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Samantha's Journal
Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Tue Nov 01st 2011, 02:01 AM
All the rainbows in the sky, start to weep, then say goodbye
You won't be seeing rainbows any more
Setting suns before they fall, Echo to you that's all that's all
But you'll see lonely sunsets after all
It's over, it's over, it's over.


(It's Over, Words and Music by Roy Orbison and Bill Dees)


Tonight I am humming the unforgettable 1964 song sung by the late great Roy Orbinson. Republicans should click the link below and pop a cork on a fine bottle of Main-ly New Hampshire Blueberry Wine while listening to “It’s Over.” Why? Because the 2012 Presidential race unofficially ended today, and perhaps the solace of fine wine while listening to an equally fine old tune will ease the pain of inevitable loss in next year’s Presidential contest.

Republican rainbows dropping from the sky as the sun set included Rick Perry and Herman Cain, leaving only Newton Leroy Gingrich and other candidates to challenge Romney in the primary. None of those remaining can command a majority of the votes from the party base, siphon off Democratic votes or deliver the Independents.

With the release of the video of the Rick Perry speech in New Hampshire, indeed that setting “son” before he fell could have easily echoed to you that’s all that’s all, judging by the bizarre looks of things. Rick Perry was not simply playing the part of a political fool. He took off his mask and revealed he truly is a political fool, one destined to fail, with the only variable in play being the question when. Rick Perry revealed the real Rick Perry, and for him it is over.

Replicating the George W. Bush model, Rick Perry rode his horse into this campaign with little to qualify him to be President of the United States. As Governor of Texas, his primary duties are those of a public relations nature inasmuch as that State is run by its Lieutenant Governor. The actual hands-on work of conducting state business falls to the Lieutenant Governor for several practical reasons; but that policy leaves virtually nothing for the Governor to do but smile while asking for donations.

When Texas author James C. Moore released his new book “Adios MoFo: Why Rick Perry Will Make Americans Miss George W. Bush” people who didn’t have a clue about who Rick Perry is were given some big clues deep from the heart of Texas itself. But as for Rick Perry himself, his horse threw him and having nothing else to ride out this race on, it’s over.

Simultaneously as Rick Perry was dropping from the sky, he was passed by the parachuting Herman Cain. There is probably little more I can add about Herman Cain that you did not hear over and over today in the MSM. But in case you missed it, let me give you a historic reference, “I never had sex with that woman.” Or that other woman either .... For Herman Cain, it is so over.

But back to the playbook of politics, one of these, Perry or Cain, was destined to fail in challenging Romney for the Republican nomination, but today they defied the odds and together they fell.

And so for Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, Koch Brothers, thank you for playing, and this song is for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73GJqMPp-F0
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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Sat Aug 06th 2011, 12:33 AM
Economics is by no means my strong suit, so I want to post the results of some information I researched and ask a serious question. The question has arisen because I followed the debit ceiling debacle pretty closely, much to my own pain and chagrin, because it has been my longstanding premise that one must always keep his or her eye on the political ball in play to try and spot the betrayal before it manifests itself in the light of day. Additionally, I have watched some excellent commentary recently, and last night some things started to come in extremely sharp focus. A lot of different angles intersected at a particular point, at which time a question formed and an alarm sounded. Please let me have your opinion.

Like many here, the benefits we receive as a result of social security, medicare and medicaid are of utmost importance to me. Around 1983, as many of you know, a compromise agreement was reached by a so-called bipartisan group of people to "fix" social security in preparation for the baby boomers' retirement. Once that movement started, a huge drain would be placed on the program that it was unprepared to absorb, as we were told. As a result of that compromise, more was paid into the system in preparation for the time we have just approached. That is why a huge 2.6 Trillion Dollars accumulated into what is commonly referred to as the Social Security Trust Fund. That trust fund is invested in U.S. Treasury Bonds, often referred to as the safest investment one can make.

I do not have to tell you about the Republicans long-held desire to abolish this program. You already know. I don't have to tell you that Wall Street has wanted to take over social security FOR DECADES. You know that as well.

Larry Kudlow in an interview on cable about two days ago made a comment to the effect social security must be restructured. (My translation: give us your money. Overlook the fact you would have lost 40 percent of the surplus when the housing market crashed, and don't calculate what you might have lost just this week.) There was no doubt he was talking about privatization, but the pure arrogance in which he made his comments implied it was a done deal. It was simply infuriating.

Legislation passed. United States' credit downgraded despite the fact the debt ceiling has lifted and a substantial amount of cuts were agreed upon. One source pegs the reason as lack of reform in entitlements; another source pegs the reason as there is no room for growth in the U.S. economy due to lack of additional revenue being generated. Two-Stars plus declares S&P.

I started wondering, we hear a lot of talk about the money the United States governments owes foreign creditors and that we cannot default. We have never defaulted (and still haven't) so we deserve that three-star rating. We must pay our creditors first, even ahead of making social security payments and payments to the military, it was decided in the back-up plan in case no deal was reached.

Who exactly holds the largest chunks of U.S. debt and what portion of that debt is the Social Security Trust Fund?

During my research last night, I found a very interesting slide show at this link: http://www.cnbc.com/id/29880401/The_Bigges... . If you click on the link, hopefully you see slide the 16th of 17 slides. The slide show starts with the smallest of 16 debt holders and as it progresses to the 16th slide, we find the biggest holder:

1. Federal Reserve and Intragovernmental Holdings

US debt holdings: $5.351 trillion

I suspected this before I saw it. It hit me when I landed at that intersection referenced in the first paragraph. THE LARGEST CHUNK OF U.S. DEBT IS INTRAGOVERNMENTAL HOLDINGS. IN OTHER WORDS, NOT CHINA, NOT JAPAN, NOT ANY FOREIGN INVESTOR - ALL DOMESTIC HOLDINGS.

So then I took another step to confirm the term "Intragovernmental Holdings, and found exactly what I thought I would find:

"In the United States, intragovernmental holdings are primarily composed of the Medicare Trust Fund, the Social Security Trust Fund, and Federal Financing Bank securities. A small amount of marketable securities are held by government accounts.

The value of intragovernmental debt holdings as of February 2010 for the United States is roughly US$4,500,000,000,000."


Could that be why S&P downgraded our credit rating -- literally because we did not reform entitlements, the largest portion of the U.S. debt?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intragovernme...

I do not believe I have ever heard any politician or political commentator reference the fact that the biggest holder of the U.S. debt is the Medicare Trust Fund, the Social Security Trust Fund, and Federal Financing Bank securities. Hmmmmmm, why is that? We must pay our debt to China, we must pay our debt to Japan, but must we pay our debt to our own domestic debt holders? That is their trillion dollar question! Well, perhaps not, I believe some might answer -- not my answer, probably not your answer.

My wallet alarm is beep, beep, beeping, alerting me that my pocket is being picked and sending a signal as to who or what is attempting to take that which I thought was mine.

Wall Street probably argues if the U.S. Government hands over social security, it can write-off 2.6 Trillion Dollars of debt pronto. Restructure Medicare to a Ryan-type program, and that opens up a possibility that some of that Medicare Trust Fund debt can be reduced as well.

The government might be on a roll to reduce even more of its debt than it previously announced, and it seems a distinct possibility some of its domestic debt holders will be rolled as well! But that won't be a default to its debt holders as the world sees it because the smoke and mirrors in place reflect a totally different picture.

Tell me I am wrong. Tell me this scenario is highly unlikely. Tell me further that that downgrade by S&P is in no way punishment to the U.S. Government for not delivering pronto that which Republicans promised Wall Street they could have. Larry Kudlow also told us this week hedge fund managers need an infusion of billions of dollars to invest and that would help the economy recover (never mind bonuses, etc., he didn't mention those).

One reason one might say this not in the works is because the U.S. Government has always used the surplus monies in the Social Security program as a cash cow and would not give it away. Which is more important -- that or reducing our debt?

This is MY trillion dollar question - what is your answer?

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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Tue Aug 02nd 2011, 05:43 PM
I listened to Chris Hayes and Ezra Klein last evening discussing the "fine print" in the debt ceiling law just passed. They were smiling as they spoke. The inference was that not all agreed to could possibly be implemented because of the fine print and limitations on one Congress to pass legislation that binds future bodies of Congress. Any legislation agreed upon by THIS congress including a trigger, for instance, can be repealed in the NEXT Congress, and there is precedent for the repeal of a trigger. I think the trick would be for the electorate to make sure both houses were controlled by the Dems (as well as the White House). The example quoted was a trigger repeal enacted for Graham Rudman, and here is some discussion I found on this:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-29/d...

"Anything Congress does, Congress can undo,” said Bob Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, an Arlington, Virginia-based group that advocates for balanced budgets. “They can’t really bind themselves. You really have to have a political will to make these things work or they won’t.”

Formulating an effective way to hold Congress to its promises to make the choices required to slash trillions in spending in the next decade is key to satisfying demands by credit rating services like Standard & Poor’s for a credible commitment to taming the long-term debt.

Without enforcement powers, any new bipartisan committee may not be taken seriously on Wall Street and by ratings agencies, said David Ader, head of government bond strategy at Stamford, Connecticut-based CRT Capital Group LLC."


Here are excerpts of Ezra's Klein's reasoning that I found at this site:

http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2011/08... /

"The other half of the trigger comes from domestic spending. But Social Security, Medicaid and a few other programs for the poor are exempted. So the trigger is effectively treating defense spending like it comprises more than half of all federal spending. If it goes off, the cuts to that sector will be tremendous — particularly given that they will come on top of the initial round of cuts. Whether you think the trigger will work depends on whether you think the GOP would permit that level of cuts to defense.

***

"The answer is supposed to be the trigger. Those cuts are meant to be so brutal that neither party will risk refusing a deal. But a deal means taxes, or at least is supposed to mean taxes. And Speaker John Boehner is already promising that taxes are off the table.

"What one Congress enacts, another Congress can repeal. Always. This problem is often brushed aside, but it makes a lot of policy proposals ultimately silly the longer you look at them. Al Gore’s Social Security lockbox is the most infamous example, but unless I’m missing something really big, this one bids fair to surpass it."


(end of quote)

I think there might be a lot of subtle things that can happen as well as the obvious that we have feared. Perhaps we should wait to panic until we see the need to do so.

I had to post this in a hurry this evening because I do not have the time to host a thread here at DU tonight. I thought this was important information to share so, if you have any comments on this information, I hope you leave a reply. And I didn't post this information to arouse anyone's anger, just to provide food for thought. Maybe there is something to all the whispers of smoke and mirrors. After all, that is pretty common here inside the Beltway.

Sam
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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Wed Jul 20th 2011, 12:19 AM
is because Corporations no longer want to pay the FICA tax. That is it in a political nutshell.

Sam
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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Sat Jul 16th 2011, 11:41 PM
This was reported on CBS News this evening. I found a link which contains a little context.

http://www.newser.com/article/d9ogtr7g1/de...

The essence of the story is that Governor O'Malley in an address to the Governors' Conference accused the Republicans of wanting to hurt the economy in order to impact the 2012 Presidential election.

"'I think that there is an extreme wing within their party who have as their primary goal not the jobs recovery, but the defeat of President Obama in 2012,' O'Malley said in an interview. 'They know that their formulations, their policies of less revenues and less regulation badly failed our country and plunged us into this recession. So their only way of evening the playing field is to keep the president from being successful in the jobs recovery.'

He contended that key Republican members of Congress, 'through their intransigence, cleverly set up a situation for America's economy to fail, either by needlessly driving us to default, or needlessly driving us into massive public sector layoffs.'

'I think that they are disgracefully cynical," said O'Malley, who has a prominent profile as head of the Democratic governors' group.'"


I have to agree.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu... (Posted April 8, 2011)

"Why do people seem to think this whole shut-down-the-government threat is truly about deficit spending, Planned Parenthood or abortion? President Obama himself said an extended government shutdown can impair our delicate economic recovery. Isn't that truly the Republicans' goal? Let us refresh for a moment. What did Mitch McConnell say was the number one goal for the Republicans? Ah, yes, make Obama a one-term President.

And that I believe is our clue as to what this current controversy is truly about. If there is one thing we learned from eight years of George W. Bush*, Republicans do not truly care about deficits. Remember Cheney's famous "deficits don't matter" comment? Deficits don't matter to Republicans. Elections matter because that is where all of the power and control (read "money") rests.

This shutdown is not about any of the reasons commentators report. It is about the Republicans' Number One Priority. Impede the recovery, further impair the economy, take out Obama in 2012. That is it in a political nutshell."


Republicans have no shame.
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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion: Presidency
Wed Jul 13th 2011, 12:30 AM
If one has been at DU for a long time, he or she probably has many threads in his or journal. I have been here since 2001. Occasionally, a situation in a current political drama causes me to think about one of the inside the beltway threads I have posted here while I have been a member. Tonight, I had to take a moment out to dig up one close to my political heart.

As a DU'er who resides inside the beltway and a person who has observed politics for decades, I wince a little whenever I hear a "local" Democratic politician of good faith being criticized for a maneuver, the significance of which has been prematurely judged. More often than not, the apparent mission under scrutiny has been deliberately camouflaged for a pre-determined calculated amount of time.

Washington absolutely could not function on a daily basis without unique political maneuvering because it is quite a one-of-a-kind place. It is the political capital not just of this Country but of the world. And in that context, in order to achieve any success with a seemingly apparent Impossible Political Mission, the top two traits one must learn to master are to Never Let Them Know What You Are Thinking and Leave No Fingerprints.

Never Let Them Know What You Are Thinking, a thread I posted December 29, 2004, has been unearthed in order to re-submit for your consideration these four paragraphs:

"Four years ago, we were given an education by Molly Ivins on the essence of the classic politician from Texas. Lying is not a sin, explained Molly, it's an art. Thus, one can supposedly be a "good, Christian man" in Texas, but if he or she is involved in politics a well-honed ability to prevaricate is a must. Without the ability to tell a good lie, one cannot be a considered a good politician -- that is, in Texas.

Swing to the East and think of the basic political edict that all politics is local. The bottom line to succeeding in politics inside the beltway is today and always has been "never let them know what you are thinking." This posture is so inherent in the inside-the-beltway landscape, one always sees it displayed in companies, government entities, in short, everywhere.

***

Compare the demeanor of the politician from Texas who now resides in the White House to the demeanor of our classic politician from the East. The contrast could not be more startling. This recognition also helps explain why a political player from Texas could not possibly fit into the Washington landscape, much as a liberal from Massachusetts does not play well in Houston. It is a political cultural clash in the extreme.

***

Never let them know what you are thinking. Just as the political liars from Texas confound and confuse those of us not a part of that political culture, the stoic politicians from the East often do just the same to people outside the political cultural boundaries of the beltway. (Note: this is not to imply all people from Texas are liars; it merely asserts Texas has more than its fair share of political liars, according to its political experts, for example, Ivins). The difference between us and them is that we are polished, we are diplomatic and we are not in the business of totally deceiving and manipulating the general populace. They are."


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...

Those four paragraphs are as relevant this day as they were December 29, 2004, allowing for the fact that we wonderfully no longer have that same politician sitting in the White House as when that thread was written.

The current President of the United States, and thus the number one player in our political arena, does not truly have to deliver a punch with the pure, raw physical strength of Muhammad Ali; he simply must deliver a knock-out maneuver against any and all mighty opponents and walk away like a champ. Think about it.

I believe all will be fine in our future political world, and I will sleep well tonight. I hope you do too.

Sam



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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Fri Jul 08th 2011, 08:57 AM
"To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less." Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism.

And that is exactly the equivalent of what Republicans today suggest. And even more inconceivable is the fact that some Democrats agree.

But a former Democratic President still speaks to us in these words he left behind: "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." That Democrat was John F. Kennedy, who made this comment in his 1961 inaugural address.

Food for thought in these trying times.

Sam

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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Thu Jul 07th 2011, 06:43 PM
Passing a portion of the deficit hot potato is the easiest way to avoid an obligation at hand. Just pawn that obligation off onto whomever is unfortunate enough to have no power or influence with politicians who are in decision-making roles.

Several websites suggest the ramifications which will impact seniors if the Social Security COLA is indeed restructured in order to save the Federal government money will be severe. The consequences will dramatically impact Social Security benefits for both participants of that program and Federal employment retirees. Here is an informative article posted at Bankrate.com at http://www.bankrate.com/financing/retireme... /:

"The classic CPI is used to measure the cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients. If Social Security is required to adopt the chained CPI instead, cost-of-living increases to Social Security will be lower, a factor for anyone doing retirement planning.

(***)

"Switching to the chained CPI would reduce Social Security COLAs by about 0.3 of a percentage point each year, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, saving the federal government more than $200 billion over the next 10 years. Most of the savings would come from lower Social Security benefits and lower retirement benefits for federal employees, whose increases also are tied to the CPI.

The Senior Citizens League calculates that such a change would reduce Social Security benefits by an estimated 7 percent over a 25-year retirement. For a senior who retires in 2011 and receives the average Social Security benefit -- about $1,100 per month -- this would reduce benefits over 25 years by $18,634. The cuts would be very small in the beginning but escalate as recipients age." (emphasis added)(see http://www.tscl.org/action/emergencycola.a... .)

Additionally, the Senior Citizens League issued a emergency petition, the first three bullet points of which are:

"• The Social Security COLA should not be calculated from the consumer price index (CPI), since the CPI is based on the purchases of young urban workers and does not reflect the actual expenses of senior citizens.

• Even when CPI-based inflation is very low, the expenses that form the backbone of senior citizens’ budgets – medical insurance, prescription drugs, fuel – continue to rise alarmingly.

• The federal government itself recognizes the inequity of a CPI-based COLA by calculating a senior-specific CPI formula, which it never uses, that shows our cost of living rises faster than that of most young people."

http://www.tscl.org/action/emergencycola.a...

While it seems apparent that seniors and retirees are targets to be adversely impacted in the name of shared sacrifice, the question remains, where is the sacrifice of Wall Street and in the banking community delineated in these negotiations? The very same institutions which played a lead role in causing this deficit crisis are realizing unprecedented profits in these times but are left untouched in these negotiations.

Thinking of the trite truism to be forewarned is to be forearmed, the question is will we as progressives remain silent as this outrage is perpetrated? What is your response?

Sam








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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Mon Jun 20th 2011, 06:41 PM
It is very interesting watching the debate unfold. Social Security is not one of the biggest drivers of the deficit. The biggest driver is the loss of revenue from the Bush* tax cuts. The second biggest driver is the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The third biggest driver is the economy itself. The fourth driver is "all else" including but not limited to the cost of medicare, medicaid and unemployment.

Social Security itself has 2.5 trillion in surplus invested in the U.S. Treasury Notes. This surplus was accumulated as a result of the early 80s reform. Everyone knew when the baby boomers started to retire, it would put a huge strain on the system. To offset that, deductibles from participants rose as well as the retirement age. Now that the day is here when that surplus is needed (and has been accumulated) to weather the storm, what do some politicians want to do? They want to convince us the system is broken, and some would even go so far as to "default" on what is due those very same people who have saved extra funds just for this day. Why? Because they have spent that money on wars and other things and if the debt is in fact redeemed, the U.S. Government must find substitute buyers for those notes, which is not easy to do in this economy. It is just easier to tell the Country the system is broken and speak of shared sacrifice. Republicans themselves are seeing an opportunity to do exactly what they have wanted to do since Social Security and Medicare were put in place -- privatize it for the benefit of private corporations and to the detriment of its own citizens. Simply repealing the Bush* tax cuts, stimulating the job market and increasing the revenues flowing into the treasury, combined with other maneuvers such as getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan (the second driver of the deficit), putting competition into the health care market (for instance, reconsidering a public option) would help tremendously. Oh, yes, and repeal those subsidies for Big Oil.

It is grossly unfair (and that is an understatement) to expect the middle class as well as the impoverished to "share the sacrifice" while the big banks and Wall Street, both of which edged this economy into this extremely deep recession, are experiencing huge profits and taking home outrageously large bonuses and making zero sacrifice. Teachers, firemen, state workers and many others of us with depleted retirement funds are looking at working until we die while many, many others have lost their homes or live in fear that lies ahead. The only monies left to take are those in Social Security and the benefits of Medicare and Medicaid. Now they are coming after that.

As I wrote in a separate thread not to long ago, the Economic Hit Men are now among US.

Sam
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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Sat Jun 11th 2011, 09:14 PM
(Vince) Foster went upstairs. Taking a pen and a piece of yellow legal paper, he wrote down a series of thoughts about the previous few months, including his belief that no one in the White House had violated any laws in the travel-office firings. (The piece of paper would later be found in his briefcase, ripped into scraps.) The last item said, "I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport."

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...

Unfortunately, nothing in Washington has changed since 1993, when Vince Foster penned those words. Shouldering the stress of dealing with a myriad of problems ranging from Whitewater to Travelgate, Vince Foster’s inability to cope led him to seek the ultimate escape. Just another victim of the Washington political hunt, he took his own life in July 1993.

Vince Foster certainly was not the first to become a target of Washington’s so-called Blood Sport, and he would not be the last. Just ask Bill Clinton. A fresh hunting season starts whenever the local participants get a whiff of scandal or controversy wafting over the Washington swamp.

Our most recent target we see is Representative Anthony Weiner. A man of human frailties as are we all made the mistake of inadvertently displaying his weakness on a public social networking site. His transgression immediately revealed to the public, Anthony Weiner further mired his vulnerability in his flight from fright by publicly and privately attempting to lie his way out of the controversy. Today we learned he has requested a short leave of absence as pressure from his colleagues to resign mounts. He will seek treatment to become a healthier person.

Family values proponents along with those on the religious right set aside the lesson contained in the Gospel of John of let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone and immediately commenced with the word pummeling. It is as if Anthony Weiner’s multitude of apologies is meaningless. Are we not suppose to be better than that?

Resolving the issues that truly threaten our national economic and healthy well being should be the focus of our collective good fight.

Anthony Weiner did not commit the Unforgivable Sin. Remembering the lesson Vince Foster left us with, just call off the hunt. Weiner should be given the same opportunity Vince Foster’s boss Bill Clinton was given to become another Comeback Kid.

Call Off the Dogs
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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Sun May 15th 2011, 08:49 AM
http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/American...

"(a) Treaties

The Constitution is the "supreme Law of the Land." It is controlling as to all officials of the three Branches of the Federal government--Executive, Legislative and Judicial--with regard to all of their pronouncements, actions, decisions, agreements and legislative Acts. Each of them is sworn, by oath of office, to support the Constitution only. To be valid, any treaty must be strictly in conformity to--free from any conflict with--the Constitution. A treaty is like a Federal law in this respect.

The Constitution is supreme over laws and treaties; it expressly states (Article VI, Section 2) that: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land . . ." This means that any such Law (Act of Congress) which violates the Constitution is automatically made null and void
to start with--nullified by the Constitution itself--and therefore cannot be a part of the "supreme Law of the Land." This is also true as to treaties.
"

(End of quoted language)

The language "and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof" inserted AFTER the word "Constitution" was intended to incorporate all pre-existing treaties into the new government, PROVIDED said treaty was not in conflict with the Constitution itself. Otherwise, all pre-existing treaties executed prior to the Constitution being implemented would have become null and void. But those words "made in Pursuance" qualify the meaning to state that the treaty must be in furtherance of the Constitution, not in contradiction.

It is pretty obvious why we have a difference of opinion on this subject because many of the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution also disagreed. But in Civics classes of old, the concept was taught that the literal Supreme Law of the Land is the Constitution, the Federal laws passed are subservient to it, and the state laws are subservient to Federal law.

And from the same link as cited above:

"The understanding of the Virginia Convention in this connection, in keeping with Madison's statement, was even more specifically expressed by member George Nicholas as follows: "They can, by this, make no treaty which shall be repugnant to the spirit of the Constitution, or inconsistent with the delegated powers. The treaties they make must be under the authority of the United States, to be within their province." The question of the Treaty Clause being limited by the Constitution as a whole was discussed in the United States House of Representatives on April 6, 1796 concerning the Jay Treaty (with Great Britain), when the point was made by Madison and other members that the record of debates with regard to ratification in the Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina Conventions in 1787-1788 had made it clear that the understanding was "that the Treaty-making power was a limited power" (limited by the Constitution as a whole). (emphasis added)

Here is an additional link which supplies legal authorities:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supremacy_Cla...

"There has been some debate as to whether or not some of the basic principles of the United States Constitution, such as the country's system of government or Bill of Rights, could be affected by an ambitious treaty. In the 1950s, a Constitutional Amendment known as the Bricker Amendment was proposed in response to such fears. This proposed amendment would have mandated that all American treaties shall not conflict with the manifest powers granted to the Federal Government. Subsequent Federal court cases such as Seery v. United States, 127 F. Supp. 601 (Court of Claims, 1955), Diggs v. Schultz, 470 F.2d 461 (1972), and Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957) have, over the course of time, established in legal decisions most of the limitations that had been proposed by the Bricker Amendment.<6>"

This is not my area of expertise so I would not challenge anyone who disagrees to a duel! But this is also why I think those who are expert on the subject posted in my original thread should be speaking out to clarify some of these very important points.
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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Sat May 14th 2011, 10:56 PM
Why is not the threat to make the U.S. government default on its debt the equivalent of economic treason? Every time one of the Republicans steps out and threatens to vote no on raising the debt ceiling, is he or she not giving aid and comfort to our enemies?

If a terrorist group boasts it will destroy the U.S. Government by breaking it economically, as the late Osama bin Laden himself repeatedly said he would do, is an American citizen threatening to cast a vote which will prevent the lifting of the current debt ceiling not giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

Keep in mind it is the Republicans themselves who boast that the late Ronald Reagan took down the Soviet Union simply by destroying its economy. By doing so, they imply this technique is an effective but non-violent approach to destroying one's political enemy.

When the Republicans started threatening to do this initially, I froze up with fear to think of the ensuing collapse. Of course, soon thereafter, I realized that was their purpose in making this threat: instill political paralysis through threatening to collapse our economy until they get what they want.

Of course, in order for a charge of treason to be made, we must be in a time of war. As we know, a formal declaration of war has not been declared by Congress. Still, with the recent "elimination" of Osama bin Laden, the use of extreme conduct by our military as so ordered by our Commander-in-Chief came with the explanation of that conduct being justified as acceptable in times of war. It would be awkward at best to make a legal case excusing a person charged with treason by a technicality that war has not been declared when arms of our government publicly speak in terms that we are.

I took my question a step further by looking up the term to find the precise definition. Here is a link to a full explanation. It is easy to see how a legal case could be argued either way under this definition, but please read it for yourself and let me know your reaction.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary....

"The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies.

"The Treason Clause traces its roots back to an English statute enacted during the reign of Edward III (1327–1377). This statute prohibited levying war against the king, adhering to his enemies, or contemplating his death. Although this law defined treason to include disloyal and subversive thoughts, it effectively circumscribed the crime as it existed under the Common Law. During the thirteenth century, the crime of treason encompassed virtually every act contrary to the king's will and became a political tool of the Crown. Building on the tradition begun by Edward III, the Founding Fathers carefully delineated the crime of treason in Article III of the U.S. Constitution, narrowly defining its elements and setting forth stringent evidentiary requirements.

"Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given." (emphasis added.)

I do not pretend to be an authority on this issue, but I cannot help but wonder this one thing. Why is it considered a threat of war for other countries to attempt to take down our domestic economy, which of course would seriously "weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies," but it is politically acceptable for our elected legislative officials to threaten to do exactly that, knowing as we all do that many of them speak on behalf of those who "buy" their votes as opposed to speaking on behalf of the American citizens who elected them to protect their welfare?

Does the simple exercise of raw political will supersede or at least serve as an acceptable excuse for executing the equivalent of an act of war?

Personally,I don't think so, and I cannot help but wonder why someone of exact expertise on this issue is not publicly raising this same question.

Your thoughts?

Sam



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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion: Presidency
Fri Apr 08th 2011, 01:21 AM
Why do people seem to think this whole shut-down-the-government threat is truly about deficit spending, Planned Parenthood or abortion? President Obama himself said an extended government shutdown can impair our delicate economic recovery. Isn't that truly the Republicans' goal? Let us refresh for a moment. What did Mitch McConnell say was the number one goal for the Republicans? Ah, yes, make Obama a one-term President.

And that I believe is our clue as to what this current controversy is truly about. If there is one thing we learned from eight years of George W. Bush*, Republicans do not truly care about deficits. Remember Cheney's famous "deficits don't matter" comment? Deficits don't matter to Republicans. Elections matter because that is where all of the power and control (read "money") rests.

This shutdown is not about any of the reasons commentators report. It is about the Republicans' Number One Priority. Impede the recovery, further impair the economy, take out Obama in 2012. That is it in a political nutshell.

Tell me I am mistaken.

Sam

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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion
Wed Mar 09th 2011, 09:50 PM
This term has been popping up in my brain all week, and I wanted to research the legal definition. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to do so, but quickly did some quick reading on the net. Take a look at this definition at this link:

http://definitions.uslegal.com/m/malfeasan... /

"Malfeasance in office refers to an unlawful act carried out while acting under one's official capacity. Malfeasance in office affects the performance of a person's official duty. It is also known as official misconduct. An act of malfeasance in office can cause the removal of an elected official by statute or recall election."

Look specifically at that last sentence. Removal of a public official for malfeasance in office can be by statute or recall .

So then I looked for specific references to a legal definition in Wisconsin. I found the following document (admittedly, I am not familiar with this website).

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2004/rpt/2004-R-0146...

Reading down the first chart, it appears that the constitutional grounds for impeachment referencing the State of Wisconsin's legal definition for malfeasance includes: corrupt conduct in office; crimes or misdemeanors.

Malfeasance in office seems from a quick scanning of cases to be a preferred method of going after a corrupt person since the legal definition can be so amorphous.

Additionally (and unfortunately) I spotted something else which appears to be legally unfortunate for the Wisconsin Democrats. If you are a member of this forum and have specific knowledge of Constitutional law and would like to dive into this subject, please private message me and we can discuss. I do not want to post this information publicly as it appears to work to the advantage of the Republicans.

I am presenting this brief info to you not as the solution to the problem but as food for thought. If you have any specific thoughts on this subject, impeaching a public official for malfeasance in office, please share it.

Sam

Note: edited subject of thread for clarity purposes
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Posted by Samantha in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Nov 07th 2010, 01:24 AM
Comcast" and "US Chamber of Commerce" appear to be political buds:

http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/comcast-p...

A couple of snippets from this article follow. These snippets confirm an intersection of thoughts independently recently expressed here. Specifically, COMCAST makes no secret of its right-leaning political bent, BUT BUT BUT it also partners with the US Chamber of Commerce. I am going to take a wild guess and assume in all likelihood it probably made a quite impressive "undisclosed" donation along with other corporations who choose not to disclose their identity to the public.

But how dare anyone employed by one of these corporations presume to contribute within the legal parameters of defined political contribution limits without asking the permission of the corporate owners first .... These large corporations, with the blessings of the Supreme Court, are focusing on dividing this Country politically and reaping the political spoils, and those employed by them need to avoid doing anything NOT QUITE RIGHT.

(From the article)

"Comcast is fighting its way through a battle to acquire NBC and related assets (including MSNBC) without being deemed a monopoly (which they are, and should be barred from owning NBC). For a preview of how dangerous it is to have one corporation control access to the Internet and cable TV, have a look at their new joint venture: RightNetwork."

"On television, through partners including Comcast, RightNetwork delivers programming on demand that enables our audience to watch what they want, when they want. Everything Right, at the click of a remote. the lineup focuses on entertainment with pro-America, pro-business, pro-military sensibilities — compelling content that inspires action, invites a response, and influences the national conversation." (emphasis added.)

"They don't even try to hide it anymore. It's just outright, blatant partisanship and propaganda, brought to you by Comcast and the US Chamber of Commerce. "

Two words -- Citizens United. That would be Comcast and other large corporations, with the blessings of the Supreme Court, focusing on dividing this Country and reaping the political spoils.

Apparently, Keith Olbermann's political contributions to candidates were NOT QUITE RIGHT.

Sam

Postscript: This article is dated April 17, 2010. I apologize if this was previously posted. If so, I missed it. Finding it today seemed to only confirm a lot of things people here have been thinking.
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