Not only are the national Democrats trying to prevent the US House Republicans from using the debt ceiling crisis to reshape public policy wholesale, they have to monitor the barn door to stop the GOP extremists from rushing in with anti-environmental measures while the spotlight is on the debt issue. Read Leslie Kaufman’s report in the NYTimes about what’s going on in Congress with appropriation bills being tagged with riders that are nakedly pro-business freedom and con-Nature. Find the article here, and get the NYT if you want more.
Up through the end of the 17th century, towns such as Lancaster, Groton and Haverhill were the northwestern frontier of English settlement. Often they came under attack by the Native Americans who formerly lived in those places. Such was the case in the nearby town of Groton, Massachusetts on this day in 1694.
I’m of the opinion that local conflicts between the English settlers and the resident native Americans played a substantial role in the ultimate founding and development of Lowell more than a century later. Conflict between the English and the Indians was not inevitable. In fact, they had lived compatibly for decades. For example. on May 18, 1653, the General Court of Massachusetts granted two petitions (spelling true to original):
One from seuerall of the inhabitants of Concord and Wooburne, the other from Mr. Eliot on behlfe of the Indians, for land bordering vppon the Riuer Merimacke, neere to Paatookett, to make plantation . . .
And so on the same day the General Court created the town of Chelmsford, it also created Wamesit, which encompassed most of current downtown Lowell extending to and including the Pawtucket Falls. John Eliot was a minister whose life’s work was to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. Wamesit became one of the “Praying Indian” towns in Massachusetts (another was Natick). The neighbors lived peaceably until 1675 when King Philip’s War, which began in Southeastern Massachusetts, spread throughout the entire English settlement area. Groton was attacked three separate times during March 1676 and while no fighting took place in Chelmsford, the effects of the war were felt. In the summer of 1675, a haystack was burned in Chelmsford and although there were no witnesses, the Indians of Wamesit were suspected. The General Court decreed:
Whereas the Weymesitt Indians are vehemently suspected to be actors and consentors to the burning of a haystacke at Chelmsford, this Court [will meet with the English witnesses] and decide what to do with the Indians now at Charls Toune.
A Wamesit resident, William Haukins, was adjudged to have set fire to the haystack and he was sold into slavery as punishment. When a barn was burned in Chelmsford, residents took justice into their own hands and raided Wamesit, killing a 12-year old boy and wounding four women and children. Two of the Chelmsford residents involved in the attack were charged with murder, but they were acquitted by a jury of their neighbors.
As a result of this and other incidents, Wannalancit, the leader of the Pawtucket Indians, abandoned Wamesit and led his people into the wilderness of northern New Hampshire. Eventually, Chelmsford residents began squatting on the now vacant town of Wamesit. By 1730, Wamesit had been annexed to Chelmsford (becoming known as East Chelmsford). But since the English settlement patterns in Chelmsford, Billerica and Andover had already been long established, the former Wamesit property remained sparsely settled for another century until the entrepreneurs from Waltham showed up and purchased for a very reasonable fee this strategically located vacant lot that soon became Lowell.
About ten days ago, NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman got to the core of the problem with the national Republican party. When one side opts out of the agreed-to rules of elections and governing in a democracy, the system cannot function effectively. If your attitude is going to be that you take your ball and go home if you don’t get your way, especially if you did not win, then the social contract among representatives and voters breaks down. Republicans in the Congress represent their states and districts, yes, but they also are charged with doing the business of all the people of the United States.
President Obama has made it clear that he’s willing to sign on to a deficit-reduction deal that consists overwhelmingly of spending cuts, and includes draconian cuts in key social programs, up to and including a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. These are extraordinary concessions. As The Times’s Nate Silver points out, the president has offered deals that are far to the right of what the average American voter prefers — in fact, if anything, they’re a bit to the right of what the average Republican voter prefers!Yet Republicans are saying no. Indeed, they’re threatening to force a U.S. default, and create an economic crisis, unless they get a completely one-sided deal. And this was entirely predictable.
First of all, the modern G.O.P. fundamentally does not accept the legitimacy of a Democratic presidency — any Democratic presidency. We saw that under Bill Clinton, and we saw it again as soon as Mr. Obama took office.
As a result, Republicans are automatically against anything the president wants, even if they have supported similar proposals in the past. Mitt Romney’s health care plan became a tyrannical assault on American freedom when put in place by that man in the White House. And the same logic applies to the proposed debt deals.
The City’s Division of Planning and Development will host two more visioning sessions in connection with the review of the Master Plan. Upcoming are the following:
July 28, Community Character, Engagement, & Identity; Arts & Culture
August 3, Open Space & Natural Resources
Both meetings begin at 6 pm at the Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway, across from Market Basket in the Acre. Everyone is invited.
Campaign kickoff for Lowell School Committee candidate Kim Scott.
And as always, if you know of other candidate videos let me know by commenting below and I will post them too.
The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.
At times, the debt ceiling debate has resembled a schoolyard brawl. We’ve heard everything but “so’s your mother!” But this squabble, now a bloody slugfest, has gotten very dangerous and, even if resolved, will have serious consequences for our nation.
Many experts now believe that Standard &Poor’s (or some other agency) will have no choice but to downgrade our credit rating. The manner in which our leaders have repeatedly failed to resolve what should have been a routine transaction will, according to many, inevitably lead to a loss of our AAA rating, raising interest rates and costing ordinary individuals more for mortgage, consumer credit, and student loan borrowing. (The Boehner plan would not avoid the downgrade threshold of the rating agencies.)
Our leaders’ reckless behavior has already hurt the nation’s reputation in the global community. This is no longer a country that everyone can depend upon to do what’s right, in a timely fashion. We have squandered our leadership credentials.
Even if the debt ceiling is raised by August 2, the factors that precipitated the brouhaha will remain unsolved. My former colleague Phil Balboni, CEO of GlobalPost.com , has just launched a weekly commentary series and, as always, has summed up expressively the profound and sweeping nature of our difficulties. China, for example, is now seeking alternatives to some of its US bond investments.
There are plenty of reasons things went from bad to worse and much blame to go around. It’s staggering that one of the most feasible outcomes of a debt ceiling resolution will be the creation of, yet again, a new bi-partisan commission to deal with our long-term indebtedness. Can you say “Simpson-Bowles?” “Rivlin-Ryan?” Equally appalling, depending on what is decided this week, is that we may have to go through the whole messy debt ceiling process again in six months.
President Obama vowed to veto any solution that would be a short-term fix. But the Republicans have rolled Obama, and he hasn’t so far been up to the task. (Knowing the Republicans would likely block a clean vote on raising the debt-ceiling, why didn’t he last year make it part of the Bush tax cut extension?) It seems now unlikely he would actually veto any debt ceiling bill, however undesirable, if it gets to his desk. He doesn’t want to own a default.
Obama seems to have yielded on nearly every point, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him cave on the short-term fix as well. The GOP is trying to leave him without any choice. The Republicans want this to be an issue in an election year. Obama does not. In this regard, his political interests and the country’s best interest coincide. It’s ironic that when people really understand the details, they side with Obama.
A National Journal poll showed that 46% trust Obama most to “make the right decisions” on the deficit while 34% said they place more faith in congressional Republicans. Regarding the debt ceiling, a virtually identical 46% leaned toward Obama and 35% chose the GOP. But Americans are split on whether there is any need or urgency to raise the debt ceiling in the first place.
Clearly, President Obama he has repeatedly failed to use his bully pulpit effectively enough to educate the public about the dangers of default.
It doesn’t matter to the Republicans. Goaded by their Tea Party members, they seem intent – like the Slim Pickens character in the last scene of Dr. Strangelove – on riding the bomb to oblivion, waving their ten-gallon hats and crying “yee-hah!”
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.