Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny. -- Daniel Webster

Friday, June 26, 2009

Erudite Traitors Seek to Pervert U.S. Constitution

National Public Radio this morning reported that two intellectual thugs at the Brookings Institution were set to propose a permanent scheme for incarcerating persons on a long-term basis simply on the suspicion that they might commit an act of terrorism -- as determined by the President. While the Administration would have to go before a judge (secretly), the detention would have to be renewed every six months, and the scheme would only apply to non-U.S. citizens, this would represent a serious erosion of Constitutional rule. For the Constitution says nothing about its protections applying only to citizens! And it does say a great deal about the need for evidence before anyone is imprisoned, and then the person must have a speedy trial.

If we allow such a shocking proposal to become law we are no better than any two-bit authoritarian regime which shirks legal justice and instead operates on the decisions of some strongman. That is, in fact, the essence of this egregious proposal.

A longer discussion of this matter (to be saved for a later date) must examine the motives of those who would wield such power.

History does shows that tyranny almost never descends upon a democracy in one fell swoop. Rather, rights are chipped away at bit by bit, until nothing is left. (The prime example is the Roman Republic, and another is the Weimar Republic in Germany after World War I.)

For an Australian viewpoint on this kind of thing, see the article linked below or click on the title above.

This horrific whittling away of our rights must be rejected out-of-hand and any proposer of such a fascist absurdity must be excoriated in the strongest possible terms.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer As Significant

Normally, summer is a less-consequential time of the year, with light-hearted activities predominating.

This year seems somewhat different somehow. In my own life I am busy making career decisions even as I keep active in music.

And speaking of music, the world was rocked today with the news of the death of Michael Jackson, that iconic figure of super-stardom. I should save writing about Michael Jackson for another time.

In the wider national sphere much is going on at the federal level. Although it is an active time, there is so much more the government could do. This is where responsible citizen action comes in. I hope to continue writing about opportunities for effective democratic action.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Is the Tide Beginning to Turn?

Within the last few days I have been fairly astonished by two press reports criticizing Pres. Obama's financial industry regulatory plan for not going far enough. The first was an article by the lead business columnist of my local newspaper. The second was a commentary on "Marketplace" on NPR from a columnist of The Wall Street Journal! Both were saying that great wrongs had been done by the Wall Street types and, first, they need to be held accountable, and, second, laws and systems must be adequate to prevent a repeat.

I also liked one observer's comment that if we focus only on fixing laws and regulatory schemes we miss the fact that crimes were committed by people. So this view is supportive of the two press persons spoken of above.

Is it possible that certain members of the press and media are actually beginning to be honest about the financial crisis which besets us? I'm not so naive as to believe we have nirvana before us, but clearly if The Wall Street Journal can voice such strong criticism of the Wall Street tycoons, it would seem most anything is possible.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jimmy Carter Pushes for Mid-East Peace

Jimmy Carter, one of the best ex-Presidents in the nation's history, has once again been in the Middle East seeking a resolution of several issues with the ultimate goal being peace. Pres. Carter has been making progress, with the leader of the Palestinian Hamas movement now saying a two-state solution is possible.

I thought you, my reader, would be interested in the following quotes from Pres. Carter. I have not yet verified them but they are from a usually reliable source.

In referring to Israeli attacks on Gaza earlier this year, Carter said that in "the aftermath of bombs, missiles, tanks, bulldozers, and the continuing economic siege have brought death, destruction, pain, and suffering to the people here. Tragically, the international community largely ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are being treated more like animals than human beings."

Carter further declared in speaking to the residents of Gaza, "The responsibility for this terrible human rights crime lies in Jerusalem, Cairo, Washington, and throughout the international community. This abuse must cease; the crimes must be investigated; the walls must be brought down, and the basic right of freedom must come to you."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Progressive Democrats Fire Up to Defeat War Funding

This video is well worth watching and acting on.

I'm not sure exactly what the follow-through would be if funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should be cut off. That would be a major question in my mind in terms of simple logistics as well as responsible foreign policy. I'm not sure this has been thought about.

But even a symbolic vote to end these atrocious wars would be worthwhile.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Single Payer Health Care Plan Makes Progress

The proposed single-payer or "Medicare for All" system of health care made astonishing progress this week almost by default, as proponents of a "multi-player" plan split into factions. The article linked below gives details. (You may also click on the title above.)

I am a bit surprised to see Medicare for All begin to make this kind of progress at this point. However, from another point of view, because of its inherent logic compared with the illogic of a mixed system (which would combine private plans with a public option), such an advance is not so surprising.

It is refreshing to see every-day people beginning to have an impact on the health care discussion. Perhaps common sense and justice will win the day after all.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Henry Giroux, Critical Thinker

Recently, I have become aware of the author and social critic, Henry Giroux. In a conversation published on line, Giroux speaks of what he calls critical pedagogy. His is an interesting and thoughtful approach. I especially like the democratic essence of his theory. With all the turmoil in the field of education, it is good to see something as insightful as this.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

D-Day Dodgers

This evening, while watching a DVD of a portion of the BBC Series on World War II entitled "Battlefields", I was introduced to a song called "D-Day Dodgers" which appears to be a war version of the song "Lili Marleen." The song "D-Day Dodgers" refers to the soldiers who were stuck in Italy at the time of the Normandy invasion in France. The BBC episode entitled "Cassino" told very effectively the story of the Allied attack on Fortress Cassino, southeast of Rome, and held by the Germans. In the overall campaign to reach Rome, some 100,000 men were lost.

The song "D-Day Dodgers" captures poignantly the sacrifice of some very brave men who fought and suffered terrible losses in order to liberate Italy from the grip of fascism. Watching the video and listening to this wistful song brought home for me this awesome sacrifice, now more than sixty years in the past. May we never forget what those men gave up in order to save us from fascism, and to protect liberty.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Creeping (and Creepy) Militarism in Our Public Schools

Thanks to Truthout I have today become aware of recent efforts to step up efforts to establish more military public schools in the United States. This is a trend which deserves the closest scrutiny with an end toward abolishing such schools. Just as a permanent standing army should never be accepted policy in America, so permanent military schools should be off the table.

We must return to the vision of our founding fathers. Their vision was of a republic run by the people. What we have is a permanent war economy with a muscular military presence propping up the failed financial system. None of this has anything to do with a democratic republic. I am aware these are seemingly bold comments. Yet if one studies history, these are the inevitable conclusions.

This, then, is something of a backdrop for my criticism of so-called public military schools. The article referenced presents a typical journalistic false balance to this issue. But contained within this false balance is information which should concern every lover of democracy in America.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Urgent Health Care Political Crisis

With large regret, I must inform my readers of reports that the Obama health plan championed by such as Peter Orszag and Larry Summers is set to pursue a dangerous course. The information I am getting -- and details remain foggy -- is that private health "insurance" companies' profits will be protected while health care needs of citizens will be subjected to a rating system in which the lives of people will be judged on their value in comparison to the cost of keeping them alive.

As I say, I am still gathering the facts on this matter, but I am understanding further that former Senator Tom Daschle has advocated an independent Health Care Board, which would act like the Federal Reserve -- that is, independent of Congress and the government to make the unpopular decisions regarding who will get care and of what kind.

In coming days I will be seeking confirmation of this information. But it fits in with the other Bush/Obama programs which seek to protect the financial "community." And let's be honest: health care has already been heavily financialized to the detriment of the health of the American people.

Thus, the Obama health care plan as described above is rightly being called fascist. That is, the plan seeks to serve corporate interests first and citizen needs second, though, of course, the White House officials are not going to admit this.

Such a fascist plan should not be surprising in a country in which corporations are allowed to donate through "bundling" huge sums of money to political campaigns. Further, they are allowed preferential access to legislators through their professional lobbyists.

I hope to have more to say on this soon. In the meantime, I plead with you to contact your legislator immediately to express your opposition to this Nazi-type health care proposal which seems to blend the worst of the current for-profit system and state-run health care systems.* Do not wait. Time is of the essence.

* Unlike some, I am not necessarily opposed to state-run health care systems, if structured to preserve patient rights. The single-payer idea in which the government is the sole purchaser of group health care comes close to what I favor. More later.

Monday, June 01, 2009

We Have a Problem

As in Apollo 13, Americans are beginning to realize, "We have a problem." People who are keen observers of the economic situation in the country are aware that reality does not necessarily match verbiage. What we are told by the corporate media these days is often a far, far different thing from what the man on the street senses.

Reports from some quarters would seem to indicate the economy has "hit bottom." Various statistics are marshaled. Yet job losses continue, on-going unemployment claims continue to rise, more and more men and women drop out of the job market.

And there is the problem of the continuing Wall Street and corporate bail-outs. Never in American history has there ever been such a flow of money from the American tax-payer into private hands. This outrageous negation of everything decent and just, rankles as no other festering wound.

That this is being done under a new President seems to make matters worse. We were expecting so much more, so much better.

Through all the suffering, I have a sense there is a deeper purpose at work. It is harder than ever to hide the failings of the profit system. All that remains is for the American people to become fully aware of this fact and begin to take appropriate action. This waking up is closer than it was. May its full arrival be in a near time.

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