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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Jean Binder » Archives for Jean Binder

By Jean Binder on March 17, 2012

“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” These were words in which good citizens of every stripe once found national solidarity. A summation by Evelyn Hall on the works of Voltaire, this phrase was commonly used. It was the flame beneath our melting-pot of a nation.

As a people we understood, that even in the face of disagreement, we could respect our common humanity. Conflicting opinion would not be denigrated or restrained. We would die to defend one's right to think differently - to express thoughts we might find disgraceful. Yes, once upon a time, such a perspective was celebrated and it showed the world what it meant to be a free people.

Today, I only hear these words from the very old, and very seldom, yet hear it from conservatives, liberals, and moderates alike. It seems one’s particular persuasion used to make little difference, the axiom still held true. Their parents had been immigrants and they lived through times when all had to pull together.

Differences challenged then too, yet were respected, so wars could be won, communities built and peace proven. Most everyone understood this. It was the“American Way.” Now we seem to have lost this perspective almost completely.

It is not just on National TV that one hears strident voices insisting on their own way -actually describing the opposition and their aims as “evil.” It has reached the outposts of ‘Hays America’ in letters to the editor, in opinion articles, and in daily conversations. This negative zeitgeist seeks to ascertain who is religiously correct and whose political party has gone to the dark side. Both sides seem to disdain the moderate.
So is intolerance itself an expression of political and religious freedom? I would say it is actually freedom turned in upon itself to where some can enjoy it and others may not. Because of this intolerance we hear little talk of dying so that others may express their ideas.

In fact, I have observed folks who in their daily lives pretty much agree on every value and even every point of personal faith and behavior, but differ totally on the this issue of tolerance. The less tolerant will proceed to bash the tolerant as if they had nothing in common.

My point is – How did our view of what it means to be an American become so narrow? How did our concept of religious faith become so mean-spirited? I think the old people had it right.

By Jean Binder on September 18, 2011

I'd heard of those red states where they actually worry that people will vote rather than trying to get people TO vote, but somehow hadn't realized KS was one of them.

My grandson will have to produce a birth certidicate to register to vote when he turns 18. His mom is not into details so we didn't have one for him and got him one awhile back, but what if he was on his own? Would he have the $15 to get a birth certificate? Would he consider voting important enough to pay money for the right?

That is what this amounts to. There are very few times in life where one is required to produce a birth certificate. It confounds me to think why voting should be one of them...at least if there is a cost involved. Whatever happened to the federal laws that prohibit a poll tax or are states usurping precedence over federal law once again?

By Jean Binder on July 18, 2011

This idea of Mitch McConnell's that the President alone should make the call as regards the debt ceiling is very interesting and more than a little manipulative. He is a step ahead of his GOP detractors. He knows that the debt ceiling must be raised, but doesn't want the GOP imprimatur on it. His plan is they can go for bragging rights later - "WE didn't elevate the debt ceiling," as if it were a credit line or something.

The debt limit is not permission, some sort of credit line for the future. It simply says you will pay your bills up to such and such a limit. Given the Fourteenth amendment, we shouldn't have to vote on this at all. "Our national debt shall not be questioned." This is not to say the budget should not be balanced right along.

But if the President has to act because congress as a whole falls for this, the story will be that the President should be the most hated man by all because he alone is driving our country into debt. Nothing could be further from the truth. The borrowed money has already been spent.

The President didn't get us into this mess. The debt is largely due to money borrowed for unpaid war expenses.

Read more of this post here ...

By Jean Binder on July 9, 2011

This past week, the Brownback administration in Kansas announced they would be redistributing money ear-marked for Planned Parenthood Women's and Family Planning Services (PP) to a large medical center in the eastern part of the state and also to an un-named clinic in Ellis County ... presumably their nod to all of western Kansas.

A family planning clinic in Ellis County ... really? I've lived in Ellis county for 34 years and am not aware there is any clinic but PP. Neither is anyone else aware among those I've asked, so they must not be getting many referrals.

So WHICH clinic is getting the tax payer money? Just where is this money going? Who will benefit? What services are being underwritten? Do they compare with those now offered by PP?

Read more of this post here ...

By Jean Binder on January 9, 2011

More and more is coming out about what a disturbed young man the young assassin was. It is not even clear he was processing anything from the world around him, political or otherwise.

Perhaps the time is ripe to discuss a very pressing problem: the situation of the mentally ill in our country - and our vulnerability when they are not adequately respected with treatment.

Time and again, communities will be aware of someone actively mentally ill like this, with peers complaining; professors kicking them out of class until they have a mental evaluation...which never occurs.

Read more of this post here ...

By Jean Binder on May 29, 2010

Death of the ocean bottom and thereby death of the life and lifestyle - of rig workers, of fisher folk, and of homes: for fish, shrimp, birds, and coastal dwellers. All because of what? Cain and Abel? Could it really be?

Seems it was due in large part to those following the example of Cain and Abel. You know, those Biblical boys, the firstborns of Adam and Eve, the ones who broke their parents hearts and ruined both their lives over jealousy, resentment, and "personal differences."

Apparently, the BP representative on that fateful rig KNEW from gauge readings that there had to be natural gas in that pipe, but failed to ask for advice before going ahead. WHY? Because of "personal differences" with his superior in Texas.

Read more of this post here ...

By Jean Binder on January 20, 2010

Brown won over Coakly by a measly 9,400 and something votes. Hardly a landslide or an overwhelming mandate from the entire country. The difference was a little less than 10,000 anxiety-ridden self-protective wusses voting for him in one small state which already has its own healthcare for all. This is hardly a tide-turner.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party obviously has its problems as only 2/3 of those who voted in the general election showed at the polls. In any case, Massachusetts does not dictate whether or not there will be healthcare for the rest of the country - at least it should not.

Do the right thing legislators. There are worse things than not getting elected again in a similar close call. There is "success," but better by far - SIGNIFICANCE.

It is up to we the people to make sure we have our own turn-overs in other states. There certainly is fertile territory out there.

By Jean Binder on December 3, 2009

I have just read the most impressive interview I have seen in many many years. I hope you will check it out. It is a current and rather lengthy interview by MSNBC with Greg Mortenson, the down to earth mountain-climbing Afghanistan expert and hugely successful tribal area school-builder...the guy who wrote "Three Cups of Tea."

He reacts to the most recent announcement regarding staffing Afghanistan with 30,000 more troops. It is interesting to see the whole thing from his perspective and it is impressive how much his approach is coloring the future of "combat" in this area of the world. His hopes for the arrival of the national guard units are impressive and positive. Read and see why.

Here is the link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34238313/ns/us_news-giving/

I especially liked the notion, there in Afghanistan, that the ink of a scholar is more precious than the blood of a martyr. There is hope indeed.

By Jean Binder on December 3, 2009

People seem generally aware that there is a disconnect between business seeming to do well lately but no job recovery in sight. My take on it, which is not original, is that business only SEEMS to be doing well. They have made their bottom lines look better by laying off not just workers but a lot of middle management. They are not producing more product, or bringing in more income, so wealth is not being created and ever fewer people can afford what is being made. It may be those particular jobs will not be back for a LONG time even with government to business incentives to recreate them.

Don't know what we're going to do about joblessness and expanded poverty, but I'm pretty sure it's up to us. We are left with a gutted social service system that is ill-suited to deal with even the mentally ill and certainly not with the newly unemployed who have little hope of their jobs coming back.

We are awash in a Katrinina of unemployment. The "water bottles" have at least been delivered...the unemployment payments extended, some relief had with home foreclosures, some stimulus money out there, - mostly helping government and community entities meet their already projected expenditures.

But what does this tell us as the bucks for clunks and other stimulus money runs out?

Read more of this post here ...

By Jean Binder on November 17, 2009

Recently Rachel Maddow and possibly other commentators high-lighted the dangerous practice of some benighted right wingers using the Bible to attempt to bring the President down. They quote Psalm 109 on bumper-stickers saying things like, "Let his days be short;" "May another take his place;" or "Let his children be fatherless," implying of course that the Bible is trying to tell us something about our President.

The only thing is, if one actually reads Psalm 109, it becomes clear that these things are what the EVIL people can be expected to say against a good and righteous leader. These people are self-indicting and don't even know it. They should actually read the Psalm if they want to quote it.

What's that they say about the devil quoting scripture?

More blog posts by Jean Binder:

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