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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bail System Wreaks Havoc with Constitution

I heard a broadcast series of reports on National Public Radio (NPR) late last week on the subject of burdensome bail. Recently, I have become aware of this problem on a local level. But to have reports of this nature on NPR was both enlightening and disturbing. I am glad to highly recommend these reports to you. They tell of a macabre money-oriented system in which the business needs of bail bondsmen are put ahead of the Constitutional rights of the accused. I think you will find these reports riveting.

Below are two hyper-links. In each case the link is to a page containing a run-down of the two NPR programs on which the reports appear -- "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." You will need to look for the title of the report which I list below. Once you find the report you can either listen to it or read the transcript.

Bail Burden Keeps U.S. Jails Stuffed With Inmates


Inmates Who Can't Make Bail Face Stark Options

Sitting in Jail, Unable to Post Bail

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Amidst all the hysteria following a very unfortunate Senate vote in Massachusetts it is helpful to be reminded of some basic facts. I found this very helpful short animated fact sheet with narration. It helps keep us focused on what is truly needed in America now regarding health care.

I am indeed furious with Massachusetts for either a stupid Senate selection process or -- certainly -- a poor outcome. I only hope people in power will have the wisdom to stand up for principles the rest of the country believes in. And if the people of Massachusetts want to be silly -- even if the silliness has an explanation -- may they be eternally happy in their giddy ignorance.* The link to the animation is below. Could you forward it to your friends, please?

*Although blaming the Massachusetts vote, I blame the major media for a criminal dereliction of duty in not presenting the facts with which voters could make informed choices. That's why the film referenced here is so important.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reporting Lite: Brown in Massachusetts

In the interest of presenting a rainbow of reports, here is a report from today's "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio.

I call this reporting lite because of the breezy style and the relatively short length. At any rate, it gives another slant on Scott Brown, the political unknown who now must assume the cloak of a United States Senator. Whether the Scott Brown of the campaign or the friendlier Scott Brown of this report wins out remains to be seen. At least you, the reader, will have an alternative perspective as heard here. (The reference link is below or you may click on the post title above.)


Kennedy Son Has Interesting Take on Democratic Defeat in Massachusetts

The most interesting analysis I have seen so far on what happened yesterday in Massachusetts has been offered by Rep. Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Edward Kennedy. Showing both humility and something more pointed, Kennedy's comments offer a fitting explanation of the mood of voters in the state his father and uncle represented for so many years. You can read the younger Kennedy's comments here:
< http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31700.html >.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Disaster in Massachusetts

It is hard to tell now which was the bigger disaster: nominating Martha Coakley for U.S. Senate or her defeat at the hands of a far-right trickster in today's election. Actually, there is a third nominee for Greatest Disaster of Early 2010: the nomination of Scott Brown. I vote for the latter choice, though it is hard to argue with the other two.

The New York Times has a fairly good report on the horse-race aspect of the catastrophe. (See link below or click the post title above.) Since independents are the largest group of voters in Massachusetts, the volatility of this race is understandable. And the position of independents as such -- not committing to either party permanently-- is understandable except for one glaring fact: The Republican Party has been taken over by virtual fascists. This includes Scott Brown, who is on record as favoring waterboarding! What could the people of Massachusetts possibly been thinking?

Coming: Some possible answers.


Insanity Grips Massachusetts -- Blogging the Election

"I'm trying to save the nation today," said Robert Cappello, 69, a registered Republican and enthusiastic Brown voter from South Boston who reveled in what he described as an "overwhelming sweep" of momentum for his candidate.

"This election is a lot about sending a message," Cappello said in an excited voice outside a polling place on H Street. "It's telling Washington to slow down."

This from the Boston Globe web site today. What should have been a no-brainer for Massachusetts has turned into a brawl as Democrat Coakley is facing an unexpectedly strong challenge from far-right candidate Brown. The once-dishabille Cosmopolitan magazine centerfold star, Brown is now within spitting distance of a shocking, bewildering defeat of a solid but lackluster Democratic candidate for the seat held by Edward Kennedy. This in a state which propelled Sen. John F. Kennedy to the Presidency in 1960.

Now, half-delirious voters like Robert Cappello have been given space in Boston's august Globe to pontificate over sending a message. Though totally irresponsible, the desire to use today's election to "send a message" is real. Only a Democratic Party beholden to Wall Street could have allowed such a pending fiasco to develop.

It is time for loyal Democrats to make clear to the party leadership that such a situation was totally avoidable and unacceptable.

Meanwhile, perhaps we should pray to the God of Boston's good Catholics -- and Protestants -- for a miracle in the voting booths of the former Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Election Day in Massachusetts

McClatchy Newspapers company reports today in my local paper that Democratic strategists have put out the word over the week-end that they expect the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, to lose in today's special election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Of course, we can hope that the strategists are wrong and there will be a late surge as voters weigh carefully what a Republican win in Massachusetts would mean.

But absent such a last-minute development, how in God's name could the Democratic Party manage to lose a Senate race in over-whelmingly Democratic Massachusetts? If the Democratic candidate does lose it is a tremendous repudiation of the way the Democratic Party is being led.

Voters in Massachusetts are complaining about a Democratic candidate (Coakley) who is remote and seemingly smug. So, to cut to the chase, what kind of political process would bring such a person to the fore, assuming the crticisms are accurate?

For any Massachetts voters who are still undecided, I ask you to consider carefully your vote. Are we going to continue with a broken health care system? Are we going back to the days of bail-outs for Wall Street, of high budget and trade deficits, of disdain for the poor and the middle class -- all features brought to us by the Republican Party? And make no mistake, Brown is a far-righter who would vote for the most regressive kinds of policies and against the interests of the every-day working person of this country.

If the Democrats do lose the Kennedy seat, I call for the resignation of the head of the Democratic National Committee at a minimum, and the installation of a person who can set a new tone, something different from policies of remoteness and smugness.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Truthful Look at the U.S. Income Tax

At this time of year employers are dutifully sending out what are known as W-2 forms. I'm not sure why they call them W-2 forms, but I know why they don't call them K-9 forms. But they could. To many people that would be a more appropriate designation.

I found the article linked here to be essentially truthful, factual. One comment I would add is not to dismiss out of hand the allegations of problems with the validity of the sixteenth amendment.

If you wish to comment on this blog post or the article, please hit the comment button below.

For the article cut and paste the URL below or simply click on the blog post title above.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Best-Selling Author Warns of Possibility of Right-Wing Resurgence

Once again, Bill Moyers has hit the mark with an incisive and insightful program. I took special note of the interview with author Thomas Frank of What's the Matter with Kansas? fame. My ears pricked up when I heard Frank say he can see the possibility of a right-wing resurgence in America, playing on Americans' dissatisfaction with the economy and its attendant hopelessness. This less than a year after the inauguration of a new Democratic President. Let the complacent be forewarned!

People are indeed disappointed. They do in fact see the powerful becoming more powerful -- and at their expense. While so-called liberal Democrats see this as an occasion for the government to come to the aid of the citizenry, right-wing Republicans see a violation of their heart-felt passion for a small government.

What Frank makes clear is the Republicans don't so much want small government as weak and ineffective government. Republican strategists and apologists have actually said they want second- and third-rate people to run the government, so the beloved free market can operate without encumbrance.

We must remember it was this philosophy which got us into so much trouble during the last decade. Frank documents the evidence.

(I can say speedily I am no promoter of incompetent governance. But as Frank points out, many governments around the world can and do work very well.)

The interview is well worth watching and can be seen at the following link or by first clicking on the blog title above.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Unions Balk at Health Benefits Tax

First, I recommend reading the following New York Times on-line article. Then, come back here for my wrap-up. (You may also click on the post title above.)


I whole-heartedly support the unions as they stand up for America's middle class. The idea of taxing a benefit is bizarre and hurtful. Only out-of-touch Senators would even think of such an idea, let alone float it and vote for it. Let's hope the House version is the one ultimately passed by Congress!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Republican National Chairman Speaks Candidly

In a refreshing display of candor, the current chairman of the Republican National Committee says he is doubtful Republicans can regain control of Congress in the 2010 elections. When you read his comments in context as presented in the referenced on-line article they make sense.

Republicans are still enmeshed in a kind of internecine warfare which is one reason they continue to be in trouble. Events will have to ultimately determine which way the country goes. As inadequate as the Democrats are, it is vitally important the far right wing of the Republican Party -- which controls that "Grand Old Party" -- not take over leadership of the country.



Check back here soon for more on Continental Congress 2009

Monday, January 04, 2010

Articles of Freedom, Part 2

I have now read through the complete Articles of Freedom as passed by Continental Congress 2009. In the interest of timeliness and admittedly at the expense of completeness I offer now a brief summation.

There is much to be said in favor of these articles, which together comprise a treatise of contemporary American government. The subjects such as monetary policy, immigration, executive war powers, are dealt with concisely. Included in each section are directives for legislators and citizens.

In later posts I intend to deal in greater detail with the various statements made here. For now, I can say many of the articles are invaluable, offering a much-need corrective for our times. The Articles perform an invaluable service by pointing up the national emergency which exists now in an America confronted by a government all too often in violation of the Constitution.

My main criticism of the document is its frequent Libertarian bent. That is a capital "L" as in Libertarian Party. The standpoint of the document relative to economic issues, which elevates the so-called free market to nearly mythical status is no longer in the mainstream of American thinking after the disastrous economic turmoil of 2008 and beyond. There are other hints at excess, such as when the document actually declares the family to be in conflict with the government.

Thus, there is a certain narrowness here. A longer time in preparing for the Congress with a greater notice by the media might have allowed for a wider diversity of views. There is also evidence of haste in the adoption of the document. There is much which is presented in almost a list format with little detail or background given. (I hope to give examples in future posts.)

Still, there is much good here. The document shows what Americans can do in a time of crisis.

The document can be viewed at < www.givemeliberty.org >.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Time to Rest and Gather Strength

Dear Reader,

On this the first day of the new year, I find myself needing to re-gather strength having been fighting an infection for several weeks. While the end is not yet in sight, I am making progress and know good health will return before too long.

As I have been resting I have been reading and attempting to gather encouragement from numerous sources. How fortunate I am to have access to a wonderful civic library as well as a personal library! Next to music, books are my greatest passion and source of inspiration.

I have just started reviewing some important information and wanted to rush the reference to you so you, too, may examine certain documents and gain insights and feel encouraged. After I have had a chance to go through the documents I will have more to say.

The information I refer to is from the We the People Foundation and the documents include the Articles of Freedom adopted at Continental Congress 2009 (see elsewhere on this blog). First, I am reading a statement from the Foundation giving an interesting history of the formulation of the idea and then the work leading up to the Continental Congress held this past November. I was proud to stand as a delegate nominee to this important Congress. Later, after going through the Articles themselves I will have more to say.

In 2010, this blog will celebrate its fourth anniversary. The past three years and seven months have been rich in experience and meaning. The new year promises to be a pivotal year. It may be another difficult year as persons become clearer about the choice they must make now. I wish fortitude to those who are working to restore a fully-functioning Republic to these shores.

See this link for further information or simply click on the title above.


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