Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dangerous Barbershop-Talking Baucus

Whoa! You don’t want to bring up the subject of the Baucus Health Care Reform Bill in the Castro Valley Village Plaza Barbershop. Especially when you’re sitting in the chair! When I entered the shop, it was empty. Only one patron was getting a hair cut in the end chair and Al, the tall Al, was sitting in his own chair. The other two barbers were wandering around the plaza, window shopping.

So, I took my seat in Al’s chair commenting on why the shop was empty. Did everyone finally find a job? Or, had they finally run out of money in the recession? The typical bait question. Al did not respond that I can remember. After he wrapped the bib around me and we settled on “my usual cut,” I ask, “What do you think of the Baucus Health Care Bill?” I just as well set a fire – his response was explosive.

And then Al began trimming my hair while throwing around the F-bombs and S.O.B.s, and generally dressing down Congress. He doesn’t like the Baucus Bill, and that’s being kind. As he cut and talked emphatically, more customers wondered in and joined the conversation. ALL of them were ready to riot. One guy said, “Obama had better lay down the law and tell Congress that if we don’t get a public option, we’re going to stop paying taxes!” And, Al agreed. He’s ready to form a grass-roots campaign to do just that.

By the time Al was done cutting my hair, I had one of the shortest haircuts I can remember. I get my haircut about every two to three months, so I like it cut short when I get it cut, but hairless sidewalls are usually not my preference. I made sure Al understood that I agreed with everything he said when he began to strop his straight razor. I wanted no misunderstanding. But, Al gave me a safe razor cut trim and I paid with a tip and left the shop enlightened; never bring up the Baucus Health Care Bill in a barbershop when you’re sitting in the chair!

I see Al’s point. I saw Senator Baucus say this afternoon that he didn’t care what the American people wants; all he wants to do is get a bill through the Senate that gets 60 votes. That was in response to the discussion on Senator Rockefeller’s public option amendment to the bill which was, by the way, defeated 13 (3 Democrats and all 10 Republicans) to 10 in the Committee. The Baucus bill gives an additional $400 billion in subsidies to the insurance industry and they are paying Baucus big bucks to do it. It also requires the ordinary person, like Al and I, to pay a fine if we don’t buy health insurance. No wonder Al is pissed. Al is sixty-two and pays $800 a month for health insurance for himself and his wife. He doesn’t mind paying taxes; he just wants to pay for good government and good services. Good government and services aren’t Baucus services.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Michele Bachmann and a Kentucky Census Worker’s Death

The first person I thought of when I heard of the Kentucky census worker’s death was Michele Bachmann, the crazy Congresswoman from Minnesota. If you haven’t heard her raging against the 2010 Census and the “big, bad” government “getting your phone number,” then you must not have a television, radio, computer or newspaper. Michele, the government already has your phone number. Remember when AT&T and Verizon gave them all, along with all your phone records, to the government during the Bush II Administration? That was to tap your phone.

I’ll bet my laptop that if all the facts were known about the census worker’s murder, the motive that influenced the killers would lead back to Bachmann and her anti-government tirades. Words do mean something. And the wrong words influence people to think unfounded thoughts and some to do evil things.

Another trend I’ve been seeing is that more and more reporters, blog writers and columnists are quoting Mark Twain, especially his quote, “Suppose you are an idiot. And, suppose you are a member of Congress. But forgive me, I repeat myself.” Dear God, Mr. Twain is right. We’ve gone crazy.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Your “No Government” Tea Party and Your Dirty Tea Water

So, you want to march for “No Government” at you Tea Party? You think your freedom is at stake and you want “Government” out of your life. The truth is that you’re not connecting the dots to your dirty tea water. You should think it over.

The First Dot: the “No Government” culture. The George W. Bush Republican Administration held office with typical “Tea Party” mentality of “No Government.” Bush cut taxes for the rich, cut budgets for regulatory agencies and filled government management positions with like-minded, libertarian, Tea Party officials. A culture and attitude was set: stay out of businesses’ business; let the free market decide. The effect was that regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and all the others, were put on a leash; they were discouraged and in some cases restricted from doing their job which was, in effect, to intrude in those businesses to see what they were doing and to punish businesses if they found illegal activity. The SEC was chartered to monitor financial markets, traders and speculators. Had they done their job, perhaps Bernie Madoff would have been stopped, saving billions for retirement plans. The FDA monitors drugs, foods and agriculture products. Had it done its job, perhaps the Mad-Cow disease would not have affected our Japan agriculture trade, saving billions of revenue for our farms and ranches. The EPA monitors adherence to Environmental laws, especially pollution laws. Had it done its job, perhaps millions of people would live longer with clean water for their Tea Pots. The Clean Water Act of 1972, enacted under a Republican President, and the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, was intended to set national clean water policy for years.

But, while President Carter’s culture enforced the laws, Presidents Reagan and Bush I’s culture did not and President Clinton’s culture enforced it, but President Bush II did not. There is no consistent national policy from one president to the next. Now, President Obama is trying to correct President G. W. Bush’s neglect. These agencies were allowed to languish into a culture of “Hands off-No Government” intrusion because the Republican libertarian ideology believes businesses should be allowed to pretty much do what they please. In their view, for example, Environment Laws are obstructions to United States strength and growth rather than enhancements to its security and health. But, now we know the effect of hands-off.

The Second Dot; the no-government criminal neglect: This past Sunday, the New York Times devoted seven web pages to an article titled, “Toxic Waters: Clean Water Laws Neglected, at a Cost to Suffering. This is an investigative report about government neglecting to enforce the law, environmental Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water law in this case. The report tells of obtaining a database that documents over 500,000 cases of criminal water pollution during the Bush Administration that was not prosecuted. The results are that water supplied to millions of homes for drinking and bathing is not suitable for even touching. The toxic water eats away tooth enamel, causes scabs and skin rashes, damages kidneys and nervous systems and causes cancer. The pollutants have no taste or scent, so you may be drinking polluted, toxic water without knowing it.

The Third Dot: what my family is drinking. One example, of many, in the article is the Friendly Acres Mobile Home Park in LaPorte, Indiana. For three years it flushed its toilets into a nearby river without the slightest notice from State or Federal authorities. Well, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican, was more concerned about lowering property taxes, taxes that could have paid for enforcement, but also could boost his popularity in the state for reelection if they were cut, succeeded in cutting the taxes. He, too, is a free-market libertarian out to make sure that Friendly Acres Mobile Home Park did not have to pay the expenses to clean up its pollution. Those expenses were passed on to county and city governments located along the river.

The river, it turns out, is eventually the Wabash River, the same river that passes through Lafayette, Indiana where my brother lives, and his children and grandchildren. It’s also the same river that passes along Gibson County’s border with Illinois where my nieces and nephews live, and their children and grandchildren. It was only one year ago that Jerry, my nephew-in-law, and I was talking about the ground water that supplies the water to his house. We talked about how the Wabash River, only three miles away, supplies the water through underground seeps and springs to his well that supplies the water he and my niece drink and bathe in.

Also along the Wabash, and only five miles from the homes of my niece and her brother, my nephew who works there, is a coal power plant that dumps sludge into an adjacent man-made lake, which, in turn, seeps toxic chemicals into the ground water that mixes with the Wabash. Those chemicals, too, eventually mix with the ground water for miles around and into my niece’s well water. The power plant has been polluting the Wabash water table for more than 25 years. The only recent fortunate thing about the power plant is that Duke Energy bought the plant, and Duke Energy management is one of the leading advocates of renewable power on the East Coast, if it can only get local and federal level politicians to change their collective will to support long-term renewable energy policies and incentives, such as tax incentives on renewable energy while taxing dirty energy. But, we have Tea Parties instead, so a collective sustainable will is unlikely.

The Fourth Dot: my family’s health. I don’t know how pollution has specifically affected my family’s health, but hands-off-no-government is not improving it. Hands-on-good-government would improve it with clean water, clean air, clean energy and health care reform that make staying healthy affordable and accountable government would hold businesses accountable for their criminal pollution. My advice to my brother in Lafayette, and my niece and nephew in Gibson County is to check the filters on your water line to make sure you’re getting clean water, or at least as clean as possible. Meanwhile, stay away from Tea Parties – they are not helping you. They are deceiving you – their Tea Water is filthy.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

No Government Tea Parties – No American Tea Pots

The subversive movement continues with complete lack of awareness of its effect on the United States. Yesterday, several thousand idiots gathered in Washington D. C. to demonstrate their “No Government” stand for “Freedom.” One guy said, “I’m just an ordinary citizen here because of what I believe.” His point was that he wasn’t paid to be there, he wasn’t recruited by some right-wing organization and he wasn’t influenced at all by anything other than his beliefs. But, that’s not true because if he knew the truth and if he knew of the influence of the right-wing propaganda machine, he would not be there. Nobody ask him what his favorite news source was or what cable news or radio stations he listened to most. The odds are that his favorite cable news is FOX News and his favorite radio stations are Clearwater stations; the source of nearly all the right-wing propaganda in this country. He was heavily influenced, even brainwashed. He just doesn’t know it and wouldn’t admit to it if he did.

The effect of these “No Government Tea Parties” is that the United States has no consistent national policy on anything – and that will be our downfall. We can’t discuss important issues anymore without descending into idiocy; a state of complete disregard of truth and fact. Two things happened over the past few days that should ring alarm bells so loud that they get our national attention, but they didn’t. The first is that the Supreme Court took up the issue in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission as to whether a corporation has the same rights as a natural born human being; whether it has “Free Speech” or not. The second thing that happened is that China contracted with an American company, First Solar, and a Chinese company, Suntech, to build the world’s largest solar Photovoltaic farm.

Citizens United is the Republican right-wing organization that produced the anti-Hillary Clinton movie during the primary election. The movie was funded by corporate money and subject to restrictions of campaign finance law. Citizens United claims the law is unconstitutional because it restricts free speech of corporations. But, corporations are chartered by human beings; they are not natural born. So, Justices Alito, Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Kennedy appear ready to overturn the law and a 2003 precedence to give corporations free speech. Katie bar the door when that happens. You and I will have no chance to compete with corporate money in elections or even making new laws in our Congress. Corporations, labor unions and just about every chartered organization out there will be allowed to out-shout the common citizen with huge amounts of corporate money. So, while Tea Parties are shouting “No Government,” the Supreme Court is holding its own “Tea Party No Government” session. Democracy will die because corporations will be making our laws to suit them, not America. The only thing that can overcome the apparent Supreme Court ruling that’s coming is a consistent national policy of public election funding, i.e., taxpayer paid elections. See how we paint ourselves into these corners?

The other thing that happened is that China is building a 3,000 megawatt solar farm in Mongolia that will supply 3 million homes with renewable, clean and “Green” electricity. The alarm that should be going off in huge headline letters is: “CHINA IS GOING GREEN BIGTIME!” But, the Tea Party Group doesn’t believe in “Green.” It doesn’t buy into the Global Climate Change, so it’s more likely that the United States will NOT join the technology revolution that’s sweeping the world. China will dominate it, however. China is not stupid. The next industrial revolution that is coming is in Green Energy and China intends to lead it. The truth is that it doesn’t matter whether you believe that Global Climate Change is coming or not. The truth is that the Green Technology Revolution is coming whether you like it or not, and if you’re not part of it, then you lose. So, the Tea Party Group will stir the pot until the United States has no national policy for renewable, Green energy and we will not join the revolution, our solar and wind power companies will not be able to compete with Chinese or European Green companies, we will not get the benefit of new production, factories and labor skills in our country, and our Gross National Product will not grow with the world. We lose – China wins. We will use the old, dirty, inefficient coal-heated Tea Pots instead of the new, efficient solar powered Tea Pots. Instead of paying Saudi Arabia for oil and gas power, we will pay China.

Now, do you want to join a Tea Party? Do you think we get more freedom if you do? Do us a favor. Turn off FOX Cable and Clearwater radio stations. The United States will be better off without those stations and all the Glenn Becks they support and the Tea Parties they spawn.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Ugliness of Intolerance – The Right Wing Sedition

I thought that my last blog was appropriate to the discussion of the day and time. But, I no sooner posted it, and slept only one night on it, that I awoke to a new and even more radical accusation from the Right-Wing juggernaut. President Obama is “indoctrinating” school children in his “socialist” agenda and children should be kept home when the President visits a school this coming week.

I can’t post fast enough to keep up with this stuff. And, obviously, my vocabulary isn’t big enough. I can’t think of the words that describe how foolish this idea is. It is rubbish, but that doesn’t quite explain how extreme it is. It is balderdash, but that doesn’t do it either. It is nonsense, twaddle, drivel, claptrap, baloney, garbage and tripe, but those words are not sufficient to explain how absolutely far the right-wing had to reach to pull this accusation out of their ass. The only word, and even it fails in its breadth of meaning to describe the accusation, is bullshit. I guess I could add that it is “total” bullshit.

Any occasional reader of this blog may know that I drove from California to Indiana this past July for a family reunion. On the way to Indiana, starting near the eastern border of Nevada, I attempted to find a radio station that suited my taste. I was amazed at how many stations that were not devoted to music, mostly country music, carried right-wing talk shows; usually Rush Limbaugh but other Limbaugh wanna-bes too. They permeate the airwaves throughout the mid-West. Is it any wonder that the drivel from Limbaugh is so prevalent? Is it any wonder that he has influenced so many beliefs across the country?

I’ve said to family members that they should turn these shows off, but I’ve had little effect on their listening habits. I sound, I know, like I’m preaching. But, I noticed the influence of the constant right-wing gibberish at our family reunion. Although the Right-Wing does not overtly admit to it, the real basis for the demagoguery is racism. Take the use of the word “nigger,” for example, which I hear occasionally mixed in with comments heard from Right-Wing demagogues. I never heard my Dad, oldest sister who I adored, Joan (we pronounced Jo-Ann), my older brother, Durward, or Joan’s husband, Elvin, who greatly influenced me, say that word. These people were our childhood role models and teachers, so it is somewhat perplexing that I hear it in our family. Where does the use of the word come from?

Whenever that word was spoken in the presence of Dad, I felt his discomfort, embarrassment and uneasiness at it being vocalized although he never said anything aloud. I came to know that his disagreement with any viewpoint was made more by his silence than spoken word. I grew up with the idea planted in my mind, from Dad’s example, that I should respect people of other races and treat them as equals; that indeed they are equals.

Perhaps it is after we leave the presence of our youthful role models that we learn prejudice. Reflecting back after spending years in and around Asia and living in California, it has been a challenge to overcome prejudices of my experiences after childhood and the influence of those I associated with while traveling the world. I think, and hope, that I have managed to succeed in that endeavor. The proof, I believe, is in my reaction to the right-wing harangue in that I find it disgraceful.

And even disgraceful is not a strong enough word. The only word that I can think of that satisfies my description of the right-wing behavior is sedition; sedition against the United States of America, established order, resistance to lawful authority (carrying guns to public meetings) and rebellion against the state. Agitation, subversion, rabble-rousing and troublemaking are all synonyms of sedition and they describe the current Right-Wing behavior. Those who promote this behavior all have everything to gain from doing it; higher ratings, personal wealth and personal power and this includes the corporations who give them a platform, such as FOX Cable and Clear Channel and their many advertisers and the politicians who shout it. Those who follow the rhetoric and who have come to believe it have everything to lose, such as good government, good polices and stable, beneficial lives.

Any reasonable person who studies President Obama’s policies and the actions he’s taken to-date should be able to see that he is, in no way, a socialist. His appointment of Timothy Geithner and his reappointment of Ben Bernanke should be proof of his economic views and in direct opposition to socialism. President Obama believes in capitalism and free enterprise. His opposition to the greed of industry, his family life and his faith should say to any reasonable person that he is a devoted family man and a follower of Christian tenants, as he claims to. And, any reasonable person who listens to what he says and how he tempers himself in his policies should conclude that he is intelligent and pragmatic and tolerant. I see no indication of socialism or, worse, extreme fascism in his character. His is as American as I am, through and through. Yet, we hear constant accusations to the contrary from his accusers.

The intensity of the Right-Wing assault is akin to McCarthyism; that of publically accusing a person, President Obama, of anti-American behavior without any basis in fact. In fact, it is the assault that is anti-American.

I wish I didn’t see the inevitable conclusion that we are headed for. I expect dissension within families, eventually splitting families apart because beliefs are stronger than facts. We seem to be incapable of stepping back to take a good look at our own beliefs and changing our minds. We seem incapable of taking a united stand against the rhetoric and demagoguery from a personal or a professional position, whether as a politician, newspaper editor, television or radio producer or corporate marketing executive. I expect violence because some people being persuaded by the Right-Wing demagogues will take extreme measures into their own hands; believing they are doing it in the name of their country. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I wish it were not so, but it is.

The other very sad conclusion that is inevitable is the failure of the United States of America. There will never be any solid proof that the Right-Wing instigated a self-fulfilling prophecy, but that is, never the less, what will happen. If President Obama, with all the problems his administration has inherited, fails – we all go down. Why would we not take a stand against the spreading ignorance?


Friday, September 4, 2009

The Ugly Side of American Choices

I wish that you, the reader, are one of those town-hall shouters, the sheep following Glenn Beck and the Republican Party. If you are, then you are the ugly side of America. But, it’s more likely that the readers of this blog is the choir I’m preaching to. The worst thing we could do is to give in to the ugly shouting against health care reform. The Public Option is the only option to rein in the high cost of health care. The Public Option is the only option that will reduce the cost of Medicare and save it for the seniors who receive it. It is the only option that will provide health care for millions who cannot afford it.

Yet, here we are with Congress returning from its recess with all appearances of giving up that option. The ugly side of America appears to be wining while millions of silent voices are not heard or could not be heard above the din of hate, fear and ignorance. We are a weak, mean and compassionless people after all; which, by the way, overjoys the special interests of the status quo. The Insurance Industry leaders are ecstatic.

What if the shouting hordes had won in 1787-88 in the decision to form the United States of America? Any decision that has the public good at the center is comparable to that most significant choice the people of this country ever made; “whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.” Those are Alexander Hamilton’s words in the First Federalist Paper to the people of New York. The answer is that we would not have our Constitution; we would not have a United States or a united Republic. We would have a Confederacy of States that the Southern States fought for in the Civil War. We would have secession from the Union that is desired by the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, today. We would have anarchy, intrastate tariffs, intrastate wars and a host of other very serious problems that would have changed history; no unified force to defeat Hitler, no resolve to outlast Communism and constant infighting that saw fifty different countries instead of states trying to exert dominance over their neighbors: an inefficient mess of accident and force.

What would Alexander Hamilton have to say about the Republican Party and its FOX fear mongering media collaborator? Well, he tells us that himself and, to tell you what he says, I have to give you the remainder of the First Federalist Paper. I apologize for these long blog entries, but I believe it is important for you to know. A health care reform decision for the public good is a decision much more important than caving in to fear or corruption. The health care reform question, whether we can or not decide for the public good, is of the first magnitude to our society. Hamilton continues about the Constitution:

“This idea will add the inducements of philanthropy to those of patriotism, to heighten the solicitude which all considerate and good men must feel for the event. Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good. But this is a thing more ardently to be wished than seriously to be expected. The plan offered to our deliberations affects too many particular interests, innovates upon too many local institutions, not to involve in its discussion a variety of objects foreign to its merits, and of views, passions and prejudices little favorable to the discovery of truth.

Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments; and the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.

It is not, however, my design to dwell upon observations of this nature. I am well aware that it would be disingenuous to resolve indiscriminately the opposition of any set of men (merely because their situations might subject them to suspicion) into interested or ambitious views. Candor will oblige us to admit that even such men may be actuated by upright intentions; and it cannot be doubted that much of the opposition which has made its appearance, or may hereafter make its appearance, will spring from sources, blameless at least, if not respectable--the honest errors of minds led astray by preconceived jealousies and fears. So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy. And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.

And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.

In the course of the preceding observations, I have had an eye, my fellow-citizens, to putting you upon your guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision in a matter of the utmost moment to your welfare, by any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth. You will, no doubt, at the same time, have collected from the general scope of them, that they proceed from a source not unfriendly to the new Constitution. Yes, my countrymen, I own to you that, after having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it. I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness. I affect not reserves which I do not feel. I will not amuse you with an appearance of deliberation when I have decided. I frankly acknowledge to you my convictions, and I will freely lay before you the reasons on which they are founded. The consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity. I shall not, however, multiply professions on this head. My motives must remain in the depository of my own breast. My arguments will be open to all, and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth.

I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars:


In the progress of this discussion I shall endeavor to give a satisfactory answer to all the objections which shall have made their appearance, that may seem to have any claim to your attention.

It may perhaps be thought superfluous to offer arguments to prove the utility of the UNION, a point, no doubt, deeply engraved on the hearts of the great body of the people in every State, and one, which it may be imagined, has no adversaries. But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in the private circles of those who oppose the new Constitution, that the thirteen States are of too great extent for any general system, and that we must of necessity resort to separate confederacies of distinct portions of the whole. [1] This doctrine will, in all probability, be gradually propagated, till it has votaries enough to countenance an open avowal of it. For nothing can be more evident, to those who are able to take an enlarged view of the subject, than the alternative of an adoption of the new Constitution or a dismemberment of the Union. It will therefore be of use to begin by examining the advantages of that Union, the certain evils, and the probable dangers, to which every State will be exposed from its dissolution. This shall accordingly constitute the subject of my next address.


The Library of Congress footnote, [1], says: “1. The same idea, tracing the arguments to their consequences, is held out in several of the late publications against the new Constitution.”

Anyone who has the slightest knowledge about Hamilton would not call him a liberal. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of him would call him a conservative, yet if we compare his perspective and philosophy with the Republican Party and Glenn Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh and O’Rielly, the presumed voices of the Republican Party today and who shout their allegiance to the United States the loudest, we could call all of these people traitors, anti-American and voices who in reality would shout against forming the United States. Hamilton spoke, even pleaded, for moderation and the public good. From every point of reason, choosing a public option, and even single payer, for health care reform is for the public good. Hamilton argues for the public good. How can opposing forces sway that decision? But, unfortunately, the traitors appear to be winning.

Read Hamilton’s words again. They are worth reading. They are words of reason.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Peoples’ Choice – The United States of America

U.S. Constitution Preamble:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Alexander Hamilton wrote in the first Federalist Paper to the people of New York State:

AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.”

I suggest that you read Alexander Hamilton’s statement, above, about twenty times. I have and I still get a kick out of it. That, along with the Preamble, makes a tremendous statement about our country and why it was formed the way it was. The situation from the end of the Revolution to around 1787 was that each state coexisted, doing their own thing, with the other states under Articles of Confederation. It was apparently an “unequivocal” mess. States charging taxes on other states’ intrastate commerce, the inability to form enterprises except in the state of citizenship, quarrels between states on borders and each state’s militia protecting it from other states. Then there were the international threats against a single state and some states would join the most threatened state for mutual, sympathetic protection while other states thumbed their noses at the threat, perhaps not willing to risk the lives of their citizens for the sake of another state or they were sympathetic with the foreign power making the threats. And then, there were still state Governors sympathetic to England, making deals not liked by other states with the very country that we won our freedom from! It was a mess.

So, Alexander Hamilton asks the question; “…whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force…” The bold emphasis is mine, of course, but the words don’t appear to be that difficult to comprehend. You don’t need to be a lawyer. As far as I’m concerned, the question is still unanswered. Can we “form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for a common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” through “reflection and choice?” We don’t seem to be able to “decide the important question” by our “conduct and example.” Our shouting and yelling in the recent town-hall meetings don’t appear to show reflection or thought. Those are just shouting hordes of unthinking people. So, if we are to answer the question with reflection, we need to think.

The word “reflection” means thoughtfulness, contemplation, study, consideration, meditation, self-examination and retrospect. Go read the definition yourself. It does not mean knee-jerk following like sheep or passing nonsense around the Internet to elicit anger or resentment. It means being an adult, growing up and engaging your brain before you act. Otherwise, we reduce our deliberations to “accident and force.”

My friend Mark made a good point about my most recent post in regard to this email that was passed around the Internet:





Mark’s question was, “Do people really wish we were more like North Korea?” That’s a good question. But, it seems that way. Isn’t that why we witness a cold-hearted, mean-spirited, callous, merciless attitude from many in our country? Why don’t we address the illegal alien problem with reflection and study instead of knee-jerk, screw ‘em, jail ‘em, unforgiving meanness? That sounds like Dick Cheney’s solution. He would have us behave more like North Korea. And, there are other Republicans that are constantly trying to rationalize torture; “we water-board ourselves in SERE training, so it’s not that bad.” You’ve heard it. It is never-the-less torture.

Hamilton’s question was, however, whether we are capable of “establishing good government.” What I constantly hear from Republicans is “no” government. It seems to me that we need to take the Preamble in its entirety. Liberty, which is always the entire focus of the Republican party, without government at all, is not the entirety of the Constitution. Liberty with the other attributes of the Preamble is the entire intent and promise of the Constitution.

I am extremely proud of my brother, Dan. He, like our father, is a thinking person. I admire his cool, at least he outwardly appears so, in times of stress. He says he thinks when he mows his lawn and I can tell by the depth of what he says that he thinks about a good many things, how he relates one issue to another or how he associates ideas. Occasionally it takes him a long time to respond; so long in fact that I sometimes think he missed a point or wasn’t listening or ignored whatever we were talking about. But, I’m always wrong about that. He always shows an unexpected wisdom, sometimes weeks or months later, that I find refreshing.

So, why am I telling you about Dan? I don’t think it is only me, but it seems to me that we forget how wise previous generations were. We think, because we have technology never dreamed of 25, 50, and 100 or 250 years ago, that we are productive beyond their imagination and that we have grand houses and wealth not dreamed of, that the people who lived in those times were dumb; that we are smarter and wiser. Dan reminds me constantly how wise our father was and how well he listened to and learned from our father. And, when I read Alexander Hamilton’s writings, or James Madison or John Jay, who all shared writing the Federalist Papers, I’m reminded how wise they were and how much our father was like them; thinkers, contemplators, reflecting on serious problems instead of repeating nonsense heard at the pool hall, town restaurant or hardware store in our father’s time or passed to them on the Internet in our time. I’m glad that they were so wise; otherwise we wouldn’t have what we have.

Compare Dick Cheney’s words with those of Alexander Hamilton. Don’t you find Dick Cheney sounding crazy? Does he sound wise? If you do, then I’m sorry you’ve missed the point and you haven’t seriously studied what Hamilton is saying.

How about reading it again and again. Study it. It is a serious question; “…and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.” Do you understand that? “The general misfortune of mankind.” I happen to believe that fully; that if we make the wrong choice it will be “the general misfortune of mankind.” It would be better for the Democrats faced with screaming, shouting town-hall idiots to make the necessary decisions without regard to those shouting people to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” for the nation, including those shouting idiots, to fulfill the entire promise in the Preamble with the hope of “a more perfect Union.” At a time when the Republican Party is in a general melt-down, we can’t afford to follow their lead.