Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ISIS Destroys Al Nuri Mosque, Another Loss for Mosul [Iraq]

MY NYT COMMENT:

How amazing it is to hear the American military and/or ISIS assigning blame for just one more symbol of concrete blasted into oblivion. Would any US assign blame to the forces of 2003 who began a war in Iraq based on lies? Think about it. With no US invasion and "shock and awe" bombing there would have been no Iraq War based on lies, no Al Qaeda in Iraq or the Arabian Peninsula, no civil war in Iraq, and surely no ISIS there or anywhere for that matter.

In truth the responsibility for the mammoth violence that has descended on that part of the world from Syria, Egypt, and Libya to the Sudan and Mohamed Bouazizi the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17 December 2010 prompting the massive revolutions all over the Middle East -- one state following another falling like a game of dominoes.

Sadly the fault of ALL of this carnage, I believe, can be traced to the obliteration of Iraq by US forces convincing yet again a gullible American public that Sadam Hussein had WMD when he had none and even that he may have been responsible for 9/11 when he was not. People get angry when one bombs them for nothing. The fault, as Shakespeare said in "Julius Caesar," is not in the stars but in ourselves!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Facebook friend wrote this letter -- read and heed then



tell your friends especially if they have Republican Senators to tell them NOT TO DO THIS TO THE NATION!!!

Forward this if you like!

Alan Milner, a Facebook friend wrote a very very good opinion to his Senator, Bill Nelson. Alan is 100% correct:

Look, let's stop talking this mealy mouthed bull&^%

What the Republicans are calling TrumpCare is nothing less than the institution of the wholesale version of the death panels that Republicans used to say would be the result of Obamacare.

Well, that was a lie, and so is everything else the Republicans say about their "health care reforms."

As a Democrat, as a board member of a local Democratic Club, I am ashamed of the inability of the Democratic party to come out and say what must be said.

The Republican "health plan" is nothing less than the institutionalized murder of tens of thousands of poor people, those who cannot afford the exorbitant cost of private health insurance.

It is also this: A HUGE BIG GIVEAWAY TO THE RICHEST AMERICANS - AND THEIR FOREIGN ALLIES - AT THE EXPENSE OF WORKING AMERICANS.

Let's tell it like it is: Obamacare cost the US government approximately $660 billion dollars in 2016....almost exactly the amount of money required to underwrite the Republican tax cut proposals.

I really don't care about mealy-mouthed platitudes about the "unprecedented" manner in which the Republicans are attempting rewrite our health care system behind closed doors.

Let's call it what it is: murder.

Paul Ryan's proposal to replace Medicare with a voucher program is equally unconscionable, attacking senior citizens and relegating them to poverty and ill-health, unable to afford the level of care they were promised under the Medicare program.

Former Florida Congressman Alan Grayson had it right. The Republican Health Care program is very simple: Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.

I congratulate you for standing up for seniors, for the poor, for the under-served.....but you have to do more.

Tell these morons that, without Medicare and Medicaid, the entire American health system will collapse because the patients will disappear, costs will increase, driving even more people out of the health care market.

And then remind them that if the poor do not get health care, the people who do not get that care will breed the germs that will trigger the great pandemic that will sweep across the planet. This has happened before in human history, and right now with huge population movement bringing new germs into new target areas, it will happen again.

Trade votes, browbeat any Republicans who still have a shred of personal dignity left in them. Chain yourself to the doors of the Senate....but do something that will make it inescapably clear that it there is going to be hell to pay in 2018 and 2020 if they persist in this insanity.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Review: "Woman in Gold"

Did Europe of the 1930's and 1940's go insane? Predominantly white Europe was, historically, the most cultured of continents. It was a continent of great literature, beautiful music, and priceless art. It was a world of the great intellects, scientists, philosophers and culture. It was a world of a political reality the Trumps and Bannons, sadly of our world, would want to rule the world but it was a continent, then, one would consider anything but civilized. It was a continent at war with innocents and innocence. In the end Germany and its Axis power allies would kill approximately 50 million human beings but the true number as the American prosecutor at Nuremberg, played by Richard Widmark in "Judgment at Nuremberg" while he showed the moving pictures of the death camps said "the real number [so huge] no one knows."

The ability to rule the world then was going to be built on nothing less than the death of democracy and the emergence of totalitarian Fascist states that paid no mind to a suffering humanity they created and about whom they cared nothing. Fascism did not pay even philosophical lip service to a goal of universal acceptance, diversity and indivisible inclusion. It did advocate for the exclusion of those whom it dictated were the "other" and it did play out its determined credo to achieving its goals by any means necessary including the invasion of innocent nations, plundering of their natural resources, and crushing the innocents among those they considered the "other." Nazis stealing the precious possessions of the "other" was the bonus it accumulated toward achieving its goal of total subjugation and annihilation of the "other." The majority "other," of course, were Europe's doomed Jews.
 

The "Woman in Gold" starring the great Helen Mirren is the true story of a woman's attempt to obtain justice by retrieving a priceless painting the Nazis stole from her family who were killed by them. The summary about the painting of woman in gold by Gustav Klimt is indented below taken from Wikipedia:

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (also called The Lady in Gold or The Woman in Gold) is a painting by Gustav Klimt, completed between 1903 and 1907. The portrait was commissioned by the sitter's husband, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer (de), a Jewish banker and sugar producer. The painting was stolen by the Nazis in 1941 and displayed at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere. In 2006, following eight years of effort by the Bloch-Bauer heirs, the painting was returned to the family; it was sold the same year for $135 million, at the time a record price for a painting.

The portrait is the final and most fully representative work of Klimt's golden phase. It was the first of two depictions of Adele by Klimt—the second was completed in 1912; these were two of several works by the artist that the family owned. Adele died in 1925; her will asked that the artworks by Klimt were to be left to the Galerie Belvedere, although these belonged to Ferdinand, not her. Following the Anschluss of Austria by Nazi Germany, Ferdinand fled Vienna, and made his way to Switzerland, leaving behind much of his wealth, including his large art collection. The painting was stolen by the Nazis in 1941, along with the remainder of Ferdinand's assets, after a false charge of tax evasion was made against him. The assets raised from the purported sales of artwork, property and his sugar business were offset against the tax claim. The lawyer acting on behalf of the German state gave the portrait to the Galerie Belvedere, claiming he was following the wishes Adele had made in her will. Ferdinand died in 1946; his will stated that his estate should go to his nephew and two nieces.

In 1998 Hubertus Czernin, the Austrian investigative journalist, established that the Galerie Belvedere contained several works stolen from Jewish owners in the war, and that the gallery had refused to return the art to their original owners, or to acknowledge a theft had taken place. One of Ferdinand's nieces, Maria Altmann, hired the lawyer E. Randol Schoenberg to make a claim against the gallery for the return of five works by Klimt. After a seven year legal claim, which included a hearing in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, an arbitration committee in Vienna agreed that the painting, and others, had been stolen from the family and that it should be returned to Altmann. It was sold to the businessman and art collector Ronald Lauder, who placed the work in the Neue Galerie, the New York-based gallery he co-founded.

This is a film about a small act of justice for a woman and a people who received no justice. It is one woman's attempt with her young attorney in America to achieve justice for her family and her even if it meant returning to Austria, a place she loathed, to walk down a torturous memory lane. Fighting for those valuable paintings was not an easy task but a necessary one. She was ready to stop the attempt but through her attorney's grit, sense of justice and, perhaps, his own desire to return to the living what he could not return to the dead, the legal attempt to return the art work continued. Vengeance was his and hers for the moment and his determination to achieve one small act of justice continued. Within seven years she would see justice prevail and perhaps lessen a bit the survivor's guilt she felt.

Justice in the form of this painting no matter how valuable could ever replace the millions of lives brutally taken or bring back the victims of the Nazi Holocaust to those who still mourn their loss but it was one small symbolic satisfaction for those who lost everything at the hands of armies of jackboots who had everything and what they did not have stole the rest. The painting, in the end, was justice given to Maria Altmann and the family she left behind, whom she loved but could not save.

Maria Altmann's attorney gave 7 million toward a new building at the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum. He said that he "tried to do good things with the money" and he did. Maria Altman died in 2011 at the age of 94. May she rest in peace for her family who knew no peace and may that painting stand as a testament to life against death, justice against injustice and love against hate so that we, the living may never repeat humanity's sins of our tortured historical past. I gave this film a 10-star review.

RESIST THE TRUMPIAN MADNESS!

For more detail one may click on this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_Adele_Bloch-Bauer_I

Friday, June 16, 2017

I Am Not Your Negro

This James Baldwin documentary is without a doubt one of the greatest documentaries regarding the black (and white) experience in America. I was glued. You, if you have not seen it, should do so. You can get it through Apple TV (for me tough tech to do) or you can purchase the rental or even the DVD through Amazon--Easy.

I was riveted to it and cried through it because I remember the times of which it spoke and it spoke to me. In the end Baldwin says "Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed that is not faced." I believe, if you see it, it will speak to you too.

It should especially in this hour of Trump and his team of racist white supremacists deplorables be required viewing in this nation in every school of this nation. This must see is profoundly brilliant!



A New York Times Review:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/movies/review-i-am-not-your-negro-review-james-baldwin.html?_r=0

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Can't we all just get along?

This seems to be the question of the day as Congressional members of both parties put arms around their opposition in view of the Scalise shooting at a baseball park in Alexandria where Republicans and Democrats for a few hours get together, leave politics aside and simply have fun. He is still, sadly, in critical condition.

I often feel guilty for the passion with which I speak. In my earlier years I was a go along get along person. I formed my political left of center views in college and they have remained give or take a few more conservative times the same throughout my life. I still, though, feel the value of compromise as former President Obama did but was rebuffed
​​continuously.

Early on, as I pursued academics, I weighed both sides of the political spectrum honestly and deeply. I weighed them for years. I gave both the left and the right a philosophical try. The right remained, at that time, too nationalistic extreme and a side which could not question American foreign entanglements that killed thousands. Patriotism on the right meant that I had to accept what I thought was unacceptable and wrong because it was my country​'s policy​. That was not a good enough reason to kill other often innocent human beings for what reasons I did not know.

Conservatism was also uncaring of those who rece​i​ved tough breaks in life one of which was being born black in a culture reserved only for whites and who through no fault of their own needed help even to simply cast a vote or drink from a fountain. It was unjust in a nation that prided itself about freedom​, justice​ and equality. Until this day I am moved and tied to those in our nation who need help the most. The Democratic Party, certainly not perfect, at least became best place to achieve help for those who could not help themselves.​ The Democratic Party became my home.​

The policies of the right, though we are all Americans, are, as I see it, toxic to the bottom of a very unequally stratified society. It is more than obvious that President Trump has fueled the explosiveness we see now by the cruel, negative and harsh tweets whether from his computer or spoken charismatically from a podium. The president's ​business conflicts of interest are gargantuan. His ​constant lies​, ​toxic negative rhetoric screams to an already fearful nation.

My anger comes from the desperation I feel if my opposition gets their way. If they get their way millions will suffer without healthcare, social safety nets and many many will die. If not for the social safety nets the Great Recession of 2007 I would have been sent into the street because Wall Street failed which it so often historically has with little or no regulation to stop its often greedy and unsavory practices. My passion, comes from the sense that even my life along with millions of others would be threatened if right wing policies take hold and I have not even mentioned the social issues the Democratic Party ​adopts and ​has given shelter ​and support ​to those attacked minorities.

It is for these reasons and the reasons of climate change, an affinity for science and more which are the rationale behind my feeling of fear, desperation and anger at what Republican policies, if they prevail, will do and have historically done. The climate will change destroying the planet eco-systemically, middle class and lower class human beings will get sick, have no healthcare or other life-saving benefits and probably, in many cases, die. Whole swaths of humanity will again become the "other." I cannot endure that as we have come too far and fought too hard for the "other" to gain a semblance of equality.

I will try to share opinion with those who do not share my opinion. I will listen to them but they must meet people like me half way. Holding hands with the other side may feel good for the moment but if the policies of the other side help only the top 2% leaving the rest of us to punt, the laws of survival will dictate I must say vociferously no.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The shooting of Majority Whip Scalise -- Who bears responsibility?

Violence never works to effectuate the causes one desires and who use it as a desperate weapon to mirror their anger to the world to get what they want. The man who shot Majority Whip Scalise, in my opinion, does not only a disservice to the Sanders's cause in which he allegedly believed but also to those of us who are unabashedly liberal and progressive Democrats who hold similar views but who would never compromise our righteous beliefs by committing violence that which would engender righteous criticism from those whom we consider opponents of policy that would assist the powerless and the poor.

We should all condemn the shooter's actions and also make crystal clear the extreme violent nature of the extremist right. I believe and one can see by viewing tapes of Trump's campaign how his words and, indeed, his actions served to engender so much fury of those who see violence as the only option that would show strongly they are against Trump's policy and leadership. Trump has been so malevolent, so mendacious, so unethical and so noxious that Trump, above anyone else, should look to himself for the violent tone set by him and his administration. It is that which would compel a person to violence against it as the only option for those who are among the desperate.

Trump made a home for the extremist right some of whom are anti-Semites, anti persons of color, anti women and who promote a nativist pro white agenda for people who have had all the rights to begin with. Again, I say to Trump do not criticize the speck in someone else's eye when you have a log in your own. Trump, as much as anyone else, needs to see the trouble is not, as Shakespeare said, in the stars but in himself!