Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Correct Itself

Donald Urtz claimed: “America has had a history of occasional economic downturns that have always corrected itself with tax cuts or just letting the business world work out of it.”

Let me correct Mr. Urtz, who apparently doesn’t recall newspaper headlines saying: “Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, still stunned by a 778 point rout in the Dow Jones industrial average, warned that the government needs to approve a plan that will sweep away the fears that hobbled the credit markets.”

Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke the Chairman of the Federal Reserve went to Congress to ask for $700 billion. The Bush administration wanted Congress to immediately give them $700 billion virtually unrestricted.  Their arrogant request to Congress stated: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” 

Recently, Bush said: “I believe the role of government is not to create wealth but to create the conditions that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive.  I believe in the power of free enterprise, which made the decision I faced last fall one of the most difficult of my presidency.  I went against my free market instincts and approved a temporary government intervention to unfreeze the credit markets so that we could avoid a major global depression.”

Bush has apologized for TARP, which at the time he insisted was necessary to avoid a major global depression. Half of the TARP money approved by Congress was spent before Obama became president, and not the way most congressional Democrats had intended.

Obama and congressional Democrats are attempting to restore the Wall Street rules that Bush and his cronies had strip away leading to last year’s economic meltdown and current recession.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Donald Urtz

The Oneonta Star published a letter by Donald Urtz of Richfield Springs stating:

“I was shocked when I read the Street Talk interviews in the Nov. 9 issue. I find it hard to believe that anyone can have a favorable opinion of President Obama after almost a year in office.

“America has had a history of occasional economic downturns that have always corrected itself with tax cuts or just letting the business world work out of it.

“Obama has done everything possible to made a bad situation worse by putting our great grandchildren in a sea of red ink.

“We are sitting on a vast oil reserve that we are not allowed to drill. We are forced to buy oil from nations that hate us. He wants us to pay triple the amount for our energy needs to pay for his cap-and-trade policy. Although the U.S. uses much energy, of that we produce two-thirds of the world’s food production.

“The U.S. has donated more in aid to the world then the rest of the nations combined. We have given hundreds of thousands of lives and limbs of our people so that much of the world can live in freedom, yet our president has made a habit to travel the world to apologize for us. HOW SHAMEFUL!

“He has appointed czars who are downright radicals _ people who admire former and present world leaders such as Mao and Castro who have murdered millions of their own citizens.

“Although it's far from perfect, he wants to dismantle the best health care system on the planet _ and even put you in jail if you refuse to take part in his new plan.

“Citizens, wake up. Your country is being taken away from you!”

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I’ll be making several responses on this web site to the claims Donald Urtz has made and hopefully at least one of my responses will be published in the Oneonta Star.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Veterans Healthcare

Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He’s a retired three star naval admiral and the highest ranking military officer to ever serve in Congress. Recently, Sestak pointed out, that in order to cut costs in 2003, the Bush administration kicked out of the Veterans Administration’s “Priority Eight” veterans, who were making a little more than $29,000.

In 2006, Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Democrats began to significantly increase the Veterans Administrations budget.

The Obama campaign pledged: “When troops serve, they are not divided by income classes or priority groups. Yet, today the VA is picking and choosing which veterans to serve. Barack Obama is committed to ending the unfair ban on health care enrollment of certain groups of veterans, including ‘Priority 8’ veterans who often earn modest incomes. He has voted to end this unfair policy, which has resulted in the VA turning away nearly one million veterans since 2003. As president, one of Barack Obama’s first acts will be signing an executive order reversing this ban.”

In 2003, the Veteran’s Administration was forced to prioritize veterans, who would be eligible to receive health care benefit, because of limited resources and a mandate to provide quality and timely health care.

According to President Obama’s plan, the VA would expand eligibility for health care to non disabled veterans earning modest incomes. That expansion would bring 550,000 eligible veterans into the VA health care system by 2013. The 2010 budget request provides the resources to achieve that level while maintaining high quality and timely care for lower-income and service-disabled veterans who currently rely on VA medical care.

Joe Davis a national spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars confirms: “The president is taking care of veterans. He is following through on this provision.”

Friday, November 27, 2009

Slow Death

Economist Dean Baker warns: “If the debt limit is not passed, then at some point the government will not be able to pay workers and contractors. It won’t be able to send out Social Security checks or make payments for Medicaid and unemployment insurance to state governments. And, it will not be able to make interest payments on government bonds, effectively defaulting on the national debt.”

Predictably, homelessness is rising at an increased rate as well. Our government does not tally the numbers but interested organizations say that more than three million people were homeless at some point over the past year, and the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.

Children have been hit especially hard by this economic crisis. The Washington Post report: “The nation’s economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people — including almost one child in four — struggled last year to get enough to eat…"

Several independent advocates and policy experts on hunger said that they had been bracing for the latest report to show deepening shortages, but that they were nevertheless astonished by how much the problem has worsened.

The numbers of people living in poverty and struggling to eat has seen a significant increase. In 2008, according to the Census Bureau, the number of Americans without healthcare grew to a record 46.3 million. These figures understate the severity of the economic downturn because a large portion of nation’s job losses and unemployment rate increases occurred after the Census survey data was collected.

Never before has America had so many citizens with little to no income and heavy debt. Debt and costs of living have now shackled our citizens just as it has shackled people throughout the world. The economic corporate hit men have hit America and millions of our citizens have been sentenced to a slow death.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Karl Schwartz

Bismarck said: “Politics is the art of the possible.” Nevertheless, Karl Schwartz claimed, that politicians are to blame for what is wrong in our country. Most of his claims are true, but his deplorable over generalization about every politician in Washington D.C. appeals to “morons.”

Schwartz suggests: “There is only one hope for America and that is to clean out Washington, DC wall-to-wall, every office, and get some people in there to clean up the damned mess these RNC, DNC and bureaucratic morons have made of America.”

How would one start to clean out Washington? I agree with the Japanese saying: “They say if you have to resort to violence, then you’ve already lost.” Furthermore, since: “America is on the road to total collapse,” perhaps there is something we should be doing about it, other than behaving like Chicken Little.

Alexis de Tocqueville insisted: “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.” I tend to be a pragmatist, who recognize that the problem isn’t our politicians, but the voters that keep voting them into office, as well as, those who don’t vote, but just complain and appear unable to offer reasonable solutions.

The crux of many of today’s problems seem to relate to those politicians, who are representing the religious views of their fundamentalist constituents.

I’ve been preparing respectful, persuasive, factual letters, which are published in the Delaware County Times and County Shopper every week. Different letters are submit to the Oneonta Star and many other area newspapers for publication every month.

The Oneonta Star has published a least three letters, during the past month that are factually inaccurate. Although, I’ve responded to those letters on this web site, the fact that the Star has 30 day limit is very frustrating. I could use some help providing voters with accurate information, which would help them make informed decisions on election day. Lasting change depends on involved citizens not Obama or the Democrats in Congress.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Deep Caca

“Yes, America, The Caca Grows Deeper Every Day” by Karl Schwarz

A few excerpts from Karl Schwarz answer to the question:“Do you still think the US is in deep caca?”
  
“Yes, it has been getting deeper every day since I wrote that essay and will continue to get deeper. Just look around you. Even before the housing bubble, even before the capital markets fraud and Madoff Ponzi Schemes, even before the endless promises to end the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and even before the bailout of the Wall Street liars and thieves, it just keeps getting worse and accelerating. The lies keep getting more brazen and egregious. The actions are collectively worse each time this wantonly corrupt leadership pretends to lead.”
  
“If you look close enough, note the homeless, the tent cities, the starving, underfed, and bankrupted, due to the callousness of what Americans call their leadership in Washington, DC. These morons in DC cannot lead hungry wolves to meat. They have convinced me that they cannot count their balls three times and come up with the correct answer twice. They excel in pork, pigs and running the greasy, sleazy DC Hog Trough Diner. There is nothing in DC to emulate or hold up high as if there were any greatness in the midst of their incompetence.”
 
“Just about everyone in the world knows Bush and Blair lied to justify the attack on Iraq, except Americans. The rest of the world has fairly begun to ask just how stupid can Americans be that they do not understand what the word ‘lie’ means?”
 
“The Japanese have a saying: ‘They say if you have to resort to violence, then you’ve already lost.’ That is where the US failed. It launched a war of greed based on lies.”
 
“They did not want to share with anyone. In typical elitists, arrogant fashion  
There is only one hope for America and that is to clean out Washington, DC wall-to-wall, every office, and get some people in there to clean up the damned mess these RNC, DNC and bureaucratic morons have made of America.
 
“AIPAC, out!, Lobbyists of every sort, fashion and special interest, out! The nitwits the pollute every level of our government and the policy making machinery, out!
 
“We have devolved from being the shining light of freedom, liberty and democracy to the laughing stock of the world.”
 
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My impression of Karl Schwarz's remarks will be posted tomorrow.


 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Obama’s Decision

According to Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, al Qaeda is in 30 countries and less than several dozen remain in Afghanistan. Reportedly, there are more al Qaeda in France and Germany, than in Afghanistan. 

The Pashtun insurgency is not an anti-American insurgency, unless we make it one. By staying in Afghanistan, we’re strengthening the Pashtun opposition, because we’re occupying a foreign country. 

Matthew Hoh was a State Department employee in Afghanistan before resigning. The former Marine insisted, that the American and NATO forces in Afghanistan have come to be viewed as invaders and occupiers; and the resistance they encounter has nothing to do with international terrorism.

If, Obama follows General McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troop, we’d have more than 100,000 troops in that country. Russia had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and still lost the war after killing a million Afghans. The Russian occupation of Afghanistan was one of the contributing factors to losing their empire. 

Presently, America doesn’t have the political will or the financial resources to stay in Afghanistan. A counterinsurgency strategy is nation-building, which will take 20 years and cost at least a trillion dollars.  We don’t have the troops, the financial capacity, or international support to stay that long. NATO is going to start withdrawing and we’ll end up being there by ourselves. 

Retired Lieutenant General, Karl Eikenberry is currently serving as Obama’s ambassador to Afghanistan. The former military commander is recommending no more troops, because we’re supporting a very corrupt government. President Hamid Karzai’s brother is a major drug dealer in Afghanistan. That is just one of the reasons Ambassador Eikenberry considers the Karzai government too corrupt to lead a coalition unity government.

Obama will make a decision soon. Hopefully, he’ll recognize, that we can’t win a war based upon supporting a government that is not deserving of the loyalty of its people. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Corps of Engineers

Recently, a Federal Judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers is at fault for shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River - Gulf Outlet, which led to the flooding of New Orleans Lower 9 th. Ward and St. Bernard Parish.

A year before, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for flood programs in New Orleans, but it was carved back to $40 million. Instead, Bush and his Republican controlled Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill which included a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.
 
“Mitigation” programs are measures taken in advance to minimize the damage done by natural disasters and is a crucial part of the strategy to save lives. Since 2001, federal disaster programs developed over many years have been slashed. FEMA was deliberately downsized as part of Bush’s agenda to reduce the role of government. After the Department of Homeland Security was created, FEMA’s mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was known to be one of the top three catastrophic disasters facing this country.  

In 2004, Pleasant Mann a 16 year FEMA veteran warned Congress: “Over the past 3 1/2 years, FEMA has gone from being a model agency to being one where funds are being misspent, employees morale has fallen, and our nation’s emergency management capability is being eroded. Our professional staff are being systematically replaced by politically connected novices and contractors.”

Inexperienced cronies were installed to head FEMA, and ensured the slow federal response. The catastrophic disaster in New Orleans wasn’t the fault of the Army Corps of Engineers or FEMA. The devastation was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of competence.



  

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Congressman Murphy

The following are excerpts from an e-mail, that I received from Rep. Murphy.
 
“Thank you for taking the time to contact me about your support for the House health care bill, H.R. 3692, The American Affordable Health Care Act.  Your input is important to me and helps me to better represent the people of New York's 20th district.
 
“I was pleased to see that H.R. 3962 took a number of important steps toward achieving these goals. For example, the bill would eliminate lifetime caps on insurance benefits and the pre-existing condition exclusion. It would create a health insurance exchange to force insurance companies to compete on a level playing field, and it offers a public option to give people access to a no-profit insurance choice. 
 
“However, in order to achieve this goal, we must be willing to address the flaws in the current system that have led to skyrocketing costs, bankrupt families, and windfall profits for insurance companies.  That is why I have focused my attention on efforts to contain costs by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse; create a system based on healthy outcomes by incentivizing doctors to make Americans healthier; and drive competition in the insurance market to provide more choice and drive down costs.  
 
“However, after months of listening to constituents and reviewing the legislation, it was my belief that H.R. 3962 did not go far enough to bring down cost to a level that would contribute to our economic recovery.  Furthermore, I was deeply frustrated by the last minute addition of over $50 billion in taxes, which would negatively impact the two largest employers in the 20th district--medical device manufactures and paper mills.  This is not an acceptable way to pay for real healthcare reform.  For these reasons, I voted against the bill when it passed the house by a vote of 220 to 215 on November 7, 2009.
 
“As the bill now moves to the United States Senate, I remain committed to the goal of health care reform that provides quality, affordable health care to all American families and leaves our nation stronger.  I look forward to continuing this important discussion and working to ensure that the final legislation addresses the issues that I believe are critical for Upstate New York.
 
“Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. As a member of Congress, I have to make tough decisions every day, and hearing from you helps me to do my job well. Also, please do not hesitate to contact my office again if I can be of any further assistance.”
 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

UN Headquarters

Some uninformed Americans want the U.N. removed from our country.

Standing on the eastern shore of Manhattan Island, the United Nations Headquarters remains both a symbol of peace and a beacon of hope. Representatives of the earth’s 6 billion people, come to NYC to discuss and decide issues of peace, justice and economic and social well being.

The site of UN Headquarters is owned by the United Nations. It’s an international territory an no federal, state or local officer or official of the United States, whether administrative, judicial, military or police may enter UN Headquarters except with the consent of and under conditions agreed to by the Secretary-General of the Organization.

The UN is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achieving of world peace. It was founded in 1945 after World War II to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue.

Currently, there are 192 member states, including nearly every sovereign state in the world. The organization is divided into the General Assembly; the Security Council; the Economic and Social Council; the Secretariat; the International Court of Justice. Additional bodies include the World Health Organization, the World Food Program, and United Nations Children’s Fund. It has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

There has been controversy and criticism of its activities since the 1950s. An early opponent of the UN organization was the John Birch Society, which began a “get US out of the UN” campaign. In 2004, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Dore Gold criticism specifically mentions Yasser Arafat’s 1988 invitation to address the General Assembly.

The invasion of Iraq, saw hawks condemn the Security Council for failing to bless the war, but after major combat stopped, the United States and Great Britain rushed to seek the Security Council authorization for their joint occupation of Iraq, the lifting of sanctions, and the right to market Iraqi oil.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Press One

“Whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.”- Matthew 25:45

A 2008 report from the Census Bureau projects that by 2042, non-Hispanic whites will no longer make up the majority of the population. Nevertheless, some non-Hispanic whites insist: “We don’t want to ‘press one for English.’ We don’t want generations living on welfare. Help for a while to get on your feet, yes; forever, no.”

We must either commit ourselves to helping the least among us or admit, that we’re not a Christian nation. No mentally healthy family would want to be living on welfare for generations. When help for a while fails to get people back on their feet, do they, then become inconsequential?

We have 130,000 homeless veterans living on the streets. Many of them are self medicating for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. At least 1.5 million veterans don’t have health insurance and last year 2,200 of them died, because they didn’t have health insurance. Do Americans truly honor their veterans?

According to historian Rick Perlstein what cause a turn to the right in 1966 was white fear of urban disorder and the fear that fair housing laws would let dangerous blacks move into white neighborhoods.  “Law and order” became the rallying cry of right-wing politicians like Nixon, who rode that fear factor into the White House.  Fortunately, during the Clinton years, the wave of urban violence receded and with it the ability of Republicans to exploit racial fears.

For decades, Republican politicians succeeded in convincing many voters that government spending on welfare was unacceptable.  They insisted that bureaucrats were taking workers’ hard-earned money and giving it to welfare queens. 

The political discourse about welfare was vastly disproportionate to the actual expense of Aid to Families With Dependent Children, and Clinton’s reforms took that issue off the table. Racial divisiveness, had become much less important in American politics, except for those, who ignore Matthew 25: 45

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chalk One Up

It’s been said: “Sadly, which party is in power represents the 10 percent of the extreme of their party and the rich. The rest of us are not represented.”

Our conservative Democratic Congressman Scott Murphy and liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, both voted against the “Affordable Health Care for America Act.” They represent both extremes of the Democratic Party, and they both believe, that their representing the majority of voters in their districts.

The evidence doesn’t validate a claim of not being represented. A record 136.6 million Americans turned out to vote last November, which was 64.1% of eligible voters. After eight years, the Democratic Party took control of the White House and both Houses of Congress. After every elections, we end up with winners and losers, but apparently this time many on the loosing side can’t accept the will of the majority of voters.

It was the younger and minority voters, who ensured Obama’s victory.  Voter suppression didn’t work this time and the disenfranchised realized that, “Yes we can” is more than an empty slogan. 

Obama received only 41% of the White male vote and 46% of the White female vote.  However, 95% of African Americans, 66% of Latinos and 61% of Asian Americans voted for Obama, and put him over the top. Surprisingly, 52% of rich voters making at least $200,000 voted for Obama verses 46% voting for McCain, even though their taxes are likely to go up.

Shortly after the election, Ralph Nader said: “To put it very simple, he (Obama) is our first African American president, or he will be.  And we wish him well.  But his choice, basically, is whether he is going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country or Uncle Tom for giant corporations.”  

Nader may eventually recognize, that by working within the present political system Uncle Barack has empowered thousand of young and minority voters, an achievement, which old White dudes could never have accomplished. I’m pleased to see those, who historically had been disenfranchised get to chalk one up in the win column.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Removing God

Until, Sarah Palin was told to look on the edges of the coins, she blamed Obama for removing God from our money. As specified by the Coin Act of 2005, in order to allow for “larger and more dramatic artwork” on the faces of new one dollar coins, “E Pluribus Unum” and “In God We Trust” appear on the edges of the new coins rather than their fronts or backs.

Francis Bellamy a Baptist minister wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance in 1892, when he was the chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association.  Rev. Bellamy structured a public school program around a flag raising ceremony.  He had considered placing the word “equality” in his Pledge, but knew some state superintendents on the committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

During my elementary and high school education, we recited a pledge which didn’t include the words “under God.” In 1954, Congress added those words, after a vigorous campaign by the Knights of Columbus. At this point the Pledge became both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.

The effort to undermine the separation of church and state doctrine reached a peak in the so called “religious revival” of the 1950’s. Eisenhower inaugurated the prayer breakfast. Congress created a prayer room in the Capital and added the words “In God we Trust” to all paper money.

The 1960, Supreme Court decision in Engel vs Vitale ruled it unconstitutional for public schools to allow prayer, even though the prayer was non-denominational and students were allowed to abstain from the exercise. Kennedy announced, that he understood many people were angered by the ruling, but that there was “a very easy remedy - not a constitutional amendment but a renewed commitment to pray at home, in the churches and with their families.”

In my opinion the historic roots of the deep division we’re now facing in our nation began when Congress added “under god” to the Pledge. Michael Parenti pointed out in his book Super Patriotism: “U.S. leaders repeatedly weave piety with patriotism.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Precursor to Violence

Reportedly: “A majority of Americans don’t want illegals to have any benefits or rights. They are here illegally. Round them up and throw them out.”

Since 9/11, many American’s have surrendered to a medieval view of the world, that has resulted in curtailing access to our country, at a time when we desperately need the talent, energy and labor of our newest immigrants. Illegal immigrants perform essential services, serve in our military, pay rent and taxes on everything they buy.

Many are so blinded by the myth of American innocence, that they won’t recognize, that our forefathers took by military force, what is now our Southwest.

Joshua Giddings was an abolitionist, who represented Ohio in the House of Representatives. He called the war with Mexico “an aggressive, unholy, and unjust war,” and voted against supplying soldiers and weapons. He insisted: “In the murder of Mexicans upon their own soil, or in robbing them of their country, I can take no part either now or here-after. The guilt of these crimes must rest on others. I will not participate in them.”

The constant challenging of the presence of illegal minorities can lead to disregarding fundamental rights and humane consideration. The end result could be great injustice and human suffering and is often the precursor to violence. Immigrants are willing to work hard at underpaid jobs and endure substandard working conditions, because they’re determined to support themselves and their families. Unfortunately, the fear and anger directed towards illegal Mexican immigrants has become irrational hatred, and has nullified some people’s ability to feel compassion and think critically. Deporting 14 million illegal immigrants is absolutely unrealistic, especially from a cost and manpower perspective.

The reason illegal immigration has become such an overwhelming issue is that Mexican farmers have been displaced by having to compete with powerful corporate agribusiness. They’re no longer able to compete in local markets, because the rice and corn imported from America is cheaper. In our country, unscrupulous employers are eager to increase their profit margins at the expense of these desperately poor people.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pragmatic Art

Bismarck said: “Politics is the art of the possible.” Nevertheless, some have claimed, that “Politics,” is to blame for what is wrong in our country.

Liberals are accusing Obama of selling out to the Republicans because he’s not calling for a single payer health care plan, but there isn’t any evidence that Congress would pass such a bill. We’ll be fortunate if Congress passes a bill with a public option, because anti-choice Democrats in Congress care more about imposing their religious views on all Americans, than doing what is best for our country. Right to life extremism is what is wrong with America.

Several Republican Senators insist, that we need term limits for all politicians, but nobody called for term limits, when the Republican Party was in control of the White House, the Senate and the House. Limiting voters from having a choice to reelect a politician, that they consider a statesman is undemocratic.

Although, our Constitution has specified the requirements for serving in the House, Senate and White House; some in Delaware County have called for a law forbidding lawyers from running for any office, because: “They have ruined this country.”

Term limits on the presidency during the 1930s, might have ensured the ruination of America. The Great Depression started in October of 1929. Statistics by the Bureau of Economic Analysis clearly demonstrates that it was Roosevelt’s New Deal spending that got us out of the Depression. In 1932, unemployment was 23.6%, and in 1933, when Roosevelt took office, it had jumped to 24.9%, but by 1936 unemployment had dropped to 17 %. 

Franklin Roosevelt carried 46 states in 1936, and was reelected four times. The Depression didn’t end until World War II, and it wasn’t tax cuts that ended it.  The Republican mantra of less government and tax cuts didn’t end the Great Depression and it won’t end this recession. 

A constitutional amendment banning anti-choice politicians from serving in public office might not be a bad idea, because they’re ruining our country. However, that restriction would be based on a glaring over generalization, which I’ll avoid.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mark Lavine

The Oneonta Star published the following letter by Mark Lavine of Cooperstown.

“As usual, I must take issue with Tom Sears’ column, this one of Oct. 13 in which he says that Republican ideas are winning. The fact is that the Republicans have no ideas. Their only goal is to see President Obama fail, regardless of the effect on our country. For example, when the Olympics were not awarded to Chicago, despite the president’s efforts, they cheered, never considering the economic benefits and jobs the Olympics would bring to Chicago.

“The Tea Partiers have every right to demonstrate and express their views, but the fact is that they are bitter at their resounding election defeat and offer no solutions except calling. Mr. Obama a Marxist, communist, socialist and any other "ist" they can think of, all of which translates into racism on their part. They cannot accept an African-American as president, and want “their country back” in the hands of the white, right-wing Christian fundamentalists who caused most of the problems we face today.

“Remember, it was George Bush who first presented the necessity of the TARP and stimulus plans, which were agreed upon by almost all economists, except Mr. Sears and Rush Limbaugh. Once again, Mr. Sears equates talk radio ratings with the opinions of all Americans. Normal, rational people do not need to listen to the absurd rantings of talk radio to hear their ideas expressed.

“Our European allies also do not think much of the ‘ideas’ of Mr. Sears and the Republicans. President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize simply for not being one.”

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On 11/11/09, Bush announced plans for change in areas of education, global health, freedom and economic growth.  In discussing economic growth, he said: “I believe the role of government is not to create wealth but to create the conditions that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive.  I believe in the power of free enterprise, which made the decision I faced last fall one of the most difficult of my presidency.  I went against my free market instincts and approved a temporary government intervention to unfreeze the credit markets so that we could avoid a major global depression.”

He apologized for TARP, which was necessary to save the economy. Meanwhile, President Obama is attempting to restore the Wall Street rules that Bush and his cronies had strip away leading to last year’s economic crisis.

History has again shown, that the greatest threat to prosperity in our country is not too much government involvement, but too little. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fundamentalist Catholics

  
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops claims, that abortion funding and mandates have been included in the healthcare reform bills currently before Congress. Reportedly, Catholic Bishops are blanketing 19,000 parishes across the nation with a bulletin insert instructing the faithful to oppose the bills in their present form.

That bulletin insert urges readers to contact Senators to support efforts to “incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights,” in health reform legislation. “If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”

After the 2008 election, a priest made news by informing his parishioners that having cast a vote for Obama could be a mortal sin. Rev. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C. wrote: “Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.” Rev. Newman went on to call Obama: “the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate.”

In the Washington Post, David Waters responded: “Newman is denying communion not to those who have conducted or received an abortion, and not to those who enact laws that allow for abortion, but to those who cast a vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights. In effect, he’s saying that thinking is now mortal sin. He’s saying that having an opinion is a mortal sin. He’s saying that freedom of speech and thought is a mortal sin. I wonder what would happen if parishioners could elect their own priests.”

If parishioners could elect their own priests the Catholic Church would move out of the Dark Age and no longer be a hierarchal, patriarchal dictatorship, that treats the faithful like a flock of dumb sheep.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Common Goals

Robert “Duke” Piroha, letter in the Oneonta Star included: “We don’t want our tax money going to countries that hate us.”

Piroha fails to specify those countries, in which the entire populations hates us. Other nations generally viewed other countries in a favorable or unfavorable light by the actions of their current leadership. Americans tend to do the same.

Bush’s support for Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf resulted in widespread disillusionment among Pakistanis toward Americans. According to a 2007, Pew Global Attitudes Project Poll, “Fewer than one-in-five Pakistanis have a positive view of the U.S.”

Instead of partnering with Pakistan’s institutions to mount a comprehensive response to the extremist threat, Bush outsourced our policy to Musharraf, an unpopular military ruler. According to Teresita C. Schaffer, a Pakistan expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington Bush’s policy toward Pakistan was built around Musharraf.”

After the attacks on 9/11, the Bush administration gave more than $10 billion in assistance to help President Musharraf wage Pakistan’s campaign against terrorism. However, according to Pakistan expert Steven P. Cohen, we “wasted several billions of dollars, becoming Musharraf’s ATM machine, allowing him to build up a military establishment that was irrelevant to his (and our) real security threat.” Billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Musharraf’s authoritarian regime did little to stem the tide of anti-Americanism sweeping this nuclear-armed Muslim nation of 160 million people.” 

Pakistan is still receiving significant amount of money to secure, their nuclear weapons and crush those terrorists, that are a threat to our security. Ali Zardari has been elected the new president of Pakistan. He’s the widower of Benazir Bhutto, a former politician and campaigner for democracy who was killed in a suicide attack in December 2007.

By emphasizing our common goals, the Obama administration has partnered with President Ali Zardari to fight terrorist and it seems to be working very well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Too Bad For Us

Republican deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy have gutted the earnings and purchasing power of the middle class and crippled the nation’s economy. This has resulted in a decaying infrastructure, bad schools, cheap imports, poor health, obesity, job out sourcing, increased consumer debt, privatization of public services, free-market monopolies, a corrupt financial sector and corporate-controlled media and government. Too, bad for us.

Reagan drastically cut taxes on the wealthy, causing the greatest harm in the past thirty years, for minimum wage workers, who saw their income drop. Consequently, nearly one in four American children currently live below the poverty line, one of the highest rates among the top 40 developed nations. Poverty among the elderly grew to nearly 25%. Too, bad for us.

We remain the only major county without a national health care program guaranteeing health care for all, but we’re spending far more per capita than any other industrialized country. Too, bad for us.

Rose Ann Demoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association claims, that every day nurses see patients in their hospitals, who didn’t get the care that they needed. There’s fraud in every canceled policy and every suddenly established pre-existing condition. Too, bad for us.

A single-payer system in Canada operates with a mere 1% overhead, because it’s not necessary to spend money on deciding who gets care and who doesn’t when everybody is covered. We have the most cumbersome bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on our health care goes for paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, and profits. Too, bad for us.

Those with health insurance are paying a hidden tax for those without it. It’s estimated to be about $1,200 per year goes to pays for somebody else’s emergency room visits, and that includes undocumented workers. Too, bad for us.

An insurance company doesn’t do a single exam or perform an operation. They have no value. Walmart gets great deals on drugs at very low costs, because they’re so big, but our government allows the insurance companies negotiate for us, when they don’t have any incentive to get a bargain for us. Too, bad for us.

Right-wingers are not angry at the insurance companies that have been ripping them off.  They’re not angry at the drug companies, for charging them the highest rates in the industrialized world.  They’re not angry at the Wall Street charlatans, who made hundreds of millions of dollars and then through their greed and illegal behavior caused this deep recession. Too, bad for us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Republican Creed

“I got mine, you get yours” seems to be the creed of the Republican Party.

Al Gascon of Bainbridge wrote: “While there are an unfortunate few that cannot afford health care insurance, most are satisfied with their current plan and doctors. Too bad for them.”

Reportedly, 44,789 Americans die every year because they have no health insurance. “Too bad for them.”

About, 12.6 million non-elderly adults, who tried to purchase health insurance were discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. “Too bad for them.”

Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have doubled, since 2000. The average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer is $12,680. Americans are paying more for health insurance, but get less coverage. “Too bad for them.”

Approximately, 50 millions rural Americans face challenges in accessing health care. They’ve experienced higher rates of poverty, mortality, no insurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider. “Too bad for them.”

Nearly, 13 million of the uninsured are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage has dropped from 68% to 59%. “Too bad for them.”

Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. “Too bad for them.”

An estimated 87 million, one of every three Americans under the age of 65 were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. “Too bad for them.”

In the absence of health care reform it’s projected that the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance will rise to about 72 million in 2040. “Too bad for them.”

Roughly, 60 million Americans don’t have a doctor, and far more lack access to a dentist. Although, we have an overabundance of highly paid specialists, we’re experiencing a crucial shortage of primary health care physicians, dentists, nurses and other medical personnel. “Too bad for them.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Al Gascon

On 11/2/09, the Oneonta Daily Star published the following letter by Al Gascon of Bainbridge, N.Y.

“We are about to lose the greatest health care system in the world. Americans have the highest survival rate for first-class killers such as prostate and breast cancer. Waiting time for knee replacement or a heart valve is less than half the time it is for our European betters, if they can obtain it at all. We have access to more specialists than citizens of any other country.

“While there are an unfortunate few that cannot afford health care insurance, most are satisfied with their current plan and doctors. Too bad for them.

“While this is a terrible loss in and of itself, we are about to lose something even more valuable _ our right to be left alone. The mandate for individuals to purchase insurance is an over-reach of the nth degree and tyrannical in the extreme. I will be punished for doing nothing! Should I decide I don’t want coverage and refuse to purchase any, I face a penalty from Big Brother. Oh brother! Will jack-booted government thugs be coming for me in the middle of the night?

“While we are about to give up a huge part of what makes America great, the debate has been reduced to how we pay for it. May I opt out?”
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“May I opt out?” Perhaps, Mr. Gascon has already opted out of the human race. Unfortunately, there are many Americans, who believe the same propoganda about our healthcare system.

According to Frank Schaeffer, who grew up in the religion of the far right, and authored: “Crazy for God.” there is a subculture, that it’s bred from birth through home school, Christian school, evangelical college, to reject facts as a matter of faith. He stated: “A village cannot reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.  It’s as simple as that... we have a village idiot in this country, it’s called Fundamentalist Christianity.”

It’s not only Fundamentalist Christianity, but Russ Limbaugh’s “diddoheads, and many of those involved in the tea party movement, that share the same distorted view of our country. However, my biggest concern is that most likely no one will respond to Al Gaston’s inaccurate information by submitting a persuasive factual rebuttal letter to the Star.

So far, no one has repond to the remarks made Robert “Duke” Piroha’s in the Star three weeks ago. “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve,” because most American’s don’t actually care about the future of our country. Too bad for them.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Antitrust Regulations

America’s health insurance companies have had a pretty sweet deal for decades. They can pick and choose their customers; deny coverage to anyone with any sort of pre-existing condition; and get away with dropping your coverage when you get sick.

Since 1945, they’ve been exempt from the antitrust regulations that apply to nearly every other industry. Exempt from rules that protect consumers from anti-competitive business practices like price-fixing.

As part of a broader health care reform effort, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Patrick Leahy recently introduced legislation in the Senate to eliminate the outdated insurance industry antitrust exemption and force health insurance companies to compete fairly like every other business.

Although, health care reform with an effective public option is an important way to promote competition in the health insurance marketplace, we must also eliminate the unjustified and unnecessary antitrust exemption currently enjoyed by insurance companies.

A recent study found that one or two insurance giants dominate 94 percent of American health insurance markets, meaning every year consumers end up paying more money for less coverage. These insurance companies know they don’t have to compete, so they don’t. They know, that they can get away with raising your premiums every year, so they do. They know, that they can deny you coverage without consequence, so they’ll leave you high and dry.

The Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act is a key way to give consumers more choice in the health insurance marketplace. It’s time for the insurance industry to play by the same good-competition rules as nearly every other industry in America.

Recently, I’ve noticed that Obama’s economic team and the Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate have recognized that they must play “Hardball” with financial institutions and the insurance industry if they’re going to get real results.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Furious

Larry Summers, Obama’s chief economist and one of the architects of the administration’s bank policy said: “There is no financial institution that exists today that is not the direct or indirect beneficiary of trillions of dollars of taxpayer support for the financial system.”

Many Americans are furious, that Goldman Sachs has recently made record profits and is paying huge bonuses, while the victims of this economic downturn, created on Wall Street, continue to be laid off. Goldman has made a lot of money in its trading operations, but it was only able to stay in that game thanks to policies that put vast amounts of public money at risk, from the bailout of A.I.G. to the guarantees extended to many of Goldman’s bonds.

The Obama administration is furious at the way the financial industry, just months after receiving a gigantic taxpayer bailout, is lobbying fiercely against serious reform. For the most part the Obama administration followed Bush’s policy of providing aid with few strings, back when all of Wall Street was on the ropes. Consequently, they’ve very little leverage over firms like Goldman, who are again, making a lot of money.

Although, the wheeler-dealer side of the financial industry is highly profitable, the part of banking that fuels investment and job creation is not. Many banks remain financially weak, and that is hurting the economy as a whole.

Earlier this year, some economists called for a temporary nationalize of the most troubled banks, followed by a large injection of capital from taxpayers. That debate faded, after Citigroup and Bank of America, who were considered the banking system’s weakest link, began making money. However, last week both Citigroup and Bank of America announced losses in the third quarter. Those earlier profits were partly a figment of the accountants’ imaginations.

In the first phase of the economic crisis, Main Street was punished for Wall Street’s misdeeds; but today’s economic distress, especially persistent high unemployment, is leading to big losses on mortgage loans and credit cards.

In any case, as a political matter the moment for radical action on banks has passed, but we desperately need to pass effective financial reform. If we don’t, bankers will be taking even bigger risks than they did in the run-up to this crisis. The lesson from the last few months has been very clear: When bankers gamble with other people’s money, it’s heads they win, tails the rest of us lose.

See post of 10/25/09, entitled: “Say on Pay,” for Barney Frank’s plan.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Without Support

Americans want to know, that if Obama accepts the request from General McChrystal in Afghanistan, and gives him 40,000 more troops, what kind of a mission will it be?  How many years will we have to remain in Afghanistan? And what are the expected casualties over that period of time?

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffery says, that our Commander-in- Chief is facing a huge dilemma and that we could be in Afghanistan for another decade. In the next three year’s McCaffery wouldn’t be surprised, that it would cost $300 billion and 15,000 Americans killed and wounded.

The question for Obama and Congress isn’t more troops, it’s whether our political and military objectives, can be explain to gain the support of the American people. A lesson learned in Vietnam was that without the support of at least a majority of the America people a war is unsustainable.

We’re trying to make sure that the Taliban insurgency doesn’t destabilize Pakistan a nuclear power . The good news is that Obama’s taking a thoughtful approach, by listening to everyone and trying to come up with a plan that has the best chance of success. General McChrystal asked for 40,000 more troops to defeat the Taliban, who are people from Afghanistan, from retaking control of that country against a government which is seen by most Afghans as corrupt.

Obama fired the commander on the ground and put in General McChrystal, who is our most effective counterterrorist fighter.  The real military component of his mission is to build the Afghan security forces, build an army and the police force. Nation building will be the job of Ambassador Eikenberry, and the Treasury, Agriculture, and State Departments. Therefore, protecting the population until the Afghan security force can step forward is the real debate.

The myth that has been perpetrated for seven years is that Afghanistan would be a functioning multi-party democracy was absolutely ludicrous. 

Friday, November 06, 2009

Blatant Lies

Sarah Palin claims on her Facebook page, that reform will raise costs on families and drive up deficits. However, even the conservative “Tax Foundation” says those claims are false.

According to an independent study by Thompson-Reuters, the international news and information organization with expertise in health care and science, our health care system wastes as much as $800 Billion every year. 

Rose Ann Demoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association insists, that insurance companies are the biggest perpetrators of fraud is the system we have. Since, it’s a market-based health care system, the insurers are basically taking an illegitimate cut. They’re the fraud in the system, because they take 30 percent off the top of every one of our hard-earned dollars.

On MSNBC, Congressman Anthony Weiner asked: “Why do we get prescriptions from Walmart for so little money? It’s because, we let the insurance companies negotiate for us and they don’t have the incentive to get a bargain that we ourselves would.” Next, Rep. Weiner asked: “What is an insurance company? They don’t do a single checkup. They don’t do a single exam, they don’t perform an operation. What is their value? What are they bringing to the deal?”

The insurance companies are valued, because they make a lots of campaign contributions, by taking the dollars we pay in premium, denying care to some, pocketing the money and sending their lobbyist to buy off politicians. That is the reason a single payer system wasn’t even given serious consideration and Obama and the Democratic leadership can’t get an effective public option.

Our failed health care system won’t get fixed, because our political system isn’t getting fixed. Members of Congress are very good at providing the appearance of doing something constructive, while dismantling reform behind maze of ingenious legislative maneuvers.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Racial Element

Robert “Duke” Piroha wrote: “We don’t want to be in wars under false pretenses (Iraq). We want Social Security to be a locked box, like it was supposed to be. We want some form of health insurance for all.”

I agree with Mr. Piroha on those issues, but I’m bothered by his statement: “We don’t want to ‘press one for English.’ We don’t want generations living on welfare. Help for a while to get on your feet, yes; forever, no.”

No mentally healthy family would want to be living on welfare for generations. When help for a while fails to get people back on their feet, do they, then become less human? There is obviously a racial element to Piroha’s comment; “press one for English.”

According to historian Rick Perlstein what cause a turn to the right in 1966 was white fear of urban disorder and the fear that fair housing laws would let dangerous blacks move into white neighborhoods.  “Law and order” became the rallying cry of right-wing politicians like Nixon, who rode that fear factor into the White House.  Fortunately, during the Clinton years, the wave of urban violence receded and with it the ability of Republicans to exploit racial fears.

For decades, Republican politicians succeeded in convincing many voters that government spending on welfare was unacceptable.  They insisted that bureaucrats were taking workers’ hard-earned money and giving it to welfare queens.  Again, there was definitely a racial element to Piroha’s argument.

The political discourse about welfare was vastly disproportionate to the actual expense of Aid to Families With Dependent Children, but Clinton’s reforms took that issue off the table. Racial divisiveness, has become much less important in American politics, except for Piroha, and apparently an unidentified group of people he refers to as “We.”  

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

“Not Represented”

Robert “Duke” Piroha’s letter in the Oneonta Star claimed: “Sadly, which party is in power represents the 10 percent of the extreme of their party and the rich. The rest of us are not represented.”

Piroha’s letter throws a lot of crap against the wall, with the hope that some of it will stick. Unfortunately, he doesn’t provide any evidence to validate his claims, even though 136.6 million Americans turnout to vote last November, which was 64.1% of eligible voters. After eight years, the Democratic Party took control of the White House and both Houses of Congress. After every election, we end up with winners and losers, but apparently Piroha wouldn’t have been satisfied, if the Republican candidates had won. Perhaps, his favorite song is “I get no satisfaction,” by “The Rolling Stones.”

It was the younger and minority voters, who ensured Obama’s victory.  Voter suppression didn’t work this time and they’ve realized that, “Yes we can” is more than an empty slogan. 

Obama received only 41% of the White male vote and 46% of the White female vote.  However, 95% of African Americans, 66% of Latinos, and 61% of Asian Americans voted for Obama, and put him over the top. Surprisingly, 52% of voters making at least $200,000 voted for Obama verses 46% voting for McCain, even though their taxes are likely to go up.  

Shortly after the election, Ralph Nader said: “To put it very simple, he (Obama) is our first African American president, or he will be.  And we wish him well.  But his choice, basically, is whether he is going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country or Uncle Tom for giant corporations."  

Nader and Piroha may eventually reconize, that by working within the present political system Uncle Barack has empowered thousand of young and minority voters, an achievement, which old White dudes could never have accomplished. I’m pleased to see those, who historically had been disenfranchised get to chalk one up in the win column.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Scamming the System

Tort reform is basically red meat for the right wing to say that people shouldn’t have the right to sue when something harms the patient. Lawyers are vilified for scamming the system, but it’s more often the providers and insurers, that are committing the fraud.

Part of an independent study by Thompson-Reuters, the international news and information organization with expertise in health care and science, includes the fact, that Medicare fraud insurers and providers are scamming the system to make more money. 

Some Doctors have admitted, that they often go for tests that they don’t really need, because it’s a way of getting people in and out of their office faster, and one of the few ways they have of increasing their revenues is to see more patients.

The insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies made $77 billion in profit last year. Rose Ann Demoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association claims, that every day nurses see patients in their hospitals, who didn’t get the care that they needed. Forty-four thousand people die every year from lack of care, and according to Demoro that’s fraud. There’s fraud in every canceled policy and every suddenly established pre-existing condition.

The core of the problem is the money in politics. The Healthcare industry is the number one, when it comes to spending on lobbying. Studies have shown, that almost one out of every five patients are denied care. The insurance industry has been taking the dollars we pay in premium, not giving us the care, pocketing the money and then sending it to Washington, D.C. to buy off our politicians.

Medicare for all, is the most efficient and cost effective method of providing healthcare, but that’s not where most politicians want to go.  The public option is vilified, but according to Demoro, it’s the private option that nurses have a problem, because every day and every shift, patients are dying unnecessarily.

Monday, November 02, 2009

$800 Billion Wasted

The amount of money wasted in the health care system due to fraud, wildly overused tests and drugs, and defensive medicine amounts to as much as $800 billion per year. 

Repeatedly, Obama has said that eliminating waste and inefficiency in the health care system could pay for most of the health care reform package.  Obama suggests that $450 billion could be saved, but his critics insisted, that there couldn’t possibly be that much waste.

According to an independent study by Thompson-Reuters, the international news and information organization with expertise in health care and science, our health care system wastes as much as $800 billion every year.  Other findings include $300 billion of waste every year coming from unnecessary care, like the overused of antibiotics or lab tests to protect, against malpractice exposure.

Up to $200 billion, of waste is created by fraud. Administrative inefficiency and redundant paper account for 18% of waste. Medical mistakes and preventable conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes cost, as much as, $50 billion a year.

This explains why this country spends far more per person on health care than any other industrialized nation. The average U.S. hospital spends a quarter of its budget on billing and administration, which is about twice as much as Canadian hospitals do.

Rose Ann Demoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association points out, that the biggest perpetrator of fraud is the system we have.  It’s a market-based health care system and the insurers are basically taking an illegitimate cut.  They’re the fraud in the system and they take 30 percent off the top of every one of our hard-earned dollars.

The insurance industry are taking the dollars we pay in premium, not giving us the care, pocketing the money and then sending it to Washington, D.C. to buy off our politicians. That is the reason Obama and the Democratic leadership can’t get an effective public option.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Worthless

Robert “Duke” Piroha’s letter in the Oneonta Star suggested: “We would like the worthless U.N. removed from the U.S.A.”

Standing on the eastern shore of Manhattan Island, on the banks of New York City’s East River, United Nations Headquarters remains both a symbol of peace and a beacon of hope. Representatives of the earth’s 6 billion people, come to NYC to discuss and decide issues of peace, justice and economic and social well being.

The site of UN Headquarters is owned by the United Nations. It’s an international territory. No federal, state or local officer or official of the United States, whether administrative, judicial, military or police may enter UN Headquarters except with the consent of and under conditions agreed to by the Secretary-General of the Organization.

The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achieving of world peace. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue.

Currently, there are 192 member states, including nearly every sovereign state in the world. The organization is divided into the General Assembly; the Security Council; the Economic and Social Council; the Secretariat; the International Court of Justice. Additional bodies include the World Health Organization, the World Food Program, and United Nations Children’s Fund. It has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

There has been controversy and criticism of the UN organization and its activities since the 1950s. An early opponent was the John Birch Society, which began a “get US out of the UN” campaign. Charles de Gaulle criticized the UN, by calling it “the stuff.” In 2004, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Dore Gold criticism specifically mentions Yasser Arafat’s 1988 invitation to address the General Assembly.

The invasion of Iraq, saw hawks condemn the Security Council for failing to bless the war, but after major combat stopped, the United States and Great Britain rushed to seek the council authorization for their joint occupation of Iraq, the lifting of sanctions, and the right to market Iraqi oil.

Perhaps, Mr. Piroha should discuss his reasoning and describe a process for removing the U.N. from Manhattan. Mayor Bloomberg and Donald Trump might want to build a gambling casino on the property.