Please Do Go Geithner

This is almost a good enough reason to support raising the debt ceiling (I say almost a good enough reason).

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Corporate & State Power

As early as 1802, James Sullivan, the perennial Massachusetts attorney general, warned that “the creation of a great variety of corporate interests . . . must have a direct tendency to weaken the powers of government.” But the numbers only increased to the point where the governor of Massachusetts expressed the fear that so many corporate grants were being created “unsparingly and with an unguarded hand” that there was a real danger of the state government’s ending up with “only the very shadow of sovereignty.”82

Wood, Gordon S. (2009). Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States) (Kindle Locations 8480-8483).

 

I think this is basically right; power is dispersed via corporate charters.  Indeed, I’d say it focuses the general attention of the individual away from the state toward the corporate body and this is all for the good.

Debt Limit Politics

“mostly a lot of smoke and mirrors”

The piece also discusses Obama’s trump card – he can send officials out to rattle financial markets.

Judicial Review

Members of the Philadelphia Convention, according to Madison’s notes, “generally supposed the jurisdiction given [to the Court] was constructively limited to cases of a Judiciary nature.” Madison later admitted that “in the ordinary course of Government” the judiciary might interpret the laws and the Constitution, but surely, he said, it had no more right to determine the limits of the Constitution than did the executive or legislature. Both Jefferson and Madison remained convinced to the end of their lives that all parts of America’s government had equal authority to interpret the fundamental law of the Constitution—all departments had what Madison called “a concurrent right to expound the constitution.”37

Wood, Gordon S. (2009). Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States) (Kindle Locations 8154-8159).

I think it is fair to argue that the notion that the courts have the final say on the matter of the constitutionality of a law or other government action is a largely 20th century judicial gloss.  The thing about a judicial gloss is that really only takes some consistent push-back from another branch to call the judicial gloss into question.

Organic Food & Your Health

“The recent fatal E. coli outbreak centred on Germany has focused attention on the validity of the claims that organic food is healthier and safer. The outbreak has been traced to bean sprouts grown on an organic farm in Bienenbüttel, northern Germany. As New Scientist went to press, 35 people had died in the outbreak and thousands more were made ill. As a result, concern is growing over standards of microbiological food safety in organic farming. So are we at higher risk of E. coli and other food-borne diseases from organic food and, if so, what can producers do to reduce this risk and restore confidence in the organic brand? There have been very few scientific studies comparing the microbiological safety of organic and conventional food production systems. In theory, organic food could be more prone to microbial contamination due to the absence of preservatives and the use of manure as fertiliser. However, where studies have been carried out, the results have not been conclusive. This is due to a number of factors, including a small sample size and a failure to factor in seasonal and regional variations. What is clear is that both organic and conventional foods are susceptible to contamination by pathogenic microorganisms at every point in the food chain. It can occur during production, from manure and water, during processing from environmental sources and during the final handling and packing, possibly as a result of poor human sanitation.”

To me this merely illustrates that “organic food” production relies on technology just as much as any other form of food production and that it comes with its own dangers that have to be mitigated against.  Since organic foods have not been demonstrated to be more nutritive, nor more friendly to the environment, etc. I’m still not quite sure why people pursue their production, but to each their own I say.  However, that doesn’t mean the state should intervene to favor one or the other, and as far as I can tell, that is exactly what lots of food advocates across the spectrum want.