Archive for November, 2011

Barney Frank: goodbye and good riddance (2)

November 30, 2011

The Herb Moses episode

 Shortly after coming out from the closet as homosexual,  in 1987, Barney Frank met and began to date Herb Moses, an economist and an activist in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) movement. They would set up home together in Washington, DC and the relationship would last for eleven years, until they parted ways amicably in July 1998. 

Barney Frank always referred to Herb Moses as ‘his husband’.  Herb Moses was the first partner of an openly gay member of Congress to receive full spousal benefits.  The two were considered to be Washington’s most powerful and influential gay couple. As a powerful Washington politician, Barney Frank was well-placed to move his husband into lucrative employment.

From his position on the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, Frank successfully lobbied executives at Fannie Mae to give Herb Moses a job.  Thereafter, Barney Frank was a pivotal member of a menage a trois,  comprising Barney Frank,  Herb Moses and Fannie Mae.  Interestingly, the year that Barney Frank and Herb Moses  separated, Herb Moses  and Fannie Mae also experienced a parting of the ways. By then, of course, Barney Frank and Fannie Mae were locked into their own torrid romance.

Barney Frank helped to write legislation deregulating Fannie Mae during his lengthy liaison with Herb Moses. In 1991, the year that Moses was hired by Fannie Mae, Barney Frank pushed the agency to loosen regulations on mortgages for two- and for three-family homes, even though such householders were defaulting at twice and five times the rate of single homes respectively.

 Moses was assistant director for product initiatives at Fannie Mae and was in the forefront of relaxing lending restrictions at the company for impoverished rural customers. He helped to develop many of Fannie Mae’s  affordable housing and home improvement programs, writing out lucrative sub-prime mortgage contracts, thus bringing home large bonuses to share with his ‘wife’. 

Challenged by the Boston Herald as to the ethics of such an arrangement, Frank replied: “If it is a conflict of interest then much of Washington is involved in similar conflicts.  It is a common thing in Washington for members of Congress to have spouses work for the federal government.  There is no rule against it at all.”

In Washington, DC, it would seem that there are no rules against anything for members of the federal government. Herb Moses not only brought home his own bacon for Momma, but he made sure that Momma’s re-election coffers were well-filled by Fannie Mae campaign contributions throughout the period of their love-in. 

The rest, as they say, is history. At long last, Fat Momma is removing her pantry from the nation’s capital. Surely that pantry will not be bare. Momma’s waistline will be well-taken care of  throughout her hard-earned retirement.




Barney Frank: goodbye and good riddance (1)

November 29, 2011

“It is a newspaper truism that what is good for journalism is bad for the country and vice versa. Let’s just say that regarding the pending retirement of Congressman Barney Frank, we’re delighted to make the professional sacrifice.” Editorial, ‘The Barney Frank Era’, The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2011

“This country has never had a congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him.  For over 30 years, Barney has been a fierce advocate for the people of Massachusetts and Americans everywhere who needed a voice.” President Barack Obama, ‘prepared statement’, November 28, 2011

Barney Frank, for over 30 years, has been a singularly bad apple in the House of Representatives, infecting for the worse every policy issue that attracted his interest.  He is a poster-boy for personal and political corruption. As usual, President Obama simply does not know of what he is speaking.

The political world is well-rid of Barney Frank. If  the Great Fire of London served to rid London of the insect-bearing  rats that perpetrated the bubonic plague, so the redistricting of Massachusett’s 4th congressional district has rid the House of Representatives of a political rat who has systematically worked to infect American politics with progressive socialism and his country with moral and wealth degradation.

Barney Frank is no stranger to these columns so I shall dwell but lightly on his infractions on this auspicious occasion. A few lowlights will suffice. In this column I deal with the Steve Gobie episode. In my next column I shall deal with the Herb Moses episode.

The Steve Gobie episode:

 In 1985, Barney Frank had not come out in public as a practising homosexual. He was still in the closet.  In that year, as a member of the House of Representatives, Frank hired Steve Gobie, a male prostitute who was a convicted drug user, for sex. In itself this was a criminal act.  Moreover, this was no one night stand.  Frank housed Gobie in his own  rented-apartment, and hired him as a personal aide, housekeeper and driver, and paid for Gobie’s attorney and court-ordered psychiatrist.  This economic and sexual relationship endured throughout the period 1985 to 1987.

In 1987, Frank became the first member of Congress voluntarily to disclose his homosexuality.  Back in Massachusetts that simply fueled increased electoral majorities. In Washington, it raised the level of scrutiny concerning Frank’s personal life. 

In 1987, Frank belatedly kicked Gobie out of his residence after his landlord advised him that Gobie was running a homosexual male escort service out of the apartment. Abandoned by his John, Gobie’s friends convinced him that he had a gay male version of Mayflower Madam available for marketing, with himself as the Madam and Barney Frank as the compliant sub- landlord and sexual partner.

In 1989, Gobie attempted to initiate a bidding war for the story between WUSA-TV (Channel 9), The Washington Times and The Washington Post.Eventually, he gave his story to The Washington Times in the hope of securing a book contract. Ever quick-witted, Barney Frank fell back on his Democratic colleagues for protection, requesting the House Ethics Committee to investigate, ‘in order to insure that the public record is clear’. The Committee cleared Frank of prior knowledge of the escort service operation and recommended a reprimand for Frank using his congressional office to fix 33 of Gobie’s parking tickets and for mis-statements of fact relating to Gobie’s criminal and probation record.

A complaint House of Representatives voted 408-18 merely to reprimand Frank.  Frank won re-election in 1990 with 66 per cent of the vote from his constituents in the Peoples Republic of Masachusetts.

Bill Clinton famously remembers shaking hands with President John Kennedy as the tipping point in creating his lifelong interest in politics. How many young Clinton’s would be fired into public service by shaking hands with post-Steve Gobie Barney Frank? More likely they would hasten to the nearest restroom in order to  to wash their hands. 


Children of China’s red revolution live like aristocrats in pre-revolutionary France

November 28, 2011

‘There’s no ambiguity – the trend has become so clear,’ said Cheng Li, an expert on Chinese elite politics at the Brookings Institution in Washington.   ‘Princelings were never popular, but now they’ve become so politically powerful, there’s some serious concern about the legitimacy of the ‘Red Nobility.’  The Chinese public is particularly resentful about the princelings’ control of both political power and economic wealth.’ Jeremy Page, ‘Children of the Revolution’, The Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2011.

The current leadership includes some princelings. But they are counter-balanced by a rival non-hereditary group that includes President Hu Jintao, also the party chief, and Premier Wen Jiabao.  Unfortunately, Mr. Hu’s successor is expected to be Xi Jinping, the current Vice President.  Xi is the son of a revolutionary hero, and would be the  first princeling to access the nation’s top position.  Many experts on Chinese politics judge that Xi has forged an informal alliance with other princelings who are candidates for promotion in the hierarchy of the system.

The behavior of some of the grandchildren of the renowned revolutionaries is simply despicable. In September 2011, the 15-year-old son of a general crashed his BMW into another car in Beijing and then beat up the occupants, warning onlookers about his prestigious background , and telling them not to call the police. Only after the event was exposed in the Western media and leaked past incompetent censors into China, was this disgusting princeling despatched to a police correctional facility for one year. One can assume that the correctional facility in question is run like Club Med! It will be nothing like Beijing Number 1 prison.

“Younger princelings are often seen among the models, actors and sports stars who gather at a strip of nightclubs by the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing to show off Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maseratis.  Others have been spotted talking to business over cigars and vintage Chinese liquor in exclusive venues such as the Maotai Club, in a historic house near the Forbidden City.  On a recent afternoon, at a new polo club on Beijing’s outskirts, opened by a grandson of a former vice premier, Argentine players on imported ponies put on an exhibition match for prospective members.  ‘We’re bringing polo to the public.  Well, not exactly the public,’ said one staff member. ‘That man over there is the son of an army general. That one’s grandfather was mayor of Beijing.’ ” Jeremy Page, ibid.

‘Sic semper communistis’, (it is always thus with communists) one is tempted to argue. Certainly when one reviews the photographic evidence of the decline and fall of the Bo family in the family pictures depicted by The Wall Street Journal, from the noble visage of grandfather  Yibo to the sneaky cunning of the rat-faced son,  Xilai, to the drink-bloated childish petulance of  grandson Guagua, one senses just why Madame Guillotine became so inordinantly active in slicing off aristocratic heads in post-revolutionary France.



China’s princelings dishonor the red revolution

November 26, 2011

“State controlled media portray China’s leaders as living by austere Communist values they publicly espouse.  But as scions of the political aristocracy carve out lucrative roles in business and embrace the trappings of wealth, their increasingly high profile is raising uncomfortable questions for a party that justifies its monopoly on power by pointing to its origins as a movement of workers and peasants.  Their visibility has particular resonance as the country approaches a once-in-a-decade leadership change next year, when several older princelings are expected to take the Communist Party’s top positions.  That prospect has led some in Chinese business and political circles to wonder whether the party will be dominated for the next decade by a group of elite families who already control large chunks of the world’s second biggest economy and wield considerable influence in the military.” Jeremy Page, ‘Children of the Revolution’, The Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2011

Let me illustrate this tale of  Chinese hypocrisy, by reference to the family Bo. 

Grandfather, Bo Yibo was a famous revolutionary, who helped lead Mao’s forces to victory  and who was a founding member of The People’s Republic of China. He was purged by Mao during the Cultural Revolution, but was subsequently rehabilitated.

Bo Yibo’s son, Bo Xilai is currently Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing and a member of the Politburo.  He is tipped for elevation to the Politburo standing Committee once President Hu Jintao is replaced by Xi Jinping in 2012. 

Bo Yibo’s grandson, Bo Guagua is, as we would say in the southern United States, ‘somethin’ else.’

Bo Yibo appears to have led an exemplary life exhibiting an austerity of lifestyle appropriate for the Red Revolution. Even so, during the first few decades after Mao’s 1949 revolution, the children of the Communist chieftains lived privileged lives, growing up in walled compounds and attending elite schools, such as the Beijing No. 4  Boys’ High School, where Bo Yibo’s son, Xilai, and several other current leaders studied. Now families of China’s leaders send their offspring overseas at young ages, often to top schools in the United States, Britain and Switzerland, to make sure that they will later access the best Western universities.

Now one might think that such indulgence would be beyond the financial means of any leader in Communist China.  The modest salary of a senior minister such as Bo Xilai, for example, is supposedly 140,000 yuan per annum, or $22,000.  Somehow, these modest salaries multiply, perhaps  by atheistic providence, into significant fortunes. For example, in 2010, the Chinese learned through their internet that the son of a former vice president of the country – and the son of a former Red Army commander – had purchased a $32.4 million harbor-front mansion in Australia. He must have saved extremely hard to make that sum out of a salary that borders on the poverty level in the United States!

This brings me back to ‘somethin’ else’, Bo Guagua, grandson of Bo Yibo.  I have singled him out for attention because he is the princeling of all princelings, among the younger generation.

Bo Guagua grew up in a rarified environment, closeted in guarded compounds, driven around by chauffeurs, and schooled partly by private tutors and partly at the prestigious Jingshan school in Beijing.  In 2000, his father, Xilai, then only mayor of the northeastern city of Darlian, sent his  12-year-old son to the British preparatory school of Papplewick, at a fee of $35,000.  One year later, Guagua became the first person from mainland China to attend Harrow (annual fee of $30,930).  Five years later, in 2006, by which time his father was China’s Commerce Minister, Guagua went to Oxford University to study PPE (annual cost $26,000).  His current postgraduate studies at Harvard University run out at $70,000 per annum.

A question surely of relevance to China’s workers and peasants, is how Bo Xilai could dip into his supposedly shallow Communist Party  pockets for $600,000 in education fees in foreign lands.  How many Chinese peasants could emulate that remarkable financial miracle?

In the meantime, Bo Guagua has become a poster-boy for personal indulgence, at a time when his father is controversisally attempting to revive the revolutionary spirit of Mao Zedong:

“One evening early this year, a red Ferrari pulled up at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Beijing, and the son of one of China’s top leaders stepped out, dressed in a tuxedo.  Bo Guagua, 23 was expected. He had a dinner appointment with a daughter of the then-ambassador, Jon Huntsman.  The car, though, was a surprise.  The driver’s father, Bo Xilai, was in the midst of a controversial campaign to revive the spirit of Mao Zedong through mass renditions of old revolutionary anthems, known as ‘red singing’. He had ordered students and officials to work stints on farms to reconnect with the countryside.  His son, meanwhile, was driving a car worth hundreds of thousands  of dollars and as red as the Chinese flag, in a country where the average household income last year was about $3,300.” Jeremy Page, ibid.

Is this a case of blatant intra-familial  hypocrisy or what?  No wonder Chinese censors are working overtime to filter out  ‘inappropriate’ news from the internet. Do I hear the clanking of chains as the Ghost of Mao Zedong rises from his grave to lead a new Red Revolution?  Apparently, many of China’s princelings have their ears tuned for that sound. That is one reason they send their children to the West to prepare for the End of Days, when 600 million peasants march on Beijing to initiate a China spring.

Barack Obama – true believer in the European welfare state

November 25, 2011

Barack Obama has been President of the United States now a little shy of three years. His policy positions have remained clear and unswerving both when he had workable majorities in the Congress and , since January 2011, when he has not.

Unlike President Clinton, President Obama will not adjust to accommodate changes in electoral preferences. So, if he is re-elected in November 2012, a decisive plurality of voters, as reflected in the Electoral College, will overtly and explicitly endorse his policy platform. This time, there will be no error of calculation. Americans will know precisely what they have chosen, and why they have registered that choice.

“President Obama…is a true believer in the European model of the welfare state.  Everybody who was listening learned that three years ago.  The fact that the European welfare states are crashing is irrelevant ti him; true believers are never rattled by facts, not even facts that slap them in the face like a cream pie.  The opportunity to impose a failing welfare state on America is what drew him to the presidency in the first place.  The congressional elections last year, the Republican rout that Mr. Obama rightly called a ‘shellacking’ of his party, made no impression either.  The results were all about cutting taxes and dismantling government, but not to Mr. Obama.  Those elections were merely a few pebbles on the road to Utopia.” Wesley Pruden, ‘If only pigs really could fly’, The Washington Times, November 25, 2011

Barack Obama is running for re-election on a platform of consolidating forever  the expansion of government during his first two years at 25 per cent of gross domestic product or more, while increasing federal taxes to 28 per cent of gross domestic product or more in order to pay lip-service to debt reduction. That involves almost doubling federal income taxes. And that cannot remotely be achieved on the backs of the top 1 percent alone.

The path that Barack Obama has chosen is unsustainable in the longer-term. Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy have already demonstrated that. And France is right on the edge. The only country that conceivably can pull it off is Germany, because their population is industrious and frugal.And the German government is already trimming its spending.  A majority of other Europeans and Americans do not share those  Germanic qualities. So they are on the big spenders’ roads to ruin.

Barack Obama, of course, does not care at all about the longer-term. He cares only about the present and the following fours years. By then, wealthy as he and his immediate family will be, he can relocate anywhere across the globe. And allow the United States to go to Hell in a handbasket:

“Everyone knows that unless someone does something, everything will be swallowed by one of those black holes from outer space.  Health care costs, which already consume 3.7 per cent of the gross domestic product, will take almost twice that by the year 2020.  Democrats are determined not to reform any of that.  Who will still be in Washington then?  The distance to 2020 might as well be measured in light years.  Next year is the short run, where Washington measures it all.  In the long-run, as Winston Churchill famously said, there is no long run.” Wesley Pruden, ibid.

Martingales are not nightingales

November 24, 2011

The nightingale is a beloved European songbird, that often sings at night when few other birds are singing. It has long been a symbol of romance among European poets.

The martingale is not a songbird, but a betting strategy. Each time you lose, you increase your stake: to the point at which a win on the next game would recoup all your losses and leave you ahead:

“Since you will win sooner or later, you are certain to come home with a small profit.  Provided you are infinitely rich before you start.  Otherwise, if you regularly engage in martingales, you will eventually go bankrupt – and the richer you are, the larger the scale of the bankruptcy.” John Kay, ‘It’s madness to follow a martingale betting strategy in Europe’, Financial Times, November 23, 2011

Martingales are a familiar currency of financial markets. Risk managers struggle, not always successfully, to control the  martingales of rogue traders. Governments have  responded  to the recent financial crisis by feeding sufficient money into the market to stave off immediate collapse. Currently, euroland is playing the martingale strategy with a dangerous vengeance:

“If the eurozone had quickly recognized defeat in Greece, it would have suffered a manageable failure and learnt an important lesson for the future.  Instead, it has followed the martingale.  As the size of the bet grows after a run of losses, the commitment to do what it takes becomes steadily less credible. The gambler who is confident his system will work looks to rich friends.  When the indulgence of Berlin was exhausted, a banker was despatched to Beijing.  Now the players look to the only remaining credible supporter.  Surely the European Central Bank can enable them to see the night through.  The ECB really does have infinite resources: if it runs out of money, it can print more.” John Kay, ibid.

Unfortunately, this holds only up to a point.  As John Kay indicates, money created by a central bank is not free – indeed if were truly free, we could all be as rich as Croesus.  The resources of a monetary agency come either directly from taxpayers or indirectly from everyone through general inflation:

To fund the bet the ECB would have to stand ready to buy, not just every eurozone bond issued so far, but any that might be issued. And more. The subprime and Lehman failures demonstrated that the amounts of money that could be gambled on default were potentially far larger than the actual amounts at risk.” John Kay, ibid.

‘If you will only lend me a bit more money’, says the gambler, ‘you will get it all back, and more.’  That is the seductive song of the martingale, not the romantic song of the nightingale.

The United Kingdom, in particular, should remain alert to this distinction. The eurozone is attempting to reinforce its martingale strategy by dragging non-members into its web.

 During World War II, a favorite verse reminded the isolated British people that  ‘A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square’.   Better to become completely independent from continental Europe, if the price of membership is to replace that beloved nightingale song with the seductive martingale song that advocates limitless escalation in the size of the gamble placed in favor of a dying euro.



The right approach to US budgetary reform

November 23, 2011

As I have mentioned many times, the United States has no government at this time. The President is in way over his head on issues that he simply does not comprehend. Intellectually, he is completely out of his depth.  The Congress is polarized into dysfunctional inaction at a time of crisis for the nation. American exceptionalism is dying through apathy and neglect. Free bread and circuses dominate individual enterprise and self-reliance. And that proved to be the ultimate death-knell for the Roman Empire of the West.

Yet there remains a narrow route back from the precipice.  That route is grounded in the classical political economy of budget balance.  So here, as a Thanksgiving offering, is my outline recipe for the Restoration:

1. Acknowledge economic reality: Over a foreseeable future, federal spending will not be reduceable beyond a minimum 20 per cent of gross domestic product. To cut further from the current bloated level of 25 per cent will provoke serious public unrest, and will be unacceptable politically under any regime that can be voted into office. That is what entitlement programs are designed to do. They lock in voting majorities among those who have gained access to the public troughs.

Given the debt crisis, this reality exposes a corollary. Federal tax revenues must exceed federal spending until the debt is reduced to acceptable levels. This implies that federal tax revenues must be increased to say 21 per cent of gross domestic product, from 15 per cent, for any foreseeable future. This is a sizeable increase in the overall tax burden on the nation. It is the inevitable price to be paid for past over-indulgence in free bread and circuses.

2.  Do well while doing good:

“what is needed is spending reform that offers goals, specifics and ways to blend fiscal responsibility with modernizing government. This includes near-term action on discretionary spending and longer-term action to reform entitlements and reduce the growth of Social Security and Medicare. Then revenue contributions can be addressed in the context of tax reform.” Glenn Hubbard, ‘It’s Still Possible to Cut Spending: Here’s  How’,  The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2011

The short term cuts would impact virtually all subsidy programs to businesses in the United States, including high-speed rail grants, community development, fringe education, and would involve the repeal of Obamacare. They would impact the defense budget, reflecting the winding down of two minor wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They would impact significantly on aid to the Middle East other than to Israel. Long-term cuts would involve raising the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare to 70 years and shifting Medicaid block grants to the states who would be entirely responsible for Medicaid decisions. Means testing would be applied to Medicare , which would be reformed into premium support, allowing individuals to choose among a range of differentially valued options, paying out of pocket to access the more expensive options. Annual  COLA adjustments to Social Security would be adjusted downwards . Federal employees would confront real wage reductions to bring their risk-adjusted remuneration in line with the private sector. Federal employees would be expected to fund their own retirement pensions.

Federal tax revenues would be increased, not by raising bracket rates, but by eliminating most tax expenditures and tax preferences, save for households that earn below a tightly defined poverty line. Such a tax reform would be progressive in nature, impacting high earners most, because they would no longer have access to tax avoidance measures. It would be growth-enhancing, much in the way that the Reagan tax reforms were in 1986.

In a nutshell, that is my proposed Thanksgiving feast. Eat well and think hard. Otherwise there will not be many well-endowed Thanksgiving feast in our American future.



MF Global failure: conspiracy between Jon Corzine and federal regulators?

November 22, 2011

“The estimated hole in MF Global’s customer accounts has doubled in size to $1.2bn, astonishing traders as the investigation into the broker’s failure enters its fourth week. The new figure, from the bankruptcy trustee for MF Global’s US brokerage is equivalent to almost a quarter of the $5.45bn in client funds that the firm was required to hold separately from its own funds…Failure to separate customer and house funds is a violation under US law.” Gregory Meyer and Kara Scannell, ‘MF Global shortfall hits $1.2bn’, Financial Times, November 22, 2011

When sums of this magnitude simply disappear untraceably from a company’s accounts, the foremost suspicion must concern criminal intent. Such a suspicion intensifies when evidence accumulates that the affected company was slow to announce bankruptcy, while key regulatory authorities discreetly turned their attention to other matters.

The FBI – if it is not already so doing – should be conducting comprehensive searches to identify all personal assets held by Jon Corzine and all personal assets held by every member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, MF Global’s primary regulator and every member of CME, the exchange operator that regulated MF Global’s large US futures operation. While this search is conducted, all individuals concerned should be charged with conspiracy to effect grand larceny, and placed under house arrest. $1.2 billion is surely a sum sufficient to subvert individuals who seek to serve themselves rather than those they are supposed to protect.

 Are these individuals any better than Bernie Madoff? A criminal investigation followed, if necessary, by indictments and court judgments,  should answer that question – not any naive belief in the integrity of the regulation process.

The Washington Hall of Shame

November 21, 2011

The names that follow are those of the members of the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. These individuals seemingly have failed to respond positively to the request of the Congress and of the President of the United States to produce a proposal designed to ameliorate the federal debt problem of the nation. You may assume that none of these individuals will sacrifice one red cent either of their stipends or of their campaign revenues. Nor will they flagellate themselves through the streets of Washington to expiate their sins.


Senator Patty Murray (Washington) Co- Chair

Senator Max Baucus (Montana)

Senator John Kerry (Massachusetts)

Congressman Xavier Becarra (California)

Congressman Jim Cyburn (South Carolina)

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (Maryland)


Senator Jon Kyl (Arizona)

Senator Rob Portman (Ohio)

Senator Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)

Congressman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) Co-Chair

Congressman Fred Upton (Michigan)

Congressman Dave Camp (Michigan)

Here  are twelve excellent candidates for burning in effigy on November 21 each year, like Guy Fawkes each Fifth of November in the United Kingdom. The only difference is that Guy Fawkes at least had a memorable name.



United States on the edge of a political-economic black hole

November 21, 2011

The United States has no effective government at the present time. The President is AWOL and the Congress is completely dysfunctional, while the federal system slides towards irreversible debt default. 

Congress and the President cannot even delegate their respective powers effectively to ameliorate the debt crisis. The so-called supercommittee appears to comprise 12 low-grade,  self-seeking politicians, who put their own electoral interests above those of the People. Unless there is an 11th hour transformation, no budget-cutting proposals will emanate from their rent-seeking hands.

In earlier times, a cabal of that kind, that failed utterly to deliver the goods, when ordered so to do, would have been strung up in the streets. Maybe their comfortable offices on Capitol Hill should be occupied instead of Wall Street.

It would seem as though the federal non-government has placed itself in a state of war against the People. In such circumstances, John Locke recognized the right of the people to respond by taking down the existing political system and rebuilding it anew. Thomas Jefferson surely would have concurred with that sentiment.