October 30, 2014
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My Take On the News
First step toward surrendering: indefinite detention without trial
Lonnie Barham

DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL: Our entire four-man Congressional delegation voted in favor of allowing the U.S. military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without charge and without trial! This provision in the just-enacted National Defense Authorization Act represents a terribly dangerous attack on civil liberties in our country – yet Messrs. Reed, Whitehouse, Langevin and Cicilline all voted in favor. They pointed to other provisions within the act that are good for Rhode Island– such as money for submarine building and pay raises for military members, as reasons for supporting indefinite detention without trial for American citizens merely suspected of unproven connection to terrorism. We must diligently fight terrorism, but not at the expense of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This act’s step toward destroying the Constitution is exactly what terrorists desire. Terrorists win without a fight if we destroy our freedoms from within. With the passage of this “indefinite detention without trial” bill by Congress - with the full support of our Congressional delegation, our country has taken the first step toward surrendering to terrorists!

SOLAR PANELS: The DEM will install solar panels at nine Rhode Island state beaches, parks and recreation facilities – paid for with $1.5 million from federal stimulus funds. This will save $1,400 per year in electricity for Scarborough Beach. Assuming similar savings at the other eight locations, Rhode Island taxpayers will save $12,600 per year. But, at the cost of $1.5 million in our federal tax dollars! Affordable “green” energy is great, but does this make any sense? It will take 120 years to get our money back! This is just another case of the federal government forcing us to waste our tax dollars – dollars extorted from us in federal income taxes but “given” back to us with the caveat that we must spend it foolishly on what Washington tells us to spend it on.

FACEBOOK WIRETAPPING: It’s no different than illegal wiretapping! Without the knowledge or approval of its users, Facebook silently and surreptitiously tracks every Internet movement by its users when they are not logged on to Facebook! A Johnston lawyer has filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook to force an end to this corporate spying on U.S. citizens. Most Facebook users are likely unaware of this despicable practice. Many will now ditch Facebook in retaliation (and for electronic self-protection). Pervasive surveillance by our “Big Brother” government is bad enough without multi-billion dollar corporations like Facebook snooping into our already privacy-bereft lives.

REDISTRICTING: Thanks to the hue and cry about Congressman Cicilline’s blatant attempt to rig redistricting in his favor, 125,000 people will no longer be shifted between districts. The revised plan still favors Cicilline; it’s just not quite so imbalanced. Cicilline realized his under-handed move was creating very bad publicity and defended himself by claiming he “was just doing what any other elected official would do.” That’s exactly the problem, Congressman! In your mind, you were doing what any other incumbent politician would do – committing acts of gross skullduggery to enhance your reelection odds. We’ll remember this next November, David – Republicans, independents and Democrats alike!

SCHOOL UNIFORMS: Central Falls is considering a school uniform policy. Students have no choice where they go to school. They can’t just move out of town to go to another high school so they shouldn’t be forced into what they wear. Our country was built on individuality, not on uniformity. Forced uniformity breeds uniqueness out of a culture. It leads to the entropy of ideas and innovation. Look at what forced uniformity did to the Soviet culture – it led to its demise because it destroyed individuality and the innovative, progressive ideas individuality engenders. The same can be said of Mao’s China. Our schools are mediocre enough; why make them worse by repressing individuality? Let’s allow our kids to wear uniforms if they wish; let’s not force them.

TIM TEBOW: Let’s disregard the controversy surrounding Denver Bronco’s rookie quarterback, Tim Tebow’s, on-the-field display of his Christian faith, but affirm that his kneeling and silent prayer after an exceptional play is far more civilized than the atavistic butt-shaking and chest thumping dances many NFL players engage in after a touchdown. More important, let’s concentrate on what should be of greater interest to true fans of the uniquely American game of football - that finally an NFL quarterback has shown that passing is not the most important aspect of the game. Like the old days when NFL teams slugged it out on the ground just as much as in the air, Tebow has shown us that a versatile attack led by a versatile quarterback who can pass and run makes the game much more interesting to watch. Most of us are pleased he lost to the Pats last Sunday, but let’s still hope his playing style catches on.

WIN FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS: Finally, after years of heavy-handed legal resistance, the city of Providence is allowing the property owner to demolish Grove Street School. The owner bought the dilapidated former school with the specific intent to replace it with an expanded parking lot for his adjacent business. Totally disregarding the owner’s property rights, neighbors convinced the city to drag the owner through four years of expensive legal battles before he finally prevailed. Although the owner has won the battle over the building’s demolition, it looks like the city is going to vengefully use its power to prevent the owner from converting the land to a parking lot. This country was built on property rights. It looks like anti-business Providence has forgotten that.

CROSSROADS’ DONATIONS: Crossroads RI, the non-profit, non-government organization that assists the homeless in RI, has been targeted by public service unions in retaliation for Crossroads’ support for EngageRI, the non-profit, business-backed group that lobbied for pension reform. Crossroads’ donations are down $100,000. Fear not, Crossroads! Now that the word is out about your union-engineered problem, business and reform-minded taxpayers will surely fill the void. My donation is on the way!


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