"Speaking truth to the powers that be..." is our most powerful weapon. "Trading liberty for security results in the loss of both" "Give me liberty or give me death - Patrick Henry" "Government of, by and for the people"

Monday, May 30, 2005

How we honor our dead on Memorial Day 2005 ......

On this Memorial Day how can anyone look at the names and pictures of over 1600 individuals who have died in Iraq, and say it was a worthwhile cause for which they lost their lives. Futures so promising lost. Families torn apart. Future service to their country, their community, and their families, which will never take place. How can we ever honor them for their willingness to make these sacrifices?

We can say a prayer for each one who was a part of the fabric that binds us all together. We can comfort the wives, children, parents, fiances, girlfriends, and so many others who will miss them for the rest of their lives. And we can never forget.

But most of all, we can make their lives count in ways that will contribute to our well-being far into the future. We can demand that our government, and its leaders who made decisions that led to war, make a full disclosure of all the information it used to support the decision to invade Iraq.

If there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and our leaders knew this, then they lied to not only Congress, but the American people. If they lied about trying to make diplomacy through the United Nations the top priority before making the decision to go to war, then they were dishonest with us all.

If they lied to go to war, then we owe those who have died, and those who continue to serve, to uphold the freedom of our democracy ensured by constitutional law by holding those accountable for their actions.

We do that by finding the truth, and exposing the truth for all to see, no matter how painful it may be.

This is how we honor the dead. We pray for them and the great loss to us all. And we mean it when we say "never again." And we keep our promise to the fallen by doing our duty, which is hold those accountable who misused their power and authority. A government based upon freedom, liberty, and democracy, established by a constitution which ensures all of these, requires nothing less.

They died for this. We must live for this.

That is how we honor our dead on this Memorial Day 2005.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Losing our country ......

The "big picture" of what is taking place in our country, and what is at stake, is succintly set out in the May 26, 2005 post entitled "How to Lose a Country in Seven Easy Steps" ( by Eric Alterman at the Altercation blog at www.msnbc.com). His last paragraphy succintly sums up the reality of the situation we face:

". . .I think we’re losing our Constitution, our civil liberties,
and in many significant respects, our country. When future historians look back on this period, they will wonder,
most of all, I think, how we let it go without a fight."

Those of us who believe in a constitutional form of government must come together to meet the threat, before we are deprived of the powers we possess to hold our government accountable.

We are citizens of a democracy first and last. We should not let arguments based upon the need for security or political ideology convince us to hand over to the present Administration the powers that make us a democracy governed by and for the people.

The alternative is too terrifying to contemplate.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Economic Discrimination Trumps All

Over the last 50 years we as a nation have struggled to address the reality of discrimination in its many forms. We have passed laws which explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, national origin, and sometimes political affiliation. In each case our courts and legislative bodies have embraced the concept that discrimination is bad. However, in too many cases the teeth to enforce such efforts to root out discrimination have been missing. We all know that what we cannot logically defeat in a full and fair debate, can surely be defeated by denying the money and manpower needed to enforce same.

Today we are seeing a wholesale change in the enforcement of laws that have been on the books so long that most people just assume that any debate over enforcement was settled long ago, and that they will continue to be enforced without any further effort. This is absolutely wrong.

We know it is wrong to deny the right to vote, employment, a place to live, and education based upon the color of one's skin. We know it wrong to provide lower pay and promote less often a worker just because the worker is female. Likewise we know that older workers should not be fired more often and paid less than younger workers doing the same work. Yet in each case each of these protections is being eroded by the present Administration in Washington as they cut the number of personnel needed to carry out these important functions. This is accomplished primarily by a cut in funding to agencies assigned these duties.

Each of these types of discrimination are abominable in their own right, and deserve to be addressed by our government with taxpayer dollars for the common good.

However, the rise of economic discrimination promoted by this Administration stands to become the trump card of all discrimination. Insidiously implemented under the banner of various "good causes" it literally determines the future for us all.

As public schools come under attack and funding is cut, government support for private schools is growing. The quality of education is directly related to the wealth of the school district in which you live, and/or the tuition you can afford to pay. As colleges shift more of the costs of education to the students, and earmark more financial aid for award on the basis of merit instead of need, the ability to obtain a college degree is tied more to how much you can afford to pay than ever before. We now know that the liklihood that a college student will graduate in 4 years is directly related to that student's economic standing.

As our country, and the world at large, comes to grips with globalization, it is clear that a college degree is a requirement to obtain a job with the hope of pay increases and advancement. Those without a college degree will be relegated to positions which provide pay increases which may not keep up with the inflation rate, and often have a hard ceiling of a college degree requirement which prevents advancement.

Since this Administration took office there has been a concerted effort to provide tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest in our society, while at the same time shifting more of the tax burden to wage earners and away from investment income.
Likewise corporations have been allowed to avoid funding the country that provides them with their wealth by moving their principal place of business offshore in name only. With elimination of the estate tax, the wealthiest families(approximately the top 1% or less) are now able to pass on wealth to the next generation without paying any tax on the assets at all.

And where corporations and wealthy individuals engage in wrongdoing and injure others, this Administration provides them with a "get out of jail free" card. The costs of pursuing a claim through the court system has been raised to the extent that the least wealthy are virtually shut out of the system. Class action reform, and the awarding of attorneys fees to the prevailing party are used as a stick to preempt the filing of a claim for fear they will end up owing not only court costs and the costs of their own attorney, but the huge attorneys fees run up by counsel for the other side if they lose. Not to mention bankruptcy reform which ensures that individuals hit with catastrophic expenses will remain financial indentured servants for years to come to the credit card companies, banks, corporations, and business interests which charge exorbiant interest rates and fees.

The clearest example of economic discrimination is the field of health care and insurance. Where else do we have two scales of payment for the rendering of the same services? Those economically unable to obtain major medical insurance often are charged more than twice the rate paid for the same services that the economically wealthy receive. If you can afford major medical insurance, the discount applies as a result of the deal provided to the insurance company. This preempts healthcare for millions of children, the disabled, and full time workers. Over 25% of the population of North Carolina have no health insurance of any kind.

All other forms of discrimination are bad, but far and away discrimination based upon economic standing is and has become the greatest threat to our pursuit of life and liberty and general welfare.

As this Administration works to implement its will based upon preference for the wealthy and corporations, it is time to call them out for what they are doing, expose their policies for what they really promote, and vote them out of office at the earliest opportunity. Those who claim they are right because they are religious are usually wrong on both counts, and this Administration is no exception.

To remain silent and depend upon this Administration to do the right thing as they wrap themselves in the flag and religion is to ensure the elimination of our constitutional guarantees, and create a bleak future not only for us but for the next generation.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Join the revolution! If democracy is to survive,

...We must speak truth to the powers that be.

Monday May 23, 2005

We are living in unprecedented times.

Since the 9/11 attacks, our rights and liberties guaranteed by the constitutiion have been seriously eroded by the radical changes implemented by our government in the name of "the war on terrorism" and providing "national security."

History reveals that when government is not "transparent", or open to examination, there is cause for concern. When government is silent in the face of requests for information by the electorate, there is cause for concern. When government says that it cannot be burdened with extending constitutional protections prior to searching and seizing persons and their property, there is cause for concern. When people may be held indefinitely without charges, access to an attorney, and no court appearance, there is cause for concern.

A revolution is brewing in the United States.

Not to overthrow our government through force or violence, but to seek restoration of representational democracy and the rights and liberties that belong to the people as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. This is the one and only standard for determining the legitimacy of all governmental actions, and the breadth and extent of the inviolable rights and liberties conferred upon the American people.

The power of the people to "speak the truth to the powers that be" is the most effective weapon in our arsenal, for where governments operate on the basis of lies and deceit and falsehoods, they cannot stand once called out.

However, when men of good conscience sit idly by and remain silent, then and only then will democracy die.

Let us take back our government, because it belongs to us, the American people. It does not belong to the special interest groups, corporations, or the wealthiest who contribute the most money to political campaigns.

Let us demand "our place at the table" and insist that the general welfare and common good of the people once again become the one and only goal of those elected and appointed to represent us.

As the framers of our constitution met to create a legitimate government designed to serve the people, let us also join together to reassert our guaranteed rights and liberties flowing from our constitution, and hold those in power accountable for the exercise of the power which we conferred upon them as our public servants.

Let the revolution begin!