presents. There’s no big scene between Pine and Bre. Throughout that day something happens and Pine asks, What am I doing here? Every situation she experiences reinforces her decision to say.

Pine doesn’t sing much, except a song near the end. He doesn’t convincingly venture and guess and put together words and concepts when he is alone, at home, in the car, at work. He says he has a melody in his head, but viewers never hear it. This artistic input obviously was not in the script. A story point is missing: How does an artist in a familiar environment originate while being bombarded with impediments of the known and mundane.

IMPEACHMENT: DON TRUMP DEPARTS

While the Founding Father’s were in Philadelphia putting together the Constitution, in Britain was the ongoing impeachment trial of Warren Hastings, the former Governor-General of Bengal. He was charged with corruption by and through the East India Company, the folks who wanted to sell tea in Boston until a party dumped the tea into the harbor in December 1773. Hastings left office in India and returned to Great Britain where he was impeached. The trial took seven years, and ended with an acquittal in 1795. Only a handful of jurors in the House of Lords could vote; many others had not heard the evidence or only part of the trial.

So what did the Founding Father’s do in Philadelphia in 1787? They gave powers to the House and the Senate to impeach the president and try him, presumably in office or once he had left office, just like Warren Hastings. It is the original Constitutional intention, confirmed within the state constitutional conventions, assemblies elected specifically in 1788 to ratify the Constitution on behalf of each state. Madison considered those state conventions as creating the legislative history of the Constitution.

Today, there are Don Trump sycophants, like Alan Dershowitz, who claim Don Trump cannot be impeached once he leaves office. Has Alan Dershowitz ever heard of Warren Hastings? NO, but Dersh is willing to set aside legal and legislative precedents, history of impeachments, and ignore stare decisis to claim Don Trump is innocent.

Dersh is so attached to Don Trump in a toady way, that he won’t let go for love or money. Perhaps, Dersh wants to become the Minister of Justice in Don Trump’s kitchen cabinet: The goal of those men is to eat until everyone has a heart condition, the only way each of them can feel themselves alive on this sphere, today. Meanwhile Dersh is good for a few laughs on Fox, talking to reporters always impressed by his law degree: Dersh is an intellectual; he’s read a case or two. Who needs history? Who needs to know where something came from, because in Dersh’s mind, like everyone at Fox thinks, the United States Constitution is just paper slapped together quickly to handle a few problems in 1787.

A FISTFUL OF SHELLS

Toby Green

The author says this is the first history telling of West African circumstances from 1300 to 1750. That is true. No other history attempts to put together communities, countries and activities along the 1200 miles of coast from Sierra Leone to Nigeria, and tell of the slave trade. No one has a complete picture of West Africa for those centuries. Documents are scattered everywhere; letters and diaries are in more diverse places. Within West Africa it seems oral traditions of conveying history can be reliable – stories and incidences passed down from generation to generation.

And readers of A Fistful of Shells still have no idea what was going on during those centuries along that coast.

  1. Maps of West Africa should be specific as to time and to each place mentioned in the text. The book and its maps are not helpful because the names of locations changed in those four hundred years. And remember, tell of one place at a time because it is 1200 miles of coast, plus villages, communities, and towns inland. I suspect communications along that coast were irregular.
  2. Next write the history chronologically, as to one place and then the next. The reader goes wary: Good stopping pages were 48 and 49: Fifteenth Century – seven lines later Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries – carried over to page 49 the year 1200 – next paragraphs 2015 London Lecture; 2017 Lecture.

This history should be reorganized to convey all the events of that coast. Or take an area and write a history of it over those 400 years. Or, have some other organization which readers, completely unfamiliar with the subject matter, can follow.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS – REALIZATION


A line of dialogue at the end of the movie, Good Morning, Vietnam, is applicable to the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The line of dialogue is offensive and rude, but it is true. They are the last words Robin Williams [Adrian Cronaur] says to J.T. Walsh [Sgt. Major Dickerson]. Next Williams shuts the door, and J.T.Walsh races from the office to be stopped by Noble Willingham {General Taylor]. After their encounter, Noble Willingham walks the hallway, repeating that line of dialogue and chuckling.

It is obvious from the scurrilous mob at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 that each of them [including female participants] were in dire need of the action described by Robin Williams in that line of dialogue. Indeed, if each had gotten one, it is likely each would have been carrying flowers rather than guns, knives, chemical sprays, pipes, zip-ties, pipe bombs, etc.

Never sell short the beneficial influences from words [books, plays and film] to teach and remedy societies’ problems.