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dmr's Journal - Archives
Posted by dmr in Michigan
Wed Mar 09th 2011, 05:36 AM
http://michiganmessenger.com/46807/constit...
Constitutionality of emergency manager powers questioned
Critics say new law gives dictatorial powers to appointees

By Eartha Jane Melzer | 02.24.11 | 9:28 am

- snip -
Under current law the state can appoint Emergency Financial Managers to temporarily take over the finances of local governments that have become insolvent — this has happened in Hamtramck, Highland Park, Flint, the village of Three Oaks, Ecorse, Pontiac, Benton Harbor, and the Detroit Public School district.

The new law, which was requested by the governor, redefines these officials as Emergency Managers and gives them the power to end existing contracts, take over pension plans, reorganize departments, enter into agreements to restructure debt and dissolve or consolidate fiscally troubled towns and schools.

- snip -

“This plan is a slap in the face to the democracy our nation was founded on,“ state Rep. Shanelle Jackson (D-Detroit) said in a statement. “It removes elected officials from power and ignores the rights of our voters to choose their local leaders, and instead opens the door for one person to be in control of running our city.”

Jackson said that the plan violates the state Constitution by breaking local charters and disenfranchising voters. She also argues that it sets inadequate professional qualifications for emergency managers.

- more at link -



http://michiganmessenger.com/47013/bill-of...
Bill offers few guidelines for use of emergency managers’ powers
By Eartha Jane Melzer | 03.03.11 | 10:26 am

- snip -
The Treasury Dept. is in the process of training potential Emergency Managers, so the Messenger asked for some details of the training in hopes of better understanding the motivations and priorities of the folks who may soon take over our schools and towns.

It turns out the training itself was mostly outsourced to the law and accounting firms — Plante & Moran, Plunkett & Cooney, Miller Canfield, Foley & Lardner — already involved in emergency financial management of Michigan towns.

The training was not conducted by Treasury, spokesman Terry Stanton explained. “It was administered by Dr. Eric Scorsone at Michigan State University, in conjunction with the MI chapter of the Turnaround Management Association, with support from the department.”

Though Treasury was slow to provide details of the event, Kevin Lucey of the Bloomfield Hills accounting firm O’Keefe and Associates, a member of the Michigan Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association, provided an agenda for the day and half long event which was held at MSU’s Henry Center for Executive Development on Feb. 9 and 10.

- more at link

http://www.turnaround.org/Default.aspx

Video of Rachel Maddow discussing this last night 3/8/11
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyrtAfdjjWg

I am just sick over this. No oversight or check & balances in this bill.
Read entry | Discuss (4 comments)
Posted by dmr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Jun 27th 2010, 12:36 PM
That was said by Jeremy Scahill on the Olbermann show June 24, 2010. Those words haunt me. I knew it was bad, but never knew it was this bad. It didn't happen overnight, either. I wonder what the percentage increase was during Bush*/Cheney.

The topic of this discussion is Blackwater's latest contract.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/37920685/ns/... /
...
OLBERMANN: The secretary of state when she ran for the presidential nomination opposed this kind of mercenary contracting. So did President Obama, we thought he did. What‘s going on relatively to the leadership at the highest levels here?

SCAHILL: Right. Well, I think that what this shows is that the United States has become entirely reliant upon these private sector forces. The fact is that we are now addicted as a nation to outsourcing national security policy.

Seventy percent of all personnel that work for the Department of Defense are private contractors. I‘m not just talking about on the battlefield. I‘m talking about the whole Department of Defense.

So, you know, I‘ve talked to a leading member of the intelligence committee today, Jan Schakowsky, who told me that she‘s repeatedly asked the Obama administration to justify this and has been given no clear reason for why they continue to do this.
...


You can view the whole segment here: http://www.clicker.com/web/fire-dog-lake/C...

I've already written my Senators and Representative.
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Posted by dmr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Apr 24th 2009, 12:41 AM
This article shows Cheney's deception and sabotage. It intertwines with Plame, and how Cheney's actions paved the way for an independent investigation.

The primary reason for posting is how the very powerful Cheney bullied and threatened our U.S. Congressional lawmakers - our advocates - The goal: to render them impotent.

(this article is long)


http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/0...
Cheney's Call
By Murray Waas, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007

Early on the morning of June 20, 2002, then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, D-Fla., received a telephone call at home from a highly agitated Dick Cheney. Graham, who was in the middle of shaving, held a razor in one hand as he took the phone in the other.

The vice president got right to the point: A story in his morning newspaper reported that telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency on September 10, 2001, apparently warned that Al Qaeda was about to launch a major attack against the United States, possibly the next day. But the intercepts were not translated until September 12, 2001, the story said, the day after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Because someone had leaked the highly classified information from the NSA intercepts, Cheney warned Graham, the Bush administration was considering ending all cooperation with the joint inquiry by the Senate and House Intelligence committees on the government's failure to predict and prevent the September 11 attacks. Classified records would no longer be turned over to the Hill, the vice president threatened, and administration witnesses would not be available for interviews or testimony.

Moreover, Graham recalled in an interview for this story, Cheney warned that unless the leaders of the Intelligence committees took action to discover who leaked the information about the intercepts -- and more importantly, to make sure that such leaks never happened again -- President Bush would directly make the case to the American people that Congress could not be trusted with vital national security secrets.

- snip -

By 7:30 in the morning on that June day in 2002 when Cheney called Graham, the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence committees met in a secure room in the Capitol. They discussed how to prevent fallout from the administration's threat that they could not be trusted with classified information. Present at the meeting were Graham, Goss, Shelby, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, then the ranking Democrat on the House panel. Senior aides were excluded.

The four lawmakers emerged from their meeting and told their staffs that they had decided to take the unprecedented step of requesting the Justice Department to conduct a criminal inquiry into whether they, any other members of their committees, or their aides were responsible for leaking the NSA intercepts to the media.

A key participant in the events recalled in an interview: "It was a hastily made decision, made out of a sense of panic... and by people with bleary eyes."

Another person involved recalled: "There was a real concern that any meaningful oversight by Congress was very much at stake. The political dynamic back then -- not that long after September 11 -- was completely different. They took Cheney's threats very seriously."

Graham said, "Looking back at it, I think we were clearly set up by Dick Cheney and the White House. They wanted to shut us down. And they wanted to shut down a legitimate congressional inquiry that might raise questions in part about whether their own people had aggressively pursued Al Qaeda in the days prior to the September 11 attacks. The vice president attempted to manipulate the situation, and he attempted to manipulate us." Graham added: "But if his goal was to get us to back off, he was unsuccessful."

Graham said that Goss shared his concerns. In 2003, according to Graham, he speculated to Goss that the White House had set them up in an effort to sabotage the joint September 11 congressional inquiry. Graham says that Goss responded: "I often wondered that myself."

Goss, who would later serve as CIA director under President Bush, declined to comment for this article. Graham, citing a lifelong friendship with Goss, refused to say anything else regarding his private discussions with Goss.

- snip -

At the time of Cheney's phone call in June 2002, Graham and other lawmakers on the Intelligence committees suspected that the vice president viewed the leaking of the NSA intercepts as an opportunity to try to curtail what he believed were nettlesome congressional inquiries.

If that was, indeed, the vice president's main purpose for his angry call to Graham, it was not the first time that Cheney had sought to use a press leak as a pretext for constraining a congressional probe.

A recently declassified memo handwritten by Cheney more than 30 years ago when he was an aide to President Ford shows him considering whether to press the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against The New York Times and reporter Seymour Hersh after the newspaper published an article revealing a highly classified espionage program against the Soviet Union. The memo was uncovered for a soon-to-be-aired documentary by the PBS program Frontline.

When the Justice Department balked at prosecuting anyone, Cheney adroitly tried to exploit the news report for other ends. He wrote under the heading "Broader ramifications": "Can we take advantage of it to bolster our position on the Church committee investigation? To point out the need for limits on the scope of the investigation?"

At the time, a select committee headed by then-Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, was investigating the CIA -- an unprecedented and historic inquiry that revealed everything from CIA-sponsored coups against foreign governments to attempted assassinations of foreign leaders, to illegal domestic spying.

- More at link -


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Posted by dmr in Race/Equality
Wed Feb 04th 2009, 06:57 AM
What a great find this is! This put a big smile on my face - that is, until - as I continued to read it, my heart dropped as I thought about the bravery, and the fear of wrath - something I can't even begin to imagine. And while some may say they won, they truly didn't.

From The Memory Hole an article entitled:
October, 1944 - The Tucson Strike (Black Soldiers Strike During WWII).

The Memory Hole reminds us this: "Keep in mind, WWII was still ongoing at this point, making this action even more radical than it already was."

Read entry | Discuss (12 comments)
Posted by dmr in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Nov 03rd 2008, 06:56 AM
their old stupid and ignorant ways.

I've come to the conclusion that when certain people's lives are going well with less worries they think nothing of how that ease of living had come to be. For them, it's their American entitlement. Once life starts to become rocky no matter how minute, they blame the liberal Democrats, and cling to their GOP-daddy authoritative figures. Then when all hell breaks loose, they come running back in droves looking for change from the common sense Democrats.

How many of these people would give up their, or their parents/grandparents Social Security and Medicare? How many of these people would work 16 or more hours a day in an over-heated factory without a lunch break for 6 or 7 days a week? How many of these people would allow their young children to work sans child-labor laws to help make ends meet? How many of these people would free their employer from paying into Unemployment Insurance and Workman's Compensation? How many of these people would like to return to polluted, foamy, filmy lakes with tainted and dead fish? How many of these people would like to live in cities with smog so thick you can't see the skyline, nor can they take their asthmatic children and emphysema parent/grandparent outside for fear of relapse? How many of these people would like to work under conditions with no protective gear or safety regulations?

These questions could on and on and on and on. As a matter of fact, I'd love to see more questions asked of these people. Why? Because each and every one of these 'benefits' we all enjoy today is directly related to a Democrat! They have the Democrats to thank for them. If they continue, or resort back to the Republican party, that party will continue to deplete every 'benefit' that each of us depend upon.

While the Republicans throw out Socialism and Communism during this election cycle, I'd like to throw another ism at them - Fascism. The corporate world is running our government as it is. This last administration has put in place the laws, the rules and the codes to complete the end of America as we think we know it. America can easily become a myth under a police-state.

What ticks me off, is so very many Americans don't participate in how their world is shaped. It's all supposed to be handed to them - like it's frickin' entitlement! Waving flags, July 4th bar-b-ques, singing the anthem, and professing patriotism means nothing if you do not participate and contribute.

I use to make excuses for people. We're all busy. Raising our families, working, going school, playing, surviving ... Yet, we can lose it all in an instant if we do not actively participate in critical thinking on exactly what is going on in our (the) world. We can't accept cute or fearful talking points. We have to know what policies and laws are going into effect that can impact our lives. Do any of these people actually have an idea of the changes made by the Bush* administration?

Cornell West quoted Plato the other night on Bill Maher's 'Real Time'. Plato said we would create a society that would be characteristic of unruly passion and persuasive ignorance. That's something to think about.

Oh, boy, didn't mean to rag on like this. I'm just so tired of the bullshit, I'm still fuming over that woman here in Michigan who wouldn't give the kids Halloween candy if their parents were Obama supporters.

The Republicans have made ignorant insanity acceptable in this country, and my patience has run out with this ugly behavior!

Nance, you have a gift of hitting the nail on the head. What you wrote today is exactly what has been mulling around in my brain for quite some time. You must become a professional columnist, so your words can be read far and wide. Seriously. I'd love your post to be printed in my newspaper.

I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW! I'm going to be there around 6am - bright, early and cheerful!




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Posted by dmr in Editorials & Other Articles
Mon Sep 08th 2008, 07:58 PM
Since Palin was introduced to us I've been trying to remember why she reminded me of (pre-Watergate) Spiro Agnew. I came across the below article which I first read back when it was published in 1970.

After the perspective of 28 years of history, I am sitting here at my computer with the wind sucked out of my sails. I wonder if Schlesinger had any idea he was writing out our future. I know I dismissed Agnew. I believed most Americans were rational and would never, ever accept that America could be so one-sided and blind.

A lot more dissidents "would be prosecuted," he told the editors of The Detroit Free Press, "if the Supreme Court would reverse some of its trends and emphasis on the absolute requirements of individual constitutional protection and balance that against, to some extent, the needs of the whole of the citizenry. Constitutional rights have never been absolute."


Yet, I never saw it coming. When I did see it coming, I didn't realize what I was seeing. I finally recognized it during Coup 2000. Now a couple of generations and a near-police-state later, I wonder: what will become of us? Will America in the guise of Democracy and patriotism continue to elect flag-pinned, suit and tie men and women intent to do us more harm than good? Smiling men and women who look like you and me offering their false brand to strip Americans of their America? Is it too late?

This is a very long article, and I'm hoping you will take the time to read it. I'm interested to hear what you think of this piece.


http://www2.nytimes.com/books/00/11/26/spe...

July 26, 1970

The Amazing Success Story of 'Spiro Who?'
By ARTHUR SCHLESINGER JR.

WHAT, in fact, is it all about? After 16 months, no one can question the force of Spiro T. Agnew's personality, nor the impact of his speeches, nor his Midas talent as fund-raiser for his party, nor his astonishing success in transmuting himself from a buffoon and bumbler, complete with malapropisms and pratfalls, into a formidable political figure. The question remains: What does the Agnew phenomenon mean?

Some will say that it means nothing more than a belated upsurge of patriotism, candor and guts in the republic, and this may well be so. Still the upsurge expresses itself through a specific personality; and conceivably the personality is worth examination. This writer may not be the best person to undertake the task. I opposed the Nixon-Agnew ticket in 1968; my enthusiasm for the Vice President, as well as for his senior partner, continues under total control; and this should be kept in mind in reading what follows. Nonetheless, the job of the historian is to try to explain why things happen, and the unexpected rise of Spiro T. Agnew offers its challenges. It is hardly necessary to add that this writer is no intimate of the Vice President, and that the ensuing speculations are therefore based entirely on public evidence, specially on a close and prayerful reading of speeches, statements and interviews.

The first thing that emerges from the ordeal of total immersion in Agnewiana is the Mr. Agnew is not, in the usual sense, a political figure at all. Of course his trade is politics, and at the moment he is one of the most effective practitioners around; but his interest in the substance of public questions seems limited. When he speaks out on issues of domestic policy-the economy or the budget or the welfare program-his words are perfunctory and banal. Such issues evidently bore him. In foreign affairs, it is even worse. On his trip to Southeast Asia in January, 1970, he undertook to explain the Nixon doctrine to a succession of Asian potentates-an exercise in inadvertent obfuscation from which the doctrine never quite recovered (even before it sank out of sight in the jungles of Cambodia). Mr. Agnew recites the boilerplate of public policy as part of his Vice Presidential duty. But one rarely feels that his heart is in it.

His heart is, however, deeply in another range of questions. Historians, notably Richard Hofstadter, have drawn a distinction between "interest politics" and "status politics." Interest politics revolves around conflicts of policy: whether we should raise or lower the interest rate, encourage or obstruct collective bargaining, extend or abolish farm price supports. Status politics revolves around personal values and folkways, social aspirations and frustrations, religious traditions and ethnic identifications-those intangibles which, without finding explicit embodiment in political issues, nevertheless affect the climate of politics and sometimes, especially when economic prosperity reduces the pressure of interest politics, determine political results. It is cultural politics, and not public policy which is the Vice President's bag. He has emerged as hero, or villain, not in the battle of programs but in the battle of life styles.

- snip -

... Mr. Agnew was the archetype of the forgotten American who had made it. He took pride, he used to say, in his belief in dull things-"dull things like patriotism. Dull things like incentive. Dull things like a respect for law." "The disease of our times," he said in June, 1968, "is an artificial and masochistic sophistication-a vague uneasiness that our values are corny-that there is something wrong with being patriotic, honest, moral or hard-working.' Americans, he said, were reaping "the hideous product of a society so permissive it has pointed our nation toward the brink of anarchy."

- snip -

If the Vice President is carrying a message to the nation, what is the message? At the risk of overschematization, one might sum up the gospel in three points:

(1) "The deterioration of American values."

The Vice President evidently sees his primary mission as the defense of "the traditional American values." As he looks out on the nation, he finds on every side a decline in faith in the verities. First of all, there is, he thinks, a decline in patriotism itself. "I would guess that many in sophisticated America consider love of country gauche or irrelevant...Apology appears to be becoming our national posture. We have seen attempts to pervert the liberal virtue of self-criticism to the national vice of self-contempt."

The decay of patriotism is matched, in the Vice President's view, by a decay in authority: "The last decade saw the most precipitous decline in respect for law of any decade in our history." He means not just crime in the streets; indeed, he makes less of this than Senator Goldwater did in 1964. The gravamen of the lawlessness charge is leveled rather against mass demonstration on public issues: "America today is drifting toward Plato's classic definition of a degenerating democracy...a democracy that permits the voice of the mob to dominate the affairs of government."

- snip -

(2) The conspiracy against traditional American values.

... The real villains, the Vice President tells us, are "those who perform a more subtle-but infinitely more dangerous-kind of violence: a philosophical intangible violence." In the universities, for example, the "true responsibility for these aberrations...rests not with the young people on campuses, but with those ho so miserably fail to guide them" (like President Kingman Brewster of Yale).

In this sinister group he would place, first of all, "those who characterize themselves as liberal intellectuals," that "glib, activist element who would tell us that our values are lies." These "arrogant ones...are asking us to repudiate principles that have made this country great. Their course is one of applause for our enemies and condemnation for our leaders....They have a masochistic compulsion to destroy their country's strength." (Almost parenthetically, he adds, in one of his very occasional partisan references, "These are the ideas of the men who are taking control of the Democratic party nationally.")

- snip -

TELEVISION and the press stand second only to education in the Vice-Presidential concern: "The media comprise another American institution which must share in this drive for renewed responsibility." Hence his attack on television news commentators, who "by the expression on their faces, the tone of their questions and the sarcasm of their responses.. a raised eyebrow, an inflection of the voice, a caustic remark dropped in the middle of a broadcast...can make or break by their coverage and commentary." "It represents," he said, "a concentration of power over American public opinion unknown in history," wielded by a tiny fraternity of privileged men, "elected by no one and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned and licensed by government," men who "read the same newspapers...draw their political and social views form the same sources. Worse, they talk constantly to one another."

- snip -

(3) Time for "positive polarization."

... "Consider the idea of protest purely," he said, "removing it from any issue, and still it raises a multitude of questions. Protest is generally negative in content. It is against some person or thing. It does not offer constructive alternatives and it is not conducive to creating the thoughtful atmosphere where positive answers may be formulated. Over the last few years we have seen protest become a way of life. In fact, protest has become a policy and program unto itself. This is negativism at its quintessence....I need only rest my case upon the short and turbulent life of the Weimar Republic to prove this point."

So, if the country is divided between those who believe in "traditional American values: and the protesting coalition of intellectuals, Establishmentarians and criminals, let us accept the division. "It is time for the preponderant majority, the responsible citizens of this country, to assert their rights....If, in challenging, we polarize the American people, I say it is time for a positive polarization....It is time to rip away the rhetoric and to divide on authentic lines." Does this contradict President Nixon's post-election pledge to "bring us together"? Absolutely not, the Vice President replies: "When the President said 'bring us together' he meant, the functioning, contributing portions of the American citizenry. He certainly didn't mean that there's any chance of bringing the violent criminal left-or right, either-into this accommodation we are seeking."

"I FEEL like I'm involved in a crusade, almost," the Vice President told U.S. News and World Report. "And I'm going to see it through." The crusade, he explains, is in the cause of "the proud voice of reason, of tradition, of respect for legitimate authority and human freedom." And its reason, as filtered through the Vice President, replies: "bizarre extremists...kooks or demagogues...oddballs...learned idiocy...the cynics, the relativists... the radical criminal left...the totalitarian ptomaine dispensed by those who disparage our system." The criminal left, the Vice President said, belongs not in a dormitory but in a penitentiary. The criminal left is not a problem to be solved by the Department of Philosophy or the Department of English-it is a problem for the Department of Justice....The era of appeasement must come to an end." It must end because "we have reached the crossroads. Because, at this moment totalitarianism's threat does not necessarily have a foreign accent. Because we have a home-grown menace, made and manufactured in the United States of America.... Let us automatically, briskly, ,and effectively against the threat of violent revolution and recognize it for the clear and present danger it constitutes."

Mr. Agnew has latterly become fond of the phrase "clear and present danger." "Civil disobedience leads inevitably to riots,' he tells us, "and riots condoned lead inevitably to revolution. This is a clear and present danger today." Now, as a lawyer and Vice President, Mr. Agnew surely knows that "clear and present danger: has a specific meaning in American jurisprudence. It was the phrase Justice Holmes used in the Schenck case to define the limits on the right to free speech under the First Amendment.



ARTHUR SCHLESINGER Jr., who was an assistant to President Kennedy, is Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York.
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Posted by dmr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Jul 11th 2008, 08:19 PM
Anyone can advocate for health care or banking regulations. Anyone can wear a flag pin as a declaration of patriotism. Anyone can become an adviser to the President. Anyone who serves honorably in the military deserves our respect. Anyone who becomes a politician is worthy of respect so long as they honor their OATH:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

While people may have their laurels, proudly and respectfully earned, it means nothing if they do not have the strength of character or fortitude to stand up against domestic enemies of the Constitution of the United States of America.

To the men and women who have held positions in this administration's Federal government; to the men and women of the for profit only media; and to the career United States Representatives and Senators who have allowed, and continue to allow the egregious - conspicuously and outrageously reprehensible acts against our nation on the pretense that terrorists hate us for our freedoms - all I can say - you have become what you say we should hate.

Now please take your "I don't recalls", flag pins, military medals, air of authority, so-called executive privilege and read the words of a brave American. Read them all. Then read it again. Then think about what you have become in our era of history. Will your children's children judge you admirably?


Declaration of Conscience
Statement of Senator Margaret Chase Smith
June 1, 1950

"Mr. President:

I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear. It is a condition that comes from the lack of effective leadership in either the Legislative Branch or the Executive Branch of our Government.

That leadership is so lacking that serious and responsible proposals are being made that national advisory commissions be appointed to provide such critically needed leadership.

I speak as briefly as possible because too much harm has already been done with irresponsible words of bitterness and selfish political opportunism. I speak as simply as possible because the issue is too great to be obscured by eloquence. I speak simply and briefly in the hope that my words will be taken to heart.

I speak as a Republican, I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States Senator. I speak as an American.

The United States Senate has long enjoyed worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative body in the world. But recently that deliberative character has too often been debased to the level of a forum of hate and character assassination sheltered by the shield of congressional immunity.

It is ironical that we Senators can in debate in the Senate directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to any American, who is not a Senator, any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming an American -- and without that non-Senator American having any legal redress against us -- yet if we say the same thing in the Senate about our colleagues we can be stopped on the grounds of being out of order.

It is strange that we can verbally attack anyone else without restraint and with full protection and yet we hold ourselves above the same type of criticism here on the Senate Floor. Surely the United States Senate is big enough to take self-criticism and self-appraisal. Surely we should be able to take the same kind of character attacks that we dish out to outsiders.

I think that it is high time for the United States Senate and its members to do some soul searching -- for us to weigh our consciences -- on the manner in which we are performing our duty to the people of America -- on the manner in which we are using or abusing our individual powers and privileges.

I think that it is high time that we remembered that we have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. I think that it is high time that we remembered; that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation.

Whether it be a criminal prosecution in court or a character prosecution in the Senate, there is little practical distinction when the life of a person has been ruined.

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism --

The right to criticize;

The right to hold unpopular beliefs;

The right to protest;

The right of independent thought.

The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know some one who holds unpopular beliefs. Who of us doesn't? Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own. Otherwise thought control would have set in.

The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically smeared as "Communists" or "Fascists" by their opponents. Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others. The American people are sick and tired of seeing innocent people smeared and guilty people whitewashed. But there have been enough proved cases to cause nationwide distrust and strong suspicion that there may be something to the unproved, sensational accusations.

As a Republican, I say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that the Republican Party faces a challenge today that is not unlike the challenge that it faced back in Lincoln's day. The Republican Party so successfully met that challenge that it emerged from the Civil War as the champion of a united nation -- in addition to being a Party that unrelentingly fought loose spending and loose programs.

Today our country is being psychologically divided by the confusion and the suspicions that are bred in the United States Senate to spread like cancerous tentacles of "know nothing, suspect everything" attitudes. Today we have a Democratic Administration that has developed a mania for loose spending and loose programs. History is repeating itself -- and the Republican Party again has the opportunity to emerge as the champion of unity and prudence.

The record of the present Democratic Administration has provided us with sufficient campaign issues without the necessity of resorting to political smears. America is rapidly losing its position as leader of the world simply because the Democratic Administration has pitifully failed to provide effective leadership.

The Democratic Administration has completely confused the American people by its daily contradictory grave warnings and optimistic assurances -- that show the people that our Democratic Administration has no idea of where it is going.

The Democratic Administration has greatly lost the confidence of the American people by its complacency to the threat of communism here at home and the leak of vital secrets to Russia through key officials of the Democratic Administration. There are enough proved cases to make this point without diluting our criticism with unproved charges.

Surely these are sufficient reasons to make it clear to the American people that it is time for a change and that a Republican victory is necessary to the security of this country. Surely it is clear that this nation will continue to suffer as long as it is governed by the present ineffective Democratic Administration.

Yet to displace it with a Republican regime embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to this nation. The nation sorely needs a Republican victory. But I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny -- Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.

I doubt if the Republican Party could -- simply because I don't believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. Surely we Republicans aren't that desperate for victory.

I don't want to see the Republican Party win that way. While it might be a fleeting victory for the Republican Party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people. Surely it would ultimately be suicide for the Republican Party and the two-party system that has protected our American liberties from the dictatorship of a one party system.

As members of the Minority Party, we do not have the primary authority to formulate the policy of our Government. But we do have the responsibility of rendering constructive criticism, of clarifying issues, of allaying fears by acting as responsible citizens.

As a woman, I wonder how the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters feel about the way in which members of their families have been politically mangled in Senate debate -- and I use the word 'debate' advisedly.

As a United States Senator, I am not proud of the way in which the Senate has been made a publicity platform for irresponsible sensationalism. I am not proud of the reckless abandon in which unproved charges have been hurled from this side of the aisle. I am not proud of the obviously staged, undignified countercharges that have been attempted in retaliation from the other side of the aisle.

I don't like the way the Senate has been made a rendezvous for vilification, for selfish political gain at the sacrifice of individual reputations and national unity. I am not proud of the way we smear outsiders from the Floor of the Senate and hide behind the cloak of congressional immunity and still place ourselves beyond criticism on the Floor of the Senate.

As an American, I am shocked at the way Republicans and Democrats alike are playing directly into the Communist design of "confuse, divide and conquer." As an American, I don't want a Democratic Administration "white wash" or "cover up" any more than I want a Republican smear or witch hunt.

As an American, I condemn a Republican "Fascist" just as much as I condemn a Democrat "Communist." I condemn a Democrat "fascist" just as much as I condemn a Republican "Communist." They are equally dangerous to you and me and to our country. As an American, I want to see our nation recapture the strength and unity it once had when we fought the enemy instead of ourselves.

It is with these thoughts I have drafted what I call a "Declaration of Conscience." I am gratified that Senator Tobey, Senator Aiken, Senator Morse, Senator Ives, Senator Thye and Senator Hendrickson, have concurred in that declaration and have authorized me to announce their concurrence."
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Posted by dmr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Nov 12th 2007, 03:35 PM
looking direct into my eyes and said "Let me tell you about our veterans .."

It was on a Memorial Day, and we were at a parade. The WWI vets, then the WWII vets marched down the street. Many of the older parade watchers saluted these men as they went by, and many had tears in their eyes. I don't remember what I said, I was a small girl, but I must have said something awfully stupid.

It really shook my dad up. I know he shook me up when he spoke to me so sternly. He didn't have a mean bone in his body, I only knew his gentle side, so I sure did pay attention when he told me that whatever I think and do in life, I am to NEVER, EVER trivialize a veteran.

I learned from him not to just think of a vet as someone who just served for my freedom, but to understand what that vet might have had to endure. Quite possibly the unimaginable for my freedom. "Things a man doesn't talk about to their families."

I've never forgotten that lesson. This country is so easy to not only dismiss our veterans, but to disrespect them as well. Quite honestly, this administration is doing shameful wonders to disrespect the active duty. Keep them out of sight and out of mind. Use them when politically useful.

Seeing that picture in the original post breaks my heart, just as this administration willingness to use torture pains me.

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