Sunday, June 26, 2005

Scew the home owner!

The right of imminent domain has been a necessary tool in the shed of public interest for decades. It has always had the potential for dangerous misuse by the influence of those with a lust for profit or power---but like the fire extinguisher it has always been marked "for emergency " in its Fifth Amendment delineation that private property can only be taken for "public use".

That minimal protection has been flushed down the toilet by the U.S. Supreme Court decision that now allows a government entity to take private property and give it to a commercial developer on the premise that a possibly enhanced tax base meets the "public use" requirement. This was a Connecticut case that allowed the municipal government to take a number of homes in a low income area and hand them over to a developer.

The Court (and its defenders in this case) offers the Disneyland assurance that this new interpretation should be used rarely and narrowly. Right!---and for all who believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn they can buy for two dollars!

If there was ever an adage that applies to politicians who run municipal governments, it’s the one that goes, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!" That is NOT just a cynical observation. Can anyone seriously believe that--- given the continual demands on revenue to support goods and services--- local governments won't dance to the siren song of fat cat developers now that they have been deputized by the U.S. Supreme Court?

Unless one has been living under a rock, it is common knowledge that big moneyed developers have about as much concern for conservation and resources as an elephant has for a bug in its path. So now that the Court has greased their path to more profits, the (mostly) home owners of America are to believe that this system adjustment won't come knocking at their door with ever increasing frequency? Right! And Pigs can fly!

We should be raising hell with Congress! We should have pasted on our foreheads the Hemingway admonition, "Therefore, send not to know, for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee...”

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Our's not to reason why..... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mississippi Burning--and slow learning.

Watching the Jury deliver the verdict in the trial of Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, jump started a trip down memory lane. I was born and raised in the south. I came back from the Far East after a stint in the Army in Korea and as a civilian journalist for Pacific Stars and Stripes in Tokyo. I went to work for The Greensboro Daily News in 1959 and was one of the few cartoonists in the south supporting the civil rights movement.

I was eating lunch at Woolworths the day the five black university students sat down at the counter and asked to be served. It was the start of the “sit in” public accommodations movement. I got a first hand view of the tactics of the Klan and their redneck supporters while marching for public accommodations in Greensboro.

As I listened to some of the comments on the jury verdict of “manslaughter”for the brutal, premeditated beating and murder of the three young civil rights workers, I was reminded of the old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Here was Fred Graham, of all commentators, saying that he thought that “in the real world” it was a good verdict and indicated how far Mississippi had come since “those days”.

Really? Well, Fred Graham–in the “real world”of the next few minutes after your comments --the prosecutor allowed as how the jury decision showed that Nashoba County, Mississippi was not the “caricature of Hollywood”—and should not be burdened by the stigma wrought by “a handful”of people.

In case your missed it Fred, that is a lot of “real world” denial. In “those days” there were no “handful” of racists! There was an entire power structure of racists! There was an infrastructure of racist print and local television media that fanned the flames of hatred for Yankee “nigger lovers”. There were hundreds of thousands of good Mississippians who turned the other way as their fellow citizens raped, lynched and murdered with impunity!

And in the “real world” of today’s Nashoba County there are those who take pride in the fact that their fellow citizens can look at a brutal, cold blooded murder and call it “manslaughter”.

Mississippi slow learning! Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

Shocking reports of Americans abused in foreign prisons!

Item one: On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find the accused American chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair food or water. Most of the time they (American prisoners) urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted American was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the air conditioner had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The American was almost unconscious on the floor. With a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearable hot but extremely loud native music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the American chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the floor.

Item two: The 22 year old American was chained to the ceiling of his cell for four days. His legs were beaten by his interrogators using a technique known as a “common peroneal strike”–a potentially disabling blow to the side of the leg just above the knee. So brutally was the four days of beating, the American’s legs would no longer bend. He was denied drinking water except for a guard taunting him by squirting some in his face. When a doctor finally went to examine him, he was dead.

Item Three: Another American, who was considered by his captors to be emotionally disturbed was repeatedly beaten in the legs and chained with his arms straight up in the air. The guards nicknamed him “Timmy”, after a disabled child in the animated American television series “South Park”. One of the guards who beat the prisoner also taught him to screech like the cartoon character.

Item four: The President of the country holding these prisoners called the charges “Absurd!”
The Prime Minister said,”to suggest that somehow my country is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don’t take them seriously!”
The Defense Minister said.”They have been, they are today, and they will be treated humanely in the future. To be in an 8-by-8 cell in a beautiful country is no inhumane treatment.”

Shocking truth about the above reports!

Item One: From the official FBI report on Guantanamo Bay detention center– inserting the word “American” instead of Afghans.
Item Two: From the official government report on the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan. (Again, inserting "American")
Item Three: From the official government report on the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan. (Inserting "Amrican")

Item Four: Quotes from President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld—on the reports of detainee abuse by Americans.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Scopes mentality revisited.

Governor Jeb Bush, Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist President George Bush, and the Fox Network’s journalist impersonators owe an apology to the medical professionals and the judges who shouldered the burden of adjudicating the Terry Schiavo case.

Those leaders of The Flat Earth Society helped encourage, codify and facilitate the malicious and slanderous campaign by the religious right wing know-nothings in this country at the expense of thoughtful, conscientious professionals.

It will be interesting to see how all these “moral” high-grounders respond to the autopsy report.

How will those--who claimed that Terri Schiavo was alert and responding to those around her—explain how she did that when she had less than half her brain and a completely “dead” area that facilitates sight. (She was blind!)

That entire sad episode reminded me that this country has not made a lot of progress since the Scopes “monkey trial”.

Pops Schiavo diagnosis Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bush crying "wolf" again!

I find most interesting the juxtaposition of the "priorities" enunciated by President Bush at his press conference on his $2.6 trillion budget.

The President warned of catastrophic results if his social security "reform and privatization" program is not adopted. The budget story also reported that his proposal included a $10 billion reduction in the federal-state health program for the needy and disabled.

Then Bush ominously warned that without any change, the government is expected to spend $191 billion on Medicaid in the next year.

Really? All of that just for the health and welfare of our people? We're supposed to be upset with that?? Meanwhile we're perfectly content to spend over $300 billion for the welfare of Iraq!

Bush, in a dire warning , dismissed the Social Security trust fund as little more than "file cabinets full of IOUs."Then, almost in the same breath, lobbied for an option that would allow "privatized" accounts to be invested in treasury bonds because they "are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government."

The fact is that the Social Security Trust Fund is invested entirely in treasury bonds! The other fact is that Bush has a vary distant relationship with the truth

Saturday, June 11, 2005

He doesn't give em hell---he gives em truth and they think its hell. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Watergate whiners! Posted by Hello