Tuesday, April 27, 2010

4. Our First amendment, regarding freedom of the press.

That amendment seems to be in danger, with considerable and fierce forces encroaching on it today. That amendment identifies our rights of free speech, to a free press, of freedom from religion and of religion. Many today understand that we can individually say what we wish generally without recourse against ourselves. Still, our Supreme Court has specified a few limits on speech, a famous one being that we cannot falsely shout “fire” in a crowded room.

However, one major impediment to the exercise of the first Amendment is the current tendency of our press to avoid controversy, angst, or disagreement concerning President Obama. During Senator Obama’s nomination in 2008, it was reported without shame that about 2,000 reporters stood and cheered Obama. One reporter interviewed during that campaign claimed that watching Senator Obama speak was thrilling, another claimed that a “thrill went up” his leg.

An alternative form of press media has sprung up, the internet, with little apparent real impact on the older traditional print or broadcast media.

Traditionally, newspaper articles had been separated between whether news was being reported or an editorial opinion expressed. Current practice as demonstrated in newspaper articles today is that opinion is combined with some news reporting. Accuracy in reporting, what is that?

One of our older sayings was that we should be skeptical of what we read in the newspaper or hear reported. That is much truer today than ever thought previously. Newspapers back during the time of FDR were categorized as being Republican or being Democrat Party oriented. Yet, in many instances, the news reporting was somewhat straight forward. Exceptions like the Chicago Tribune’s wiliness to expose national security secrets during World War II caused a scandal, perhaps the paper did it to embarrass FDR; that failed.

Currently many newspapers have falling readership, reduced revenues, and suffer employee cutbacks. One guess is that newspapers might not now be the most favorable place to seek either employment or profit. Long ago, Benjamin Franklin found his newspaper to be profitable and a good means of supporting his family. If Mr. Franklin had experienced our current press economic conditions, he might have considered another line of work.

Press conferences today are timid affairs, reporters perhaps shouting out questions with few demands that those questions be answered. Sometimes it appears that the questions are screened in advance, as it’s also known who’ll be asking the questions. The timidity of reporters today, with a few exceptions and remarkably from some that wouldn’t be expected to be assertive, is complemented by an over abundance of articles praising the Obama administration and his presidency. Those articles about the president or about his administration often contain high praise indeed, even when few facts in support of those claims are known; nuclear security anyone? Reporter timidity allows government press minders to provide a short bit of an answer and then say that “they’ll” get back to the questioner. Press reporters also reminded that they should, or perhaps should not, follow up on certain subjects. Just recently, the press was suddenly excused from important meetings where sensitive topics seem most unlikely to be discussed, few grumble while they leave.

Certain comments, otherwise seemly innocuous, are now identified as being “racist” or inflammatory. Yet President Obama’s administration is presumed to be “post racial.” The president is, of course, the first African-American elected to that high office. So, our press now says that comments that the president is a good athlete are “racist.” Also, the press says that comments that his policies are not well liked are “racist” too. Other comments, especially as expressed by his vice-president, about how articulate Obama is are now considered acceptable even though they seem racist to many. So, perhaps we reduce the freedom of the press by abusing it, misusing it, and mostly by not using it.

Now, when Obama says the press must leave the room, as at the recent Nuclear Summit, or not able to accompany him as on a recent outing, the press leaves with some low murmuring. Otherwise so-called fierce believers in the sanctity of the freedom of the press are quiet, acquiescing in this reduction of freedom. Do they realize this reduction affects all of us; that tomorrow might bring a totally different, darker day, perhaps soon?

Reducing freedom of the press reduces our freedom of speech, of religion, and then perhaps what we might think. Or, does our own thought remain free and inviolate? We ordinary citizens may still say what we like, or not like, in spite of severe media disdain, while the press exerts its right to be a meek, mild animal, mostly admiring of Obama and his political pals, even of those who are serial philanders.

It seems that only by the country electing a conservative party government will our press awaken from its current nap. Maybe then our press might just pursue its goal of producing a “better world” even as it severely criticizes that new administration.

Monday, April 26, 2010

3. Abuse of power by Congress.

Congress has enacted legislation since President Obama gained office that some citizens cannot understand nor abide. We citizens have been told that “no,” proposed bills will not be read, that “no,” we shall find out what a proposed bill contains once it has been passed. We were told that to object to healthcare legislation was inherently racist, that those who objected were wrong, that health care costs would be lower, that healthcare would not be rationed, that now all Americans would have healthcare insurance coverage.

A recent news report now says that Congress might not continue to enjoy its previous good healthcare benefit, that while it’s not certain that is the case, it does appear that the new federal healthcare law forbids, perhaps, Congress from having its own version of healthcare. The reporters who found this fascinating twist are not certain as to the wording of the law, its meaning, or when it part would in fact take effect. Very recently, a federal agency came out saying that healthcare costs would in fact rise because of the new healthcare bill.

A number of hospitals, 60 or so, will be closed because the new healthcare law requires that doctor owned hospitals not receive Medicare or Medicaid payments. Apparently this characteristic was not previously understood by many. So, is this a benefit for which we should be thankful?

Some objected during the so-called debate for healthcare that the law would establish “Death Panels,” with the president’s men saying that was false, please let that be true! However, we now find that Social Security may deny certain recipients Medicaid coverage because their children now receive disability payments. The government gives and takes away, sometimes quite rapidly, and often without a sense of what would be justice or humane. But, it’s done legally, according to our new law.

We are now in the midst of a great recession, one we all hope will not become a depression. And now Congress wishes to debate enacting an energy tax, a cap and trade law, sometimes called a “Cap and Tax” act. Unemployment has risen to well over nine percent of the labor force, with the actual number thought to be higher still. Some so-called “Bush” tax cuts are due to expire soon, which shall be an actual tax increase for those previously enjoying reduced taxes; but this is not a tax increase according to our government; a mere choice of words for others.

Other federal officials also talk about tax increases, but only on those whose taxes should be raised, never on the middle class. Others talk about adding a value added tax on top of existing taxes and other new taxes. We after all have a huge federal deficit, which must be reduced by increasing revenues, never by reducing spending, now ever growing and becoming a great cause of concern to many, Still, Congress talks about extending unemployment benefits since many out of work individuals are reaching the end of their benefit period. The question is how to pay for this noble expenditure, which it is in fact, and that question is bypassed because the need for benefits is paramount. However, even one of the president’s most trusted advisors has said that unemployment benefits only discourage the unemployed from looking for work.

Much talk is made about how cruel supply side economics were during those dinosaur years under Reagan, when our economy roared and we also destroyed a cruel enemy without the use of force. Still those years must have been cruel because taxes were cut on the evil rich while only more modestly on the deserving rest of us.

So, today we must become more noble, more caring, with more largess expended wherever it may be done, without care for the cost, while ensuring that benefits accrue only to the worthy amongst us.

This Congress is acting to enable President Obama’s restructuring of America, his requested demanded legislation, his plan to “Remake America” as he said he would do when he came into office. If we agree with our president’s plan, then we must do nothing but applaud his acts. If we disagree, then we must act politically. The TEA Party movement is doing a splendid job of bringing forth reasons to oppose this president politically. We must support and continue this TEA Party effort as long as it remains the kind and gentle force it has been and shall remain until the president’s Congressional support is voted out of office.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2. How the president acts varies greatly, when he acts depends.

President Obama won election with a decisive victory over his political opponent. Yet the election was much in doubt until that last campaign month, until that financial disaster harmed our great country. President Obama’s opponent was seen to act with less than admirable behavior, much shilly-shally coupled with questions about what would he do, which he did not.

President Obama campaigned as a moderate, who promised much and used words pleasing to many. Some thought that candidate was not born as an American, yet it is obvious that he was, wasn’t he? Others claimed that candidate was a Socialist, one of a kind with those old evil doers, yet it’s obvious he’s not, isn’t it? Yet others said that because his father was a born into the Islamic Faith that the son must be one also, yet the son claimed to be a member in good standing in an established Christian Church in Chicago, led by a Christian minister of some repute, that is obvious and not yet denied, well it isn’t.

Our president also said he would not raise taxes on the middle class, that vast grouping of citizens who are neither poor nor rich. He did state during the campaign he wanted to redistribute “the wealth” when he conversed with “Joe the Plumber,” yet has he done so? Some would say he has raised taxes and has redistributed wealth.

Our president has been installed in a very high office, one imbrued with much tradition and power. President Obama has inherited the same power that Washington established, that Jefferson and Lincoln wielded, that FDR used to protect this country during the last world war, that so many now fear is too great, too strong, too subject to misuse and abuse. Perhaps so? However, one of our worst and weakest executives, President Buchanan, failed to use the power of the national executive to protect this country when the war between the several states was fast approaching.

That said, what shall our president now do? Shall he continue to exert his political power on congress and demand further control, further federal legislation, over private enterprise, all in the name of the “good?” Shall he exert his executive powers and impose his will on the nation, a powder which has been allowed previously, in a real sense, for the executive to use?

Can ordinary citizens refuse to bend to the president’s will, once that will has been determined? No, in so many senses and in many instances. But yes, in a political sense if the electorate chooses.

Our president can wage war, even so-called undeclared war. He may issue orders that ordinary citizens or federal agents may not. He may act in many ways that we, ordinary citizens, might believe unjust or unwise or unlawful; so much power if used. Who shall dispute his actions? The judiciary might so disallow his acts yet how is it to enforce that disallowing? Congress might also disallow his actions, not the current Congress but perhaps a future Congress. Yet its only recourse, apparently, is the power of the purse, which power has been superseded by previous presidents, Lincoln for one, for a time.

Which leaves but one sure way to deny the president’s will, vote against his Congressional supporters, against all in any office who would support President Obama! Encourage strong political acts opposing this president. Allow this president to decide how he shall respond to a politically aroused citizenry. But, remove his Congressional support and prepare him for his political loss of office in 2012.

Lastly, however President Obama elects to use his power of the executive, I can only hope that he fully understands its import and effect upon the nation. Given the president’s foreign policy actions so far, that hope might be a forlorn one yet that too could change.

Friday, April 23, 2010

1. What should be done about the enablers of Fannie and Freddie Mae Corruption?

Ladies and Gentlemen: Our current financial distress was caused by a large number of sub-prime mortgages growing sour all together. Our two federal government sponsored financial institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae, were ordered, by acts of congress to encourage mortgage lending to many who would not have qualified under older banking conventions and rules. That encouragement along with subsequent loose lending and looser financial practices by other financial institutions created a bubble, which has burst, huge monies now lost, a Ponzi scheme writ large.

There have been other such financial bubbles in the history of mankind, the British had their “South-Sea” bubble collapse, the Dutch had their tulip debacle, others have had similar experiences. In some instances, those who caused the bubble paid a severe price for that. Others, like some current members of our congress have paid no price and perhaps have even profited from what others would define as misdeeds or even as crimes.

These same members of congress today tell us to repent from our complaints and to reinforce our repentance by allowing these Congress people more freedom to enact more such extravagant acts of what some call human folly.

These bubbles have caused much sorrow and pain whenever they have occurred. The British were devastated by their South-Seas bubble. The Dutch were equally hurt when their tulip speculation bubble burst, many losing their wealth and fortune.

It has never been just the wealthy who have been hurt by these burst bubbles. Businesses have been lost, along with jobs they provided. Economies have been severely damaged when people no longer have the ability to provide for themselves and their families. People find they have lost their job, their livelihood, their ability to remain an active participant in their community.

Those in Congress who in the recent past have facilitated those acts resulting in our current financial bubble are up for re-election this November 2, 2010, unless they retire from their congressional seat. While these persons have generally been able to gain re-election in the past, several times in fact, there could be quite spirited political opposition this year. I hope so, in fact.

Several of the most outspoken Congressional gentlemen have protested that they are blameless for our current recession, a nascent depression. They complain that it was the previous presidential administration that is at fault, not them. And, they might be correct that they had assistance from their opposition in creating conditions for our current woes.

Yet, Senator Dodd and Representative Frank each demanded that those without much means acquire houses with goodly sized mortgages and without the previously required goodly percentage of equity in those newly acquired homes. Representatives Waxman and Conyers have been similarly demanding in their own way and influential too on that same form of financial waging.

Hanging these individuals is not considered to be in good form, or even fair, or legal either, given our present day modern society yet are these gentlemen to be given a free pass, to live out a life of ease and comfort while so many are in the throes of poverty? That doesn’t seem either fair or humane compared to our ancestors who fought a revolution and who doused evil doers in the village pond, strapped to a chair. Now that was cruel and would be unusual in today’s world.

So, what to do? Nothing? No! Exile? Perhaps? What? Don’t know!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What I intend with these essays.

These essays will express my views on several current political topics. There is no claim that my views are either original or that they are better than any other’s point of view. Other persons may well disagree with my views, or opinions, and that’s very proper. Some might suggest, or demand, that my views must not be expressed, and that will not happen, my views will be expressed one way or another.

My views are non-violent and my fervent hope is that our current political unrest be resolved at the polling place, during elections that shall happen, hopefully, during President Obama’s term of office. Violence has no place in politics yet we must never let violence be used against us. If there is to be violence, then it must be initiated by those who support President Obama or who work directly for him.

My concerns are many about President Obama. These concerns begin with Obama being unlike any other president we’ve ever had. Obama is an American president who bows to other heads of state, who bows to even the Mayor of Tampa, for goodness sakes. Americans were taught in my youth not to bow to others, to our God yes, but not to man. Americans who received honorary awards from other countries have sometimes bowed or curtsied to, say, the Queen of England, and been strongly criticized for doing so. President Obama bows to the Japanese Emperor and our press says nothing. Why is that? Now he bows to the Chinese Prime Minister! Why?

That said, while Obama is claimed not to be a Socialist, he also asked early on that we judge him by the people surrounding him, by his associates, by those he nominates to high federal office. A former appointee, Van Jones, is a self-confessed Communist, Bill Ayres, a known Socialist( He claims to be a communist with a small c), as is Ayres’ wife, others in his administration praise Mao the tyrant, so if Obama is not a Socialist, some close associates and appointed high federal employees certainly are. On that basis alone, I count Obama as preferring Socialism over American Capitalism.

Still, Obama said on coming into office that he would remake America and he is trying awfully hard to do so. FDR made significant changes to our society, with Social Security, payroll withholding tax among them, even though he was somewhat checked when his NIRA program was largely negated. LBJ brought in Medicare, a program of long lasting impact, with all its later enhancements. Carter gave away a vast national asset in order to be fair. Wilson thoroughly segregated our military to satisfy his own twisted sense of racial superiority and he’s now considered a model president, by Obama’s supporters, who worked for world peace, perhaps; Wilson was a damned racist as was his SCOTUS appointment in 1914.

So, Obama has a ways to go before his actions alone overwhelm what has been changed before him. And, in my opinion, Obama’s working very hard to reach that abysmal goal. Prior to Obama, we were still America and survived some mediocre president, some good presidents, some with good heart but poor judgment, and some great presidents. All were American presidents, generally following accepted American traditions and acting in what they each may have thought was the best interests of this country.

I am not certain at all that President Obama is acting in America’s best interest that he is instead acting to make us more equal to whatever his world view is. Maybe Obama wants America to be like the European Union and less like that “Shining City on the Hill!” Personally, that magical city has always seemed pretty good to me.

My inspiration for this effort include the desire to see others express their own personal view on our society, our political life today, our way of life as Americans, which I feel are under great pressure from the efforts of the Obama administration.

Too many American citizens in the past avoided involvement with our political life except when we vote and America’s percentage voting is low by some standards. Yet what defines us as Americas is our Constitution, not our ethnic heritage, not where we were born, for many of us, but what that that document describes as our rights and our form of government. We can give up our rights as a people if we do not exert our rights as citizens and demand that those rights not be subverted by government.

The TEA Party rallies that began in 2009 provide hope that we Americans are ready to actively participate in our political process. While we are not a democracy in the purest sense, our country has always acted in a way to bring about a representative form of a federal republic, in a most democratic manner.

The TEA Party rallies are my inspiration as was the Federalist Papers and the earlier Cato’s Letters. However, my effort cannot compare even remotely favorably to either the Federalist Papers or Cato’s Letters.

The statements or claims about President Obama I’m making in these essays are based on statements made by him or his supporters yet I shall not provide detailed support and references for my use of those statements. If someone wishes to dispute my interpretation of President Obama’s statements or actions, have at it.

Lastly, if a particular topic is not present in one of these essays, it can only be that the topic has yet to be addressed and likely will be in the future. This effort is very much a work in progress, an Aegean Stable of essays.