To The Daily Sun,
Personally, I don't think everyone who voted against President Obama is consciously a racist or a bigot or that everyone who voted for him is not. I do not know everyone's heart.
I think (or at least hope) that many, if not most, people are not bigots in the sense that they personally hate African-Americans. But, people can be a part of a racist system or way of thinking even if they personally like some people of color.
Examples can be found in the South under Jim Crow or in South Africa under apartheid, where many whites bragged about how much they "liked" the black people that worked for them while benefiting from those systems. There are those who can say "some of my best friends are black" but still support policies that are detrimental to African Americans or other minorities.
It is similar to those Christians who would never picket a funeral like the Westboro Baptists, but say they "love" gay people while at the same time, work to deny them basic civil and human rights. That is a lot like saying you "love" people of color while still supporting segregation.
Those who simply criticize President Obama for this or that policy are probably not being bigoted. I criticize the president all the time but I do so on real issues. I criticize Obamacare because it is a sell-out to the insurance companies. President Obama was not my first choice in the primaries. I have voted in most elections since I was 18, and rarely have I voted "for" anyone. Usually, I find myself voting against the other candidate. Clearly, most American elections are like Utah executions in that you are given a choice of two ways to be disposed of, but that is another subject.
Where bigotry and/or racism may come into play is in the outrageous misinformation and misinformation about the president. He is routinely accused by many people on the far right of not being a U.S. citizen, of having committed treason, of giving undocumented aliens the right to vote, of establishing "death panels" for senior citizens, or of being a radical Muslim.
Perhaps those who disseminate such bold, outright lies are not consciously racist. I realize most do not wear sheets or burn crosses. At the very least, however, they are certainly practicing racial discrimination. Treating someone differently because of their ethnicity or race is discrimination. Have you known any white presidents who have had to put up with such outrageous accusations? The right hated Bill Clinton with a passion but they never accused him of not being born in Arkansas!
E. Scott Cracraft
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 09:00
To The Daily Sun,
Community Rights Based Ordinances (RBOs) were passed on March 11 of this year by Alexandria, Danbury, and Hebron by margins of approximately 3 to 1 in Alexandria and Danbury, and 8 to 1 in Hebron. The town of Grafton passed an RBO in March 2013.
The purpose of a Community Rights Based Ordinance is to declare the rights on a municipal level that are already afforded to us in our state Constitution. This is necessary because some corporations use our constitutional rights against us, and they need to be stripped of their claimed rights as "persons" within the towns, in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and ecosystems.
Corporations are still welcome to do business within towns that have an RBO, so long as their actions do not violate the rights declared within the RBO.
It is the duty of the selectmen and/or town clerk to certify ordinances. Since the RBO was legally presented as a petitioned warrant article in each of the towns, and passed by majority vote, it is the duty of selectmen, or the town clerk (according to RSA 31:128), to sign the actual ordinance as a means to certify it. It does not matter what the personal opinion is of the selectmen, or town clerk regarding the ordinance — they are in violation of their duties if they do not sign the ordinance.
The next step in the process is to notify any corporations, or individuals that may be participating with a corporate developer, of the new law if they are in violation of the RBO. This is a procedural action that is intended to be a courtesy, as well as a warning that any action taken that would violate the Rights Based Ordinance is considered illegal. Each party notified receives a copy of the RBO, the town warrant, along with a letter of notification. Once again, it is the responsibility of the selectmen to carry out this action.
If a town has a land use zoning ordinance, the representatives of the town cannot pick and choose which part of the ordinance to enforce, or not enforce - and they certainly cannot choose not to enforce the ordinance at all. The same applies to the Rights Based Ordinance.
Section 4 — Enforcement of the RBO speaks of the town, or resident, taking action against a violation of the RBO. This does not mean the selectmen of a town have the option to pass off enforcement of the RBO to residents, as that would be a violation of their duties to enforce the ordinance. What it means is that whether the town, or resident, files suit against a corporation that violates the RBO, they shall be entitled to recover all costs of litigation, including, without limitation, expert and attorneys' fees.
To say that the town "may enforce this ordinance through an act of equity" means the selectmen can choose to take a violating corporation to court, or they can settle the matter another way — iit does not allow the selectmen the choice of whether or not they want to enforce the ordinance. It is their duty to enforce the Rights Based Ordinance.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:57
To The Daily Sun,
What Americans perceive are American businesses are that in name only. It has become a case of mistaken identity. The percentage of business actually done here by American corporations is declining. It has been for years.
The icons we think of as American are often foreign businesses in disguise. Simply because a business may be incorporated here, is headquartered here or has been here since 1910 does not guarantee it is an American business. No matter how much we associate companies like GE, GM, or IBM with being American brands, they have ever-increasing employees abroad with with ever larger percentages of sales and profits originating offshore. More than half of the current profits of the S & P 500 come from foreign sources.
In 20 years, two-thirds of the profits of American companies will be foreign. That means two-thirds of all investment and two-thirds of the jobs will be created outside America. The negative impact this macro trend portends for American living standards is beyond bleak.
Recent polling confirms the impact is already occurring. Since Barack Obama was elected, the number of Americans who now consider themselves middle-class has dropped to 44 percent from 53 percent in 2008. A staggering, near 10-percent drop.
Democrats' reaction to globalization has only made matters worse. If anyone thinks forced higher labor costs that increase prices for American-made goods originating from mandated higher taxes, minimum wage increases or a tsunami of new rules and regulations politically cloaked in the "environment" will improve the lives of the middle/lower classes, or stem their decline, donkeys are in Fantasyland. I mean nuts. If Democrats refuse to come to grips with the effects of globalization on the American economy this country is headed for a period of violence, social upheaval, and potential civil war it has not experienced in more than a century.
This unrest is already happening. Lynch-mob racial attacks like those from George Maloof and Nick Vazzana that serve no purpose except to create ethnic and economic divides that increase social temperatures to an explosion point. Occupy Wall Street protesters, defecating in Zuccotti park, urinating in the streets and spitting on police officers are just the beginning when people are encouraged to dislike a segment of society.
France beheaded their 1 percent during the revolution. Guess what? France drowns in as much inequality today, as ever. Their 200-year-old, over-the-top, cradle-to-grave welfare state highlighted by a 35 hour union work-week keeps the country teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. High-cost products from high-cost, inefficient labor causes France to lose ever more market share on world markets. Their socialist president anchored to a 22 percent job approval rating is considering beheading the rich again as a sacrifice to the equality gods. Beheading is simply preferred to admitting the endless structural and systemic failures of socialism in France, now or 200 years ago.
America's star is dimming, the middle class is declining, and the economy is dawdling, while American business, as represented by the stock market, reaches records never seen in history. American business had the vision to recognize the endless opportunities offered by globalization. America, the country has not. In fact, Democrats have done everything possible under Barack Obama to hasten the exit of American business. Most Democrats embrace protectionism and isolationism. They embrace unions because unions are a protective mechanism for labor to hide behind. They demand high cost wages in a global market place, devaluing labor. They oppose technology, because it replaces labor. Technology, America desperately needs to make products competitive in cost.
Democrats embrace rules and regulations because it strengthens government's hand while weakening business. Weak businesses are far more susceptible to powerful labor interests and government bullying. The obstruction by Democrats at every level to globalization under the guise to protect the less fortunate has only produced a bumper crop. Ever-declining business tax revenues will only worsen their plight.
American business has become just an illusion in America. It's people, production, profits and prosperity, all moved some place else forced there by the "We hate business" policies of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:51
To The Daily Sun,
I was driving home today from work when I came across a domestic situation on Messer Street. I watched so many people drive right by and not help the poor girl out. So I stopped and got her out of there. Brought her to my house were she could wait until her cousin drive down from Maine to pick her up.
What is wrong with people today? No one going by could stop and take a few minutes out of their lives to help out a stranger. I did not know this girl before today. I stopped and helped. Not looking for any recognition but wish more people would help someone out stranger or not. Maybe this world would be a better place. Maybe my story will inspire others to help someone in need being a family member or stranger.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:45
Not too many years ago, any news story about bonus money would've been about some 20-year-old baseball player — an up-and-coming superstar getting $100,000 or so on top of his salary as an extra incentive to join the Yankees, Giants, Red Sox or whatever team. Sportswriters dubbed them: "Bonus Babies."
How quaint. These days, stories about bonus money don't elicit cheers, for they feature some of society's least admirable people: Wall Street bankers. Far from superstars, they can be subpar performers or even what amounts to crime syndicate bosses overseeing everything from simple fraud to laundering money for drug cartels. Yet, in the first part of each year, we witness this cluster of greedmeisters quaffing champagne, laughing uproariously and shouting, "It's bonus time, baby!"
This year, even though the Wall Street bosses have presided over a 30 percent drop in their banks' profits, they've extracted a 15 percent raise in overall bonus money, totaling a ridiculous $27 billion. That averages out to $165,000 in extra pay to each Wall Street banker. But averages deceive, for thousands of lower-level bankers are given a dab, while those up in the executive suites make off with the bulk of the bonus heist.
Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, for example, didn't just grab a 15 percent increase in bonus pay, but nearly three times that. His total haul was $16 million. Then there's Jamie Dimon, boss of JPMorgan Chase. He had a really terrible year in 2013, forcing his shareholders to shell out some $22 billion in penalties for tallying up a long list of illegalities. But that didn't stop Jamie from taking a 74 percent hike in bonus money this year — he pulled in a cool $18.5 million.
In a time when the 90 percent majority of Americans see their income falling, you'd think Wall Street might show a bit of modesty.
But, instead, they choose to show us just how much Wall Street crime really does pay.
Let's review the rap sheet of Wall Street banks: Defrauding investors, cheating homeowners, forgery, rigging markets, tax evasion, credit card ripoffs ... and so sickeningly much more.
At last, though, some of the cops on the bank beat seem to be having regulatory epiphanies. The New York Times reports that some financial overseers are questioning "whether such misdeeds are not the work of a few bad actors, but rather a flaw that runs through the fabric of the banking industry. ... Regulators are starting to ask: Is there something rotten in bank culture?"
Really? Where've they been?
Millions of everyday Americans had no problem sniffing out that rot back in 2007 at the start of the Wall Street collapse and nauseating bailout. Imagine how pleased they are that it took only seven years for the stench of bank rot to reach the tender nostrils of authorities. Still, even sloooww progress is progress.
Both the head of the New York Fed and the Comptroller of the Currency are at least grasping one basic reality, namely that the tightened regulations enacted to deal with the "too big to fail" issue do nothing about the fundamental ethical collapse among America's big bankers. The problem is that, again and again, Wall Street's culture of greed is rewarded — bank bosses preside over gross illegalities, are not punished, pocket multimillion-dollar bonuses despite their shoddy ethics and blithely proceed to the next scandal.
More restraint on bank processes miss a core fact: Banks don't engage in wrongdoing; bankers do. As Comptroller Tom Curry says, the approach to this problem is not to call in more lawyers, "It is more like a priest-penitent relationship."
Public shaming can be useful, but it should include actual punishment of the top bosses — take away their bonuses, fire them and prosecute them!
(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:39