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, February 27, 2015

Developing Story

North Carolina Representative Walter Jones is demanding a full debate on the Obama authorization for war. He is also calling for the release of the redacted 28 pages of the 9/11 report.   He is being supported in his call for release of the 28 pages by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida.

This is an important development and should be watched.   Jones and Graham deserve support.  

Record Cold Freezes Waves in New England

Photographer Jacob Nimerfroh captured several images off Nantucket, Massachusetts, after noticing the horizon looked strange.

February 2015 is breaking low temperature records and going into the books as one of the coldest months in history.

Courtesy:  Daily Mail

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Representative Democracy in America Breaking Down

Although the process has been slow, the system of representative democracy has been breaking down in the U.S.  A prime example is the enactment -- by referendum -- of new marijuana laws.  In spite of federal bans on marijuana growing and use, voters in various jurisdictions have been passing new laws relaxing and even eliminating prohibitions of marijuana, otherwise knows as Mary Jane, reefer, pot.

Having researched marijuana in the past I know it is by no means a safe drug.  In addition to deterioration in mental function, smoking pot has the following attributes;  It: 1) is carcinogenic; 2) is a lung irritant;  3) tends to reduce drive including sexual drive; 4) can be addictive; among other things.

 In addition, there are the beginnings of a big-business model developing.

Beyond this, just how is this substance being transported?  Is it being transported against state lines?

Further, what effect does the legalization of marijuana have on children and young people?  Alcohol abused in the human can have a terrible effect on children.  What is the effect of marijuana on children?   These are questions which urgently need to be addressed.

The change in political climate from the Nancy Reagan "just say 'no'" campaign to today is startling, even shocking.

There are some things worth prohibiting.  Marijuana should be one of these.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

America Out of Control

There is a great deal to be said about American foreign policy these days.  With so many trouble spots, it is hard to know where to start.  The issues are confusing, with conflicting interests to a degree I don't remember seeing before.  From Libya, to Syria, to Ukraine, American foreign policy seems confused, adrift.

Of course, it doesn't help that Republicans are flying all over the world criticizing Pres. Obama.  But this is one situation where Republicans, though devoid of policy solutions, are not especially to blame.

The Ukrainian situation seems the most important, involving as it does our relationship with the other major nuclear power, Russia.  We certainly hear through our government and media the U.S. side of the story -- how Russia is behind the separatists, and even how Russian is poised to start sending tanks across European borders.

The Russians have another side of the story.  According to them, the new Ukrainian government resulted from the overthrow of a democratically-elected President and is thus illegitimate.  It is the west, especially the U.S. and Britain which are fomenting unrest.

With all due respect, I suggest the Russian position is actually closer to the truth.  Sadly, we in America have learned not to necessarily believe our own government, and especially not our media.  (Case in point: the Brian Williams fiasco.)  In the absence of facts on these shores, the Russian explanation actually makes sense.  Now, I happen not to believe necessarily every point the Russians make.  But their characterization of the Cameron government, for example,  as a purely hostile operation is fairly devastating.

Is it possibly true, just possibly, possibly true that Western financial interests are driving American foreign policy?  As Pres. Putin has sought to re-establish a stronger sense of sovereignty, has this stimulated fears and anxieties of something less than an open market there?  Are the oligarchs of the west fearful of a return to a more socialized orientation in Russian economics?   Could these fears lead to a more aggressive, hostile U.S.-British policy?  After all, the American people as such are not clamoring for a new cold war.  And they certainly don't want a World War III.

Let America tend to its own needs.  And may both Russian and Ukraine be allowed to flower both democratically and economically.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Poetry: Walt Whitman on America

Walt Whitman can be counted on to offer a dose of realism and respect for America. 

via Gutenberg Project --


Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,All, all alike, endear'd, grown, ungrown, young or old,Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,Chair'd in the adamant of Time.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Is Jill Stein the Next Ralph Nader?

In 2000, you may recall, Ralph Nader served the role of spoiler, allowing one G. W. Bush (Bush the Lesser) to enter the White House.  Nader had some very legitimate criticism of the two-party system and how the two parties had congealed around the profit system, shutting out too many people.... 

... without Nader -- who declared that even if he were a spoiler the Republicans wouldn't be so bad -- Al Gore would have won Florida clearly and would have gone into the White House. 
                                                                                        --     from Democratic Campaign Watch

Will Jill Stein be the next Ralph Nader?  Will circumstances be so dire in 2016 that a sizable phalanx of the voting populace will be tempted to veer off to the Green Party as happened disastrously in 2000?


Monday, February 09, 2015

New York Times Indicates "System" to Blame

Yesterday's New York Times had several amazing articles.  Specifically, there were articles on the health care system, Hillary Clinton, and the Brian Williams scandal.  Both the articles on health care and the Brian Williams scandal were about "the system."  In the case of Brian Williams commentators were quoted as remarking Williams had come out of the NBC "system," thus implying that system was in some sense to blame for the Williams downfall.

In the scary article on health care it was clear some draconian events in customer's lives were due not to Obama care as such, but the larger system.  While the article mentioned deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act, deficiencies which are serious, the problems were mentioned in terms of the larger picture of a broken system.  The system here is the profit system.  The article mentions ever-changing policies, rules, and network arrangements.  It is quite apparent these rapid changes are being made to cut costs and maximize profits for the private insurers in the wake of the Affordable Care Act.  In this sense, to blame Obamacare is crazy.

Still, as the article makes clear, the law needs changing.  Regulation must be beefed up at the state level.  And -- importantly -- some states clearly erred by not doing all they could to promote health care access under the new law.

The prescription called for is "mend it, don't end it."  

Friday, February 06, 2015

Boehner's Latest Boner

John Boehner, the occupier of the seat of the Speaker of the House, has misled the Israeli government according to official Israeli sources.  More on the story is at the link below.

Mr. Boehner, it appears, is coming dangerously close to usurping the powers of the Presidency.  One can quibble about Mr. Obama's policies.  But if Boehner has misled the Israeli government this is a serious matter.  It weakens not only the Presidency but America itself by spreading confusion, discord, and division.

Apparently, Boehner told the Israeli Prime Minister that the invitation for Mr. Netanyahu to speak before Congress was bi-partisan.  It is quite clear this was untrue.  I certainly don't want to judge anyone -- even John Boehner -- only through the press.  But these allegations of misleading the Israeli Prime Minister need to be investigated.  For such a thing would indeed be a big boner.

Boehner's Latest Boner

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Despite Cheery News Notes from Government and Others, Americans Deeply Stressed Over This Factor

From Yahoo Health comes news of a survey of Americans' stress.  One factor over any other is leading to continuing stress and is even affecting the health of people.  I'll have the link to the complete article below.
The average person knows he is under stress.  And when he thinks about it, personal finances very often come to mind. 
What a sad state of affairs for what used to be called the greatest nation on earth.
Certainly, an America constantly stressed-out over personal finances is not the America we know, and certainly not a healthy America. 
via Yahoo Health --
Nearly three-quarters of adults say they’re stressed about this factor.
Even with the U.S. economy on the rebound, Americans are more stressed out about money than ever, and the financial strain is harming the nation’s health.
The American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” survey results for 2014, released this week, shows that 72 percent of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and 22 percent say that they experience extreme stress about money. Top reported triggers include paying for unexpected expenses, paying for essentials, and saving for retirement.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

A Changing America: Land

Today I begin a new series entitled "A Changing America."  This series will examine mostly positive changes to this great land officially known as The United States of America.  While problems and deficits in American life are fair game for this and other blogs, highlighting positive or good changes is in order.  It is also desperately needed in order to help maintain the sanity of the frail, and the good cheer of the strong.

I have seen recently the injustice of the land rental and leasing system so widespread, especially in the U.S. and England, as well as elsewhere.  Although widespread, the practice can hardly be considered well-liked.  The article linked to below describes well the basic injustice of this system.  Land ownership and then rental has its roots quite deeply in history and was known more recently as feudalism.  The fact that feudalism still exists, though in a different form, is a fact not often admitted in polite company.

However, it is most certainly a very real part of -- literally -- the landscape.  See here why this system is illogical and unjust:

A Changing America: Land

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

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