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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Koch Industries

According to Jane Mayer, the author of “Covert Operations: Who are Waging a War Against Obama,” Koch Industries is the biggest privately held oil and chemical company in the world, the second largest privately held company of any kind in America. The Koch brothers are tied in the rankings for the ninth richest men in America.

Their political strategy has been to stop the government from limiting greenhouse gas emissions and make sure there is no tax on fossil fuels. The Koch brothers sought to prevent chemicals like formaldehyde from being labeled as causing cancer, because they’ve made many millions of dollars from formaldehyde.

Recently, they’ve begun attempting to influence policy by bankrolling a lot of right-wing organizing outfits. The Koch brothers have been funneling massive amounts of money into organizations with innocuous names, such as Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens for the Environment, and Americans for Prosperity.

Last summer, groups like Americans for Prosperity were behind all of the supposedly grassroots tea party rallies around the country. The group paid for the buses, organizing the speakers, putting together training kits for attendees, making talking points and designing the Web sites. Early on, those that attended the tea party gathering were instructed to rally against things like climate change legislation in support of the billionaire oil tycoons.

The Koch brothers have been bankrolling efforts to reduce social services, defeat health reform and the economic stimulus package. They have an interest that is hardcore ideological conservatism and that agenda goes back long way.

The Koch brothers are very hardcore libertarian ideologues and have been for many years. They were early backers and followers of a man named Robert LeFevre, an anarchist, who believed that the government should be completely decimated. LeFevre believed that the only responsibility government had was to protect individual rights. They were early supporters of getting rid of social security, income taxes, the FBI, the CIA and regulations.

As head of one of the most influential companies in the country, Charles Koch has recently described himself as a radical. Koch Industries has a history of serious pollution problems and even criminal problems having to do with their pollution record.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Reaganomics

For the first six years of the Reagan presidency the Republicans controlled the Senate, and the Democrats the House of Representatives. Bills passed in the House with a simple majority vote had to get through the Senate with a supermajority to avoid a filibuster. After passing both Houses of Congress bills needed the support of Reagan, who with a veto could prevent the any bill from becoming law.

Alexander Hamilton’s 1791 report to Congress on manufactures laid out a six-step plan to build an industrial economy in this country and we followed it until Reagan started taking things apart.

When Reagan came into office, we were the largest exporter of manufactured goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet, and the largest creditor.  The consequence of Reaganomics has been that in just 29 years, we’ve become the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods, exporter of raw materials, which is the definition of a third world nation. Today, we’re in debt more than any country in the world. 

Post FDR and preceding Reagan, most Americans were experiencing prosperity. Today, with the exception of Mexico and Turkey, we’re the country with the highest income inequality level. Since 2000, income inequality increased rapidly, which continued a trend that goes back to the 1970s.

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, cheap imports, poor health, job out sourcing, increased consumer debt, privatization of public services, free-market monopolies, a corrupt financial sector and corporate-controlled media and government.

Businesses have suffered a great blow from wealth inequality, severely damaging the economy, because purchasing power has been slipping away from the middle class and working poor.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Deceitful Charlatans

Many people are ignoring the fact, that there are only three ways to reduce our national debt. Increase taxes, cut spending and get our country out of this recession so that more people are employed and paying taxes.

Republicans are against raising taxes, especially on the very wealthy, but when it comes to the issue of cutting spending, they won’t name a single program, that they would cut. They refuse to go on the record and announce that they're in favor of cutting Social Security, abolishing Medicare and Medicaid or drastically cutting the Pentagon budget because they’re playing it safe.

They expect uninformed, frustrated and angry people to vote for their candidates, on a promise, that once they get elected, that they’ll come up with a plan to reduce the deficit. It’s a cynical ploy, because many of them are deceitful charlatans, who don’t have a clue on how to get things done in Congress.

Unless, we get out of this recession and get many more people employed and paying taxes, reducing the deficit will never happen. If the voters put Republicans back in control of our county, we will most likely see a deepening recession and it’s possible the unemployment rate would again drop to 25% as it did in 1933.

Small businesses are the key to our economy, since they create two out of every three new jobs. Congressional Democrats want to make sure that small businesses are getting financing and want to cut their taxes in certain key areas. Obama has propose that we eliminate capital gains taxes on small businesses so that when they’re starting up and don’t have a lot of cash flow, they get a tax break.

Obama said: “After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back... You would have thought at a time of historic crisis that Republican leaders would have been more willing to help us find a way out of this mess. Particularly since they created the mess."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Credit Card Rules

In the recent past, credit cards companies could suddenly increase your interest rates and your 12% interest rate could become a 20% interest rate. 

Today, credit card companies must give you 45 days’ notice before raising you interest rates.  And if you don’t like the rate increase, you now have the option of canceling the card before the increase goes into effect. 

When you sign up for a new card, some credit card companies used to jack up your rate almost immediately after you signed up for that card. Today, no interest rate increases for the first year after you sign up. Increasing the interest rate on items that you paid for under a different rate is unlawful. Rate hikes can only apply to new debt.  Those are some of the changes brought about by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 which Obama signed into law in May of last year, but nobody seemed to noticed. 

Recently, the final phase of the Credit Card Act went into effect, by regulating penalty fees that credit card companies can charge you for violations. Now, no fee can be over $25 or of greater value than the violation itself. If you go $10 over your credit card limit, the credit card company can’t fine you $50 for that $10 overcharge. They also can’t charge you an inactivity fee for not using an account and they can‘t penalize you more than once for a single violation.
 
Credit card reform is one of those things that Obama has done that when people list legislative accomplishments of his presidency, often doesn’t make the list. Politically, the Obama administration might not get much credit for it. He’s not good at getting credit for legislation that congressional Democrats have passed, even when it uniformly affects many Americans in a positive way.

The credit card industry responded to these new rules, by jacking up their interest rates to record heights, which provides an indication into how they operate.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Andrew Reinbach

To my surprise, I discovered that a contributor to the comments online version of the Oneonta Star had used his own name.

Andrew Reinbach, who wrote: “Right wing radicals can attack Mr. O'Leary's character, and make all the snide remarks about him they want to; I notice they never question his facts, point by point. Why? They don't have any. The only thing the right wing project has given this country is the depression we're enduring, a failing school system, local governments that can't even afford to maintain their roads, and a party that refuses to help solve our problems because of lies it tells itself about the need to fight ‘socialism’. If it pitched in to solve America's problems, the right wing could be part of the solution; instead, it's much of the cause of the problem. Mr. O'Leary is merely laying it on the line, people; don’t complain about the facts.”

Onemoreofmillion responded to Mr. Reinbach’s remarks by writing:

“How in the world can you ‘Right Wing” when in NY the Left Wing has been in control of the Governors office and 1 house for years. Now they control all 3 and can't even get a GOOD budget out in time. On the Federal Level they have controlled both houses of Congress for 10 years. That is when it REALLY started to go bad. November 2010 AND 2012 are coming, and the taxpayers are waking up. Which way are the polls going for the Radicals in Congress and the White House?????????????? ”

I’ve pointed out that onemoreofmillions is incorrect in saying, that Democrats have been in control of Congress for 10 years.

By winning New York’s 20th. district seat in the House of Representative, on election day of 2006, Kirsten Gillibrand officially shifted the balance of power in the House. Actually, Democrats didn’t take control of the House of Representatives until January 2007.

Even today, Democrats don’t have control of Congress, because the Party of No has used the filibuster more times in the past few years, than anytime in history. Unfortunately, having a majority in both Houses of Congress didn’t ensure control of Congress, because Bush was threatening to use his veto power until he left office on Jan. 22, 2009.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Border Violence

According to the FBI, the four cities with populations of at least 500,000 with the lowest violent crime rates are San Diego,California; Phoenix, Arizona; El Paso and Austin, Texas. They’re all in border states and according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection: "The border is safer now than it's ever been."

In Arizona, whose illegal-immigrant population is believed to be second only to California's. The state's overall crime rate dropped 12% last year; between 2004 and 2008 it had plunged 23%. In the metro area of Phoenix, violent crime, which includes murder, rape, assault and robbery, dropped by a third during the past decade and by 17% last year. The border city of Nogales, an area rife with illegal immigration and drug trafficking, hasn't logged a single murder in the past two years.

It’s true that Phoenix has in recent years seen an increase of kidnappings. However in almost every case those kidnappings involved drug traffickers targeting other narcos for payment shakedowns. Furthermore, the 318 abductions reported last year were actually down 11% from 2008.

Unfortunately, those facts about Phoenix didn’t prevent Senator McCain from erroneously claiming, that Phoenix was: "the No. 2 kidnapping capital of the world" behind Mexico City.

The Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, suffered almost 2,700 murders last year, most of them drug-related, making it possibly the world's most violent town. El Paso, Texas is a stone's throw across the Rio Grande, had just one murder. U.S. law-enforcement officials insist that the Mexican drug cartels' bloody turf wars generally end at the border and don't follow the drugs into our country. El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles points out that "the Mexican cartels know that if they try to commit that kind of violence here, they'll get shut down."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Answer is:

Tea Party promoter Pinkey asked: “Who is more responsible for government health care?”

The Health Care Act protect all Americans from the worst practices of insurance companies. Coverage won’t be revoked, premiums won’t be arbitrarily raised and insurance companies won’t be allowed to use a pre-existing condition to deny coverage.

The new health reform law gives seniors and their families greater control over the care they receive and makes preventive care and an annual physical free of charge. It gives our government the ability to reject insurance companies' unreasonable rate increases to prevent them from unfairly raising Medicare costs.

It helps Democrats keep a promise to America's seniors, by strengthening Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and keeping it solvent for decades to come. And, most importantly, it protects guaranteed benefits, eligibility and the right to keep your doctor for all seniors.

It creates a voluntary program that would help seniors and people with disabilities get support to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible.

Seniors who fall in the "doughnut hole" in Medicare prescription drug coverage have already starting receive $250 checks to help cover the cost of prescriptions. Next year, prescription drug prices will be cut in half when seniors hit the doughnut hole, and within ten years, the new law will have closed the gap completely.

Importantly, according to the Congressional Budget Office 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 should bring $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next two decades. A report from Congressional Budget Office indicates that the Health Care Act is the most significant effort to reduce our deficits since the Balanced Budget Act in the 1990s.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Questions Answered

Chuck Pinkey asked: “Who is more responsible for high taxes...”

Since, our enormous deficit requires higher taxes, my answer would be Republicans, because according to Treasury Department statistics, when Reagan took office in 1980, the national debt stood at $930 billion. In Reagan's eight years, debt increased by $1.692 trillion dollars and there was a budget deficit in each of his eight years largely fueled by tax cuts and increased defense spending. When he left office, the debt stood at over $2.6 trillion - triple what he inherited.

The national debt then increased by $1.587 trillion under the first President Bush, reaching $4.2 trillion by 1992. Under Clinton, $1.54 trillion was added to the debt leaving it at roughly $5.7 trillion by the end of his second term. When George W. Bush was sworn in, the national debt stood at $5.7 trillion. In his eight years it increased by $4.899 trillion to roughly $10.6 trillion.

From Ronald Reagan's presidency to the end of George W. Bush's - 28 years covering January 1981 to January 2009 - the national debt went from $930 billion to $10.6 trillion - an increase of $9.67 trillion. If you subtract the $1.54 trillion added to the debt during the Clinton years, there was a $8.13 trillion increase under Reagan and the two Bushes. That means 84 percent of the debt incurred from Reagan to Obama occurred in the 20 years under Republican presidents.

Pinkey went on to ask : “Who is more responsible for crushing environmental regulations...?”

The Republican Party's opposition to Obama’s economic policies are rooted in the belief, that our economy will do better if we just let the banks or the oil companies or the insurance industry make their own rules. They continue to believe that government should maintain a hands-off attitude, even after the Wall Street stock market crash and even after the BP oil well blew. They think we should keep doing what we did for most of the last decade leading up to the recession.

Their prescription for every challenge is the same. Basically, they cut taxes for the wealthy and cut rules for corporations. The problem is that we've already tried those ideas for most of the last decade and look where they led us.

So far, we don’t know what caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. However, we do know that for decades, the oil industry has been able to essentially write its own rules and safety regulations. Dick Cheney put industry insiders in charge of oversight and oil companies were allowed to fill out their own safety inspection forms.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Arrogant Xenophobe

Chuck Pinkey has been pinch-hitting for The Oneonta Star’s right wing columnist Tom Sears while Sears is in Romania.

In a speech entitled: “Love of God, Love of Man, Love of Country,” former slave Frederick Douglass said: “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.”

The Trail of Tears was the forcible relocation and movement of Native Americans including members of the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Choctaw nations, from their homelands to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma). Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their destinations, including 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee nation.

Japanese-American internment was the forced relocation and internment in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans residing along the Pacific coast of the United States. In 1988, Congress passed and Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of our government. Over $1.6 billion in reparations were later disbursed by the our government to Japanese Americans who had either suffered internment or were heirs of those who had suffered internment.

More than 50 years ago, Iran was establishing a government close to a democracy. Mohammad Mossadegh a benevolent and incorruptible hero of Iranian history was unhappy that the profit from the country’s primary resource oil was not staying in the country.

The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which is now known as British Petroleum was getting 93 percent of the profits and Mossadegh wanted a 50-50 split. The British government didn’t want to use force to protect its business interests, but America willingly took on the task of undermining Mossadegh’s tenure as president. After numerous attempts to disrupted the nation, a coup was financed and led by Eisenhower’s CIA, and the Shah of Iran was installed as the leader. We trained the Shah’s goon squads, thus angering generations of Iranians for meddling in that nation’s affairs.

Many Americans remain ignorant of how our imperialistic occupation of Iraq for its oil has rekindled resentment and anger in the Muslim world, which will fester as long as our imperialistic meddling continues.

Chuck Pinkey wrote: “Next to God and family, America was loved the most. Our history was taught in schools and we had that feeling of pride in being an American. We knew that our country was the best on Earth and made no apologies! I still don’t apologize!”

I make no apologies for suggesting that Mr. Pinkey is an arrogant xenophobe.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Safety Net

Many Americans were opposed to privatizing Social Security before our current financial crisis, because the purpose of Social Security has been to have a rock solid safety net for older Americans, so that no matter what happens they’ve always got some income to support themselves in their retirement. Nevertheless, we should also encourage people to invest in private savings accounts. 

Imagine if, a portion of your Social Security had been invested in the stock market from 2006 to 2008, when most people saw their 401(k)s lose 20 to 40 percent of its value. Today, much of that money has been recovered, because of the policies, that were put in place to stabilize the situation. The stock market has recovered 60-70 percent of its original value.  But if you were depending on that money last year or the year before, and suddenly you saw your assets drop by 40 percent, it would have been a disaster.

Social Security is not in crisis.  What has happening, is that the population is getting older, which means we’ve got more retirees per worker than we used to. Some modest adjustments will have to be made in order to strengthen it.  There are some fairly modest changes that could be made without resorting to schemes, such as privatization. Modest changes can be made to ensure that Social Security will continue for another 75 years and everybody will get the benefits that they deserve. The Obama administration has created a fiscal commission of Democrats and Republicans to come up with what would be the best combination to stabilize Social Security for not just this generation, but the next generation. 

It can be done, but people should still be encouraged to save more on their own. We shouldn’t allow people to take money out of Social Security to put into the stock market.  There are other ways to encourage savings. 

For example, a voluntary system can be set up with your employer where the employer automatically deducts some of your paycheck and puts it into your 401(k) account. It’s voluntary, but it could end up boosting your savings rates significantly. Nevertheless, we must make sure that Social Security remains in place as a safety net. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Border Security

In response to my most recent letter published in The Oneonta Daily Star, MAC wrote online: “Bush refused and now Obama is refusing (to deport illegal immigrants), why?”

In fact, Obama is not refusing to deport illegal immigrants. Obama's Department of Homeland Security has been deporting more undocumented immigrants than Bush's ever did. The number of deportations each year more than tripled during the Bush era and has kept going up since then. During fiscal year 2009, the first fiscal year of the Obama era, 387,790 immigrants were deported almost 100,000 more during the last full fiscal year of the Bush presidency.

An increasing share of deportees are immigrants who have been convicted of a crime, Obama's desire to reorient the deportation process toward targeting criminals.

According to Jack Chin, a University of Arizona law professor: “The administration is trying to gain credibility with enhanced enforcement, troops to the border, and by other measures to make clear it is taking action on immigration.”

Determined to show a commitment to stopping the flow of illegal immigrants, the Senate convened a special session on Thursday and passed a $600 million bill to put more agents and equipment along the Mexican border.

Last week, a voice vote in the nearly empty Senate chamber sends the legislation to Obama, who sign it into law the next day. Obama had urged Congress to channel more money toward border security amid complaints from states besieged by undocumented immigrants and illegal drug trafficking.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Long Way to Go

Democrats have been trying to help state and local governments so that they’re not having to lay off as many teachers and firefighters and police officers. Furthermore, they’re trying to build infrastructure that puts people back to work and improves the quality of life in communities across our country. 

The Recovery Act funds have made a difference, but Obama admits, that we still have a long way to go. The focus is to make sure that small businesses are getting help, because small businesses are the key to our economy, since they create two out of every three new jobs. Congressional Democrats want to make sure that small businesses are getting financing and they’re cutting their taxes in certain key areas. Obama has propose that we eliminate capital gains taxes on small businesses so that when they’re starting up and don’t have a lot of cash flow, they get a tax break.

Building more infrastructure across our country puts people back to work. The emphasis isn’t just building roads and bridges, but also building high-speed rail and building broadband lines that can connect communities to give people access to the Internet at a time when it’s critical in terms of long-term economic development.

This administration is exploring ways to get control of our deficit. The Health Care Reform Act was a major step in getting our deficit under control. According to the Congressional Budget Office 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 should bring $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next two decades. A report by the CBO indicates that the Health Care Act is the most significant effort to reduce our deficits since Clinton’s Balanced Budget Act in the 1990s.

The economy is getting stronger, but we’re not going to get the 8 million jobs that were lost back overnight. Consumers aren’t going to start spending until they feel more confident that the economy is getting stronger. Businesses will gain more confident and start hiring, when consumer demand increases.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Carlyle Group

Wall Street is sitting on $1.8 trillion, and it’s not at all concerned, that 22 million Americans need jobs to put this nation back at full employment.  


The Carlyle Group is one of the largest private equity firms of the world, its managing director, David Rubenstein admitted: “We have $1.8 trillion on the balance sheet of U.S. companies that are not spending that money because they are not sure where the regulatory situation is going to be, where the tax situation is going to be.  I think they have some concerns about the economic growth, so they are sitting on the sidelines.”  


It’s great, that Wall Street is doing well, because the Troubled Asset Relief Program has been a success and peoples 401(k), and college savings funds are doing better. Economic growth for those in the market is great, but a lot of Americans don’t have disposable income to invest. Economic growth isn’t going to happen in this country with a select few holding on to $1.8 trillion.  They need to quit outsourcing American jobs.

Rubenstein insists, that the real economic growth is coming to emerging markets and points out: “In the year 2014, for the first time, the emerging markets’ GDP will surpass that of the developed markets. So the world is moving to the place where the emerging markets have much great economic growth and much greater size.”

The Carlyle Group is especially interested in investing that $1.8 trillion in China, India and Brazil. Wall Street doesn’t view the American worker as an emerging market, because they cost too much. They’re addicted to cheap foreign labor and would much rather pay a line worker in India pennies on the dollar instead of investing in the American way of life. 

The Carlyle Group doesn’t care one iota about what’s best for our country. Clearly, they can control job growth in this country, by holding on to the money. Remember, the definition of emerging markets is cheap labor and it’s Wall Street versus the America worker. Capitalism is not interested in economic patriotism, it’s only concern is the bottom line.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bailouts Success, But!

The automobile loan program seemed to have worked.  General Motors earned over $33 billion in revenue last quarter. That is G.M.’s strongest performance in six years and they’re planning to soon go public again.

G.M. was on the brink of bankruptcy and the ripple effect would have been disastrous for our economy, but Obama put a team together that fixed it. It demonstrates, that government intervention sometimes works. The Obama administration and congressional Democrats are looking for ways, that they can do the same thing in other sectors of the economy but, congressional Republicans refuse to be in favor of anything that might be successful. Republican naysayers are remaining quiet because G.M. is a success story.  The ripple effect if our government had not loaned G.M. the money, would have been even more devastating, because hundreds of thousands of additional jobs would have been lost across our economy.

We should take pride as a nation that the bailout did produce profits, however, there will continue to be more jobs created in Mexico by the automobile manufacturers than will be created here in the United States. They’re not creating many additional jobs here in America, but they have saved jobs. They saved jobs in plastics, electronics, upholstery, tires and glass, that had G.M. gone under would’ve been very devastating to our economy. We need to saved jobs as well as created additional jobs.

Obama wasn’t able to get a commitment from G.M. to create jobs in this country, but their success has saved jobs in Michigan, Ohio, and upstate New York. The great concern, however is that the CEO of General Motors is stepping down and will be replaced by Daniel Ackerson, who is a managing director of the Carlyle Group. The Carlyle Group is known for shipping jobs overseas.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eugene Marner

In a letter published in the Oneonta Daily Star, Eugene Marner wrote: “The Wall Street Journal reports that GM is going to ‘invest’ $500 million dollars in a new auto plant in Mexico. Let's recall that GM was recently bailed out by the taxpayers and is now 60 percent owned by the U.S. Treasury. The investment in Mexico is being made with the money of American taxpayers (whose houses are being foreclosed and whose jobs are disappearing) to create jobs in Mexico.”

Online, I suggested, that readers consider, that we needs American manufacturers to be stable and that saving G.M. was the wise thing to do. GM made no commitment when it took taxpayer money, because its only responsibility was to its shareholders. GM will invest $500 million dollars in a new auto plant in Mexico and make a profit for the US Treasury, that holds 60 percent of its shares. The more those shares gain in value, the more the American taxpayers will get back on our investment.

The Cool Truth responded online: “Oh, I know Mr. O'Leary, you're going to say your not a socialist again. And then you’ll throw out a bunch of random facts and figures to try and prove your point. You feel you need to educate the masses but what is it that has made you the defacto (sic) educator that you claim to be?”

I had informed online readers, that GM has a responsibility to its shareholders to make a profit and that in the process they’ll be making a profit for 60% of those shares owned by our Treasury, which is a plus for American taxpayers. Cool Truth is so obsessed with labeling me a socialist, that he apparently misunderstood my comment.

The Obama administration allowed GM to make decisions to take advantage of cheaper labor in Mexico. Obama recognizes the importance of allowing GM to make decisions that are in the best interest of its shareholders. Some Americans might see that decision as wrong, but that is the way capitalism works.

Jimpuritz24 added: “I'm confused ‘the cool truth.’ The government didn’t take over GM. They paid for nonvoting rights stock and acquired a specific interest in the board of directors. GM, as a rational employer, is going where the labor is cheapest, so it produces cheaper costing cars, and increases its competitiveness.

"If GM was moving its plants to exclusively the US then it would not be acting in the corporation's best interest. Right now, it is acting as any rational corporation in a capitalist society should- maximize profit. The US, because of increases in GM stock, will make back the money it invested by appreciation of GMs equity.

"If this was a socialist act, as you claim, then the US would direct the company to make poor decisions- ie, not build a plant in Mexico.

"Your argument, in this instance, is illogical.”

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Last Two Decades

The Daily Star online is a great opportunity to correct the erroneous information, that the low information crowd has been spreading.

For example: onemoreofmillions claims: “ Their tax`policies, upcoming Health Insurance nightmare, and over-regulation are chasing companies away. Decades of Tax and spend Dems in Congress are destroying are (sic) economy.”

How could Democrats destroy the economy during the last decade when Bush was able to veto all tax and spending legislation from 2000 until 1/22/o9?

In 2000, Clinton handed Bush a huge budget surplus, which Bush turned into giant deficits. White House budget director Peter 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.

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.

According to the Congressional Budget Office the costs will actually come in about $10 billion under Obama’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 Clinton’s Balanced Budget Act in the 1990s.

Onemoreofmillions is not atypical and at times it seem unfair to publicly make these folks look ridiculous, but since they don’t uses their name, it doesn’t matter.

Tomorrow, I'll show how one person was so eager to describe me as a socialist that he misread my comments.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Canfield Rebuttal

In a letter by Joel Canfield published in the Walton Reporter, my name was used five times. Joel avoids actually quoting me. My response to his misleading letter follows:

The song “Happy Days are Here Again” is best remembered as the campaign song for FDR’s 1932 presidential campaign.  The song was used as the unofficial theme of the Democratic Party, because the lyrics suggest optimism and buoyancy.

Joel Canfield is correct, that blaming Bush is wrong.  In the final analysis, those responsible for our current deplorable economic state are those misinformed Republicans, that voted for Bush twice during the last decade.

Likewise, those that were most responsible for the stock market crash of 1929, are those voters that elected three Republican presidents in a row.  Statistics by the Bureau of Economic Analysis clearly demonstrates that it was Roosevelt’s New Deal spending that got us out of the Depression.  Roosevelt became President in March of 1933, and unemployment was at 24.9%, by 1936 it was down to 17.0.  The Republican mantra of less government and tax cuts didn’t end the Great Depression from 1929 to 1933 and it won’t end it now.  

Republicans haven’t produced a president in the past 34 years that has balanced a budget.  Of the past 12 presidents the top six in terms of job creation were all Democrats.  Clinton led the country in the direction of creating more jobs, significantly reduced unemployment and brought about a budget surplus, which Bush squandered on the way to creating a record deficit.

Unemployed Americans results in less tax monies being available to reduce the deficit.  The more we’re able to reduce the deficit, the less interest, that we have to pay our international creditors.  In 2000, thirty percent of our national debt was held by foreign lenders.  During, Bush’s presidency our national debt doubled, with foreign lending accounting for eighty percent of that increase.

History indicates, that the Republican Party has a poor record of implementing fiscal responsibility.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pressured Banks

Who is to blame for the our current financial state seems to remain an issue for the low information crowd.

Joel Canfield claimed: “For the past two decades, liberals have pressured banks and other lenders to give mortgages to people who could not begin to afford them.”

Redlining is the practice of denying services such as banking, to residents of certain racially determined areas. It’s best described as a practice of marking a red line on a map to delineate the area where banks would not invest; later the term was applied to discrimination against a particular group of people. Most frequently the areas discriminated against were black inner city neighborhoods. During, the 1990s this practice meant that banks would often lend to lower income whites but not to middle or upper income blacks.

In fact, groups like ACORN, the “Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now,” did exert pressure on banks 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.

After ACORN applied pressure to five local banks, the banks started a mortgage assistance program. ACORN worked directly with banks in a joint effort to increase lending 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. The ACORN lending program provided loan deals only to people who went through counseling on budget and credit issues. The First Nationwide Bank Vice President Neal Halleran told the Chicago Tribune: “Transaction by transaction, (loans from the ACORN program) would appear to be performing no worse than our portfolio overall.”

Chrystia Freeland writes for “Financial Times,” she points out that historically banks held the mortgages. Today, many commercial banks trade their mortgages on Wall Street. Consequently, they no longer have a direct financial incentive to care whether people are going to pay their mortgage back.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blame for the Mess

In a letter published in the Walton Reporter, Joel Canfield claimed: “...voters remember who is to blame for the mess America has found itself in the hands of Obama and his henchmen.

“Time” magazine issue of 2/23/09, presented a list of those responsible for the current economic crisis. Ranked at the top of their list was Angelo Mozilo the chief executive of Countrywide Financial Corporate. Bill Clinton’s name was the only Democratic politician’s name, that appear on their list of 25. The ranking was the consensus of opinion of 10 business and economics columnist.

Countrywide provided subprime loans for years, but began giving mortgages to people, who couldn’t pay them back and they knew very well they weren’t going to be paid back. Countrywide was able to securitize those mortgages, by putting them in a pool and selling them almost immediately to investors around the world.  That was the chain of events that ultimately allowed there to be an enormous amount of credit, and Countrywide used that access to easy loan money to seduce people into buying houses they couldn’t afford.

Chrystia Freeland, who writes for “Financial Times,” thinks, that it wasn’t Countrywide alone, but it was part of this system, where the banks, as they did historically, no longer held the mortgage. Therefore, the banks no longer had a direct financial incentive to care whether people were going to pay their mortgage back.

Number two on the “Times” list was former Republican Senator Phil Gramm, who 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.

Warren Buffett the second wealthiest man in America, has been describes as a billionaire with a conscience. He was the first to noticed, that the “Gramm amendment” enabled the creation of a shadow banking system, which allowed the creation of financial “weapons of mass destruction,” and that act directly contributed to the current mortgage foreclosure crisis.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

An American Problem

The House began its summer break at the end of July and was not expected to return until mid-September. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called members back into session after the Senate unexpectedly passed the state assistance bill last week, after the House had adjourned.

The measure, which passed the House on a largely party-line 247-to-161 vote, is designed to save the jobs of approximately 160,000 teachers across the country, as well as create and save positions for police officers, firefighters and nurses. It included $10 billion for teacher positions and $16 billion to help cover state Medicaid payments.

President Obama signed the $26 billion measure into law to help avoid teacher layoffs, a move nearly all congressional Democrats insist is necessary in the wake of state and local government cutbacks.

Republican leaders have blasted the bill as an irresponsible union giveaway that will impede prospects for a long-term economic recovery.

Speaker Pelosi declared, that the bill was not only about stabilizing state budgets, but also about "the education of our children" and "innovation in our nation."

Obama said: “This should not be a partisan issue.  I heard the Republican leader in the House say the other day that this is a special interest bill, and I suppose if America’s children and the safety of our communities are your special interests, then it is a special interests bill. This should not be a Democratic problem or a Republican problem. It's an American problem.” 


The legislation was a victory for cash-strapped states all across America that are having trouble with their budgets.  According to the Federal Department of Education, California is going to get $1.2 billion to pay for 16,500 teachers. Texas will save the jobs of 14,500 teachers. Florida will hold onto 9,200 teachers, as will Pennsylvania 5,900, Illinois 5,700, North Carolina 5,700, and South Carolina 2,600.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lady Liberty

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said: “I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have a child here.  Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake, that we should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child’s automatically not a citizen. People come here to have babies.  They come here to drop a child.  It’s called “drop and leave.”  To have a child in America, they cross the border, they go to the emergency room, have a child, and that child’s automatically an American citizen.  That shouldn’t be the case.  That attracts people here for all the wrong reasons.

Section 1, of the fourteenth amendment to our Constitution states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Senator Lindsey Graham recognize the problem that we have with undocumented workers and that we need comprehensive immigration reform. But, will people in three quarters of the states seek to amend the Constitution over a few thousand cases of incidental births a year?

Illegal immigrants do not come to the the United States to “drop and leave.” The reality is that undocumented workers come to America to improve their economic situation, to get jobs.  Most of them are fleeing desperate situations in Mexico and Central America where there is no future.  And those immigrants many times become a strong part of our economy. This is not unlike those Europeans, who came to our shores over the past 200 years.

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty was authored by Emma Lazarus. It says: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shirley Sherrod

A recent letter to the editor of Oneonta Star submitted by Thomas Beattie made some interesting comments regarding reliable evidence.

"The Shirley Sherrod fiasco offers many lessons. Perhaps the most important has to do with distortion of evidence and our tendency to accept unsubstantiated charges readily, especially when they confirm our political biases.

"

In his attempt to discredit the NAACP and embarrass the left, right-winger blogger Andrew Breitbart accused Ms. Sherrod of being a racist, citing a speech she made to the NAACP. Almost everyone believed him, including FoxNews, the NAACP, the Department of Agriculture and the Obama administration. She was immediately asked to resign from her job as a director of rural development in Georgia.

"

But when responsible journalists checked the story, it became clear that Breitbart had cherry-picked his evidence. Ms. Sherrod's speech was actually about how she'd moved beyond racism to see that the real enemy in rural Georgia is poverty, not race. Moreover, the white farmer and his wife, who Breitbart said she had harmed, praised Ms. Sherrod for saving their farm.

"

I am delighted that Ms. Sherrod has been offered another job in the Department of Agriculture, that she is suing Brietbart and that she sees this as a teachable moment. Let's hope that one of the lessons learned is that the search for truth is seldom easy and that it takes careful checking of facts and judicious use of evidence.

"

That is precisely what real journalists engage in and most bloggers don't. Mainstream journalists can of course be biased: for example, FoxNew swings too far right, CNBC too far left. I suggest watching the PBS News Hour, where the reporting is accurate and unsensational, where experts on important news items are interviewed, where more than one side is aired, and where we can make up our own minds based on a spectrum of reliable evidence."

Monday, August 09, 2010

Professional Politicians

Oldsoldier believes: “The problem within our system is the system of 'proffesional (sic) polititians' (sic) where the goal is re-election rather than representation. Let's revert to the original concept, a non-compensated individual leaving his bussiness (sic) for a few months to do the country's bussiness (sic), and then returning. The 'entrenched' polititian (sic) today is the 'antiquated' system of Federalism.”

Our sixth President John Quincy Adams was an entrenched, professional politician, who after leaving the office of the presidency, was elected to the House of Representative to served the last 17 years of his life with far greater success than he had achieved in the presidency.

There is nothing wrong with being a professional politician, because they’re serving a constituency. If they fail to listen to the concerns of a majority of the voters, in their congressional district, that put them in office, they’ll be former politicians.

Successful politicians in both in the House and Senate owe their success to voters in this democracy. This is true in the Senate, but the enormous expense involved in becoming a Senator makes it very unlikely that a family run dairy farmer or hairstylist will ever succeed in becoming a Senator. However, the concept of a everyman person leaving their business for a few months sounds like a great idea. Should the tea party patriots ever decide on platform, that idea has got to be at the top of the list.

A drawback is that the term of a Senator requires a minimum of 6 years, which is definitely longer than “a few months.”

Another drawback is the part about a “non-compensated individual.” It’s best to look for a very wealthy unemployed person such as David Malpass the former chief economist at Bear Stearns, who is running against Senator Gillibrand.

In early 2008, Bear Stearns was overexposure to mortgage backed securities and unexpectedly collapsed and was subsequently acquired by JP Morgan Chase. Malpass doesn’t need the money and certainly understands the machination of Wall Street.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sets of Values

Oldsoldier wrote: “This whole argument is intentioned for one goal, to cement a set of values currently gone wrong in States like California and New York, and force States like Nebraska, North Dakota etc to bail out these fiscal fiascos at the expense of thier (sic) own State, and have little say on the way it is done. That will be the total destruction of our REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC.”

What are the set of values, do the people in Nebraska and North Dakota hold that are not held in California and New York? Is it the Golden Rule? “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, that is shared by 21 world religions. 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.

What are these fiscal fiascos that are being forced on Nebraska and North Dakota? Oldsoldier avoids letting the readers know specifically what the problem is. Like most right wingers he is very skilled at avoiding specifics and facts. Instead, he tends to throw a lot of garbage at a wall and hope that some of it will stick.

As a percentage of their population California and New Yorker send much more of their taxpayers money to the federal government, than they get back. Perhaps, we should consider the states of Nebraska and North Dakota as being on welfare payed for by the most populated states.

The least populated states have as much “say on the way it is done” as California and New York. As pointed out in Dr. Sabato’s book in 2004, that ratio was 70-to-1 between California and Wyoming. The Senate is skewed in favor of sparsely populated states, but that’s just fine with oldsoldier, because he prefers an unrepresentative form of government.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wanting a Fair Deal

Oldsoldier wrote: “The Founders were a little ahead of you and Dr? (sic) Larry Sabato in how they structured our Representative Republic.”

The reason I wrote the published letter and the reason that Larry Sabato wrote his book: “A More Perfect Constitution” was to shed some light on the fact that the Founding Fathers didn’t structure a representative government for this century.

The present day Tea Party Patriots are hypocrites, because they don’t care that the 426,000 registered voters in the District of Columbia pay taxes, but are not represented in the Senate. They don’t care that 201,794 voters and taxpayers on Staten Island share their Senators with 8,624,000 registered New York State voters.

Today, we have nothing even close to a representative democracy in this country, and these self anointed Tea Party Patriots have the audacity to wear their three cornered hats and ignore the fact that taxation without representation is much more of a problem than it was at the Boston Tea Party.

Over 230 years ago, the colonists simply wanted a fair deal from King George and were willing to pay taxes as long as they could elect members of Parliament to represent their input in the laws governing their lives. The colonial patriots weren't opposed to taxation, as the anti-tax Tea Party appears to be today. To make the situation worst the Senate filibuster rule makes a representative Democracy even less likely.

oldsoldier continued: “we are not a Representative Democracy, we are a REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC with all the aspects therein.”

There is nothing about the present situation in the Senate that is representative and oldsoldier knows it. The Constitution provides for those with the most wisdom and those that possess most virtue to define the word Republic.

Dr. Sabato is an expert in the field of Constitutional law. He insists, that crucial revisions are essential to restore equity for ordinary citizens, because until some of its outmoded provisions are reformed, we will continue to have more of the same political stagnation. You disagree, because you are a supporter of the Party of No and are anticipating that frustrated voters will turn Obama and Democrats on election day.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Oldsoldier Enlightened

Oldsoldier wrote: “The Southern States were trampled in Washington, the ‘State's Rights’ in the face of a growing central Federal system also had a lot to do with the 'Second War of Independance"(sic) it all depends on the version of history learned, and as Napoleon stated History is always written by the Victor. Having lived in Georgia, and Virginia and my research into the Civil War based on my hobby of Civil War 'Living History' the readings from the Southern leaders of the time are very enlightning (sic) in the face of the 'official' history written by Northern writers after the War. The readings of the Southern born instructors at West Point, (Jackson for instance) also shows how the Northern States intimidated and thought as second class the more rural South, and ripe for the plucking by Northern Industrialists. Slavery was more a secondary issue related to the ‘States Rights’ issue, there was more at stake for the South than just Slavery, but alas that is the only history erronious (sic) as it is, that is taught.”

The “Second War of Independence” is seemingly the historical revisionist term to describe the Civil War.

Oldsoldier insists States Rights are more important than Human Rights. Oldsoldier doesn’t want to admit that the reason Fort Sumter was attacked was to succeed from the Union. Those southern born, West Point officers committed treason over the issue of slavery, when they sided with the Confederate States. They were insubordinate to the Commander-in- Chief, and President Lincoln had no choice, but to put down the rebellion to save the Union. Politically, things were not going well in Congress for the wealthy slave owners so they convinced shoeless farm boys to fight to preserve slavery , by succeeding from the Union.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Despicable Practice

Oldsoldier wrote: “Slavery was already dieing (sic) in the South. As the white population grew more employment was needed, slavery would have eventually died on it’s own. Yes, the South had a distinct 'class' system of rich white, poor white, and then black slave, but what was worse the almost 'indentured servant' class that worked the industries of the North, which were worse, the Irish, Chinese, Catholic minorities that powered the Northern machines, or the black slave in the fields of the South.”

Oldsoldier neglects to provide a time frame, but the indentured servants in the North signed contracts. They were never whipped, sold at auction and their family units were not separated as if they were cattle.

I went into North and South Carolina for the first time in the early 1950’s, and discovered segregated drinking fountains and toilet facilities. Chain gangs were obvious along the highway and blacks were mandated to sit in the back of the bus, not allowed to sit at whites only lunch counters and schools were segregated. The Klan had a powerful political influence and lynching were not uncommon.

The Civil War had ended in 1865, but in bootcamp I witnessed a black Marine terrorized by a redneck drill instructor with a bayonet. At that time, none of the drill instructors were black and I was told: “You better watch your step Yankee.”

It seems that oldsoldier is attempting to defend the despicable practice of slavery.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wisdom and Virtue

Oldsoldier wrote: “Your 'assumptions' on my belief system shows how your arrogance gets the best of you.”

The issue is not my arrogance, but it might be yours. I was not aware of the significant inequities, that exist in the Senate until I read Dr. Larry Sabato’s recommendations, for "A More Perfect Constitution."

I believe, that Larry Sabato persuasively argues that, while much of the Constitution should remain sacred, some crucial revisions are essential to restore equity for ordinary citizens, because until some of its outmoded provisions are reformed, we will continue to have more of the same political stagnation. 

Sabato’s inspiration for these reforms comes from the original framers—Jefferson, Madison, Mason, Washington, and others, who fully expected the Constitution would, and should, be regularly revised each generation to reflect the country’s changing needs. Apart from the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, it has only been amended seventeen times in 220 years, and many of those amendments were inconsequential. 

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.”

I consider Dr. Sabato to be a very knowledgeable scholar. It might be your arrogance, that prevents you from recognizing his expertise. Perhaps, Dr. Sabato and I exhibit the wisdom and virtue, that Washington assumed would come after the founding father departed this world.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Political Loyalties

Oldsoldier wrote: “SO it is an antiquated Constitution because it does not conform to you and your party of choice needs. So it needs to be changed to further entrench one party in our two party system to a perminant (sic) majority. Now if the States in question to receive (sic) extra Senators were Republican dominanted (sic) and had Republican Senators would you still continue to further the argument (sic). I can answer that, NO. It may not be a perfect 'Constitution' but show one in the world that has lasted as long and maintained freedom.”

After reading oldsoldier’s posts regarding Dr. Sabato’s proposals, I suspect that he would prefer, that only white, male, literate landowners would be allowed to vote.

In 2007, Dr. Sabato proposed, that Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina be granted two additional senators. Obviously, that isn’t a change many liberals would be happy with. However, I’m willing to set aside my own political loyalties for the good of the country, but apparently oldsoldier is not.

Sabato wrote: “This book will ask readers to set aside their own political loyalties, to look past the current ‘values’ debates and hot-button issues, to consider this very real possibility: that the failure of the nation to update the Constitution and the structure of government it originally bequeathed to us is at the root of our current political dysfunction... Partisan gridlock dominates Washington; 17 percent of voters elect a majority of senators; the presidency has assumed unprecedented and unintended powers; politicians spend as much time campaigning for office as governing; and average Americans feel more and more disconnected from the political process—half or more don’t even vote in many elections. All of this would have horrified the likes of Jefferson and Madison.”

Sabato is founder and director of the renowned Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He is a Rhodes scholar and received his doctorate in politics from Oxford, and has been at University of Virginia since 1978.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Most Divisive Issue

Oldsoldier claimed: “Before 1861 we were New Yorkers, Virginians, Georgians, where each state was equally represented in thier (sic) interests in our Congress EQUALLY, poor agricultural Southern States, and large rich Industrial Northern States. It was only when the larger more powerfull (sic) Northern States began to dominate the affairs of the Southern States did the rift truly (sic) show itself in the system. In 1865 this rift was cemented into our government and the North continued to dominate the South for decades.”

It seems rather strange, that oldsoldier neglected to mention the slavery issue as the cause of the rift. The issue of slavery was deeply embedded in the culture of the south and had been divisive since our country's formation. The Constitution probably wouldn’t have been ratified had slavery not been preserved and the 3/5 compromise was meant to balance the interests of slave states and free states. An enslaved person would only count as 3/5 of a person in the census.

The Kansas - Nebraska Act of 1854, created the Kansas and Nebraska territories and opened the lands to settlement by pioneers. The Act also established how the question of whether slavery would be resolved in these new states. The inhabitants of those states would decide the question.

On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state, and less than three months later South Carolina attacked Fort Sumter, which began the Civil War.

The Civil War was instigated by very wealthy slave owners and it resulted in a total of 618,000 Americans killed. More Americans died in our Civil War than in the Seven Years’ War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and on 9/11 combined.

The rift between the North and South was again apparent following the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 2008 election of Obama.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Understanding the Opposition

The Oneonta Star published the following letter, that I had submitted.

Our Constitution allowed only white, male, literate, land owners to vote. Therefore, calling it divinely inspired document is inaccurate. Our Republic is best described as an Oligarchy.

The founder of Wall Street, Alexander Hamilton said: “The people sir, are a great beast.” Our Founding Fathers were aristocrats, who insisted on a Senate, which is not unlike England’s House of Lords. The Senate consists of two Senators from each state regardless of the enormous population disparity between the states.

In the early years of our Republic, the population ratio between the most populated state, Virginia and the least populated Delaware was 12 to 1. By 2004, that ratio was 70 to 1 between California and Wyoming. Currently, the Senate is skewed in favor of sparsely populated states. In theory, if the 26 smallest states held together on all votes, they would control the Senate, with a total of less than 17% of our population.

Staten Island has 201,794 voters of New York’s 8,624,000 registered voters. A Senator from Wyoming represents 265,000 voters. The District of Columbia has 426,767 voters, but they’re not allowed representation in the Senate. Wyoming has two Senators, even though it has about the same population as Staten Island and 162,000 fewer voters than the District of Columbia. We don’t have a representative democracy!

Dr. Larry Sabato recommended in “A More Perfect Constitution” that we expand the Senate to 136 members in order for it to become more representative. Dr. Sabato proposed, that the 10 most populous states; California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina gain two additional Senator. The fifteen next most populous states would gain one additional senator each, with the District of Columbia represented by one senator.

Originally, weren’t Tea Party Patriots angry about taxation without representation?

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Nearly all of the responses on line were negative, which is great, because clearly I’m not preaching to the choir. The person most outrage by my remarks identifies himself as oldsoldier173. Oldsoldier and I have been blogging from different perspective for several months and I enjoy responding to his comments. His spelling leaves a lot to be desired and his positions are often not covered by the mainstream media.

I’ll be sharing our blogging skirmishes with you over the next week, because they provide insight into his thinking process, which I find very interesting.