Thursday, December 31, 2015

Making a Nation Great Again


In response to the William Labarge letter of December 31 in the Metro West Daily News entitled "Trump Exposes Republican Depravity" linked here I could not have expressed it better. Trump appeals to the very same know-nothings to whom the Republican Party has continually appealed except the so called "establishment" candidates do so in, perhaps, more acceptable form.  The message essentially is the same as it has always been since the transformation of the Dixicrat-Democrat south to Republican during the Nixon moral majority law and order camouflage years.

The Republican Party has now, though, morphed into something worseAs our first black president took office in 2008 Republicans decided to obstruct everything he wanted to do even if it was their own Republican policy they touted before he took office. He was the nation's first black president and Republicans simply could not tolerate that. Add to the racist animus the nation's economic convulsions due, in pertinent part, to Republican trickle down duplicity, Wall Street Republican crony fraud and Republican foreign policy based lies and eternal war. Presto, one gets our present-day noxious Republican Party. Trump, Rubio, Bush, and Cruz are all the same because the Republican Party is all the same -- the Party of Trump.

My letter writing has become less frequent with each national catastrophe most especially the climate never ending disasters (watch Missouri and the west being obliterated by climate change storms in extremis) and I give up. Al Gore, a decade ago, was utterly correct and posed a very inconvenient truth. Republicans, yet again, are on the wrong side of that truth as they almost always get every other issue wrong as well. It is nauseating.

Republican Party, as Shakespeare might have said, do not blame the stars for your anger blame, indeed, yourselves. Republicans are not making this nation great again they are killing it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In the Year of Trump, the Joke Was On Us -- By Matt Taibbi

It started out as a joke: Donald Trump running for president! What better way to spoof the thinness of the Republican field than to shove a bombastic reality star with orange hair, a sixth-grade vocabulary and no behavioral filter onto the debate stage with the likes of Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker and Lindsey Graham? The only thing more perfect would have been to add a head of lettuce and Koko the signing gorilla to round out the candidate slate.



Trump seemed like a perfect foil in particular for Jeb Bush, a hesitating, gelatinous aristocrat who lacked the cocksure brainlessness the previous Bush used to sell himself as a "regular guy." In an era when Republican voters were more distrustful than ever of the Same Old Politics, stiff, birthright-bearing Jeb was exactly the wrong candidate for the party elders to back.

And they seemed to realize it, too. Once the Republican race got going, the party appeared too disorganized and fractured to throw its institutional weight behind anyone. This left a comically enormous cast of hopefuls to duke it out in the equivalent of a schoolyard rock fight. And without the gravitas of party and media support, the candidates on the Republican side turned out to be just a bunch of chattering, defenseless, fourth-rate flesh-bags, exquisitely vulnerable to any strong personality. The entrance of Trump into the race on June 16th therefore offered the potential of an entertaining car wreck of awesome proportions.

But things turned ugly less than 45 minutes into his run. In his announcement, Trump told the world that Mexican immigrants were "rapists" who needed to be stopped. Then, in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, he doubled down on the remark instead of recanting. "Well, somebody's doing the raping," he seethed. A week later, Mexicans, to Trump, were not just rapists but "rapists and killers," and he was now adding a proposal to build a giant wall across the Mexican border to stop the Army of Darkness-style invading rape-murder horde. The wall would be "tall" and building it would be "easy," he said, adding that he would get Mexico to pay for it, because he knew the "art of negotiating" and wasn't a "clown."

To the astonishment of most observers, Trump soared to second place in Iowa and New Hampshire, and was the clear frontrunner by mid-July. Except for a brief surge by crazy-ass Ben Carson in the fall, he's remained there ever since. Heading into the holiday season, he was pushing 40% in some national polls, more popular than ever.

The appearance of a onetime Spy magazine punchline and WWE performer as the real leader of a real screwball nationalist movement has been at least partly an accidental phenomenon.
The ancient report that he used to keep a book of Hitler's speeches by his bedside notwithstanding, it's very likely that Donald Trump never in his life thought seriously about things like nativism, fascism, eugenics, or any kind of ideology at all. This was not someone who likely ever dreamed of cattle cars and rivers of blood. Trump is a narcissist, not a demagogue; his pathology is himself, not politics.

A pre-2015 Trump fantasy was probably something like romping with models after simultaneously winning the Nobel Prizes for Peace, Literature and Physics (they love me in Sweden – scientists were amazed by the size of my skyscraper!). He almost certainly would have been grossed out by a Ghost-of-Christmas-Future-style image of his 2015 self being feted by crowds of rifle-toting white power nerds.

But shortly after Trump jumped into the race, he stumbled onto a secret: whenever he blurted out forbidden thoughts about race, ethnicity or gender, he was showered with the attention he always craved.

A sizable portion of the country seemed appalled at the things he said. But at the same time he was suddenly attracting huge and adoring crowds at down-home sites like Bluffton, South Carolina and Mobile, Alabama, pretty much the last places you'd ever expect the Trump brand to take off.
Trump had spent his entire career lending his name to luxury properties that promised exclusivity and separation from exactly the sort of struggling Joes who turned out for these speeches. If you live in a Trump building in a place like the Upper West Side, it's supposed to mean that you're too cosmopolitan, stylish, and successful — too smart-set — to mix with the rabble.

But the rabble — white, working-class, rural, despising exactly those big-city elites who live in Trump's buildings — turned out to be Trump's base. They're the people who hooted and hollered every time he said something off-color about Muslims or Mexicans or Asians ("We want deal!" Trump snickered earlier this year, in a Chinese-waiter voice) or "the blacks."

It was a bizarre marriage, but it made sense from from a clinical point of view. Attention is attention. Patient with narcissistic personality disorder discovers massive source of narcissistic supply, so he sets about securing its regular delivery.

So one comment about Mexicans turned into another about Megyn Kelly's "wherever," which turned into a call for a Black Lives Matter protester to be "roughed up," which turned into an insane slapstick routine about a Times reporter with arthrogryposis, and so on. By December, you had to check Twitter every few hours just to see which cultural taboo Trump was stomping on now.

The presidential campaign Trump began as just the latest in a long line of zany self-promotional gambits has now turned into the long-delayed other shoe dropping from the American civil rights movement. This goofball billionaire mirror-gazer has unleashed a half-century of crackpot grievances about the post-civil rights cultural landscape that a plurality of seething white people felt they never had permission to air, until he came along.
White America has been talking about race in code for more than half a century. You can trace the practice back to Barry Goldwater's 1964 acceptance speech, when he talked about "law and order" and the need to restrain "marauders" after a series of race riots in east coast cities. The speech struck a chord with white voters.

Goldwater's discovery that you could use crime as a proxy to talk about race helped define the next half-century of major-party politics in America. Later generations of pols used other issues like immigration, tax reform and "income redistribution" to achieve the same end.

We called it "dog-whistle politics" because after the Civil Rights Movement, the party line was that we were now all partners in Dr. King's famous dream of racial harmony. So there were certain things you were no longer supposed to say out loud.

You couldn't just come out and say black people were lazy anymore. But you could talk about how "good people" in "small towns" do "some of the hardest work," as Sarah Palin did in 2008. And you could hint that there was another group of people who preferred just to get "free stuff," as Mitt Romney said in 2012.

But people get tired of talking in code. In this sense Trump's campaign isn't repudiating the Civil Rights Movement per se, but the Republicans who give fake lip-service to it. Even the worst race-baiters of the recent Republican past conceded that racial appeals had to be cloaked.

"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger,'" strategist Lee Atwater, the creator of George H.W. Bush's infamous Willie Horton ad, once said. "By 1968 you can't say 'n__gger' — that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states' rights."

Trump made the Republican field look weak by blurting straight-out what they would only say in code (Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie parroted Romney's pathetic "free stuff" line this year, for instance). This part of Trump's act has to thrill Democrats, since he's stealing away from Republicans the illusion of centrism. Future Republican nominees will have a tough time remembering how in the world George W. Bush ever won 44% of the Hispanic vote, as he did in 2004.

But Trump's act isn't all about race. He's also scoring points by mining the same mainstream frustrations over language-policing and political correctness that made Sam Kinison and Andrew Dice Clay famous. Trump's broadsides about Megyn Kelly aren't that far off from the Dice-Man's "Pattycake" routine.

The difference is, Clay and Kinison and comedians like them were trying to make a point about the absurdity of policing away forbidden thoughts, while Trump is basically a cretinous dinosaur who doesn't understand why slurs about periods or the disabled or "the blacks" were ever made taboo in the first place. He's not pushing back with a laugh, from a nightclub. He wants to do it from the Oval Office. Even Dice Clay thinks he's nuts.

All comedy is about misunderstandings. A little town gets word that a government inspector is coming, so it mistakenly rolls out the red carpet for a visiting drunk on a gambling spree.

2015 was the same kind of mistaken-identity tale. The Silent Majority has been waiting 50 years for a prophet, but this year it settled for a billionaire loudmouth with a comb-over and a personality disorder. Like all comedies, this one is bound to end with an explosion of unintended consequences. What we won't know until 2016 is whether this joke will end up being on all of us — or just those of us who waited too long to take Trump's accidental war seriously.

Why, among other things, I love Pope Francis


Zionism, Christian history, and the pope

By Kevin Madigan   December 28, 2015

Pope Francis recently declared that attacks not just on Jews but on the State of Israel are equally anti-Semitic.(emphasis added) In a late-October address to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II decree that transformed relations between Jews and Catholics, the pontiff concluded: “The State of Israel has every right to exist in safety and prosperity.” Largely lost in the coverage of his remarks was any historical perspective on the degree to which Francis decisively overturned statements made by influential Catholic theologians, and by popes, on Zionism in the 19th and 20th centuries.

What had been the authoritative Catholic view on Zionism reaches back to the fifth century and to the church father, Augustine of Hippo. For Augustine, Jews had been exiled from their land and dispersed among the gentiles for their guilt in the death of Jesus. There they would be condemned to wander and to live, until the end of time, in a state of anxiety, misery, and servitude to gentile emperors and kings. This “doctrine of Jewish witness,” which underscored the sole responsibility of Jews for the death of Jesus of Nazareth, tried to explain why they had been exiled from their homeland (though the historical truth, little known, is that large numbers of Jews lived in the land in Augustine’s time).

It would be hard to exaggerate the catastrophic impact of this line of thinking. Not only was it the ideological seed for a history of calamities, a history in which Jewish communities, over the centuries, were murdered in the first three crusades, killed by the thousands for supposedly poisoning wells and causing the Black Death, forced to convert or emigrate, ghettoized, and made to wear stigmatizing clothing by popes. This Augustinian “theology of the Jews” was also the dogmatic ground for Catholic opposition to Zionism. Indeed, the Vatican did not recognize the State of Israel until December 1993. When Theodor Herzl, perhaps the most important father of modern Zionism, asked Pope Pius X to lend his support to the establishment of a Jewish homeland, the pontiff infamously responded, “Non possumus” (“We cannot”)(emphasis added). This was the beginning of what seemed, until Francis’ historic remarks, to be indefinite papal opposition to Zionism.

No pontiff was as actively opposed to the establishment of a Jewish homeland as the controversial wartime pope, Pius XII. After successfully persuading many that Jews were aggressors and belligerents — this just years after the few survivors of Hitler were struggling to establish a homeland to ensure them basic security — he issued no fewer than three encyclicals opposing the State of Israel. The Church began to associate Zionism with Communism and other impious movements and to regard Israelis as contestants for the same territory: what the Church proprietarily regarded as “the Holy Land.” The statements of Pius XII put a seal on anti-Zionist attitudes that began with Herzl’s unhappy meeting with the pope in the early 20th century.

While Pope Francis visited the State of Israel in 2014, he made no statement like the one he recently expressed. But in his October remarks, he stated, “To attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism.” (emphasis added) Only against the lachrymose background of centuries of theological anti-Judaism, persecution, ghettoization, genocide — and, above all, papal opposition to Zionism — can we appreciate the import and novelty of the Holy Father’s declaration on anti-Semitism and the State of Israel. In historical context, Francis’ statement must be perceived for the welcome and fundamental reversal it is.


Kevin Madigan is professor of ecclesiastical history at Harvard Divinity School and author, most recently, of “Medieval Christianity.’’
 
 
 Why I, among many other things, love Pope Francis. Where is the left when the those that want Israel's throat threaten Nazi-like violence. I hear only silence!

I am NOT anti-Palestinian BUT unless they can guarantee the survival of the state of Israel with no more attacks upon it then I cannot fully justify their BDS movements (boycott, divest and sanctions)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

"It's a Wonderful Life" -- A Wonderful Timeless Film



Turning the channels on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas day can be an unrewarding endeavor. The channels are dedicated to a great deal of silliness, infomercials and repeats of news stories seen over and over again.

As luck would have it, though, I tuned onto a film that, yes, I have seen many times before but this time I looked upon it with different, perhaps, more mature eyes. To be honest, there are times when I have not been happy with my life, not happy with the difficulties of aging, losing so many I love and surely not happy I contracted a malady at 5 years of age which no one in this nation, thankfully, need suffer from again. I am glad for them, of course, but honesty must be spoken as I admit I wish I were born a mere six months after a vaccine for my malady was produced. When I kvetch (Yiddish for complain) about it I was told by one wise person in my life that I really should view James Stewart over again as George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" and that it might teach me the essence of what is so valuable about my own life. On Christmas Eve “It’s a Wonderful Life" was shown again.

The film speaks to people – really most people – whether one is a believer in a supreme being or not. George Bailey, ready for suicide as his life’s events spin out of his control and is ready to jump off a bridge into icy waters below. Ultimately, he is shown by Clarence, his guardian angel, why he should not cease to exist and what life would have been like had he never existed at all; had he not even been born.

George Bailey's life, despite its overwhelmingly disastrous turn of events, counts. Yes, disbelief must be suspended but if one does suspend it the film teaches us that lesson. Most all lives count because in each life a person touches others in good ways one might never have imagined. The metaphor of a pebble thrown into a lake creating ripples far off from its point of origin is apropos. It says you mean something and you change lives – hopefully for the better – simply by your existence.

“It's a Wonderful Life” is a wonderful timeless film that has a message, I think, for many of us whether we get the things in life we wanted, and most especially, if we do not.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Of Light and Love

The Winter Solstice is upon us which means from this day forward the days of light begin to get longer, imperceptibly at first, and then fully observable as the winter months of cold progress toward the warmth of spring.

The holidays we as a nation celebrate at this time -- the Jews celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights, and Christians celebrating Christmas honoring the birth of one who is said to have brought light, love and peace into an otherwise harsh Roman-ruled world. One Muslim author, Huma Qureshi, writes “this is a time of getting together with friends and family, something festive and bright to cheer up the winter drear. When it came to Christmas, as Muslim children, we always knew that Jesus was our prophet too, which justified, in some way, our enthusiasm for the season.” The atheists among us celebrate the winter solstice marking it a time to return to that light, rebirth and its metaphor of hope.

Whether it is the love of one person or the love for humanity and the earth that sustains us all, or the return of light from the sun, this season is or should be about the better angels of man's sometimes savage nature.
 

The itinerant preacher, Elmer Gantry, in the film that bears his name says "Love is the morning and the evening star." In Corinthians 13:4-8 it says "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” and in Corinthians it is said too: of faith hope and love that the greatest of these is love.”

Love is, indeed, as the song says, a many splendored thing. The contemporary vocalist supreme, Adele, sings of love with a maturity that betrays her age. She sings of it and life’s experience with soft strength, with pathos and a melodious female voice as beautiful as the famous male tenor Andrea Bocelli. She and he sing so movingly it evokes tears of happiness as well the sadness of life’s dichotomy. I believe it is the basis of their, now, near universal appeal.

In "The Thornbirds" Colleen McCollough, its author, says:

“There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain. Each of us has within us something that just won’t be denied. Something to which we are driven even though it makes us scream aloud to die.”

Man understands the brevity of life and the death that stalks all of us but we pursue it anyway. It is the reason we continue with the hope that a better world is just around the corner within reach.

And so we must strive for this world of love and light no matter how dark it seems, no matter how different we all are from one another and no matter how difficult that love is to pursue. There is something worthwhile for which to strive as our eyes open to a new day and we, most of us, no matter our station in life and no matter our difficulty are happy our eyes open to see that light again.

I wish all of you happy holidays no matter which one you celebrate and hope for a better day just around the corner bringing us not only light and love but peace!



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Letter to Rachel Maddow -- Fabulous on Flint



Rachel, yet again you bring home the point to me why we as progressives watch your program faithfully and appreciate the humanitarian impact of your brave voice. Reporting the lead issue in Flint, Michigan as a result of the evil machinations of Republican Governor Snyder shows exactly how low the Republican Party can go and how unethical that Party can be.

When I say you are saving lives I mean it. You are saving lives by the myriad of especially Republican misbehaviors you have exposed over the years.

I know it is your 7th year at MSNBC. My wish for the future is many many more than 7 more in the driver's seat at one of the few progressive networks on the air.

I and I am sure those in Flint owe you a debt of gratitude. I appreciate your voice and I love your articulate commentary night after night year after year. I wish you many more of them!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Need I say more than I have about electing Democrats? DO SO!

Russian Warplanes Allegedly Kill Scores In Syrian City

The link to the story: here or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/russian-warplanes-allegedly-kill-scores-in-syrian-city_56774072e4b06fa6887dc33d#comments
A blogger writes: For those folks in the GOP who were OK with carpet bombing and very probably and frankly, deliberate, deaths of innocent civilians, and this includes our pal Trump, take a long hard look. This is what that policy looks like - a little... now let's see what the blow back looks like - for there will be blow back...
That blogger was correct and I said: So this is who Trump praises? Have to bomb families he says...ooops seems like it's the wrong families. Bombing to prop up Assad?


My post: ALL foreign forces should be out of there to let these people sort out those whom they want in power. One drop more of American blood should not be spilled and those especially Republicrats who want to go in and make the sand red should be willing to put their own lives on the line!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Mystery of the Jews -- Part II a better narration

Thanks to my cousin who is a gifted academic of history I was presented with a much more rational analysis for the success of the Jewish people from the Babylonian exile to the Herculean obstacles of exile and near extermination. I thought what he said was an infinitely better analysis than the Youtube presented because he concentrated not on Biblical stories, myths and a few quotes from the famous but the actual history of both the ancient and modern world. I thought it interesting.

I paraphrase him: As with so many ancient histories embellishment too often rules. The most glaring error in the narrative presented in the Youtube was the Jewish population, pegging it at 10 million in 500 BCE (before the common era.) This was just a few decades after the Jewish exile to Babylonia when many perished in their futile attempt to defend their homeland. Then, just thirty years previous to this count, Persia invaded Babylon and the Jews were decimated since many males had been drafted, Jewish women were often raped and many subsequently were killed. I believe that population original figure to be more than quadruple what many scholars would perhaps agree upon.

If one strips away many Biblical myths and other embellishments, Jewish accomplishments were surprisingly predictable.

During the Roman experience Jews were segregated both by their own choice and that of the Romans. Most importantly and perhaps the pivotal rationale for Jewish academic accomplish was that the rabbis of Babylon demanded Jews become literate. They were the only group that a) could read and b) had scrolls that documented, in part, Jewish history. No other group had this advantage, and that, I believe is the root of Jewish academic and other success.

When Christianity arrived in the 4th century, the great majority of Europeans were illiterate, and the Church later decided to enshrine their ignorance into law. In both Matthew and Mark, the verse about being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven the church made sure that their alliance with the aristocracy would serve both parties at the expense of the unwashed and ignorant masses.

In the seventh century, with the rise of Islam, the Jews of Arabia and North Africa fared exceptionally well, earning the title of "The People of the Book." This singular skill fostered an immutable spirit of inquiry which, in turn, made the Jewish people the only group of certifiable intellectuals in the otherwise barren landscape of ignorance. Is it any wonder that Jews were sought after by the nobility, beseeching them to become their engineers, architects, tax collectors, accountants, scribes, historians, etc?

The only learning available to the Christian minority was through the clergy, otherwise one was doomed to serfdom (unless of course one had the good fortune to be a noble.)

However, Jewish success helped spread antisemitism, and, within three centuries, European monarchs eyed Jewish wealth with jealous eyes and began their expulsions and confiscations of property owned by Jews. It became easy for the church to mark the Jew as 'the other', making Jews fair game to be maimed, killed and, most importantly, dispossessed.

Europe was hell but North Africa and Spain (the Caliphate) were a Jewish gilded home. While Europe languished in endless wars and so many popes had decimated the population by sending them on six different crusades, the plague and institutional quagmire, Jews flourished, attending the only real universities worthy of the name.

Genghis Khan brought his hordes into Europe and the papacy decided they could no longer afford to pursue crushing the infidels in the Holy Land.

The history of the Renaissance will bring the Jewish people through to modernity and the near annihilation of a people now numbering around 14 million or 0.2% of the world's population. Anti-Semitism will continue into our present time. Part III will be the Jew of the Renaissance to the modern world.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Mystery of the Jews

I send this not to everyone on my list but to those who know me to be as egalitarian as it is possible for me to be. Those who know me know I do not select myself or my people, the Jews, for chosenness because it leaves out too many others who have been productive contributors to the humanitarian advancement of man despite great odds.

I would be lying, though, if I said there is not a secrete place in my heart for my people, the Jewish people, who remain remarkable for one important thing: survival and defiance of the odds against it for over 3000 years despite so many attempts at brutal eradication and extinction all over the globe.

It is in the spirit of that fact that I send a Youtube that was sent to me entitled "The Mystery of the Jews." Do I think there was divine intervention for the survival of the Jewish people and our so called chosenness by a God whom I do not know even exists? To that I say as Tevya in "Fiddler on the Roof" said: "Dear God why can't you choose someone else for a change?!" I post this video here or below which I will admit, though questioning and doubting much of the religiosity in it, still grabbed at my heart.

http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/the-most-fascinating-video-ever-made-about-the-jewish-people/


A Letter to a Friend

Hi Kayhed. I loved the sentiments in your letter "There should not be a place for hate" published in the "Framingham Patch" cited here or below T'were your thoughts heeded by all a more perfect world would result.

What you say I have adopted as my own set of principles. No matter what the threat, and admittedly there are many, I do not waiver from a humanitarian impulse. I must for what reputation does a human being leave if they are not for love, kindness, generosity and peace. All the major forces like Mohamed -- peace be on him, Jesus, and the Hebrew Bible contain many verses of peace. One must just look for them. The Hebrew Bible states "Be kind to the stranger because you were once strangers in a strange land." Biblical texts contain violence, too, if one seeks it out but there is kindness, goodness and love if one chooses those above hate, violence and chaos.

"The Talmud recounts that a Gentile once approached Hillel with the request that Hillel convert him to Judaism. This Gentile did not want to go through a lengthy regimen of learning, so he told Hillel; “I want you to teach me the entire Torah while I stand on one foot.” Hillel’s response endures as a lesson for the generations." Hillel taught “Do not do unto others that which you hate done unto yourself – that is the entire Torah. The rest is commentary, go and study it.” Cited here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/do-not-do-unto-others/

All religious texts contain elements of violence but it is up to others in each tradition to teach the opposite which can be found in those texts as well. I repeat, one must just look for them.

I do know that man does better when he/she learns to work with others. Violence and war beget more violence and more war so that culture never advances, indeed, never can advance.

I have dedicated my life in retirement to writing for humanitarian causes as I want that legacy even if it appears in only one small corner of the universe to stand for who I am and to help those I could.


We must press on no matter the set backs, no matter the difficulty and no matter the hate directed against us. Martin Luther King taught: “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

I am with you!

Best,
Natalie
http://patch.com/massachusetts/framingham/letter-there-should-not-be-place-hate-usa-0

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Republican debate sum up in one word and one paragraph



One word summary of the Republicon so called "debate": Bellicose. Okay four words -- mean, cruel and unconstitutional.

Most of the so called Republican "candidates" for the presidency want to protect the nation through bellicose lies, eternal force costing thousands more lives, millions more in cash and would keep this nation fighting that war, essentially, forever. "Enduring war depletes the fiscal reserves of a nation," the smartest analysis one  blogger wrote. Carpet bombing a nation into submission making the sand glow in the desert while killing thousands of innocents is a war crime and does nothing to win hearts and minds of those a nation bombs. To the contrary it creates more enemies who desire to inflict more harm on this nation. That said the military must appear strong, capable, modern and repaired but that does not mean eternal war. Eternal war decays a fighting force. Yes, we live in a dangerous world BUT our perpetual war actions making great wealth for the war industry and the candidates for the presidency it supports make an even more dangerous world! Why Trump has the support he does I will never understand. He could not answer a question about particular policy and spouts the same sound bite blubber as he did when he first announced his candidacy. Carson who knows nothing either except perhaps brain surgery did not know what he was talking about comparing taking a tumor out of a child's brain to an army killing innocents. Both do not want it done, he thinks, but are glad in the end that it was. Perhaps the relatives of the innocent dead of those bombed into submission would say otherwise. Maybe Carson's brain needs a little help.


DEMOCRATS ANYONE?  GET OUT THE VOTE FOR THEM AND SAVE LIVES MAYBE EVEN YOUR OWN!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5th Republican Debate -- a Portrait of Hate

Tonight's 5th Republican "Debate" will be the worst assembly of political Cretans vying for the highest office in the land in the nation's history and in our history there have been some doozies. It makes chills of horror run through one's spine to think any of them could step 2 feet near the Oval Office.

When George W. Bush looks good to you you know there is something amiss. The Party of Lincoln bears not an iota of similarity to those who will be the stage-standers at tonight's 5th Republican "debate." As a matter of fact Lincoln would today be a Democrat. The Party of Everett Dirckson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower is no more. Now the Republican Party is made up of Joe McCarthys, KKK members, American Nazis--Stormfront subscribers and the likes of a Steve Scalise Republican Majority Whip who spoke in front of a white supremacist gathering.

The Republican Party is a portrait of hate, exclusion, and unexceptional know nothings who would not have a humane thought in their body politic if you hit them over the head with it!

Monday, December 14, 2015

"Naked Among Wolves"--a Film Review

I have seen many films about the Holocaust since the first documentary newsreel I viewed in a local movie theater at age 10. It showed Auschwitz and other concentration camps liberated by the Allies at the end of WWII.  I could not, then, understand the political history of what I saw but I certainly understood the piles and piles of dead bodies who would not experience another sunset, the piles of shoes which would not walk another step, the piles of spectacles the eyes behind which would not see another blue sky, or a loved one, or a mother, a father, a husband, a wife or even see their own children.  The children were prepped by the Nazis for slaughter above all others because those Jewish children after all would grow up to be adults whom they reasoned – Germans were so good at reason — would continue to infect all of Europe.  I knew enough to know that beast of human history dedicated to exterminating the entire Jewish population of Europe could have exterminated my family if my grandparents did not have the foresight to leave their dastardly Russian pogrom-overrun home 1/2 century before. 



What I did not see then in newsreels was what it was like, what it actually was like, to experience a slaughter so barbaric, so cruel and so sickening perpetrated by so called civilized human beings on an unfathomable number of 6 – 10 million innocents reflected in the piles of bodies I did actually see in newsreels which made this 10 year old child sick.

“Naked Among Wolves” was one of the most authentic docudramas of that accursed time I have seen.  It was about life in the men’s cell block at Buchenwald.  It was about men worked to death, tortured for the slightest perceived indiscretion, shot simply waiting to die in the filth of their excrement or hoping to live as Allied liberation drew near.  They come upon a 4 year old Jewish boy hidden in a suitcase by his father brought into their midst to save under the gravest most life-threatening conditions.  They try to save him.  You must watch the film to see if they did.

I am of the opinion that one should not shield oneself from this and that one must remember history if history is to have any meaning for us at all. 

When I was a young activist against war I used to say the Holocaust had a purpose, that it was for something higher and that this was perpetrated on so many for a lofty reason.  As I aged and  my political thought took shape I asked where was God that so many innocent human beings were made to suffer for years in dumb anguish.  Now I say god was nowhere as 6-10 million Jews seemingly died for nothing, that the Holocaust had no meaning and no purpose.  It was about hatred of "the other."  “Naked Among Wolves" is a film I believe ALL should, especially in our time, see but suspect few will.  I cry useless tears hoping against hope that human beings will change and that one group will not wipe out “the other” so that, in time, we will not all perish from the earth.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Something funny for a change!

Scroll down.
"I've made a big decision. I'm entering the race for president of the United States of America," said Ferrell's Bush said in the show's cold open.

The "Problem" -- CNN Tapper's Interview with Trump

Again and again the media does NOT follow up with the correct questions to Donald Trump's outrageous policy statements. He is always talking about the "problem."

How about asking if Muslims in this country and outside of this country would rail against his policies?  Would those policies provoke violence and not stop it? I suggest his policies will get people killed and it will NOT have the effect of stopping the "problem" but will enhance it.

Trump wants to get at the "problem" and find out what is causing the "problem." Why did not Tapper introduce the issue of American foreign policy over decades causing the "problem." Radicalized Muslims hate American boots on their soil. The US has had thousands of boots on their soil and built hundreds of bases which create the appearance of permanent occupation all over the Middle East. Worse, and I aver the etiology of the "problem" began with a Bush war based on lies against a sovereign nation that did nothing to us and still worse exploded the Middle East into sectarian war complete with the entrance of Al Qaeda and ISIS which were never before there.

How about asking Trump if his inane and impossible-to-implement solutions would make the "problem" worse!?

Would American boots on the ground for oil increase the "problem" and would this nation asking what religion someone is before entering the country increase that "problem" about which Trump is inordinately concerned?

The mainstream media FAILS to ask appropriate questions as if this nation is so innocent of fault for its present day circumstance. Ask Trump how US foreign policy in the Middle East has created the "problem." The media avoiding that question is the true political correctness over which boundaries it refuses to step.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

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Arab Israeli Leader: 'We Are Living Proof That Arabs And Jews Can Refuse To Be Enemies'

By Charlotte Alfred of Huffington

here or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ayman-odeh-joint-list_5668898de4b0f290e521ac36

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Monday, December 07, 2015

You ain't seen nothin yet



After the terrorist attack in Paris the true specter of fascism is alive and well in France, a country which heretofore knew of it and sent many to their deaths because of it.  Memory is directed to the 1940's French Vichy Regime sympathetic to Hitler and the Nazis.  The emergence in these times of terror and fear is the appeal of extremist right wing nationalism as represented in France by the National Front Party of Marine Le Pen, usually on the right wing fringe, but now winning some regional elections with its anti-immigrant message.  (See link here and below.)
In the US the complexion of many ultra conservative right wing red Republicans in local, state and federal legislatures is seen.  Moreover and, in my opinion, worse is the odious specter of the anti-immigrant nationalist Trump capturing at least the Republican presidential nomination if not winning the presidency itself.  The Republican wing in our nation knows little moderation now.
When hard violent times erupt one can always count on homo sapiens man to do the worst of all possible things and allow the mean, cruel, mendacious anti-immigrant extreme nationalists to gain power and create more violence.  The authoritarian personality emerges.  Republican John Dean of Watergate fame said: "True conservatism is cautious and prudent. Authoritarianism is rash and radical. American democracy has benefited from true conservatism, but authoritarianism offers potentially serious trouble for any democracy.”
Go ahead, elect the extreme Republican right.  I can assure you as bad as the violence is now nationally and internationally if the anti-democratic extremist right gains immense power in western civilization as Al Joson would say "You ain't seen nothin yet!"

IT WILL BE UP TO ALL OF US TO ENSURE THIS NOT HAPPEN.  THE PERCENTAGES OF THE REPUBLICAN EXTREME MAY SEEM GREAT BUT, IN TRUTH, IT IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE LARGER MUCH LARGER NATION ITSELF.  WE ARE THE MAJORITY BUT WHOSE VOTE HAS BEEN CO-OPTED BY GERRYMANDERED DISTRICTS DRAWN BY REPUBLICANS. IF THE VOTE WERE FAIR DEMOCRATS WOULD HOLD THE LEGISLATURES EN MASSE. THE ONLY WAY THESE REPUBLICAN MALEVOLENTS WIN IS FOR DEMOCRATS TO STAY HOME.  DON'T!  GET OUT THE DEMOCRATIC VOTE AND GET TO THE POLLS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY! AND OH YES, WATCH OUT FOR THE FRAUDULENT REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED VOTING MACHINES THEY WILL STEAL YOUR VOTE IF THEY GET THE CHANCE.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

A Pic to Ponder

Send that around the web!

Snopes says the picture is untrue.  I do not know if Snopes is correct.  If it is I apologize which is MUCH more than Trump would do about any of his plethora of lies.


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Strange Bedfellows


The fact that this nation invaded Iraq a country that did nothing to us and the fact that we have been involved in the heart of the fragmented Middle East with its sectarian warfare for 14 years because of it, refugees from those wars will seek asylum. The wars in which this nation involves itself produce refugees who seek safety from constant mayhem and death. The more this nation is involved in and making policy for foreign lands risking the fragmentation, dismemberment of populations and the constant war it engenders the more there will be refugees whom we have the moral obligation to help. There are and will be many Middle Eastern refugees because we are in that part of the globe involved in its eternal civil wars often the result of US foreign policy gigantic error.

Now we must worry about strict immigration policies for those refugees from those areas and worry about visas which provide free access to this country by those who were born here and the wives/husbands picked up along the way who obtain automatic citizenship through those marriages.

The fault dear Brutus said many times is not in the stars but in ourselves for our crushing Middle East policy over what else? -- OIL, money and the power it brings not to mention the evil side effects of climate change oil helps create. It is sickening.

I am NOT a Trump supporter but he is quite right when he says we are a nation that has been controlled by stupid people who cannot think more than 10 minutes ahead as to what the ramifications of its violent Middle East policy for a “new American century” will be.

My mother used to say “whichever way you make your bed that is how you will lie in it.” This nation’s policy makers made the bed and must lie in it. The problem is all of us must lie in the bed with them!

IF YOU THINK THE STATE OF THE WORLD IS BAD NOW JUST WAIT UNTIL A BULLY AND WARLIKE REPUBLICAN IS ELECTED PRESIDENT. AS AL JOLSON USED TO SAY: "YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN YET!" ELECT DEMOCRATS TO ALL POSITION OF POWER OR RISK THE END OF OUR NATION AS WE KNOW IT AND THE END OF THE PLANET ON WHICH WE ALL RESIDE. WE ARE, AS THE GREAT HELEN CALDICOTT, SAID ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT!

Friday, December 04, 2015

A Republic IF you can keep it

The Republican Party and its political shill the corporate media especially Fox Faux News FAIL to give the American public the rest of the story. There are many sides to our current political morass and some of it, perhaps much of it, is in reaction to toxic American foreign policy over decades perhaps centuries. I am convinced of it.

What you do not know about what your government is doing in your name particularly in the Middle East, particularly for oil and the power it brings may in fact dramatically hurt you, the nation and the world. In pertinent part it may get us all killed.

You must not be ignorant of facts, you must maintain your humanity and our majority must elect a government that promotes these ideals and NOT succumb to extreme fascist-like demagoguery of the extremist Republican Party in our midst. The politics of a Donald Trump and his supporters are a cancer flowing through the national veins. It must be electorally exorcised and separated from the body politic or we will succumb to its metastasis.

As Dr. Benjamin Franklin said in response to a question when he was asked during the creation of our Constitution: "Well, Doctor, what have we got a Republic or a Monarchy?" He answered "A Republic IF you can keep it!"

IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER THAT YOU KEEP THE PRESIDENCY IN DEMOCRATIC HANDS, TAKE BACK THE SENATE AND ERODE REPUBLICAN TOXIC INFLUENCE IN THE HOUSE. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS NOT ABOUT YOU! GET OUT THE DEMOCRATIC VOTE

Thursday, December 03, 2015

MADNESS: 14 Dead at Social Service Center in San Bernadino



My worst fear that the attack would be terrorism by an indigenous Middle Eastern person(s), born here basically undetectable. It is my worst fear because I worry for those of Middle Eastern extraction who will be swept up with one brush of hostility, accusation, and discrimination of innocents especially by those on the right wing extremist part of our political spectrum which in our time is increasingly the majority of the Republican Party.

We still do not know if the shooter who was employed by the Social Service Center had a workplace grievance. For some it will not matter as the name will confirm all their prejudgements and hate. We of good will must be slow to judgment and all must learn somehow in some way to live together.

As JFK said in his commencement speech at American University, June 10, 1963:


"... So, let us not be blind to our differences — but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

To that I say Amen!



HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GET OUT THE VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS?  VERY.






Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Refugee response or lack of it

Although I loathe the author of the post, Douglas Feith, and all the other neocons who besides the incompetent George W. Bush and his administration, are responsible for the utter explosive chaos throughout the Middle East and its blow back on the west that is ENORMOUS, the Wall Street Journal (admittedly a paper I do not usually read) oped makes some points as to the Gulf oil sheikdoms response or lack of it to the Syrian refugee crisis.

We have been in bed with pythons that I hope will not ultimately devour us because of what else the filthy planet polluting oil. Climate change and oil are the AK47's pointed at our heads! The Middle East mayhem, climate change and oil are intricately intertwined and IF we keep electing science denying idiots to positions of power then we deserve the utter destruction we WILL ultimately get. Science always has the last say and does not care about religious nonsense, mythological irrationality or money making gluttony!



HOW MANY REASONS DO WE NEED TO KNOW THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF LIES IS THE POISON IN OUR MIDST?  GET OUT THE VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS IN FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL ELECTIONS.  AS I HAVE SAID SO MANY TIMES I AM DEMOCRAT BLUE IN THE FACE.  NOTHING LESS THAN OUR LIVES AND THE LIFE OF THE PLANET IS AT STAKE!

here or http://www.wsj.com/article_email/an-obvious-unused-home-for-refugees-1448928225-lMyQjAxMTE1MjAzMTkwODEyWj

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Donald Trump's Good Fortune





In the psychologically profound film “Ordinary People” about a family coping with the death of their oldest son there is a confrontation on a golf course between the Beth, mother of the dead son and her brother, Ward, seemingly untouched by family tragedy.  It is the following:

Ward: Beth, we just want you to be happy.
Beth Jarrett: Happy! Ward, you tell me the meaning of happy.  But first you better make sure your kids are good and safe, that they haven't fallen off a horse, been hit by a car, or drown in that swimming pool you're so proud of!
Audrey (Ward’s wife): Oh Beth!
Beth Jarrett: Then, you come and tell me how to be happy!"

I loved that film because it spoke to me.  I know both what the loss of a child can do to a family and I know disability from my own personal experience.  My mother knew both as well since she lost that child two weeks after giving birth to it.  She knew sadness again when her only surviving child suffered paralysis from polio.  She said to me that she was not so fearful for my childhood, although children can be cruel, but she worried about my young adult years when the goal is a body beautiful to snag a mate. 

In reality my childhood did not endure taunts by friends but my experiences as an adult were more problematic.  One “friend” compared me to a pigeon who had lost its foot saying “Oh look that pigeon looks like you!”  A boy with whom I was supposed to blind date walked away from me as soon as he saw me walk.  There were, of course, more uncomfortable experiences that are both unnecessary for me to relate and difficult about which to write.

I relate these personal experiences in response to the clear mocking by Donald Trump of the joint disease disabled reporter he claims he did not know but whose lies about those claims are exposed by those who know the truth and say so for all the world to hear.  Clearly, Trump knew him and clearly Trump was mocking him because the writer caught him in yet another lie one of so many he tells.

No one who has not experienced it can truly understand what it means to be physically different.  No one who has not experienced it can truly understand what it means to walk out of the door with a disability which not only makes it harder to navigate but harder to endure the insensitivities of others who seemingly win life’s lottery.

It is hard to know what to say to this Cretan Trump man with no heart.  If we become intoxicated with his insensitive evil then WE become truly evil ourselves.  I suspect and I surely hope in the end he will fail and that he will do so in no small part because of his wretched mocking of a disabled man!  Extrapolating Beth of “Ordinary People” fame: Lucky are you, Donald Trump, that you have had good fortune that your kids are good and safe, that they haven't fallen off a horse, been hit by a car, or drown despite the riches of which you are so proud.  Quoting another from the Bible Trump says he loves so much but I suspect he has not read:  “What profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his soul?”  What profit a man, Donald Trump, what profit him indeed?!

ARE TRUMP AND THE OTHER REPUBLICANS JUST LIKE HIM THE AMERICA YOU WANT?  I SUSPECT THEY ARE NOT.  GET OUT THE DEMOCRATIC VOTE FOR SOMEONE WHO CAN WIN AND THEN IF IT HAPPENS WE DEFEAT THE REPUBLICAN MENACE, BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF FOR YOU WILL HAVE SAVED THIS NATION FROM ITSELF!

Lloyd Kaye: “Metro West News, November 29, 2015 Lives lost to 'knee-jerk militarism” -- My Response




Lloyd Kaye--Lives lost to knee-jerk militarism:  There are still some people unwilling to walk down the path of militarism. I am one of them.

Vietnam was insane. Iraq was a crime. And what we have done and doing to the Middle East and its people is simple indiscriminate bombing of huge populations of civilians. There is no justification, only families left lifeless in their own homes as a result of 500 pound bombs from U.S. aircraft or drones. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria. Justifying this policy of militarism has never been and will never be acceptable.

The result of such large-scale bombing has already left millions of refugees all over the borders of Jordan and other nations unable to provide the services needed for so many. The unwillingness of the West to reform the Picot-Sykes borders or to stop supporting dictatorships for decades at a time has resulted in a societal destabilization of the Middle East and is now spreading to Europe and Asia. One of the problems related to all this is the unwillingness of the West to admit publicly what they have done in the Middle East the past 40 years.

Sadly, I am hoping mature diplomatic negotiations and agreements will take place and prevail. However, the knee-jerk reaction of militarism has again taken the West down a path of wasted time and resources and lives.

My Response:

Lloyd, another wonderfully written opinion by you and one to which I agree most profoundly. Nations it seems rarely admit fault or guilt for the heinous actions of violence they employ in war unless they are roundly defeated. With the exception of Nazi Germany I am having a hard time coming up with ones who admit guilt.

Every war you site in which the US has engaged in merciless tactical killing of innocents I believe is correct. At least the obliteration of the hospital of Doctors Without Borders engendered an apology and an admitted mistake by US military brass but that is rare. Not only does the US not apologize for is gruesome mistakes of waging futile wars it does not usually even admit the mistakes exist.

The Middle East mess is courtesy of a George Bush administration -- a man who did not have the cerebral capability needed for a president of the most powerful nation on earth. It was chilling that man who did not even get the popular vote was elected by a politicized Supreme Court. Now we pay the price when we elect clearly unqualified leaders.

The chickens are coming home to roost even to our allies because this nation post WWII is addicted to war that makes millions of bucks for our Washington entrenched military industrial complex. The first rule of an alcoholic addiction problem is to admit one has one. Now we suffer not only in trillions of bucks wasted but so many lives lost and other lives by the tens of thousands perhaps if one counts those who are on the receiving end of the bunker busting bombs millions ruined. It is a tragedy, an American tragedy, of Shakespearean proportions which still has no end in sight.