Beyond Tea-Party Somnambulism!

Archive for the ‘U.S. Constitution’ Category

Gun Advocates Have It All Wrong!

I am not an anti-gun advocate…I have owned guns for protection in my home and enjoyed hunting and target shooting, especially black powder. However, I do believe that the government, whether State or Federal, has the right, and the duty, to regulate and control firearms in our society. Regarding a statement that I recently came across by in a LTE, “If that were true then the First Amendment would have been disassembled a very long time ago.” This person seems to be  saying that there are no limits or controls on the 1st Amendment! If so, then he is wrong! I know the following may be long, but it is essential in understanding our Constitution and how it works!

"NRA-Armed with Pride"

“NRA-Armed with Pride”

As everyone knows, free speech rights can be controlled and regulated, especially when such speech is clearly seen as a danger to the physical safety of individuals. That’s why no one may yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, when there is no fire. The threat of injury supersedes the person’s right to speak.

Also, the Supreme Court has further defined certain speech, also known as “at-risk speech,” as being unprotected by the First Amendment, such as:

          1)  Burning draft cards to protest draft — prohibited because of superior governmental interest.

          2)  Words likely to incite imminent violence, termed “fighting words.”

         3)   Words immediately jeopardizing national security.

         4)  Newspaper publishing false and defamatory material — libel.

And, the 1st Amendment has other rights that are regulated, as well, including the taxation of religious organizations…if they want to keep their tax-free status, they may not be active in political activities. The “right of the people to peacefully assemble” is also regulated, where the safety, and even the convenience of the public, is jeopardized. Hence, Occupy Wall Street protestors were removed from certain locations, and protestors, anywhere, may not block streets and thoroughfares or may even be required to obtain permits before being allowed to assemble.

The government, Federal and State, has the right to regulate commerce, land use, the protection of our air and water, and so many other areas of our society. How were any of these actions allowed? Simply put, because the PEOPLE wanted these things. And, the PEOPLE are what allow these policies to continue. 

I hear over and over again, how the “Founding Fathers wanted this and the Founding Fathers wanted that!” The fact is that the Founding Fathers knew that their wants and desires were limited by their deaths; that the world is ever evolving and changing, as they, themselves, were witness to. (see the diary of James Madison, from the 1787 Const Convention) They realized that the only way to have a government and country that would endure, was to give the PEOPLE the power and authority to make changes (even if it was just the white, male landowners)! Hence, one of the most important parts of the 1st Amendment: “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” If the Founding Fathers didn’t want changes to happen, they would never have allowed that right to be included!

200+ years and counting!

200+ years and counting!

Further, the Founding Fathers also realized that they were not infallible. They knew that they were part of a “great experiment” and that, even great experiments fail if their rules and hypotheses are inflexible and not subject to change. Hence, they wanted the Judicial Branch (on par with the Executive and Legislative Branches) to be able to interpret the law and adjudicate disputes. One of the first major cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, under the great Chief Justice, John Marshall, was Marbury v. Madison (1803). It is a landmark decision on this important question: “Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void?” The answer: “Yes! The SCOTUS has the duty and responsibility to review acts of Congress to determine their Constitutionality. What this means is that the Court must be able to interpret the Constitutional intent.

OUR children & grandchildren!

OUR children & grandchildren!

"I'm Not Crazy; All I Wanna Do Is Shoot Some People!"

“I’m Not Crazy; All I Wanna Do Is Shoot Some People!”

Through 200+ years of interpretation, we are at a point where gun-advocates want the right to own any “military-grade” weapon they want to put into their arsenal. These “strict Constitutionalists” are wrong, not only in their Constitutional approach, but also in their thinking that we would all be safer in our beds at night, if well-armed citizens, capable of fighting against the US military, were camped across the street from us. I’m sorry, but I, for one, would not (and don’t) feel safer in that scenario.  The result would be not knowing who the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are…and they all want the right to walk down the street with their AR-15, or .44 Magnum!  Maybe, we should all get some popcorn and sit along the Washington or Baltimore Beltways at rush hour, and see how that turns out!!

Ayn Rand = Paul Ryan = “I Got Mine, Screw You!”

The TRUTH about Paul “Ayn Rand” Ryan. Don’t keep this secret…share it with everyone you know.  Unfortunately, there is something here for everyone to hate!

Ryan: “I can’t believe there are people who are really buying my crap!”

1. His economic plan would cost America 1 million jobs in the first year. Ryan’s proposed budget would cripple the economy. He’d slash spending deeply, which would not only slow job growth, but shock the economy and cost 1 million of us our jobs in 2013 alone and kill more than 4 million jobs by the end of 2014.

2. He’d kill Medicare. He’d replace Medicare with vouchers for retirees to purchase insurance, eliminating the guarantee of health care for seniors and putting them at the mercy of the private insurance industry. That could amount to a cost increase of more than $5,900 by 2050, leaving many seniors broke or without the health care they need. He’d also raise the age of eligibility to 67.

3. He’d pickpocket the middle class to line the pockets of the rich. His tax plan is Robin Hood in reverse. He wants to cut taxes by $4.6 trillion over the next decade, but only for corporations and the rich, like giving families earning more than $1 million a year a $300,000 tax cut. And to pay for them, he’d raise taxes on middle- and lower-income households and butcher social service programs that help middle- and working-class Americans.

4. He’s an anti-choice extremist. Ryan co-sponsored an extremist anti-choice bill, nicknamed the ‘Let Women Die Act,’ that would have allowed hospitals to deny women emergency abortion care even if their lives were at risk. And he co-sponsored another bill that would criminalize some forms of birth control, all abortions, and in vitro fertilization.

5. He’d dismantle Social Security. Ironically, Ryan used the Social Security Survivors benefit to help pay for college, but he wants to take that possibility away from future generations. He agrees with Rick Perry’s view that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and he supported George W. Bush’s disastrous proposal to privatize Social Security.

6. He’d eliminate Pell grants for more than 1 million low-income students. His budget plan cuts the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could mean a loss of educational funding for 1 million low-income students.

7. He’d give $40 billion in subsidies to Big Oil. His budget includes oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.”

8. He’s another Koch-head politician. Not surprisingly, the billionaire oil-baron Koch brothers are some of Ryan’s biggest political contributors. And their company, Koch industries, is Ryan’s biggest energy-related donor. The company’s PAC and affiliated individuals have given him $65,500 in donations.

9. He opposes gay rights. Ryan has an abysmal voting record on gay rights. He’s voted to ban adoption by gay couples, against same-sex marriage, and against repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He also voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009.

10. He thinks an “I got mine, who cares if you’re okay” philosophy is admirable. For many years, Paul Ryan devoted himself to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness as a virtue. It has shaped his entire ethic about whom he serves in public office. He even went as far as making his interns read her work.

If there was ever any doubt that Mitt Romney’s got a disastrous plan for America—he made himself 100% clear when he picked right-wing extremist Paul Ryan as his running mate. Paul Ryan is bad for America, but we can’t beat him if Americans don’t know everything he stands for. 

Andy Harris: Supporting Wealthy Corporatists

I never bought into Oliver Stone’s version of the Kennedy assassination; I disagreed with those who thought Bush was involved in ordering the 9/11 disaster, and I never gave a second thought to those who believed the US moon landing was staged in New Mexico. However, I have come to a startling realization: wealthy corporatists want to destroy the Middle Class in America!

I used to think it was unlikely that corporations wanted to hurt their consumers…after all, who would buy their products?  Sadly, my ‘aha’ moment came after researching jobs outsourcing and its impact on corporate profits.  I was shocked at the rate of increased profits from China, India and Latin American countries, fueling the next generation of growth, all supported by Andy Harris and other Tea Party faithful. Profits, coming from overseas sales, made by overseas factories, employing overseas workers!

Harris (R-MD-1st) says “Yes” to the wealthy corporations, but “No” to his constituents on jobs, the environment and workers’ rights!

From the June 2011, US News & World Report, “…about 40 percent of profit for firms listed in the S&P 500 stock index (are) now coming from overseas. These same corporations “keep certain profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes on them.”

According to the US News article, here’s a breakdown of foreign profits from just 5 of America’s largest corporations: Exxon-Mobil, 45%; GE, 54%; IBM, 64%; Dow, 67%; Intel, 85%.  Any wonder why the US corporate community cares little about the American worker…the majority of the American Middle Class?

When the American Middle Class is finally diminished to the point that they are willing to accept jobs for any wage offered, the corporations will have accomplished their goal. Who will fight for the American worker, when Unions are no more, destroyed by elected officials who are supported by wealthy corporations?

When there is a “rich class” and a “poor class”, guess who will wield the power in our country?  As they have done for the past 30 years, the wealthy corporations will continue to whittle away at Middle Class wealth and power, until there will be little or nothing left. The power shift is close to completion, and it is being accomplished on all levels, including legislative (State & Federal levels), regulations (State & Federal levels) and Court decisions (State & Federal levels).  The Court cases have been one of the best avenues for significant change, where the Citizens United and related decisions have given corporations the same “rights” as persons, something that would have been unheard of before the Robert’s Court. Nothing in the Constitution gives personhood to corporations!

I recall a quote I used to laugh about: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you!”  It’s not funny any more! It is elected officials, like Andy Harris, who is helping to convince the Middle Class voter that outsourcing jobs and giving corporations tax breaks and more power, is in their best interests!

NDAA…So Long Constitution…Hello “1984!”

***ALERT**********ALERT**********ALERT**********ALERT**********ALERT***

We all thought the Patriot Act was/is terrible, taking away our precious rights as Americans! The NDAA (National defense Appropriations act) surpasses the PA, hands down! While we and the media have been sleeping, Congress and the White House have been moving to give more power to the President and the military, making the US Constitution a laughable piece of archaic mumbo-jumbo, that means little in today’s “world order!”

If you aren’t familiar with the NDAA, check out these links (and weep):

http://www.fox19.com/story/16336829/reality-check-it-was-the-obama-administration-that-demanded-power-to-detain-us-citizens-indefinately-under-ndaa

http://www.businessinsider.com/rachel-maddow-covering-the-ndaa-dont-stop-2011-12

The Maddow piece is very good (MSNBC.com), as is the piece that Jon Stewart did on his show.

The President will apparently sign the bill, since it was he (the WH staff) that requested some of the powers included in the final draft.

It seems to me that we are being brought into the “new world order” whether we approve or not and screw the Constitution!! AND…it has all been done under the cover of darkness…it’s only recently that the national media has done any real reporting on it!!

Scary stuff! What’s the old saying from pastor Martin Niemoller?

“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Business Leader (1%er) Grateful for the OWS Protesters!

This is a transcript of a video made by businessman, Rinaldo Brutoco, President and Founder of the World Business Academy. The World Business Academy works to change the consciousness of business leaders, business students and the public at large to realign the values of business with the values of responsibility, commitment, service, authenticity, integrity, spirituality, trust and courage. Rinaldo is a 1%er, but has the vision and understanding that the course we are on, allowing the corporate elite run the politics of our country, is going to mean a country much different than the one our parents left us.

Rinaldo Brutocco - A 1%er Who Is Grateful for The OWS Movement!

Corporatocrcy (corporate theocracy) must be put to rest now, before there is no way for individuals to do so.  We must come together, stand up and make our voices, and our  votes, make meaningful statements about who we are and what we believe.  We have nothing to lose but our Democracy. Our children, on the other hand, have everything to lose, including the American Dream!  Listen to what Rinaldo Brutoco says and then leave your Comment, telling us what YOU think about it!

“I was asked a couple of days ago if I’d be willing to record a message to Occupy Wall Street about Occupy Wall Street from somebody who’s been very successful in the world of business.

As many of you know, my name is Rinaldo Brutoco, president and founder of the World Business Academy. One of the reasons I agreed to do this is because I am so grateful, and I believe all of the business community should be as well. I am so grateful for Occupy Wall Street.

What they have done is return the conversation to the issues that we need to discuss. They’ve returned the conversation to what’s really important in this country and, frankly, for this economy.

So many of the people in the business community, you should know, are completely aware that what’s gone on in the financial sector has been crazy; that it needs to be different is also clear. But more important than that, I think, is that the fundamental issue of Occupy Wall Street is economic justice, in the envelope of social justice.

So, it’s not just about Wall Street, and it’s not just about business. What it’s about is the fact that we’ve decimated the middle class in America, and this economy doesn’t work well when you do.

So, it’s time for us to look at our priorities. And I would say, on behalf of the business community, and on behalf of the one percenters, of which I am a member: I am grateful that Occupy Wall Street is asking us to look at how do we fix the economy, which will benefit us all. It’ll benefit the one percenters; it’ll definitely benefit the business community. Why?

Because the US economy, and I would argue, the economy of the Western democracies, does not work without a vibrant middle class. We need to make it possible again in the United States of America and ultimately in other countries around the world where this isn’t true – and in many countries in Europe it is true – where you can go through college and not come out deeply in debt.

Where you can go through that college no matter who your parents were if you have the ability to get there, and the college education you’ll get will be second to none.

We need to make it possible again for people to feel reasonably safe that the next generation will have it as good or better than their generation.

We need to make it safe to own houses, to invest in stock markets that aren’t gambling instruments.

Brutocco's "Freedom From Middle East Oil"

We need to be able to feel safe again that we can create a society like we did after World War II, built on an enlightened egalitarianism, the sense that when we all did better, we all do better.

So, it’s time now to drop the aristocratic pretensions that a few of us should be allowed to fly around in jets, a few of us should be up above the atmosphere of the pain, the sorrow and the toil going around among the middle and lower classes in America and other Western democracies.

It’s time for us to stop the silly conversation about deficits because at this stage they don’t matter – jobs do.

And it’s time for us once again to join hands and join hearts and realize that what we do for each other, in fact, we do for ourselves.

You know, as it was said a long time ago by the poet John Donne: “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” In the United States and Western democracies’ economies, the middle class being driven to the point of fear, concern, and, at this point, I would say, a pervasive sense of foreboding, to that middle class it’s time to say: “We get it. The bell’s tolling for us, too. We will all be better off.”

And I’ll leave you with just this one last thought: the highest history of deficit ever to Gross National Product (GNP) in the history of the United States was recorded in 1946. It was so high that no one could conceive of how we’d ever pay the debt off. And what happened from 1946 to 1966 is, we experienced the greatest economic miracle of all time. In the process of doing it, the debt shrank as a percentage of GNP without anybody having to do anything at all except enjoy the fruits of a society that actually was equal and fair.

It’s time for us to return to that society again, and when we do, we’ll create wealth at every level that we’ve never, ever seen before. And we’ll find that all the that choices we thought were trade-offs really aren’t. Because at the end of the day we do not live an economy of scarcity where it hurts me to help you. We live in an economy of abundance, where the better you do, the better I do.

And at this point, I’m all for all of us doing better.

Thanks very much for listening, and I wish you all the best of luck on Wall Street and all the other Occupy movements around the globe.

Thank you.”


And WE’RE the Anti-America Crowd?

Just when we all thought that the far right could do nothing more to expose their ignorance and hatred for Obama, we find that the Tea Party has surprised us again!  What is so unbelievable is that the Tea Party likes to characterize Obama, Democrats and those of us with Progressive views, as “socialists, anarchists, anti-American scum, bent on the downfall of  ‘merica.”

"Bring down the country so we can bring down the President!"

Last week, Tea Party activist Melissa Brookstone, writing on the Tea Party Nation website, called for a “national strike” by small businesses. And, what is the goal of the strike? To call on Congress to come together and stop bickering?  NOOOOO!  To demand that Middle Class Americans get help to refinance their “underwater” mortgages?  NOOOOO!  Ok…how about to stop cutting programs that provide medical services and school lunches to our millions of hungry and uninsured children?  HELL, NOOOOOO!

Brookstone’s ‘strike’ calls for America’s small businesses to stop all hiring (yes, you read that right: STOP, not START) while Obama and the “Democrats-Socialists” who control the Senate stop leading this country into chaos. Specifically, Brookstone rallied her troops with:

I, an American small business owner, part of the class that produces the vast majority of real, wealth producing jobs in this country, hereby resolve that I will not hire a single person until this war against business and my country is stopped.

I hereby declare that my job creation potential is now ceased.   “I’m on strike!”

Well now…that’s one way of helping to bring around the demise of capitalism and economic growth in the country. But, considering that there are some wily, cunning and creative (best positives I could come up with) people on the far right, you’d think that they could have come up with something a little more helpful to the cause of capitalism, individual freedom, democracy…and the American way of life!

If I had been in Brookstone’s shoes, I would have attacked this problem of “Global Socialist Decay” in an entirely different way. If the Tea Party and the far right REALLY wanted to show Obama and the Democrats/Socialists ‘what for’, they should have done the following:

1.  INVEST in their business by hiring and expanding;

2.  INVEST in their business by providing their workers with the benefits that the Government has been forced to provide;

3.  INVEST in America by bringing back jobs from overseas and putting their neighbors back to work;

4.  INVEST in the message, “We believe in America and the American way of life, so we are going to show those Socialist Pigs the right way to get this country back on track, by hiring, expanding, providing competitive wages and benefits to our employees, which, in turn, will foster loyalty, improve production and make their lives richer and more secure. THAT’S how we’ll get back at those anti-American, protesting, living-off-the-dole socialist, commie-pinko-fags!”

Now, call me naive and a hopeless optimist, but wouldn’t these actions show the positive sides of laissez-faire capitalism, democracy and the American way of life?  My Mom always told my brother and I, “Don’t get mad…GET EVEN!”  It seems to me that Brookstone is VERY, VERY mad! Unfortunately, the only ones that will have a chance to “get even”, with her approach, will be those ‘Democrats-Socialists’ when election day, 2012, rolls around; people will have seen no improvement in the jobs outlook, thanks to Brookstone’s “strike on hiring” and now that she has put such an idea in writing, those same people will be able to point to her philosophy on economic growth and say, with the flick of their finger, “FOUR MORE YEARS…FOUR MORE YEARS!!!”

On the Corruption of Our Democracy by Corporate ” Free Speech”

Sen Max Baucus - Is that the insurance lobby looking over his shoulder??

The following is posted from an article written by Al Klappenberger, founding member of the Coalition of Eastern Shore Progressives:

According to the U.S.  Supreme Court, in the outrageous decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporations are “people” and spending unlimited amounts of their money on influencing legislation is “free speech”.  A good example of how this sort of free speech has corrupted our democracy is how it shaped the recent debate over health care reform.

Any good debate begins with the advocates of every point of view, presenting them in an open and fair forum.  The moderator of such a form must have no agenda, other than a commitment to seek the truth and best outcome.  The US Senator chosen to moderate the health care reform hearings was Senator Max Baucus (D-MT).

Consider any public debate where radical positions may be presented.  If a position is so outrageous that it can easily be discredited, there would be no objection to allowing those advocates to participate and make fools of themselves!   What if,  on the other hand, their position was so strong that its logic could easily make the position, advocated by a moderator with a personal agenda, look foolish?  What would the moderator do?  He could simply see to it that such a logical position would not be presented!

The advocates for single payer, Medicare for all,  were excluded from Sen. Baucus’ hearing.  They were actually removed from the hall, by force, when objecting to their exclusion.  This confirms that their position was feared and could not be discredited!  Every other industrialized nation in the world has moved to similar programs, and Sen. Baucus was aware of that fact!

We need to consider the underlying motives of the moderator.  Sen. Baucus, like very other elected official in Washington, owes his seat to those who finance his re-election campaigns.  According to http://www.OpenSecrets.org, Sen. Baucus received over $164,000 from Aetna Inc. and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, both health insurance companies. He received an additional $93,000 from New York Life Insurance Co.  It should not be too hard to understand why he chose to exclude any point of view that would threaten the profits of his largest contributors; his “true” constituents, the insurance industry! The good of our country, and of the people who were deluded into thinking he would be THEIR representative, was of little importance to him.

It should be obvious to all of us that the  “free speech”, represented by spending huge amounts of money by corporations, is killing our democracy.  Until the “Citizens United” decision is overturned, there is no hope of turning representation of the corporation, back to representation of the people!  The only way to do that, in a decisive and permanent way, is by the very difficult path of amending the US Constitution, declaring corporations to be NON-persons, having no right of free speech, once and for all time!

A movement has begun to do this.  I urge every person, concerned about our democracy, to sign on to the petition and support “free speech” for humans, not corporations:   Visit http://movetoamend.org/ and http://www.getmoneyout.com/ and sign on!

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