Sunday, August 14, 2011

GOODBYE!

Kenneth M. O’Brien


After six months of attempting to provide a forum for intelligent discussion of issues, I’m calling it quits.

There is no such thing as intelligent debate out there.

There are only personal attacks, beliefs without evidence to support those beliefs, abject ignorance and just plain stupidity.

Go find a chatroom somewhere else to massage each other’s egos and insecurities.

I am through wasting my time.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

You Heard It Hear First! S&P Downgrade Politically Suspect

Kenneth M. O’Brien

On Sunday, August 7, I wrote an article titled “The S&P Sucker Punch”.

At the beginning of that piece I wrote, “
If ever there was a situation that called for widely publicized hearings by the U. S. Senate it is the action by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the debt of the United States.”

In the midst of the post, I reminded readers that, “The most important thing to remember in this discussion is that Standard & Poor’s is a business.”

At the conclusion of that article I wrote, “In my opinion, S&P is using its influential, but misunderstood, role as an arbiter of credit worthiness to influence public policy for its advantage. Part of this is the corporatist agenda to create a narrative that will bring about the defeat of President Obama and other Democrats in 2012.”

The very next day, no less a bastion of right wing extremism than Redstate.com ran an article titled, “In All Seriousness, What If Barack Obama Is Right?
In that article conservative doyen Eric Erickson wrote:

 “What if Barack Obama was right and S&P just got it wrong.
Here’s what I’m hearing and it gives credence to this theory….
S&P, I’m told, began telling some of its clients about the downgrade on Friday morning. That’s why the market was so screwed up on Friday….
S&P, I’m told, began telling some of its clients about the downgrade on Friday morning. That’s why the market was so screwed up on Friday.
By Friday afternoon, the Treasury Department told S&P it had made a $2 trillion math mistake.
But S&P had already told its clients about the downgrade. So it couldn’t walk it back now without a major loss of confidence in its credibility. Could you imagine that conversation? “Hey . . . um . . . Joe. Yeah, Charlie here from S&P. So . . .um . . . we made a $2 trillion math mistake in our downgrade analysis. . . . What’s that? You just lost $500 million in the market because of it? Oh . . . um . . . sorry Joe. Better luck next time.”…
But S&P did the downgrade. And by any objective measure, it would need to downgrade France for the very same reasons it gave, but it has not done so yet — though that may change.
So maybe the White House is right and S&P figured it needed to save face, do the downgrade, and come up with a loosey-goosey reason that both sides could seize on to fight it out while ignoring that S&P just made a major mistake and the country took it on the chin because of that mistake.”

Yesterday Reuters reported that the SEC had launched an investigation of Standard & Poor’s for potential insider trading relating to the downgrade of U.S. Treasury Securities.

” SEC's move is part of a preliminary examination into potential insider trading, the FT [Financial Times] said.”

The same article went on to report, “The U.S. Senate Banking committee has begun looking into last week's decision by S&P's to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, a committee aide told Reuters on Monday.”
The latter report was provided substance by John McLaughlin on his weekly PBS program “The McLaughlin Group” by forecasting such action by the Senate Banking Committee as his final prediction on this week’s broadcast.

Just to repeat, you heard it here first.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Draft Hillary!

Kenneth M. O’Brien


The time has come to admit that I made a mistake.

I believe that it is also time for national Democrats (at least the majority of us) to admit the same.

For the good of the country Barack Obama should step aside. If it comes to it, he should be set aside.

Circumstances call for a Harry Truman.

We have a more talkative version of Calvin Coolidge.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Southbridge Town Council Rescinds Board Of Health Ruling

Kenneth M. O'Brien

At it's meeting tonight (August 8) the town council voted 7 2 to adopt the following motion:

"Vote to rescind the precedent created as a result of the ruling of Ex-chairman Lazo on a Point of Order at the Town Council Meeting of Monday, July 19, 2010 whereby Ex-chairman Lazo ruled that “the 2004 by-law creating a five-member Board of Health was null and void”. (Roberts Rules, p.294, line 28) “

Voting no were councilors McDonald and Vandal.

This sets the stage for the town manager and the council majority to attempt to appoint a fourth and fifth member to the Board of Health thus restoring a pro-Casella majority.

Honoring The Best

Kenneth M. O’Brien

The tragic loss of life in Afghanistan over the weekend cannot go unmentioned.

On Saturday, as you’ve all heard by now, Afghan insurgents shot down a U. S. Chinook helicopter killing all on board.

30 Americans lost their lives.

Seven of those who died were Afghan commandos.

One was a civilian interpreter.

22 were U. S. Navy seals, members of seal team six.

Whatever we feel about the war in Afghanistan, we cannot but help but to honor those who have put their lives on the line in support of what they believe are the best interests of their country.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The S&P Sucker Punch

Kenneth M. O’Brien

If ever there was a situation that called for widely publicized hearings by the U. S. Senate it is the action by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the debt of the United States.

To assume that S&P is some kind of independent, wholly objective watchdog is absolutely naïve and foolish.

Months before as well as within days of the announcement of the action by S&P to downgrade the debt of the United States from AAA to AA+, conservative media outlets began putting forward arguments that the action was not politically motivated. Forbes Magazine and Fox News’ Huckabee program were in the forefront of such arguments.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Out-Of-Town Council Meeting Erupts

Kenneth M. O’Brien

The Southbridge town council met starting at 9:00 this morning at the Southbridge Savings Bank location on Route 20 in Sturbridge.

The meeting rapidly ran into another controversy, not unlike the numerous others that have developed in the short tenure of the current leadership.

A press release from Councilor Laurent McDonald summarizes the events as they unfolded.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Agendas And FOIA Requests

Kenneth M. O’Brien

Things keep moving quickly in Southbridge these days. First, the agenda is now available for Monday, August 8th’s meeting of the town council.

Most notable is the following (and, oddly enough, once again the last item on the agenda):

15. Vote to rescind the precedent created as a result of the ruling of Ex-chairman Lazo on a Point of Order at the Town Council Meeting of Monday, July 19, 2010 whereby Ex-chairman Lazo ruled that “the 2004 by-law creating a five-member Board of Health was null and void”. (Roberts Rules, p.294, line 28) “

A Long And Winding Pant Load

Kenneth M. O’Brien

There has been a concerted effort to obscure the facts surrounding
whether Ann Beinema is still, in some way, associated with the 10-person suit related to the landfill site assignment.

The  following is a summary of  the timeline and facts related to this issue.

Ann Beinema was first appointed to the Board of Health (BOH) in the summer of 2009. Her appointment was conditional upon her withdrawal from the10-person suit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Chloramine Debate

Kenneth M. O’Brien

I have been approached by a number of people to openly state my opposition to the introduction of chloramines into the Southbridge water supply.

I cannot do this.

The truth of the matter is that I do not believe that it is as open and shut an issue as some would like you to believe.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Execrable Clemencey


Kenneth M. O’Brien

Last night’s (August 2) meeting of the subcommittee on Education and Human Services began on an interesting (some would say, intimidating) note.

A member of the Southbridge Police Department was present in plain clothes but prominently displaying his badge.
When a question was raised as to who had requested such a presence, Chairman Denise Clemence proclaimed ignorance. The officer volunteered that he was there at the behest of his boss to preserve order.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wag The Dog?

Kenneth M. O’Brien


In the course of fast moving events one has to evaluate incoming information as judiciously as possible.

Certainly the latest information regarding political maneuverings regarding the Southbridge Board of Health calls for perspicacity.

However, the emergence of additional facts can be coupled with prior experience to formulate a reasonable opinion of the forces that may be at work.

The sudden emergence of charges against the entire Lazo family just prior to the last town election certainly falls within this realm.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Resign Or Else!!!

Kenneth M. O’Brien

 

Responding to a request from the town manager, Board of Health member Anne Beinema, accompanied by her husband, attended a meeting with him at the town hall today (August 1) at 4 p.m.

Upon her arrival, she found that Police Chief Dan Charette also attended the meeting.

In essence she was told that she was being investigated for conflict of interest for having been party to the citizen lawsuit against the town and Casella. This was despite the fact that she had withdrawn her name some time ago.

Where Is The Attorney General?

Kenneth M. O’Brien


The Board of Health of the Town of Southbridge is comprised currently of two members, Anne Beinema and Rinaldo Bernadone.

In conformity with a point of order raised by former councilor Richard Logan, and as specifically provided for in the town charter, there is one vacancy.

Nevertheless, tomorrow evening (August 2), the subcommittee on Education and Human Services will vote on recommending to the full council the nomination of two additional members to the Board.

This is all part of an effort to return to the previously illegitimate five-member Board of Health and thus stack it with a majority that would favor the interests of our corporate overlords at Casella.