Friday, July 31, 2015

I could not have said it better myself

By Michael Golden -- Huffington Post

He's ridin' high in the polls. He's maintained altitude longer than most of the pundits predicted he could or would. And the media is compelled to cover (smother) him as long as his numbers hold. But set aside the circus and prognostications for a moment -- could Donald Trump actually govern effectively as a U.S. president?

If you ask New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the answer is an unequivocal "no." Why? Because his skill set is not Transferable to a government setting.

We should stipulate that Christie, along with more than a dozen other Republican presidential candidates and their strategists, are laying awake at night trying to devise new ways to steal some of the spotlight away from Trump (witness Mike Huckabee's Holocaust reference and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz calling his Majority Leader a liar right on the Senate floor). But in Christie's elaboration of his claim, we hear a line of logic that's been sorely lacking from the Trump coverage:

"Donald would tell Speaker Boehner, 'I want this bill and I want it on my desk because this is what's best for America.' And Speaker Boehner is going to say, "Yeah? Well I don't have the votes for that, so I can't give it to you.' He can't look at him and say 'Speaker Boehner, you're fired.' You can't do that. You can do it on a reality TV show, but you cannot fire the Speaker of the House, or the Senate Majority Leader, because you don't get what you want."

It's a bit ironic that this rational, common sense diagnosis of what a Trump presidency might look like comes from a candidate and governor who himself has publicly called reporters "idiots" and told them to "shut up." At the same time, reporters are not Christie's government colleagues in the same way members of the legislature are. This is why for the most part, even when we hear our candidates and elected leaders disagree with each other, we usually don't hear personal slurs. It happens now and again. But Joe Wilson's "You lie" accusation at the President in a televised joint session of Congress was huge news because of just how rare it was as a public show of bombastic, personal animosity.

But for Trump, so far, it has been the norm: "They're rapists." "He (U.S. Senator John McCain) was a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured." He "graduated last in his class at Annapolis - dummy." "He (Governor Rick Perry) should be forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate." Trump's "not a fan of Jeb Bush." Trump calls U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham an "idiot" and a "lightweight."

Of Trump's thumps, Governor Bush responded: "The problem with Mr. Trump's language is it's divisive, it's ugly, it's mean-spirited." Governor Perry similarly returned serve: "He offers a barking carnival act that can best be described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense." A bit more irony there, as some would level the same charge at some of Perry's past comments (think: Texas secession). Still, while these observations will resonate with a ton of Americans who aren't part of the 15-25 percent of Republicans polled who support Trump, they still don't get to the larger question about his candidacy -- and by extension -- our system.

In the United States, every single president we've elected had prior government service. Most were either vice presidents or governors before serving in the White House. Barack Obama was only the third U.S. Senator to directly advance to the presidency from that body over the last century.

By most objective standards, Donald Trump is a highly skilled businessman -- a billionaire proficient at building profit and attracting attention through grandiose behavior. In his case those two traits have been mutually beneficial, and time will tell whether his nascent presidential campaign is only part of that larger profit imperative. But whether the campaign is real or not, it's a genuine teachable moment, and Christie's comment is at the root of the lesson.

For many, it's a comforting thought to believe that if only we had a successful, bold CEO in the White House, our government would work with an efficiency approaching the level of a highly profitable corporation. But even folks with a hazy memory of grade school civics will come to realize that this is not a realistic notion in our democracy. Christie just spells it out clearly and succinctly. An individual elected governor or president is afforded a great degree of power, either by respective state or U.S. Constitution. At the same time, and by very intentional design, our heads of state are constrained by the constitutional imperative to work with a legislative branch that also possesses great powers -- if not always exercised.

Trump may be aware of this on some level, but his public comments show no evidence of it. Conversely, most of the other candidates are aware of it from actual personal experience, either as legislators or governors (excepting former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson). The tone and substance of all of these candidates are in contrast to Trump. This is not to say that their public comments do not offend on occasion, but most of them seem to realize that whatever they do say on the record, they will need to live with those remarks if actually elected. Words matter. In politics and government, they matter a great deal. Mature elected leaders know this, and most of them understand the consequences of the scorched-earth tactics.

Trump insists he'll build a wall along our southwestern border and force Mexico to pay for it. Trump says he would love a trade war with China. Trump says he'll put Sarah Palin in his cabinet. Like any of these ideas? Whether you do or you don't, our U.S. president does not have unilateral power to make them realities. In our country we have something called the U.S. Congress. It is designated as the "first branch" of our federal government, and sits right up front in Article I of the U.S. Constitution.

Like it or not (and record low numbers of Americans express confidence in Congress), our president is required by law to work with the U.S. House and Senate to pass legislation. This is no easy task, even when the chambers are controlled by the same party that occupies the White House. This is the way it's supposed to be.

But the problems in Congress make it exponentially harder to move the country forward than at any time in recent memory. Earlier this week former Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS) returned to the Capitol to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (passed overwhelmingly in both houses). Dole explained to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank why bipartisanship used to work: "We were D's and R's, but beyond that we were friends. We worked together because it was the right thing to do."

So is it just the personalities in Congress that are different? Don't fall for it. Americans have geographically self-sorted themselves regionally over the last few decades -- that's a fact. But there are structural reasons for the breakdown, too. The flood of money washing through the system, the most rigged U.S. House races in modern history, and the rules in the Senate that have allowed for a record-breaking level of obstruction tactics. Even if Dole is right that our elected leaders today are more lacking in leadership, the rules make it even harder. We ignore these real impediments at our peril.

Right now, and for the next 15 months, the media will focus its political coverage for the most part on the presidential horse race as opposed to the defective legislative branch that any winner will have to negotiate with for at least four years. The narrative of presidential politics is easier to convey and more entertaining to consume.

If American history is any guide, Donald Trump will not be elected president. This is not to say it's impossible. But beyond ruminating over the odds of his success, or being amused by the sideshow that Trump's been able to bump up onto the main stage, sooner or later we'll need to come to agreement about the structural defects that are severely damaging the congressional product we're all paying for. That's the lesson that lies underneath the carnival show. No matter whom we elect president, that person alone cannot repair a busted government -- and that person will be called upon to work with both houses of Congress that have their own internal dysfunction. Ultimately, only the American electorate has the power change this dynamic by learning about that dysfunction's core causes, and harnessing that knowledge to reform the rules, and restore the system.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My relative: Jon Finer (my mother's maiden name.) How proud of him are we? VERY!!

My relative: Jon Finer (my mother's maiden name.)  :-)

Such a Deal

What I sent to Congress about the Deal:

I am a white Jewish woman and I support 100% the expertly crafted nuclear Deal with Iran. The alternative would mean a probable war with Iran and not in the distant future. It is an impossibility for the US to endure yet another huge Middle East quagmire costing double the Iraq War in blood and treasure. It is more than unacceptable. It is impossible and wrong.

No deal means Iran would continue its stepped up enriched uranium process (and its search for plutonium) to build a bomb doing it soon within the most fractured and volatile region of the world we helped create.

We are talking about the surety of war with Iran and eventually a possible nuclear one at that. The Israelis should be proclaiming the virtues of this Deal some of their own scientists support because it delays Iranian enrichment for over a decade and in some cases more. If Iran fails to accept inspections the business-as-usual sanctions will continue. None of the other P5 plus 1 nations will continue bone crushing sanctions against Iran without trying the negotiated Deal first. The US 's MIT nuclear expert, Ernst Moniz, President Obama’s Energy Secretary led the complicated crafting of this Deal. Moreover, we should accept what the other P5 plus 1 nations want, nuclear experts want and the world wants because the stakes for not accepting it are so unnecessary and so high.

Either one accepts nuclear scientists – including some in Israel – or one does not. Our science denying corporatist owned Republican Congress are a joke to the rest of the world but the Deal Republicans cavalierly renounce is serious. Those who unfathomably reject this Deal will, hopefully, lose this fight.

In evolutionary terms the fittest survive and science deniers will not be among them at least not for long. I do not want know-nothings dragging those of us who accept science and its truth into an explosive catastrophe because of those who do not. Scientists support this Deal because they know it is the best one we could get to avoid war for decades so no war will happen now. Another US monstrous intervention against Iran costing blood and treasure in the trillions inflating our debt even more – something Republicans say they loathe – is unacceptable.

Republicans never saw a war they did not like but know nothing about adding the nuclear equation to the mix with its calculus of losing certainty. The P5 plus 1 is led by an academically gifted group of nuclear experts. They have with the other P5 plus 1 nations created a masterpiece most accept except our know-nothing Republican Congress. To the world we are a joke but to the academically inclined the game is deadly serious.

Howard Zinn always told me with respect to war ask the question who does it benefit and why. In addition to those questions with corporate answers I ask do you want your children to live. It's that simple.

SUPPORT the nuclear deal with Iran, bring Iran into the family nations and avert the slaughter of generations. Such a deal my Jewish grandmother would say. I say to the Congress approve it!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Only Thing Greater than Ourselves -- the Universe

The only thing greater than ourselves and Neil DeGrasse Tyson tells you what it is. LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED this 60 minutes segment

Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn't think like the rest of us. Here's a glimpse into what excites an astrophysicist

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Get it Right

One day the NTY reports a possible criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails and then the next day says, oh well, it's not a criminal investigation of emails and it may not be about Clinton. The story about Secretary Clinton's emails, as was true in the Judith Miller's untrue stories about Iraq, is false. Again, the NYT disappoints our nation by getting important stories wrong. Sometimes, as in the Miller story it costs hundreds of thousands of lives and a Middle East quagmire from which this nation still cannot extricate itself.

The stories in the NYT that are in error are not small town newspaper stories that are unimportant in the larger context. They are stories that are hugely important not only to the nation but to the world.

The latest faux pas egg all over the NYT's face is the anything-for-a-buck story trying to impugn the reputation of hopefully the next president and first woman president of the United States. The Times cannot nor should not throw a poison dart at an important national figure without the proper sourcing of its story. Hillary Clinton has experienced more than once Republican attempts to destroy her. She is well seasoned to refute those scurrilous attacks.

Does one think for one millisecond this seasoned politician and brilliant woman who knew she might one day seek the presidency would be so naive as to do anything nefarious that could besmirch her efforts?

We know many things reported by various news media in this nation are written with one hand shaking the corporatist hand while penning stories with the other. To impugn the possible future president Hillary Clinton with yet another false story about making headlines to sell papers should be beneath this allegedly prestigious news source.

I urge the NYT to research well its stories before it prints anything, get it right or do not print it at all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Billionaire Businessman -- the Essence of Trump

Trump has been skewered (and rightfully so) for his injudicious comments about Senator and former Vietnam War prisoner John McCain.  If you do not know by now what Trump said then you must have been hiding under a rock.  The media thinks it died and went to heaven as Trump provides much entertainment and Americans love entertainment just ask John Stewart.  Trump, of course, impugned Senator McCain as-less-than-a-hero because he was captured in Vietnam.  No matter how many times Trump tries to finesse those statements he cannot.  The 21st century uses the handy dandy proof of video tape.
Trump is about one thing success.  He did not choose his words artfully because Trump suffers from foot-in-mouth disease as he is repeatedly prone.  His blabbering morphs into a grand mal verbal faux pas seizure as he shoots himself in the foot first, while asking questions later.  Trump’s algorithm for success in war (or for that matter anything) is to win.  In war it is to capture or kill the other guy first while you avoid that fate.  Success in the world according to Trump means ending up on your feet at any cost while the other guy ends up on his posterior feet first out the door.  Trump is about winning and nothing else.  Objectively, if a soldier gets captured or killed he is not improving his odds of winning the war.  Trump’s heroes, as he perceives it, are those who like General MacArthur or Patton win by hardening themselves in war against the softness of feeling.  Trump is about hardness and the objectivity to do whatever it takes to win the game and one does not win the war by getting captured or killed.
Unfortunately, a man who had four military deferments and another deferment for a foot bone spur loses cred in the arena of war.  Odd how he cannot remember which foot had the bone spur. It turns out he had them in both feet – a memorable malady one would think. I digress.
Trump cannot see that luck in war plays a part as to whether one ends up captured, tortured or killed succumbing to the laws of physics or whether one ends up on one’s feet the winner. Sometimes it is simply a roll of the Game of Risk dice.  The heroes, I think, he was saying, are those who outsmart the enemy and end up on their feet.  Such is Trump's brain.  Great title for a book:  “Trump’s Brain.”  It could outsell “Bush’s Brain” doncha think?
There is little room for empathy in Trump world.  He does not care that many of the so called illegals have families, are trying to make a living, risking their lives to get here or if their mother has cancer and they need money to pay for her and support their family.  Trump is NOT about that. He is about Trump and making sure he wins by exploiting an issue which will help him do just that.
Progressives, generally, are not simply about that.  They are about compassion, empathy and understanding for the little guy who tries but cannot overcome his fate.  I want the greatest number to win even if they happen to come from Mexico and my heart is broken if they die in the desert trying.  Liberalism cares about the inequities of life while Trump cares solely about himself and winning life’s war.  The inequities of life and its unfairness do not play a part in Trump’s repertoire or if they do they play a part it is only how he can exploit them to his advantage and win.
Billionaire businessman success and nothing else but success is the essence of Trump.

Another Oscar Schindler--a Rightous Gentile--Leica and the Jews of Europe

Sent to me by a friend to be forwarded to any you choose.  He should be listed among the righteous Gentiles.  My friend states:

This is quite a story.  They always made good cameras, but I never knew about this part of the Leica history.

            Leica's Jews 
German camera inventor helped
Jews escape at shudder speed during the Holocaust 

      The Leica is the pioneer 35mm camera. It is a German product - precise, minimalist, and utterly efficient.
Behind its worldwide acceptance as a creative tool was a family-owned, socially-oriented firm that, during the Nazi era, acted with uncommon grace, generosity and modesty.  E. Leitz Inc., designer and manufacturer of Germany's most famous photographic product, saved its Jews.
And Ernst Leitz II, the steely-eyed Protestant patriarch, who headed the closely held firm as the Holocaust loomed across Europe, acted in such a way as to earn the title, "the photography industry's Schindler".
As soon as Adolf Hitler was named chancellor of Germany in 1933, Ernst Leitz II began receiving frantic calls from Jewish associates, asking for his help in getting them and their families out of the country. As Christians, Leitz and his family were immune to Nazi Germany's Nuremberg laws, which restricted the movement of Jews and limited their professional activities.
To help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as "the Leica Freedom Train", a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in the guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas. Employees, retailers, family members, even friends of family members were "assigned" to Leitz sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong, and the United States; Leitz's activities intensified after the Kristallnacht of November 1938, during which synagogues and Jewish shops were burned across Germany.
Before long, German "employees" were disembarking from the ocean liner Bremenat a New York pier and making their way to the Manhattan office of Leitz, Inc., where executives quickly found them jobs in the photographic industry.
Each new arrival had around his or her neck the symbol of freedom - a new Leica camera. The refugees were paid a stipend until they could find work. Out of this migration came designers, repair technicians, salespeople, marketers, and writers for the photographic press.
Keeping the story quiet, The "Leica Freedom Train" was at its height in 1938 and early 1939, delivering groups of refugees to New York every few weeks. Then, with the invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany closed its borders.
By that time, hundreds of endangered Jews had escaped to America, thanks to the Leitzes' efforts. How did Ernst Leitz II and his staff get away with it?
Leitz, Inc. was an internationally recognized brand that reflected credit on the newly resurgent Reich. The company produced cameras, range-finders, and  other optical systems for the German military. Also, the Nazi government desperately needed hard currency from abroad, and Leitz's single biggest market for optical goods was the United States.
Even so, members of the Leitz family and firm suffered for their good works. A top executive, Alfred Turk, was jailed for working to help Jews and freed only after the payment of a large bribe.
Leitz's daughter, Elsie Kuhn-Leitz, was imprisoned by the Gestapo after she was caught at the border, helping Jewish women cross into Switzerland. She eventually was freed but endured rough treatment in the course of questioning.  She also fell under suspicion when she attempted to improve the living conditions of 700 to 800 Ukrainian slave laborers, all of them women, who had been assigned to work in the plant during the 1940s.  (After the war, Kuhn-Leitz received numerous honors for her humanitarian efforts, among them the Officer d'honneur des Palms Academic from France in 1965 and the Aristide Briand Medal from the European Academy in the 1970s.)
Why has no one told this story until now?
According to the late Norman Lipton, a freelance writer and editor, the Leitz family wanted no publicity for its heroic efforts.
Only after the last member of the Leitz family was dead did the "Leica Freedom Train" finally come to light.  It is now the subject of a book, "The Greatest Invention of the Leitz Family: 
The Leica Freedom Train,"by Frank Dabba Smith, a California-born Rabbi currently living in England.
Thank you for reading the above, and if you feel inclined as I did to pass it along to others, please do so. Memories of the righteous should live on.   

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Difference Between Left and Right

The National Review magazine founded by the multi-millionaire William F. Buckley and  pride of right wing conservatives proves its ignorance by name calling Bernie Sanders a Nazi.

It would be nice if a magazine that calls itself a "conservative" political entity understood the political concept of left and right. The extreme left is Communist and extreme right is their arch enemy Nazi (National Socialist) which means that National Review is more Nazi like than Bernie Sanders surely is. As a matter of fact Sanders calls himself a Socialist i.e. on the LEFT side of the political spectrum -- NOT to be confused with "National Socialist" which is Nazism.

The political right walks hand in hand with capitalist oligarchs which is why capitalists often run to their side. Communists and Socialists do the opposite. They impugn corporatists as Sanders does all the time for humanitarian purposes.

The National Review calling someone like Sanders a Nazi proves that the right wing is politically brain dead and does not know the difference between left and right!

National Review Says Bernie Sanders is a Nazi.  Link here


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Can I Get Fooled Again?

Did I get my position wrong again? I supported, dare I say, right after 911, the Iraq War because I THOUGHT the Republican administration nincompoops knew what they were doing and possessed information I did not and could not possess. I thought on matters of war they would not lie. I have paid for my own personal humiliation and the naïveté of what I thought then ever since. Subsequently, after much observation of the explosively wretched conditions in Iraq after the US invasion and after much examination of what was being done in our name, I learned what the mendacious Republican Bush administration was really doing.

Now, again, I support President Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran but the immovable and all powerful Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran delivers a Bushian speech that spews the same old belligerent rhetoric that all religious and political extremists spew sometimes backing up their words with hostile actions ultimately killing thousands of innocents. They say it is about their belief system and culture which is, of course, the only right belief one can hold. We, in reality, know it is about leaderships' own power sold to a gullible, non-thinking, religiously uncritical and frightened public.

You can get fooled once as one so called US "president" said, but you can't get fooled again. Can I get fooled again? Say it ain't so and our negotiators know what they are doing because the stakes of this nuclear agreement are high. They are the stakes of war and peace. Innocent lives are held in the balance -- yours, mine, our nation's and the world's. Read the link here or below of the Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech and say I am not getting fooled again!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

FRONTLINE: ISIS treatment of women

Listen to and watch this Frontline episode here or if you can. It is about ISIS treatment of women they steal from their families.

This is what George Bush's Neo Con adventure has wrought. ISIS formed because Bush did not know the Iraqi army he disbanded needed to be utilized. Al Qaeda is a shell of its former self and ISIS has taken over. It is spreading and it is spreading fast.

THIS is why the Gordian Knot MUST be broken and why Iran must assume a place of power to break it. It's good for us, it's good for Iran and no matter what Netanyahu says it is good for Israel. I am hoping!

The Best Deal "Cutting the Gordian Knot"

George W. Bush through his utterly failed Iraq War handed Iran the keys to the kingdoms of power in the Middle East. Now we live with that as a new reality. The Iran nuclear agreement the president and his team created is making sure Iran does not turn those kingdom keys into a nuclear bomb!

Eternal US war in that region is IMPOSSIBLE. We have neither the will nor the money nor even the enormous man power it would ultimately take for an all out full blown war with Iran in an already mind numbingly complex region to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb and the ultimate power a nuclear bomb would bring them.

We would fail and our president knows that. Our president is razor sharp in his analysis and WILL avert WWIII through his brilliant ability to negotiate this important Iran nuclear deal. It saves Israel's posterior as well except lovers of war refuse to see it. They want war that they themselves do not want to fight. The cowards are perfectly happy to see other young men and women do the fighting -- and dying -- while they take off on their yachts. Those who oppose this important agreement are nothing short of despicable! Write, call, shout or smoke signal those in power to support the President's deal with Iran. It is the best deal for ALL of us. [See Scott Ritter's editorial "Cutting the Gordian Knot" here and below]


Wednesday, July 15, 2015



Congratulations, Mr. President

Congratulations, Mr. President, your last term in office has cemented your legacy and it will be a great one because you are a great man. I knew that when you first ran for president although, admittedly, some doubts lingered. I know now why I came to love you and still do.

The nuclear deal with Iran will go down in history as one of the greatest foreign policy achievements not only of this time but of all time and not only because of this nation but also because of the UK, France, Russia, China, Germany and, of course, Iran that were a part of it.

Prediction: If Republicans obstruct this historic nuclear agreement with Iran, like they have obstructed everything else the president has wanted for the nation to dig us out of the Republican ditch, it will be the last big thing they obstruct. They will be a fractured dead party ruined by yesterday's failed policies and they will never enter the White House. To emphasize how bad Republicans truly are Donald Trump is now leading the bellicose Republican primary pack .

The Republican Party of white, old racist obstructionists is a cancer on the nation's body politic and will kill us IF we let it . A science denying Republican nation of fear, hate, aggression and war will cost us much in blood and treasure it has already cost. It gained nothing but more war and a fractured-beyond-recognition Middle East. We handed Iran the keys to the kingdom of power because of Bush's Iraq War and now we must deal with those political realities.

The nuclear deal with Iran is historically great. You should support it letting Congress and anyone else who will listen know you do!

It is again why a Democrat must occupy the oval office and why DEMOCRATS must take over Congress. Get out the Democratic vote to make sure Hispanics, persons of color, the disabled, the elderly, veterans, women and progressives vote and do so for Democrats the only party that has our interests at heart.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Blogger: Below is satire but it easily could be real in a country where a large segment of the population believes the earth is only 6000 years old, evolution is a myth, Ted Nugent is talented, Sarah Palin is qualified to be President, FOX News is fair and balanced, Duck Dynasty is educational TV and President Obama is a Muslim illegal immigrant from Kenya who plans to wage war on Texas among other things.

Here or


Monday, July 13, 2015

The Imitation Game

No time to write a review but I will choose a quote from the film "The Imitation Game" we watched.

“Sometimes it’s the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine” – The Imitation Game

Why fascism political, religious or otherwise cannot be allowed to win the day.  In WWII the time in which the film takes place, western civilization and true democracy hung by a thread. 
Give it a 10 star review. We loved it. 

The British code breaker mathematical genius Alan Turing saved our proverbial necks from fascism's tyranny!  Suggested reading:  "It Can Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis.

It CAN happen here and we have the Republican Party to prove it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Trumped (Read it it's funny I think?)

Charles Dickens would have loved Donald Trump as much as he loved Mr. Taulkinghorn, the unscrupulous lawyer to the Dedlock family or Esther Summerson a very loving and affectionate heroine in "Bleak House," or Mr. Murdstone the nasty second father to David Copperfield's mother (see link below.) The Great Master, Dickens was, of course,  known for often naming his characters in Dickensian fashion describing the character traits of the person in the novel and what could be a more Dickensian name describing the egotist supreme Republican who wants to be king of the world, president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Trump surely can blow his own trumpet but our American narcissist supreme is, I believe, not to be underestimated.  He is gaining traction in the Republican Party of white racists as there are plenty of them and Trump, ever the businessman, knows it.  The Republican mainstream, once dismissing him as a side car comic relief act in the overflowing field of Republican wannabe presidential candidates now seems to be the main attraction pushing Jebby Bush to number two giving Republican moderates (what is left of them) heart failure.

Democrats are salivating, jumping up and down with glee as the Republican Party seemingly is committing suicide.  Jon Stewart had the absolute funniest segment on Trump's unveiling of his candidacy as he is sliding down the escalator in Trump Tower announcing it.  Stewart was thanking God for delivering the best comedy ever at a time when Jon Stewart is wrapping up his career.  What a gift, pardon the pun.

Trump's speeches, mostly the same, are filled with look at me, look at me, look at how rich and successful I am and I want to make America great again by building an impenetrable wall to keep the bad old immigrants out -- you know the Irish ooops, wrong century, I mean the Mexicans, Central Americans or heck anyone with darker than lily white German (Trump's ancestry) Anglo skin.  He is talking to the right Republican crowd.

Which crowd though is he talking to?  I am the most progressive and the strongest Democrat I know and yet, part of what he said struck some positive notes even to my Democratic liberal musical nerve.  Which part?  Well, NOT the anti-immigrant racist part to be sure, but the part when he talks about the insanity whopper of a foreign policy George Bush blunder that was Iraq complete with its 6 trillion-buck-and-counting-debt and its Middle East fracturing result. 

Oh yes, there is another part -- the trade deals and an economy that have created the 1% mega rich on the backs of the American middle class sending jobs to China and a million other places just not here in America.  Why when I place a call for support do I get a non-English-speaking contact in India with whom I have trouble talking?  Why can I not speak to someone in, well, Peoria?  I cannot because all the trade deals passed by politicians here under the radar screen of the average know-nothing American have sent low paying jobs overseas and created the largest disparity of wealth between the 1% richest and the middle class since the age of Teddy Roosevelt's robber barons at the turn of the 20th century.

Trump touts, of course, his book "The Art of the Deal" which by his standards is the best book ever written.  He, by his own admission, went to the best business school ever, got the best grades ever which allowed him to be the best deal maker ever and he married three of the best women ever (viva divorce) who gave him, naturally, the best children ever.  What a guy!  Is there anything this egotistical inflated blowhard balloon cannot do?  Everything he touches in the world according to Trump turns to gold.  He wants to make everyone else in America turn to gold too and can do it, he says, by building that impenetrable great wall on the Mexican border that will make the Chinese wall look anemic by comparison.

He gives a shot of steroids into the arm of a nation that since World War II has seemingly felt old, decrepit and that it has lost.  He makes us feel we can be young again and through his leadership regain a hegemony that seems to be coming apart perhaps like older empires have.

But Trump does not have it all.  Trump trumps himself because he appeals to the most dangerous human proclivity -- the inability to see things in shades of gray. He does not take into account our Founders greatest gift and that is a division of power.  He, if he becomes president, must work in the milieu of two other branches of government.  It means he may know the art of the deal but he seemingly fails to know the art of compromise.  Trump may be a dictator in his own company but he cannot be the dictator of this nation.  Like Sampson his real hair will be shorn and Trump, if president, will be trumped by forces beyond which even his power will wax weak.  Still, do not sell him short as many here love to be led and if we do not vote (Democratic, hopefully) in the general election the Donald, if he wins in the Republican primary, just may be chosen to do it.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Legacy for Jebby

Jebby should be asked about his brother's presidential legacy and what a legacy it is.  The article pasted below says it all.  Georgey Bush better not travel to Europe.  He risks being picked up for trial at the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity! 

Think about the havoc he reaped, how many thousands died, how many are STILL suffering, will lifetime suffer physically from their wounds and psychologically from the trauma because of that nincompoop who lied us into eternal war.  Because of him the Middle East is fractured beyond recognition with refugees by the millions. 

Have fun, Jebby, you should be able to think up endless hours of attempting to avoid answering the questions about your brother's role as Commander-in-Chief.  Still you have retained many of his "experts" that drove us and the world into a very big ditch!

The media should be relentless in asking about that.
  Story here or below.

"US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 'collusion'"


Thursday, July 09, 2015


A triumph for all those who believe in human rights, for all those who believe in justice and fair play and for all those who believe in the truth of history the Confederate flag, a vicious symbol of hate and the perpetuation of a system that kept people of color in chains, WILL be taken down from the S. Carolina state house steps.

Slavery, Jim Crow, cross burnings and hangings of poor blacks are that flag's legacy and the heritage white racists love to brag about so much.  If the south had been Civil War victorious, it would have continued its carnage against persons of color and it would have delayed if not eradicated our Founders’ promise of Constitutional equal rights for ALL men.  The continuation of a system and the flag it represents that deemed a human being 3/5ths of a person would not have ended.  The odiousness of that symbol lies in the outer limits of linguistic description.

The Republican S. Carolina state House member, Jenny Horne, pleading on the state house floor for the Confederate flag's removal is the righteous among our nation.  She deserves the Medal of Freedom because her tears and words eloquently delivered on that floor put the final nail in a Confederate flag draped coffin soaked in the blood of innocents bearing the strange fruit hanging from those Poplar trees. She scored the win and delivered the final blow to that ugly flag under which the murdered body of a very good man, Reverend/Representative Climenta Pinckney, ironically rode.   If you have not heard Jennie Horne's passionate plea I urge you to listen to it.

A momentous achievement happened today, the Confederate flag, symbol of hate, came down from the S. Carolina state house steps.  Truthfully, though, other symbols of our nation's original sin live on in other forms against the minority group de jour across this nation.  It lives on in the form of voter ID laws, anti-immigrant hostility and other forms of discrimination to keep those persons of color out of the voting booth and not only in the south.

Imagine, it took 300 years and many violent actions to secure rights for a people who had no rights but should have had them simply by their birth here.  I believe in luck.  One must be lucky in life to be born into the right circumstances, into the right group at the right time. Being born poor and black in the south and in many places of this nation, was and continues to be a stroke of bad luck that must be overcome.

Those of us who care about justice and fair play fight on, taking new fights to new venues of injustice to force our nation to live up to our declared national promise:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
To that I say Amen!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Let Them Die?

 I offer a response to M. Hill's July 8 Letter: "No Help for the Homeless" in the Metro West News.  Link below.

Why is there so much gun violence in this nation whereas in Canada, a nation that has as many guns as we, has few deaths from guns?  Michael Moore asks that question in "Bowling for Columbine" and "Sicko."  The answer I think to the question Mr. Hill raises as to why no one helps the homeless is that so many in our nation simply do not care. It is why I believe there is a great sense of anomie -- alienation and the depression -- so many feel in this nation that is not true about our neighbor to the north. 

There are few in Canada who would say if someone is sick with no insurance just let them die in the street but it was said by attendees at a major Republican Party 2012 debate.  Let them die? Really? Just what kind of Christianity to these Cretans posses if they can say let those sick on the street just die? 

It is shameful that these human beings I see when I drive through downtown Framingham simply languish with no help to be had.  I say there but for the grace of god or fate go I.  They are us.  Take a good look and if it were you would you want to just die?

Monday, July 06, 2015


U.S.A. Beats Japan 5-2 To Win Women's World Cup

Posted: Updated:

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Kudos to Hillary and Happy Birthday America

Hillary Clinton, in the "Humans of New York" Facebook Post, reassured a sad and frightened gay youth. See link below. Hillary's response to him was beautiful and true. It is SO much better now for gays than any could ever have hoped it would be. For this young person who wrote to her, it will be even better.

He should seek out those who are on his side, who will love him for who he is and there are a bazillion of them. Hillary, our next president's, response to him was dazzling and true. She will be our first woman president and despite those who would politically bash her she is one incredible woman. She is smart beyond words and endlessly capable. That young person already has millions of friends plus the next president of the United States. Add one more -- ME!

For those who think this nation is not amazing think again. No nation is perfect and our mostly conservative court just handed millions of human beings rights they deserved. Ask a gay person who knew what it was like before Stonewall.

Happy Birthday America. I thank my grandparents for having the brilliance and fortitude at the turn of the 20th century to make the arduous trip here. This nation gave us a happier life as it has now given happiness to many gays. It will do that for that young person too.

Thank you, Hillary, for your magnificent words of support to him. I hope the young man listens and will see all the friends he has acquired; among them is the next first woman president of this nation.

Saturday, July 04, 2015


Our President is going out with a Fourth of July Bang.  Think about all the wonderful things that have occurred in the last month of his term of office alone.  He will, I believe, be remembered for that including the upholding of his Affordable Care Act offering health and life to millions who never had health insurance before; gay marriage one of the biggest and, in my opinion, one of the greatest civil rights decisions since the uprooting of Jim Crow in the nation's history granting marriage and happiness to millions who should have had the opportunity before.  Without the President's support this never would have occurred; and the upholding of the Fair Housing Act for which his administration argued.

There is more on the list during his eight years -- much more -- but I do not have the time to list the many other humane and good things this President has done for our nation in the face of virulent obstructionist and racist opposition who were dedicated to the ruination of his presidency and said exactly that.

The next great thing will be granting clemency to many jailed for non-violent offenses.  It will be the most granted clemency ever.  I am pasting the article from the NYT in its entirety below.   I wish he had four more years and a Democrat controlled Congress. 

Wishing cannot make it so.  My fervent prayer is that this nation with the help of millions upon millions of Hispanic voters, voters of color, women, the disabled,  the elderly and the intelligent who make up the Democratic and Progressive base, will kick extremist RepuGlican thug racists, corporate bought K Street legislative puppets, tea baggers and corrupt politicians from here to kingdom come OUT. 

Republicans, other right wing gun nut extremist fanatics and the extremist religious right are the know nothing anti-science cancer of hate in our nation.  They are killing us and they MUST be stopped!


Here is what the President is doing next:
Obama Plans Broader Use of Clemency to Free Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Even though President Obama is expected to commute dozens of sentences, he will barely make a dent in clemency applications. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Sometime in the next few weeks, aides expect President Obama to issue orders freeing dozens of federal prisoners locked up on nonviolent drug offenses. With the stroke of his pen, he will probably commute more sentences at one time than any president has in nearly half a century.
The expansive use of his clemency power is part of a broader effort by Mr. Obama to correct what he sees as the excesses of the past, when politicians eager to be tough on crime threw away the key even for minor criminals. With many Republicans and Democrats now agreeing that the nation went too far, Mr. Obama holds the power to unlock that prison door, especially for young African-American and Hispanic men disproportionately affected.

But even as he exercises authority more assertively than any of his modern predecessors, Mr. Obama has only begun to tackle the problem he has identified. In the next weeks, the total number of commutations for Mr. Obama’s presidency may surpass 80, but more than 30,000 federal inmates have come forward in response to his administration’s call for clemency applications. A cumbersome review process has advanced only a small fraction of them. And just a small fraction of those have reached the president’s desk for a signature.

“I think they honestly want to address some of the people who have been oversentenced in the last 30 years,” said Julie Stewart, the founder and president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a group advocating changes in sentencing. “I’m not sure they envisioned that it would be as complicated as it is, but it has become more complicated, whether it needs to be or not, and that’s what has bogged down the process.”

Overhauling the criminal justice system has become a bipartisan venture. Like Mr. Obama, Republicans running for his job are calling for systemic changes. Lawmakers from both parties are collaborating on legislation. And the United States Sentencing Commission has revised guidelines for drug offenders, so far retroactively reducing sentences for more than 9,500 inmates, nearly three-quarters of them black or Hispanic.

The drive to recalibrate the system has brought together groups from across the political spectrum. The Center for American Progress, a liberal advocacy organization with close ties to the White House and Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, has teamed up with Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by the conservative brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, who finance Republican candidates, to press for reducing prison populations and overhauling sentencing.
“It’s a time when conservatives and liberals and libertarians and lots of different people on the political spectrum” have “come together in order to focus attention on excessive sentences, the costs and the like, and the need to correct some of those excesses,” said Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel who recommends clemency petitions to Mr. Obama. “So I think the president sees the commutations as a piece of that entire process.”
The challenge has been finding a way to use Mr. Obama’s clemency power in the face of bureaucratic and legal hurdles without making a mistake that would be devastating to the effort’s political viability. The White House has not forgotten the legacy of Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who raped a woman while furloughed from prison and became a powerful political symbol that helped doom the presidential candidacy of Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts in 1988.
But with time running short in Mr. Obama’s presidency, the White House has pushed the Justice Department to send more applicants more quickly. Mr. Eggleston told the department not to interpret guidelines too narrowly because it is up to the president to decide, according to officials. If it seems like a close case, he told the department to send it over.

Deborah Leff, the department’s pardon attorney, has likewise pressed lawyers representing candidates for clemency to hurry up and send more cases her way. “If there is one message I want you to take away today, it’s this: Sooner is better,” she told lawyers in a video seminar obtained by USA Today. “Delaying is not helpful.”
Under the Constitution, the president has the power to grant “pardons for offenses against the United States” or to commute federal sentences. A pardon is an act of presidential forgiveness and wipes away any remaining legal liabilities from a conviction. A commutation reduces a sentence but does not eliminate a conviction or restore civil rights lost as a result of the conviction.

In recent times, attention has focused on presidential pardons because they have become politically controversial, such as Gerald R. Ford’s pardon of Richard M. Nixon, the elder George Bush’s pardons of Iran-contra figures and Bill Clinton’s pardons of the financier Marc Rich and scores of others.

Modern presidents have been far less likely to commute sentences. Lyndon B. Johnson commuted the sentences of 80 convicted criminals in the 1966 fiscal year, and no president since then has matched that in his entire administration, much less in a single year. Ronald Reagan commuted only 13 sentences in eight years in office, while George W. Bush commuted just 11 in the same amount of time. The elder Mr. Bush commuted three sentences in his four years.

Mr. Obama started out much like the others, commuting just one sentence in his first five years in office. But in his first term he signed a law easing sentencing for new inmates by reducing the disparity between crack and powder cocaine, while his attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., issued new guidelines to prosecutors to avoid charges requiring excessive prison terms.

In his second term, Mr. Obama embarked on an effort to use clemency and has raised his total commutations to 43, a number he may double this month. The initiative was begun last year by James M. Cole, then the deputy attorney general, who set criteria for who might qualify: generally nonviolent inmates who have served more than 10 years in prison, have behaved well while incarcerated and would not have received as lengthy a sentence under today’s revised rules.

“It’s a touchy situation,” Mr. Cole said in an interview. “You don’t want to just supplant a judge’s determination of sentence.” But after reviewing many clemency petitions, he said, “I’d seen a number of them where the sentences seemed very high for the conduct and it noted that the judge at the time of sentencing thought the sentence was too high. We looked at that and thought this really isn’t supplanting the judge.”

To respond to Mr. Cole’s call, several groups formed a consortium of lawyers to prepare applications for inmates, including the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Ms. Stewart’s advocacy group. The more than 30,000 inmates who applied inundated the effort.

The consortium, called Clemency Project 2014, now has more than 50 law firms, more than 20 law schools and more than 1,500 lawyers participating. But the process is burdensome as the volunteer lawyers try to dig out documents from more than a decade ago to satisfy the criteria. So far, they have screened out 13,000 inmates who did not meet the guidelines and sent just over 50 applications to the Justice Department.

Cynthia W. Roseberry, who left her job as a top federal public defender in Georgia to lead the project, said it took a while to set up a process but it has now been streamlined. “The lawyers will be able to do the analysis a lot quicker and we’ll be able to move them faster,” she said.

Aside from the Clemency Project, the Justice Department has received more than 6,600 applications for commutations since Mr. Cole outlined the criteria, more than twice the rate over a similar period earlier in Mr. Obama’s presidency. Ms. Leff, the pardon attorney, has solicited volunteers from around the department to give a day or more a week to help out, but her office is taxed. The White House has asked Congress to increase funding for the office from $3.9 million this year to $5.9 million next year.

Margaret Love, who served as pardon attorney under the first Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton and now represents prisoners applying for clemency, said the process had become a mess. “It’s really poor management,” she said. “These are people who don’t have any history with sentence reduction. They’ve been putting people in prison all their lives. They don’t know how to get them out.”

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has expressed concern that the Justice Department has essentially outsourced a government function to the Clemency Project 2014. Department officials dispute that, saying the project does the same thing lawyers have always done in helping candidates for clemency prepare applications.

The department noted that it still reviews the cases and makes it own judgments before sending recommendations to the White House. Officials acknowledged that it was slow in starting the effort. “There was a start-up time, but now we’re really in it,” said Emily Pierce, a department spokeswoman. “We feel we’re moving at a good pace.”

In December, Mr. Obama commuted the sentences of eight drug offenders, and in March he followed up with 22 more. If he accepts most of the latest applications sent to the White House, some officials said it would probably double that last batch of 22, exceeding the 36 commutations Mr. Clinton issued at one time on his last day in office.

Among those Mr. Obama granted clemency in March were eight prisoners serving life sentences for crimes like possession with intent to distribute cocaine, growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants or possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Mr. Obama signed letters to the recipients explaining that they had demonstrated the potential to turn their lives around. “By doing so, you will affect not only your own life, but those close to you,” he wrote. “You will also influence, through your example, the possibility that others in your circumstances get their own second chance in the future.

“I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong,” he added. “So good luck, and Godspeed.”