HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

March 12, 2007
Potpourri

Ernest Cassara


Credit Card Scams

I always check C-SPAN when I turn on the television.  On the morning of Thursday, 8 March, I came across a Senate subcommittee hearing, chaired by Carl Levin, on the interest charged by credit card companies.  Representatives of Chase, Bank of America,  and Citigroup testified, along with a man who showed how a small debt he had incurred resulted in humongous fees charged by the banks, and a representative of a consumer organization, who, also, gave examples of outrageous practices.

I was so appalled at what I saw and heard that I told my Better Half that I was sorely tempted to cancel the several credit cards that we use from time to time.

There was a time when usury was condemned by the leading religions, but, that was before capitalism became our leading American religion.


Flip Flop, Flip Flop . . .

I see that Willard Romney has renounced all of the things he claimed to stand for when he was seeking the governorship of Massachusetts, and when he used that office as a stepping stone to the U.S. presidency. He no longer favors sensible abortion policies, or gay rights.  He is so convinced that the voters are damned fools that he has even joined the National Rifle Association!


How To Tell When A Company Is In Trouble!

Wal-Mart and Home Depot have had some unpleasant news stories written about them lately.  So, what do they do?

You guessed it!  They buy space on national television, to inform us how wonderful they really are!


A Living Document? - Part 5

THE BILL OF RIGHTS

Amendments 1-10 of the Constitution

The Conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States; all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the said Constitution, namely:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


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