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

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wild Eyed

“Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm. Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment. A bill just passed... would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system... such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U.S. banking to its lowest level.”

That quote appeared in Time Magazine in June of 1933. Last year, on the floor of the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed: “One of the good things about reading history is you learn a good deal. And we know for sure that the big spending programs of the New Deal did not work.”

However, 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, under Republican President Hoover unemployment was 23.6%. When Roosevelt took office in 1933, it was 24.9%. It dropped to 21.7% in 1934, 20.1% in 1935, and 17.0 by 1936. Our Gross Domestic Product had dropped to 56.4, when Roosevelt took office, but went up to 66, in 1934, then 73 in 1935, and in 1936 it reached 83.

The system that caused so much concern in 1933 was the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, also known as the FDIC, an institution that has successfully secured the bank deposits of generations of Americans for the past 76 years.

In a recent speech, President Obama referred to the Time Magazine quote of 1933. He concluded: “This is the central lesson not only of this crisis but of our history.... Because ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We will rise or we will fall together as one nation. And that is why I urge all of you to join me. I urge all of you to join me, to join those who are seeking to pass these commonsense reforms. And for those of you in the financial industry, I urge you to join me not only because it is in the interest of your industry, but also because it's in the interest of your country.”

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Deficit Reduction

Clinton handed Bush a huge budget surplus, which Bush turned into giant deficits. White House budget director Peter Orszag blames the Bush administration for worsening the nation’s fiscal condition. Orszag insists, that roughly 50 percent of the borrowing that will be needed over the next decade stems from Bush’s refusal to pay for such expensive new programs as the 2001 tax cut, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the new prescription-drug benefit program for Medicare recipients.

The Congressional Budget Office and the White House were in agreement, that if federal health-care costs were not contained, the budget deficit would continue to spin out of control. The best way to reduce federal health care costs was to pass health care reform.

Health Care Reform is designed to end the economically absurd practice of routinely treating the uninsured in hospital emergency rooms at costs exceeding $1,000 an hour. Systemic changes to Medicare and Medicaid should lower per-person annual treatment costs.

A Public Option would have competed with private insurers for subscribers, and would have provide more incentives for insurance premium containment. Although, the Health Care Reform Act is not perfect, we must never let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Eventually, as many as 95 percent of Americans will have health insurance.

Obama wanted a bill that costs $950 billion or less. According to the Congressional Budget Office the costs will actually come in about $10 billion under the president’s target. Overall health care reform should cut the deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years, and as much as $1.2 trillion, the following 10 years. The healthcare reform bill would bring $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next two decades.

The report from CBO indicates that the Health Care Act is the most significant effort to reduce our deficits since the Balanced Budget Act in the 1990s.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lack of Civility

Prior to the Health Care Act being passed, House Minority Leader, John Boehner warned: “The next 24 hours are armageddon because the health care bill proposed by Democrats will ruin our country.”

Democrats extend health care to 32 million people, and Rush Limbaugh responded: “We need to defeat these bastards. We need to wipe them out.”

On the Senate floor, Republican Judd Gregg compared health care reform to not only a huge asteroid, but a huge asteroid that will land on our children’s heads. Glenn Beck cried out tyranny and socialism. What is wrong with these people?

When, President Clinton’s economic plan passed and Republicans claimed, that it would be a one-way ticket to a recession. Clintonomics balanced the budget while creating 23 million new jobs and lifting millions out of poverty.

Armed and Dangerous is the lingo, by which supposedly mainstream conservative politicians address their followers. Sarah Palin tweeted her followers: “Commonsense conservatives and lovers of America: ‘Don’t retreat, and instead—reload.’ Please see my Facebook page.” On her Facebook page was a message from her political action committee. Twenty Democratic congressional districts that Palin is targeting with rifle scopes images over each of them.

Frank Rich wrote: “There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.”

Fear mongering and a lack of civility the has become the trademarks of the Republican Party, since the Tea Party movement is merely, the Republican Party repackaged.

Defeating Health Care Reform was supposed to be Obama’s Waterloo, but it didn’t happen. Yes, we can is becoming a reality, but we must not forget the "we" in that motto.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Consumer Protection

Can someone give an example in American history, in the financial area, where Congress over-regulated on behalf of consumers?

Democrats need support from at least one Republican to pass financial reform in the Senate. Every Republican in the House of Representatives voted to kill every single measure of financial reform. They didn’t suggest how to make it better or more balance. They voted “No.” Nevertheless, the House passed a good Financial Reform Bill last December.

Senator Chris Dodd has written a very good bill and took every possible step to accommodate Republicans. Republican Senator Bob Corker was negotiating with Senator Dodd, but was overruled by the Republican leadership Senator McConnell and Shelby, who told Corker to stop negotiating.

The Republican leadership believe, that they’ll be able to get vote 41 Republicans to vote, that there should be no financial reform. Sen. Shelby and the House minority leader, John Boehner, went before the American bankers a several weeks ago and promised them that they would use parliamentary tactics to kill any Financial Reform legislation. Senate Democrats must call their bluff, because the American people want to see an effective Consumer Protection Agency.

Thirty years ago, when you borrowed money, from a lender, they expected to be payed back, and were careful about lending the money. Wall Street crooks came up a scheme whereby they would lend 1,000 people money, and then sell the right to be repaid to other people. Consequently, the lender has no real incentive to require repayment.

The House bill would require a 5 percent to 10 percent hold, by the original lender. Currently, an insurance company cannot reinsure the whole risk. They must have what we call a risk retention.

An effective consumer protection agency long overdue. It’s unlikely, that all 41 Republicans will stand up in public and try to kill independent financial reform.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Risk Structure

Larry Summers is one of the architects of bank policy for the Obama administration. He announced: “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.”

Goldman Sachs made record profits last year and began paying out huge bonuses, while the victims of this economic downturn, created by 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 TARP money at risk.

The Obama administration is furious at the way the financial industry, just months after receiving a gigantic taxpayer bailout, began lobbying against serious reform. 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.

Last 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 weakest link in the banking system, began making money. However, shortly there after both Citigroup and Bank of America announced losses in the third quarter. Those profit reports were untrue.

As a political matter the moment for radical action on banks has passed, but we desperately need to pass effective financial reform. If we do not, bankers will be taking even bigger risks than they did in the run-up to this crisis.

In 2006, the Democrats were still in the minority, Frank raise the question of executive pay. The top decision makers on Wall Street are able to take risks and if the risks paid off, they made lots of money. However, if these top decision makers take risks, that go terribly wrong, they do not lose any of their own money.

There is agreement in Congress, that the risk structure is one of the reasons that Wall Street got in trouble 2008. A House bill insists, that all of the regulators of any financial institution; banks, the bank regulators, and the Security Exchange Commission put in rules, that do not allow the kind of bonus structure, that provides an incentive to take a lot of risks, because if the risk pays off, they make a lot of money and if the risk fails they do not lose anything.

There have even been cases, where the risk appears to pay off within a short period of time and they make a lot of money. However, if the deal later turns sour, they do not have to give any of the money back. Regulations have to spell out, that top decision makers cannot have one-way bonuses. Heads they win, tails they break-even, because it is leads Wall Street scoundrels to take too many risks, and that endangers our society.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No More Comments

stevereenie does not want readers of The Daily Star to know the following. A John McCain ad claimed that Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now and the Housing Crisis (ACORN) in Chicago engaged in bullying banks, intimidation tactics, disruption of business and forced banks to issue risky home loans.

It was true that ACORN led demonstrations on a number of issues nationwide, which have include predatory lending, immigration reform, neighborhood violence, utilities shut-offs, minimum wage increases. Sometimes the tactics used by the group were confrontational, veering into civil disobedience. For instance, in the late 1980s, ACORN activists in a number of cities, including Chicago, seized abandoned houses and encouraged squatting by homeless people, in an attempt to force local governments to salvage abandoned properties and convert them into low-income housing. The targets of ACORN protests sometimes describe the activists as intractable or even aggressive. Other ACORN protests are less confrontational, and in 2006 McCain spoke at an ACORN rally on illegal immigration.

It is inaccurate to say that ACORN forced banks to make risky loans, although it has certainly applied pressure on banks to make loans to minority and low-income borrowers. Furthermore, ACORN worked directly with banks in a joint effort to increase such lending. In Chicago these efforts date back at least to 1992, after a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston showed that minorities in that city were two to three times as likely to be denied mortgage loans as white applicants, and that high-income minorities were more likely to be turned down than low-income whites. Chicago ACORN then started a mortgage assistance program, in cooperation with five local banks, to help minority and low-income borrowers get mortgage loans.

The mortgages that ACORN worked out with the banks did have lower underwriting standards than were customary. They allowed a higher percentage of a family s income to go to debt repayment, and counted rent and utility payments, not just credit card payments, as evidence of ability to pay back a loan. The loans were also more forgiving of past credit problems, as long as the recipient was making a proven effort to address them. But ACORN provided loan deals only to people who went through counseling on budget and credit issues. In 1992, First Nationwide Bank Vice President Neal Halleran told the Chicago Tribune: (quote) Transaction by transaction, loans from the ACORN program would appear to be performing no worse than our portfolio overall. (unquote) According to the Tribune, First Nationwide had contacted ACORN to initiate the lending program.

Not only did stevereenie not accept my offer to debate the issues on line, the Oneonta Star came up with a new on line format, that doesn’t include comment to the column Tom Sears gets published every two weeks.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lying Socialist

The following in an excerpt from a very lengthy paper, that stevereenie posted on line regarding comments, that I made regarding Tom Sears’ column in the Oneonta Star.

“Dear Jim O'Leary and socialist supporters. Here’s the history O’Learyists and the socialists don't want you to remember, it's long but worth the time to read if you are interested in the truth and the Daily Star will print the truth.

“The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA) which was designed to offer mortgage credit though all areas not just wealthy areas was passed during the Carter Administration and subsequently managed by Jack Kemp during the Regan (sic) Administration. It was not designed to insure credit was made available to unqualified borrowers. It wasn’t until 1994 during the Clinton Administration that this Act of Congress became a useful tool for activist organizations like Acorn (which is facing criminal investigation in many states) and Community Organizer Lawyers like Barack Obama to leverage it to the advantage of their political and activist goals. Janet Reno staked out the new policy of the Clinton Administration which was to be a policy of rigorous enforcement: ‘No loan is exempt, no bank is immune, warned then-Attorney General Janet Reno. For those who thumb their nose at us, I promise vigorous enforcement.”’

I wrote: The Community Reinvestment Act was designed to offer mortgage credit, and Janet Reno was required to vigorously enforce every law, that Congress had passed.

In 1998, Citibank was allowed to merge with the insurance giant, Travelers, even though it was against the law. The following year, Congress killed the landmark depression era Glass-Steagall Act, which had erected the wall between regulated Main Street banks and unregulated investment banks.  Without that wall, the stage was set for firms to merge until they were too big to fail. Regulators allowed firms to hide those risky investments off their books which meant they did not have to keep enough money on hand to cover possible losses. Those practices were permitted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board in rules pushed for by the bank executives.

The regulatory agency for the Clinton administration said, that they wanted oversight on those derivatives, but his own treasury secretary, a Goldman Sachs veteran denied the request. Republican Senator Phil Gramm was the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. He played a leading role in writing and pushing through Congress the 1999 repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial banks from Wall Street. Furthermore, Gramm slipped the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, into an omnibus spending bill just as Congress headed for vacation.

Eventually, stevereenie claimed, that Democrats are flat out lying about this every day and it needs correction and that he wants to debate the issue. I responded: Great idea, so let’s do it. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sowing the Seeds

The Oneonta Star published the following letter to the editor by Samuel E. Wilcox of Cooperstown:

“Gerund C. Fontainne's Jan. 18 letter presenting terrorism as free-floating evil against the innocent West compels me to point out that this terrorism is the ultimate response to decades of invasion, domination, exploitation and manipulation by the West of the Near East. However, I do not condone terrorism, for it is as horrific and inhumane as the wars we have initiated against countries in the Near East.

“In the 1920s, Britain and the U.S. gained considerable control over Near Eastern oil resources. In 1939, FDR declared Britain could "have" Iran, we could "have" Saudi Arabia, but the two countries could "share" Iraq and Kuwait. This assumption of privilege made both countries work behind the scenes to ensure that each had steady access to oil resources. This led to actions that violated Near Eastern sovereignty and culture. Over the decades, this policy began giving validity to Muslim extremists, who saw us as Satan. Extremists could get back at us only through terrorism.

“Mr. Fontainne feels his Near East experience validates his analysis of terrorism as simply barbaric violence. While his memories of the Near East are interesting and nostalgic, I fear he ignores our decades of intrusion and violation. However, he is not alone in this. Our government and many Americans feel we are entitled to act as a colonial power anywhere on the planet in order to sustain our power and wealth.

“I believe only when the West changes its self-interested control of the Near East can we expect the decline of terrorism. Instead, we continue trying to control it by military might and political domination, which sow the seeds for the very terrorism we decry.”
If you don’t agree with Mr. Wilcox’s comments read the preamble to this website found above.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spare A Dime

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” lyrics by Yip Harburg, music by Jay Gorney

They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

In the summer of 1932, a large group of WW I veterans, who had slogged through Hell, became upset with a crushed economy and their miserable circumstances, were lobbying aggressively to get our government to change the date their bonus certificates could be paid. These certificates had been provided to veterans in 1924 as a bonus for war service, but they were not payable until 1945. A bill to pay the benefits early was rushed through the House, but blocked in the Senate, because they couldn’t spare a dime.

The Hoover administration was growing annoyed with the so-called Bonus Army of protesters, that had marched to Washington and set up a large camp, they named Hooverville on the Anacostia Flats not far from DC. The Army was ordered to clear out the protesting veterans. Infantry and cavalry troops under the command of Douglas Mac Arthur fixed bayonets and hoisted sabers, and rolled up the Bonus Army encampment using tear gas, fire, and forceful persuasion.

The lesson learned by the Bonus Army that day was that our leaders do not like to be presented with a constant eyesore that advertises their failure. They will put up with it for awhile, but inevitably the enforcers will be sent in and the shacks destroyed and heads busted.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Peace of Mind

Under our new health care system every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will be gone forever.

We'll finally start reducing the cost of care, creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children. However, the greatest benefit of the Health Care Act goes far beyond the numbers, because it will bring peace of mind to every American, who will no longer be one injury or illness away from catastrophe. Workers and entrepreneurs will be freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill. Families throughout our nation will be able to live happier, healthier lives, since they can receive the vital care they need.

Most Americans get their insurance through large companies, with large group bargaining power. Although, some complain about premiums and paperwork, most seem satisfied with their coverage. Their fear is what happens if they lose their jobs or decide to change jobs. For this group, the real advantage of reform is security. If they get laid off, decide to be self-employed or switch to a smaller employer that offers no insurance, they’ll still be guaranteed coverage even if they are a cancer survivor or have another pre-existing condition. They’ll also be able to buy insurance on the exchanges.

Republican critics of health care reform did a good job of frightening Americans by talking about bankrupting the Treasury. The truth of the matter is that the reform legislation has been designed to generate enough revenue and savings to more than offset the substantial cost of expanding Medicaid and providing subsidies to the middle class. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Senate bill, that has passed would reduce deficits over the first 10 years by $132 billion and even more in the second decade.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The New System

According to the Commonwealth Fund, a respected research organization, the number of uninsured was expected rise from an estimated 25 million in 2007 to 35 million by 2011. Our new healthcare system mandates, that all Americans be required to have health insurance. The poor or middle class would get significant help through Medicaid coverage or tax credits to pay the premiums.

Although, most Americans have insurance, many pay exorbitant rates, because they have no bargaining power with insurers. That includes many of the tens of millions who buy their own insurance, the unemployed, the self-employed, and those whose employers don’t offer insurance.

All of these groups will be able to get better deals, since they will be able to buy their insurance through competitive exchanges. New legislation is creating exchanges in which small businesses and people who buy their own coverage directly from insurers can choose from an array of private plans that would compete for their business. It would also require insurance companies to accept all applicants, even those with a pre-existing condition. Furthermore, it has already started to reform the medical care system to improve quality and lower costs.

Anthem Blue Cross in California raise annual premiums by 35 to 39 percent for nearly a quarter of its individual subscribers. That was a chilling harbinger of what was to come if reform had failed. An additional, 48 million people work in relatively small firms that will be able to get better rates in large-group coverage.

Higher premiums would have cause many to forgo needed care and expose them to potential bankruptcy if they couldn’t pay huge medical bills. Some 72 million adults currently have medical debt or problems paying their bills even though most of them have insurance. Reform will help them by setting minimum standards of coverage and providing subsidies to tens of millions of low and middle income people to help pay their premiums.

Monday, April 19, 2010

General Welfare

I’m enjoying going on line and responding to comments made about letters to the editor in the Oneonta Star. Writers seldom use their real name and some react with anger to my comments. An example follows:

Anonymous wrote: “the definition of General Welfare in the founders writtings (sic) is far different that (sic) the beast that exsists (sic) today.”

In fact a founding father wrote: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Anonymous considers Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Health Care Reform “perminant (sic) social crutch.”

Nevertheless, some of us view those programs as the fulfillment of a promise made by our founding fathers. 

Healthcare reform has nothing to do with Marxism and everything to do with basic fairness and equality. Every American is entitled to basic health care, otherwise we can not consider ourselves a Christian nation.

In Denmark, everybody has health care, without any out of pocket expenses. They’re spending 50% of what we spend per capita, and get better outcomes. Furthermore, everybody can go to college and the tuition is zero, the government and everybody in the country gets six weeks off paid vacation, when you have a baby, you get a year off with full pay. Perhaps, Americans need to learn about what goes on in Scandinavia and other European countries. 
Barack Obama isn’t socialist? What he is trying to do is gradually, slowly and incrementally take us to where most other countries in the industrialized world are, in terms of guaranteeing health care to all of their people as a right. 
Brazilian archbishop Dom Helder Camara said: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

I’m also attempting to motivate the anonymous writers to learn how to use the spell check function on their computers.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


James Politi an economic and trade correspondent for the Financial Times, believes we are still a far cry from socialism, because the traditional definitions of socialism include the government taking control of huge chunks of the economy, allocating resources and deciding prices.

The policies of the Obama administrations are no more socialism and redistribution of wealth than our tax codes. People, who own expensive homes pay more of the costs of our school system, than those owning modest homes. On the federal level, people who earn more pay more of the costs of our military. Why should health care be any different?

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Some Americans consider Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Health Care Reform the creation of a cradle-to-grave dependency class, but many of us view those programs as the fulfillment of a promise made by our founding fathers.

Although, versions of: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, are shared by 21 world religions, many Christian Americans don’t subscribe to the Golden Rule.

The Golden Rule is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. It is also called the ethic of reciprocity and is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights.

Healthcare reform has nothing to do with Marxism and everything to do with basic fairness and equality. Every American is entitled to basic health care, otherwise we can’t consider ourselves a Christian country.

The Civil War is over and it’s time to show, that we care about our fellow Americans.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spirit of Compromise

Whenever, the Republican are in the minority, we hear the suggestion to vote everybody out and start over, or that neither party cares about the regular American, because nothing is getting done.

It appears, that nothing is getting done, because Senate Republicans have tried to employ the filibuster more over the past year than in all of the 1950s and 1960s combined. Republican are shutting down the Senate over a routine nomination. They have use the filibuster to force a 60-vote supermajority for every single substantive vote in the Senate.

When Republicans lost the majority in the Senate in January 2007, they started using the filibuster on nearly every vote. Consequently, the Senate is no longer capable of passing legislation or approving presidential nominees. Our Constitution specifies a supermajority for ratifying treaties, ratifying constitutional amendments, overriding presidential vetoes, expelling members of Congress, and impeachment, because those are the things, that our Founding Fathers believed should be really hard to do. However, the Republican minority in the Senate has decided that a supermajority is required for everything.

The last time the rules affecting the filibuster were changed was in 1975, it was changed, because Senators thought it was being abused.  The way it was being abused back then was nothing compared to how it is being abused now.

The House of Representatives is where legislation actually gets done on Capital Hill. A total of 290 bills have already passed by the House and are waiting for the Senate to take action. Some of them were passed last spring. Everyone of those 290 bills were passed by a simple majority in the House and many of them were passed with a lot of Republican support. For example, last September, the Medicare Premium Fairness Act passed 406 to 18, with 161 Republicans voting yes.

Obama insists, that if you want to govern, you can’t just say no. It can’t be about just scoring political points. The filibuster only works as intended if there is a genuine spirit of compromise.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sound Advise?

It’s time for people to exercise a little personal responsibility, and if they don't like socialism they should stop relying on it. Take some personal responsibility by implementing the following comprehensive guide to personal responsibility.

Teabaggers take heed and don’t stop until you’ve destroyed every vestige of socialism in your life. This is how to throw off the shackles of socialism, once and for all by defeating socialism in your own life.
If you live in subsidized housing move into the street, not to a shelter, because all shelters receive government support. They’re either getting money directly from the government, using government-subsidized resources or being subsidized via the tax code.
If you are on food stamps, tear them up, throw them away and go hungry. Food banks are like homeless shelters, because all non-profits are government subsidized through the tax code.
If you’re on Medicaid, or your children are on SCHIP. Refuse to use your Medicare card, and pay for all your medical expenses yourself.
Pull your kids out of school, because public schools are socialist and so are charter schools that receive public money. Private schools usually employ teachers, who went to public school and they tend to be socialist.
Stay off the streets, because nearly all streets, roads and highways in America are socialist. Besides, you can't buy gas without paying state and federal taxes. And, stay off sidewalks, because they’re just as socialist as the streets.
Stop using municipal water, because it’s socialist. Use only commercial bottled water for cooking, bathing and washing clothes.
Notify your local fire department that if your house catches on fire, you don’t want them to come.
Notify your local police department that you don’t need their help if anyone steals your belongings or tries to kill you.

Spread the message far and wide. No one can free you from socialism but you yourself. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wrong Choice

Many people think that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus package) was all about giving money to large banks and bailing out auto companies. It has nothing to do with the banks. They have the Recovery Act confused with the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

In the fall of 2008, Bush’s appointee, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke the Chairman of the Federal Reserve wanted Congress to immediately give them $700 billion virtually unrestricted. Their arrogant request 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.”

Some members of Congress had serious concerns, but when the two top economic officials of the administration tell you that, if you don’t do something, you’re going to have problems, it could become a self - fulfilling prophecy. Initially, the $700 billion of TARP money received from Congress wasn’t being spent the way many in Congress had intended and Americans became cynical of our government’s ability to solve the economic crisis. Most members of Congress were disappointed when the Bush administration decided to use none of that money to reduce foreclosures, which had been a central part of the economic solution. Consequently, congressional Democrats put real restrictions on how the second half of money was spent. Congress make it clear that the Obama administration wouldn’t be able to spend any of the additional money unless they did something to reduce foreclosures.

In early February 2009, congressional Democrats passed the Recovery Act, that expanded unemployment insurance at a time when it was absolutely vital for people as they were trying to stay afloat. The Recovery Act provided jobs for construction workers, cops, firemen, and education professionals. Two million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed are still working.

That has been little comfort to the eight million Americans who lost their job in this recession.  It has been little comfort to homeowners who are facing foreclosure or steep declines in their home values, or to students who are having to delay their college plans because they can’t afford it, or older folks who are postponing retirement.

Sadly, many uninformed, frustrated and impulsive voters may make the wrong choice in November, just as they did in 2000 and 2004.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Duncan Smith

This morning The Oneonta Daily Star published the following informative letter written by Duncan Smith.

“Current political discussion has been dangerously confused by a misleading redefinition of some key terminology. Calling liberalism and progressivism anti-American is absurd as is the identification of conservatism and libertarianism.

“America was founded on liberal ideas: inalienable personal rights, government for and by the people. The liberal emphasis on trust in people's judgment is also the basis for a free-market economy.

“Traditionally, conservatives have tended to see danger in unrestricted personal freedom and have urged respect for established authority and behavioral restraint.

“In Jefferson's day, they desired the stability of monarchy, fearing the unregulated will of the masses. Since then, they have served as a valuable check on not always rational human choices. Conservatives are not libertarians. Libertarians are part of a continuum of liberal political values that includes progressives. Both sides believe in the primacy of the individual and want a country that maximizes choice and opportunity.

“The important difference is that libertarians are suspicious of collective action and limits on personal choices while progressives see representative government as a tool for supporting our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. American politics has always been characterized by an often-tempestuous tension between these poles, but it is a tension that is necessary because on one extreme end of the continuum is state control and on the other is anarchy.

“The balance point can be a system of well-regulated free markets and productive public-private partnerships. Working through our elected representatives we tax ourselves to pay private contractors to build roads that we are all free to use if we obey the rules. Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Beck, as you strive to root out progressivism and all its products and, oh yeah, good luck tucking conservatives and libertarians into the same bed.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Massey Energy

Poisonous gases filled the underground tunnel in the Upper Big Branch mine and twenty- nine miners have now been confirmed dead. Many believe, that the responsibility for those deaths should rest with the CEO of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship.

In 2005, Blankenship, who is a right-wing activist millionaire wrote: “If any of you have been asked by your group presidents or supervisors, engineers or anyone else, to do anything other than run coal, for example, build overcast, do construction jobs, or whatever—you need to ignore them and run coal.” He told employees to maximize coal production, because that was far more important than spending time constructing things like support beams or ventilation shafts.

Blankenship wasn’t willing to pay for the safety of his employees, because he has more important things to do with his money. He spent over a million dollars, to sponsor last year’s Labor Day Tea Party, also known as the Friends of America rally. At the rally with Blankenship was Sean Hannity of Fox News.

Massey Energy controls 41 underground coal mines currently in operation in Appalachia and investigators have cited them with 2,074 safety violations since the start of this year. Hundreds of those citations target the same problems with ventilation and methane buildup. Massey Energy, was responsible for a 2006 fire that trapped 12 miners and killed two of them, because the company had removed ventilation controls the year before and had not replaced them.

The rules that protect workers from negligent employers in this country are so weak that thousands of employers make the rational decision to just ignore them and pay the token penalties if they're forced to. Massey brought in $24 million in income in the fourth quarter of 2009. It saw the fines it incurred for violations of bothersome regulation as a cost of doing business, not as a reason to act to protect its workers from injury and death.

The Republican candidate in the 20th Congressional District, Christopher Gibson is running on a platform of “eliminating onerous regulations.”

Update!  In April of 1916, Blankenship was sentenced to 1 year in a federal prison and fined $250.000.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pragmatism and Patience

It has been estimated, that over 8 million jobs have been lost since the recession started in December 2007. America lost 650,000 jobs in December 2008. Certainly, angry voters wouldn’t hold Obama responsible for those lost jobs. An additional 700,000 jobs were lost in January, the month Obama was sworn in. On February 13th, the Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed by congressional Democrats and surely the 650,000 jobs lost in that month weren’t a consequence of his policies. In fact, the job losses from this recession prove to be much more severe in the first quarter of last year, than anybody had anticipated. 

We were hemorrhaging more than 700,000 jobs a month with the middle class under assault and financial institutions on the brink of collapse.

According to Nobel Prize winning economist, the Recovery Act was too small to do the job. I agree, but Republicans continue to insist, that Democrats are bankrupting our country and leaving massive debt for our grandchildren. Obama was forced to take, what Congress was able to give him and he’s getting results.

The Recovery Act was a bold initiative not only to rescue our country from a potential second Great Depression, but also to build a new economic foundation for the future. Even though, the Obama administration has much more to do, the evidence is clear, that the Recovery Act is working. Public and private forecasters are now saying that the Recovery Act is responsible for about 2 million jobs nationwide. 

Our economy grew 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, which was the biggest gain in six years and many economists say it’s largely due to the Recovery Act, that provided over $100 billion in tax relief for American businesses and families.

Although, our country has a long way to go, for the first time in two years over 165,000 new jobs were created by employers. A year ago, the Dow moved above 8,000, but recently, it hit 11,000.

Statistics by the Bureau of Economic Analysis demonstrates that under FDR, it was massive New Deal spending that got us out of the Depression. When Roosevelt took office in 1933, unemployment was 24.9% and by 1936 it was down to 17.0%.

Pragmatism and patience are needed, because the Obama administration is doing everything possibly to create jobs. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sandra Finkenberg

On 4/9/10, Sandra Finkenberg had the following letter published in the Oneonta Star.

“We amnesia-prone Americans seem to be acquiescing to the renewed building of nuclear power plants. Stepping over the astronomical cost of them and the unsolved waste problem, I'd like to point out my longtime concern that rarely is mentioned. That is the innate connection between nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons, and by extension, to nuclear proliferation.

“In a letter to the New Yorker recently, Leonard Weiss of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation writes: ‘Expanded nuclear power in industrial countries will inevitably mean expanded nuclear exports to less developed countries as manufacturers try to recoup their losses...’

“He goes on to describe how India, Pakistan and Israel developed nuclear weapons through this ‘peaceful use’ process.
“Nuclear power plants once in operation cannot be undone. They are a destructive and cynical promotion of the industry made possible by our amnesia and ignorance (and a little help from David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel).”

I’ve pointed out to readers of the online version of the Star, that solar stocks are up more than 50 points, because the voltaic cells that are being produced are cheaper than oil. Wind power has become much cheaper than oil, but these are only small substitutes.

If we would push nuclear energy in this country, we could begin to unhook ourselves from oil. Nuclear is coming and if people have to choose between the risk of nuclear power and the near-term reality of higher gasoline prices that are killing the average family economically, they’re going to go with the nuclear.

Presently, France is 80 percent nuclear for electricity generation, because they’ve no intention of being held hostage to the oil-producing countries that support terrorism. Our nuclear powered ships have steamed more than 90 million miles without a reactor accident or release of radioactivity.

Unfortunately, we haven’t switched to nuclear power and the earliest, we could have a new nuclear power plant on line in this country is 2016. Like it or not Democrats and Republicans politicians will eventually have to agree that nuclear power plants operate much cheaper than coal plants and can be our salvation.

Meanwhile, our men and women will continue to die in oil rich Muslim countries, in order to satisfy America’s addiction to oil.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Republican Talking Points

The Health Care Reform Act took health insurance out of the hands of private corporations, because insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or issue exorbitant rate hikes when we get sick and need care the most.

Republican talking points claim, that had Obama and the Democratic Leadership in the Senate insisted on a public option, it could have passed the Senate. Politics is the art of the possible, and last August, Nate Silver, of FiveThirtyEight.com fame, estimated that the number of solid Senate votes for a public option was a only 43. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was able to put together a bill without a public option, that got 60 votes.

The most significant reason, that we didn’t get a more efficient health care reform was the fierce opposition fueled by special interest groups and lobbyists, who used fear tactics to misrepresent efforts to achieve reform as an attempt to socialize medicine.

The issue of public option was addressed, in the House, but failed to garner enough votes. It was taken off the table in the Senate, by Democratic Senator Baucus, the Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. In the past six years, nearly one-fourth of every dime raised by Baucus and his political action committee has come from groups and individuals associated with drug companies, insurers, hospitals, medical supply firms, health service companies and other health professionals.

Republicans have speculated, that arm twisting and Obama’s high approval ratings would have gotten Senator Baucus to do whatever Obama wanted. However, Obama is not a vengeful person and his approval rating were dropping fast.

Many Americans, especially senior citizens fear change. Some feared, that they would lose what works about our health care system while trying to fix what wasn’t working. Another reason is that physicians, insurance companies, businesses, and workers could not agree on the need for reform or what shape it should take.

According to some the individual mandate, is one of the greatest corporate giveaways in history, because it forces uninsured Americans to buy insurance from the private insurance industry. A mandate in the Health Care Reform Act does provide for a tax penalty for anyone, who doesn’t purchase health insurance, but no penalty can be imposed. Eventually, it could be less expensive to help people buy health insurance than to pay for them to use emergency rooms.

Obama, Pelosi and Reed did something, that was originally a goal of Teddy Roosevelt. For 100 years, it didn’t happen, because it was so difficult to achieve. We must never let prefect, become the enemy of the good.

Friday, April 09, 2010

New IRS Agents

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint warned: “There are going to be tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, before this is all over.  We are going to be looking for the real truth of what this means.  Just on something as simple as having 16,000 IRS agents chasing them around, that is going to open a lot of eyes.”

There are currently 93,337 people working at the IRS, but only 16,000 are enforcement agents. In 2002, Republicans passed a law providing a health insurance tax credit for workers, who lose their jobs to international trade.  The IRS set up a separate unit to administer that new provision.  There are 10 people working in that unit on health insurance tax credits, and all of them were employed by the IRS before the tax credit became law. 

In 2008, the Bush administration hired over 10,000 seasonal employees to force people to pay their taxes, but not a single Republican, including Senator DeMint, objected to hiring those 10,000 extra IRS workers. 

A mandate in the Health Care Reform Act provides for a tax penalty for anyone who does not purchase health insurance. However, the law states: “notwithstanding any other provision of law—a waiver of criminal penalties in the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay. Any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.”

No IRS agents will be need to enforce an unenforceable provision of the tax code. Democrats had stronger penalties written into earlier versions of the bills, but under increasing pressure they softened those penalties to the point where they no longer exist. Democrats aren’t going to tell people this, because they want them to buy health insurance, but nothing in the law forces unwise freeloaders to buy health insurance. Republicans aren’t going to tell people this because they like scaring the uninformed.

Furthermore, the threshold for imposing a Cadillac tax has been raised to health plans valued at over $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. That tax won’t kick in until 2018.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Richard Stinson

Last month, Richard Stinson of South Kortright had the following letter published in the Oneonta Star.

“In 2004, I wrote a letter to this paper expressing my disgust with my party for the way it treated John Kerry and John McCain in 2000 in the primaries and my shame at being a Republican.

“I switched parties and have never regretted it. Every day I see proof that my decision was a wise one.

“The Republicans have done everything they can to see that President Obama fails as our country’s leader.

“They have held up more than 70 appointees and stonewalled more than 200 bills passed by the House regardless of the fact that the failure of the administration means the failure of the country.

“The March 8 edition of this paper contains two examples of Republican hypocrisy, misinformation and outright lies.

“First, Bill O'Reilly carping about a little known or advertised event honoring three people he despises while ignoring the fact that the things he accuses the ‘trio’ of is regularly done by him and his ilk for other reasons.

“O’Reilly, like so many other Republicans, wraps himself in Christianity as if he perceived himself as a good example. Like the rest of his kind he has forgotten that Jesus, a Jew, was as progressive as you can get. He didn't cater to the wealthy, he sought out the poor and downtrodden to preach love, understanding and sharing, ‘What you do for the least of mine you do for me.’ The only violent action taken by Jesus was to drive the money lenders out of the temple.

“Secondly, the letter from William Eckardt castigating Michael Acuri with idiotic accusations and lies. There will be no ‘death panels’ or government agencies determining your future. Calling President Obama: ‘Hitler,’ ‘Grim Reaper’ and leader of ‘gangsters’ is childish. The looting of our nation occurred during G.W. Bush’s administration.”

William Agnew, Richard Stinson and Unconservative write powerful informative letters, but we’ve got to be careful, that our letters don’t serves to alienate moderates, who are looking for more civility in our political dialogue.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

William G. Agnew

Yesterday, William G. Agnew of Norwich had the following letter published in the Oneonta Star.

“I couldn’t agree more with writer Richard Stinson. (Letters if March 20-21.) I also left the “Party of the Rich”(for the rich Republicans). I never regretted it. Republicans are obstructionists. They are against anything Obama proposes. They make like they are the great saviors of our country.

“They are worried about our grandchildren and government spending? This is the party that during the Bush years approved 70 spending bills and increased the debt $5.6 trillion and went to war under false pretenses. When the Republicans had complete control of everything, and we had a Republican president, they didn’t try to get health care reform; they gave tax breaks to the rich and oil companies that really increased debt. Republicans voted against raising the minimum wage, health care and extended unemployment. They pretend to have all the answers but have no answers.

“Instead of doing what’s right for the country, the GOP only looks out for its own re-election, using the same scare tactics it used to justify an illegal war. Republicans are also trying to scare seniors by lying about health care. The party is getting huge sums of money from drug and insurance companies for re-election. Republicans want no domestic spending for the people of this country, just billions for the war machine.

“Do not listen to Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Rove or FOXNews. Republicans have called our president Hitler, Hussein and other worse names. God bless President Obama. The economy will get better. We will have reformed health care.”

Unconservative added the following comment on line.

“These are the same tactics that Hitler and the Nazis used to gain power in Germany in the early 1930s. Anyone with a functioning brain can look it up and verify for themselves that it is a page taken out of the Joseph Goebble’s book of propaganda - a strategy that conservative republicans have been pursuing for decades. 

Does this quote seem familiar to anyone (i.e., does it remind you of Fox News)?
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.“

Tomorrow, I’ll post Richard Stinson’s letter.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Cap and Trade

Mary Bordlinger letter in the Oneonta Star warned: “If cap-and-trade is passed, wait and see what your energy bills do. Then maybe you’ll want to sell your house. First a federal employee will have to inspect it. You better have all your appliances energy-efficient because until they are you can’t sell it.”

The following information was provide to FactCheck.org. by the National Association of Realtors:

“Section 202 of the House bill does not require that buildings be retrofitted. It provides federal funding for states to offer financial incentives, such as loans or grants, for property owners to voluntarily decide to improve energy efficiency. In order to receive the funding, there are conditions on how states can spend the money, such as verification of energy improvements performed by private contractors, but that is only to ensure that taxpayer dollars are actually spent on the purpose for which it is intended (building efficiency improvements).

“There is no point-of-sale guideline or any other requirement of any sort in the House passed bill. Nowhere does this bill create a federal requirement that a property owner would have to retrofit a property to any guideline at any time, let alone at point of sale. The bill does stipulate federal guidelines to ensure that states spend and verify that bill funding goes to financial incentives for property owners to voluntarily make improvements.”

Perhaps, Mary was only repeating information, that she heard on Fox News or other right wing sources of information. She may not have a computer and unable to check the accuracy of the information, that she is passing on. Consequently, she and many others are being mislead on a daily basis.

Letters to the editor of area newspapers offers an opportunity to correct inaccurate information. I can’t do this alone, because on average the Oneonta Star has started publishing my monthly letters every 45 days. Your silence is complicity, that helps the right wing orchestrated lie machine.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Anonymous Comment

A recent comment made on line in the Oneonta Star included the following post by Anonymous:

“To all the lovers of socialism: Why is everything you write about the past? GWBush is no longer president, lets talk about what is happening right now, the redistribution of wealth from the working class to those who many times choose not to work. Obama has done nothing to create jobs because the more people he has on the public rolls, the more control he has on his path to central government. If his latest disaster of a health care bill is so great why arent (sic) Obama and the rest of the politicans (sic) the first to sign up?”

I answered, that the policies of the Obama administrations are no more socialism and redistribution of wealth than our tax codes. People, who own expensive homes pay more of the costs of our school system, than those owning modest homes. On the federal level, people who earn more pay more of the costs of our military. Why should health care be any different?

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Some Americans consider Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Health Care Reform the creation of a cradle-to-grave dependency class, but others view those programs as the fulfillment of a promise made by our founding fathers. 

Although, versions of: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” are shared by 21 world religions, however many Christian Americans don’t subscribe to the Golden Rule. 

The Golden Rule is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. It’s also called the ethic of reciprocity and is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights.

Healthcare reform has nothing to do with Marxism and everything to do with basic fairness and equality. Every American is entitled to basic health care, otherwise we can’t consider ourselves a Christian country.

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." - Brazilian archbishop Dom Helder Camara

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

In her letter published yesterday, in the Oneonta Star, Mary Bordinger wrote: “We don't even know everything in the health care law. It is unconstitutional to force people to buy anything.”

Recently, Republican Senator Jim DeMint claimed, that there would be thousands more IRS agents as a result of the healthcare bill. Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee warned that the bill could require the IRS to hire 16,000 additional agents to enforce the new rules. There is nothing in the bill to pay for more IRS agents.

Neither Republicans or Democrats want us to know, that the Health Care Act doesn’t force people to buy healthcare. In an effort to reduce the effects on the voters with a mandate, and to appease Republican demands, the Democrats turned the mandate into meaningless rhetoric. Democrats originally had stronger language and specific penalties in the bill, but Republicans insisted they be reduced. The legislation imposes a tax on you if you don’t have health insurance, but if you don’t pay the tax there is no consequence. Therefore, nothing will happen if you don’t get health insurance and you don’t pay the tax for not having it.

The statute states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law - In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.”

There is no enforcement provision in the legislation. The idea of fining people, that don’t purchase heath insurance was originally a Republican idea, because they don’t like freeloaders.

It is a secret, because Republicans want the uninformed Tea Party folks to fear the bill and Democrats want people to purchase health care insurance. Freeloaders can continue to gamble, that they won’t get sick or injured.

Happy Easter and lots of luck.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Trampling the Truth

Jeanne Bridger claimed, that government takeover of our health care, and other unpopular bills such as Cap and Trade are trampling on the Constitution.

George Washington wrote: “The warmest friends and best supporters the Constitution has, do not contend that it is free from imperfections; but they found them unavoidable and are sensible, if evil is likely to arise there from, the remedy must come hereafter; for in the present moment, it is not to be obtained; as there is a Constitutional door open for it, I think the People (for it is with them to Judge) can as they will have the advantage of experience on their Side, decide with as much propriety on the alterations and amendments which are necessary as ourselves. I do not think we are more inspired, have more wisdom, or possess more virtue, than those who will come after us.”

In Article 1 of Virginia’s original 1776 constitution, George Mason wrote: “That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, or community; of all modes and forms of government, that the best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety...; and, whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.”

The Democratic Party has repeatedly demonstrated that it’s capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety. Jeanne Bridger may have forgotten, that Democratic President Woodrow Wilson enable woman to vote. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and now Health Care Reform are additional examples of how the Democratic Party has exhibited more wisdom and virtue than the Republican Party has in the last 100 years.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Jeanne Bridger

On 3/30/10, Jeanne Bridger had the following letter to the editor published in the Oneonta Star.

“Like Gillibrand's campaign promises and positions, Scott Murphy has reversed his position in abject betrayal of the American people and his constituents and has proved himself to be a follower of the party and the evil secular progressive movement that has usurped the Democratic Party.

“It is now obvious he does not nor ever did represent the people. What was his payoff? His vote isn't the only one that counts.

“November is coming and he can't hide from the voters. Corrupt backroom deals are driving a government takeover of our health care, and other unpopular bills such as Cap and Trade are trampling on the Constitution, and we don't like it. He has voted for the health care bill, in defiance of the majority of the American people. Be assured we will vote against him in the next election.”

Jeanne Bridger of Maryland, N.Y. is secretary of the Central New York State Tea Party Patriots. Also signing this letter were Tim Schorer of Hartwick and James Losie of Davenport, co-chairmen of the organization.
On line, I made several response to the above letter. The first follows:

According to Jeanne Bridger, Congressman Scott Murphy has proven himself to be a follower of an evil secular progressive movement.

 Most tea party conservatives will continued to vote Republican, even after a Bush trillion-dollar tax cuts for the rich, which when combined with two wars and turned Clinton's $6 trillion projected surplus into $5 trillion of added debt. They refuse to take responsibility for being wrong on taxes, two wars and now the healthcare.

One in four American children currently live below the poverty line, which is one of the highest rates among the top 40 developed nations. Poverty among the elderly has grown to nearly 25%. The Agricultural Department reports, that 17 million households didn’t have enough food in 2008. 

Approximately, 44,000 Americans died every year, because they lacked healthcare. Of those that died 2,200 of them were veterans, because 1.5 million veterans do not have health insurance. Furthermore, we had 130,000 homeless veterans living on the streets. 

Nevertheless, Tea Party conservatives, who promoted tax cuts, imperialistic wars and needless suffering, have the audacity to describe Murphy as a follower of an evil movement. Sadly, compassionate conservatism remains an oxymoron.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Show Your Gun

As noted in yesterday’s post, Mr. Vanderboegh wants attention desperately.  He can’t claim credit for bricks that flew or threats made before he made his blog post, but he is tied to an organized movement. 

Vanderboegh will be a featured speaker at a “Restore the Constitution Open-Carry Rally,” on April 19th at Fort Hunter National Park in Virginia. According to rally organizers, that park is the closest location to Washington, D.C.  in which they can legally, and openly carry their firearms.

Although, they want publicity, their primary goal is to intimidate the political process in this country. Since, they can’t get people to do what they want through the voting process, they’re using guns as a means of intimidating our national politics. The gun theme has been a consistent threat over the past year. 

Tea party protest sign, at different events announced, that: “We came unarmed this time.” People showed up at political events last summer with guns strapped to their side. A man in New Hampshire showed up at an Obama event brandishing a .9 millimeter pistol and carrying a sign saying: Replenishing the Tree of Liberty with blood.”

An effort to intimidate through the show of force took place just before the healthcare reform vote. A sign appeared outside the Capitol dome, warning if Brown, (referring to Senator Scott Brown), can’t stop it, a Browning can. (Browning is an automatic rifle)

The date of the “show your guns” rally on April 19th, is symbolic in its timing. April 19th, was the first day of the American Revolution, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, as well as, the day, home grown terrorist Timothy McVeigh chose for his bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. That blast claimed the lives of 168 victims and injured more than 680 innocent people.