Who Makes the Constitution Real? The Supreme Court? the Senate? or No One.

People marching in the streets indicate there is a problem with justice. The Constitution states speedy trial and by trial jury.

As we appoint a justice for a lifetime, ought we notice this oversight?

A life long appointment is a serious matter, which certainly merits attention by our most deliberative body, the Senate. It is not a basketball game with a buzzer. And while the Judiciary Committee is getting the headlines, during early election time, we find ourselves talking about how the judge was so skilled at deflecting questions. What about the accountability of the Senate to the Constitution? … and to the People. What issues has the Supreme Court let slip? When, but Now, can we address this.You will find a short list at the bottom.

Justice Not Done.

When the Judiciary Committee of the senate rams through its prime time moment to beat the election, after people have been parading in the streets for five months protesting the frequent killings of blacks by police; justice is not done. If the senate cannot align the Court to the Constitution; an essential repair is absent, void. The Senate is failing in its duties and the entire Government could fall as a result. The court can lose its stature. A true Senate provides advice and consent to the executive and the judiciary. Justice is not done. Advice and Consent is written into the Constitution. It is not a rubber stamp for the president as it has been these last four years. One consequence can be seen as feeding the court a raft of partisan judges. Justice is not done. The Senate ought to deliberate. Just as a court might, were it fair. That is not taking place, even virtually. The Senate was once called the greatest deliberative body…. No longer. A senator now speaks to an empty chamber. The Senate says, Yes Sir. . to the President. In place of deliberations, as we can observe through committee workings, we have rulings.

Now we are watching the selection of a lifetime judicial position. If a judge cannot engage clear judgment outside of the law… How can the result be justice within it? Is a judge qualified to sit on the bench, if incapable of recognizing a clear and present danger? If judge Amy Coney Barrett is incapable of noting that literally millions of Americans and millions of acres of America are already damaged by an increasing physical threat this year alone… what will her judgments be good for? She is obviously very able with words. But it takes more than that to be just. How many billion dollar disasters does one need to add up to notice there is a real threat? There is politics, Judge Barrett, and there is simple counting.

NOAA covers the trend. Going back further in time than 1980 will show even more dramatic increases in the trend. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/

Stare Decisis is nowhere in the Constitution

Process not justice seems to be the only result of the law, as we watch it grind away. ‘Stare decisis’ holds sway where similar thinking gets consistent results. Stare Decisis is latin for ‘let the decision stand’. Like the ouroboros, the snake that bites its own tail and rolls like a wheel, anywhere with no axle. Can we see how our law bites its own tail when our Supreme Court is composed so uniformly. One cannot help but wonder, when we have seven justices of the same religion, where all but one have graduated from two schools, either Harvard or Yale. Who does this Court represent? Consistency or the Constitution? Class or the populous? Money or the people? Which?

Fortunately, the Constitution is written in plain English. We can reclaim it.

But to stick with the point, what is the object here, justice or consistency? ….the consistency of bad judgments or that our laws be true to the Constitution? Isn’t the Constitution the axle to the wheel of the law?

Meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee cannot seem to find time to mention the right to speedy trial, meaning prompt trial. While the murderer of George Floyd that took place on May 25 in the springtime, it still has not been brought to ‘justice’ five months out, as the leaves of autumn fall. Officer Derick Chauvin has moved to another state. Ten thousand people in my city of Portland have protested by lying still and silent for nine minutes on the Burnside Bridge to bring home the fatal fact of “I can’t breathe” of George Floyd. Protesters here get gassed in the middle of a respiratory pandemic by federal armored troops. While the Senate hurries to appoint a new and seemingly partisan judge, but not deal with obvious extra legal murder by officer. The following thumbnail of the fourth and fifth amendments show clearly the law that protects all of us.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by anybody
nor shall any person
be deprived of life, without due process of law

There are caveats omitted above, yet this is the broad outline of the Law of the Land, the highest law that cannot be superseded by process, delay or subordinate jurisdiction. Justice delayed is justice denied; as one might surmise as one observes the protests lingering in the streets for over 125 days; or as one may casually observe the list of judges that keep quitting on the twenty year old 911 cases in Guantanamo Bay. Where is the Senate here? Something obviously is not working. Is it a political problem or a judicial problem that the constitution is not being honored? As I see it, it is Both. It will become fixed when the Judiciary Committee of the Senate notes the breaches. We have seen protestors assassinated. This appears lawful to some, though inconsistent with the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.

Here is a list of Constitutional breaches that an English speaker might consider as currently engaged: First note that I have prevailed in a constitutional case with the Department of Defense in 1969. Having both taken an oath to defend it, and being victorious in holding the Navy up against the Constitution, I feel a sense of ownership here. Could the Judiciary Committee inquire about trial by jury? The language is very clear: “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury.” Or is it merely an antique nicety? These days it is replaced nine times out of ten by plea bargain. (Do you want to be charged with a hundred years, or would you plead guilty for just five years?) Why is this the mode of ”dealing out” so called justice across the land… a bargaining? Does it speak to the dominance of money in our politics, as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse so ably illustrated in the judiciary hearings.

President is, or is not King? War powers Tell an old burr under the saddle.

For more breaches, the Constitution states that the Congress must declare war, which states the condition for ending the war that only the People can authorize. We have been so very bad at ending wars these last 75 years. The power to declare war, the power to kill on authority, is reserved for the Congress representing the people. Period. That power is Not a power granted to the executive, otherwise we could legally have targeted assassinations directed by a political executive. This is written in the fresh blood of Portlands’ Michael Reinoehl’s murder by officers. And Trump’s comment: “We got him.” The soldiers understand this breech of authority. That is why we have a four story stack of their coffins resulting from their suicides…. every month. This lack of honoring the Constitution, alters the very structure of government. The Senate is no longer a serious place.

We now find ourselves watching a charade. Justice as process, nothing more. A process run by the clock, where the star is: ‘stare decisis’, a phrase nowhere within the founding document, our Constitution. It is the driving philosophy of chief justice John Roberts, which he touted before the Senate judiciary committee when he received his lifetime appointment. How can the Ouroboros take us back to the Constitution?

What is the Constitution for? Money or Justice?

When laws are made consistent but the axle is forgotten — speedy trial, trial by jury, and so much more written in plain English in the Constitution, then what is this charade for?… other than pretense to aggregate wealth to a few. Can equality under the law be enforced when we have over 620 billionaires? Now the richest 50 people, the cream of the cream, own as much as half of all Americans, 165 million of us; Citizens or serfs? That disequality manifests with one person having more wealth than three million others. How could any state practice equality under the law with that disparity? To our honor, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse showed how money warps our law, especially in selecting justices and creating precedents, painting the law with case after case to provide the preferred effect of protecting those with money. Far better than any reporting on him, his direct testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee ought to wake up All citizens, of any political persuasion.

Ten Questions for John Brennan, and his Senatorial Confirmers.

Ten Questions for John Brennan, and his Senatorial Confirmers.

1.  How effective has congressional oversight functioned with the CIA? <br>
2. The Church Commission required an FBI Director be confirmed every decade, and this was not done with FBI Director Mueller.  Why?  Is periodic confirmation of ANY spy/surveillance/investigative agency a good idea in light of the Church Commission findings? <br>
3.According to Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Wm Arkin in their Top Secret America report, there are 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies engaged in security work similar or associated with the CIA.   Who has oversight?  Who confirms their directors and directions and budgets, and how frequently?   What is the aggregate cost… and why is this budget “black”?
4. Senator Ron Wyden’s question as I roughly recall:  If our government decides to kill a citizen, does it supply a courtesy call as to why?   And who, apart from the President and those in his chain of command selects and approves these assassinations?
5. Is there concern about assassinations in other countries by US agents without the constitutionally required letter of Marque and Reprisal granted by the Congress (not the executive branch)?  If not, why?
6.Who, if anyone in government, is concerned about going to war without a declaration, as required by the constitution?   What is the significance of the oath or affirmation that office holders and service personnel take to preserve and protect the constitution?    Does that refer to the physical object, or the  meaning of the words contained in it?  (trying to keep my questions light, like Sn. Wyden.)
7. What has been the cost to the United States of fighting famous CIA alumnus such as Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Manuel Noriega, in lives and money, not to mention opportunity cost?   What has been the cost of conflicts with lesser known alums.   Any idea of ongoing and future costs?   Who monitors the fallout of the 1,271 government, and 1,931 private agencies?…. or is this as I fear, divided between numerous Congressional committees fighting for turf.  Who gains by this disorganization?
8. The drone boom is currently a lucrative area of development when there are few opportunities in this post crash economy.   How long before drones will, as all inventions do, return upon the United States, both government and civil society.   How long will these new threats harm our country?     Is our collective investment in this in the long term security interest of the US, or like the H bomb, a moral albatross which will fester in time?   Is this the security job equivalent to a self licking ice cream cone?
9. If a declaration of war were to be written,  to  provide an outline of what victory might look like, is short, what we want….. what would it say?
10. Since this is the intelligence committee, and while great expense is proffered surveilling the wide world, and yet because of our disjointed economy, banks and hedge funds are selling great swaths of America overseas.    Is this intelligent?  In the national interest?

The King Clause

Bravely,  Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and some folks back home gave the world a new and remarkable form of government:  A constitutional democratic republic.   The constitution replaced the King, and all that was required was a revolution and that the people of the United States honor their word.

Actually, this constitution took a lot of defending from threats on many levels.  There was the war of 1812, and the crash and panic 1792 and the collapse of the first United States Bank that Hamilton championed.  The panic of 1819 and the collapse of the second United States Bank.  The panic of 1857 and the civil war that followed within the decade, not to speak of political upheavals like the whisky rebellion and disenfranchisement of various political parties, parties you never learned about in your civics courses,  now long forgotten.   All these actions were to save us from the torture and executions that a King could order at will.   Kings of old would initiate wars or seize an enemies property, or execute a citizen on his own authority.    A constitution protected the people of the United States against such acts of whimsy.   At least till now.

Some say the Magna Carta saved English subjects from such whimsy.  Tell that to Henry the VIII.   Tell that to Chief Justice John Roberts; who orchestrated the People’s United decision that says money is speech and corporations are persons.

To note the watershed, the difference between kings ordering by fiat, and free men (and women) living under their own law, the framers inserted the king clause into the constitution which reads (Only)” Congress shall have the power…. to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, or make rules concerning captures on land and water.”

The King Clause of the constitution has three parts: authorizing war, authorizing private contractors to kill and seize, and controlling rules of military capture.

This clear language makes a significant break with the previous royal form of government.  The Congress (whose etymology means ‘stands upright’) not an individual, has the power to engage the country in a war.   The president is not a king, in fact the title is derived from the verb: “preside” meaning guidance and literally meaning to sit in front, sedere: sit;  pre, in front.  It was understood that war was not an informal thing, but needed a reason, and a demand….. thus it could be drawn to conclusion when the demand was met.    The founders had watched such inanities as the 30 years war, and the hundred years war because of such a lack of focus.   The United States has seen the same with its decadal wars in  Viet Nam and Afghanistan….  where no reason was given, and no demand proffered that the People of the United States stood behind.   With no goal, it is impossible to find the victory of achieving it.

This was the reason for the first part, the declaration of war has two functions a) to announce a clear set of demands, and b) to see that the American people are behind those demands.     It must be noted that whenever these conditions have been met, the United States has been victorious; and these conditions have not transpired in the last 65 years.

Actually war is still not an informal thing… people do not say to themselves: “Dang, I wonder who is dropping bombs on us today?”   As accustomed as we are to having murder brought into our living rooms nightly by the TV, and we are all conditioned to accept it a normal… the question “Who is shooting at me?” is not of the same emotional caliber as in watching a whodunit.

The second part of the King Clause makes Congress responsible for “granting letters of Marque and Reprisal,” or  what was considered at the time of writing: A pirate’s license.    A pirate was someone sailing a private vessel who seized property of a foreign vessel and likely killed people in so doing.   Once granted a letter of Marque  and Reprisal, the captain in possession of such could attack, seize and in the process, kill persons of the country or counties listed in the letter.   (Such a letter would not allow the killing of an American citizen.)  In short, such a letter was grant of limited power to violate the sovereignty of the nation listed within it.

The third portion of the King Clause, makes it clear that it is the American people that will subjugate any foreign people, and will themselves determine the conditions of that.   This was seen as a power so grave as not to be allowed to be deferred to a mere administrator.

It is worth pointing out that of the founders who created this ‘new’ form of government, many were familiar with the classics, and more than a few read Greek.   While the Greeks did have slaves, they brought their slaves to the theater, and indeed treated them well.  For the Greeks lived in a city-state environment, where there were periodic wars and border skirmishes, and while  your city  may have won this year,  the city next door may win the next, and who won took slaves.   Thus it was wise to treat the slaves with some respect,  for there was a live possibility that the next slave holder would be the very slave you had held, and you in turn would be in captivity.    This trained the populous in the evenhandedness that is such a requirement for democracy to flourish.     A point profoundly forgotten in today’s ‘winner take all’ politics.

Thus the King Clause was made part of the constitution to prohibit a King from whimsically taking rule, and killing whatever opposition arose.   It is the Law.

If only people could honor their own oath;  their word.

The Administration and the CIA versus the Constitution

As John Brennan is considered for confirmation by the US Senate, Eleven senators including both Oregon senators have raised the simple question: “If the United States targets a US citizen to be killed, does that person merit being notified as to why?”

Bizarre! In a country ruled by a constitution which states that a person cannot be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law. ….. this question is asked by a Senator to a drone assassination champion who has supported or overseen over 2,700 people killed in three countries in which we are not at war, including 200 children. These are the minimum numbers as reported by the British: Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

If this were Kabuki, what masks would they be wearing in this senate hearing… The supporters, the CIA ‘leader’, the questioners?

“We are at war with terror.” says the drone champion Brennan.  ” I support rendition and now banned interrogation techniques. I have strongly advocated public discussion of thresholds and limitations of CIA authority in this. (really ?) A trust deficit with this committee is wholly unacceptable to me.

The CIA will do all it can to protect Americas secrets, Americas classified information. The CIA indicates 103 deaths of CIA agents. ”

The above was my ragged shorthand from the confirmation hearing today.

According the Federation of American Scientists there are somewhere between 4.2 and 4.8  million Americans with security clearances.

According to Dana Priest and the Top Secret America project of the Washington Post: “(1) Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States. (2) An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances. ”

“(4) Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks. (5) Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.”

I ask the discriminating reader this question:  If the congress  usually has very little oversight of the CIA ,  as Senator Murkowski said, and its only power to influence it is Now, during a confirmation hearing….. what oversight does the American People have over the ” 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies ” listed above?   Who cuts their checks?,  who directs their directors? *

In short, and you can quote me….. “You are being protected by a genuine self-breeding cluster fuck.” …. suffering from too many resources and resulting in too much overlapping confusion. ___ David Bean.   Many duplications are seeking to solve the problem and none are looking to find the source of it if you ask me. (hint: it is not a personality… second hint: ask Pogo.^)  As stated elsewhere, a war on a tactic can never find its end.

The world has changed.   We have got what we worked for these many years…. magnificent productivity.  Yet we are stuck thinking we are in the old world and people want our stuff.  We are locked in the past in our own minds.   Like peoples through the centuries, all people do not want to me messed with. As we screw them more and more with our “security” procedures and assassination drones is there any wonder they fight back? Isn’t ten years fighting goatherds on the other side of the planet in stark mountains with a population with an illiteracy rate of 70% an indication of misspent resources? ” We have the technology…. why not use it?” say the consultants. They are paid well… as are the drone makers. America has been captured by our own tools.

Well, from my observation of the hearing, Brennan is a shoe in. Yes Sir, Gumby. A shoo in.

Here is my concern. Leon Panetta, a budget wizard, has been the head of the CIA and Defense,  and he is stepping down. He has not, nor has the President, in my humble opinion, been in charge of either. They grow exponentially as exemplified by the drone boom.  It is a pathology that  I believe will come home to bite us, and perhaps destroy our civilization. I have no opinion about  what motivates the current President who now operates a kill list. I do not believe he is a good administrator, as evinced by the burgeoning security state, the  consequent budget hole it, the military and the militarized CIA create. That the press and the parties can only discuss social security and cutting entitlements  without addressing this mammoth fiscal hemorrhage is an example inability to prioritize.

NOW is the time for congress, and the people telling congress….. Get a Grip! Rare it is to have a handle to comment on our national secret police. We are captives of our own technology and it will impoverish us. … in security and in health. We have to say No to ourselves, to the technological equivalent to “I believe I want to investigate myself.”… and we cannot seem to say “no” to technology.   How about cutting our spook agencies to a mere thousand, and top secret spooks to a mere hundred thousand. Even that may be too many to keep track of.

Thus my plea to you to write your senator, your congressman. Do not confirm Brennan for CIA Director. To do so would implicitly support drone assassinations, which are lawless.   Tell your congressman to get a grip on self breeding security agencies.

* constitutional note: Letters of Marque and Reprisal.  Readers of this blog may recall my emphasis on the King Clause of the constitution.   It reads:” (only) The Congress shall have the power to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water. ”  (It is called the King Clause because if not observed, we have a king with fiat rule over all of us.)   Not well taught in school is what is that danged letter of marque and reprisal.   Here is the scoop:  It is a Pirate’s License.

Today we would call it a Private Contractor’s License, a license to kill on the authority of the People of the United States.   That power is only granted to the congress….. and is not granted to either the executive branch (the President, CIA,   FBI, NSA et all) nor the judicial branch.

This King Clause makes it explicit that only representatives of our people can kill and really piss off their people.   Not agents of the President on his own initiative. Thus saving us, in theory,  from the innumerable idiotic wars that our founders observed being started by irascible kings.

Whatever say the eloquent and well endowed constitutional lawyers, including the one that currently runs a kill list in our name… the words of the constitution are written for you, citizen, to grasp and understand.   The King Clause can be found in Article I, Section 8, clause 11.      Let your own intelligence decide, for together we stand,  if we defer to the experts (who inevitably quote statute and not the constitution) we will find ourselves divided and sold off to the highest bidder.

^ the cartoon character Pogo in the midst of the Viet Nam War famously said :  “We have met the enemy, and they is us.”  (The Gulf of Tonkin incident which gravely escalated that war was consequence of a ‘radar shadow’, i. e. electronic feedback from our own equipment.)

Myths… True or False?

There is a foolishness within the human being.  Either it is played out in drama as in myths of those so imperfect gods like those of the Greeks, or it plays out in our parodies of myth,   political myth,  which we find manifested as untruths that citizens  choke down grave-faced.    The first can lead to a great belly laugh.   The latter in time, to war.

Gary Hart recently wrote:

Myths play a central role as metaphor in many world religions, according to Joseph Campbell. In The Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth he studied the world mythologies, found common themes in a wide variety of cultures, and reached a startling conclusion: myths, he said, come from dreams and, therefore, people around the world have common dreams. It is a profound and still controversial insight for religion, psychology, and human culture. Students in all these fields continue to consider the power of myth.

Myths in politics, however, play a much different role. “Widely held but false idea” is one dictionary definition of myth in common usage. For reasons that are still unclear, myths abound in recent American political history. Perhaps the most glaring and consequential was the myth that Iraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

There are other cases in point. Barack Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya and therefore not an American citizen. These are myths, yet they are widely believed in certain circles. Poor people are poor by choice. A classic myth. A rising tide lifts all boats. Much more true when we were an industrial society and manufacturing products created jobs. Much less true when the economic tide is one of finance and money manipulation which lifts the gilded yachts but not the rowboats of the rest of us. Jobs are not created when crackpot financial schemes make hedge fund managers rich. Thus, a myth.

Myths in politics are dangerous. In an important speech at Yale University during the Cold War, John Kennedy said:

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

He was speaking of the myths on both sides that perpetuated a Cold War in a dangerous way.

Exactly 50 years later, no assessment comes closer to describing much of our current political world. Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth.

If this strange world were the product of mere laziness it might be understandable. But today’s political myths are more perverse. They are a conscious hiding place from a changing, challenging, and often uncomfortable new world. Globalization, immigration, cultural and racial diversity are threatening and frightening to many who wish to freeze the former comfortable world in time and prevent any change.

Myths which have no basis in truth, or which do not operate as metaphors for religious truth, eventually fade away with the passing of those who perpetuate them and in the face of reality and fact. But the most dangerous myths create demons where none exist, the demons being anyone who disagrees with the myth-makers. In the meantime, however, they serve not only to delude the deniers but to frustrate our Founders’ belief in the progress of the human mind.


David adds,  Citizens who expect to be informed for free, on the largesse of the commercial interests are bound to find themselves in a pool of opinion and unsubstantiated so called facts.  A society that cannot agree on facts, or whose facts do not correspond with reality is indication of being within political myth. Only by funding and protecting reporters with the citizen’s interest in mind, will the ‘freedom of the press’ guaranteed by the constitution be more than a vacant promise.   Freedom of the commercial press is what we have today, and as any schoolboy can see, that does not result in freedom, but ongoing war.

I am developing a list of political myths…   please send me your ideas.
both those that go down, nice and smooth,  and those that stick in your craw.

Civilized Breakdown

The examples below indicate the breakdown in communication in the western world.   We cannot agree on the Facts of how many US Troops died in Afghanistan.   These facts are concrete.   Our service men and women dying are nameable and countable.  And in that reporting… 2,000 died as of Sept, 30, 2012; but No! that was Aug 21, 2012 according to the New York Times, and yet another date provided by icaualties.org .   None of these 2,000 count articles noted the truly alarming rates of serviceman & veteran suicides that eclipse the battle deaths by 18 times.

Look at the reporting:

US military deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000 after 11 years of war

By Patrick Quinn, The Associated Press | Associated Press – Sun, Sep 30, 2012

According to Brookings, hostile fire was the second most common cause of death, accounting for nearly 31 per cent of Americans killed.

In Toll of 2,000, New Portrait of Afghan War    ….  August 12th, not Sept 30th


Published: August 21, 2012  New York Times

Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops


Published: June 8, 2012  New York Times

The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.

A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame


Veterans Death at own Hand, the Nation’s Shame


Published: April 14, 2012

HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.



American Forces Press Service       (a product of the Department of Defense)

Battaglia Calls Reducing Suicides a Top Priority

By Karen Parrish

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2011 – Military leaders are committed to reducing suicides in the ranks, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the Defense Department’s top enlisted leader, said here Dec. 9.

Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters after the recent release of a report on military suicides by the Center for a New American Security.

The report concludes that suicide among service members and veterans challenges the health of America’s all-volunteer force. From 2005 to 2010, service members took their own lives at a rate of about one every 36 hours, according to the report. It also states that while only 1 percent of Americans have served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former service members represent 20 percent of suicides in the United States. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 18 veterans die by suicide each day.


Put another way, while 3 million of our men and women serve in the armed forces, out of our total population of 310 million,  they commit suicide at a rate equal to that of 60 million civilians.

While roughly one soldier dies in battle a day in Afghanistan, on that same day 18 veterans kill themselves.  A day.   Are we aware of this? …. is this worthy of comment by presidential candidates, none of which have served?   And where is the Press?    This information is available from DoD sources.

In short, these are potent and concrete facts.   And we cannot get them reported straight.   Without the straight truth, is there any wonder that our politics is dysfunctional.   Could it be otherwise?


The conclusion by reading these pithy headlines, noting the differences in dates and omissions leads me to surmise that the democracy that we have fought to preserve for 236 years cannot remain if we cannot agree on simple facts.    The AP and New York Times cannot seem to agree.  Isn’t that obvious?   Bloody Obvious.    Without a unity and veracity in facts, our opinions shall never knit.

This is the heart of my communication on the eve of presidential debates where the candidates are each willing to spend a Billion dollars  (One thousand million dollars) to advertise that their opponent is an idiot.     Admittedly, so far, a down-beat message.

So, let me leave you with an antidote:   Our press system has failed because its funding model of display advertising has been eclipsed by Google’s intentional advertising.  Newspapers are dying and broadcasting is become vapid.  The press is strangled without funds.   Google’s motto is “Do no Evil”.    Killing the funding of the press so it can no longer provide the function of Saying Truth to Power, and staying on the point, might be considered evil.    Thus, given the corrupt condition of money, politics and corporate lobbying let me suggest this tonic:     To have Google, and and all who agree with this challenge to continued existence of our country lobby for having a portion (for example one half) of Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) revenue be applied to content.   i.e. Creatives and Reporters be paid for what they provide in some proportional way that allows reporters to be protected and culture makers to be paid for providing sources of social inspiration.

Give it a think.

yours,   David Bean………..      and please at least, pass this along.

Health Care Law: Supreme Court Decision Looming

Wowee. Lotta comments on a No Story story. Here is the deal. If the 9 justices read the 10th amendment they will all vote: no go. But wait. Even if we did vote in single payer in a magic moment we would still have a fortune producing/extracting sickness care system that would leave our greying baby boomers strung out on meds and plumbing projects till dead. Dean Baker points out that we could save $270 Billion a Year by removing patent premiums from Big Pharma. That is a billion dollar saving for every working day of the week. That would still leave $30 billion for the real costs, less than a billion a week.

If you live in a small state that means your education budget is covered in one weeks worth of savings. With 51 more weeks of similar savings to go.

Seems to me that a lotta folks are getting their attention jerked like yo-yos. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Health Care Law: Supreme Court Decision Looming

I voted for Obama and know the constitution and by my lights compelling US residents to make private purchases is a Brand New power. It is a new world if it passes. It would be good for jobs, they could, under the same power compel us to buy stuff until we all have jobs. Except for the folks who go bankrupt doing so.

But that is why the constitution limits the conferring of new powers. Those powers not conferred upon the (federal) government, or the states are reserved for the people… is what it states. Take a gander at yourconstitution.org for details. See: The Law in Plain English, The Tenth Amendment and Obama’s Health Care Case
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Jefferson’s nightmare – American children wake up homeless.

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802, “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

And here we are. Hedge Funds are becoming the new, the faceless: Land Lords.

Banks bet that a carpenter, for example, cannot pay on a $350,000 dollar mortgage when the building boom was halted after they, the banks, cut the credit. That is OK for the bank is made whole by loan failure insurance called a CDS or Credit Default Swap. It is called that confusing name ‘swap’ because this insurance cannot be called ‘insurance’, because insurance is regulated. Perhaps the bank gets paid a premium when the carpenter is 90 days late, or perhaps when the carpenter and his family are evicted. The CDS world is not regulated. Anything goes. So if the the CDS premium only pays the bank a hundred grand, that is OK, the bank takes out as many CDSs as it likes, say 40, and gets a big payoff when the carpenter moves out. The CDS world is still unregulated today. Confusing? It is meant to be.

But so sad, there is no one to buy the house at $350,000, or even $200,000. No Problem, the bank has made its money already and did not have to wait for the pesky loan to mature. It now sells the house to a hedge fund for thirty cents on the dollar and voila. The bank is done. No maintenance problems. Next?

I have told this tale simply, for actually there are likely three banks involved, the note holder, the ‘investor’, and the servicer. The servicer is the bank that collects the money every month. The ‘investor’ may not be a bank at all, perhaps the bank gets a pension fund or municipality to put up the money. And you might be right if you have suspicions here…. sometimes the ‘investors’ do not get paid back when the loan fails, hey, I said this was unregulated. But the servicer has made a fine profit.

But wait. Isn’t that funny language? Is ‘servicer’ farm speak? Who is getting serviced?
Well it seems like just about everybody but the servicer is getting serviced. It is unregulated. Foreclosure laws vary from state to state. Bankruptcy laws are constitutionally mandated to be the same everywhere… but not foreclosure. Interesting huh? Anyhow, investors may lose. The house-holding families lose. The neighbors lose. The communities lose. And if small businesses used their houses for collateral as almost all did, then the job environment loses because the businesses have negative collateral.
Also the local governments lose, as taxable properties fall in value, cutting revenue requiring more lay offs. This is called a vicious cycle. But some bankers may get bonuses, and thus can play their part in the costly politics is money game as it selects who ‘represents’ and protects us.

Thomas Jefferson long ago saw America as the land of the yeoman farmer; the independent spirit informed by this beautiful land and concerned with the welfare of his neighbors. For he had seen the White House in Washington D.C. burned, in his lifetime, and had seen the boot of imperial oppression and its effects. Jefferson’s America was composed mostly of farmers who did not need explanation that when a bull mounts a cow in order to make a calf it is called ‘servicing’. And conceptually at least, a bull mounting a cow is so much easier than mounting a hard drive today. How times have changed. And how that fear of Jefferson’s, that American children wake up homeless has come true.

And Jefferson’s nightmare is just in the first act. Who will buy the houses from the hedge funds?

The Grand Recession

Let us call this crisis that commenced in September of 2008 the “Grand Recession” for this is when the kids move back in with the grand parents.

In my opinion, the nuclear family as almost no one seems to notice, was a post 1945 invention. Wha? you say. True, for before 1945 only Los Alamos fellows were mouthing the term nuclear, for only they and a few physics geeks knew of the term. And no one used that term to refer to family. Yes the terms nuclear and nucleus were around, the second used in biology, the first in a very rare (still) corner of physics.
But after 1945 with the atomic bomb the cat was out of the bag; Bigtime. After that even sociologists began to use the term.

Funny question- what was the family unit without grandparents called prior to the 3 networks, Ozzy and Harriet, Father Knows Best, and Leave It to Beaver? Never had society had such a unifying force as Television and never that I know of has there been such conformity as during the 1950’s in America. A huge pulse of wealth, with everyone getting appliances and televisions and new cars…. and they were able to start a new home without family help. How often has that happened in history?

Well yes, we had the homestead act, where a family could obtain 160 acres early on by establishing a claim, but that was not easy. Only about 40% of those who tried succeeded. It was not easy for ma, paw, and the kids to make a go of it all by themselves. Tough work plus one needed experience, a three generation family had a much better chance. In the end, only about 10% of US land was homesteaded. Like military spending today, in times past the lions share of riches went to well connected corporations, foremost among those were the railroads.

Thus as we industrialized, urbanized and suburbanized after WWII it was easy and common to create a nuclear family. We had the middle class. But in the 50’s and 60’s middle class was an economic term, now it is a political term.

Have you noted that as time passed, only fogies and those graying baby boomers watch the boob tube. The young and mobile use their mobile device or laptop. The internet maps for the current generation what TV mapped for the boomers, and only when the recession pushes them together do they realize their media incompatibility.

So we are in the grand recession and will not lift ourselves out of it until we realize that out political, economic and media formats no longer map what is.