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The Justice Department’s overly aggressive and intrusive invasion of the Associated Press, and their stomping on the First Amendment rights of a free press, is cause for all Americans to be outraged. The checks and balances built into our democracy require active oversight by the people and their representatives. The how and why of this apparently excessive use of investigative power should be made public, and if there are substantial reasons in the public interest of why AP was invaded by the feds, the American public and the professional journalism community deserves to know.
Here’s a copy of a note to a friend who asked about my opinion of the recent Benghazi hearings:
Bottom line: I fear that our government structure and processes, including the current two-party system, is failing the republic, and us.
I can almost not contain my rage at American Airlines! First they screwed up my reservation, which was for a first class round trip from O’Hare to LaGuardia, using miles to upgrade. The result was that they would not let me board the flight I was reserved on, although they admitted they had messed up the reservation. then they scheduled me out on a plane in coach, that was cancelled then on another flight on coach that was late. as a result, I missed my reservation to visit the 9/11 Memorial for the first time.
They also managed to lose my bag, never to be found, so I spent three days and nights in NYC in the clothes I traveled in, despite meetings, dinners, lunches and a Carnegie Hall concert for which I should have been properly dressed.
And then refused 75% of my loss claim for the luggage and its content, after a three-month wait, saying they would not pay for any items valued at over $100 without receipts. Who keeps receipts for clothes over a year old?
All this despite I’ve never had a claim against American before and done hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate and personal business with the airline over decades.
I hate American Airlines, and invite you to as well.
The archaic structure of the US. senate worked against the will of the vast majority of the American people yesterday when the Senate rejected legislation that would have required minimal background checks for purchasing a gun.
A 21st century democracy requires more of a Senate and Federal government than what we are getting.
Is it time for a new American government, one that is a 21st century evolution of our original American Revolution?
We need a government that reflects the popular vote, not the archaic Electoral College. We need a government with a Senate that reflects the population distribution in our country. We need a House of Representatives that is not gerrymandered to serve partisan political interests. We need a government where elections are federally funded and that rejects being purchased by special interests. We need term limits for Congress, to restore civilian rule of our country.
Our government is not doing its job. Both parties are failures. It’s time — we need a new government, a Constitutional convention, a re-invention of America.
Do we believe in equality of human rights and opportunity? Or do we fall back on tradition, culture and religion to deprive certain people of rights and opportunity in favor of others? One of our greatest ex-Presidents has grappled with this question, and reached a bold and admirable conclusion.
Read his words, think about his message, and recognize the common sense of his thinking:
These lunches and dinners with Republicans President Obama is having are a shallow, cynical ploy to garner points for crossing the political divide. It is a transparent bit of public relations crisis management, obviously designed to make the White House look convivial with “reasonable” Republicans.
Such meetings need not have been publicized, if substance trumped image, and they clearly could have been held before the sequester disaster. It’s unfortunate that White House communications operatives are sinking to the same level of insincerity as Congress has become so well known for to date.
As a retired public relationships professional, I’m embarrassed to see such amateur and transparent communications tactics taking the place of real substantial political dialog and a sprit of patriotic cooperation between the White House and Congress.
I checked the military oaths for enlisted and commissioned members of the military (Google them), and found that they have an important difference. I took both of these in the Army, as an enlisted Private and then as a commissioned officer, Second Lieutenant. I don’t see anywhere that one oath supersedes the other, nor are they additive, and in fact some people enter service as an officer, and therefore might not take the enlisted oath.
It is very interesting that the enlisted oath requires them to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the officer’s appointed over me,” as well as follow the Constitution, while the officer’s oath has no mention of following the orders of the President of the United States or the officers appointed over them. This strikes me as a very odd and disturbing inconsistency. It can only be interpreted as meaning officers only have an obligation to “support and defend the Constitution,” and the interpretation of how to do so is left up to them individually.
I also note that each oath stipulates the obligation to protect “against all enemies, foreign or DOMESTIC.” In light of the current furor over new documents regulating decisions to make drone strikes that indicate the U.S. can kill suspected enemies, including U.S. citizens, without any legal evidence, but just the suspicion they are dangerous to the U.S. The presence of “domestic enemies” in the military oaths that have been around so long is interesting in light of these new documents, just revealed in the news media today.
These newly revealed documents only add to my increasing concern about the apparent vagueness and weakening of judiciary standards and checks and balances in the decision-making and relationships between our elected civilian government, the intelligence community, the military and the judiciary. The greatest victim in all this may be the degree of public transparency necessary to the survival of this or any constitutional democracy.
As I entered the 9/11 Memorial for the first time last Thursday morning, my first impression was of all the hard-hat re-construction activity still surrounding the site, all these years later. Within the memorial, security is everywhere. Then, as I approached the falls outlining where one of the buildings stood, two strikingly different impressions arose amidst the quiet and the rush of water. First, a volunteer led a group of four to a name on the rail, and he wiped away the mist covering the sought after name. The lady burst into tears, leaning over the stainless steel rail, as a young boy threw his arms around her in comfort. They had made a connection with their past. Around the corner of the pool, I then spied a couple planning to take a picture over the pool: the young women stepped back with the camera, and the man happily smiled toward her in posing, as if he were at the edge of the Grand Canyon. To these likely tourists, I imagined this was another fun and interesting outing in a lively visit to the Big Apple. Just 12 years on, I think I witnessed the slow transition of the 9/11 site from a somber memorial to death and destruction, into a touristic park-like place. How time changes perspective.