Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks -- 10 Star Review

A film about the making of Mary Poppins seemed at first not to interest me. I was 15 when the real "Mary Poppins" film came out, much too old to think of it as teenage fare but my neighbor next door five years younger than I kept singing and singing and singing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." Who knew the story behind the story of the making of "Mary Poppins"? This was one of the best films I have seen this year, right up there (although a substantively different film) with the excellence of "12 Years a Slave." It has a depth I never in a million years thought it would have had. No spoilers here because truly one has to see it to appreciate its heft. 

I loved every minute of it. Kudos to Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and all the rest who played major (and minor) parts. Each was wonderful. It is a touching, sad, beautiful and uplifting film. 
Walt Disney would be proud of it.  One can only hope more films such as this would be made where gratuitous sex, profanity and violent mayhem are absent.  Hallelujah, it's about time!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Crossing a Bridge Too Far

Personally, if I were a supporter of Chris Christie, which I am most definitely not, I would not be happy choosing my own attorney Randy Mastro to write a million dollar taxpayer-funded report entirely exonerating Christie for Bridgegate and think no one will see this refuse report for what it is – a not-even-creative piece of junk. Why on this earth would he put out a report as utterly stupidly inflammatory as that? Why would he inflame the very people who know the truth who could bury Christie and actually send him to jail? The report is like dousing him with gasoline, striking a match and setting him afire. Why would Mastro do that?

Calling Kelley sexist tying the Bridgegate fiasco to her (and Wildstein) alone because of her instability and grief over a man is not only the worst kind of sexism it is just plain stupid. I would be furious if I were Kelley and Stepian, the man with whom this report says she is romantically linked, because that report is so insulting, privacy invading, humiliating and most probably entirely false that she must, if she is human, be jumping up and down with rage. Judging by her attorney’s quick response to it she is angry. I do not blame her so would I be.

Moreover, to go so far as to say Mayor Zimmer of Hoboken's appearance of yawning on a stage was proof positive she was not upset about her issue is, well, inexpiable. That connection totally eluded me. Maybe she was yawning because she was exhausted from what this ordeal has put her though and maybe Christie said that because it is the only feeble defense Christie has since she has proof tying him to pay-for-play politics and conflicts of interest galore. What has he got to lose?

If I liked Christie, which I do not, I would think his attorney Mastro was a Democratic plant because the document he offered was so theater of the absurd absurd that instead of quieting Kelly, Wildstein and Stepian once allies of Christie, it fanned their fires with a wind so strong it could indeed take this beast Christie down.

Christie was back to his rude self in his “press conference” yesterday because, in my view, he is thinking heck what have I got to lose I’ve lied on everything anyway so maybe I should just throw a Hail Mary pass and hope for the best.

Well, governor, you may, in fact, have a lot to lose. Not only have you already lost your presidential candidacy which is a joke now anyway you may just be impeached and convicted losing your governor's office as well. Worst of all, however, because of your mind numbing idiotic defenseless “defense” you may also lose your freedom. Time will tell. This may just put you where you belong -- in orange strips behind bars.

Generations to Come

I wonder how many times I have commented on this? Our thirst and 

insatiable need for energy whether, coal, oil, gas or nuclear is killing our planet 

and us in it! Naturally, the poor, the disabled and the elderly will suffer first but it 

will attack everyone without discriminating on anyone!  


Generations that come after us I wish good luck.  I hope by then you will have 

thrown off the yoke of ignorance, religious dogma, corporate strangulation and 

bone crushing inhumanity to rectify this seemingly etched-in-stone 

reality!  Scroll down and see what we are bestowing on our children for 

generations to come.


Climate Change Already Felt 'On All Continents And Across The Oceans,' IPCC Finds

This story first appeared on The Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Climate change has already left its mark "on all continents and across theoceans", damaging food crops, spreading disease, and melting glaciers, according to the leaked text of a blockbuster UN climate science report due out on Monday.
Government officials and scientists are gathered in Yokohama this week to wrangle over every line of a summary of the report before the final wording is released on Monday – the first update in seven years.
Nearly 500 people must sign off on the exact wording of the summary, including the 66 expert authors, 271 officials from 115 countries, and 57 observers.
But governments have already signed off on the critical finding that climate change is already having an effect, and that even a small amount of warming in the future could lead to "abrupt and irreversible changes", according to documents seen by the Guardian.
"In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans," the final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will say.
Some parts of the world could soon be at a tipping point. For others, that tipping point has already arrived. "Both warm water coral reef and Arctic ecosystems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts," the approved version of the report will say.
This will be the second of three reports on the causes, consequences of and solutions to climate change, drawing on researchers from around the world.
The first report, released last September in Stockholm, found humans were the "dominant cause" of climate change, and warned that much of the world's fossil fuel reserves would have to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change.
This report will, for the first time, look at the effects of climate change as a series of risks – with those risks multiplying as temperatures warm.
The thinking behind the decision was to encourage governments to prepare for the full range of potential consequences under climate change.
480394897
Japanese environment minister, Nobuteru Ishihara, (third from the left) delivers a speech at the opening session of the IPCC working group II in Yokohama. Photograph: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
"It's much more about what are the smart things to do then what do we know with absolute certainty," said Chris Field, one of the co-chairs overseeing the report. "If we want to take a smart approach to the future, we need to consider a full range of possible outcomes and that means not only the more likely outcomes, but also outcomes for truly catastrophic impacts, even if those are lower probability," he said.
The gravest of those risks was to people in low-lying coastal areas and on small islands, because of storm surges, coastal flooding and sea-level rise.
But people living in large urban areas would also be at risk from inland flooding that wipes out homes and businesses, water treatment centers and power plants, as well as from extreme heatwaves.
Food production was also at risk, the report said, from drought, flooding, and changing rainfall patterns. Crop yields could decline by 2% a decade over the rest of the century.
Fisheries will also be affected, with ocean chemistry thrown off balance by climate change. Some fish in the tropics could become extinct. Other species, especially in northern latitudes, are on the move.
Drought could put safe drinking water in short supply. Storms could wipe out electricity stations, and damage other infrastructure, the report is expected to say.
Those risks will not be borne equally, according to draft versions of the report circulated before the meeting. The poor, the young and the elderly in all countries will all be more vulnerable to climate risks.
Climate change will slow down economic growth, and create new "poverty traps". Some areas of the world will also be more vulnerable – such as south Asia and south-east Asia.
The biggest potential risk, however, was of a number of those scenarios unfolding at the same time, leading to conflicts and wars, or turning regional problem into a global crisis, said Saleemul Haq, a senior fellow of the International Institute for Environment and Development and one of the authors of the report.
"The really scary impacts are when things start getting together globally," he said. "If you have a crisis in two or three places around the world, suddenly it's not a local crisis. It is a global crisis, and the repercussions of things going bad in several different places are very severe."
There was controversy in the run-up to the report's release when one of the 70 authors of a draft said he had pulled out of the writing team because it was "alarmist" about the threat. Prof Richard Tol, an economist at Sussex University, said he disagreed with some findings of the summary. But British officials branded his assessment of the economic costs of climate change as "deeply misleading".
The report argues that the likelihood and potential consequences of many of these risks could be lowered if ambitious action is taken to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. It also finds that governments – if they act now – can help protect populations from those risks.
But the report also acknowledges that a certain amount of warming is already locked in, and that in some instances there is no way to escape the effects of climate change.
The 2007 report on the effects of climate change contained an error that damaged the credibility of the UN climate panel, the erroneous claimthat Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035.
This year's report will be subject to far more rigorous scrutiny, scientists said. It will also benefit from an explosion of scientific research. The number of scientific publications on the impacts of climate change doubled between 2005 and 2010, the report will say.
Researchers said they also hoped to bring a fresh take on the issue. They said they hoped the reframing of the issue as a series of risks would help governments respond more rapidly to climate change.
"Previously the IPCC was accused of being very conservative," said Gary Yohe, professor of economics and environmental studies at Wesleyan University, one of the authors of the report. "This allows them to be less conservative without being open to criticism that they are just trying to scare people to death."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Follow up on the Framingham Selectmen race

If you have not already, please go to All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC or tune in to your cable MSNBC network and listen to his segment today on big money coming to a small town near you.  I do not want to say I told you so but I told you so.  Big Citizen's United billionaire money is now involved in looking into small town races and issues were they can insinuate their rancid huge corporate dirty oil polluting money.

What I said yesterday is TRUE.  ELECTIONS matter and it matters even for small elections like selectman in Framingham or anywhere else because there are issues that may come along where right wingnut groups like American's for Prosperity scope out to see if they can sway small town policy and then swoop in spend tons of money because they see a chance for money to be made -- for them!.  Do NOT be fooled Republicans may be nice people SOMETIMES but their policies are NOT nice for the 98% meaning most of you. They can, if they try, kill you with kindness but their policies are NOT kind.  

We in Framingham have a diverse community with many many immigrants and others who are townies like me.  I do NOT want my town invaded by big dark money made possible by that rancid Republican Supreme Court unethical five deciding that money is speech and corporations are people.  Money should NOT be speech and corporations are NOT people.

DO NOT BE FOOLED.  FIND OUT  WHAT THE CANDIDATE FOR WHOM YOU VOTE LOCALLY BELIEVES IN AND WHETHER HE/SHE IS A REGISTERED REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT.  WHY?  BECAUSE IT MATTERS.  

FORWARD THIS TO ANYONE YOU LIKE.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Dorothy Height -- Our Springtime of Rebirth

This was Dorothy Height speaking in 1997.  She was a lion in the force for civil rights who never got the just acknowledgment of history.  

Google her and you will see on Google itself she is remembered.  She was a lioness in the winter of our discontent, a force for good
in the summer of our awakening and now a posthumous force for renewal of those rights in our springtime of rebirth.  

Here is her speech before the Human Rights Campaign in 1997.  The president spoke at her funeral 15 days after he was elected.  She saw with her own eyes the fruits of her labor and for that the presidency of Barack Obama was worth it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcLxEftigPk

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mad about "Mad Men" ending--talking forever

I read about “Mad Men” soon coming to an end. The actors are dreading its end I and do not want it to end either. I loved this series and its creator Mathew Weiner. The actors were genius and the plot accurate to the times. Kudos to all who made this great work of art happen. It is destined, I think, for Smithsonian preservation embalmed for all time.

I loved that era emerging out of the catatonic 50's into the awakened 60's and ending that decade in the overthrow of the status quo. I never wanted the late 60’s to end. I mourn its passing and still long for its return. Yes, sure, nothing lasts forever but I can wish some things did.

The late 60's breathed a blast of new air into my lungs giving my life meaning and purpose. I/we reap its benefits (and its difficulties) to this day. Despite the downside of that era, I would never want to go back to the mores and lifestyle of the 1950's. It was toxic to women, it was toxic if one were disabled, it was toxic to African Americans and if one were gay the only options available were either lying about oneself or suicide.

We may still suffer from the same Post World War II deathly foreign policy but it does get questioned by those of us who learned to question everything and to try to speak truth to power holding them accountable.

This series spoke to me and I can wish it would keep talking forever!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Warrior's Moral Dilemma



I’m A Good Person And Yet I’ve Done Bad Things’

A Warrior’s Moral Dilemma

I have covered conflict and the military for 35 years, drawn to the adventure and adrenaline rush, and fascinated by the drama of Americans at war. I feel privileged to have been accepted by soldiers and Marines in their squads, platoons and battalions. Living with the grunts, I have come to respect their grit, their sense of honor and commitment, their bearing, their courage. I’ve been enriched by their unfailing humor and spontaneous generosity. Amid the horror and squalid waste of war, I have seen young Americans at their best. In a very personal way, I honor their service.
It took me a long time to recognize that something was wrong. I know too many accomplished warriors who return home proud but uneasy about their experiences. Some have sought therapy, but most have not. Some were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Most were not.
But they are not okay.
This series came from a determination to understand why, and to explore how their way back from war can be smoothed. Moral injury is a relatively new concept that seems to describe what many feel: a sense that their fundamental understanding of right and wrong has been violated, and the grief, numbness or guilt that often ensues.
Here, you will meet combat veterans struggling with the moral and ethical ambiguities of war. You will hear from some of the researchers and therapists working to help them cope, and you will come to understand some of the demons that veterans bring home from battle. However we individually feel about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these enduring moral wounds, to young Americans who fought on our behalf, must be counted among the ultimate costs.


http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/moral-injur

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gays In Crimea Split on Referendum


As I stated in a previous opinion some minorities whether they live in Ukraine or now Crimea are between a rock and a hard place. There is nowhere to go but, in my opinion, out. 

And as an aside if this nation keeps electing Republicans, who by the way love Putin's attitude about gays, we will end up, at least on the social issues, like Russia.

"Before Russian occupation it was really complicated to be a gay in Ukraine ... Now it's absolutely unbearable." [Quote from one gay man living in Crimea]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tragedy of this Nation thy Name is Ignorance -- Fabulously thought out NYT editorial. I urge you to read it

The March 18, 2014 NYT editorial by Richard Cohen entitled “The Unlikely Road to War” is one of the most creative opinions I have ever read and why it is so important to understand history.  How many in our informationally deprived and historically ignorant nation have ever heard of the assassination of the Austrian Arch Duke Ferdinand much less the man by the name of Gavrilo Princip who pulled the trigger beginning WWI making a pathway to WWII. Heck, most cannot name the Chief Justice of the US and do not even know there are nine justices on the Supreme Court.  Tragedy of this nation thy name is ignorance.

Does history repeat itself?  Not exactly but it can come too close for comfort for me!
This is a wonderfully thought out piece by Mr. Cohen.  I urge you to read it. I paste it below.

A 19-year-old Ukrainian nationalist from a remote farming village, raised on stories of his family’s suffering during Stalin’s great engineered famine, embittered by Moscow’s long imperialist dominion, enraged by the slaying of a fellow student in Kiev during the uprising of 2014, convinced any price is worth paying to stop the Russian annexation of Crimea, takes the long road to Sevastopol.

He is a simple angular man, a dreamer, who as a young boy had engraved his initials on a retaining wall of rocks at the back of his family’s plot. When asked why, he replied, “Because one day people will know my name.”

On the farm, he works hard by day and reads voraciously by night. He is consumed with the long suffering of the Ukrainian peasant laboring in near feudal conditions. Neighboring countries have gained their independence and dignity after Soviet occupation. Why, he asks, should Ukraine not do the same?

To this teenager, the issue is simple. The imperial ruler in the Kremlin knows nothing of Ukraine. The 21st-century world is changing, but this high officer of the imperium is determined to wind back the clock to the 20th. A good student, the man travels to Kiev, where an older brother works. He falls into the “Young Ukraine” movement, a radical student circle in which feelings run high over the shotgun referendum that saw the people of Crimea vote with Orwellian unanimity for union with Russia. At night, he fingers the hand-engraved Browning pistol that was once his father’s.

A plot is hatched. The Russian defense minister is to visit Sevastopol with his wife to celebrate the wise choice of the Crimean people and speak of Russia’s civilizing influence over this beautiful but backward region. Fanfare follows. “Wide Is My Motherland” booms from loudspeakers as the minister’s procession of black limousines snakes along the waterfront. The assassin is waiting at a point where the minister and his wife are to greet local dignitaries.

Two shots ring out. One cuts through the minister’s jugular vein. The other penetrates his wife’s abdomen. The minister’s last words are spoken to her: “Don’t die, don’t die, live for our children.”

Events now move quickly. Russia annexes Crimea. It declares war on Ukraine, takes Donetsk in short order, and annexes the eastern half of the country. The United States warns Russia not to advance on Kiev. It reminds the Kremlin of America’s binding alliance with Baltic states that are NATO members. European nations mobilize.

Desperate diplomacy unravels. A Ukrainian counterattack flounders but inflicts heavy casualties, prompting a Russian advance on the capital. Two NATO F-16s are shot down during a reconnaissance flight close to the Lithuanian-Russian border. Russia declares war on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Invoking Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty — an attack against one member shall be considered an attack against all — the United States and its European allies come to their defense. China, in what it calls a pre-emptive strike, invades Taiwan, “a potential Crimea.” Japan and India declare war on China. World War III has begun.

It could not happen. Of course, it could not happen. The institutions and alliances of a connected world ensure the worst cannot happen again. The price would be too high, no less than nuclear annihilation. Civilization is strong, humanity wise, safeguards secure.

Anyone who believes that should read Tim Butcher’s riveting “The Trigger,” a soon-to-be-published account of the long road traveled from a remote Bosnian farm to Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, the 19-year-old Bosnian Serb nationalist whose assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, ignited what Churchill called “the hardest, the cruelest and the least-rewarded” of all wars.

Princip acted with a small group of accomplices bent on securing the freedom of the south Slavs from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Luck helped him, diplomatic ineptitude force-multiplied his deed, and by the age of 23 this farm boy whose name would be remembered was dead of tuberculosis in a Habsburg military prison.

Then, too, exactly a century ago, it could not happen. The world had finessed other moments of tension. Yet very quickly Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia, prompting Russia to mobilize in defense of Belgrade, prompting the Kaiser’s Germany to attack France pre-emptively and Britain to declare war on Germany. The war haunts us still.

The unthinkable is thinkable. Indeed, it must be thought. Otherwise it may occur — soldiers reduced, in Butcher’s words, to “fodder locked in the same murderous morass, sharing the same attrition of bullet and barrage, disease and deprivation, torment and terror.”

Thoughts to Consider

I am sent a link to a left-of-center blog called OEN. Recently an editorialist Donn Marten caught my eye not only for his Howard Zinn-like views but also because I think he is an effective and captivating writer.

No, I do not agree with all of his opinions but some of the salient points like America's for profit eternal war machine I do. It is just another opinion of another writer but one which should give pause for at least some thought because he rises above the corporate controlled main stream media that has a vested interest in maintaining a foreign policy status quo and the lemming-like followers who allow the policy makers to do it.


I link it here or below.


Monday, March 17, 2014

WOW -- 'Cosmic Inflation' Discovery Lends Key Support For Theory Of Expanding Early Universe


This is a WOW! Why I LOVE science and its indisputable truth when it is proven again and again by others!! And further it is why we must elect those who believe in the truth of science, in the truth of climate change, and in the indisputable truth of evolution for it is only then that a nation can advance and survive. 

Work for, contribute to and elect the ONLY party that does not believe in magical thinking but rational thought, the Democratic Party.

Click here or

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ukraine and the Jew

The Jewish people are in, as usual, a precarious place with respect to the present Ukrainian discord. The ideological left historically paid lip service to helping all oppressed. Marxism in its 19th century birth and early 20th century practice in Russia gave hope to the Jew. The reality is over time, understatedly, it did not help. Jews were continually threatened and often killed no matter the political slant of power. Leftist Russia, like Czarist Russia before it, discriminated, oppressed, attacked and killed Jews but the extreme right was and is certainly no Utopia for the Jew either.

Presently the Jewish people in Ukraine are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Crimea now, soon to be under Russian aegis, certainly threatens Jews but the neo fascist right of greater Ukraine is no panacea for the Jew either. In truth, the Jew is threatened by both culturally leftist Russian Crimea and western Ukraine if a neo fascist right wing assumes power there. Western Ukraine to be sure, like its Crimean counterpart, is saturated with anti-Semites as it always has been.

This is why the Israeli Jewish state is important. The Israeli government should monitor closely what happens to the Jews of Ukraine both in the soon-to-be Russian dominated Crimea under the eye of the strong arm Putin and in the larger western-oriented Ukraine if it tips extremist neo-fascist right. Both are toxic for the Jew.

My Jewish grandparents had the prescience to leave the pogroms of Ukraine in the early 20th century as the great Jewish migration to the US began. I urge the Jewish people of both east and west Ukraine to GET OUT while you can. What more perfect time than the upcoming Passover for the Jewish people to get out and breathe the air of freedom’s safety.

The Jews of 1933 Ukraine and the Jews of Europe then waited too long to leave. Get out now before, God forbid, history repeats itself with a world and religions of all stripes poisoned by their 2000 year old toxic anti-Semitic brew that dictates they simply do not know how to leave the Jewish people alone!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Scott Brown attempting to unseat Dem. Jeanne Shaheen in NH

Yep, it's sadly true looks like Republican Scott Brown is making another attempt at attaining a Democratic senate seat. This time he MOVED to NH just to unseat the wonderful Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. I will not state the obvious that this must NOT happen.

I am sure NH Dems will come out in MAXIMUM strength to make sure it does NOT. The rancid Brown, equipped with his nefarious attack on the great Senator from Mass., Elizabeth Warren by besmirching her ethnicity with his insulting racist Indian war hooping minions leading the way, cannot be allowed yet again to try to turn the Senate Republican this time in the Massachusetts's neighboring state of New Hampshire. He did NOT win against Senator Warren and he CANNOT win against Shaheen.

NH voters MUST GET THE DEMOCRATIC vote out to ensure this does NOT happen.

We are at a crossroads in our nation's history. Either we move forward to an all inclusive nation or we move backwards into a pre Civil War era with the nullification of everything the Democratic Party has achieved for all of us.

The 1% are coming for it all -- your money and for everything as the great George Carlin so presciently predicted in his "American Dream" monologue.

Make NO mistake Scott Brown is NOT about you. He can say he is all he wants but he is NOT about the 98% He is about the 1% and most assuredly he is not about most of us!

Google George Carlin's "American Dream" monologue if you want to hear someone get a bulls-eye by predicting in 2007 what is true today. I wish he were here today to realize how correct he was. If you Google it be warned it contains some profanity. I can take the profanity because he is 100% right on the money ... literally!

Lyndon Johnson gave a speech about legislation giving every American the right to vote - LBJ Presidential Library


What we stand to lose if Republicans take power as they try to suppress the vote all over the nation. Listen to the speech LBJ gave. How dignified and brave for a man from the south to take up the cause of minorities and all of us! Feel free to forward.

Your Life

If Republican lies on Obamacare win it all for the Republicans and if the Koch Brothers with other bottomless money pits wrest control of the entire country for them YOU WILL lose. 

If Republicans take it all and you do not mind losing your rights to an endurable life making the 1% richer and the 98% poorer then pay no attention to 2014 election and simply let Republicans win.  

If they win YOU and all of us (except the richest 1%) will lose.  If you do not mind losing your right to a better life, the right to make your own choices, the right to hope for a better life then feel free to sit this one out.  I suspect once you lose these things many take for granted you will NOT like it.Work for a Democratic win and TURN OUT THE DEMOCRATIC VOTE.   I list, again, the following that WILL occur if Republicans win it all:

Eradication of the Affordable Care Act which is bringing health insurance to those who had none and saving lives Republicans do not care to save;
Social Security – they want to privatize it;
Medicare—Republicans will tell you they want to save it from Obama cuts but that is a lie.  They want deform it with vouchers;
Medicaid—they want to eradicate it;
Private Enterprise rights over civil rights—they want each state to decide if they want to discriminate even if it means not serving minorities at a lunch counter or restaurant with the ultimate elimination of the 1965 Civil Rights Act;
The reversal of Roe v. Wade eliminating a woman’s right to choose her own family planning and medical fate, who for numerous medical and other reasons seek abortion relegating them to the back alley abortionists of yesteryear who blood poisoned and through infection killed thousands and reduced women sometimes even to sterility;
Returning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy to the military so gays must live in fear of Putin-like policy and, yes, even elimination from society at large by imprisonment;
Codifying Constitutionally-based discrimination;
Re-instituting the Defense of Marriage Act;
Capturing the judiciary with extremist right wing judges;
Promoting a culture of guns even for 5 year olds and even in our schools;
Ad infinitum eternal war and a bloated military budget;
Relegating women to second class pay status;
Eradicating unions that protect workers;
More tax cuts for the rich which will NEVER trickle down to you;
Deregulating the economy-crushing Wall Street and returning business to a pre Great Depression and Great Recession status;
Never passing a minimum wage;
Eradicating unemployment benefits;
Denying science, climate change and the catastrophes we already have suffered from man-induced global climate change including severe drought, severe storms, tornadoes, floods, fire, ice and snow;
Denying the fact of evolution so that new biological discoveries which will save lives will not happen; teaching the mythological creationism as fact-based non science;
Severe cuts to the NIH eliminating government’s disease fighting and disease tracking efforts; 
Diminishing regulatory agencies like the EPA;
Eliminating mental health government-sponsored studies;
Proliferating dirty oil and fracking that have polluted so much of the nation and setting it literally on fire;
Emphasizing alternative clean energy;
Negligence repairing Infrastructure that has decayed all over the nation.

Our nation, if Republicans are given total power, will end programs that have helped sustain it over decades even centuries.  They have done so in states where Republicans reign.

We MUST work hard to tell the Koch Brothers and their ilk that they CANNOT buy America.  We must work HARD to elect, contribute to and advocate for Democrats everywhere.  MOST OF ALL GET OUT THE DEMOCRATIC VOTE in every state and for each branch of Congress in 2014 and beyond

Your life is at stake. It's that simple.

Pass this on to whomever you like.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Leader Obama Wanted to Become and What Became of Him

An interesting view of the Obama presidency so far and one which I am loathe to admit. The author Professor David Bromwich may, however, speech some truth worthy of a spot on my blog.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/the-leader-obama-wanted-t_b_4932145.html

SUNK: Why I care

My heart sank as I heard last evening about the Florida Congressional House loss of Alex Sink in close race of a bellwether election. I thought the Democrats' ability to take back the House in 2014 to pass legislation that matters for the nation is at risk BUT as a caveat I am told by a Democratic colleague "There was an "independent" who took the rest and it is said he took votes away from Sink. Otherwise Sink would have won. The GOP spent $5MN + - highest in the history of any house race. This was a special election and I believe the winner has to run again in Nov 2014." 

The obstructionist Republicans want this president's legacy, if they can get nothing else, to be failure. They ultimately want nothing less than a takeover of every branch of our government. THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN.


Here is why I care:
I care because I care about those who by dumb luck did not get handed life's good luck. I care because I do not believe we are put on this earth in this nation to sink or swim on our own. I care because I believe we ARE our brother’s keeper and because I believe in the success of FDR’s New Deal and ALL the New Deals that have taken place after that.

The Republican Party has devolved into the Party of the 1% richest in this nation using its endless money pit and populist rhetoric filled with lies to dupe mostly aging low information whites, religious fanatics and Confederate sympathizers of the old south to support their cause. The Republican Party is now the right wing extremist Party of white nationalists who will stop at nothing to take what the middle class and the poor have worked so hard over centuries to achieve.

Here is what you stand to lose if Republicans take all three branches of the US government over time:

Eradication of the Affordable Care Act which is bringing health insurance to those who had none and saving lives Republicans do not care to save;
Social Security – they want to privatize it;

Medicare—they want deform it with vouchers;

Medicaid—they want to eradicate it;

Private Enterprise rights over civil rights—they want each state to decide if they want to discriminate even if it means not serving minorities at a lunch counter or restaurant with the ultimate elimination of the 1965 Civil Rights Act;

The reversal of Roe v. Wade eliminating a woman’s right to choose her own family planning fate, who for numerous medical and other reasons seek abortion relegating them to the back alley abortionists of yesteryear who blood poisoned and through infection killed thousands and reduced women sometimes even to sterility;

Returning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy to the military so gays must live in fear of Putin-like policy and, yes, even elimination from society at large by imprisonment;

Codifying Constitutionally-based discrimination;

Re-instituting the Defense of Marriage Act;

Capturing the judiciary with extremist right wing judges;

Promoting a culture of guns even for 5 year olds and even in our schools;

Ad infinitum eternal war and a bloated military budget;

Relegating women to second class pay status;

Eradicating unions that protect workers;

More tax cuts for the rich which will NEVER trickle down to you;

Deregulating the economy-crushing Wall Street and returning business to a pre Great Depression and Great Recession status;

Never passing a minimum wage;

Eradicating unemployment benefits;

Denying science and the catastrophes we already have suffered from man induced climate change including severe drought, severe storms, tornadoes, floods, fire, ice and snow;

Denying the fact of evolution so that new biological discoveries which will save lives will not happen; teaching the mythological creationism as fact-based non science;
Eliminating government’s disease fighting and disease tracking efforts by severe cuts to the NIH and all government regulatory agencies like the EPA;

Eliminating mental health government-sponsored studies;

Proliferating dirty oil and fracking that have polluted so much of the nation and setting it literally on fire;

Failing to seek alternative clean energy;

Leaving our infrastructure to decay.

I care because of all these things and more.

Our nation, if Republicans are given power, will not survive and in short we are SUNK.
It is why I care and why we MUST work hard to elect Democrats throughout the land in 2014 and beyond!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

A Suggested First Look

Glenn Greenwald civil libertarian supreme, documentary film maker Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill (Academy Award nominee for best documentary film: Dirty Wars,) Matt Taibbi the brilliant expositor of Wall Street's egregiously unethical activities that helped crush the middle class are creating a new enterprise.  

They are all my gurus despite the fact that I do not agree with everything they posit.  I agree with enough of their views to make them a part of my intellectual quest for truth. They and others whose intellectual gifts are many and whose political slant is humanitarian left of center are joining forces to create an online enterprise called "First Look Media." I link it here or below.  It is in its formative stage. When it is completed it will be one of the web pages I will go to often in my quest for journalistic excellence.  

I urge to you check it out.  They summarize its objective as follows:

First Look Media seeks to re-imagine journalism for the digital age, combining the promise of technological innovation with the power of fearless reporting. Founded by Pierre Omidyar, the organization will pursue original, independent journalism that is deeply reported and researched, thoroughly fact checked, and beautifully told. We are driven above all by a belief that democracy depends on a citizenry that is not just highly informed, but deeply engaged. In all our work, we are committed to strict standards of accuracy and honesty, a willingness to report our own errors and inconsistencies as well as those of others, and a deep respect for the transformative power of true stories.

I wished them luck and said in an email to them:

There can be no doubt that the forces of mendacious media that promote lies and half truths is filled to the corporate teeth with money that makes it so difficult to forge a new way and report truth.  I have followed Glenn Greenwald when he wrote for Salon, the Guardian and when he was interviewed by numerous media.  I have heard him speak at Harvard and have followed closely the Snowden revelations and other civil libertarian issues about which Glenn has written. While I take issue with some things, I look to Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill and many others for truth that most reporting and journalism in our time sorely lacks.  

I lived through the anti-war era of Howard Zinn and many others in the late 1960's, looking up to their scholarship. My life was changed philosophically and politically by them.  Now I look to this new generation of humanitarian journalists to point the way for our time as it is time or rather it is way past time that the course of our nation change and recapture that which the so called "Greatest Generation" of my parents illuminated but has over decades lost its bright light and therefore its way.

I write my own opinion blog which is not the scholarship your writers will provide but transmits my view so that when, perhaps, scholars study this era long after I am gone, they will see there are those among us who wanted to speak truth to power and stand for something humane again.  

I will give "First Look" a first look, a second, a third and more.

I wish you all luck in your new venture.  Judging from your video explaining what you are trying to do I suspect you will be a success.  I look forward to reading your work.

Friday, March 07, 2014

The Ukraine Another Wiew--the Winners of History

There is another view out there in news land and it does not make the US and NATO look all that good with respect to Ukraine.  The problem is the media in this country is corporatist controlled and wants you to know what it wants you to know.  White-hat American exceptionalism is used often as the rationale and myth for war. But this is still a free speech nation, the fact I love most about it, and other points of view IF one looks for them are out there.  You have to look.

Reader Supported News in my opinion is a respected left of center news source.  If you care about nuclear war or war in general, if you care about your children's lives and their children's lives you should read it and then read another side of the issue which is saturated in our mainstream news.  Make an informed opinion.

It is, for me, often very difficult to know the truth as it was impossible to know at the time that the Vietnam Gulf of Tonken rationale for the years long Vietnam fiasco was untrue as were the rationales for the Iraq War.  It became known after the dastardly deeds and effects of those war killed, maimed and exiled millions.  

Much later after the explosions have stopped the truth eventually often comes out.  Wars supporting the American Vietnam War and the recent Iraq war were all based on lies, ill advised, ill conceived without understanding future cultural consequential disasters.  This is proven so.  In view of that and in view of a dangerous potential confrontation in this latest potential conflagration with a nuclear armed state, Russia, the American electorate should damn well know and weigh all sides before blood pours in a gush and this time not only from soldiers but from us civilians.  

Think well on whom you elect and think well before the US enters into something that would have catastrophic global implications.  I am not asking you to accept the article below but to merely consider it and know the winners of history prevail in the writing of it.

More reader commentary is here if you scroll below the article pasted below or at this link: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22381-focus-us-provokes-russia-acts-surprised-to-get-a-nasty-reaction

US Provokes Russia, Acts Surprised to Get a Nasty Reaction

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News
04 March 14
How crazy will Americans get over Ukraine?
f too many people get sucked in by the current, distorted media coverage of events unfolding now in Ukraine, then there's a good chance life will get very ugly for a lot of innocent people, since one of the logical end points is the use of nuclear weapons. Everyone in power knows that's a potential reality, but the urge to demagogue the Russians is presently overwhelming honesty and caution.
Ukraine is NOT a real place. Ukraine has never been a real place, not in the sense that Madascar or Cuba are both undeniably real places with real edges. Ukraine has no real edges, just lines on a map imposed by some treaty or army over the past several thousand years. To speak, as the more pompous do, of Ukraine's "territorial integrity" is to speak of an imaginary construct, useful for blurring people's minds for political purposes.
Ukraine in recent years has been what the power brokers of the disintegrating Soviet Union decided to let it be in 1991. Ukraine has no coherent history as a nation. First inhabited some 44,000 years ago, most of the region's history is as occupied territory.
Russia's history of maintaining a military presence in Crimea is older than United States history. The Russian Black Sea Fleet has been based in Sevastopol in Crimea continuously since 1783. For the Russians, this is a crucial warm water port, currently leased from Ukraine till 2042.
To understand what this means to the Russians, it probably matters more to them than the United States would care if the Cubans decided to threaten the Naval Base at Guantanamo, and we know that wouldn't have a happy ending.
Is anyone involved in Ukraine NOT to blame for something?
In spite of its history as a subjugated non-state, Ukraine has managed something like a functioningdemocratic government from time to time in recent years. Now is not one of those times. The elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, was by all accounts corrupt, but he was elected. Although the process was somewhat messy, he was duly elected in 2010 with almost 49% of the vote, concentrated in Russian-populated eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
Now Yanukovych has been deposed, perhaps justly, but by an unjust process spearheaded by a street mob and a disenthralled parliament. The parliament has appointed an acting president and Yanukovych is in asylum in Russia. It's not clear that Ukraine now has a legitimate government of any sort.
The Ukrainian presidential crisis, which is ongoing, is surely the result of longstanding, internal Ukrainian faultlines, ethnic, political, and economic. And the crisis is even more surely the result of deliberate, years-long interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine by the United States, the European Union, NATO, and other western forces, as Robert Parry has described. Ukraine appears to be the latest victim of those New American Century conspirators who brought the world such success in Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, and Syria (home to another Russian warm water port and their only Mediterranean base).
"KREMLIN DEPLOYS MILITARY TO SEIZE CRIMEA" - N.Y. Times headline
That front page headline in the Times is, perhaps, less inflammatory than others elsewhere, but it was five columns wide and deploying "Kremlin" that way is pure Cold War journalism. As for accuracy, it's close - even if it doesn't acknowledge that Russian troops have long been based in Crimea and "seize" is a hyperbolic rendering of an unopposed deployment which may even have been welcomed by most of the population.
The subhead - "REBUFF TO OBAMA" - is essentially propaganda, as it tries to make the president personally relevant to a situation that has its own dynamic. It's also propaganda insofar as it tries to make this an American crisis to which we're supposed to respond, rather than one we promoted for reasons that remain obscure.
The Times offers some idea of why Russia might be wary, but that's deep in an inside sidebar, not the front page story. The deadpan tone hides a host of implied threats to Russian stability and safety:
"Ukraine had accomplished some military reform with NATO advice, but since President Yanukovych said that Ukraine was not interested in full NATO membership, cooperation has lagged, the NATO official said. Ukraine has, however, taken part in some military exercises with NATO, contribute some troops to NATO's response force and helped in a small way in Libya."
In other words, the "pro-Russian" Yanukovych was contributing to NATO, albeit in a small way that might even have been part of a balancing act reflecting Ukraine's unfortunate but inescapable geographic location bordering both Russia and NATO members Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland. As far as the NATO allies were concerned, Ukraine's effort to be a buffer state with good relations with all its hostile neighbors was not enough. Both NATO and the European Union were pressuring Ukraine to choose sides, NATO's side. How did they honestly expect Russia to react, sooner or later?
These provocations have gone on for years in different forms, apparently with President Obama's blessing, since he apparently did nothing, or nothing effective, to mitigate or even stop the relentless instigation of Ukrainians toward violence. In mid-December 2013, former Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich warned of the trap Ukrainian demonstrators in Independence Square were headed toward.
The fascist, neo-Nazi, ethnic cleansing forces in Kiev and western Ukraine do not control the government at this point, but they control the streets and they are the most armed and organized of the factions in Ukraine. They provided many of the shock troops in recent confrontations with police at Independence Square.
Concern about the possible rise to power of right-wing forces contributed to the decision by Crimean authorities to reject the legitimacy of the Kiev government and establish de facto control of Crimea as, effectively, a temporary independent and autonomous province of Ukraine. After that, Sergei Aksyonov, prime minister of Crimea, asked the Russians for help safeguarding the region.
Aksyonov also announced that Crimea would hold a public referendum on independence on March 30.
The government in Kiev mobilized the military to defend Ukraine and dispatched some troops to Crimea. There the majority of those troops reportedly joined the forces of the Crimean autonomous region.
"PUTIN GOES TO WAR" - New Yorker online headline, March 1, 2014
The usually brilliant David Remnick somehow sees this multi-faceted, low level, uncertain and ambiguous situation as a "war." Since no shot had been fired by the time he wrote about what he called a "demonstration war," that made it an especially interesting demonstration.
"Putin's reaction exceeded our worst expectations," Remnick wrote, suggesting that no one had realistic expectations. For this statement to be true, "we" must have been delusional. Remnick must know that a rational person's expectations when provoking a huge nuclear power would have to be extreme - or detached from reality.
What did anyone expect Russia to do in the face of perennial probes affecting its vital interests, real or perceived? Writing with a Cold War approach that denigrates or omits anything that makes sense of Russian behavior, Remnick compares the Russian deployment in Crimea to Georgia in 2008, Afghanistan in 1979, Checkoslovakia in 1968. He omits any mention of Sevastopol or NATO. He argues instead that this is all about Putin's psyche.
Without doubt, Putin's Russia has its horrors, but not everyone is blinded by them, any more than they are blinded by American horrors. Writing in Haaretz on February 25, before Ukraine fully came apart,Amatzia Baram wrote with clear-eyed analysis of the developing situation:
If Ukraine degenerates into chaos, Russia's naval base in Sevastopol will be in danger. If that happens, Putin may have an interest in seeing Ukraine split, for he will have no choice but to seize control somehow - perhaps with the services of a loyal Ukrainian politician - of Sevastopol and the surrounding area, or even of Eastern Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula where it is situated.
The United States does not bear the sole responsibility for de-stabilizing Ukraine and risking a nuclear power confrontation, but there is little doubt that if the United States had not been an eager co-conspirator in twenty years of increasingly reckless global expansionism we wouldn't be in this current quandary.
But here we are, headed into another media wonderland where the actual context of putting missiles near another country's borders is expected to elicit a reaction different from the one the Russians would get if they tried to finagle Mexico into a military alliance or base missiles in Canada.
Come on, people, keep your wits about you. American exceptionalism isn't always such a good thing.


William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theater, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.