Date   

Re: Ivermectin in Canada

Alan Ginsberg
 

from the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration

March 5, 2021 -- "Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19"
https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19

April 26, 2021 -- "FAQ: COVID-19 and Ivermectin Intended for Animals
https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/product-safety-information/faq-covid-19-and-ivermectin-intended-animals

August 21, 2021 -- US FDA on Twitter -- "You are not a horse. You are not a cow."
https://twitter.com/us_fda/status/1429050070243192839

U.S. FDA
@US_FDA
·
You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it.
Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19
Using the Drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19 can be dangerous and even lethal. The FDA has not approved the drug for that purpose.
 


fda.gov


Ivermectin in Canada

Steve Heeren
 

This in Health Canada's recent advisory about ivermectin. Is there any agency of the US gov't which tries to do the same kind of advisories? Click below.

https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2021/76365a-eng.php


--
The weight of this sad time we must obey -
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.

from King Lear by W. Shakespeare

--
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
https://www.avast.com/antivirus


Buffalo Starbucks Workers Say They Will Unionize One Store At a Tim

Steven L. Robinson
 

https://inthesetimes.com/article/buffalo-starbucks-workers-union-labor-india-walton-colectivo

Buffalo Starbucks Workers Say They Will Unionize One Store At a Time

Union elections at individual stores would be a significant labor breakthrough in the fast food industry.

By Hamilton Nolan/In These Times/ August 30, 2021

The fast food industry, one of the most ubiquitous low-wage employers in America, has been notoriously immune to unions. For nearly a decade, the Fight For $15 campaign has been successfully working to raise the industry’s wages — but despite its slogan of “$15 and a union,” has not produced any actual unions. Now, an unrelated group of Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York, are poised to move forward with something that has rarely been seen before: Union elections at individual fast food stores.

Starbucks is America’s second largest fast food chain, with more than 15,000 stores nationwide. Their only unionized stores are a small number run by subcontractors in places such as airports. Last week, an organizing committee of nearly 50 Buffalo-area Starbucks workers, under the banner of ​“Starbucks Workers United” (who are organizing with the union Workers United), released a letter announcing their intention to unionize, and calling on the company to embrace ​“Fair Election Principles” that forswear common union-busting techniques. 

In 2016, workers at the Burgerville chain of restaurants successfully began unionizing what would eventually become several stores. That has been the most significant fast food union campaign, until now. The paltry number of fast food unions reflects a common belief within the labor movement that the high turnover and instability of the industry makes store-by-store organizing too difficult, which is why the Fight For $15 has been more of a political campaign than a union drive. But the Starbucks workers in Buffalo say that they intend to move ahead with union elections on a store-by-store basis, eventually aiming to cover all 20 stores in the region. 

The group’s organizing committee already consists of representatives from at least 18 of the region’s 20 Starbucks stores, workers say. The stores range in size from around a dozen employees to several dozen. Brian Murray, a Starbucks employee who is on the organizing committee, says that they believe they are at or near majority support for the union at four or five stores — and at those stores, they expect to be filing for union elections soon. 

“Most of the workers I talk to are almost immediately on board,” Murray says. He joined the organizing effort two months ago, and has been talking to his coworkers ever since. He says that not only do organizers have to educate everyone on what a union is all about, they also face a latent level of fear among employees that they could be targeted for retaliation, particularly now that the union drive has gone public. 

“[Coworkers] were saying, ​‘I’m scared, can Starbucks do something to us?’ That broke my heart, because that fear culture has already been cultivated,” says Gianna Reeve, a shift supervisor who has been helping with the organizing effort. ​“It really hurts. This is an opportunity that we can be stronger.” 

Employees say they believe that Starbucks has already retained an anti-union law firm to work on the Buffalo campaign. The company would not comment on that directly. Jory Mendes, a Starbucks spokesman, said: ​“While Starbucks respects the free choice of our partners, we firmly believe that our work environment, coupled with our outstanding compensation and benefits, makes unions unnecessary at Starbucks. We respect our partners’ right to organize but believe that they would not find it necessary given our pro-partner environment.”

Already, workers say, Starbucks has begun holding ​“listening sessions” with high-level managers, aiming to hear what issues employees have. This common technique to sap support for union drives is one reason why the workers in Buffalo are focusing their pitch not on specific workplace issues, but on the broader need to simply have a voice on the job. ​“Starbucks calls us partners, but we’re not actually in a partnership with the company. We don’t really have a voice in what they say or do,” says Reeve. After talking to organizers at Workers United, ​“it seemed like a perfect fit — having an organization to display our voice.” 

Which is not to say that the Starbucks workers do not have workplace issues. They cited last year’s successful union drive by Buffalo-based SPoT Coffee as an inspiration, and proof that a union could not only work, but improve conditions as well. The coffee shop industry across America is itself experiencing a mini union wave. Workers United also organized workers at Gimme! Coffee in 2018, and, most recently, Collectivo Coffee became the largest unionized coffee chain in America when its workers voted to join the IBEW earlier this year. 

Starbucks is a sort of hybrid case, sitting at the confluence of coffee shops and fast food chains. Brian Murray, who has been at Starbucks for four months, makes $15.50 an hour. ​“It was great a couple years ago, before $15 was the minimum wage,” he says wryly. ​“I think this is the logical conclusion of the Fight for $15 — forming a union.” 

Gianna Reeve, who has worked at Starbucks for nearly a year, makes $19-an-hour plus tips as a supervisor. But she notes that a coworker who has been with the company for 17 years makes less than a dollar-per-hour more than her. Workers emphasized that, in contrast to the trope that coffee shops and fast food stores are staffed mostly by students or part-timers, a large portion of employees at Starbucks are working to support themselves, and would like to make it more of a stable career. ​“They want that progression, they want that [career] development, but it’s become difficult,” Reeve said. Though she acknowledges that Starbucks offers benefits that are good in the context of coffee shops and fast food, ​“other businesses are catching up.” 

With the recent victory of democratic socialist India Walton in the Democratic mayoral primary, Buffalo now finds itself in the national spotlight as a progressive hotbed. (In fact, Brian Murray first found out about the Starbucks organizing campaign during a conversation he had at an India Walton campaign event.) Now, the probable mayor-to-be is publicly supporting the union effort. ​“We vigorously support the rights of all workers to organize for good pay, good work conditions, and respect on the job. Two years ago, the baristas at Buffalo’s own SPoT Coffee organized for union protections, and we hope the Starbucks baristas will enjoy those same protections soon,” Walton said in a statement to In These Times. ​“Buffalo has a strong history of union organizing, and growing unions will be a vital component of building the safe, healthy city our communities deserve.”

So far, Starbucks has not signed the ​“Fair Election” pledge as the workers have requested. Nor is it likely to. Far more likely is a well-financed anti-union campaign that will grow in intensity as Workers United begins to file for NLRB union elections at stores in the area. This group of Starbucks workers is determined to make history — but history shows that organizing Starbucks is not an easy task. 

In the early 2000s, the Industrial Workers of the World spent years trying to organize Starbucks workers. No certified unions resulted from the effort, but it did earn a good deal of bad publicity for the company — particularly when they fired a vocal pro-union employee named Erik Forman, and were then forced to rehire him. Forman, a lifelong labor activist, is now one of the cofounders of the Drivers Coop in New York City, a ridesharing cooperative that aims to take on Uber and Lyft. Reached this weekend, Forman reflected on the long struggle at the world’s biggest coffee chain. 

“For over 15 years, workers at Starbucks have been organizing and fighting for more control over the place that most of us spend most of our waking hours — the workplace. Starbucks styles itself as a liberal employer, but scratch the surface and what you find is illegal union-busting going back to the origins of the company,” Forman said. ​“But you can’t hold back the tide of human freedom — workers will continue to fight for the lives they deserve. These brave baristas in Buffalo are leading the way for millions of workers in the low-wage service industry.”






New SDS

Scott Nelson
 

An organizing committee of the New SDS is holding informational meetings on the campus of Texas A&M University with a view toward organizing a chapter on campus and in the community. Can anyone explain the differences and similarities between the New SDS and DSA?


Palestine in the Canadian federal election

Ken Hiebert
 

The shift in public opinion regarding Palestine is being reflected in the views of some candidates in our current federal election.
ken h



H-Net Review [H-Nationalism]: Forrest on McDonnell, 'Performing Disunion: The Coming of the Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina'

Andrew Stewart
 



Best regards,
Andrew Stewart

Begin forwarded message:

From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-review@...>
Date: August 31, 2021 at 2:14:14 PM EDT
To: h-review@...
Cc: H-Net Staff <revhelp@...>
Subject: H-Net Review [H-Nationalism]:  Forrest on McDonnell, 'Performing Disunion: The Coming of the Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina'
Reply-To: h-review@...

Lawrence T. McDonnell.  Performing Disunion: The Coming of the Civil
War in Charleston, South Carolina.  Cambridge Studies on the American
South Series. Cambridge  Cambridge University Press, 2018.  576 pp.  
$125.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-107-18493-0; $37.99 (paper), ISBN
978-1-316-63621-3.

Reviewed by Madeleine Forrest (Virginia Military Institute)
Published on H-Nationalism (August, 2021)
Commissioned by Evan C. Rothera

At the beginning of the second section of his book, Lawrence T.
McDonnell quotes Eric Hobsbawm comparing the work of "grassroots"
history to a jigsaw puzzle: "What we must normally do is to put
together a wide variety of often fragmentary information: and to that
we must, if you'll excuse the phrase, construct the jig-saw puzzle
ourselves" (p. 137). That is exactly what McDonnell has done in
_Performing Disunion: The Coming of the Civil War in Charleston,
South Carolina._ At its heart, the book seeks to understand how
secession in South Carolina occurred and who was involved in its
instigation. Taking previous historians to task, McDonnell contends
that this type of work is long overdue. Historians are familiar with
the stories of South Carolina's secession in December 1860 and then
the subsequent six states that followed. But how, exactly, did
disunion come about and, more specifically, why in Charleston? What
occurred in the city prior to 1860 to create a climate that allowed
for secession? These are the questions McDonnell seeks to answer in
this masterful work.

McDonnell is careful to pay his dues. This work builds on what has
been accomplished by David Potter, William Freehling, Eric Walther,
and Steven Channing. However, McDonnell very quickly points out what
those scholars' works lack: a clear understanding of how the idea of
secession developed and who was involved. And, according to the
author, historians have not sufficiently explained how those crises
occurred at the local level. "As with Christianity, it seems,"
McDonnell states a bit glibly, "the Confederacy began with a virgin
birth" (p. 9). This illustrates that McDonnell is writing a different
sort of history. He is an adept storyteller, and his prologue,
discussing a letter that inspired his research into these events,
pulls the reader in, as does his explanation into his thesis. "There
was not one secession crisis," McDonnell argues, "but at least
eleven, overlapping yet distinct" (p. 6). He is willing to admit that
while scholars know a lot about the actual process of disunion and
how it occurred at the state level, he contends there has been a
dearth of research as to what inspired secession at the local level.
McDonnell seeks to rectify that by examining the most famous
secession city of all.

This book encompasses an incredible breadth of research. As all
successful local histories do, this work examines its subject from
every angle. Showing his ability to combine seemingly "fragmentary
information," McDonnell uses an advertisement placed in the
_Charleston Mercury_ in October 1860 to construct his story and bring
antebellum Charleston to life. (A helpful reminder to historians of
all stripes that even the most minor detail can be of utmost
importance.) The ad, which uses chess and politics as a way to sell
hats, helps McDonnell to situate the story of secession among those
who lived it to explain both who was involved and how South
Carolinians found themselves celebrating disunion in 1860. Secession,
McDonnell contends, was not a coordinated movement but was "driven by
a series of discrete, disconnected events performed at the state
level." And as others, such as Peter Carmichael, have argued, it was
not led by wealthy planters but young men who, McDonnell contends,
"took the leading role, almost accidentally, in wrecking their world"
(p. 15). According to McDonnell, secession was not necessarily the
end goal; instead, it came about because of a series of performances
by the various social classes led by young, middle-class men who were
all influenced by the events of 1860 and the growing political
crisis. Complicating this were rival honor codes, which shows how
divided the city was and how desperate many were to unify white
Charlestonians. This was not a place that was unified behind
secession from the start. All different parts of society, including
upper-class planters, laborers, middle-class businessmen, among
others, were involved, with each group not ever really believing that
their actions would end in war. Unlike in the Nullification Crisis of
the 1830s, there was no Andrew Jackson to halt South Carolina and its
aspirations in 1860.

The work is divided into three sections: "Context," "Contradictions,"
and "Crisis." Aptly titled, each section builds on the previous one,
so by the third and final section, comprising three chapters, readers
feel like they have walked the streets of Charleston with McDonnell
and understand how the city went from a divisive place led by men who
strove to find social unity, what McDonnell refers to as the "South
Carolina jeremiad," to a place preparing men for war (p. 17).

This argument, and the way McDonnell constructs his book, will no
doubt lead to much debate, as it should. In recreating this world,
McDonnell shows off his skills as a storyteller in a way that many
historians shy away from. It is a style of writing that will appeal
to students (which makes the length of the book a bit unfortunate as
it puts the work out of reach for most undergraduate classes). And
while his argument is built on examining social conformity and the
strata of Charleston's social classes, one group does not receive the
same level of focus: women. McDonnell does not shy away from this,
and even attempts to preempt criticism. In one of his more
contentious statements, he argues that, in contrast to Stephen Berry,
manhood was not measured by "close companionate relations with
women," and while women were still influential, "men's chief focus
was always, necessarily, their relations with other men" (p. 19). As
a result, women are only periphery figures in this work.

There are many who might struggle (or challenge) this work as it is a
different type of monograph. However, McDonnell's extensive archival
work make it clear he is not taking liberty with his research. It is
this type of book--based on a variety of sources, a unique way of
reading them, a desire to look at all aspects of life in an
antebellum region--that will finally enable us to better understand
the origin of secession and who was involved in the process of
disunion. It is microhistory at its finest.

Citation: Madeleine Forrest. Review of McDonnell, Lawrence T.,
_Performing Disunion: The Coming of the Civil War in Charleston,
South Carolina_. H-Nationalism, H-Net Reviews. August, 2021.
URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=56345

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States
License.



Re: Judges & Ivermectin

hari kumar
 

Hello Chris: 
I think I do understand your argument... However I beg to differ:
i) There needs to be counter-arguments based on scientific facts. Actually, even by your little clause ("Unless of course you have an advanced degree or knowledge at expert level in the field")  I think I may qualify to be able to counter those pseudo-scientific 'factoids';
iii) There are some on the left, amongst which I think it is reasonable to include Paul Zambereka (Sp?) - who are taken in, given the assumption that these are honest basically - it is necessary to counter their arguments. Now you could argue they are dishonest manipulators.. I have no evidence to that extent;
iii) Taken one step further - the logic of your argument would be to ignore counter-arguments posed to the left. I am sure that is what you intend at all! But is that not he logical sequelae? 

Equally Cordially, Hari Kumar


99 Books – 50 Year Anniversary Tribute to George Jackson

Charles Keener
 


GEORGE JACKSON WAS ASSASSINATED IN SAN QUENTIN PRISON ON AUGUST 21, 1971. THE FOLLOWING WEEK, THE PRISON RELEASED AN INVENTORY OF THE 99 BOOKS IN HIS CELL.

To mark the 50th anniversary of his death, we feel inspired to elevate the breadth of his intellectual curiosity and the way in which he understood and engaged the world. 


Re: Louis N. Proyect

Marv Gandall
 

Lovely tribute in today’s Counterpunch, Michael. 
 
 
Like many others, I always admired Louis’ erudition and especially looked forward his excellent film reviews. But I mainly knew him online, and he too often appeared to me to epitomize  the stereotype  of the aggressive and narcissistic New York intellectual. You've vividly described the warm and generous human being beneath the online persona. 
 
It makes me regret I never got to know him personally, and I can see why you and others who did are grieving his loss particularly keenly.


In Graz, Austria, Communists Have Built a Red Fortress | Adam Baltner | Jacobin

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 


Re: Judges & Ivermectin

Chris Goldsbury
 

Please be advised. 

Last year it was hydroxychloroquine. Followed by bleach. Followed by UV light. And the treatment (or three card Monte bait & switch) in the professional naysayers corner is now Ivermectin. 

Please. 

It is a tactic called “flooding the zone.”

See “critical race theory” hysteria. Et al. 

Don’t promote it. 
Don’t study it. 
Don’t repeat it. 

Unless of course you have an advanced degree or knowledge at expert level in the field or no conscience and a ton of stock (in such case go away) to pump and dump. 

It’s aka bullshit. 

Seriously. 

You are being led by the nose by professional malcontents and people who know nothing of science or community or morality. 

They are counter revolutionary agitators. They are the status quo. 

They should be ignored. 

They are contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. 

Don’t be their fools either. 

Sure there are drs and judges who will go along for the ride. A pulmonologist from Ohio? 

A question his scholarship. I know nothing of his CV. And I don’t care to pursue his beliefs. 

But I do know liars and charlatans and false media promoters. 


Cordially 

Chris Goldsbury 

Usually a quiet reader. 

RIP Louis Proyect. 

Typos courtesy of auto spell. 

On Aug 31, 2021, at 4:02 PM, hari kumar <hari6.kumar@...> wrote:

I had not planned to write to this list on this drug again.
But there is a relentless obscurantism being pushed. If this report is true (it is in the US paper or 'rag' 'USA Today) it is a pretty bad pass: 
At: http://usa-today-news.com/2021/08/31/an-ohio-judge-ordered-a-hospital-to-use-deworming-drug-ivermectin-to-treat-a-patient-with-covid-19/
 August 31, 2021An Ohio woman asked a court to order a hospital to use ivermectin to treat her husband for COVID-19Butler County Judge Gregory Howard ruled in her favor, WXIX reported.

Ivermectin is a deworming drug and is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19. 

An Ohio judge ordered a hospital to use the deworming drug ivermectin on a COVID-19 patient, several outlets reported. 

Butler County Judge Gregory Howard ruled in favor of a woman who asked that her husband, who is on a ventilator in West Chester Hospital with COVID-19, be treated with the unproven drug, the Ohio Capital Journal and The Enquirer reported. 

Jeffrey Smith, 51, contracted COVID-19 in early July. His wife, Julie Smith, asked the court on August 20 for an emergency order to have the drug used on her husband. 

On August 23, Howard ruled that Dr. Fred Wagshul should be allowed to give Smith 30mg of the drug daily for three weeks, WXIX reported. 

Wagshul is a pulmonologist in Dayton, Ohio and a co-founder of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, a non-profit that touts the use of ivermectin for COVID-19.
“From the countries that we’ve seen that have emptied their hospitals. This medicine is very very effective,” Dr. Wagshul told the outlet.  
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have warned that the drug is not proven to treat COVID-19 and can have serious side effects. In a health advisory last week, the CDC said the FDA-approved drug can be safely used to treat some parasitic infections but can be harmful in other settings. 

The CDC is especially concerned as calls to poison control rise due to people taking variations of the drug meant for horses and cows. Poison control calls about the drug rose by five-fold last month compared to the baseline number of calls before the pandemic." END QUOTES.

Hari Kumar


Re: Nature Article on Ivermectin

hari kumar
 

fklosar says: "The integrity and governance of scientific discourse seem so vulnerable."
Correct. 
Hence the relevance of Marx & Engels observation in the Communist Manifesto: "The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers." at MIA: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm
Hari Kumar


Re: Nature Article on Ivermectin

Farans Kalosar
 

On Tue, Aug 31, 2021 at 08:19 AM, hari kumar wrote:
Thanks fkalosar - that reference certainly adds extra detail. Perhaps the proponents of this type of COVID denialism will back off. 
Hari Kumar

 I wish I could agree--there's a social pathology going on here that defies description--especially when you encounter the denialism among the self-identified "left"--for example, the antivaxers trying to control the "conversation" on the Sixties Leftist/SDS page on Facebook. 

Regarding PubMed, I'm finding a barrel of citations of pro-ivermectin stuff on PubMed--far beyond my capacity to evaluate.  One does have to ask whether all this is a legitimate canvass of worthwhile literature or the product of some sinister right-wing influence at NLM.

BTW: Salon, of all places, has an (AFAIK) good high-level review of [some of] the "studies":

https://www.salon.com/2021/08/18/ivermectin-studies-analyzed/

I can't help wondering how much of this stuff is just plain faked--crudely adapted plagiarism or actually computer-generated phony BS.  I have the impression that the Egyptian preprint that was withdrawn may have been fraudulent (note character of current Egyptian gov.) And what about that Brazilian study--has Bolsonaro or some toady intervened?  

The integrity and governance of scientific discourse seem so vulnerable.


Judges & Ivermectin

hari kumar
 

I had not planned to write to this list on this drug again.
But there is a relentless obscurantism being pushed. If this report is true (it is in the US paper or 'rag' 'USA Today) it is a pretty bad pass: 
At: http://usa-today-news.com/2021/08/31/an-ohio-judge-ordered-a-hospital-to-use-deworming-drug-ivermectin-to-treat-a-patient-with-covid-19/
 August 31, 2021An Ohio woman asked a court to order a hospital to use ivermectin to treat her husband for COVID-19Butler County Judge Gregory Howard ruled in her favor, WXIX reported.

Ivermectin is a deworming drug and is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19. 

An Ohio judge ordered a hospital to use the deworming drug ivermectin on a COVID-19 patient, several outlets reported. 

Butler County Judge Gregory Howard ruled in favor of a woman who asked that her husband, who is on a ventilator in West Chester Hospital with COVID-19, be treated with the unproven drug, the Ohio Capital Journal and The Enquirer reported. 

Jeffrey Smith, 51, contracted COVID-19 in early July. His wife, Julie Smith, asked the court on August 20 for an emergency order to have the drug used on her husband. 

On August 23, Howard ruled that Dr. Fred Wagshul should be allowed to give Smith 30mg of the drug daily for three weeks, WXIX reported. 

Wagshul is a pulmonologist in Dayton, Ohio and a co-founder of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, a non-profit that touts the use of ivermectin for COVID-19.
“From the countries that we’ve seen that have emptied their hospitals. This medicine is very very effective,” Dr. Wagshul told the outlet.  
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have warned that the drug is not proven to treat COVID-19 and can have serious side effects. In a health advisory last week, the CDC said the FDA-approved drug can be safely used to treat some parasitic infections but can be harmful in other settings. 

The CDC is especially concerned as calls to poison control rise due to people taking variations of the drug meant for horses and cows. Poison control calls about the drug rose by five-fold last month compared to the baseline number of calls before the pandemic." END QUOTES.

Hari Kumar


H-Net Review [H-FedHist]: Brannon on Cost, 'The Price of Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy'

Andrew Stewart
 



Best regards,
Andrew Stewart

Begin forwarded message:

From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-review@...>
Date: August 31, 2021 at 10:51:36 AM EDT
To: h-review@...
Cc: H-Net Staff <revhelp@...>
Subject: H-Net Review [H-FedHist]:  Brannon on Cost, 'The Price of Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy'
Reply-To: h-review@...

Jay Cost.  The Price of Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison,
and the Creation of American Oligarchy.  New York  Basic Books, 2018.
256 pp.  $27.00 (paper), ISBN 978-1-5416-9746-1.

Reviewed by Rebecca Brannon (James Madison University)
Published on H-FedHist (August, 2021)
Commissioned by Caryn E. Neumann

_The Price of Greatness_ is a tightly written (short) book that takes
on a difficult subject. As Jay Cost notes in the introduction, James
Madison's evolution over time from an advocate of greater federal
power to an avowed opponent of projects of federal strength is either
mystifying or hypocritical, depending on your perspective. Cost
argues that Madison's progression from Federalist and ally of
Alexander Hamilton to staunch opponent of centralized fiscal power
was motivated by his concerns for ensuring all people equal access to
and benefit from their government. All along his concern for checks
and balances was part of a system determined to stymie government
capture.

Jay Cost is a conservative pundit and writer who left the Republican
Party in 2016 over the nomination of Donald J. Trump for president.
This work tries to understand how on earth we came to this moment in
American politics and life. When the book came out in 2018, it
clearly attempted to explain how the tensions existent in the
American democratic experiment from the very beginning have only
inflated since the founding moment. Cost paints a path from the fight
over oligarchy in the eighteenth century to the moment that brought
seemingly improbable pseudo-populist leader Trump to the highest
office in the most powerful country in the world. The events since
then, including the occupation of the Capitol in January 2021, have
only made these questions more urgent. Perhaps the founders did not
have wonderful solutions to the inherent tensions between the needs
of the people and the lure of federal power for elite
self-protection. Perhaps only luck kept us from always being a very
stratified and unequal society rather than Thomas Jefferson's
imagined middle-class farmers' republic. After all, viewed in
hindsight, eras of extreme income inequality have been at least as
frequent as eras of muted inequality and a "middle-class" America.

This book comes at a moment when early American historians are
joining a wider scholarly community concerned with extreme income
inequality. Scholars such as Daniel Mandell and Terry Bouton have
delved into the myriad ways in which early Americans pushed for
economic equality and a fundamentally middle-class, owner society for
white men. [1] Most early Americans did not want a winner-take-all
society. Furthermore, they saw it as incompatible with their vision
of a participatory democracy. Early Americans were suspicious of not
just monarchy but also concentrated financial power. Early Americans
followed a long line of early modern English and German thinkers who
considered elite wealth concentration a great threat to the rights of
all. With great wealth--or the possibility of great wealth--came
elite power determined to advantage the few at the expense of the
many. For many of these people, the American Revolution was a
revolution in favor of human, or at least white male, equality. They
fought in order to bring a more equal society into being.
Pennsylvanians, long known for living in the best poor man's country,
wrote a revolutionary-era constitution that epitomized the movement.
Power was placed in a unicameral legislature to best represent the
people. There was no upper house to "contain" the lower sorts or
protect elite interests. Democracy required income equality to work.
Otherwise, the elite would hoard opportunity for themselves at the
expense of both everyone else and the health of the democratic
government itself.

Desperate times lead to desperate intellectual measures. Jay Cost has
emerged from a conservatism that promotes not just free markets but
market absolutism to rediscover a long-standing, home-grown
skepticism of elites and their capture of market opportunities
through coercive control of the mechanisms of power. The title of the
book frames the real question--how did we end up with an oligarchy
instead of a thriving democracy? Is this an inevitable cost?

Cost chooses to consider two allies and frenemies who co-wrote the
_Federalist Papers_ and thereby shaped a powerful vision of a strong
federal government--only to diverge in the following decades. In so
doing, Cost tries to move beyond the idea that the prominent founding
fathers were opposed to the most egalitarian impulses of the
Revolution in order to bring them into the conversation about the
value, and limits, of economic equality. In so doing, he has to
grapple with the reality that many of the early national elite were
indeed galvanized by the chance to use their control of government to
line their own pockets. He quotes a senator from Pennsylvania who
resented this devolution from the ideals of the Revolutionary moment.
The Constitution "raised a singular ferment.... Every one ill at ease
in his finances; everyone out at elbows in his circumstances; every
ambitious man, every one desirous of a shortcut to wealth and
honors." And everyone saw how the Constitution could "be wrought to
their purposes," with chances at government sinecures of all kinds
(pp. 75-76). Cost shows how James Madison was alarmed by real-life
examples of government capture, including speculators (including
almost all of Congress) voting for the government to pay back debt at
full face value once they had snapped it up for shillings on the
pound. He was further alarmed by the financial panic of 1792, which
was caused by emboldened speculators trading on inside information to
try to corner the market on public securities. Investors felt no
moral hazard as long as they controlled the public purse. Why not
individualize the profits and nationalize the losses? Hamilton ended
up bailing out emboldened, and connected, speculators with government
money. As Cost shows, "the moneyed class acquired effective control
over the government, directing public affairs for its own ends rather
than the good of all" (p. 75). It had taken less than five years from
the adoption of the Constitution to the possibility of ruinous
government capture.

If this sounds all too familiar, consider that the point of this
trade press book is to speak to where we are today. Cost's dilemma is
what he sees as Madison's--what to do when you support strong federal
government, but see it as fully captured by oligarchy? Madison
famously invoked the realization that men are no angels in the
_Federalist Papers_. In Cost's hands, Madison's naivete led him to be
continually surprised and alarmed as things did not work out in his
favor. Yet was Madison ever really thus? He mistrusted abuses of the
government, but he also mistrusted financiers in general. His own
wealth came from landownership and the exploitation of the enslaved.
Of course he saw his interests as diverging from Hamilton's
commercial and industrial vision.

Cost is a careful scholar who struggles in assessing how far to carry
his own concerns about market concentration and market capture then
and now. One notable absence is any use of or reflection on the new
history of capitalism. This line of thought argues that slavery, not
free labor, was crucial to the development of America's financial and
industrial might. Scholars such as Caitlin Rosenthal and Edward
Baptist have shown how integral slavery was to the development of
modern American capitalism.[2] Cost also is torn about giving up
modern conservatism's belief that Hamilton's vision of a
market-oriented, commercial, industrial America was the right and
inevitable one. He therefore admires Madison's insights into the
limitations of our government structure but also keeps repeating that
he was ultimately wrong about the nation's direction. I am not sure
you can have both. Then there is the problem of Madison's presidency,
which historians usually handle by ignoring it ever happened. Cost
argues that Madison certainly made mistakes but in response generated
a new Democratic-Republican theory of government that merged
republicanism and liberalism. Cost believes that what he calls the
Federalist-Republican fusion worked reasonably well, but the tension
between risks of either oligarchy or a mob rule of united factions
remained. He briefly traces the nineteenth- and twentieth-century
history of the 1 percent bribing politicians for their own interests.
Government capture is reality.

Cost's real concerns are apparent in his language along the way. He
writes of a Republican Party as "an ideologically adrift coalition at
the end of the war, desperately in need of a new direction" (p. 135).
He is referring to the end of the War of 1812, but the description
fits the post-Iraq moment just as well. As a conservative, Cost sees
the "liberal project" as the underlying flaw that has allowed elite
capture of government support while divorcing the people from trust
in their government (p. 192). Needless to say, there are other
possible interpretations of why Americans mistrust their government
that do not depend on jettisoning the social safety net and
infrastructure investments typical of wealthy democratic nations in
the twenty-first century.

So what are the solutions? Cost does not really offer any. We are all
lost together. He calls for a return to a spirit of investment in our
shared democracy--a renewal of "the republican quality of government"
(p. 195). We should remember that our fates rise and fall together,
and act accordingly. The final paragraph reminds us that public
opinion--the opinion of the voters--is the ultimate check on
corruption. He offers no policy solutions or reassuring call to the
finer angels of our nature. Overall, Cost has offered a careful and
thoughtful history of how two influential theorists and writers of
the American Constitution thought about the complicated issues that
government needed to mediate. It is thin gruel for solutions.

Notes

[1]. Daniel R. Mandell, _The Lost Tradition of Economic Equality in
America, 1600-1870_ (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,
2020); Terry Bouton, _Taming Democracy: "The People," the Founders,
and the Troubled Ending of the American Revolution_ (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2007); Woody Holton, _Forced Founders: Indians,
Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in
Virginia_ (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).

[2]. Caitlin Rosenthal, _Accounting for Slavery: Masters and
Management_ (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018); Edward
E. Baptist, _The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of
American Capitalism_ (New York: Basic Books, 2014). For an
interesting corrective sympathetic to the main aims, see Trevor
Burnard and Giorgio Riello, "Slavery and the New History of
Capitalism," _Journal of Global History_ 15, no. 2 (2020): 225-44.

Citation: Rebecca Brannon. Review of Cost, Jay, _The Price of
Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of
American Oligarchy_. H-FedHist, H-Net Reviews. August, 2021.
URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=53686

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States
License.



H-Net Review [H-LatAm]: Hagler on Taylor, 'Fugitive Freedom: The Improbable Lives of Two Impostors in Late Colonial Mexico'

Andrew Stewart
 



Best regards,
Andrew Stewart

Begin forwarded message:

From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-review@...>
Date: August 31, 2021 at 10:48:34 AM EDT
To: h-review@...
Cc: H-Net Staff <revhelp@...>
Subject: H-Net Review [H-LatAm]:  Hagler on Taylor, 'Fugitive Freedom: The Improbable Lives of Two Impostors in Late Colonial Mexico'
Reply-To: h-review@...

William B. Taylor.  Fugitive Freedom: The Improbable Lives of Two
Impostors in Late Colonial Mexico.  Oakland  University of California
Press, 2021.  Maps. 224 pp.  $24.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-520-36856-9.

Reviewed by Anderson Hagler (Duke University)
Published on H-LatAm (August, 2021)
Commissioned by Casey M. Lurtz

Eighteenth-century Spanish officials stood aghast as charlatans,
sinners, and villains infested the Crown's precious American
colonies. In the viceroyalty of New Spain, Joseph Lucas Aguayo y
Herrera and Juan Atondo were two such conmen, dedicating their lives
to deceit and sin. Among their many crimes, Aguayo and Atondo
impersonated priests with varying degrees of success. However,
perverting the Eucharist and confession threatened the eternal souls
of those subject to their duplicity. But why did Aguayo and Atondo
choose this life of crime, and were they as depraved as the
Inquisition feared?

In four splendid chapters, William B. Taylor shows how political and
economic disruptions facilitated the rise of "shady opportunists,"
like Aguayo and Atondo, who preyed on the pious (p. xii). According
to Taylor, Spanish colonial rule "remained a work in progress right
to the end" (p. 4). Political and spiritual unification meant
"putting people in their place," so an influx of rootless strangers
threatened the consolidation of the empire (p. 6). Colonial laws
placed vagabonds and beggars in the same category as gamblers and
prostitutes. Elites grew anxious as droves of unknown faces entered
their towns.

To provide the details of Aguayo's and Atondo's transient lives,
Taylor analyzes several Inquisition trials and a dossier of related
information. Aguayo testified before the Holy Office on three
occasions (1770, 1771, and 1773). A final note from the office of the
archbishop of Mexico in 1792 shows that Aguayo had been arrested once
more for impersonating a priest near Guanajuato. Charges grew against
Aguayo as his former victims sought retribution for his deceit. For
his part, Atondo remained in custody for three years (circa 1815-18),
just before the Mexican Inquisition disbanded in 1820. Remarkably,
Atondo wrote unbidden thirty pages of script about his life. He cited
his "obstinate heart" as the driving force for his "scandalous and
criminal excesses" (p. 73). Though a final ruling remains lacking,
Taylor highlights that the prosecution viewed Atondo negatively as a
heretic and charlatan.

In the second half of his book, Taylor compares Aguayo and Atondo to
the literary picaresque genre, questioning whether these two
historical rogues were worthy of redemption. Indeed, Aguayo and
Atondo deliberately chose the con to swindle plebian men and women.
For Taylor, their indifference toward women was "chilling" (p. 123).
It seems, though, that Aguayo and Atondo were nonviolent criminals.
Descriptions of Aguayo's slight physique suggest that "he was
harmless" (p. 124). Moreover, Atondo's "periodically unsettled,
erratic behavior, insomnia, inflated self-esteem, and sudden urges
and appetites suggest manic episodes" (p. 128). Although
twenty-first-century mental health terms cannot be used in
eighteenth-century historical studies, Taylor implies that Atondo may
have been somewhat unbalanced.

Aguayo seems to have been more of a loner than Atondo. Aguayo "never
married or mentioned lovers, and claimed to have no friends" (p.
136). Atondo once made a comment about being rejected by his father,
revealing his deracination early in life.  Although
twenty-first-century readers may empathize with Aguayo and Atondo as
_pícaros_, meaning rogues, Taylor elucidates just how these two
small-time imposters threatened to undo the colonial rule as it
consistently struggled to maintain sociopolitical coherence.

Taylor concludes that the liberty Aguayo and Atondo experienced
drifting from one town to the next was not the type of freedom
described by eighteenth-century philosophes but rather a fugitive
freedom. Although Aguayo and Atondo likely enjoyed their hoodwinking,
they remained on the run to avoid a prison sentence. Mobility
jeopardized the Spanish social hierarchy because refusing to stay put
made it more difficult for elites to control the masses. Indeed, it
is simply remarkable that these two con artists survived for so long
on the run. In sum, _Fugitive Freedom _weaves together extraordinary
Inquisition cases to illuminate the cracks and imperfections built
into the edifice of the Spanish Empire. No doubt, historians,
students, and enthusiasts of colonial Mexico will take delight in
Taylor's sharp analysis and supple prose.

Citation: Anderson Hagler. Review of Taylor, William B., _Fugitive
Freedom: The Improbable Lives of Two Impostors in Late Colonial
Mexico_. H-LatAm, H-Net Reviews. August, 2021.
URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=56549

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States
License.



Liberal Party of Canada campaign ad

Ken Hiebert
 

"The party has dominated federal politics for much of Canada's history, holding power for almost 70 years of the 20th century.[13][14] As a result, it has sometimes been referred to as Canada's 'natural governing party'.[15][16]"

I was struck by an ad that I have seen more than once on television.  It seems unlikely that the Liberal party seeks to advance consciousness and more likely that they wish to appeal to the sentiments of large numbers of voters.
So I find it interesting that one of their campaign ads shows Trudeau at a gay pride march and taking the knee at a Black Lives Matter rally.  It’s a fleeting image and you could miss it if you don’t recall the news coverage at the time.

This link will lead to number of videos.  Check out the one titled Relentless.

ken h


Re: Nature Article on Ivermectin

hari kumar
 

Thanks fkalosar - that reference certainly adds extra detail. Perhaps the proponents of this type of COVID denialism will back off. 
Hari Kumar


Interview with the co-organiser of the first Kabul protest against the Taliban

Chris Slee
 

Video version of an interview with Sudaba - one of the organisers of the first Kabul protest against the Taliban.


Nature Article on Ivermectin

Farans Kalosar
 

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