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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Real Problem


The present leadership of the Republican Party just doesn’t get it.  They fired Michael Steele, who presided over, a very impressive victory, that won back the control of the House for the Republican Party.  But, then re-hired Reince Priebus, who presided over the debacle in last November’s presidential race.

They’re looking for a leader, but Bobby Jindal isn’t that leader, because he should have challenged them to re-examine their positions on issues and national policies, that most Americans disagree with.  It’s not just that individual Republicans have said some stupid things that resulted in their defeat.  The real problem is that the Republican Party has positions that are perceived as anti-women, anti-minority, anti-immigrant, anti- science, and anti-everything, that the Obama administration has been trying to accomplish.

Tea Party Republicans claim, that after the 2010 election when Democrats got beaten in House races, they went back and did some polling, and thought they found that Americans agreed with them on their values. 

Many of those House wins were in gerrymandered congressional districts across our county.  In fact. most Americans don’t agree with them on their positions.  A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, found that a majority of Americans believe that women should have access to legal abortion, and that Roe V. Wade should remain the law of the land.

There is a consensus in our country, and it’s a fairly durable consensus that nobody likes abortion, but abortion should be legal and infrequent, as infrequent as we can make it.  That’s what people basically believe.  They don’t support what Republicans want according to their national platform, which is to outlaw all abortions in every case.  As a result, they’re seen as hostile to the interests of women and others who care about women’s reproductive rights.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Stupid Party


At the RNC winter convention, Governor Bobby Jindal insists: “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party.  And I’m serious.  It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults.  It’s time for us to articulate our plans and our visions for America in real terms.  It’s no secret we had a number of Republicans that damaged the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments.  I’m here to say we’ve had enough of that.”

Jindal had in mind Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate, who won the nomination for former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar’s seat, and then announced: “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

In sure, that he also had in mind another tea party extremist, congressman Todd Akin, who failed to defeat Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.  While answering a question about whether or not abortion should be legal in the case of rape.  He said: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” 

Akins claimed: “I had heard one time a medical report, that said it’s hard to get, it’s harder for somebody to get pregnant under those conditions.  First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare.”

Gov. Jindal was likewise thinking of Republican Congressman Allen West, who lost his bid for re-election in Florida’s 18 congressional district, to Democrat Patrick Murphy.

Rep West famously said: “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party who are members of the communist party.  They actually don’t hide that.  It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Tough-talking reformers, like Jindal and Gov. Chris Christie are dedicated to fixing the Republican brand.  But, changing the sign on the door doesn’t change what’s behind it.

Jindal continued: “I’m not one of those who believe we need to abandon, moderate, equivocate or otherwise change our principles.  Now, I know this observation badly disappoints many of our friends and liberals in the national media, of course.”

Republicans’ resistance to progress allowed RNC chairman Reince Priebus to be reelected.  The person, who presided over the 2012’s shellacking of the GOP is back, and pushing the same empty rebranding effort.

As long as Republicans keep selling the same old policies and pushing the same priorities, they’re just putting lipstick on a pig.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ban Overturned


Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta overturned a 1994 ban on women serving in combat.  Women have been in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but they’ve been prevented from advancing to higher-ranking positions within the military.  Going forward advancement can’t be made based upon gender, but on qualifications.

Panetta said: “I fundamentally believe that our military is more effective when success is based solely on ability, on qualifications, and on performance.  When I have gone to Bethesda to visit wounded warriors and when I have gone to Arlington to bury our dead, there is no distinction that’s made between the sacrifices of men and women in uniform.  They serve, they’re wounded, and they die right next to each other.  The time has come to recognize that reality.”

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth lost both of her legs when her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq.  She points out, that in the Army women were not allowed to serve in specific jobs.  Those jobs were infantry, armor, and artillery.  The only combat branch in the Army that was open to her was aviation.

Captain Zoe Bedell is one of four women who filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ban on women in combat.  She did two tours in Afghanistan, and was in charge of a group of female Marines, who patrolled with infantry Marines every day, saw combat, were in firefights, and were targeted by roadside bombs.

Infantry units have female medics or supply sergeants “attached” to them, but not assigned.  If you are “assigned” to a unit, then you’re part of the unit.  Women would be attached as a medic or supply sergeant, but they’d go with the Marines on their door to door house searches, because they needed the women there to search female civilians that they would come across.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dustbin of History


House Speaker John Boehner claimed: “And given what we heard yesterday about the president’s vision for his second term, it’s pretty clear to me that -- it should be clear to all of you -- that he knows he can’t do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans.  And so, we’re expecting here over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party.  And let me just tell you, I do believe that is their goal, to just shove us into the dustbin of history.”

Obama is not the only one who benefits from contrasting himself with the Republican Party.  Governors like Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal occasional take shots at their own party and almost look mainstream by comparison.

No one, has the power to shove the GOP into the dustbin of history unless they do it to themselves.  John Boehner may think that he needs to gin up some enthusiasm among depressed supporters, because they’re doing so badly when it comes to national elections.  Republicans are doing the damage to themselves, because when you look the demographics of this country and how Republicans deal with those statistics, they’re doing a great job of annihilating themselves.

Boehner announced: “We’re going to have to make some big decisions about how we as a party take on this challenge.  You know, where’s the ground that we fight on?  Where’s the ground that we retreat on?  Where are the smart fights?  Where are the dumb fights that we have to stay away from?”

If you accept Boehners prognosis as being a fact, they have to figure out what they stand for, and come up with a national appeal.  Presently, their national argument, confines them to winning the deep south.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Educating Rep. Gibson


I’ve started responding to column by Congressman Chris Gibson that was published yesterday in the Oneonta Daily Star. 

I asked, specifically what are the tax reforms, that Gibson refers to in his column.  Will very profitable oil corporations continue to be subsidies?  Presently, $4 billion of our tax dollars goes to subsidizes the oil industry every year.  These companies are making record profits of tens of billions of dollars a year.  Will Gibson continue to stand with the oil companies or will he stand up for the American people?  Does he wants to keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or will he supports clean-energy?

Rep. Gibson repeatedly praised the Simpson-Bowles bipartisan debt reduction plan, but that plan was by any reasonable accounting far to the left of anything Obama has proposed.  It called for $2.6 trillion in tax increases, that is more than twice as much as what the White House is asking for.  It also called for more defense cuts than the administration has ever considered.

Rep. Paul Ryan was on the Simpson-Bowles commission, but voted against that debt reduction plan, as did every other House Republican on the commission.

The Obama administration brought out a compromise to the right of Simpson-Bowles, that they thought would have a better chance of passing.  However, House Republicans responded with the Paul Ryan budget, and there was no compromise in it at all. 

In late 2010, Independent Senator, Bernie Sanders pointed out: “The Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan is extremely disappointing and something that should be vigorously opposed by the American people.  The huge increase in the national debt in recent years was caused by two unpaid wars, tax breaks for the wealthy, a Medicare prescription drug bill written by the pharmaceutical industry, and the Wall Street bailout.  Unlike Social Security, none of these proposals were paid for.  Not only has Social Security not contributed a dime to the deficit, it has a $2.6 trillion surplus.”

America was at a crossroad, when the initial House Republican budget bill written by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, who wanted to lower the Bush era tax rate top bracket for the wealthiest Americans from 35% down to 25%.  Their main plan to reduce our long-term deficits and debt was to turn Medicare into a voucher program.  The Congressional Budget Office determined that seniors would end up paying at least twice as much for their health care.  It would get worse over time because health care inflation goes up a lot faster than regular inflation.  Health care costs would keep on going up and up, but the voucher wouldn’t.

The Ryan proposal would have partially privatize Social Security.  Future retirees would receive a combination of reduced federal benefits and income from a personal savings account carved out of their Social Security account.  President Obama wanted to lift the income cap on Social Security taxes, which was around $90,000 a year.

Rep. Gibson took office, when Republicans won the midterm election.  He seems to have forgotten, that on August 2, 2011 Obama signed a deal, that was all spending cuts.  The Budget Control Act cut spending by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.  Except for a small increase in Pell Grants funding, the bill was all cuts, and no tax increases. 

In 2012, Democrats won the election.  They got more votes at the presidential level, at the Senate level and at the House level.  John Boehner is Speaker of the House, because of the way the congressional districts are drawn.  His arguments didn’t win, but he has not moved towards compromise.  Reasonable Americans can’t look at the last three years and say the White House hasn’t tried to come together with Republicans.  In my opinion, Chris Gibson is not a reasonable person and the only reason that he was re-elected is that his district was gerrymandered into Republican strongholds in 11 counties.

Gibson is correct in pointing out, that the Senate have been unable to achieve fiscal responsibility in nearly four years.  Perhaps, he doesn’t realize that Republicans resorted to filibustering 391 Democratic bills in the past six years.  Nevertheless, the Senate is a model of effective government compared with the House, the only Republican dominated branch of the federal government.  Gibson and his caucus are frustrated by their inability to get conservative legislation past the Democratic controlled Senate and White House.  They may again resurrected their "suicide bomb," of threatening to default on our national debt after March 27th.

In order to get the right wing Tea Party folks, like Gibson to extend the debt ceiling until late March, the Republican House leadership had to promise them that they were going to slash spending.  The good news is that Republicans recognized that the United States has to pay their bills, but the bad news is, we only have to pay our bills as a country for a few more months, and they’ve left this huge uncertainty hanging over our economy.

When Republicans kicked the can down the road in 2011, it produced a month with the lowest job growth, and our credit rating got downgraded.  Republicans have spent the last couple of years saying we need more certainty in the economy, what they have done is put more uncertainty in the economy.   A better economy means more jobs, but Chris Gibson doesn't seem to get it.

In order for our government to temporarily avoided the fiscal cliff.  Republicans accepted higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans.  Democrats accepted a higher threshold for how much income will face a higher tax rate.  Obama compromised on his plan to only raise tax rates on annual household income over $250,000 and individual income over $200,000.  Obama had made raising tax rates on the top 2% of earners in America a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.  However, under the compromise bill tax rates will go up only for individuals with income over $400,000 and families earning more than $450,000.

The median U.S. household income in 2011 was $50,054, according to Census Bureau figures.  Obama had argued that capping deductions at the $250,000 level wouldn’t be enough. 

The deal delays the sequester, a series of automatic cuts in federal spending, for a few months.  Although, House Speaker John Boehner supported the bill, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, opposed it, as did most Republicans in the House.  Although, the Senate vote was an overwhelming 89 to 8, the House vote was 257 to 167.  The vast majority of House Democrats supported the bill.

Thankfully, Obama has struck a more confrontational tone.  He has pointed out: “Congress authorizes spending.   They order me to spend.   They tell me you need to fund our Defense Department at such and such a level.   You need to send out Social Security checks.   You need to make sure that you’re paying to care for our veterans.  They lay all this out for me, and because they have the spending power.  And so I am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills.”  

Rep. Gibson wants to limit the size of government.  Actually, there are approximately 600,000 fewer government employees under Obama than there were under George W. Bush.  Public sector employment is at the lowest that it’s been in 30 years.   If government employment rates had remained steady, about 1.7 million more Americans would currently be employed in this country.   

Obama and Senate Democrats have attempted to enact solutions for the future.  The “Paying a Fair Share Act,” embodied President Obama's proposed millionaire tax.  The bill would have impose a minimum 30% effective federal tax rate on those with adjusted gross incomes above $1 million, although it phases in for those making between $1 million and $2 million.  A lower tax rate on capital gains is the major reason why many millionaires and billionaires pay a lower effective rates than the middle class.  That proposal to implement the Buffett Rule was blocked by Senate Republicans, but proponents of the millionaire tax vowed to keep the issue alive.  Senate Democrats fell nine votes short of a 60 vote super majority.

When it comes to the basic governing value of compromise, congressional Republicans have adopted the tactic of obstruction.  When Democrats started doing a stimulus bill, Dave Obey the chairman of the appropriations committee told the ranking Republican member of that committee Jerry Lewis: “We want to work with you.  Go to your members, let us know what things you like, what things you don’t like.”  Rep, Lewis laughed and said: “I’ve got orders from on high. We are not going to cooperate.”  Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader said that his number one goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president.

Bush’s tax cuts that were introduced in 2001, 2003, 2010, but extended beyond 2010, and they we're about to expire at midnight on December 31st.  Had Congress not reached a deal everybody's taxes would have gone up.  For the average family, doing nothing would have resulted in a loss of 2,000 dollars in income.  The deal was reached after midnight, so that  House Republicans could claim that they voted for a tax cut.

Consumers would have had a lot less money to make purchases, and businesses would have had fewer customers.  Consequently, those businesses would be less likely to hire and the whole economy would have slow down at a time when the economy was picking up and the employment numbers improving.

Eventually, a compromise was reached, and Congress prevent taxes from going up for the vast majority of Americans.   Although, the very wealthy are paying a little bit more, corporate loopholes and subsidies still need to be addressed, because one out of every four profitable corporations don’t pay any taxes.

Our country isn’t going to to be able to cut it’s way to prosperity.  That is one of the fallacies, that was being promoted by congressional Republicans, during the deficit reduction debate.  Historically, our economy has grown, when the middle class, and people who are striving to get in the middle class, do well.

American voters re-elected Obama to put forward a balanced approach of shared sacrifice.  Congressional Republicans seem to expected Obama to tell senior citizen, students, and mothers with a disabled children that: "You are going to have to do with less but we’re not going to ask millionaires and billionaires to do more."  Rep. Gibson neglected to tell readers, specifically what shared sacrifices, he has in mind.  

  






Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blinded by Faith


Atheists and Christians appear to be incapable of being intellectually honest, because they can’t admit that when it comes to the existence of a Supreme Being they don’t “know.”  Reasonable people recognize that no amount of scientific evidence can prove or disprove the existence of a creator.

Truth revealed through scripture is subjective truth predicated by one’s faith.  Faith is the antithesis of skepticism and objective truth.  Most religions blinds their followers to the role faith plays in perpetuating human conflict.

Logic suggests that a God would expect us to acquire vast amounts of objective information and make maximum use our ability to reason.

George Washington maintained, "every man should be free to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience."

Thomas Jefferson lamented: "the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world."

James Madison wrote, "Religious bondage shackles and dehabilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect."

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 left the deity of the picture, even refusing to follow Ben Franklin's suggestion that their daily sessions be opened with a prayer for divine guidance.

The First amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment or religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."  

Article VI reads, "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Placing a hand on a Bible while reciting the presidential oath is a tradition started by George Washington.  John Quincy Adams, didn’t use a Bible at his swearing-in ceremonies.  He wanted to demonstrate that he recognized a barrier between church and state and that his loyalty was to our nation's laws above all else.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hillary Clinton’s Testimony


Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton spent September 11th of last year, trying to get a handle on security at several U.S. embassies in the Middle East where anti-American protests were in full swing over an anti-Muslim film produced in our country.

In hearings, before the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign  Affairs committees, she testified, that our embassies were under assault by crowds trying to scale the wall.  American embassies in Yemen and Tunisia were facing a serious threat.  She called the president of Tunisia, personally to beg him to send reinforcements to save that embassy.

An independent board established to review the Benghazi attack confirmed, that in the hours and days following the attack in Benghazi, there were "no delays in decision-making.  No denials of support from Washington or from our military.”

Clinton told Senator threats to our diplomatic posts are ongoing: "Sitting here today, we probably have at least 20 other posts that are under a serious threat environment as I speak to you."

Clinton detailed what the State Department has done to begin implementing the 29 recommendations of the Accountability Review Board to improve security at diplomatic posts in high-threat areas, in addition to a few of her own.

When Republican Senator Ron Johnson pressed Clinton on why the State Department didn't call U.S. personnel who were evacuated from Benghazi to determine whether there was a protest, Clinton reminded Johnson: "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans.  Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they'd go kill some Americans?  What difference, at this point, does it make?  It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening." 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Concern



America has 5% of the world’s population and 50% of the world’s guns.  There are 300 millon gun out there, as compared to 250 million vehicles.  In the month after the Newtown massacre, more than 900 people died as a result of gun violence.
President Obama has proposed background checks on all gun sales and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as part of a package of steps to reduce gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school massacre.

With relatives of some of the 20 children killed Obama signed 23 executive actions that don't require congressional approval, that he believes would strengthen background checks and expand safety programs in schools.

He called on Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, to restrict ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds, and to require a background check on anyone buying a gun, whether at a store or in a private sale at an auction or convention.

Regarding the young children killed in the Newtown shootings on December 14 and other victims of gun violence, Obama expects our nation to do a better job of protecting its children, especially when they are in public places such as schools, shopping malls and movie theaters.

Some of these reasonable steps, that he has proposed are given little chance of winning congressional approval in the face of the nation's powerful gun lobby, but he insists every efforts should be made to reduce the chronic gun violence in our country.

In my opinion, our "well regulated militia," is the National Guard.  My concern is that extremist are determined to keep their assault weapons, and are planning to overthrowing our elected government.  Since, voter suppression didn't work at the ballot box, these radical ideologues are preparing to use bullets.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ask Yourself


Andrew Reinbach makes comments online to the Daily Star forum.  He recently commented on a post that a person using the alias Dan_Rather had made.  
Reinbach wrote: “You're reminding me of a line from THE MALTESE FALCON, D_R: "You want to stick around, you'll be polite."
“Based on your previous posts, D_R, you reject out of hand anything anyone says disputing any claim of yours, and hold yourself out as the sole repository of truth in Otsego County.  Yet your comments are always fact-free emanations from the John Birch Society fever swamp.  Ergo, you are a waste of time, interested only in a fantasy in which you have all the answers to everything and no one dares contradict you--a troll only interested in disturbing the civic conversation that's the backbone of American civil life.
“The whole idea of participating in civil life is to forge a consensus all Americans can buy into.  We do this by explaining ourselves to each other--with credible facts and arguments based on reason--and trying to persuade others that our opinion is useful to the subject to hand.
“If you don't believe in trying to understand the other guy or participating in said civil life, that's your choice.  But if that's your posture, I don't see the point of your standing around jeering at people trying to make a case for their perspective; you're entirely unlikely to convince anybody who doesn't already agree with you, and you're guaranteed to get people who might agree with you to turn you a deaf ear.  Looked at that way, you've got to ask yourself: Why am I doing this?”
Dan_Rather is typical of most far right extremist that comment online.  They lack self- awareness, and are unable to formulate a civil, factual and persuasive response.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oath of Office


The Constitution required, that President Obama take an oath of office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

However, the Constitution doesn’t require that a president take the oath of office by swearing on a Bible.  Actually, the Founders wanted to ensure that Americans of any faith -- or no faith -- could hold federal office.  That was set forth in Article VI: "... No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Placing a hand on a Bible while reciting the presidential oath is a tradition started by George Washington.  In fact, two presidents, Teddy Roosevelt and John Quincy Adams, didn’t use a Bible at their swearing-in ceremonies

Roosevelt's reasons are unclear.  Although John Quincy Adams was a religious man, he chose to be sworn in with his hand on a book of U.S. laws.  He wanted to demonstrate that he recognized a barrier between church and state and that his loyalty was to our nation's laws above all else.

The above information and the following excerpt is from an article written by Dean Obeidallah.

“Some will argue that swearing on the Bible ensures the president adheres to his oath.  But let's be honest: We have seen presidents and other elected officials swear to uphold the laws of our country with their hands on a Bible and go on to break many laws and ethical rules.  It comes down to the person's moral code, not a 30-second oath.

“And just so it's clear, my objection is not only to the Bible.  I would hold the identical view if it were the Quran, the Book of Mormon or any other religious scripture.

“The Founding Fathers made it clear that the U.S. Constitution, "...shall be the supreme law of the land."  It is the living legacy they bestowed upon us.  It is the framework for our government.  And as such, that's the document our president should place his hand on.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Executive Action


Executive actions that will be taken by President Obama to reduce gun violence:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rule making to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes.

9. Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within Affordable Care Act exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebilius and Duncan on mental health.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

White Supremacist

Federal agents are trying to determine how a suspected Ohio white supremacist with a felony conviction for manslaughter acquired a cache of 18 assault weapons and other firearms, along with high-capacity magazines and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition.

The storehouse of weapons was discovered, when FBI agents arrested Richard Schmidt, the owner of a Bowling Green sporting goods store called Spindletop Sports Zone, on charges of marketing counterfeit goods from China.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland has recently unsealed search warrants and an indictment charging Schmidt with illegal possession of firearms.

Documents show that agents have also discovered evidence of Schmidt’s ties to the neo-Nazi movement.  According to the search warrants, among the evidence seized was a video of a national convention of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement; bumper stickers of the National Alliance party, another neo-Nazi group; a “Jewish 500” roster that lists Jewish-owned businesses, and paraphernalia from the “Waffen SS,” Adolph Hitler’s Nazi military force in Germany from the early 1930s through World War II.

FBI counterterrorism agents found evidence that Schmidt may have been planning attacks against Jewish and civil rights groups in the Detroit area.  Schmidt is charged with three counts of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and body armor and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

The case illustrate some of the gaps in current background checks for gun purchasers that President Obama has proposed closing as part of his package of executive actions and legislative proposals aimed at curbing gun violence.  In 1989, Schmidt was charged with murder and felonious assault after killing a Hispanic man and shooting two others with a semi-automatic pistol during a traffic dispute.  He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Shall Not Perish


Radio talk show host, Alex Jones ranted on CNN: “And I’m here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!  Doesn’t matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street begging for them to have their guns taken!  We will not relinquish them!  Do you understand?”
The Second Amendment was not designed to allow citizens to use violence to overthrow our government.  The legislative history of the Second Amendment supports the concept that gun ownership was intended to defend our government against a slave rebellion and foreign invasions.
Many of our founding fathers were white supremacist, who owned hundreds of slaves. They were arrogant male aristocrats, who didn't think women, slaves, or men; who didn't own land deserved the right to vote.  They carefully designed a Constitution with checks and balances to limit the power of the Executive branch of government.
They feared a slave revolt, especially in 1791, when a revolt began in the French colony of Saint- Dominque, which eventually resulted in the elimination of slavery and the founding of the Haitian republic.  On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal. 
The Bill of Rights included the second amendment.  It states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”   
Congress passed two Militia Acts in 1792.  The first established state militias under control of state governors.  The second directed all able-bodied white men between the ages of 18 and 45 to belong to the state militia, own a gun and related equipment for that purpose, and report for duty twice a year.  The law actually specified how many bullets each militia member had to bring with him--25 if he owned a musket, 20 if he owned a rifle.  After the Civil War those Acts were modified to allow black militia members.  In 1903, Congress established a federally funded reserve component of our nation's armed forces called the National Guard, that’s our “well regulated militia.” 
Since, President Obama’s reelection, seven states have collected more than 30,000 signatures each on petitions to secede from the Union.  They're all former confederate states, and Texas leads the pack with more than 115,000 signatures.
Our Civil War resulted in 618,000 Americans being killed.  We best honor those dead by solving our disagreements at the ballot box, and with compromise in Congress instead of with bullets.  Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy were assassinated, and attempts were made to kill: Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Jerry Ford and Ronald Reagan.  
We risk another Civil War, or assassination.  Today, extremist on the far right are insinuating violence as a solution to what they claim is unconstitutional.  Without any justification, they refer to Obama as an Emperor, King, and a tyrant. 
At Gettysburg. President Lincoln urged: “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gun Violence


The following excerpt is from Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence:
“First:  It’s time for Congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun.  The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and over the last 14 years that’s kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun.  But it’s hard to enforce that law when as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.  That’s not safe.  That's not smart.  It’s not fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers. 
“If you want to buy a gun -- whether it’s from a licensed dealer or a private seller -- you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one.  This is common sense.  And an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with us on the need for universal background checks -- including more than 70 percent of the National Rifle Association’s members, according to one survey.  So there’s no reason we can’t do this.
“Second:  Congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines.  The type of assault rifle used in Aurora, for example, when paired with high-capacity magazines, has one purpose -- to pump out as many bullets as possible, as quickly as possible; to do as much damage, using bullets often designed to inflict maximum damage. 
“And that's what allowed the gunman in Aurora to shoot 70 people, killing 12 in a matter of minutes.  Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater.  A majority of Americans agree with us on this. 
“And, by the way, so did Ronald Reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the Second Amendment, who wrote to Congress in 1994, urging them -- this is Ronald Reagan speaking -- urging them to ‘listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of weapons.’  
"And finally, Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job.  We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals.  And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this.  Since Congress hasn’t confirmed a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in six years, they should confirm Todd Jones, who will be -- who has been Acting, and I will be nominating for the post."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Serious Consequences


Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insists, that we’ll hit the debt limit between mid-February and early March, and the financial security of millions of Americans is at stake.

President Obama has warned: “If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans benefits will be delayed.  We might not be able to pay our troops or honor our contracts with small business owners  Food inspector, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear materials wouldn’t get their paycheck.

Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is in fact a safe bet.  Markets could go haywire.  Interest rates would spike for anybody who borrows money -- every homeowner with a mortgage, every student with a college loan, every small business owner who wants to grow and hire.

“It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy.  It would slowdown our growth.  It might tip us into recession.  And ironically, would probably increase our deficit.

“So to even entertain the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills is irresponsible.  It’s absurd.”

If the United States of America defaults on its debt, congressional Republicans will be blamed for the damage that takes place, because the country is required by law to pay for what Congress spends.  

Obama has pointed out: “Congress authorizes spending.  They order me to spend.  They tell me you need to fund our Defense Department at such and such a level.  You need to send out Social Security checks.  You need to make sure that you’re paying to care for our veterans.  They lay all this out for me, and because they have the spending power.  And so I am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Deadline Coming


President Obama has explained: “The issue here is whether or not America pays its bills.  We are not a deadbeat nation.

“Now, the other congressionally imposed deadline coming up is the so-called debt ceiling, something most Americans hadn’t even heard of before two years ago.

“So I want to be clear about this.  The debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending.  Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending.  It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to.

“These are bills that have already been racked up.  And we need to pay them.  So while I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up.

“So we’ve got to pay our bills.  And Republicans in Congress have two choices here.  They can act responsibly and pay America`s bills, or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis.

“But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.  The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used.  The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.  And they better choose quickly, because time is running short.

“Over the past two years, I’ve signed into law about $1.4 trillion in spending cuts.  Two weeks ago, I signed into law more than $600 billion into new revenue, by making sure the wealthiest Americans begin to pay their fair share.

“When you add the money that will save in interest payments on the debt, all together that adds up to a total of about $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the past two years.  Not counting the $400 billion already saved from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Health Care

President Obama never lost sight of the fact that health care reform was about people. People like his own mother, who spent the last years of her life fighting cancer, and fighting insurance companies.

He signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act.  The reform law strengthens Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste.  It protects guaranteed benefits, eligibility and the right to keep your doctor for all seniors.  Seniors who fell in the doughnut hole in Medicare prescription drug coverage received $250 checks to help cover the cost of prescriptions, and within ten years, the new law will have closed the gap completely.

In order to get elected, the Tea Party Patriots in the House talked a lot about the deficit, but upon taking control of the House, they vote for bill, that would have cause the deficit to increase dramatically.  House Republicans sought to repeal Obamacare, but the Congressional Budget Office sent a letter to Speaker Boehner saying: “H.R. 2 would, on net, increase federal deficits over that period.”  Over the period of 2012 to 2021, the increased was estimated to be “in the vicinity of $230 billion.”

Obamacare means never having to worry about getting sick and running up against a lifetime cap on insurance coverage.  It gives parents the comfort of knowing their kids can stay on their insurance until they're 26, and that a pre-existing condition like an ear infection will never compromise their child's coverage.  It's about ending the practice of letting insurance companies charge women 50% more, just because they're women.  Obamacare can save seniors hundreds of dollars a year on prescription drugs and provide them access to preventive care that is saving their lives.  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.

Obamacare cut the cost of Medicare by $716 billion.  It stopped overpayments to insurance companies, doctors and hospitals.  Both the AMA and AARP endorsed those cuts, because they extend the life of Medicare to 2024.

When, Paul Ryan first proposed his voucher program, the Congressional Budget Office said it would cost $6,400 a year more for every senior, 55 and below.  Nevertheless, every congressional Republican voted for it, and Romney said, he’d sign it.  That was one of the reason Obama won the election in November.

House Speaker John Boehner insisted in an editorial for the Cincinnati Enquirer: "The presidents health care law adds a massive, expensive, unworkable government program at a time when our national debt already exceeds the size of our country’s entire economy.  We can’t afford to leave it intact.  That’s why I’ve been clear that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation’s massive debt challenge."

Actually, the Congressional Budget Office estimates show that Obamacare would reduce the deficit.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense to get rid of a deficit reduction program, as part of a deficit reduction deal.

The political reality is that the burden of maintaining the liberal successes of Social Security, Medicare and now the Affordable Health Care Act has always fallen exclusively to the creators of those programs.  Republicans were opposed to the creation of Social Security, Medicare, and "Obamacare."  They’re not interested in figuring out how to keep them going or improving them.  Over the last 78 years, Social Security has become a very popular program, and it clearly demonstrates that the Republican claim that "government is the problem," is untrue.  

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act isn’t perfect, because it still maintains the connection between employment and health care, which is inefficient and a huge burden on American business.  Businesses need to reduce regulations to be competitive globally, but they rarely talk about their biggest handicap against global competitors. They pay tens of billions of dollars to provide health care for their employees and former employees while their German, Canadian, Japanese, and British counterparts pay nothing in health care costs.  Unfortunately, congressional Republicans aren’t interested in improving the Affordable Health Care Act, they're only interested in repealing it.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, by a 5-4 vote.  Thus, it reaffirmed a fundamental principle that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.

Starting in August 2012, 13 million Americans receive a rebate from their insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on their policyholder’s health care.  Today, 30 million Americans don’t have health insurance, but starting in 2014 Obamacare will offer them an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from.  Each state will take the lead in designing their own menu of options, and if states can come up with an even better way of covering more people at the same quality and cost, Obamacare allows them to do that, too.  

Once states set up these health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges., more people will be covered, and if they can’t afford the premiums,  they'll receive a credit that helps pay for it. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Suicide Threat


Senate Republicans resorted to filibustering 391 Democratic bills in the past six years.  Nevertheless, the Senate is a model of effective government compared with the House, the only Republican dominated branch of the federal government.  Frustrated by their inability to get conservative legislation past the Democratic controlled Senate and White House, congressional Republicans have resurrected the "suicide bomb."

Michael Wolraich tells the story of a suicide bomber walking into a bar, and shouting at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!"  The worried bartender hands him a wad of cash, and the bomber departs.  The next day, the suicide bomber returns to the same bar.  He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!"

"Are you nuts?" answers the bartender.  "If I give you money every day, I'll go out of business.  Plus, you're scaring away the customers."  "I tell you what," replies the bomber, "Gimme the money, and I won't come back until the day after tomorrow."

The key to the suicide bomb strategy is to convince people that members of the radical Tea Party wing of the Republican Party would wreck the economy if they don't get their way.  Like the hapless bartender, Democratic leadership keep handing Republicans spending cuts and tax breaks in order to spare the country from a recession, or debt default.

After three nail-biting, suicide negotiations in two years, President Obama may have finally realized that he cannot continue to encourage the bomb threats with concessions.  Regarding, the next debt ceiling battle, he has already warned: "While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up through the laws that they passed."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Balanced Approach


Our country isn’t going to to be able to cut it’s way to prosperity.  That is one of the fallacies, that has been promoted by congressional Republicans during the deficit reduction debate.  Historically, our economy has grown, when the middle class, and people who are striving to get in the middle class, do well.

The American people re-elected President Obama to put forward a balanced approach of shared sacrifice.  Congressional Republicans seem to expected Obama to tell senior citizen, students, and mothers with a disabled children that: "You are going to have to do with less but we’re not going to ask millionaires and billionaires to do more." 

The tax cuts that were introduced in 2001, 2003, 2010, but extended beyond 2010, and they we're about to expire at midnight on December 31st.  Had Congress not act everybody's taxes would have gone up.  For the average family, doing nothing would have resulted in a loss of 2,000 dollars in income.

Consumers would have had a lot less money to make purchases, and businesses would have had fewer customers.  Consequently, those businesses would be less likely to hire and the whole economy would have slow down at a time when the economy was actually starting to pick up and the employment numbers improving.

Eventually, a compromise was reached, and Congress prevent taxes from going up for the vast majority of Americans.  Although, the very wealthy are paying a little bit more, corporate loopholes and subsidies still need to be addressed, because one out of every four profitable corporations don’t pay any taxes.   

Most Americans prefer a balanced, responsible approach to reducing the deficit.  Last November, they rejected the notion that the economy grows best from the top down.  They believe that the economy grows best from the middle class out.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Worth Mentioning

Last November, a government of the people, by the people and for the people was nearly replaced by an aristocratic form of government.  Our electoral process was almost dismantled by special interest lobbyist.  

NRA lobbyist sent $11 million to influence the last election, but it didn’t resulted in its preferred outcome.  Fortunately, only 0.83 percent the money, that the NRA spent went to candidates who won.  More than 99 percent of what they spent was wasted on candidates that lost.

Many of our founding fathers were white supremacist, who owned hundreds of slaves. They were arrogant male aristocrats, who didn't think women, slaves, or men; who didn't own land deserved the right to vote.  They feared a slave revolt, especially after the 1791 -1804 slave revolt in the French colony of Saint- Dominque, which resulted in the elimination of slavery there and the founding of the Haitian republic.  

In 1776, southern slave owners recognized that armed miltias of white men could be very helpful in putting down a slave rebellion.  On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal.

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal pointed out:  “I spent a career carrying typically either an M16, and later an M4 carbine.  And an M4 carbine fires a .223 caliber round, which is 5.56 millimeters, at about 3,000 feet per second.  When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating.   It’s designed to do that.  And that’s what our soldiers ought to carry.  I personally don’t think there’s any need for that kind of weaponry on the street and particularly around the schools in America.  I believe that we’ve got to take a serious look.  I understand everybody’s desire to have whatever they want, but we’ve got to protect our children, we’ve got to protect our police, we’ve got to protect our population.  And I think we’ve got to take a very mature look at that.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

Alex Jones


Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy were assassinated with guns, and attempts were made to kill: Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Jerry Ford and Ronald Reagan.

Radio talk show host, Alex Jones ranted on CNN: “And I’m here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!  Doesn’t matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street begging for them to have their guns taken!  We will not relinquish them!  Do you understand?”

Jones wants a civil war.  It’s untrue, that the Second Amendment was designed to allow the people to defend themselves against a tyrannical government.  The legislative history of the Second Amendment supports the concept that gun ownership was intended to defend slave owners against an insurrection.

Congress passed two Militia Acts in 1792.  The first established state militias under control of state governors.  The second directed all able-bodied white men between the ages of 18 and 45 to belong to the state militia, own a gun and related equipment for that purpose, and report for duty twice a year.  The law actually specified how many bullets each militia member had to bring with him--25 if he owned a musket, 20 if he owned a rifle.  After the Civil War those Acts were modified to allow black militia members.  Since 1903, we’ve had well regulated militias called the National Guard.

Our Civil War was instigated by very wealthy slave owners.  It resulted in 618,000 Americans being killed.  We best honor the authors of our Constitution and Bill of Rights by solving our disagreements at the ballot box instead of with bullets.
After, Obama’s reelection, seven former Confederate states collected more than 30,000 signatures each on petitions to again secede from the Union.  Texas collected more than 115,000 signatures.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hyperpolarization and Partisanship


Much has been written about hyperpolarization and partisanship in the last couple of months.  

The 112th, Congress was a culmination of trends, that we’ve been seeing over the last 40 or 50 years as an ideological sorting out of the two parties.  The composition of the Congress was Speaker from the Republican majority in the House, and a very slim Democratic majority in the Senate that was subject to perpetual filibusters.  And, congressional Republicans were trying to defeat a Democratic president.  Those dynamics resulted in paralysis and polarization.

"The National Journal" has been taking the ideological temperature of Congress for the last 30 years, and they’ve found that every Democrat in the Senate is more liberal than every Republica, and that every Republican is more conservative than every Democrat.  That hasn’t always been the case?  If you go back to the 1980’s, 60% of the Senate was somewhere in the middle. 

Recently, political analist Nate Silver pointed out on his 538 blog, that in the House, of the 435 congressional districts, only 35 of them are truly competitive, and the rest are hyperpartician districts.

We shouldn’t be overly optimistic about the 113th Congress, because those same underlying dynamics are still governing what’s happening in Congress.

Nevertheless, there is hope for this new Congress, because John Boehner won reelection as Speaker of the House.  He was able to win, even though there is a part of his caucus that is very much to the right, very conservative, and has repeatedly reject his leadership.  Things are polarized, but 85 members of the House Republican Conference voted to support the Senate fiscal cliff deal.

Those 85 House Republicans voted for something that was bipartisan.  That certainly doesn’t mean everything is going to be less polarized in the future, but it’s a start.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

An American Patriot


The following is an excerpt of remarks made by President Obama, during his nomination of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to become Secretary of Defense.
“Chuck Hagel is the leader that our troops deserve.  He is an American patriot.  He enlisted in the Army and volunteered for Vietnam.  As a young private, and then a sergeant, he served with honor, alongside his own brother.  When Chuck was hit by shrapnel, his brother saved him.  When his brother was injured by a mine, Chuck risked his life to pull him to safety.  To this day, Chuck bears the scars -- and the shrapnel -- from the battles he fought in our name.
“Chuck Hagel’s leadership of our military would be historic.  He’d be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Secretary of Defense, one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war, and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department.  As I saw during our visits together to Afghanistan and Iraq, in Chuck Hagel our troops see a decorated combat veteran of character and strength.  They see one of their own.
“Chuck is a champion of our troops and our veterans and our military families.  As a leader at the VA, he fought to give our veterans the benefits they deserved.  As head of the USO, he devoted himself to caring for our troops.  Having studied under the GI Bill himself, he helped lead the fight for the Post-9/11 GI Bill so today’s returning heroes can get their education, too.  Having co-chaired my Intelligence Advisory Board, he knows that our armed forces collect, analyze, and depend on good intelligence.
“And Chuck recognizes that American leadership is indispensable in a dangerous world.  I saw this in our travels together across the Middle East.  He understands that America stands strongest when we stand with allies and with friends.  As a successful businessman, he also knows that even as we make tough fiscal choices, we have to do so wisely, guided by our strategy, and keep our military the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.”

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Checks and Balances


The Constitution and Bill of Rights established a system of checks and balances for separate, but equal branches of government because it didn’t want the executive branch to have an excessive amount of power.  Our founding fathers wished to control their own destiny and created a government of the people and for the people.  To avoid misunderstandings they made it easy to understand, without ambiguity, and it states precisely what is constitutional.

Since, Tea Party Republicans presently control the House of Representatives, why haven’t that sought to impeach President Obama?  Many of their supporters have repeatedly claimed that Obama is a tyrant.

In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Abraham Lincoln warned: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” 

With the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Citizens United, and overturning a longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections, corporations appeared to have won, but informed voters were able to defeat those moneyed corporations.

Wealth distribution works both ways.  In May 2005, Warren Buffett warned: “The rich people are doing so well in this county, I mean we never had it so good... It’s class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn’t be... Right now corporate profits as a percentage of GDP in this country are right at the high.  Corporate taxes as a percentage of total taxes raised are very close to the historical low.”

The Koch brothers are among the wealthiest billionaires on earth.  They created the Tea Party movement, and provide financial support to members of Congress, state governors and legislatures across America.  They’re hardcore libertarian ideologues, who are determined to destroy our governments ability to protect its citizens.  These brothers were early followers of Robert LeFevre, an anarchist, and believed that the government should be completely decimated. 

Monday, January 07, 2013

Secession and Assassinations


Professor James Peterson wrote: “In 1859, the South and a number of Western states were either pro-slavery or open to slavery.  This same collection of states was legally open to and/or required by statute to be racially segregated.  And it just so happens that these are the states that house the largest concentration of Republican voters and the highest number of those citizens that have signed petitions for secession."

Since, President Obama’s reelection, seven states have collected more than 30,000 signatures each on petitions to secede from the union.  They are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.  Texas leads the pack with more than 115,000 signatures.

The number of assassinations in our history is extraordinary: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy were assassinated.  Attempts were made to murder: Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Jerry Ford and Ronald Reagan.

Our Civil War was a populace revolution, instigated by very wealthy slave owners.  It resulted in 618,000 Americans being killed.  We best honor the authors of our Constitution by solving our disagreements at the ballot box instead of with bullets.

There’s a real risk of another assassination in our country, because of irrational anger.  First a man protesting outside Obama’s town hall meeting in New Hampshire had a gun strapped to his thigh.  He carried a sign to a presidential event saying: “The tree of liberty has to be watered with the blood of tyrants.”  A few days later a man toting an assault rifle was among a dozen protesters carrying weapons while demonstrating outside Obama’s speech to veterans.

Today, extremist on the far right are insinuating violence as a solution to what they consider infringement on their Constitutional rights.  They’re foolish traitors, who have a distorted understanding of the intent and safeguards written into our Constitution.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

A Reminder


Under Bush, we witnessed 8 years of the same old economic theory that gave tax cuts to billionaires and very profitable corporations with the farcical hope that prosperity would trickle down to every American.  For 8 years, no one in the Bush administration payed attention to Wall Street because politicians repeatedly killed common-sense regulations.

We were told that it was okay to put two wars on the nation’s credit card, that tax cuts would create enough growth to pay for themselves.  That economic theory didn't work out for the middle class, but it worked out very well for the wealthiest Americans.  Over the last few decades the income of the top 1% grew by more than 275% to an average of $1.3 million a year.  Big financial institutions, corporations, saw their profits soar, but prosperity never trickled down to the middle class.

From 2001, to 2008, we had the slowest job growth in half a century.  The typical family saw their incomes fall.  And in the fall of 2008, it all came tumbling down with a financial crisis that plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the great depression.

Last month, employers added 155,000 jobs, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during tense fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington.  Robust hiring in manufacturing and construction fueled those December gains.  Construction firms added 30,000 jobs, the most in 15 months.  That likely reflects additional hiring needed to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy and also solid gains in home building that have contributed to a housing recovery.

Manufacturers gained 25,000 jobs, the most in nine months.  Private sector employers added an average of 153,000 jobs a month last year, matching the monthly average in 2011.  Employers added 1.84 million jobs in 2012, the same as the previous year.