Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Arizona Law

The law is unconstitutional.
It will not stand up to judicial review.
The law is most vulnerable to the argument
that it essentially criminalizes "walking
while Hispanic."

1. Under the Constitution,
    federal law is the supreme law of the land
    and states may not pass laws that seek to
    overshadow federal statutes.

2. The law violates the Fourth Amendment
     which protects people from unlawful search
     and seizure.
3. The 14th Amendment is compromised in this "law."
    The amendment clearly states that any person in the
    jurisdiction of a state, not just citizens, should be
    protected equally by the laws.

4. Legislators and experts on the law agree it is unconsitutional.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina,
Karl Manheim of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles,
and Erwin Chemerinsky of UC Irvine Law
agree the law is “unconstitutional.”

5.  Arizona's New Immigration Law: Unconstitutional, Bad Policy

     Opinion by Southern Poverty Law Center

Friday, April 23, 2010

Question Authority?

"Unthinking respect
  for authority
  is the greatest
  enemy of truth.

    Albert Einstein

"No oppression is
  so heavy or lasting
  as that which is inflicted
  by the perversion and
  exorbitance of legal authority."
    ~ Joseph Addison ~

"We too often bind ourselves by authorities
  rather than by the truth."
    - Lucretia Coffin Mott

~Benjamin Franklin was often quoted as saying

"It is the first
  of every
  citizen to

Those who do not rightly question
authority may surrender to murder,
chaos, or fascism.

...Lest we forget.

If more people asked questions,
we might save millions of lives and
trillions of dollars needlessly squandered.

But too many voluntarily surrender to
compromising their values in silence.

  strengthens authority
  so much as silence."
    ~ Leonardo da Vinci

"The disappearance
  of a sense of
  is the most far-reaching
  consequence of
  submission to authority."
            Stanley Milgram

“The only thing
  necessary for
  the triumph of
  evil is for good men
  to do nothing” 
    Edmund Burke

"The ultimate authority must always
  rest with the individual's own
  reason and critical analysis."

    Dalai Lama
"A central lesson of science
  is that to understand complex
  issues (or even simple ones),
  we must try to free our minds
  of dogma and to guarantee the
  freedom to publish, to contradict,
  and to experiment.
  ...Arguments from authority
are unacceptable."
       Carl Sagan

"But man, proud man,
  Drest in a little brief authority,
  Most ignorant of
  what he’s most assur’d,
  His glassy essence,
  like an angry ape,
  Plays such fantastic tricks
  before high heaven,
  As make the angels weep."
    Measure for Measure.
    Act II. Sc. 2. L. 117.

"It is dangerous
  to be right in matters
  on which the
  established authorities
  are wrong."

"No moral system can rest solely on authority."
    A J Ayer

"The vices of authority
  are chiefly four:
  delays, corruption,
  roughness, and facility."
    -Bacon, Francis,
    Viscount St Albans
     Essays, no.11,
     'Of Great Place'.

"Every great advance in natural knowledge
    has involved the absolute rejection of authority."
       Thomas Huxley

"Authority in science exists to be questioned,
  since heresy is the spring from which new ideas flow."
     — John C. Polanyi

"A position of authority is neither

  necessary nor sufficient
  for the exercise of leadership."
    Eric Werkowitz

"The faith that stands
on authority is not faith.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Unthinking respect for authority
  is the greatest enemy of truth.”
    Albert Einstein

"No statement should
  be believed because it
  is made by an authority.”
    Robert A. Heinlein

“Anyone who conducts
  an argument by
  appealing to authority
  is not using his intelligence”
    Leonardo da Vinci

“All authority belongs to the people”
    Thomas Jefferson

"I was bold in the
  pursuit of knowledge,
  never fearing to follow
  truth and reason
  to whatever results they led,
  and bearding every authority
  which stood in their way."

    Thomas Jefferson

"Men in authority will always think that
  criticism of their policies is dangerous.
  They will always equate their policies
  with patriotism, and find criticism subversive."
    Henry Steele Commager

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
    Howard Zinn

|"What you need is sustained outrage...
  there's far too much unthinking respect
  given to authority." 
    Molly Ivins

"The examples of vice at home corrupt
  us more quickly and easily than others,
  since they steal into our minds under
  the highest authority.
    Decimus (Junius Juvenalis)
Juvenal c.55-c.130
    Roman Satirical Poet

"An argument from authority
  is but a weak kind
  of proof,--it being but a
  topical probation, and
  an inartificial argument
 depending on
  naked asseveration."

    - Sir Thomas Browne

"Science is not perfect. It can be misused.
  It is only a tool. But it is by far the best tool we
  have, self-correcting, ongoing, applicable to everything.
  It has two rules. First: there are no sacred truths; all
  assumptions must be critically examined; arguments
  from authority are worthless. Second: whatever is
  inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised.
  ... The obvious is sometimes false; the unexpected is
  sometimes true.

     — Carl Sagan

"The reason why the simpler sort are moved
  by authority is the consciousness
  of their own ignorance."
    - Richard Hooker

"Authority has always
  attracted the lowest
  elements in the human race.
  All through history
  mankind has been
  bullied by scum.
  Those who lord it over
  their fellows and toss
  commands in every
  direction and would
  boss the grass in the
  meadow about which
  way to bend in the wind
  are the most depraved kind of prostitutes.
  They will submit to any indignity, perform
  any vile act, do anything to achieve power.
  The worst off-sloughings of the planet are
  the ingredients of sovereignty. Every
  government is a parliament of whores.
  The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us."

    P. J. O'Rourke

"If you attack the establishment
  long enough and hard enough,
  they will make you a member of it."
    Art Buchwald

"The public school system:
  Usually a twelve-year
  sentence of mind control.
  Crushing creativity,
  smashing individualism,
  encouraging collectivism and compromise,
destroying the exercise of intellectual inquiry, twisting
  it instead into meek subservience to authority."
    Walter Karp
"Respect authority while questioning it.
    Randy Pausch

"The wisest have the most authority."

"Perhaps nothing in our society
  is more needed for those in
  positions of authority
  than accountability."
    Larry Burkett

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where does it say the government pays for health care?

Some wonder why "the government"
should "pay"  to provide for the
health of working people.

Such an expenditure is part and
parcel of natural rights established
by our founders in the constitution.
(Article One, sections 8)

The Congress shall have power to lay and
collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises,
to pay the debts and provide for the
common defense and general welfare
of the United States; but all duties,
imposts and excises shall be uniform
throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations,
and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization,
and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies
throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof,
and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting
the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts,
by securing for limited times to authors and inventors
the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on
the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal,
and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies,
but no appropriation of money
to that use shall be for a longer
term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government
and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute
the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

In a functioning state, we who are "the government,"
must pay for firemen, police, army, navy, air force,
marines, libraries, schools, streets, regulatory agencies,
environmental protection, courts, public buildings, seaports,
rail systems, airports, utilities, hospitals, universities, and
myriad services and programs which keep a nation functioning.

In the real world, governance is necessary to regulate the
economy, provide for military defense, establish laws,
maintain order, and provide public services. Without these,
a country would be chaos. This essential infrastructure and
these critical services are what keep us strong, safe,
competitive, and moving forward. These facts matter.

"where does it say that a government should pay for this stuff?"

In the United States Constitution.

Here is a comprehensive list of constitutionally proscribed expenditures:
The Federal Government was established by the Constitution
to provide services to the public. While these services vary considerably,
all are designed to improve the lives of the United States population,
as well as people around the world.

Goods and services. The Federal Government's essential duties include defending the United States from foreign aggression, representing U.S. interests abroad, crating and enforcing national laws and regulations, and administering domestic programs and agencies. Workers employed by the Federal Government are responsible for enacting and implementing the programs and performing the services that accomplish these goals, playing a vital role in many aspects of daily life. (While career opportunities in the U.S. Postal Service and the Armed Forces are not covered here, they are described in Handbook statements on Postal Service mail carriers; Postal Service clerks; Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators; and job opportunities in the Armed Forces.)

Industry organization. More than 200 years ago, the founders of the United States gathered in Philadelphia to create a constitution for a new national government. The Constitution of the United States, ratified by the last of the 13 original States in 1791, created the three branches of the Federal Government and granted certain powers and responsibilities to each. The legislative, judicial, and executive branches were granted equal powers but very different responsibilities that act to keep their powers in balance.

The legislative branch is responsible for forming and amending the legal structure of the Nation. Its largest component is Congress, the U.S. legislative body, which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This body includes senators, representatives, their staffs, and various support workers. The legislative branch employs only about 1 percent of Federal workers, nearly all of whom work in the Washington, DC area.

The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the laws that are established by the legislative branch. The Supreme Court, the Nation's definitive judicial body, makes the highest rulings. Its decisions usually follow the appeal of a decision made by the one of the regional Courts of Appeal, which hear cases appealed from U.S. District Courts, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or State Supreme Courts. U.S. District Courts are located in each State and are the first to hear most cases under Federal jurisdiction. The judicial branch employs about 2 percent of Federal workers, and unlike the legislative branch, its offices and employees are dispersed throughout the country.

Of the three branches, the executive branch has the widest range of responsibilities. Consequently, it employed about 97 percent of all Federal civilian employees (excluding Postal Service workers) in 2008. The executive branch is comprised of the Executive Office of the President, 15 executive Cabinet departments, and about 70 independent agencies, each of which has clearly defined duties. The Executive Office of the President is composed of several offices and councils that aid the President in policy decisions. These include the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees the administration of the Federal budget; the National Security Council, which advises the President on matters of national defense; and the Council of Economic Advisers, which makes economic policy recommendations.

Each of the 15 executive Cabinet departments administers programs that oversee an aspect of life in the United States. The highest departmental official of each Cabinet department, called the Secretary, is a member of the President's Cabinet. Each department, listed by employment size, is described below and in table 1.

Defense: Manages the military forces that protect our country and its interests, including the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and a number of smaller agencies. The civilian workforce employed by the Department of Defense performs various support activities, such as payroll and public relations.

Veterans Affairs: Administers programs to aid U.S. veterans and their families, runs the veterans' hospital system, and operates our national cemeteries.

Homeland Security: Works to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters. It also administers the country's immigration policies and oversees the Coast Guard.

Treasury: Regulates banks and other financial institutions, administers the public debt, prints currency, and collects Federal income taxes.

Justice: Works with State and local governments and other agencies to prevent and control crime and ensure public safety against threats, both domestic and foreign. It also enforces Federal laws, prosecutes cases in Federal courts, and runs Federal prisons.

Agriculture: Promotes U.S. agriculture domestically and internationally, manages forests, researches new ways to grow crops and conserve natural resources, ensures safe meat and poultry products, and leads the Federal anti-hunger programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program) and the National School Lunch Program.

Health and Human Services: Performs health and social science research, assures the safety of drugs and foods other than meat and poultry, and administers Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other social service programs.

Interior: Manages Federal lands, including the national parks, runs hydroelectric power systems, and promotes conservation of natural resources.

Transportation: Sets national transportation policy, plans and funds the construction of highways and mass transit systems, and regulates railroad, aviation, and maritime operations.

Commerce: Forecasts the weather, charts the oceans, regulates patents and trademarks, conducts the census, compiles economic statistics, and promotes U.S. economic growth by encouraging international trade.

Energy: Coordinates the national use and provision of energy, oversees the production and disposal of nuclear weapons, and plans for future energy needs.

Labor: Enforces laws guaranteeing fair pay, workplace safety, and equal job opportunity, administers unemployment insurance (UI) to State UI agencies, regulates pension funds; and collects and analyzes economic data.

State: Oversees the Nation's embassies and consulates, issues passports, monitors U.S. interests abroad, and represents the United States before international organizations.

Housing and Urban Development: Funds public housing projects, enforces equal housing laws, and insures and finances mortgages.

Education: Monitors and distributes financial aid to schools and students, collects and disseminates data on schools and other education matters, and prohibits discrimination in education.

Numerous independent agencies perform tasks that fall between the jurisdictions of the executive departments. Some smaller, but well- known, independent agencies include the Peace Corps, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. Although the majority of these agencies are fairly small, employing fewer than 1,000 workers (many employ fewer than 100), some are quite large. The largest independent agencies are:

Social Security Administration: Operates old age, survivor, and disability insurance programs.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Oversees aviation research and conducts exploration and research beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

Environmental Protection Agency: Runs programs to control and reduce pollution of the Nation's water, air, and lands.

General Services Administration: Manages and protects Federal Government property and records.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Examines insuring deposits and promoting sound banking practices.

Office of Personnel Management: Oversees issues related to human resources, such as hiring practices, health insurance policies, and workforce performance evaluation.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Will the new healthcare legislation get the job done?

Health care reform would be useful.
But the watered-down insurance
“reform” we got on March, 21,
2010 is simple surrender.

This gift to the insurance industry
allows the same profiteers
to call the shots, set the prices,
and keep their antitrust exemption.

We will still have 18 million or more
Americans with no access to
healthcare. The bill contains
language that may restrict
womens' access to reproductive
health services.

The public option and a provision
to establish federal oversight of
premium hikes were both stripped out
of the bill by transnational insurance cartels.
There is no way to control costs.
This means they will go up.

This president and Congress "settled"
for a privately run, for-profit system.

Insurers can’t wait to gain 31 million
new customers, and they will set
whatever price the market will bear.

We still need single payer
to make real headway.
Dennnis Kucinich is one
of the co-authors of H.R. 676,
which would create a single-payer,
Medicare-for-all, non-profit health
care system. It currently has 78
co-sponsors. We must continue
to advocate for such a system.

The profiteering must end.
The bill which was just passed
will not make that happen.

Here is what the doctors say:

"...the president's proposal would
ship hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars
to the private health insurance industry in the
form of subsidies," Young said.

"And to help finance this, it would impose a
new tax on health benefits of workers,
especially those in high-cost states.
Its individual mandate would force millions of
middle-income uninsured Americans to buy
insurers' skimpy products - insurance
policies full of gaps like ever-rising co-pays,
deductibles and premiums. Such policies
already leave middle-class American families
vulnerable to economic hardship and medical
bankruptcy in the event of a serious illness like
cancer...Even so, at least 23 million people
would remain uninsured. We know that being
uninsured raises your chance of dying by about
40 percent," he continued, citing another recent
study. "That translates into about 23,000
unnecessary deaths each year. As physicians,
we find this completely unacceptable...
In short, this proposal is an insurance company
bonanza, not good, evidence-based health reform.
The president would do better by abandoning the
insurance and drug companies and instead taking
up the single-payer approach."

Why Dennis held his nose and supported the bill..

in solidarity and with best regards,
Tim Flanagan

Box 22, Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Affiliated with the KBOO Labor Radio Collective,
Jobs with Justice, AFT, & The Portland Alliance

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The issue is torture.

Torture is a crime under US law.  

Those who order it, participate in it, condone it,
or who try to cover it up are criminals.
They should be prosecuted.

Torture is illegal, immoral, and it does not
work. The law is quite clear. The position of all
three branches of Abrahamic tradition agree.
The experts at the Pentagon and intelligence experts
worldwide agree that resorting to torture produces
flawed intelligence. 

"Torture and abuse cost American lives."
"We need to return to an ethic of responsibility and accountability
that is critical if citizens are to have faith in their government and
the world is to respect this nation. This is not just a matter of the
rule of law. It is a matter of national security."