Saturday, January 11, 2014

Revealing Look at the Sourcing of Our Food Supply

fish & chips
fish & chips (Photo credit: David Ascher)





By Dr. Mercola
"Food" is a 30-minute documentary that investigates how demand for more and cheaper food has dramatically altered the entire food chain. Today, food production revolves around efficiency—the ability to produce more for less. The ramifications of this mindset are wide-ranging and far-reaching...
As KPBS’ Joanne Faryon reports, “the food chain no longer looks like it used to.” Fish no longer eat other fish, and cattle eat very little grass, which is their natural food source. Instead, cattle eat corn, chickens eat corn and fish, and fish eat cows and poultry... Similarly, fresh produce like fruits and vegetables are primarily sold to foreign markets.
California oranges, for example, are exported to far flung places like Japan, while Americans eat oranges from Australia—presumably because Americans prefer the deeper orange color of Australian oranges, and the fact that they’re easier to peel. As a result, the carbon footprint of most foods sold in your local grocery store is massive, having made its way thousands of miles from where it was grown.

The Beef About American Cattle Farming

While food prices appear to be on the rise, we actually spend less on our food today than we did a generation ago, thanks to modern food production practices. The ultimate price, however, may be greater than anyone ever expected.
For starters, modern agricultural practices are taking a heavy toll on soil and environmental health, and the way we raise animal foods, especially in the US, results in animal products that are far inferior compared to their ancestral past.  
The practice of raising animals in confined feeding operations (CAFOs) is also having a major detrimental impact on our environment and is a primary source of environmental pollution and rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
Last year, 63 million tons of beef was produced worldwide.1 As stated in the film, while making up only five percent of the world’s population, Americans consume nearly 20 percent of all the beef produced globally.
But just how is all this beef produced? The film summarizes how the typical cow makes its way from birth to slaughter in the US. A generation or so ago, cattle would be mostly pasture-raised and sold for slaughter around the age of two or three. The meat would then be taken to the local market.
Today, California cows start out being raised on pasture for about six months before being sold, typically changing hands twice, before ending up in a CAFO feedlot. Feedlots, which were introduced after World War II, are large pens that house tens of thousands of cattle—some can hold herds up to 100,000 animals.
Here, they’re fattened up on a corn-based diet before being slaughtered about four or five months later. All in all, today’s beef is grown in about half the time compared to a generation ago.
Besides corn, virtually all beef sold in American grocery stores comes from cattle injected with hormones. Corn fattens the cattle, but consumers don’t like all that grizzly fat, so hormones are used to make the animal produce more lean muscle tissue. This improves profits, as it increases the animals’ growth by about 10 percent.
Ironically, as Faryon points out, it’s the corn that makes the cattle fat, so if we didn’t feed them corn, we wouldn’t have to give them hormones to minimize fat production.  Another question well worth pondering is this: with all this hormone-laced beef, along with the American corn-based processed food diet (think high fructose corn syrup), is it any surprise Americans are growing fatter, faster, as well?

Farmed Fish—Feedlots of the Sea...

Industrial fish farming, or aquaculture, is the fastest growing form of food production in the world.2 About half of the world’s seafood now comes from fish farms, including in the US, and this is expected to increase. At first glance, farmed fish may seem like a good idea to help protect wild seafood populations from overfishing while meeting the nutritional needs of an ever-expanding global population.  
In reality, however, the industry is plagued with many of the same problems surrounding land-based CAFOs, including pollution, disease and inferior nutritional quality. It’s getting so bad that fish farms can easily be described as “CAFOs of the sea.” Here we see an even greater distortion of the food chain. Wild fish eat other fish, but farmed fish can be fed a concoction of ingredients they’d NEVER encounter otherwise, such as soy protein and beef or chicken byproducts, including cattle blood, bone, and chicken feathers.
The reason for this is because, as explained by Jeffrey Graham in the film, it takes about five pounds of fish to produce one pound of growth in salmon. This clearly negates the original rationale for fish farming, which is to prevent the depletion of natural fish stocks. The solution is to replace the fish meal in the diet with soy protein and other protein products...The question is, is this really a healthy solution?
Europe has banned processing byproducts from cattle due to the potential risk of spreading mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE), a neurodegenerative disease that can affect humans eating contaminated beef. While there have been no reports of humans contracting mad cow from eating farmed fish, the theoretical possibility is there. Besides that, it seems clear that a fish that eats meat byproducts opposed to its natural diet of other fish is not going to have the same nutritional makeup as wild fish.
Then there’s the increased risk of fish diseases spreading to wild fish. The close quarters where farmed fish are raised (combined with their unnatural diets) means disease can spread quickly, and because farmed fish are often raised in pens in the ocean, pathogens can spread like wildfire and contaminate any wild fish swimming past. I wrote about this last summer in the article “Salmon Confidential.”

The Unsavory Truth About Factory Farmed Chicken

Large commercial chicken facilities typically house tens of thousands of hens and can even go up to hundreds of thousands of hens who, yet again, are fed a diet consisting primarily of corn. Processing byproducts such as chicken feathers can also be added to the feed. Antibiotics are routinely used in most facilities, but hormones are not permitted in American-raised chickens. When it comes to labels such as “free-range” and “natural,” it’s buyer beware...
The definitions of "free-range" are such that the commercial egg industry can run industrial farm egg laying facilities and still call them "free-range" eggs, despite the fact that the birds' foraging conditions are far from what you'd call natural. True free-range eggs are from hens that roam freely outdoors on a pasture where they can forage for their natural diet, which includes seeds, green plants, insects, and worms.
When you’re housing tens of thousands of chickens, you clearly cannot allow them all to freely roam and scavenge for food outdoors. At best, CAFO hens may be let out into a barren outdoor lot for mere minutes a day. Your best source for pastured chicken (and fresh eggs) is a local farmer that allows his hens to forage freely outdoors. If you live in an urban area, visiting a local farmer’s market is typically the quickest route to finding high-quality chicken and eggs.

Can We Grow a Fair and Sustainable Food System?

Many believe the answer to world hunger is further expansion of large-scale agriculture; others place their bets on genetically engineered (GE) crops. But are factory farms and large-scale GE farming really going to solve the problem? Evidence suggests the answer is a resounding NO. In fact, our modern agricultural system is the very heart of the problem...
Modern monoculture has severely depleted soils of essential nutrients and microorganisms, and poor soil quality is a core problem facing farmers across the globe. Monoculture (or monocropping) is defined as the high-yield agricultural practice of growing a single crop year after year on the same land, in the absence of rotation through other crops. (Corn, soybeans, wheat, and to some degree rice, are the most common crops grown with monocropping techniques. As discussed above, corn and soy are two of the primary ingredients in feed given to livestock, be they chickens, cattle or fish.)
The Earth's soil is now depleting at more than 13 percent the rate it can be replaced due to our chemical-based agriculture system. Massive monoculture has also led to the extinction of 75 percent of the world's crop varieties over the last century. Additionally, modern agriculture is extremely energy dependent. It is estimated that every consumer in the Western world eats the equivalent of 66 barrels of oil per year. That's how much oil is needed to produce the food on your plate.

Do You Really Want to Eat Factory Farmed Animals?

If you were to grow food for you own family, my guess is that you would do so with extreme care, using the best seeds, the healthiest animals, and the least amount of chemical additives. Yet, when most people buy their food, they have no idea where it actually comes from, and conversely the people who grow this food have no idea who ends up eating it. When people are able to grow food for the faceless masses, I think it somehow justifies these terrible practices that have become commonplace: pumping animals full of hormones and drugs, dousing vegetables with chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and introducing genetically modified seeds into the environment.
If you had to see the animal you were about to eat before it makes its way to the supermarket or your dinner table, would you choose one that had lived out its days in a filthy, crowded cage? One that had been mutilated and tormented, then pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, while being fed pesticide-laden grains it was not designed to eat?
Or would you choose one that had lived a nurtured and well cared for life, free to roam on pasture, see the sunlight and breathe in fresh air? One that was fed its natural diet and nothing more? The choice is obvious, which is exactly why agri-business has done such a masterful job of concealing what really goes on from the vast majority of Americans. All you see is a cellophane-wrapped package, maybe a picture of a barn with happy cows and chickens standing near. In many cases, if you could really see how that animal was raised, you would likely shield your children’s eyes, then turn away in disgust.
Factory farms allow us to be removed from taking personal responsibility for raising our own food. There is no one to be held accountable for raising garbage food or treating animals inhumanely because the system has taken on a life of its own. By far, the vast majority of food at your local supermarket comes from these polluting, inhumane farm conglomerations. So if you want to stop supporting them, you first need to find a new place to shop.

Become Part of a Growing Movement

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to find a humane and reliable source for your food -- sources that are growing food with the health of the environment and the animals as the driving forces. At LocalHarvest.org, for instance, you can enter your zip code and find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, all with the click of a button. For an excellent list of sustainable agricultural groups in your area, please also see Promoting Sustainable Agriculture -- this page is filled with resources for high-quality produce and meats in your area.
The more we all make it a point to only buy food from a source we know and trust, the faster factory farming will become a shameful practice of the past. Farmers and lovers of real food show us that change IS possible. But your involvement is required. Here are a few suggestions for how you can take affirmative action:  
  1. Buy local products whenever possible. Otherwise, buy organic and fair-trade products.
  2. Shop at your local farmers market, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or buy from local grocers and co-ops committed to selling local foods.
  3. Support restaurants and food vendors that buy locally produced food.
  4. Avoid genetically engineered (GMO) foods. Buying certified organic ensures your food is non-GM.
  5. Cook, can, ferment, dry, and freeze. Return to the basics of cooking, and pass these skills on to your children.
  6. Grow your own garden, or volunteer at a community garden. Teach your children how to garden and where their food comes from.
  7. Volunteer and/or financially support an organization committed to promoting a sustainable food system.
  8. Get involved in your community. Influence what your child eats by engaging the school board. Effect city policies by learning about zoning and attending city council meetings. Learn about the federal policies that affect your food choice, and let your congressperson know what you think.
  9. Spread the word! Share this article with your friends, family, and everyone else you know.
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Dark Matters, Broken Hearts, Mega Mp3 Free Music Downloads

008 Sexy goth on the catwalk
 (Photo credit: Best of bobsphotography.nl)



We continue in the dark mode with Dark Matter, Broken Heart.  This collection is a short 29 minutes and 12 seconds long containing some great tracks.  Downloads, as always, are completely free and you do not have to pay for them either.  But like the last one we did like this, if you want to separate the tracks, you have to do so manually.  Suck it up, the music is free and for those into this type of stuff, really top notch quality.  You won't this at Wal Mart, and if you ever do, ask for a price match.  We grabbed a copy.  It's actually in WAV format which gives fantastic quality, but the files end up being large.  This one is under 300 megs though and the download is pretty darn quick.  Enjoy.
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Gloucester, VA A Letter From The Kiser, School Board Superintendant

I am in receipt of your complaint alleging a violation of policy regarding an employee driving a School Board-owned vehicle. The School Board Policy reads “Employees are prohibited from utilizing school property for personal use or gain.” School Board owned vehicles are provided to employees to use during the work day to accomplish tasks throughout the county at 8 different schools. Most of our vehicles are used vehicles with high mileage and the availability of these vehicles, for employee use, actually saves the county money and time. This resource also creates efficiency with our technicians moving from site to site.



Our Director of Facilities manages our technicians, their schedule, and the use of vehicles. He continually has conversations with them about how they use the vehicles to ensure that taxpayer money is not abused. We do not consider a technician occasionally stopping at a convenience store between sites or at a fast-food restaurant between sites as abuse or a violation of the School Board Policy.



Our technicians begin their days early and work hard to ensure that schools are safe and orderly for children and staff. We take our stewardship responsibility of public monies seriously and your pictures have been shared with our Facilities Director.



Ben Kiser, Division Superintendent

Gloucester County Public Schools


This was sent to us and it speaks for itself.  We had no idea that a straightforward law was open to such broad interpretations.  VDOT does not seem to share these sentiments from what we have learned.  Neither does the county from emails we have gathered.  Yet the schools consider themselves exempt from having to follow what everyone else in the state has to follow in state government?  Wow, that is simply amazing.  

  Guess the Kiser failed to factor in the potential insurance consequences should an employee cause an accident in an area where he was not designated to be and conducting personal business?  From what we understand, no insurance company would be obligated to pay anything on a claim because of the above.  Instead, the county would get stuck with the bill which means that you, the taxpayer pays the claim through taxes.  That is not abuse?  That is not fraud?  We do not discount that the employees work hard.  We are sure they do.  But that should exempt them from state laws how?  

We take our stewardship responsibility of public monies seriously .

Can you then please explain to us the Page Middle School issues then?  We simply do not see this statement as factual and we keep uncovering still many more issues that will soon be coming forward.  For that matter, can you explain the issues with the TC Walker school?  At least the Kiser sent this response through his county assigned email address.  Yeah, we are watching.

Oh, and here is the string he copied his response to;  More personal email addresses in here.  

 Randy Burak georgeburak@cox.net
 Kevin's Phone kevinsmith914@gmail.com
 Anita Parker Anita.Parker@gc.k12.va.us
 Kimberly Hensley kimberlyehensley@gmail.com
 Carla Hook hookc@cox.net
 Troy Andersen troyandersengp@cox.net
 Charles Records <crecords@zandler-dev.com
 Dave Miller Dave.Miller@gc.k12.va.us
 John Hutchinson hutch@gc.k12.va.us
 

Clear evidence that county officials have no problems with conducting
county business using personal email addresses.  Evidence is right in
front of everyone.  So what are they hiding?  You really have to wonder.
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Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, Secret Shadow Gloucester, VA Government Extended Into 2014?

Gloucester County, Virginia Vice Chair, Board of Supervisor's, Ashley Chriscoe,  has been assigned a board member seat with what we consider the secret shadowy Gloucester, Virginia government, Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust.  An organization that makes no sense in anything they do other than to extend themselves into the county government and make changes that seem to do more harm to the businesses on Main Street than they do good and cost taxpayers a lot of extra money they should not need to spend.

  The tentacles of the Gloucester Main Street Area seem to continue to grow well past their initial intended area and digging into the pockets of many taxpayers who have shown their dislike for such.   The Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust is not a non profit organization.  As such, since they are conducting business, they must be a for profit business.  If this is so, do they have a business license?  And if they have a business license, why is a county Board of Supervisor, Vice Chair sitting on their board as a board appointment?   Last year we showed how Louise Theberge sat on a seat with the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and voted on any project that came up before the Board of Supervisors through the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust.  Will Ashley Chriscoe use his new position to expose this group or will he excuse himself from any votes that come up with any business coming from the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust?  We will be watching this very closely.  Carter Borden is back on the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust Board of Directors this year, but he is no longer a Board of Supervisor so it's a non issue.  He can just help the GMSPT Board with inside county info based on having been on the inside.

  Louise Theberge is off the board this year.  Guess her usefulness is no longer useful.  Carter Borden was on the GMSPT Board back in 2011 when he was also the chair of the Board of Supervisors.  We have not looked at his voting record for when he sat on both seats.

  From the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust website, Projects page.

"http://mspt.org/projects.html

Lamppost Basket Beautification Project

Description Of The Project

Beginning in 2007 and running thru 2010, the Main Street Preservation Trust managed and predominantly funded the installment, planting, and maintenance of 40 flowering lamppost baskets along Gloucester Main Street.  Several baskets are sponsored by community organizations, businesses, and individuals memorializing and honoring others.  These baskets have become a welcomed addition to Spring and are generally installed in early May and remain a constant visual treat until the end of October.  The baskets have served to enhance the overall aesthetics and environment on Main Street and have been enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.  To sponsor a basket, please download the form below.  Please note that as of 2011, the Cook Foundation will be taking the lead on this project as they are a 501c3 organization and therefore any lamppost basket sponsorships are tax deductible.  Please consider joining us in our beautification efforts

So as noted above in their own information, they are not a non profit organization.  If they are a trust, then how is this trust being funded and where is the money coming from?  Why do they keep working on expanding their area of control?  Why are they embedded into the county government?  Why do they even get involved in planning outside of their own business concerns?  These are some questions they simply do not answer.  It's questions every taxpayer in this county needs to be asking.  A group of concerned citizens?  Really?  Why are they not spending their money on advertising instead of giving away matching funds for facades on Main Street, but doing nothing to draw in visitors? 

  They claim to promote and sponsor events that help the businesses on Main Street such as market days where they want you to come to the Farmers Market and skip going to the actual farmers market that is already on Main Street during the summer?  Virginia Symphony concerts help local businesses how when it is held when businesses are closed?  Blues and Brews helps local merchants how?  They are selling beer and food at the event.  We simply do not get it.  

  What is also interesting is the fact that last year, they considered themselves a non profit and county records show this.  Yet according to sites that list all non profits have never listed the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and again, the trust claims on their site that as of 2011, they are not a non profit organization.  Anyone remember last year's Daffodil festival fiasco?  They allow county non profit organizations to run special events without having to pay special fees, because they are exempt.  Blue and Brews was to be run under the umbrella of the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust instead of the Gloucester Main Street Association due to the Gloucester Main Street Association is a for profit business.  We still have the Gloucester Mathews Gazette Journal articles on this in our office.  

  Are we all being conned by a criminal organization?  We just went through the old story and it looks like we have all been conned a lot more than anyone knows.  According to the old article, Ted Wilmot, (Twitching Ted I'm not an attorney, Wilmot) Gloucester County Attorney, (Court Jester, we will figure out a way to make it happen no matter what the law says),  was working on getting an itinerant merchant exemption for a for profit organization, the Gloucester Main Street Association.  What is that about?  We covered issues with Brew Jam in the past here on this site.

  We will continue to dig on these issues as it all looks incredibly strange to say the very least.
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Gloucester, VA Board of Supervisors Meeting Video, January 2014

Federalist Papers No. 37. Concerning the Difficulties of the Convention in Devising a Proper Form of Government.

From the Daily Advertiser. Friday, January 11, 1788.

To the People of the State of New York:
IN REVIEWING the defects of the existing Confederation, and showing that they cannot be supplied by a government of less energy than that before the public, several of the most important principles of the latter fell of course under consideration. But as the ultimate object of these papers is to determine clearly and fully the merits of this Constitution, and the expediency of adopting it, our plan cannot be complete without taking a more critical and thorough survey of the work of the convention, without examining it on all its sides, comparing it in all its parts, and calculating its probable effects. That this remaining task may be executed under impressions conducive to a just and fair result, some reflections must in this place be indulged, which candor previously suggests.
It is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures are rarely investigated with that spirit of moderation which is essential to a just estimate of their real tendency to advance or obstruct the public good; and that this spirit is more apt to be diminished than promoted, by those occasions which require an unusual exercise of it. To those who have been led by experience to attend to this consideration, it could not appear surprising, that the act of the convention, which recommends so many important changes and innovations, which may be viewed in so many lights and relations, and which touches the springs of so many passions and interests, should find or excite dispositions unfriendly, both on one side and on the other, to a fair discussion and accurate judgment of its merits. In some, it has been too evident from their own publications, that they have scanned the proposed Constitution, not only with a predisposition to censure, but with a predetermination to condemn; as the language held by others betrays an opposite predetermination or bias, which must render their opinions also of little moment in the question. In placing, however, these different characters on a level, with respect to the weight of their opinions, I wish not to insinuate that there may not be a material difference in the purity of their intentions. It is but just to remark in favor of the latter description, that as our situation is universally admitted to be peculiarly critical, and to require indispensably that something should be done for our relief, the predetermined patron of what has been actually done may have taken his bias from the weight of these considerations, as well as from considerations of a sinister nature. The predetermined adversary, on the other hand, can have been governed by no venial motive whatever. The intentions of the first may be upright, as they may on the contrary be culpable. The views of the last cannot be upright, and must be culpable. But the truth is, that these papers are not addressed to persons falling under either of these characters. They solicit the attention of those only, who add to a sincere zeal for the happiness of their country, a temper favorable to a just estimate of the means of promoting it.
Persons of this character will proceed to an examination of the plan submitted by the convention, not only without a disposition to find or to magnify faults; but will see the propriety of reflecting, that a faultless plan was not to be expected. Nor will they barely make allowances for the errors which may be chargeable on the fallibility to which the convention, as a body of men, were liable; but will keep in mind, that they themselves also are but men, and ought not to assume an infallibility in rejudging the fallible opinions of others.
With equal readiness will it be perceived, that besides these inducements to candor, many allowances ought to be made for the difficulties inherent in the very nature of the undertaking referred to the convention.
The novelty of the undertaking immediately strikes us. It has been shown in the course of these papers, that the existing Confederation is founded on principles which are fallacious; that we must consequently change this first foundation, and with it the superstructure resting upon it. It has been shown, that the other confederacies which could be consulted as precedents have been vitiated by the same erroneous principles, and can therefore furnish no other light than that of beacons, which give warning of the course to be shunned, without pointing out that which ought to be pursued. The most that the convention could do in such a situation, was to avoid the errors suggested by the past experience of other countries, as well as of our own; and to provide a convenient mode of rectifying their own errors, as future experiences may unfold them.
Among the difficulties encountered by the convention, a very important one must have lain in combining the requisite stability and energy in government, with the inviolable attention due to liberty and to the republican form. Without substantially accomplishing this part of their undertaking, they would have very imperfectly fulfilled the object of their appointment, or the expectation of the public; yet that it could not be easily accomplished, will be denied by no one who is unwilling to betray his ignorance of the subject. Energy in government is essential to that security against external and internal danger, and to that prompt and salutary execution of the laws which enter into the very definition of good government. Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it, as well as to that repose and confidence in the minds of the people, which are among the chief blessings of civil society. An irregular and mutable legislation is not more an evil in itself than it is odious to the people; and it may be pronounced with assurance that the people of this country, enlightened as they are with regard to the nature, and interested, as the great body of them are, in the effects of good government, will never be satisfied till some remedy be applied to the vicissitudes and uncertainties which characterize the State administrations. On comparing, however, these valuable ingredients with the vital principles of liberty, we must perceive at once the difficulty of mingling them together in their due proportions. The genius of republican liberty seems to demand on one side, not only that all power should be derived from the people, but that those intrusted with it should be kept in independence on the people, by a short duration of their appointments; and that even during this short period the trust should be placed not in a few, but a number of hands. Stability, on the contrary, requires that the hands in which power is lodged should continue for a length of time the same. A frequent change of men will result from a frequent return of elections; and a frequent change of measures from a frequent change of men: whilst energy in government requires not only a certain duration of power, but the execution of it by a single hand.
How far the convention may have succeeded in this part of their work, will better appear on a more accurate view of it. From the cursory view here taken, it must clearly appear to have been an arduous part.
Not less arduous must have been the task of marking the proper line of partition between the authority of the general and that of the State governments. Every man will be sensible of this difficulty, in proportion as he has been accustomed to contemplate and discriminate objects extensive and complicated in their nature. The faculties of the mind itself have never yet been distinguished and defined, with satisfactory precision, by all the efforts of the most acute and metaphysical philosophers. Sense, perception, judgment, desire, volition, memory, imagination, are found to be separated by such delicate shades and minute gradations that their boundaries have eluded the most subtle investigations, and remain a pregnant source of ingenious disquisition and controversy. The boundaries between the great kingdom of nature, and, still more, between the various provinces, and lesser portions, into which they are subdivided, afford another illustration of the same important truth. The most sagacious and laborious naturalists have never yet succeeded in tracing with certainty the line which separates the district of vegetable life from the neighboring region of unorganized matter, or which marks the termination of the former and the commencement of the animal empire. A still greater obscurity lies in the distinctive characters by which the objects in each of these great departments of nature have been arranged and assorted.
When we pass from the works of nature, in which all the delineations are perfectly accurate, and appear to be otherwise only from the imperfection of the eye which surveys them, to the institutions of man, in which the obscurity arises as well from the object itself as from the organ by which it is contemplated, we must perceive the necessity of moderating still further our expectations and hopes from the efforts of human sagacity. Experience has instructed us that no skill in the science of government has yet been able to discriminate and define, with sufficient certainty, its three great provinces the legislative, executive, and judiciary; or even the privileges and powers of the different legislative branches. Questions daily occur in the course of practice, which prove the obscurity which reins in these subjects, and which puzzle the greatest adepts in political science.
The experience of ages, with the continued and combined labors of the most enlightened legislatures and jurists, has been equally unsuccessful in delineating the several objects and limits of different codes of laws and different tribunals of justice. The precise extent of the common law, and the statute law, the maritime law, the ecclesiastical law, the law of corporations, and other local laws and customs, remains still to be clearly and finally established in Great Britain, where accuracy in such subjects has been more industriously pursued than in any other part of the world. The jurisdiction of her several courts, general and local, of law, of equity, of admiralty, etc., is not less a source of frequent and intricate discussions, sufficiently denoting the indeterminate limits by which they are respectively circumscribed. All new laws, though penned with the greatest technical skill, and passed on the fullest and most mature deliberation, are considered as more or less obscure and equivocal, until their meaning be liquidated and ascertained by a series of particular discussions and adjudications. Besides the obscurity arising from the complexity of objects, and the imperfection of the human faculties, the medium through which the conceptions of men are conveyed to each other adds a fresh embarrassment. The use of words is to express ideas. Perspicuity, therefore, requires not only that the ideas should be distinctly formed, but that they should be expressed by words distinctly and exclusively appropriate to them. But no language is so copious as to supply words and phrases for every complex idea, or so correct as not to include many equivocally denoting different ideas. Hence it must happen that however accurately objects may be discriminated in themselves, and however accurately the discrimination may be considered, the definition of them may be rendered inaccurate by the inaccuracy of the terms in which it is delivered. And this unavoidable inaccuracy must be greater or less, according to the complexity and novelty of the objects defined. When the Almighty himself condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it must be, is rendered dim and doubtful by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated.
Here, then, are three sources of vague and incorrect definitions: indistinctness of the object, imperfection of the organ of conception, inadequateness of the vehicle of ideas. Any one of these must produce a certain degree of obscurity. The convention, in delineating the boundary between the federal and State jurisdictions, must have experienced the full effect of them all.
To the difficulties already mentioned may be added the interfering pretensions of the larger and smaller States. We cannot err in supposing that the former would contend for a participation in the government, fully proportioned to their superior wealth and importance; and that the latter would not be less tenacious of the equality at present enjoyed by them. We may well suppose that neither side would entirely yield to the other, and consequently that the struggle could be terminated only by compromise. It is extremely probable, also, that after the ratio of representation had been adjusted, this very compromise must have produced a fresh struggle between the same parties, to give such a turn to the organization of the government, and to the distribution of its powers, as would increase the importance of the branches, in forming which they had respectively obtained the greatest share of influence. There are features in the Constitution which warrant each of these suppositions; and as far as either of them is well founded, it shows that the convention must have been compelled to sacrifice theoretical propriety to the force of extraneous considerations.
Nor could it have been the large and small States only, which would marshal themselves in opposition to each other on various points. Other combinations, resulting from a difference of local position and policy, must have created additional difficulties. As every State may be divided into different districts, and its citizens into different classes, which give birth to contending interests and local jealousies, so the different parts of the United States are distinguished from each other by a variety of circumstances, which produce a like effect on a larger scale. And although this variety of interests, for reasons sufficiently explained in a former paper, may have a salutary influence on the administration of the government when formed, yet every one must be sensible of the contrary influence, which must have been experienced in the task of forming it.
Would it be wonderful if, under the pressure of all these difficulties, the convention should have been forced into some deviations from that artificial structure and regular symmetry which an abstract view of the subject might lead an ingenious theorist to bestow on a Constitution planned in his closet or in his imagination? The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted, and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.
We had occasion, in a former paper, to take notice of the repeated trials which have been unsuccessfully made in the United Netherlands for reforming the baneful and notorious vices of their constitution. The history of almost all the great councils and consultations held among mankind for reconciling their discordant opinions, assuaging their mutual jealousies, and adjusting their respective interests, is a history of factions, contentions, and disappointments, and may be classed among the most dark and degraded pictures which display the infirmities and depravities of the human character. If, in a few scattered instances, a brighter aspect is presented, they serve only as exceptions to admonish us of the general truth; and by their lustre to darken the gloom of the adverse prospect to which they are contrasted. In revolving the causes from which these exceptions result, and applying them to the particular instances before us, we are necessarily led to two important conclusions. The first is, that the convention must have enjoyed, in a very singular degree, an exemption from the pestilential influence of party animosities the disease most incident to deliberative bodies, and most apt to contaminate their proceedings. The second conclusion is that all the deputations composing the convention were satisfactorily accommodated by the final act, or were induced to accede to it by a deep conviction of the necessity of sacrificing private opinions and partial interests to the public good, and by a despair of seeing this necessity diminished by delays or by new experiments.


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