Posts tagged with "author"

Philips: U.S. Constitution Key Pivot To The Formation Of The Modern World

Editor’s Note: The views expressed are solely those of the author. James D.R. Philips is an Australian attorney and the author of the new book, “Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution.”
 
 

Australia probably isn’t the first place Americans think of on Independence Day, but it’s important to consider the many ways America’s example has reverberated around the world for centuries. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, had three great consequences for Australia. First, it prompted the founding of a British colony there. Second, it facilitated Australian independence. Third, it led to the structure of the Australian Constitution. American independence meant that the British could no longer send convicts to its former American colonies. Long-stay prisons in Britain were in short supply. The British needed a new colony to which they could transport convicts. They risked the moonshot of trying to establish a colony on the other side of the world, at Botany Bay (now in Sydney).

The success of the revolutionary war and Declaration of independence taught the British not to resist a settler colony whose people wanted independence. When Australians demanded independence, just over a century after the founding of the first Australian colony, the British did not stand in their way. The independence led to the Constitution. The Constitution (drafted while the First Fleet was hazarding its epic journey from Portsmouth in England to establish the new colony in Australia) had a profound influence on the structure and terms of the Australian Constitution, and therefore on Australia’s system of government.

Of course, a future Australia was not on his mind when Jefferson was drafting the declaration. He and other Founders were focused on protecting their legal and political rights from British predation. The Founders charged King George III with tyranny. They rebelled, left his kingdom and established a republic. Charles I suffered a similar fate, charged with tyranny by the Rump Parliament. He was tried and beheaded in 1649, and a British republic established. The American republic has endured.

The English republic was short-lived. But some 30 years after the end of the English republic, the English had a second revolution, called either the “English Revolution” or the “Glorious Revolution.” The English (with substantial Dutch help) forced James II to flee his kingdom, rather than putting him on trial and executing him. The English Revolution established finally that the monarch was subject to Parliament and to law. During the English Revolution, there were rebellions against English rule in Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland.

The English Revolution was a foundation of the development of pluralistic societies, which enjoyed freedom and representative government subject to law in England and America. The American Revolution further developed and cemented these principles and had a profound effect on the development of the modern world. The Founders believed that they were protecting their existing legal and political rights. Their conception of those rights developed in the British-American colonial period. There was plenty of scope for different perceptions in America and in England as to the extent of British control of aspects of colonial government, and to what extent American rights were subject to the King’s prerogative power or subject to Parliamentary legislation.

When, some 80 years after the English Revolution, George III and his Parliament began imposing taxes on Americans and seeking to increase British control over the colonies, Americans rebelled against Parliament as well as against the king. They believed that Parliament had abandoned its role as the protector of liberties against royal overreach. Most famously, colonial Americans believed that Parliament could not impose direct taxes on them because there could be no taxation without representation, and Americans were not represented in Parliament.

The American Bill of Rights was essential in the minds of many Americans because of the risk that Congress might betray the people, as Parliament had betrayed them. To Americans, the developing British concept of parliamentary supremacy had become a latent source of tyranny. Australia’s Constitution is largely a hybrid of the American and British models, using the American federal and national structure, but establishing Parliamentary supremacy (subject to that structure).

The most famous statement in the U.S. Declaration of Independence is universal in its aspiration: “That all [people] are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Making these rights real and operable for all Americans is a work in progress. Still, it is momentous that the declaration stated in such compelling language that these rights were inherent and that when the British impeded them, Americans had a right to rebel. The declaration is a foundation of America. And it has a profound significance for Australians: It is one of Australia’s founding documents, too.

The Chaos Of Pitchfork Populism Is A Threat To Our Democracy

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Unquestionably, populism has shaped America. Faux populism on the other hand, as explained by author and political analyst, Bradford R. Kane, is dangerously shifting our political landscape in the era of Donald J. Trump, a president who chooses to divide our country for his own self interests. These are unprecedented times.

Kane is the author of, Pitchfork Populism, Ten Political Forces That Shaped An Election And Continue To Change America. In it he examines our past, present and future political landscape, including the impact and dangers of the current administration’s use of populism, dishonesty, racism, hate-fueled and misleading propaganda that has diminished our progressive culture and standing in the world. Even voting, a sacred and hard-fought for right, isn’t immune from attack and intimidation. And if Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, isn’t clear enough motive, his actions since taking office should be. This so-called American president is not only dangerous but a clear and present threat to our nation and the common bonds of our ideals, yet to be fully achieved.

We’ve come a long way from the type of American leadership, though flawed, that has steadily inched us closer toward a more just nation rich with diversity. Assessing our political landscape today, one would be hard-pressed accepting that our trajectory has taken us from the depths of slavery to the glory of the presidency of Barrack H. Obama, America’s first Black president. It hasn’t been easy, and we have more hurdles to overcome, especially concerning racial injustice, economic inequality and police brutality. Nonetheless, Kane leaves us with hope for the promised days of a post-Trump era. He foresees a stronger nation reinvigorated to birth a more rational governing culture rooted in the principles of humanity and sanity. He offers us a roadmap to take us from the disenchantment we’re experiencing under this president and his rabid, resentful and resistant to change base, to a more fact-based and inclusive governing structure. We, the people, must be more duty-bound than ever in paving the way from the chaos Trumpism ushered in. And, we must vote in every single election, to make the pavement eternal.

“Anyone can be a barbarian; it requires a terrible effort to remain a civilized man.” – Leonard Sidney Woolf

Kane’s timely, well-written and funny book can be found HERE, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Susan Goldfein On Aging Successfully With Candor And Wit

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

James A. Garfield once said, “If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon our heart. The spirit should never grow old.” That’s how the witty and inspiring Susan Goldfein lives her life bicoastally in Florida and Connecticut. After being forced into retirement thanks to the damage caused by Bernie Madoff, Goldfein embarked on a writing career she calls her second wind. Today, she’s an award-winning author of two books offering wisdom flavored with humor through enjoyable essays on life and its circumstances.

Her first book, How Old Am I In Dog Years, was inspired by her two dogs she noticed were aging right alongside her and her husband Larry. Her second book, How To Complain When There’s Nothing To Complain About, is a collection of short essays about life as a retiree and other topics that touch on different issues people in her age group face.

Her books won the 2016 Delray Beach Library’s Authors’ Showcase, a Silver Medalist in the 2016 Independent Publishers (IPPY) Book Awards in the humor category, the prize for humor in the 2017 NYC Big Book Awards, the Gold for Humor in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award as well as the 2019 International Book Award for Humor.

In addition to writing books, Goldfein runs her own website, susansunfilteredwit, where she publishes monthly articles  on topics ranging from reincarnation, becoming her mother, zoom etiquette during COVID to her thoughts on television shows, entertainment and much more. Her website is full of amusing essays that will make you happy you stopped by for a read. Goldfein’s views on aging and life in general is wisdom we can all use, especially now when the rhythm of our planet is moving to an unfamiliar beat. Her books can be purchased on her website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. There, you will also find links to all her social media platforms.

My conversation with Goldfein: