Capitalism; Dead, Alive, and Broken


copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

For but a moment, whilst the Group of 20 [G20] met in London’s ancient financial capital, ,”The City,” the roars of remorse, could be heard.  Words of woe had been whispered in hushed tones for quite some time.  Scholars spoke of various possibilities on occasion.  Whether Senior Economic Fellows from various think-tanks thought a system to be dead, alive, or near doomed, there was perhaps a bit of agreement.  “I see what you mean.  It is broken,” Economist Mark Thoma mused more than a year ago.  

The public screamed out in pain for decades; however, few cared about the cries of countless common folks.  Those who argued against principles that place profits before people were easily ignored for they had no power and less influence.  Much to the chagrin of corporate titans, even Economists warned; this could be the end of Capitalism.  Yet, until early in the day, only weeks ago, no one paid much attention to what has become a customary declaration for everyday workers.  Morning has broken, and Capitalism is shattered as well.  

America adopted and advanced a system that was unsustainable..  More than once, “systemic failures” revealed the folly of free enterprise principles.  Nonetheless, worldwide people were convinced to purchase damaged goods and premises.  Yet, as Journalist Professor, Robert Jensen contends, “most notably those in the business world and their functionaries and apologists in the schools, universities, mass media, and mainstream politics” do not want to admit that this is so.

Wanted; Dead or Alive

The evidence is everywhere.  What was a question rarely uttered, “Is Capitalism Dead?” has become a statement, or perhaps the dream of those who have been severely affected by this most devastating downturn.

Wealthy watch breathlessly as stock markets crash.  Banks fail.  Blue Chip companies crumble.  Foreclosures flourish, and people, those once thought prosperous, pour out onto the avenue in search of a job, or some sense of stability.

Perhaps, that is why, average citizens felt a need to break the silence, to speak of the broken Capitalist system.  In the shadow of powerful and prosperous Presidents and Prime Ministers, who gathered together for the G20 Conference, 4,000 demonstrators pleaded, not for pity, but for relief from a fiscal system that requires poverty.  

Frustrated and forlorn by an attitude that fosters further advancement of free market principles, at least in the United Kingdom, dissenters shouted in disgust.  It would not be wise to work within an economic structure that changed the global culture in ways that ultimately brought international institutions down.  

On a fateful day, early in April a young girl in the crowd, Aeyla Windridge pleaded.  I want “the death of Capitalism.”  The twelve-year-old spoke to what Heads of State had not for centuries.  “Capitalism isn’t in crisis, capitalism is the crisis,” so said another activist.  

Recovery, Reinvestment, and Rescue

Few of the principal players, those who represented the twenty participant countries were willing, or able to acknowledge the free market theory is flawed.  Most of the prominent Heads of State were, and continue to be, content with sanguine assessments.  Up to 85 percent of global gross national product comes from the shores of but a score of countries.  Eighty [80] percent  of world trade comes from these territories.  Americans, who might be thought of as the authors of Capitalism, saw and see no reason to change the status quo, at least not substantially.

Borrow and spend had worked well in the past for the superpower, or so the US government attempted to advocate.  While the President poses this philosophy cannot stand, America must move away “from an era of borrow-and-spend to one where we save and invest,” in the same breath, the Chief Executive who represents the country that gave birth to free enterprise, endorses the framework, just as those who preceded him did. (Please peruse the text What Ever Happened to Free Enterprise, By Ronald Reagan)

Capitalism, the Obama Administration states, was not the cause of the planet-wide monetary collapse.  Only greed, excesses, and a lack of regulations brought about the demise of the dollar, and the rate of exchange.  As he addressed other world leaders in attendance at the G20 Conference President Obama conceded, “the crisis began in the United States.  I take responsibility even if I wasn’t even president at the time.” However, Mister Obama contends all countries must be accountable for this massive macro-breakdown.  America’s Chief Executive proposes plans intended to strengthen a Capitalist structure.

In his April 4, 2009 Action to Address to the Global Economic Downturn, President Obama encouraged more regulations in an attempt to expand a consumer-based Capitalist theory.  With little regard for how the American way of life, which the President does not apologize for, cripples common, people throughout the world, Mister Obama declared.

“(W)e know that the success of America’s economy is inextricably linked to that of the global economy. If people in other countries cannot spend, that means they cannot buy the goods we produce here in America,  . . . if we continue to let banks and other financial institutions around the world act recklessly and irresponsibly, that affects institutions here at home as credit dries up, and people can’t get loans to buy a home or car, to run a small business or pay for college.

Ultimately, the only way out of a recession that is global in scope is with a response that is global in coordination.”

One is reminded of why, in earlier years, no one spoke vociferously of the crisis that is Capitalism.  Ordinary people were busy.  For centuries, regular folks worked day and night only to bring home a nominal paycheck.  Even in prosperous nations, people could barely afford to put food on the table.  People took trivial jobs just to secure shelter.  Millions felt forced to pursue professional paths that offer few rewards.  The only goal for the average Joe and Jane was to stay afloat.  Few have had the time or energy to protest their circumstances, or what the powers-that-be had and have imposed internationally.  Today, and in the past, worldwide economic slavery has sufficed.  That is until now.  

Lest the President and Prime Ministers elsewhere forget, in the States, and abroad, people are out of work.  The promise of an ownership society,where “people, from all walks of life,” would open the door of their private residence and say, “Welcome to my home” proved to be but a myth.  The pledge of plump stock portfolios for everyone through Capitalism was a claim never substantiated.  Contrary to the oft-voiced assurances, the American Dream could be achieved anywhere on Earth If people only invested in a free market economy, this current fiscal crisis has shown the world, words were but wishes promoted by the prosperous.

Regardless of how average people are punished by a fiscal formula that requires there be poor people, the current President intends to preserve the Capitalist principles that govern a global economy.  While Mister Obama may not profess a commitment to an “ownership society,” he too wishes to encourage people to possess what they cannot afford.  

Broken Beyond Benevolence

In contrast, more than a few Economists have begun to contemplate the wisdom of a system based on constant consumption.  Experts in monetary movements examine, What went wrong and, rather more importantly for the future, what did not. Other statistician who study the social science of fiscal affairs suggest there is ““Good Capitalism, (and) Bad Capitalism.”  Certainly, no matter the belief, with cause, “Capitalism is under fire.”  

William Pfaff, the author of eight books on American foreign policy, international relations, and contemporary history has pondered the depths of a paradigm profoundly broken. Mister Pfaff offers a perspective less limited than the simpler theories often presented by Administrations and Academics.  The  observer of intercontinental issues writes . . .

The essential question is, what capitalism are we talking about? Since the 1970s, two fundamental changes have been made in the leading (American) model of capitalism.

The first is that the “stakeholder,” post-New Deal reformed version of capitalism (in America) that prevailed in the West after World War II was replaced by a new model of corporate purpose and responsibility.

The earlier model said that corporations had a duty to ensure the well-being of employees, and an obligation to the community (chiefly but not exclusively fulfilled through corporate tax payments).

That model has been replaced by one in which corporation managers are responsible for creating short-term “value” for owners, as measured by stock valuation and quarterly dividends.

The practical result has been constant pressure to reduce wages and worker benefits (leading in some cases to theft of pensions and other crimes), and political lobbying and public persuasion to lower the corporate tax contribution to government finance and the public interest.

In short, the system in the advanced countries has been rejigged since the 1960s to take wealth from workers, and from the funding of government, and transfer it to stockholders and corporate executives.

There is ample evidence to support the author’s contention.  In 1970, the recipient of a Nobel Memorial Prize on Economic Sciences, Milton Friedman, encouraged an emphasis on corporate earnings. A culture that creates a vibrant community, Friedman insisted is counter to “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits”

Decades later, his disciples of sorts, Presidents Ronald Reagan,  George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, each implemented plans that increased earned income for the influential and decreased available dollars for the already disadvantaged.  Policies designed to protect and promote an American entrepreneurial taxonomy, or Capitalistic interests, were proposed as a means to spread democracy.  Planet-wide, people and economic practices were transformed.

The second change that has taken place is globalization.  The crucial effect of this for society in the advanced countries is that it puts labor into competition with the poorest countries on earth.

We need go no further with what I realize is a very complex matter, other than to note the classical economist David Ricardo’s “iron law of wages,” which says that in conditions of wage competition and unlimited labor supply, wages will fall to just above subsistence.

There never before has been unlimited labor.  There is now, thanks to globalization – and the process has only begun.

The variance is vast.  Those who have possess so much.  The portion of population that owns little, have far less than even an average individual might imagine.  The wealthy cannot conceive of a life where food might be the most valuable commodity.  A world in which water is worth more than gold seems unthinkable to those who thrive in “civilized” communities,  Yet, this reality may come to towns in a Capitalist country.   Indeed, in some American communities, this truth appears today.

Nonetheless, agreements secured at the G20 summit ensure the adoption of a debt-driven American-style “democracy.”  An arrangement, in which all are not created equal, will continue to be the practiced and preferred economic system planet-wide.  People will once again forget assessments presented less than a decade ago.

Many of the radicals leading the protests may be on the political fringe.  But they have helped to kick-start a profound re-thinking  about globalization among governments, mainstream economists, and corporations that, until recently, was carried on mostly in obscure think tanks and academic seminars.

The reassessment is badly overdue.  In the late 20th century, global capitalism was pushed by leaps in technology, the failure of socialism, and East Asian’s seemingly miraculous success.  Now, it’s time to get realistic.  the plain truth is that market liberalization by itself does not lift all boats, and in some cases, it has caused damage to poor nations.  What’s more, there’s no point denying that multi-nationals have contributed to labor, environmental, and human rights abuses as they pursue profits around the globe . . .

(After a ten-year expansion of market capitalism around the world, as of the year 2000) The World Bank figures the number of people living on a $1 a day increased to 1.3 billion, over the past decade.

The extremes of global capitalism are astonishing . . .  If global capitalism’s flaws aren’t addressed, the backlash could grow more severe.

Indeed, the repercussions have been relentless.  Near a century of consumption, solely for the sake of profits, has weakened the world.  The current fiscal crisis reveals Capitalism was never the cure for what ails the people on this planet.  Persistent poverty, and the threat of increased insolvency, born out of a free enterprise system is an expense few, if any, can afford.  One need only look at Capitalism, and what it has wrought.  Acquisitive individuals may acknowledge one reaps what one sows.  Independently, or collectively, as a global community anyone might come to understand, “If my brother is poor, I/we too will suffer.  Ultimately, I/we will pay for the poverty I/we accept.”  

Without such a realization, and inspired by the spirit of an individualism that has flourished amongst free-marketers, people may, as President Obama proclaimed.  Worldwide, or here at home, we “want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that [has] been missing.”  However, it is not another glorious “morning in America.”  Nor is it a beautiful day in most neighborhoods.  Were the clouds to clear, globally people might avow, authentically, there need be an actual new dawn.  It is time to dream of economic structures that have never been.

The majorities in the States, and throughout the globe, are no longer silent.  Common folks have spoken.  Capitalism is broken.  It is not wanted, dead or alive.

Sources for economic and empathetic structures . . .

Fiscal Conservatives


copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.

In the tradition of the Grand Old Party, this election year Republicans had hoped they had nominated a fiscal Conservative.  In March 2008, Columnist Bonnie Erbe mused; John McCain might return the messianic rule Republicans think “Right.”  The Journalist scribed.

Is McCain the Return of the Fiscal Conservative?

USA Today

March 26, 2008 03:57 PM ET

Ah, finally, one of the presidential candidates actually offers a common-sense approach to resolving the mortgage crisis.  Sen. John McCain yesterday “derided government intervention to save and reward banks or small borrowers who behave irresponsibly . . .”

The Senator from Arizona and Presidential aspirant has often spoken of the need to be economically accountable.  Financial folly is conduct John McCain does not favor.  John McCain rejects earmarks.  He wants no Senator to spend dollars on local projects.  He is proud of his rigid record; he has not supplied his home State with money for roads or bridges to nowhere.  As President of the United States, the “maverick” Republican, will not reward capriciousness.  Yet, perhaps he has and will when in the White House.

Irresponsibility is a term not easily defined.  American history illustrates, the interpretation varies dependent on how the arrears accrue and for whom.

John the Caterer, Pam the Antique Shop owner, Tito the Truck Driver, or possibly, Jane the Dressmaker believe a responsible person takes care of them self first.  Money in my pocket matters more than dollars for those on government programs.  Uncaring or less than conscious of consequences; you dear reader decide.

These small business entrepreneurs work hard for the cash they earn.  In these tough times, John, Pam, Tito, and Jane cannot afford to contribute to the goodwill of others in their communities.  They are strapped.  In McCain Palin commercial after commercial, proprietors proclaim as the candidate they support does, it would be fiscally irresponsible to spread the wealth or to have tax dollars pay for plans that might buy more body armor, build more roads, better hospitals and schools, or stimulate a green economy.

Each of these mini-tycoons, along with the now third person on the Republican ticket, Joe the Plumber,  tells the American people of personal concerns; the trials and tribulations of taxes.  These citizens crave policies that typify the Republican tradition of economic restraint.  McCain Palin supporters, common folks such as Carole the Cook and Charles the Contractor muse; it is reckless to grow debt.  American workers, businessmen, and women think it is prudent to hold on to every hard earned dollar.  They too have no love for an economic adventurous policymaker.

That has been the mantra for many American’s for decades.  “We want a fiscal Conservative in the White House!”  However, frequently, the fine people of this country elect other than a President who is cautious with American dollars.  United States citizens intend to cast ballots for those who practice economic restraint.  Yet, annals reveal, too often they do not.  Responsible, reckless; you dear reader decide.  (Please review the chart)

Recent Republican Administrations exemplify the dichotomy between monetary judiciousness and those who adopt the title, fiscal Conservative.  Past Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, and the current Chief Executive, George W. Bush brought this country to its economic knees.  While the latter may be a bit bruised, it seems his supporters are happy to follow in a Republican tradition.  They will vote for the John McCain, the candidate who now represents the Republican Party.  Fortunately, for the Arizona Senator, past Grand Old Party fiscal follies does not tarnish the reputation of the “Right.”  Republicans and Independents, who think taxes are irresponsible, endorse the Bush protégé, John McCain in the current 2008 Presidential campaign.  

Although Republican Administrations accrued billions in national debt, these former Commanders-In-Chief personally prospered.  They, did as John the Caterer, Pam the Antique Shop owner, Tito the Truck Driver, and of course, the now famous Joe the Plumber hope to do, held their dollars closely and benefit at the expense of others.

The third person on the Republican Presidential stump, Joe the Plumber has already accomplished as his political leaders did.  Samuel J. Wurzelbacher’s debt resulted in liens.  However, he also garnered greater monetary wealth.  Irresponsible, accountable; only you the American taxpayer can decide for yourself.

It appears there is a perceptible pattern.  People who prosper from the hardship of others leave enormous sums unpaid.  Former Presidents and the few big or small business owners thrive, while the average American, lives on meager wages, or salaries that do not allow much money to be saved.  Responsible behavior, or the ruinous result of regressive taxes; individual readers will choose what they wish to trust as truth.

However, no one will negate, common people find themselves in a financial crisis, that for him or her, perhaps feels more dire than the national or global catastrophe.  Circumstances, may force the poor and Middle Class to be more fiscally Conservative.  As the economy tightens, remunerations are reduced.  Expenses expand.  People who work hard may have little to show for the blood, sweat, and tears of toil.

The Center for American Progress reports, in recent years, as another a Republican ruled the White House, America’s Middle Class has fallen deeper into a financial abyss. Income growth slows, and costs climb for the average person in the United States.  For the common folks, financial solvency is on a downward descent; fiscal liability ascends.  

A typical middle income family earning around $45,000 a year saw its debt burden grow by 33.1% between 2001 and 2004, even after adjusting for inflation.  Debt relative to income rose even more, to 33.9%, during this period for middle-income families.  Personal bankruptcies among these households are rising steeply.

The reasons for greater economic distress among middle class households are not hard to pinpoint.  Slow income growth between 2001 and 2004, the last year for which complete data is available, has not kept pace with the rising cost of big ticket items such as housing and education loans, medical expenses and transportation.  Family budgets have been squeezed.

A common but misplaced assumption is that the growth in debt among middle-income families – those with incomes roughly between $25,000 to $70,000 a year – is the result of over-consumption through increased credit card debt.  Rather, growth in debt is primarily due to heavier borrowing for investments in homes or education, both of which saw dramatic price increases in recent years.  The cost of a college education, for example, grew by 24.6% between 2001 and 2004, after adjusting for inflation.

These rising debt levels are also beginning to affect groups of middle income families that historically have not struggled with debt.

As the ordinary American grapples with the newer reality of reduced revenue, under the auspices of a Grand Old Party Administration, the affluent enjoy greater gains than ever before.  The Middle Class who lack funds are forced to be money-wise, not pound-foolish.

Wealthier Republicans, such as John McCain, who wail of personal responsibility, take no note of what occurs to others less fortunate or financially not fluid.  

Indeed, when President, John McCain intends to make the tax cuts established in the current Administration permanent.  The Presidential aspirant disregards the damage done.  Perchance, a desire to discount the cause and effect of an economic crisis could be considered fiscally imprudent

Republican President George W. Bush does not worry of what his irrational policies produced He offers with emotional detachment, “The fact is that income inequality is real — it’s been rising for more than 25 years,”  For Mister Bush and Senator McCain that truth is just the way it is, and perchance, they think the disproportionate distribution is the way it should be.  This is known as a redistribution of wealth . . . upwards.

The moneyed move millions, billions into preferred pocketbooks.  The super-rich, and those who represent them in the Oval Office, do this through duties that divide the population.  The regressive tax system subtlety imposed upon the nation by recent Republican Administrations helped supplement substantial income and capital gains.  Might this tax  practice be rash or rational?

Today [in 2003 and since], with state taxes becoming more regressive – and the two Bush tax cuts providing large tax savings for the rich – the tax system is moving in the direction of a flat tax, but doing so out of the spotlight.  For example, despite sharp debate about the administration’s tax cuts on the campaign trail, talk about whether taxes are regressive or progressive is hardly material for the stump speeches of presidential candidates  . . .

[A]t the top, the tax system has already become regressive.  The super-rich pay proportionately less in federal income tax than the merely rich.  In 2000, the nation’s 400 richest taxpayers, making an average $173 million, paid an effective tax rate more than 5 percentage points lower than those making $1.5 million to $5 million, notes economist Martin Sullivan in Tax Notes magazine.

That gap has probably shrunk a bit since then.  In 2000, the peak year for stock market prices, the super-rich probably saved some taxes on their huge capital gains.  (Capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income.)  Since then, stock-market capital gains have diminished.  But Congress also cut the capital gains rate from 20 to 15 percent – a provision especially beneficial to the rich.

“At the rate we are going, in which more and more investment income is simply untaxed, we will end up with a federal income tax that is not only regressive at the top, but regressive overall,” warns Richard Kogan, an economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.  “The middle class will be the tax-bearing class.”

Then, in 2003, and now, a levy structure put in place by the Grand Old Party benefits the moneyed, and punishes those with less dollars.  Under the auspices of Republican rule, the average American has and will realize greater debt.  So too will the country.  

Self-invested proprietors, a collective of self-interested persons, or Republican Administrations that do not require people of means to contribute to the greater good soon realize they have created an economic calamity.  These persons who prefer a Conservative in the White House, have opted for deregulation of banks and brokers.  Depositories built on free and open markets, without restraints, have done as individuals, Presidents, and property owners have.  They sought to endow self and sacrifice service to the community.  Are they prudent, practical, fiscally Conservative, or just careless . . .?

America, under the direction of the last three Republican Presidents, fiscal Conservatives who were not prudent with cash, encouraged the electorate to charge it.  Now, Joe the Plumber, John the Caterer, and Betty the Baker who [kneads] needs more dough before she can purchase a storefront understands why everyday people borrow from banks.  

The regressive Republican tax structure has made it hard for these individuals to manage on the money they have set aside.  Those who advocate for less taxes and look out for their personal gains, as the mammoth monetary monuments crumbled do well when the consumer wants more. However, as history shows us, amongst Grand Old Party Presidents and the more prosperous, too much is never enough for people with plenty.

When faced with a monetary meltdown after years of irrational, irresponsible, exuberance, self-proclaimed fiscal conservations like John McCain morphed.  The love of money does that to people, even if they wish to think themselves traditionalist.

The Bush Administration proposed a government bailout of big businesses who behaved irresponsibly.  The newer Grand Old Party, leader, and Presidential aspirant, understood that he was expected to be standard-bearer for self-sufficiency.  However, if he stood that ground, those he helped to thrive through deregulation would go down.  Thus, as a faithful Republican soldier, John invoked the plea that would point out that he is perchance, not a fiscal Conservative.  In September 2008, Senator McCain offered an early election year surprise.  The once traditional Republican requested, Please, “Let the government bailout business.”  As a fiscal Conservative, John McCain said, “Let my corporate cohorts eat cake.”  Americans may ask as Journalist  Bonnie Erbe did months earlier; Is McCain the Return of the Fiscal Conservative?

References for Republican Resources . . .

Woodstock; War and Peace Revisited

country joe mcdonald and the fish- vietman song

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

It was summer.  Temperatures were high and war was in the air.  People said they were upset with politicians who refused to heed the cries for peace.  Battlefields far from home became burial grounds.  The public noted too many people had died, perhaps unnecessarily.  Americans publicly announced, its time to bring our young home.  End the combat was the common cry.  Yet, it seemed the Administration did not intend to declare a cease-fire.  Some feared a superpower might appear weak.  A pullout would indicate that we had surrendered.  As Americans safe at home pondered policy, soldiers still fell on foreign fields.  Families struggled to come to terms with what it means to be a patriot.  Moms and Dads of military personnel may have wrestled with the idea of what it means to win a war more so than the average American did.  The year was 1969.  

Now, near four decades later United States citizens can closely examine what was on August 16, two score ago.  The opportunity for deep reflection, in retrospect, is possible since a museum at the Woodstock concert site opened in June 2008.  

As visitors literally trek from one exhibit to the next, they figuratively travel through time and space.  Spectators are emotionally transported to the world of the now legendary Woodstock, a festival that marked a political movement.  Within the walls of the museum, people read of the arts and melodies gala, billed as “3 Days of Peace and Music.”  

The words the main organizer of this event, delivered to a massive audience of anti-war youth echoes through the newly constructed chamber.  Then forty-nine (49) year-old dairy farmer Max Yasgur, a man who provided $50,000 and 600 acres of his land, pronounced  “You have proven something to the world . . . that half a million kids can get together for fun and music and have nothing but fun and music.”  Indeed, they did.  Many hoped the event had established that people, who yearn for global tranquility, could lead by example.  News reports mirrored this message.

An estimated 400,000 youngsters turned up to hear big-name bands play in a field near the village of Bethel, New York state in what has become the largest rock concert of the decade.

About 186,000 tickets were sold so promoters anticipated that around 200,000 would turn up.  But on Friday night, the flimsy fences and ticket barriers had come down and organisers announced the concert was free prompting thousands more to head for the concert.

Traffic jams eight miles long blocked off the area near White Lake, near Bethel, some 50 miles from the town of Woodstock.

Local police estimated a million people were on the road yesterday (August 1969) trying to get to Woodstock.  They were overwhelmed by the numbers but were impressed by a good level of behaviour.

Yet, good behavior amongst brethren taught us nothing.  Perchance sadly, those separate from the event, who saw what happened only from a distance, could not accept the veracity; peace is possible.  Ed Meese, U.S. Attorney General, in the Reagan Administration certainly could not.  When asked to reflect on the era in which the historic event occurred, he spoke with disapproval.  Mister Meese, who in 1969, served as an Executive Assistant to then California Governor Ronald Reagan, remembered the Age of Aquarius with disdain.  He said definitely, “It was the age of selfishness. It was the age of self-indulgence.  It was the age of anti-authority.  It was an age in which people did all kinds of wrong things.”  

Years later however, former President Bill Clinton mused the Reagan years, “The 1980s ushered in a gilded age of greed, selfishness, irresponsibility, excess, and neglect.”  Perhaps, history allows for perspective, or only verifies how often humans repeat errors.

Thirty-nine years later, Americans have an opportunity to re-assess for themselves what was and is.  As many journey back into the garden that was Max Yasgur’s farm, in Bethel Woods, Americans may realize novel insights.  The past is ubiquitous in the present.  As people young and older stroll through a Woodstock Museum, vivid reveries may stimulate much thought.  

A child may study the similarities that plagued people then and now.  War is again in the wind.  A teen might think of the trail laid before them.  Is it different from the path a parent or grandparent was forced to choose.  Will they too be asked to fight for a country that did not care to end all combat?  Ample analogies will likely be evident to a young adult.  Elders might sway to the music piped into the halls and be transcended.  Sounds from years gone by may  offer a view of the world too easily forgotten.  In 1969, and 2008, many of our young feel like they are fixin’ to die.  Why?  

The answers are found in the lyrics of a melody sung at the Woodstock concert in 1969.  The festival now seems a century ago.  Perhaps the words will again be vocalized in Bethel Woods in 2008.  Country Joe MacDonald and the Fish speak for many young Americans when they say  . . .

“I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die”

Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,

Uncle Sam needs your help again.

He’s got himself in a terrible jam

Way down yonder in Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan)

So, put down your books and pick up a gun,

We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it’s one, two, three,

What are we fighting for?

Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.

Next stop is Vietnam;

And it’s five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain’t no time to wonder why.

Whoopee!  we’re all gonna die.

Well, come on generals, let’s move fast;

Your big chance has come at last

Gotta go out and get those reds – The only good commie is the one who’s dead

And you know that peace can only be won?

When we’ve blown ’em all to kingdom come.

And it’s one, two, three.

What are we fighting for?

Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.

Next stop is Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan);

And it’s five, six, seven

Open up the pearly gates.

Well there ain’t no time to wonder why

Whoopee!  we’re all gonna die.


Well, come on Wall Street, don’t move slow.

Why man, this is war au-go-go.

There’s plenty good money to be made?

By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade.

Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb.

They drop it on the Viet Cong.

And it’s one, two, three.

What are we fighting for?

Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.

Next stop is Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan).

And it’s five, six, seven.

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain’t no time to wonder why

Whoopee!  we’re all gonna die.

Well, come on mothers throughout the land,

Pack your boys off to Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan)

Come on fathers, don’t hesitate,

Send ’em off before it’s too late.

Be the first one on your block

To have your boy come home in a box.

And it’s one, two, three

What are we fighting for?

Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,

Next stop is Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan)

And it’s five, six, seven.

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain’t no time to wonder why.

Whoopee!  we’re all gonna die.

America, might we sigh and consider, the more things transform, the more they stay the same.  If today we wish to chant, “Change we can believe in,” might we contemplate that there is still talk of war.  Troops trample through Iraq.  Soon they may storm into Iran.  Those in the Middle East might be shifted to the sands of Afghanistan, or possibly conflict in Pakistan will be on the horizon.  

We need not journey to a Museum to revisit history.  Our local mausoleum may serve to tell the tale of war and peace.

What are we fighting for . . .

Drug Wars VIII

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

Originally Published, May 8, 2008

Sometimes writing these essays are a chore and seem demanding, then there are other times when they seem to write themselves, this is one of the latter. I have written extensively about America’s war on drugs and all the ills and problems that it has caused. First of all let me state that I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe that racism is involved in every aspect of life in America, at least it hasn’t been in my life. However, there are times when it plays a major role in how we interact with one another. The war on drugs and the death penalty are probably two of the most egregious ways in which racism does play a role in America. The recent results of a couple of studies highlight the disparity in our criminal justice system that can not be explained by any other means.??

?More than two decades after President Ronald Reagan escalated the war on drugs, arrests for drug sales or, more often, drug possession are still rising. And despite public debate and limited efforts to reduce them, large disparities persist in the rate at which blacks and whites are arrested and imprisoned for drug offenses, even though the two races use illegal drugs at roughly equal rates.

??Two new reports, issued Monday by the Sentencing Project in Washington and by Human Rights Watch in New York, both say the racial disparities reflect, in large part, an overwhelming focus of law enforcement on drug use in low-income urban areas, with arrests and incarceration the main weapon.

Ok, here is the short course of racism in America. Drug addiction has no respect of person, it affects blacks and whites in similar numbers. It is not a black issue or a white issue. The difference is in how it is prosecuted in both communities. The drug war has always been depicted by the politicians and the media as a black inner-city issue, as if there were no drug problems in white suburbia. So if we are using drugs at roughly the same numbers then how can one explain that more than 50% of all persons sent to prison for drug crimes are black? These are not traffickers and distributors, these are mostly possession cases.

?Here is how you devastate a community and destroy its future. You begin by arresting its young men for minor drug offenses in a depressed economy. Once arrested you prosecute them for felony convictions. Once they have been convicted or have pled guilty then you have sentenced that young person to a life of hopelessness. That young person has forfeited all rights to achieve any semblance of legitimate success. Once they have received a felony conviction they are no longer eligible for education grants, most government programs that target the poor, or be able to participate in the most basic form of citizenship by voting. One simple arrest by outside observation has actually removed this young person from competing in our society in any meaningful way in the future.


?Two-thirds of those arrested for drug violations in 2006 were white and 33 percent were black, although blacks made up 12.8 percent of the population, F.B.I. data show. National data are not collected on ethnicity, and arrests of Hispanics may be in either category.??

“The race question is so entangled in the way the drug war was conceived,” said Jamie Fellner, a senior counsel at Human Rights Watch and the author of its report.

“If the drug issue is still seen as primarily a problem of the black inner city, then we’ll continue to see this enormously disparate impact,” Ms. Fellner said.

Her report cites federal data from 2003, the most recent available on this aspect, indicating that blacks constituted 53.5 percent of all who entered prison for a drug conviction.

By prosecuting the drug war in the way we are doing it, we are providing cover for racism to continue. We are spending 70% of our resources targeting inner-city and rural white neighborhoods as if these are the people importing the drugs from the foreign capitals and making the billions in profits. The people we are targeting for the most part are such major players in the drug trade most can’t even afford attorneys at trial. So where are all these drug profits going? I can tell you they are not being spent in my neighborhood, the occasional new pair of Jordan sneakers or chrome rims can hardly be presented as some large criminal enterprise.??

Are drugs devastating our inner-city neighborhoods? Of course they are, but the solution is not to destroy the village to save it. Many in the black community are tired of the drug trade with its inherent crime and violence, but the way it is being combated today only creates more strife. We must develop alternatives to incarceration and the ruining of lives. The drug war has decimated the black community and has created an atmosphere of fear and distrust of those who are paid to protect us. All of us make mistakes especially during our youth, we mustn’t compound those mistakes by ruining their lives with felony convictions. While whites are offered diversionary programs to avoid felony records blacks are continually being placed in the system. We want crime reduced, but not at the expense of our future.??

Where does it all begin and how does the ball get rolling. I read a story recently on the numbers of street stops being made by the NY city police and the numbers are staggering. There are similar numbers for traffic stops in communities across America. If we continue to target only one community then naturally the crime statistics are going to be skewed towards that group. The war on drugs has allowed this country to choose what group to prosecute and what communities to devastate under the cover of law and order. No one can argue the legality of what is being done, but what about the morality of it???

Street stops have gradually increased, to 508,540 in 2006 from 97,296 in 2002, according to departmental statistics. Because more than half of those stopped were black, the increases led some police critics to suggest that minorities were being unfairly singled out, though the police reject such claims.??

“The numbers are troubling both because of the number of people stopped and because blacks continue to be, overwhelmingly, the ones who are stopped,” Mr. Dunn said. “Someone outside the Police Department, like the mayor’s office, the City Council or the Justice Department has now got to step in and demand a public accounting of the department’s stop-and-frisk practices.”

The issue isn’t that blacks are committing more crimes despite the constant images being displayed on the nightly local news. The issue is that blacks are more likely to be stopped and searched than whites. If the police were to use the same tactics in the suburbs as they use in the inner-city I guarantee you the number of whites arrested would increase. And if they were sentenced in the same manner as blacks there would be a national outcry. Imagine if 50% of young white males were given a felony conviction in their early teens and were rendered useless from that point on. The war on drugs has allowed those with racist attitudes to institute those beliefs under the cover of legitimate crime fighting.??

References . . .

Open Thread. Teach Us All. Tuesday, February 6, 2007

“Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.”
~ Ronald Reagan

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.”
~ Bob Marley

“There are no great limits to growth
because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

~ Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan
Born on this day in 1911

“I know in my heart that man is good.
That what is right will always eventually triumph.
And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.”

~ Ronald Reagan

“”Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?”
~ Bob Marley

Bob Marley
Born on this day in 1945

Please tell us what you think. 
Two very different men, offering similar perspectives.
What is you perception?
How do you envision life, liberty, and human longings?

Regret Reactivity to John G. Roberts Record ©

I admittedly apologize for my own reactivity.  Earlier in the week, I began writing a missive on Judge John G. Roberts.; the topic was to be, “comparable worth.”  I was inflamed by his positions on women.  However, I was distracted; life took precedence, other issues entered my consciousness, and I delayed in completing my composition.

My head and heart were filled with disdain for the candidate during those days and therefore; I reacted to a report in a less than thoughtful manner.  Instead of continuing my missive on Roberts and women, I wrote of Roberts, the voice of Reagan.  Upon reflection, I realize my words were more reactive than reflective.  My original mission influenced my feelings.  In retrospect, I acknowledge a need to be true; I need to write of what really concerns me and why, and I need to voice my apology for my previous posture.

I will start with my regret and realization and then turn to what is accurate, the deplorable reality of John G. Roberts and his record.  I will write of Roberts and women, Roberts and the Bush administration, Roberts and the law, Roberts the environment, and Roberts on “us,” we the people.

Earlier, I wrote of Roberts being the voice of Ronald Reagan, being the social director for the President, and while he was, with thanks to a dear friend, Mitchell, I realize that this was necessary. Ronald Reagan needed a voice and direction.  John G. Roberts did add a sense of respectability and decorum to the office of the actor-President, one that might have easily been lacking if Reagan was left to fend for himself.

Ronald Reagan was a performer, first and foremost; this helped him to get elected.  Fundraising, flitting from social event to social event was the expertise of this former President.  Mr. Reagan was a celebrity, a star, and clearly not a guiding light.  His mannerisms might have been thought unpolished were they not refined by a man of John Roberts training.  Possibly, were it not for Mr. Roberts, a man of sophistication, the White House could have become “Access Holly-weird” during the Reagan years.

For those that missed the earlier epistle . . . John G. Roberts, the Voice of Ronald Reagan ©

Upon reflection, I am willing to be wrong and to express my regret for reacting to Roberts record as social director.  I needed to address what was truly my concern and not generalize.  However, as I read of Roberts’ doings in reference to etiquette, it became one more thing that gnawed at me.  Now, I am choosing to share some of the background in hopes that you, dear reader might understand why my disregard for the man overwhelmed me.

Initially, I was scripting my response to a news report on Judge Roberts; the topic was “comparable worth.” I was doing research.  I was seeking further information.  The more I found the more contempt I felt. The words Roberts wrote to describe the policy rang in my ears.  The terms were “radical and pernicious.”

In the 1980s, the idea of comparable worth was brought to Congress.  The intent was to equalize wages.  Typically, men were working in positions that paid well.  They were truck-drivers or factory workers; they often did hard labor and were rewarded well for this.  Women, on the other hand, worked in laundries; they served as hotel maids, or did office work.  These positions were thought to be less physically strenuous and therefore, did not reap the same financial rewards.

It was also thought by many that women were meant to work in the home.  If they were out in the workforce, soon, they would “catch” a man”, marry, have babies, and ultimately, stay home.  They would care for their husband’s, raise the children, and that would be their reward.  The profession of homemaker and mother was considered a natural progression and not one that required financial attention.  People presupposed women in the workplace were merely supplementing their income; a man was taking care of their truer needs.

However, in many incidents, this was not the case. Awareness grew as the roles of women expanded.  Women became more educated, demands on them increased. Disparity in wages became an overriding issue.  Congress thought to address this.  For it was obvious, what was once thought to be truth, was no longer.

Many professed shrinking the wage gap would be wise.  Roberts rejected the idea; he stated the idea is “radical and pernicious.”  He went on to question the logic of those in support.  He admonished three Republican Congresswomen who spoke highly of the Bill.  Roberts “sarcastically” compared their positions to that of “Marxist rhetoric!”

National Public Radio’s, Market Place Money offered a comment by Marsha Greenberger, co-President National Women’s Law Center.  Ms. Greenberger stated “His [Roberts] description of what the problems were that women were facing completely eliminated the whole notion of sex discrimination as having any role to play in the lower pay that women received.”

However, Ed Whalen, of the President Conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center spoke in defense of the nominee.  Whalen said ??Roberts had no objection to workplace equality; he simply disagreed with the idea that that judges and bureaucrats should enforce it.’  Whalen continued, “There is nothing that suggests any criticism of the equal pay statute.”  Whalen said, “Indeed, [it is] precisely quite the opposite.”  According to Mr. Whalen, “He [Judge Roberts] explains why equal pay statutes makes sense and why comparable work is such a radical departure from those.”

Yet, as I research, I have reason to differ with Mr. Whalen.  It seems from my reading that John Roberts does not think women equal or worthy of comparable wages.  This is why, when I wrote the Roberts review a day ago, I was not in a place to endorse any actions of this questionable candidate.

It seems from my analysis John G. Roberts thinks women must know their place or at least allow the states to determine what their place is.  As a White house lawyer Roberts wrote many a memorandum stating, that the idea of comparable worth is, “highly objectionable” and probably unconstitutional. “Probably unconstitutional?”  I wonder if that is a code phrase for I personally object.

Roberts raised objections to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.  He proclaimed the Amendment would “override the prerogatives of the states and vest the federal judiciary with broader powers in this area.”  Again, the attorney turns to legalize and these may be valid points.  However, it is this next statement that I find most revealing.

In a 1985 memo on an award program to honor women who changed fields, John G. Roberts said: “Some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good, but I suppose that is for the judges to decide.”  Roberts later married a lawyer, Jane Sullivan Roberts, and therefore, many believe he has grown.  His earlier statements were made twenty years prior.  Yet, for me, thus far, there is no evidence of that he has changed.

The only evidence the public has is the record revealed.

The record shows John Roberts is skeptical when speaking of what he calls, a “so-called” right to privacy.”

While serving as a deputy, to solicitor general Ken Starr, Roberts wrote, what is said to be a superfluous footnote in a brief.  The topic of the brief was family planning funding; the footnote was on Roe v. Wade, a separate issue, yet one Roberts felt a strong need to address.  In the writing, the jurist claimed this case was “wrongly decided and should be overturned.” When asked of the purpose for this annotation, Roberts claimed the addition was a reflection of “administration policy.”  During his appellate court confirmation hearings, the nominee claimed he is mindful; Roe is “settled law.”  However, John G. Roberts has oft-stated his enthusiasm for revisiting this issue.

As a Supreme Court justice, Roberts could be the deciding vote in an abortion rights case.  He could have the power to overturn this decision.  When a man feels compelled to add a postscript to a brief that does not discuss abortion, I think we have reason to suspect he will be an activist judge.

On civil rights and civil liberties, Roberts has a disarming record.

As a member of a three-judge panel on the Washington DC federal court of appeals, Roberts was among those that granted the Bush administration full power to try suspected terrorists without basic due-process protections.  He chose to ignore the provisions of the Geneva Convention.  He denied the principle of man’s humanity to his fellow man.  Roberts preferred being a puppet to the President.  Considering the two have a long-standing relationship this concerns me.

Repeatedly, John G. Roberts comes down on the side of law enforcement.  Roberts thought taking a twelve-year old child into custody, handcuffing her, and removing her from the subway, merely because she was eating French fries, was an “appropriate” action.

In several cases involving car stops and searches, Roberts ruled in favor of the police.  In one incident, the judge decided the U.S. Park Police had the authority to search the trunk of a car during a routine traffic stop.  They had no cause other than their own suspicions; they believed that the vehicle was stolen.  Thankfully, the majority ruled against Judge Roberts.  The other judges decided there were not adequate grounds for this search.  However, there is reason for concern.  In this case, Roberts was over-ruled; will he be in others.

The Fourth Amendment is often in question.  Cases of unreasonable search and seizure come before the Supreme Court regularly.  If the Court becomes more conservative, more rigid, more of an activist body, as it will be with the addition of Judge Roberts, we cannot be certain that our civil rights and liberties will be retained.

Judge John Roberts does not recognize the rights of endangered species.  Mr. Roberts questioned whether the Endangered Species Act applied in a California dispute.  A developer wanted to destroy the habitat of rare toads.  These creatures are found only in the state of California.  Therefore, Mr. Roberts questioned whether the toads were protected.  He argued the Constitution’s commerce clause might not apply when only one state is involved.  While Roberts did not endorse striking down the species act, he questioned the validity in this case.  According to Roberts if only one state is affected, do we need to apply the law?

Oh my.  A judge believes that we can abstain from law if it only applies to one case, one state, or one individual.  Yes, let us deny rights to man, woman, or beast, no matter what the law.  I fear if Roberts is approved, we will all become endangered species; laws be damned.  I fear that, just as he knew what was right and correct for President Reagan, he will believe he knows what is right and correct for us all, regardless of law.

If you prefer to read periodical references directly, please read . . .

Roberts Resisted Women’s Rights, 1982-86 Memos Detail Skepticism, By Amy Goldstein, R. Jeffrey Smith and Jo Becker,Washinton Post

Judge Roberts’s Rules of Law and Order, By Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal

Reagan Files Paint Court Nominee as a Watchdog By David G. Savage, Richard Simon and Henry Weinstein, of the Los Angeles Times.

Nominee’s Memos Critical of Gender-Equality Efforts, By David G. Savage, of the Los Angeles Times.

Files Detail Roberts’s Reagan Years, By Jess Bravin and Jeanne Cummings, of the Wall Street Journal.

John G. Roberts Dossier Washinton Post

Roberts’ decisions tend to favor police and president, By Gina Holland, Associated Press

John G. Roberts, the Voice of Ronald Reagan ©

Abc_roberts_judge_050719_tWeeks ago, it was thought, John G. Roberts Jr. did not wield much power while serving as a White House lawyer in the Reagan administration. His official title was special assistant to the attorney general, William French Smith.  Surely, all his work was done on behalf of his superiors.  He, as a subordinate had little authority.  However, since early, this week, when the Reagan Library released some 5,400 pages of Roberts wrings, we discover that the earlier notion was in error. John G. Roberts Jr. was actually quite an influential force.  Roberts served as a judge, not merely a legal advisor while working with the Reagan administration.

Roberts adjudicated who could see President Ronald Reagan.  He decided when the President was available, where he would appear, and under what circumstances.  Roberts mission was to protect the President from his friends.  Roberts worked to ensure that the actor-President would not promote commercial ventures.  Roberts’ role was to save the President from himself.  There was an accepted fear the Commander-and-Chief word harm himself if he spoke spontaneously; who knew what his words might cause.

There are those that say these newly released pages do not provide insight into “who” the man behind the robes might be.  However, I disagree.  I think Roberts reveals much in his directives. His writings expose his personal belief in a caste system.  Roberts writing show that he thinks it vital to designate roles; people have societal stations. He offers snobbery and arrogance.  He sees generous gestures as dubious.

In 1983, the famous and highly favored President received a request from his longtime friend, performer Jimmy Stewart.  Stewart was often identified as “everyman.”  He chose roles that people could relate to.  It was said that James Maitland Stewart was beloved for his average guy persona.  It was said; Stewart did not put on airs.  However, where John Roberts was concerned, it may have been better if he had.

In a written correspondence, Mr. Stewart invited his chum, Ronny Reagan to serve on the advisory board for his son’s prep school.  Reagan did not receive and respond to the request directly, it went through channels.  Roberts penned his advised response.  In a curtly worded memorandum, the attorney said, the president “should not accept Stewart’s invitation.” He stated it would be “demeaning to the [President’s] office, using it as a huckster’s ploy.”  John Roberts did not consider taking the position might be viewed as a benevolent gesture.  He only thought it suspicious.  Reagan did not accept the offer.

On another occasion, Nancy and Ron were invited to an elegant social affair, a dinner. Affluent Republicans from Dallas were hosting the event; it would be held in conjunction with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.  Roberts advised against attendance; he thought the entire gala undignified.  The dinner, though separate, was connected in spirit, to the grand opening of a shopping mall.  Roberts, thought malls the setting for common folk; Presidents could not be seen in, or associated with shopping center owners.  That would be below him.

In 1985, Jerry Weintraub, chief executive of United Artists entertained a notion; he was hoping to have well known actor-director Sylvester Stallone personally present fellow and former actor, Ronald Reagan with the boxing gloves and robe worn in the newly released motion picture film “Rocky IV.” Later, the gifts would be placed in the nations’ most prestigious museum, the Smithsonian Institution.

However, Roberts thought this unwise.  Just as in earlier years, Roberts showed himself an elitist snob.  The film industry he thought to be merely a commercial venture; that this industry gave his hero a start mattered not.  In a communication addressed to his superior, White House Counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts wrote, the president should decline the offer. It “is a rather transparent publicity stunt to promote the film.”

When, in 1984, a publicist for pop-star Michael Jackson proposed Reagan publicly thank the musician for giving concert tickets to needy youngsters, Roberts raise objections, again. “I hate to sound like one of Mr. Jackson’s records, constantly repeating the same refrain, but I recommend we do not approve this letter.”  Promoting a star in any manner was loathsome to a man such as Roberts.  That Jackson man might have done a noble act was unthinkable. Even if he had, a dignified man such as Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America need not acknowledge it.

John G. Roberts cared not whether President Reagan thought, he might want to attend an event, sponsor a cause, or help a friend; Roberts thought himself the better judge of what was right.

Ronald Reagan had advocated for Americans to support Nicaraguan expatriates.  A group of corporate executives did.  These entrepreneurs asked the President to speak to their group in 1985, and likely, he would have if left to his own devices.

However, the “judge” stopped this from happening.  Roberts wrote his warning; he stated “I recommend stopping any White House involvement in this effort,” Roberts advised the president should not participate in private fundraising.  Raising capital was for the unabashed.  It was a shameless and brazen venture, certainly not worthy of a President.

Roberts did not only express disdain for acts of public promotion; he scorned the rights of women professionally.  This topic will be addressed in a separate study.  As a prelude, please read Nominee’s Memos Critical of Gender-Equality Efforts, by David G. Savage, of the Los Angeles Times.  You might also peruse, As Reagan lawyer, Roberts disparaged efforts to combat discrimination against women, by David Esposo, of The Associated Press.

John G. Roberts’ did not merely advise the President on his social calendar.  Roberts monitored Reagan’s speech.

In 1984, Ronny was set to speak.  He was prepared to conclude his monologue with the words, “the greatest nation God ever created.”  Roberts rejected the phrase, not on legal grounds, instead on religious “rights.”  Legal advisor Roberts offered, these words would be “ill-advised and, particularly in the light of the focus on the religion and politics issue, a likely candidate for the ‘Reaganism of the Week.’ “Roberts reeled with authority, “According to Genesis, God creates things like the heavens and the earth, and the birds and fishes, but not nations.”

John G. Roberts was a Reagan man; he watched his back, front, and supported his ideology.  For me, these Reagan files say much of the man, his morals, and personal beliefs.  Roberts, I think, said it all in his letter of resignation.  The jurist wrote to his hero Ronald Regan, “My years in your service will always be very special to me. The inspiration you have given me will burn brightly in my heart long after I have left the lights of the White House behind.”

If the Senate wants to know if Judge John G. Roberts is an ideologue, after reviewing his writings during the Reagan years, they can know with certainty, he is.  His moral commitment and personal opinions are reflected loudly in these writings.  Clearly, Roberts concludes, there is a “right” way, and a wrong one.  There is a ruling class and a group of commoners; those in one must never meet or mingle with the other.  I believe Roberts is as Roberts does, and that, for me, is frightening.

If you prefer to read periodical references directly, please read . . .

Nominee’s Memos Critical of Gender-Equality Efforts, By David G. Savage, of the Los Angeles Times.

Files Detail Roberts’s Reagan Years, By Jess Bravin and Jeanne Cummings, of the Wall Street Journal.

Reagan Files Paint Court Nominee as a Watchdog By David G. Savage, Richard Simon and Henry Weinstein, of the Los Angeles Times.

White House required prolific pen, By Michael Martinez and Vincent J. Schodolski, of The Chicago Tribune.

You might enjoy reading more.  Brad DeLong writes on, John Roberts’s Judicial Temperament