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Updated 31 Dec 2008

Our times are dire; they call for a man for the ages; Is Barack Obama such a man? Important among his mentors is Abraham Lincoln; it remains to be seen if Obama can rise to Lincoln's stature. Our bet is that he will, in spite or reactionary forces and political stasis. The two have much in common. Each had/has an awareness of reality that is profound for mere politicians. Each was/is eloquent in his own way. Each was/is beset with savage foes. Each sees all human beings as equally deserving respect. Each studied history, looking for their way. Neither shrank for strong personalities. And each motived/motivates political foes while appealing to the many. There is one most-critical difference: Lincoln dealt with a nation splitting apart while Obama is challenged by a world splitting asunder.
How can we know what is enlightened governance? Well, there are some self-evident definitions. Historic moves forward are found throughout history. Those that ended up leaving humanity for the better are the ones to study. How did they start, how did they do it, and where did they end up are three questions one might ask in reviewing the evidence.
With our constitutional rights withering under the Bush onslaught, it is time we heard from one of its more important and insightful framers, Ben Franklin.

We reprint here his final words to the president in approving the Constitution. After over two centuries, his words still ring true, particularly his forecast of the future. This man was truly prescient in what to do as well as what not to do.
By William J. Lederer
co-author of The Ugly American.
Book Review with commentary

It is astonishing to read how things never change, even when one knows what seems to be a law of “civilized America.” Lederer was not prescient. He just reported the events of his day as an historian would—objectively. This book first published 46 years ago, went through two re-printings within a year.
Baker-Hamilton Group Report - Critique

James Baker, a distinguished Secretary of State in more peaceful times, co-chaired a Study Group on Iraq with Lee Hamilton. The Baker-Hamilton Group, bi-partisan to the core, released its long awaited report on 6 Dec 2006. We applaud their effort as they have made many good recommendations. Most need to be heeded and acted upon as soon as possible. At the same time, we expected more, as even the good recommendations are little more than Band-Aids--however badly needed.

These are hard words to write, as we have great respect for each of the authors and their good faith is obvious. And they have indeed produced a plan far superior to any tabled on Pennsylvania Avenue with parts crying out for implementation. But write these words we must, for civilization itself is at stake.

Our considered appraisal follows:
Probably, but a blip in the road is now evident. The timeless comment by Toqueville comes to mind:

"Democratic republics [are] liable to perish from the misuse of their power, ...not by impotence."
Deep Inside America's Pursuit of its Enemies since 9/11.
Ron Suskind
Book Review and commentary: Updated 08 Jan 2008

A Pulitzer Prize winner has done it again. For anyone wanting or needing insight into the inner workings of the Bush Administration, this is the book to read.
Just what are American values? Nearly every day we hear the phrase "American Values" in many contexts. Not too often are liberty and freedom mentioned, more likely we hear about a moral code from the Christian right, occasionally we hear something in a context of war. George Washington left us a timeless message, as appropriate as ever in our own itmes:

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder

VII. Expand the Circle of Development by Opening Societies and Building the Infrastructure of Democracy

IV. Work with others to Defuse Regional Conflicts
The White House,
September 2002
On 19th Century America "Democracy in America"
By Alexis de Tocqueville (1835)
Bantam Classic

Insight is a rare commodity in today's America. Maybe it was always so for in earlier times the likes of Woodrow Wilson and Stuart Mill lauded Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" as classic in its insight.
9/11, WMD in Iraq, Iraqi connection with bin Laden, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, 9/11 Commission report, Hurricane Katrina had one thing in common: Cover up at the national level.
Most people thought the Patriot Act was a good idea. They did not study it nor did many bother to read it. We believe it will hurt more that it will help in the long run. It does more to stifle freedom than it does to preserve it.
Articles four, five and six define the Palestine identity; compare them with today's reality.
Special interests will always be with us because each of us is special. So where do we draw the line?
Interpreted, Misinterpreted and Under Attack
BLOG by RoadtoPeace

Thomas Jefferson said it: In a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802,

"We're Fighting Terror, but Killing Freedom"

Randall Hamud--Newsweek 1 Sept 2003--is in a unique position to see both sides of the Patriot Act.
Version to be Negotiated: 8 March 2004

After extensive negotiations, It was agree to put a modified version before the Iraqi people.
The Inquisition and Reformation, as important as they are to the history of religion, are rivaled by the genius of a single 18th Century Frenchman. Effectively in exile, Voltaire published in English from London.
Speech delivered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on January 6, 1941, to the United States Congress.
From Institute For War And Peace

For what the Afghans say:
Introduction -- Daniel J. Elazar

Although Israel does not have a single complete constitutional document, in its forty-five years of statehood the Jewish state has developed an operative constitution of its own, embodied in a set of written texts that reflect the political system on which the state is based, its social content, and an expanding constitutional tradition.
The Great Charter of English liberty was granted (under considerable duress) by King John at Runnymede on June 15, 1215.
"...the best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered in which the middle class is larger, and stronger, if possible than both other classes." Aristotle - Politics, Book IV
Human Rights
Member States

Just as communities need counties which need provinces which need nations, nations need a UN.
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, individually or with one of the others, published a series of 85 essays on issues of governance between October 1787 and May 1788.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Amendments I - X

This Bill of Rights is what set America apart from the world.
Amendments XI - XXVII