Friday, June 13, 2014

Trouble with the truth

In his column in the Friday, June 13, Rapid City Journal David Rooks writes that his irritation with President Obama isn't about ideology as much as it is about truth.  He goes on to list a number of examples that are supposed to support his opinion.  He does this using political “spin” to decry “spin,” insert distortion for spin for more accuracy.  Of course, space requirements do not allow for foot notes or documentation to support the distortions, luckily for Mr. Rooks.

His accusations are more perception than evidence and therefore, to Mr. Rooks, they represent truth.  It is too bad he couldn't be more even handed in his criticisms when it relates to the ruling dictators or past dictators in South Dakota.  Mr. Rooks likes that term “dictator” so I thought I’d use it too even though I don’t believe we have any real dictators in the United States, even after I read David Rooks’ column.    

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's all about winning

This morning Bob Mercer’s post on Pure Pierre Politics suggested that Rick Weiland might want to consider dropping out of the political race for the retiring Tim Johnson's senate seat.  Mr. Mercer writes about the Weiland’s chance of winning the election and how the current mix of candidates actually helps Mike Rounds and hurts Rick Weiland’s chances.  Mr. Mercer makes the suggestion that former Senator Larry Pressler would be the “independent-Democratic” candidate with best chance against Rounds.

Apparently, politics is all about winning.  Issues and discussion aren't worth anything compared to winning.  The idea that the campaign itself would play an important part in our country’s politics appears to be passe'.   Perhaps this is another symptom or result of the polarization of American politics.    There should be more to our political discussion than just how Republican or conservative a candidate is or was or will be.  When does the discussion get around to what is good for the society and the nation, or does that ever make a difference?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Public service message regarding KXL

Friends,Tell President Obama: Reject KXL!

President Obama and the State Department are wavering on one of the most critical decisions facing our climate -- whether to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

That’s why groups from across the country are working to deliver 1 million comments to the administration, urging them to reject the Keystone XL pipeline between today and Earth Day.

Add your name to the list of nearly 1 million people speaking out against the Keystone XL pipeline.  

President Obama has said the right things on global warming, and has taken some critical steps, like doubling our cars’ fuel efficiency. And thanks in part to his strong leadership, our consumption of oil has dropped over 10% since 2007.

But the progress we’ve made would be undermined if we increased our dependence on oil from tar sands, which has the potential to add 240 billion metric tons of global warming pollution to our environment.

Now, that’s just unacceptable.

Join me, and add your name now. Let’s give President Obama 1 million reasons to reject Keystone.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is a proposed law that would give companies unprecedented power to hand your personal information from the internet, including from private communications, over to government agencies without a warrant.
When CISPA first showed up last year, we successfully defeated it together-- so we need to remind President Obama again about this dangerous threat to our personal privacy.
I just signed a petition calling on President Obama to tell Congress he intends to veto CISPA. Will you join me?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Safe or Free from Danger

Consider these two statements: 

1.  My child is safe in school.

2.  My child is not in danger in school.

Now expand consideration of the core of those two statements.  Is it better to be safe or not in danger?  In a free society, which condition is preferable?  To be able to come and go, when and where desired without the concern for personal safety would appear to be the better alternative.  An artificial level of security or safety derived from bullet proof glass, locked doors, and/or armed guards does not imply the desirable experience of freedom that many fellow citizens would like to believe they enjoy.  Not only that, but what safety measures are ever truly infallible.

The preference to be safe or free from danger should influence the discussions of what to do about gun violence, domestic violence, or violence of any kind that threatens any member of society.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Occupy Rapid City Continues

Occupy Rapid City has been gathering on a street corner in downtown Rapid City in public protest of issues of concern to the members of the group.   The focus for the every Saturday protests is a discussion that persists at the group’s first and third Monday meetings each month.  Some members believe that we should try to align the focus with the major issues of the original Occupy Wall Street group.  Others believe that many other issues are related to those original protests and therefore it is appropriate to bring these issues to the public’s attention.  Bringing issues to the public’s attention has always been a major objective of Occupy protests everywhere.

A local group consensus does exist about the necessity to continue the protests, even if we can’t agree on how we could narrow their focus.  Observers that stop by to engage us in conversation or argument often share curiosity that indicates a desire on the part of these observers to classify and or categorize the protest participants as members of groups that the observers have established opinions about.  The people that want to label the group are generally missing a point that our group has an established a consensus about.  We believe that we represent not just ourselves, but a majority of Americans, the 99%, in our concern for the need to address the issues stated or implied on the signs we display each weekend in protest.

We do not mean to suggest that the 99% are in agreement on these issues.  We do try to draw attention to issues that affect the majority of our fellow citizens.  Our goal is to get people to think about these issues and how they came to be issues.  Another consensus within the group is with regard to the relationship of many issues of concern in the United States and the ever increasing economic inequality.  We aren’t talking about getting hand-outs and freebies as some people might imply.  We are talking about the political and societal environment that has been manipulated and changed over time to favor a small portion of the population. 

The following two books are recommended reading for greater understanding and insight into the positions of the Occupy movement:

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future
Joseph E. Stiglitz
New York: W.W. Norton & Co., ©2012

Debt: the first 5,000 years
David Graeber
Brooklyn, N.Y.: Melville House, ©2010

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A voice from the heartland with something to say

A while back I posted a guest editorial from Stephen Anderson.  His editorial took exception to negative letters he read in a magazine and he questioned the accusations that were being leveled at the Occupy movement.  Even though he wasn't exactly singing Occupy's praises he was at least being fair and honest about his observations.  A friend of mine has been in communication with Mr. Anderson and he shared with me the following video that Stephen sent to him.  The video records a speech Anderson gave at an event in St. Paul, Minnesota back in 2008.  The speech was very timely then and it is still worth listening to now.  Mr.  Anderson continues to be a fair and honest observer of society and his style is articulate and entertaining.  Forty-five minutes isn't too long to give to this thought provoking verbal presentation.