THE EVOLUTION OF DEBT SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES IN MODERN TIMES – Part One                                                                                                                                                                         By Scott E. Stafne     I remember seeing my great uncle Edward C. Stafne for the last time at a party given by my cousin Anne Louise Hawkes in Redmond, Washington. I was in my late twenties. Uncle Edward was in his seventies. I had seen Uncle Ed on and off growing up when Mom, Dad, my brother Todd, and I would take road trips from Bettendorf, Iowa to visit my parents’ parents (Todd and my grandparents) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Uncle Ed and his wife, and their son Eric Stafne lived in Rochester, Minnesota which was on the way to Minneapolis. Edward Stafne worked at the Mayo Clinic as an oral surgeon. Family lore and a newspaper article I once read stated that Uncle Ed gave a memorial address for each of the Mayo brothers at their funerals. Uncle Ed was the oral surgeon who in 1942 discovered a … Continue Reading

“A nation conceived in liberty has become an empire dedicated to facilitating the debt of its people” April 17, 2015

For the past few days I have thought about the phrase “conceived in liberty”. At first I thought it might have been used in the Declaration of Independence. I checked out that document. It was not there. Then I thought the phrase might be part of the pledge of allegiance. I checked. It wasn’t there. Finally, I googled the phrase “conceived in liberty”. Turns out it was used by Abraham Lincoln in the first line of the Gettysburg Address. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In his next sentence Lincoln states: “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” Our country, so conceived and dedicated, survived the civil war. Unfortunately, it appears not to have survived the sociopaths in the Republican and Democratic parties, who continue to serve only the needs of those who can afford to make hefty campaign contributions. I went  to DePauw University, a small liberal arts college in Greencastle, Indiana from 1967 until 1971. I remember back then discussing in a classroom why liberty, without the economic resources to exercise it, was not freedom at all. The example which we discussed so many years ago was that a person’s right to travel was  meaningless if he could not afford to travel. While I mentally understood the … Continue Reading